While I missed the first matchmaking stress test, I was awake and ready for the second one! Sorry EU fans, maybe one day Valve will have one at a time that’s not horrible for you guys.

I don’t have enough to do commentary on 16 minutes of footage, so I’m just making an article. I loved how easy it was to queue up; just click the button and you’re off to the races. I played 6 matches and won 5 of them, so the players seem really competent for the most part. There were usually 2-3 people with mics on our team, people called out kills and locations and coordinated pushes. Most people on SPUF were reporting a different experience, so maybe playing the Medic with the mic was the big difference, because even the game we lost was extremely close.

Said game was the only time I played Demoman, because we already had a medic, but I soon learned the error of my ways. If you’ve already got a medic, just play with TWO medics, because that’s definitely the sweet spot in this class-unrestricted format. For the most part I saw that a mixture of Soldiers, Heavies, and Medics was pretty much the best possible team. Scouts and Demomen have a skill requirement that most comp people couldn’t match, so they weren’t nearly the powerhouses they are in regular comp.

I won a lot of matches but this bar didn't seem to be getting bigger...
I won a lot of matches but this bar didn’t seem to be getting bigger…

One other thing really cool was they implemented this suggestion! Spawn doors don’t allow you to leave for a few seconds but you can run around freely. It’s gonna take a bit to get used to because there’s literally no delay between the previous round ending and you being in spawn for the next one, but the tactical benefits of letting people rollout equally is far worth it. They also had soft collision turned off thankfully, to prevent jostling at the spawn room doors.

I only encountered one bug during my six games, and it had pretty stringent requirements:

When a player disconnects during setup, the round kills itself and waits patiently for them to return. During that time you’re supposed to be frozen, but you can still move with conga. Our heavy conga’ed over to the spawn room door and got himself stuck when the paralysis turned off, killing our rollout. Pretty unlikely and I’m positive it’s an easy fix.

Seriously, for the most part its all damn good. Very polished and a wonderful experience. Valve has hit the nail on the head and I’m very excited for the prospects. I have a lot of positive things to say about the art direction and style of the menus and design, but I’ll leave that to Medic because she understands that universe of game design way better than me. From my perspective as a player, matchmaking is a great success and I can’t wait for it to be available full time.