Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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MvM : What is, an history and explanation
By Quenquent the babysitter
As tacobot and the issues with it become more and more popular, players tends to misunderstand or simply want to look for information regarding it. In this guide, we will explain the history and actual threat of
I know I am late to the overall Tacobot drama, but it might be better to speak about Tacobot when everyone is calmed down.

I saw a LOT of misinformation around Tacobot. Yes, it can be summed up by "Tacobot toxic and mad", but the drama oversimplified the problem and there was some crossfire. Know that I do not approve of Tacobot's motives and actions. I simply made this guide to help players understand them, not agree with them.

This guide is mostly from personal experience spending time on Discord with various Tacobot members and speaking with other MvM players who are much closer to Tacobot than myself. I did have this guide however reviewed by players close to the Tacobot community, but they refuse to be credited for it.

I understand that you can be sceptic regarding my explanations regarding Tacobot, but this isn't only about them.
What is isn't like the other bots you can or at least used to see in TF2. It's not crashing servers or an aimbot specifically used to harm the TF2 community without any human interaction. Tacobot is, actually, a Discord bot that use the Steam's API.

On the Tacobot's Discord, Tacobot users ask the bot to add other players in the kicklist (for whatever reason). The marked player is then added to the website, without the need to add proof (but screenshots can be linked). The Tacobot members who can add others need a specific authorization, so it's not a random that add anyone they want to the list. When another Tacobot user plays with someone on the kicklist, the Discord bot informs them of that.

In a way, Tacobot is more about the community around the bot rather than the bot itself. And here's the problem : they tend to be pretty toxic. They want other players to play a specific way. They hate on other ways to play the game (see Gas Passer). But, despite them being a vocal minority of MvM, it alienates the overall TF2 community, pointing at anyone that has vaguely similar opinions as them as toxic or Tacobot users. In reality, Tacobots are speaking about and trying to deal with real issues with the gamemode, but they are using horrible and despicable methods to solve those issues.

This is also what this guide is about : on how Tacobot was born.
MvM before Tacobot
Let's go back in time. In MvM, there's two main ways to play : Bootcamp or Mann Up. The only differences between these is that you have to pay for Mann Up and you get loot when you win.

When you play Bootcamp, you generally have players that screw around, for better or worse. They do what they want, pick what they want and play how they want. This can be considered a good thing, but the reality of MvM and coop games is more "You have to be this good to have fun", otherwise you get crushed by bots over and over again. So players that wanted to play MvM at least somewhat seriously had to avoid Bootcamp.

When you play Mann Up, the majority of players will play to win, for better or worse. Loot WAS the main reason as to why you wanted to win. Teams where much more decent compared to Bootcamp, but toxicity and meta team compositions limited the gameplay diversity and, overall, fun. It got worse as the Two Cities tour had much better loot opportunities than the others, so players restricted themselves to one tour. But as time went on, players realized that, well, you can't make profit from Mann Up. Loot was, and still is, considered more as a bonus for finishing a tour rather than the main intensive to play Mann Up. The only players there mainly for loot are either new players or gambling addicts, which are a minority. Players that want to play MvM for fun but didn't want to bother with the lack of cooperation of Bootcamp preferred Mann Up.

As silly as it might sound, the Tacobot community is, or at least was, part of the people wanting to play MvM for fun first. They were part of the people that did not care about the Two Cities meta, the part that realized that every classes had their place and there was way more than meet the eye. They went for new and better tactics, always improving because, honestly, being good IS fun.

And, naturally, they wanted others to be as good as them. It can be done by teaching other players in-game, or make guides. But in reality, it's easier said than done. Even today, some Tacobot members are actively trying to help others players (or so they say), but no one can teach to someone that doesn't want to learn and their tag and overall toxic behavior is certainly not helping.
MvM community vs TF2 community
There are many differences between normal TF2 and MvM. In Casual, most of the time it doesn't matter who's doing what. But in MvM, your team have to reach a certain level of cooperation and skill to beat missions. The bar overall isn't that high, in Normal and Intermediate missions, most of the time you only need a good Engineer. Some coop tends to be required above that difficulty.

But when you start reaching Mecha Engine and Two Cities, cooperation and individual skill level are more important. You can't have everyone screwing around doing badly.

"But let them play how they want" some will say. But reality is, you can't. Otherwise you can't beat the missions and getting steamrolled by bots over and over is simply not fun. I agree there are people that are way too restrictive on what some players can play as, but going the other extreme won't help either.

I speak about this for an important reason. Most of the time, players that says "Let me play how I want" or "Don't tell me what to do" are not really invested in the gamemode. These are players that have "Casual expectation" : they expect MvM to go like Casual, where whatever they do don't have a real impact in the game overall, which is far from the truth in MvM.

In short, you have this PvP community that clashes with the PvE community of MvM. You have extremely casual players that don't inform themselves about the gamemode against invested players that enjoy the game for what it is. As silly as it might sound, most of the players that enforce the Two Cities meta are from that PvP playerbase, as they didn't take the time to study other ways to play the game and only think this is the only way to beat MvM. And with the main reason the PvP playerbase came to MvM was loot, while the PvE part see it more as a bonus or even ignore it entirely (like with players putting their Tour of Duty tickets in the steam market or leave before the end of a mission to not lose their ticket and not get loot).

The Tacobot community was from the PvE part of the playerbase, caring about the game and enjoying it. But like many PvE players, as you meet over and over again players that does the same mistakes, that don't care about the game, enforce some arbitrary way to play the game, or other things that disturb normal play, you can mentally lose it.
The Two Cities update and its leftovers
Most of what has been said were mostly true before the Two Cities update, but the update has made it worse.

The update added the Two Cities tour which had much, much better loot. It was also the only Tour back then that had Australiums. And everyone wanted a piece of it, no matter if you were a good MvM player or not. At this moment, regular MvM player had an influx of new, greedy and ignorant (or all three at once) players that wanted their loot. There was a part that wanted to help these players, but since most of them wanted loot and not play MvM, their help was ignored. It's even worse when you take into account that Two Cities is an Advanced tour, and one of the harder ones like Mecha Engine, which means it's the second hardest Tour in the game.

It got even worst as, well, loot is independent of a player's skill. It was random. Good players got frustrated to see someone that did no effort in beating the mission getting australiums or other good loot, while they get nothing for hundreds if not thousands of tours.

It's normal human behavior to be upset when you are not rewarded for your efforts when others are for doing less. But some players took it too far, to the point of kicking players that they consider "not worthy of getting loot", even waiting until the last moment to kick them, to waste as much of the kicked player's time. I cannot guarantee that Tacobot players were using these strategies, but their members are today. Kicking players is easy in MvM.

A problem the Two Cities tour introduced is the funnelling of players. The loot in Two Cities is much, much better than what you can get on other tours. It's not about australiums, but robot parts and killstreak kits. Mecha Engine and Gear Grinder drops australium for only 3 missions (opposed to 4 for Two Cities). If it was truly about australiums, everyone would be playing on these two tours. But non-Two Cities tours only give Botkillers otherwise, which have no market value, cannot be applied to weapons and are overall not interesting to go after. It's even worst for Oil Spill and Steel Trap that requires 6 missions to simply get a botkiller.
There is no reason to not play on Two Cities, so everyone, no matter their skill level, are together on an Advanced tour.

The second big change Two Cities introduced is the Medic rebalance, especially his new abilities. The Medic got a Projectile Shield and the ability to revive players. As to whenever this was a needed buff for Medic or not is another subject. What we will speak about is the impact it had on normal gameplay.

The Medic's Projectile Shield made dodging and taking cover pretty much useless, and anyone could go hug the robots without a fear in the world. Revives meant that dying had no real impact as you could come back to life without having to suffer from respawn and travel times. Medic being more important (for the average TF2 player at least) made players worse by relying on him, by not buying health on kill or resistances upgrades overall. Players, more importantly the ones NOT invested in MvM, considered Medic a necessity.

On top of that, due to Medic having a more important part in Two Cities, players started to enforce a meta. As said before, it was mostly TF2 players that were, and are, enforcing the Two Cities meta simply because they only know this strategy. The reason Pyro, Sniper and Spy aren't part of the Two Cities meta isn't because those classes are bad, but because they aren't as straightforward as the others and when you are bad as these classes, you tend to be spectacularly bad. This introduced a big problem : MvM players couldn't play the class they want despite the major roles being covered, because it would mean the team composition isn't the Two Cities meta. Classes like Medic is now considered "needed" when in reality he's not.

"We need a Medic" has been the laughing stock of the various MvM communities, because if a post-Two Cities Medic was needed to beat any mission, then MvM would have been unbeatable before this update. Tacobot laugh at this concept too, but they pushed it further. There is quite a skill ceiling regarding Medic, but most players simply use shield and spam Kritz on a Demoman. In term of efforts, it's pretty minimal when the class can be an active damage class by smashing his shield on robots, use canteen sharing to maximize Ubers output and go in with the Ubersaw to get even more Ubers. So Tacobot are tagging the rather inactive Medics as "idle medics", which are players that simply don't want to improve at the class (or are not doing enough by Tacobot's standards).

As much of a controversial topic Medic is in MvM, Tacobot is gatekeeping a class for not playing it at its full potential (which is a common theme of theirs).

But then things got worse for everyone involved, after many years of lack of updates for MvM :
Jungle Inferno and the Gas Passer
After years of no MvM updates, a big non-MvM related update completely changes the face of the gamemode. The Jungle Inferno update added the Gas Passer for the Pyro. In PvP, the weapon is... not the greatest thing. But in MvM, the Gas Passer got a gamemode-specific upgrade : Explosion on Ignite. For 400$, robots covered by the Gas Passer's gas then damaged receive 350 damage and deal this exact damage to robots around him. Robots that took damage from this explosion won't re-take damage from another explosion. In short : it's a cheap upgrade for some strong AoE damage for the Pyro.

The MvM communities saw the problems with this weapon balance-wise immediately. Not only it is a gigantic AoE damage upgrade for only 400$ (as much as a +25% damage upgrade on the rocket launcher), but it also compensated for every single weaknesses the Pyro had. Going over every weaknesses compensated for the Pyro would make this guide longer than it is, but the most important is here : the MvM communities all agree the Explosion on Ignite upgrade is overpowered.

If you want a more in-depth analytic of the Gas Passer, I highly suggest this guide :

However, for the less-invested MvM players in the TF2 community, this change is seen as good. Because Pyro wasn't part of the Two Cities meta and misunderstood, TF2 players assumed the class was bad and so the Gas Passer was what made the class viable. On top of that, because non-invested players though the class was about airblasting first before Jungle Inferno and because this update made airblasting much stronger without updating the Giant's resistances to airblast, a new breed of extremely passive Pyros surfaced, which deal damage with the Gas Passer and airblast the rest.

This is in part why you might have never seen anyone use Pyro at its full potential. You will either see bad Pyros that use Gas and airblast massively (destroying any capacity to deal with Tanks in the process), or good Pyros that will refuse to use the Gas Passer.

The Gas Passer in MvM is a subject of conflict in the TF2 community as a whole. As some of you might already know, Tacobot also dislike the actual state of the Gas Passer in MvM. The Gas Passer and how the TF2 community reacted to it is certainly the last catalyst that created Tacobot as it is.
Tacobot : why and how
This was the state of MvM when Tacobot was created. You have many new players that didn't want to learn the gamemode, players that only wanted loot without putting any effort, players enforcing the Two Cities meta and the gamemode's balance being messed up with the Gas Passer with misinformed players praising the change.

Tacobot's solution to those players was simple : a purge. If you can't change players, then you should prevent them from getting in or staying. If the average TF2 community tags Mann Up as toxic and nobody wants to play there, all that will leave are the ones that won't risk anything from Tacobot.

This is a strategy that only Tacobot and other toxic MvM communities can approve. Especially when the players they target are at fault at best, and actually good MvM players that don't approve their methods at worst.

Speaking of methods, I think it's important to know what they use to get rid of players they don't like. Insults and overall trolling can't get you far if you're trying to force players to quit the gamemode. Tacobot users use methods that are more of an annoyance :

- Votekick majority. This is commonly used in MvM. Have a lobby of 4+ players so any votekick called against a player will always pass and, whenever a votekick is called towards a member of the lobby, will never pass. This can also be used by non-toxic groups to protect themselves from toxic groups. Having exactly 3 players do give votekick immunity, but not majority (as a vote will fail if there is 3 for and 3 against).

- Retry-spamming. The retry command is normally used to reconnect to the server you are in/you were last in. Normally, you can't easily connect or reconnect to a specific MvM server, but retry-spamming allow that. Tacobot users will use this to either bypass a votekick or force a reset of the start wave timer.
Normally, when a player is kicked, they are soft-banned from that server for 15 minutes. This was useful to prevent toxic players to come back to a server they were kicked from or players to get matched back into a toxic server. However, after an update I didn't keep track of, this 15 minute soft-ban isn't working anymore. This allows Tacobot users to come back to server they were kicked from easily with retry-spamming.
As for the timer reset, when someone leaves in the last 10 seconds before the wave starts, it forces everyone to un-ready, resetting the start wave timer. Tacobot user, when the game is not gonig their way for a reason or another, will simply leave during those last 10 seconds, resetting the timer, and coming back with retry-spamming. Considering you need to have all players, including connecting ones, to start this 10 second timer immediately. A single player can pretty much prevent a game from continuing, and this is something commonly used by Tacobot users.

This is why you hear about Tacobot. If it was simply a kicklist, these players would have been categorized as stupid and that's it. The problem is their actions in-game. You even have some of their members that gets some satisfaction kicking others and showing off their score on the scoreboard, but this is something uncommon in their community and sadly not restricted to Tacobot.
FAQ and misconceptions about Tacobot (1/2)
This is the main reason I made this guide. A lot of TF2 players and Youtubers have said a lot of things they are wrong or simply misunderstand regarding Tacobot and their players. Many not invested in MvM tends to tag other players as Tacobot members just because they are saying things that aren't inherently bad, but align with Tacobot's beliefs (such as game balance). I want to fix those common misconceptions I hear a lot and answer common questions.

"Why do they call others 'ape' ?"
If I remember right, it started from a random not affiliated with Tacobot in a Discord server calling others 'ape' because they disagreed with him. Tacobot simply took the meme further and kept it for themselves. Other sources I've got point out at one particular Tacobot member that was commonly using the term and the rest of the community simply adopted it.
The term 'ape' is mostly to describe simpletons and overall bad players that think they are much better than they are. In short : primitive players that act like monkeys. Some think that they use 'ape' as a racist slur, but I never saw it used that way by Tacobot.

"Are Retrybots a thing or going to be a thing ?"
For the ones that don't know, Retrybots are bots that retry-spam to pretty much lock servers, forcing the start timer to reset over and over again through an automated player, if not more. The idea itself was scrapped when Tacobot realized it was against Steam's Terms of Service (even if myself I find it weird that what they are actually doing aren't). If they were a thing, it would have certainly encouraged Valve to deal with the problem. It's almost funny how what stopped that from happening was Steam's ToS, and not that the idea overall was despicable.

"If they don't want to be with what they consider 'bad players', why don't they group together ?"
Here's the thing : they are grouping together ! But reality is, it's not that easy to make a 6-players group, especially in a community as small as Tacobot's (which might be at best 20 players). Not everyone might want to play MvM on the same tour together at the same time and it gets worse when you add timezones in the mix. This is something I have faced in the MvM community I was part of, which was as big as Tacobot's.
They will try at best to be 3+ players to get votekick majority, and retryspam in any other case. This is also what they mean, if you read about it, to "get grouped together if you don't want to get kicked" : to be 3+ players to have votekick majority. But these narcissists will retry spam if you have votekick majority, so you simply cannot win with them.

"Even if thing like Gas Passer are too strong, why don't they welcome it ? Don't they want easy and fast loot ?"
This might come as a shock to many, but they don't care about loot ! They are not mainly playing MvM for loot, if they care about it at all. And if they even do, they want to earn that loot. For them, the only good victory is the one where you put your skills and knowledge of the game to the max. They want to get a lot of tours and, when they look back at them, they want to feel like they earned each of them without using any crutch or cheap strategies.
Even if, in reality, everyone knows MvM is easy and the hardest part is getting good teammates, I do believe it is a respectable goal. Many MvM players like being good at the gamemode and there's nothing wrong with improving even in a PvE gamemode.

But back on topic, with the Gas Passer. This weapon is a big middle finger to that idea of improving. It's cheap to upgrade, easy to use and low risk for high reward. Why bother with learning and improving with classes like the Sniper when you can cover the same roles and more with a Gas Passer Pyro with less money and skill required ?
FAQ and misconceptions about Tacobot (2/2)
"Why do they even care about balance in the first place ? It's robots, who cares if something is OP ?"
And this is where you can see the difference between people that cares about MvM and the ones that don't. The "balance doesn't matter" argument is only present in MvM, it's an exception compared to other PvE games. Go to any other PvE game community, tell them that "balance doesn't matter" or "it's ok if it's OP, they are bots" or similar, and most if not all the players there will disagree with you. Why ? For a simple reason : challenge and coop elements, even as small as they might be, matters.

I will take an extreme example to show my point, but let's look at the Dark Souls series. If you had a weapon that allowed you to ignore all the bosses mechanics, to not need you to dodge/parry without needing any (or few) resources while being easily obtainable at the start of the game without requiring to put any efforts into it, there would not really be a point in beating, or even playing, Dark Souls in the first place. There would not be any reason to use any other weapon in the game.
The Gas Passer is similar : it's cheap, easy to use, allows Pyro to do everything and make Pyro outshine Demo and Sniper (since he can cover their roles and more).

Wanting balance and challenge is something present in all PvE games communities. Deep Rock Galactic players loves to spend their time on Elite Deep Dives. Payday 2 had to literally make an unfair difficulty to give players a challenge after buffing them over and over. WoW Classic players are actually disappointed that Molten Core and Blackwing Lair are too easy. Games likes Mannhunter are being bashed by critics and players alike for being too easy to beat (and repetitive and brainless). Hell, even the community of a game like Warframe, the epitome of power fantasy and press one button to win, welcomes nerf on overpowered frames and the idea of Hard Mode and challenge. You cannot unplug your brain on Doom and Doom:Eternal (more for the sequel) if you play on the appropriate difficulty. So the overall argument, that I hear quite often, of "It's ok if it's OP it's for power fantasy" has no place here.

But suddenly, when you go to MvM, the idea of balance in the gamemode is apparently a silly one. For what reason ? Because people only play MvM for loot ? I've already stated before that few are the ones that does and those are players that don't care about the gamemode. On top of that, this argument wilfully ignore Boot Camp and community servers (but who cares about those, right ? It's not the "main" gamemode. Following that logic, there shouldn't be any balance changes made to competitive because it's not casual).

The main theory I myself have as to why people says balance doesn't matter is simple : because TF2 is a PvP game first.
In many PvP-focused games, coop tends to be, at best, a glorified tutorial mode, and many non-MvM invested TF2 players tends to see MvM that way. So, for them, why balance the tutorial mode ?
There's also that part of the community that simply want easy loot and exploit every overpowered tool at their reach. They have a selfish reason to not want balance.

Tacobot wants to see balance in the gamemode, but due to the overall drama, anything Tacobot wants or dislike is targetted at by the TF2 community. Any players that complains about the Gas Passer's state or ask for balance in MvM is considered a Tacobot member, no matter if that player has ever been toxic or not. Is, an MvM community that nerfed the Gas Passer and Pyro overall in their server, Tacobot members despite them banning every Tacobot users ?
The TF2 community is denying any form of dialogue regarding MvM because of Tacobot.

Original picture from Internet Historian's "The Fall of 76" video on Youtube

One of the biggest hypocrisy I saw were people saying they will use the Gas Passer because "They play how they want" and to annoy Tacobot players, then say in-game "We need a Medic" and enforce the Two Cities meta.

"So, what can be done to stop Tacobot ?"
Well the community did all they could : put some light on the situation. Make people, and Valve, know that Tacobot exists. Now the ball is on Valve's camp.

Valve was, and are, putting efforts in slowing down the bot issue Casual have, but nothing has been done regarding MvM. Valve has to make retryspamming impossible, to fix soft-banning not working, to prevent brand new players from jumping immediately in the hardest Mann Up difficulties and balance the gamemode.

Yes, balance is something Valve has to do to at least reduce Tacobot's toxicity. Because, reality is, as long as balance is a major issue in MvM, other communities like Tacobot will appear. Before Tacobot existed, it was REMP and TvM that were the major toxic MvM communities. There are certainly many more like them with a kicklist online. The only reason Tacobot is so popular is because they are more aggressive and their kicklist was public. Stopping Tacobot itself will simply move the problem.

Valve has to take action themselves if toxicity is to, at least, be reduced in MvM to a manageable level.

In the meantime, as a community, the best is to not give them too much attention. I know it's kind of ironic seeing that I made this guide all bout them, but one of the things they want is attention. If they are more of a problem in the future, better contact Valve directly on the matter and tell them their methods.
Closing words
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide. I know it's a lot of infos to take and that it might have been hard to go inn with an open mind. Again, I do not approve of Tacobot's methods and motives, this guide is only here for explanation and to address the crossfire the TF2 community did on the MvM community. It is NOT to justify their actions.

Special thanks to Deathrowboat for the guide's icon ":Tacothink:".

If you want to read other guides regarding the more social side of MvM, I invite you to read these that I also made :

If you have any question or point you want to speak about, feel free to comment on the guide.

I wish you a great day.
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Skunk Feb 21 @ 7:27am 
In PvP, the weapon is... not the greatest thing. (OP spams thermal thruster confirmed)

and tacobot are a bunch of smooth brains that wear the same underwear 5 days in a row and pee in empty taco bell cups.

i would just recommend leaving them in their little bubble of reality and if they kick you or leave your game be thankful because nobody wants to stand around while the demo and medic beat the game by themselves except for golden pan chasers.

tl;dr gaben loves all of you equally and that is all that matters unless you are a masochist :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart: :kittyheart:
TheTexanBuzzsaw Jan 21 @ 1:44pm 
Fuck Valve
da cheesehead Dec 15, 2021 @ 8:58am 
I guess I see everyone why is so upset.
Quenquent the babysitter  [author] Dec 15, 2021 @ 4:43am 
@Cynimatic Pretty much
Cynimatic Dec 14, 2021 @ 8:50am 
so the whole problem is that Valve is a terrible game developer.
ttv/blazeulrich2961 Nov 8, 2021 @ 2:45pm 
Hi. A lot of mis-information is being spread about Tacobot via this guide and I would like to clarify some things.

1. Not all tacobot members are toxic, in fact, the majority will teach you if you ask. Most don't care about gas passer but usually ask that you F4 quickly and F1 votes to kick cheaters. That's not to say that ALL are not toxic but it's to be treated on a personal basis with each member.

2. Most if not all play for fun, not loot. They do not care what you use.

3. Tacobot's will only kick on site people who have cheated or support cheaters in MvM (Cheaters ruin the overall fun.)

4. Pizzabot is run by players who use hacks and dox people who support Tacobot. Their group is far more toxic and harassing than Tacobot.

5. They mostly encourage strats, not enforce. They will ask you to play a certain way and will back off if you tell them no, but, will take action if you insult them directly or become hostile at them for suggestions or for them being Tacobot.
da cheesehead Oct 23, 2021 @ 4:05pm 
Here's the advice for all Tacobot MVM players:

Get a damn life, and stop being toxic. Your days of toxicity and harassment are over. If you don't get a life, someone will get you vote-kicked if you act like Bill Gaither or anybody else. just drop it and beat it already. We are tired of your $#!+.

I wish valve would make some rules for MVM before starting to queue Mann-Up or normal mode. That would deal with these people with such unprofessional behavior. I'm sure this guide would help someone to move on to Valve MVM servers that are only good people you know. Toxicity is a political tool. Never act like that again. Thank you.
MrMedic_ Sep 3, 2021 @ 5:38pm 
Today I was playing mvm Mann up and my f4 key don't work that well. They start been racist to me for no reason. As a 15 year old it actually hurt me that a guy of 20 or 30 year old been mean to me. They really need to get a freaking life by hurt a 15 year old
Scrimms Aug 16, 2021 @ 8:57pm 
Layzer from MannPower mode was reported as a tacobot user. I get kicked everytime i join because i called them out several times...also Link Tabula and 1 other person i forget their name...Connor or something. I'm sorry yall have to deal with this.
Mhuss Aug 14, 2021 @ 12:02pm 
Fair enough.