By Dan Zuccarelli . March 27, 2007 . 12:56pm
Whenever I play a 1st person team-shooter on-line it’s a stark reminder that I’m really no good at those types of games. I just can’t keep up with everyone else. I’m always able to play on-line for the first few weeks a game is released but then people just get to good. Since most games don’t have enough variety in who you can play as I usually just give up and go back to the single player campaign. Luckily for me Shadowrun offers a few options that might actually mean I can continue to play even as people develop their shooting skills far beyond mine.
It’s nice to see a game take the successful formula of Counter-Strike and inject some new ideas into it. In Shadowrun, you not only have access to firearms but magic and "tech" as well. Tech upgrades can grant you abilities such as seeing through walls, gliding through the air or sharpening your reflexes. Magic on the other hand gives you the obvious abilities to throw people through the air, heal, teleport and more. In addition to the magic and tech, you also have the different races to choose from. Humans, Trolls, Dwarfs, and Elves all have their own pluses and minuses.
After a run through the tutorials (which left me with a lot to try and keep track of) I settled in to play some matches online. I guess "play" is a bit of an oversell, since I got myself shot up pretty quickly. I think my teammates realized early on that casting resurrect on me and bringing me back would be a waste of their time. After a few rounds of getting my ass handed to me soundly, I decided a different approach was in order. I was going to play the role of healer. I wasn’t sure if this would be welcomed of encouraged, but I wasn’t doing much good offensively so I didn’t think it would do any harm.
This actually worked out much better for me. I chose to play as a Dwarf, since they’re much shorter (harder to hit) and not only have more magic ability but can also syphon the essence (magic) off of other players. Arming myself with the tree of life and spells like resurrect and helper abilities like gust and strangle I set out not to kill anyone but to try and lend support. Lo and behold, I finally come in useful. In more than one match I was keeping numerous people alive through resurrect spells, and then running off and hiding so as not to get killed (resurrecting someone means they’re tied to you, So if you die so do they).
Playing long enough I knew where to cast tree of life in order to give my teammates the best location to take advantage of it without letting it fall into enemy hands. I’m not sure how much fun it will be in the long run running around healing people, but for right now I’m having a pretty good time. As all of this is going on I am working on my shooting (more as a diversion for now) but hopefully I’ll be able to move towards a more offensive role soon!