January 24th, 2004

Tango Down

I’ve recently started playing Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield online. For those of you unfamiliar with this game, let me explain. You and your teammates are special military operatives sent in to do various things involving terrorists. Mainly kill them. You might also be called upon to rescue hostages, prevent detonation of a nerve gas bomb, or rescue sensitive data from a computer. The single player game lets you do all of these things with up to 9 other computer-controlled characters. You can set up missions, giving the computer specific instructions on when to stop, when to reload, when to shoot, and, presumably, when to take 5 and call their mothers. Or you can do what I do, which is follow the standard mission that comes with the game.

Playing online lets you replace all those computer-controlled characters with (again, presumably) human controlled characters. Since you never actually meet these people, it’s hard to say. Regardless, it’s tons o’ fun. You all need to work as a team to accomplish these missions. Unfortunately, since I’m the new guy, I don’t have the foggiest idea what to do, usually. I generally follow someone who knows what they are doing and try not to shoot him. I usually die fairly quickly, but then I can do a “third person camera” and follow other people around and see what they are doing that might make things go more smoothly for me, should I adopt some of their methods.

You really get the sense that some of these people have been playing this game way too much. They use the military lingo in the game and they get mad at you if you don’t do the obvious thing, like crack open the door, throw a tear gas grenade, and then burst in and shoot people. I mean, come on, people! Think!

You connect to online servers to play, and you’re never really sure who you’re going to meet and how good they are. The one thing you can assume, however, is that I’m not going to be all that good regardless of which server I connect to. There are private servers, made private by the application of a password. They sit there with their good connection speeds, half-empty, mocking me. “If you had us as friends, you could play here.”

The best thing to do is convince your friends to buy the same game and then have a private server were you can all play. The problem with that is everyone has their favorite game and it’s hard to all agree on one. I currently think Raven Shield is the bee’s knees, but Ryan likes America’s Army and Brian and Garrett like Forsaken, and Dave wants me to go back to playing Rogue Spear, which is a precursor to Raven Shield. Unless I buy everyone a copy (which ain’t gonna happen), I’ll just have to muddle through playing random people on the Internet.

Give me a holler when you get the game and I’ll set us up a server, okay? I don’t care if you’re no good. In fact, that makes it better, in my opinion. The password will be “pants.”

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