Valve’s crazy new addition to Team Fortress 2, the co-op mode Mann vs. Machine, launched last night, and if you had a similar experience to me, you spent most of the evening waiting in a queue for a community server because you’re too cheap to buy a Tour of Duty ticket.
If this is the first you’re hearing of Mann vs. Machine, here’s a quick rundown: you team up with five friends and fight robots. Even if you haven’t played Team Fortress proper in years, the prospect of co-op in that game is probably enough to entice you to come back (I know it worked for me). The problem last night was that, given that the mode just launched, the demand for community run servers far outpaced the supply.
To play in the official Mann Up mode and get access to the Valve servers, you need to buy a Tour of Duty ticket. When Mann vs. Machine launched last night, there were a whole bunch of Valve servers waiting for paying customers. The co-op is still free-to-play, but it has to be on community run servers, of which there were a ridiculously low number; somewhere in the neighborhood of hundreds as compared to the thousands of official servers. If you’re still confused about how Mann Up works in conjunction with Mann vs. Machine, Icrontic has a great flowchart explaining how the whole thing works.
I would have loved to play MvM last night, but the fact that you can’t even host a private server to get a game going (at least not yet, without console commands) kind of killed my enthusiasm. Well, that and the waiting an hour in queue for a community server without success. Once more unofficial servers start popping online, this hiccup will go away, but unless you’re willing to spend money to play on the Valve servers, expect Mann vs. Machine to be a less than stable experience for the first few days.
Did anyone actually manage to play this last night? If you did, what are you thoughts?