There is The Plan. You stick to The Plan. The Plan is boss, it dictates all that you do and God help you if you divert from it. The Plan works, and when things all go wrong there is only one person to blame, and that is yourself. Give yourself a good hard long look in the mirror. What you see is not what The Plan wants; it’s what The Plan makes do with.
This is why I make a terrible team player. I use plans, and when they go wrong, I blame people. Until telepathy is a viable alternative, or at least until they make an AI advanced enough I can tell it what to do in plain English, I’m going to have to make do with people. And that’s something I’m not very good at.
This isn’t entirely about Left 4 Dead. That may have triggered the realisation, but really, it’s been there, dormant, for years. Ever since the disastrous days of Alien Versus Predator 2, I’ve not worked well with people. I take the leading role, but I don’t accept the responsibility of allowing people mistakes. Yes, I can adapt to a situation, that’s not the issue. What is, is the fact that I make a plan of attack, and then when it (inevitably) goes wrong, I get so frustrated at my teammates that I don’t think about adapting. It’s only when it goes right that I can think on my feet.
It’s an issue really. I like playing with other people, as it’s a different experience every time, and it allows me to get the satisfaction from outsmarting a fellow human being. But when I have to work with other people at such a fundamental level, it gets a little bit strained at times. Maybe it’s the fact that you rely so heavily on other people in Left 4 Dead and not so much in other games, but when someone doesn’t follow you in precisely the way you told them to, and then you die because of it, I get annoyed. In Team Fortress 2 this doesn’t happen, because for the most part the plan is just to kill the enemies. That, coupled with the fact that you die when you die, not when you get pinned by a boss and have to wait to get saved. It is, of course, unreasonable for me to have these opinions; I’m just as bad, I’m sure, as other people. I make the same mistakes, I don’t notice the same pins until most of my friend’s health is gone. But when it’s happening to you you forget all this and just start getting riled up.
The worst of it is, of course, that when it does work, it’s nothing to do with the plan. It’s to do with the fact that you gel well as a team, you’re always on the look out for each other, and you stay alive due to that. It’s the same in any multiplayer game; some teams just work. The Plan is for those teams where everything is going wrong. Where you have to rely on a rigid framework, rather than intelligence and skill, to get you through. The Plan, is essentially, Plan B.
In the end, this all comes down to my annoyance at not being able to play with certain people. I don’t think it’s a factor of I take it too seriously, as it probably evidenced by a series of medipack runs last night in Left 4 Dead (which involve running through a level using just the melee attack of the medipack. Heal and you’ve lost your weapon. Try it.), but more the fact that I want to play my way, and people want to play their’s. And that doesn’t sit well with me, for whatever reason. Oh well, I guess I’ll go play Pyro.