Everyone’s playing the Pyro class in Team Fortress 2 at the moment, because Valve just added loads of Pyro-specific Achievements and new weapons that are unlocked when you earn enough of them. Some of these are things we’ve probably already done, but there’s one that no-one had: OMGWTFBBQ: Kill an enemy with a taunt.
In a rare act of trust, Valve told Craig and I back in February that they’d be lethalising the Pyro’s Street Fighter ‘Hadouken!’ taunt. We were asked to keep shtum, so that players would have to work it out for themselves when they saw there was an achievement for it. And in a rare act of journalistic nondickishness, we did.
But once the cat was out of the bag, I had to have it. The moment the new Pyro content went live, I arranged to meet up with my friend Al for a Hadouken duel – may the winner let the loser fireball him next time. But in the blazing madness of Pyro Night, where 10 of our 12-man teams were playing as the gasmasked deviant, all plans were forgotten. And in the course of joining in with that mayhem, I kept finding myself in situations where it might just legitimately work. Where I could actually Hadouken an enemy.
I failed. Again and again and again. But I’d got the bug now: I had to get this legitimately. No willing victims, no bots, no achievement-clinic maps or grinding servers: real, life-or-death play on maximum-population servers.
My first proper attempt was instinct, when I rounded a corner and found myself face to face with a Heavy and Medic. I had a Medic friend healing me, and I happened to know a horde of my team-mates were right behind, so I jabbed the taunt button hoping that he’d be swamped by them long enough for my fireball to connect. When a Pyro friend did round the corner, he ran to my side and joined me in the taunt. I don’t know whether he was after the achievement or just thought this was a game, but the pair of us were shredded like so many kittens in a woodchipper.
The difficulty, obviously, is that the taunt takes some seconds to perform – during which, you’re rooted to the spot, unable to defend yourself or even cancel the action, and all but the slowest of wits can calmly stroll out of your way or murder you.
Later that round – on Gold Rush – I started doing pretty well. A Medic friend latched on to me, possibly Arq, and we had a good enough run that he earnt his Ubercharge healing the damage I took – and chose to use it on me. He timed it well, as we rounded a nest of Sentries and strong enemy presence on the final checkpoint of the second map, but when I bumped into an Engineer just standing there, I couldn’t resist. It was too perfect. I taunted.
Four, maybe six times. Every time the incoming fire bashed me back too far to hit anything with the resulting fireball, interrupting the animation, and every time I became more convinced I could get him this time. Before that faith was vindicated, our uber flickered off and my poor undeserving Medic and I were blown into the stratosphere. Sorry Medic.
Anyone will tell you the OMGWTFBBQ achievement is easy. It’s the first one they got. Right away they ran into an unwitting Sniper, and he just stood there and let them do it. I know. I’ve been in those situations as every class and their granma, up against people who don’t move or realise I’m there even after two seconds of being beaten about the head. It’s just that since this Pyro update, those people seem to be joining different servers to me. For days, I don’t think I met a stupid player.
The next time I played, I had a masterstroke. I was defending Gold Rush this time, and the attackers had progressed far enough that they’d set up teleporters to take them from their spawn-room to the front line. I’d made it all the way there with relatively little trouble, and now found myself camped outside their home base staring at the telepad they’d each jump on every time they spawned.
I tucked myself into a dark corner on a route no-one takes – even if they’re not going to take the teleporter – and waited. Soon, a Medic trundled out of the iron gates and set himself on the telepad. I charged, hit the taunt button once I was in range, and he stood staring dumbly forwards – right up until he vanished in a constellation of teleporter sparkles. My flaming fists passed uselessly through where he’d been.
If I lurked any closer or approached any sooner they’d see me, so I’d always be too late. But when the next person – a Soldier, a rougher customer – stepped up to the pad before it had recharged. I pounced again, and hit taunt long before the pad was ready to displace him. And gloriously, the whole animation played out in full. To no effect. The flames licked ineffectually at his sleeves, centimeters out of range, and the noise caused him to spin round, spot me with a flinch of astonishment, and fire a single, wildly inaccurate rocket of surprise before he was zapped halfway across the map by the teleporter. God freaking damn it.
It happened on Badlands: I’d just sneakily won the game by camping their final capture point. As their defeated team scurried from our super-critting weapons, I taunted vaguely at a group of them, and my fireball connected with a Medic. He drifted feathery and aflame across the room, and slumped against the wall. No achievement – it doesn’t count in the post-victory humiliation phase. And to add insult to injury, my victim messaged me: “Did you get the achievement? :)” He’d let me do it. My feat was doubly worthless.
It’s been four days now, and I’ve come to expect failure. I waited at the enemy gates, timed a taunt perfectly to flourish just as they opened, and their entire team made an executive decision to pause for exactly a second before charging past my immobilised, useless form and setting fire to me with critical flame from the unlockable Backburner I will probably never earn.
I found the perfect Sniper – utterly oblivious, utterly stationary, utterly alone. And I made sure I was virtually touching him before I started, and he didn’t flinch throughout the whole process. I, however, was blown to bits by a critical Demoman grenade to the back of the head just as my hands would have hit him. Without looking up from his scope, he continued to snipe from a room full of my blood.
Tonight I found an enemy Heavy blasting our team from a high window. I was coming up behind him, from inside the building, with no enemies around to intercept me or friends to steal the kill. Surely, I thought. Heavies are reknown for their lack of situational awareness when firing – it’s like a trance. I ran directly for him, and parked myself indecently close. Surely, I thought. I taunted. He kept firing. SURELY, I thought. His face broke into a manic cackle as his spinning gun tore through my team below – then fell, as a magical Street Fighter 2 reference hit him in the small of his back, set him on fire and ended his life. His bloated, burning, bent-backwards body flew spectacularly through the window, sailed over the battle below, and crunched into a fat-sizzling heap in the ditch below.
[PCG] Pentadact has earned the achievement: OMGWTFBBQ. At fucking, stupid last, it might have added.
The sense of triumph is ridiculous – even more so than the last utterly moronic thing Valve made me do by calling it an ‘achievement’. Perhaps because this victory was unique, and over a real person, and I really, really suck.
Of course, not halfway through writing this – and long before I got the achievement – Chris beat me to it with a post about exactly the same thing. Also, he got the achievement legitimately long before me, and he has 22 others, and all the unlockable weapons. Have I mentioned I’m never linking him or his stupid fat Frohman face ever again?