Is Left 4 Dead 2 Team Versus Broken?

Left 4 Dead 2Let me kick off this post to say that I’m not the best Left 4 Dead player out there, but I’m hardly the worse. I know my way around the maps, can swing a frying pan like the best of them, and I know when to duck and when to run. My buddies are also fairly decent at the game and while we are still working to coordinate our attacks as the infected, we can typically handle our own as survivors give or take one of us who likes to break from the pack now and then.

Yet, whenever we play a team versus match, the difficulty spectrum is all over the charts. In fact, there are no charts which can make for hair pulling mouth foaming frustration. For example, just on Friday we butted heads with one team and we took them to the cleaners. They dropped out after three maps, denying us our victory. Last night, we played three different teams who raked the ground with us. Granted, there is much to learn from a better team, but three beatdowns in a row was a little disheartening. Needless to say, after getting owned in every sense of the word at the start of one campaign, we did like the other team who we almost beat … we left.

While it may be fun to pound on a team, team versus really shines when two comparable teams face each other. A week ago, we faced such a team and it made for an epic fight. We ended up losing by forty points, but it was a great match for sure. I find these matchups to occur one in ten times. Typically, I find that one team is way better than the other. I’m guessing a lot of people have been experiencing the same thing on the XBox as it takes longer and longer for us to find opponents. A few months ago, it took only a couple of seconds. Last night, one match took two minutes to find the other team.

If Valve has a ranking system, it is broken and if it doesn’t have one, the game needs it. It would be relatively easy feature to add which would improve the overall experience of team versus. Give players the option to fight an equal team (ranked matches), but also, give teams the ability to fight anyone (unranked matches). How could Valve miss the boat on this one when this appears to be a standard feature on almost every XBox game out there?

One other thing … Valve needs to remove insta-kill points from the beginning of maps. The first map in the Hard Rain campaign is the obvious offender. All it takes is one jockey or smoker to lead a survivor out back out of the restaurant, followed by a Charger doing suicide charge into the river. New players get tooled the moment they step into the map. The end result — the pounded team quits the match, ruining the experience for everyone.

What do you think? Does Valve need to address this issue, or am I crying over spilled milk?