2. Repair the Bridge
For the guys at Shoot Club who haven't played Valley a million and twelve times (i.e. everyone but me and Trevor), I've just conducted a brief tutorial. I had to pry the guys away from YouTube videos, a nascent boardgaming session that would have lasted four hours and Halo 3 splitscreen co-op. I used the excuse that we had to play Quake Wars for my review. Which was true at one time. I simply neglected to mention that the review had already been written and turned it (in case you're wondering: 85%; The Good: Sweet graphics, Fun gameplay; The Bad: Not enough maps, Generic splashscreen music).
Once I had their attention, I had to move fast before I lost them again. I explained all the basics and was telling them about deployables when they started getting restless. It began with Jude checking the time, which is harder to do surreptitiously if you're not wearing a watch and instead have to extract your cell phone from your hip pocket. Then Douglas slid into the seat at one of the other computers and starting randomly shooting. While I was explaining the respawn timer, he asked me how to reload, as if the button to reload is ever anything but 'r'. I told him it was ctl-shift-F9, which kept him busy for a while.
I can't really blame them. They don't want to come to Shoot Club to learn new games. They're not like me and Trevor. They're happy to stick with one or two games at a time. Some of them still want to play retro classics like Aliens vs. Predator 2, Unreal Tournament 2003, or Command & Conquer 3. But me and Trevor want to play whatever's just come out, and then we want to move on to whatever's coming out next. We're surfing a wave of new releases, and right now Quake Wars is the big Kahuna.
"Anyway, when you deploy something, just read this text on the left of the screen," I said quickly. "It'll explain it. Okay, let's go. It's the six of us against ten bots. Ready?"
"Wait," Jude said, "That's not very fair. We're just learning the game. The bots already know how to play. Why don't we just play against six of them?" Ah, so not only was he listening, but he cared about how the game went! That was a good sign. It's the ones who don't say anything you have to watch out for. Apathy at Shoot Club is infectious and often fatal.
"Don't' worry, they're set to stupid."
Unfortunately, the problem with the bots being set to stupid is that they're not making any progress. I figured the guys would like the D-Day vibe of the map called Volcano. We're perched in bunkers looking out over a beach. The Strogg plunge down from the sky (it's worth wondering why they plunge down directly in front of the bunkers rather than behind them) and then run up the beach at us. As soon as we start shooting, they stop and return poorly aimed fire. It's like shooting Strogg in a barrel.