Who remembers Medieval Mode? It’s hard to forget it, what with its unique premise, acceptable breaks from its own premise and a game balance that I don’t think anyone truly understands. But I’ve been having trouble finding populated Medieval servers, and this saddens me because for what its got, I enjoy the balance between the classes.

Especially melee-killing Snipers. That never gets old.
Especially melee-killing Snipers. That never gets old. Picture by SantaDogue.

But I think there are definitely some things that could improve the game mode. At the core of things, it could really do with some more content. Right now it suffers from a limited version of Territorial Control-syndrome, where the mode concept is fine but the map has some very glaring flaws. One or two new maps could really help with this problem. The community has one clear favorite in pl_morrigansalley, and after playing it I can see why. The Medieval concept could easily branch out into any other TF2 game mode (Hell, the lack of sentries would be a godsend to Capture the Flag and Special Delivery.) We played some Medieval maps in a tournament last year and every game mode worked brilliantly.

That’s not to say they should add every popular community Medieval map; I have to confess koth_sollytude is one of my least favorite community maps due to its horrendous map design. Stupidly wide open spaces you have to trudge through because Medieval has few mobility options, 60% of the map goes completely unused because the map funnels players from spawn to the middle control point. Then there’s a complete lack of demoknight ramps, and the control point getting the high ground giving defense a stupidly good advantage ESPECIALLY when offense has to bottle neck up a one-at-a-time stairwell that zigzags, turning any offensive push into a tower defense game for the enemy snipers/Medics. The map’s aesthetics are the ONE good thing, and sadly it does a very, very good job at this part. Which is why it makes me so sad the map itself is a complete cesspit of gameplay design.

But this does give me the opportunity to bring up what I think could solve both sollytude’s problem and the problems of porting Medieval to other game modes: Engineer should be allowed to build teleporters. On payload maps, 5CP maps or other modes where the objective keeps getting further from spawn, teleporters are a necessity to allow the attacking team to gain forward momentum. Plus Engineer could finally use that 200 metal for something!

But this is mostly wishful thinking. TF2 needs certain things far more than it does a Medieval update, so I’m not holding out a lot of hope in any of this happening. But I am toying with starting up a server that plays stock maps in Medieval, like badlands and badwater etc. If you have any advice or ideas for a server like that, let me know.