Team Fortess 2: Classes

By Shamus
on May 26, 2009
Filed under:
Game Reviews

Just short of twenty hours. That’s how much I’ve played Team Fortress 2 since Friday. Most of that time was spent in our new digs at the Twenty Sided TF2 server. It’s been great to meet and game with so many of you. Thanks to everyone for keeping the server fun & friendly.

Since I spent the weekend playing instead of writing, I don’t have much to say this week. So let me just give my quick impression of the classes. EDIT: No longer “quick”. I just spent a couple of hours on this that I should have spent elsewhere. Oops.

I’m twenty hours in and I still feel like a newbie. This is an impressive accomplishment on the part of Valve. It’s a game where you can jump in and begin making a meaningful contribution right away, but still be discovering new things after twenty hours. (Keeping in mind that most modern games are over after about ten.) “Easy to learn, difficult to master” is a highly desired attribute in game design, and they have nailed it in Team Fortress 2.

The classes are well balanced on both a personal and team level. There’s a class for almost every style of play, and each class serves a key purpose within the game. Some people pick a class based on what they want to do. Others pick one based on what the team needs. In the end it usually works out and you end up with a well-rounded team. Once every few games you end up with a bad mix, but the teams reshuffle on the next map change and the problem usually sorts itself out.

I get a lot of questions in-game about what class I like and what classes are good to start with. So I thought I’d give a run down of my thoughts so far. This is not intended to be a comprehensive guide. This is just an overview for the curious. If you’re looking for a robust strategy guide, I suggest Googling it or reading the comments below. Some people have been playing for months and have amassed great riches of knowledge of this game.

tf2_heavy.jpg
Heavy

The heavy has the great big damage-vomiting minigun. It’s a tricky weapon that can annihilate waves of foes when used properly. It takes a few seconds for the weapon to “spin up” before you can start pouring red-hot metal into your enemies. (And everyone nearby can hear the weapon spinning up or down.) You can hold down right mouse to keep the barrel spinning so you can begin shooting in an instant, but you move very slowly like this. This means that using the heavy is not about dodge or aiming skills, but about strategy. (Which is funny, considering how the heavy is depicted as stupid.) You need to plan when to ready your weapon, when to move, and when to let off the trigger. It’s about positioning and timing, not reflexes.

Tip: Sometimes a medic will latch onto you and become your buddy. This is like marriage in that often as not it’s a “til death do us part” kind of deal. Take care of the medic and you’ll be difficult to stop.

Newbie suggestion: This is an excellent starting class for people who might be new to mouse-aiming. You can do really well with the Heavy even if your twitch mouse-aiming skills and circle-strafing aren’t very sharp. The large pool of hitpoints means you’ll get to play for a bit each life before being killed and sent back to respawn, which is ideal for getting over the initial learning curve.


tf2_medic.jpg
Medic

The medic class is about as simple as it gets. Aim your healgun at a ally and fire at them to infuse them with health. Once you’re locked onto someone, you don’t even need to keep aiming. You can look away and pay attention to other things and the healbeam will flow to your chosen patient. As you heal, your “ubercharge” meter fills. When it’s full, you can deploy it on a teammate with right mouse button, making both of you invulnerable for ten seconds. This is crucial for breaking fortifications and helping your team overwhelm entrenched positions.

Tip: Stay back. Heal people that are on fire first. Hide behind your patient (and you should always, always be healing someone) or behind a nearby wall. You are going to be the #1 target of everyone on the other team if they get a line of sight on you. When your patient moves out into the open under heavy fire it’s natural to want to rush out and save them, but it’s best to leave them to their fate and heal someone else. Maybe they’ll come back, maybe they’ll die. Don’t feel guilty for “abandoning” them. Maybe you let them die, but you’ll save a half dozen lives in the time it would take to respawn and hike back to the frontlines. Not to mention the loss of your precious ubercharge progress. It seems counter-intuitive, but take care of yourself first.

P.S. Watch out for spies. Not that you’ll be able to do much about them.

Newbie suggestion: This is a great class for new players. By definition you’re following someone else, so you don’t need to know your way around. You can do your job while rubbernecking and you can observe your patient to get a feel for how they play their class.


tf2_scout.jpg
Scout

The scout has very low health, and his scatter gun does minimal damage unless it’s deployed at point-blank. But he is very, very fast. Good for playing hit & run on the enemy. The scout is a terrifying force in Capture the Flag games, since they can dart into your base and escape with the goods before anyone can line them up for a decent shot. And once they’re out of your base, nobody can catch up to them. They’re difficult sniping targets and they’re able to jump up to places other classes can’t normally reach.

Tip: The scout is useful on both sides, but is best in an offensive capacity. You should never, ever be standing still, even when defending. Focus on demolition guys. They can make a mess of your team, but they will have a very hard time hitting you with explosives as long as you keep moving and peppering them with your gun. Your class is the perfect counter to their abilities. Pyros are also prime targets. Play peek-a-boo with a pyro just out of the reach of her flamethrower. Likely as not she’ll get frustrated and do something foolish.

Newbie suggestion: Playing the scout is most like playing Unreal Tournament or Quake III Arena. The high speed, jumping, and dodging will feel very familiar to fans of those games. If you’ve done multiplayer deathmatch in the past, then this could be a good starting class.


tf2_sniper.jpg
Sniper

It doesn’t make a great deal of sense, but it’s a great gameplay mechanic: The longer you stay zoomed in using the sniper scope, the more damage you do. After five seconds you have enough power to drop anyone in the game in a single hit.

Tip: Make sure there aren’t too many snipers before you decide to play as one. (The classes already in play on your team are helpfully shown on the selection screen.) In a small game (six players to a side) you don’t need more than one. If a large game, no more than two. Snipers don’t usually do very well if there are too many, since there are a limited number of viable sniping positions and sharing a perch means effectively sharing the kills that one guy could have racked up alone. Which means that you’re effectively doing nothing for the team except siphoning points away from an ally. Worse, enemy teams tend to adjust for over-sniping, and you’ll find there are even fewer available targets. Many, many defeats are the result of teams with four people who all insist on sniping no matter how unproductive that might be.

Newbie suggestion: Many new players naturally gravitate towards the sniper. It seems like a good choice because newcomers are often looking for a way to get a few kills without exposing themselves to the chaos of direct combat. But it often doesn’t work out that way. You’ll be under regular attack from spies and enemy snipers, and it’s not like the other character classes don’t know where the sniper spots are. Many players have learned that they can stop by the local sniper loft for a couple of free kills against oblivious Australians peering through their murderous telescopes. You will sometimes see snipers topping the score list, but those expert snipers aren’t usually hiding in a corner of the map the way you might expect. It’s probably better to get a feel for the maps before you try a sniper.

I’ll cover the other classes tomorrow. Thank you for indulging me in this new mania.

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From the Archives:

  1. Debaser says:

    As an Australian who plays sniper, I’ve got to say that there’s nothing worse than hearing people spam the voice commands for it, because they sound absolutely nothing like most Australians do.
    And I’d say more than one sniper on a team is a detriment, especially when any more per team tends to end up with a separate sniper war which doesn’t help either side at all. A good rule is “Whoever has the highest score and has the class of sniper is the team sniper, regardless”

  2. TheDodgeballer! says:

    A good heavy can completely dominate a round, especially in Payload matches. Soldiers are the most underrated class by far. That rocket packs a punch.

  3. antsheaven says:

    Catpure the Flag?

    Waiting for you to cover the Spy.

  4. Submarine Bells says:

    Debaser says:
    As an Australian who plays sniper, I’ve got to say that there’s nothing worse than hearing people spam the voice commands for it, because they sound absolutely nothing like most Australians do.

    As another Australian, I’d say that TF2’s snipers sound like a bad American movie version of an Australian. I read that the accents of everyone in the game (except, presumably, the Americans) were supposed to sound “unconvincing”. Well, they nailed that with the Aussie sniper. :-)

  5. Echo says:

    “As an Australian who plays sniper, I’ve got to say that there’s nothing worse than hearing people spam the voice commands for it, because they sound absolutely nothing like most Australians do.”
    This is an intentional decision on Valve’s part, to go along with all the other corny accents (see medic, heavy etc). But yes, I am Australian too and I can’t help but be insulted. :P
    Edit: Beaten to it by Submarine Bells

  6. Jericho says:

    Yeah, all the voices/characters were supposed to be massively stereotypical, and they nailed that.

    Also, yay for TF2! I bored of L4D right around the time the DLC came out, but I am still nuts for TF2 after a couple months now.

  7. Freaky Dug says:

    The number one trick to playing medic is when you’re attacking a sentry while uberred, run in front of your Heavy/Pyro/Demoman/Soldier so you take the fire from the sentry gun, which pushes you back. The medic is the second fastest class and can counter the force from the sentry, while other classes, especially the Heavy will be pushed away from it, preventing them from killing it.

    This can be the key difference between a successful and failed ubercharge, and it’s something every newbie medic needs to learn.

  8. SimpleScholar says:

    This makes me want to give it it another try. I played on the TwentySided server for a couple of hours the other night, but since I haven’t played multiplayer shooters for a very long time, I was terrible, and the learning curve frustration to enjoyment ratio just wasn’t right. I’m probably doing it wrong.

  9. Graeme says:

    Wait,

    * a medic with a “healing gun”
    * a spy that can turn invisible
    * an engineer that can almost instantly create a sentry gun
    * a scout that can do double jumps

    with how unrealistic some things are in the game, why even worry about the voice acting. The more stereotypical and outrageous a voice is the easier it is to recognize. One of the best things about TF2 is how much Valve has gone out of it’s way to make each of the classes distinct enough from each other that as soon as you round a corner and see someone, you instantly know what you’re dealing with. Whereas in the old Quake-TF days every class looked essentially the same, but with a different skin.

  10. froogger says:

    Ah, but my how exciting the first TF was :) I played Two Forts and the Hunted President till my eyes bled. There was nothing out there at that time to match team effort coop. These days you can team up for the same experience (albeit more slowpaced) in any MMO.

    “Rocketjumpers on the balcony!”

  11. Jeremiah says:

    Dammit, Shamus. I do my best to avoid Steam and multiplayer games in general, but your posts on L4D and TF2 almost make me want to install steam and give them a try. Must resist!

  12. Gobo says:

    Was fun playing a bit over the free weekend. Must consider buying the game now. :)

    -Gobo, aka crazyfraggle

  13. Aquatopia says:

    Yeah, I spent a lot of my weekend on the Twenty Sided TF2 server. I really enjoyed playing with Shamus and the rest; a real mature and fun group of players. There were even moments when I was able to successfully contribute to the team ^_^ I bought The Orange Box when it first came out, and considering I still play Team Fortress 2 frequently probably makes it one of the best video game purchases I’ve ever made… though I should probably go back and re-play HL2 one of these days and get myself psyched up for if/when Valve releases HL2:Episode 3.

    I also noticed in this post that you’re using the early TF@ “Team Photo”… it’s neat to see how much (or how little) changed in TF2 character design from then through to now. Like the SMG-wielding scout, for example.

  14. 6thfloormadness says:

    Shamus I’m surprised you didn’t write about the pyro considering how much you were playing one over the weekend.

  15. I really want to try TF2, but I’m very annoyed by the fact that none of the avatars are FEMALE.

    I don’t care to run around in the game as some dopey DUDE with a fake Australian accent.

    WTF, Valve?

    Leslee

  16. Pinky says:

    Medic: “This is a great class for new players.”

    I’ve found that it’s also the hardest to master, since there are so many things to consider. Your tips don’t even begin to cover the things you have to juggle (Try healing 5 teammates against an enemy position including several pyros, and you’ll see what I mean.)

    Won’t be able to do much about spies? As an experienced player I can say that this class has the best chance of dealing with spies, since you’re concentrating on your immediate area as opposed to the other sides firing. You also need to know when to give up on healing, and pull out a weapon. With the Blutsauger a medic should be able to pull off a fighting retreat against any class, or take down anything but a heavy, soldier or a decent scout.

  17. OddlucK says:

    Leslee,

    While Valve has been purposefully vague on the matter, all signs point to the Pyro being female. (Valve have made remarks/posts–quickly, jokingly, repealed–referring to “her”. There are a few other things out there I can’t think of off the top of my head.)

    Just sayin’.

    –OddlucK

    • Shamus says:

      Yeah, it is strongly suggested that the Pyro is female. She is depicted as having a purse somewhere?

      I can see the tradeoff on Valve’s part. They wanted good, clean silhouettes for each class so that even if you’re in a dark hallway, surrounded by fire and flying debris, you can see a figure ahead and still be able to know exactly who it is. And they did it. If there was a female-alternate version of each, the effect would be diminished. You could make male and female engineers that had the same basic outline, but the heavy is explicitly male to the point of being ridiculously exaggerated. There is no way to preserve the silhouette and yet make a female heavy look even remotely female.

      I wouldn’t mind the tradeoff myself, but then people already familiar with a game are always more open to variety than newcomers. Alternately, it might have been good to make just a couple of the characters visibly female. (But you’d still have the same problem. “I want to be a (class) but that class is (wrong gender). )

  18. I’ll be looking forward to your Pyro writeup. I don’t know how many kills you got off me yesterday, but it seemed every other death came in flames courtesy of shamusyoung.

    You still come in second to Agent M, Master Spy. I think he had dominations over at least half my team one round. Yikes.

  19. Rutskarn says:

    I, as well, look forward to Pyro.

    Step right up, people! I only want to give you a tall, delicious drink from my portable fountain of burnpain.

  20. Jazmeister says:

    Medics with the Blutsauger are great spy checkers, because you can fire needles into team mates and if it heals you (a green “+3” will rise from your health) then you’ve got a spy. The key thing with a spy is to let your team know with x > 2. Medic is the prime target only because he can’t cloak; nobody wants a spy creeping around.

    I could probably talk about this damn game all day, so I’ll leave it at that. Also, tips about the unlockable weapons are less useful; spychecking was never easier as a Vanilla pyro though, because her default flamethrower blows around disguised spies with a right-click, and sets them on fire with the left.

  21. Kevin says:

    I’ll probably never play this game, but reading the classes and watching the movies is fun. Your enthusiasm really shines through, Shamus.

    (I’m American, and if it makes you feel any better, it was obvious to us as well that the accents were fake. The southern and Brooklyn accents are too… but I took it as just being campy and funny. Maybe it’s the humor that isn’t translating well rather than the accents.)

  22. Gothmog says:

    I agree, Shamus- that’s a fun server you have there. All very mature and those that are not are quickly told to shape up or ship out by either you or some other with the [d20] tag. I also agree with you that having ‘AllTalk’ enabled helps foster a more friendly play experience. I had a great time and will be playing again tonight if I can get in.

    I ran afoul of your turrets FAR too often last night, btw.

  23. Bernard says:

    In the commentary, someone mentions that they wanted to do female models, but wanted to do it the ‘right’ way (that is, every class having a male and female model), but they couldn’t afford the extra memory requirements on the models and textures. The same person then said they should have had some female, some male, but we’re still hoping that they would get to do it the ‘right’ way and never did it.

  24. Groboclown says:

    I’ve been playing this game since the Orange Box came out, and I’m still really happy with it. I’m still learning new things with the game.

    I find that on certain maps (e.g. Dustbowl), scouts can be just as annoying as spies. One scout running around near the other team’s spawn point can distract many of the opposing team’s players as they hunt for the scout. That’s like removing several of their players off the front line for only one of your team’s.

  25. GabrielMobius says:

    I hope the Engineer blurb just consists of a tent with a nice little fire roaring in front of it.
    I kid, I kid.

    I remember there was one particular CTF map where Shamus, myself, and around one or two other people all played Engineers, and just turret-camped our briefcase so well that no one could get it. And eventually we discovered that having the turrets in the room was counterproductive. That way, they could be destroyed. No, we eventually put turrets at the exits. This way, people would get in, get the intelligence… and then find themselves with no safe exit, as there were three engineers spraying shotgun fire everywhere all the time,and turrets guarding the exits. I know I watched Scouts grab the briefcase, hightail it up the stairs… and run face-first into a turret. It was marvelous.

  26. Galenor says:

    “It’s a game where you can jump in and begin making a meaningful contribution right away, but still be discovering new things after twenty hours.”

    Haha, just wait until the ‘unlockables’ roll in. :P

    I played TF2 since release, and so i got a lot of time to play all the classes. I managed to finally feel the feeling of ‘I’ve discovered everything, there’s nothing else to learn’.

    Then Valve released the Medic pack.

    These ‘packs’ came with achievements for each class. For Medic, Pyro, Heavy and Scout, you get new alternate weapons when you achieve 10, 16 and 22 of these achievements. They very recently released the Spy and Sniper combo pack, but the only way to get their weapons is via the random drop system they just put in.

    You see where it says the medic can make the patient invulnerable? With the Medic’s alternate medigun, the Kritzkrieg, the Ubercharge charges 25% faster, but doesnt make the patient invulnerable – instead, it causes the patient to shoot critical hits, or in Layman’s Terms, double damage. This puts a new spin on how you use this Ubercharge – with invulnerability, you could just run in and kill everything, but do that with the Kritzkrieg, and you’ll be dead in seconds.

    The recent Spy watch, the Dead Ringer, removes your ability to cloak at will. The only way you can cloak is by ‘activating’ the watch, and letting an enemy shoot you. It fakes your own death, while stealthing you for 8 seconds, allowing you to play seriously hilarious mind games, instead of being a stealthy Spy.

    It requires a whole new tactic for each unlockable weapon you earn, so veterans like me always look forward to discovering a new playstyle with an old class. :D

  27. K says:

    The german medic is not german either, especially his choice of words. “Dummkopfs” is an english plural for a german word. Nobody in their right mind would say that.

    Which is hilarious.

  28. Ancorehraq sis says:

    P.S. Watch out for spies. Not that you’ll be able to do much about them.

    Oh, no, medic is the second best spy-checking class. What you do is, while healing teammates, go and bump into people who look suspicious. If you can’t pass through them, pull out your Ubersaw (mine is bound to MOUSEDOWN). At this point, the spy is having an OH SHIT moment, and you are faster than them, at point-blank range, ready to deliver a classy crit saw kill and/or get your uber meter up. Bonus points if you overhealed them first.

    Don’t use Blutsauger for spy checking. It takes too long to pull out, start shooting, reload and switch back to the healing gun.

  29. GabrielMobius says:

    @Galenor: They actually removed the ability to earn unlocks through achievements completely. Now all unlocks are done via the ‘random drop’ system. It’s also why you’ll be getting multiples of items, as Valve intends to introduce a ‘trading’ system, which will hopefully help further people along on getting these unlocks.

    All I’ve gotten are Spy unlocks: the Cloak and Dagger, and the Ambassador. I never got a chance to unlock anything else before the Spy/Sniper update as I never went achievement grinding.

  30. Adeon says:

    Regarding the comments on the Sniper I definitely agree that a sniper hiding at the back is not safe. On 2fort for example as a demoman I will often empty my grenade launcher onto the sniper deck in passing if i have time, this quite frequently kills a sniper or two.

    @GabrielMobius:
    Only for the new unlocks. The old ones can still be gotten through milestones although you can also get them randomly (which is useful if like me you are incapable of getting the medic/scout ones through milestones).

    I’m actually hoping Shamus writes something on the new unlock system, there seems to be a lot of parallels between it and DRM (both are buggy and attempt to prevent a negative behavior while only hurting people who don’t engage in that behavior).

  31. CrushU says:

    Actually both I and others have gotten achievement milestones and gotten weapons. (Heavy, in both cases.) And then of course I found a random of the same damn item. -.- Very disappointed.

    Happy that I found Bonk! Atomic Punch, though, as I suck with scout and couldn’t get those achievements.

    @Adeon: Yeah, and it’s even more amusing because now instead of Achievement servers, there are Idling Servers, places for people to go and just sit in spectate and do nothing. You get random drops while in spectator.

  32. Shadow2336 says:

    Heavy’s not too bad at spy checking, if you have Natascha.

    She slows down enemies to half (or something like that) of their speed, so if an ally is running slower when you track over them, you know they’re a spy.

    And I’m slightly surprised that you didn’t go over any of the unlock, Shamus.

  33. Jazmeister says:

    @Shamus

    The problem with all-female team group photos is that they’re all ridiculously hot, with low-cut uniforms and stilletto jackboots. What about having the alt heavy be the heavy’s mother, who looks the same but with breasts, curly grey hair and a mu mu dress thingy? What about the female medic being like that scary nurse from Minority report? None of the male classes are sexy (except for that red spy, goddamn) and the soldier looks positively terrifying.

    I think the problem is that TF2 is drifting away from a very iconic, structured game composed of recognisable and absolute constants. Nine classes, two teams, three to five weapons each – simple. Now, every class can have any of a range of seven weapons, and counting. You used to be able to run out of the battlements on 2fort, die, and it would zoom in on:

    A Spy already cloaking/disguising
    A Heavy in full blazes, grinning and shouting
    A Sniper, waving at you from a mile away

    Simple. Oh, shit, you think, this area is a sniper hot spot. Shit, I’d better watch my back for that shifty-looking guy. Crap, that big guy is trouble! We should focus fire on him. And so on.

    Now, you can get blasted with pee, killed by a flare gun “mini-crit”, and it’ll zoom in on some pyro across the map running around in his sewers. WTF?

    @Galenor: Crits are triple damage, and yeah, Kritzkrieg ftw!

    Snipers are tricky because they just engage in lengthy duels with other snipers, and tie up player slots. No other class falls into that habit so easily, although certainly, an expert sniper straight out of Enemy at the Gates is someone you might even consider ubering. I know I have.

    “Plan to kill everyone you meet.”

  34. Skitzophrenik says:

    re: Female Pyro

    Robin Walker, the lead developer of the game, refers to the Pyro as “her” in this inverview: http://www.csnation.net/articles.php/interview_244/1/

    Also, on one of the maps where there are lockers for the various classes in the resupply/spawn room there is a pink purse int he Pyro’s locker. I don’t know which map it is.

    re: females

    Int he same interview I linked above Walker addresses the lack of female classes. I’ll just quote it here.

    “Unfortunately, we don’t have a good reason for this. When we started we wanted to ship male and female versions of each class, since that’s obviously the best solution. As production went on, it became clear that we couldn’t afford the memory that would be needed to do that, and still maintain the quality we wanted. Looking back, we should have shipped some of the classes as female and some as male. I think the only reason that didn’t happen was due to the team hoping that we would still figure out how to do it the “right” way.”

    And in general:

    Had a blast! Just started playing this weekend and definitely love the game.

  35. TheDefenestrator says:

    @18:
    I think the Ladies’ Night picture is the only one of those pictures that is any good. The others are just… it kinda defeats the purpose of having female characters in the first place. I mean, good god, in the 3rd picture even the Pyro is hypersexualized! Although I do like the idea in the first one of the Heavy being a tiny little girl with a huge gun, but I doubt that’d be good for game balance.

  36. webrunner says:

    Regarding the Heavy:
    The heavy isn’t stupid. He’s presented as a slow, but deliberate thinker. Stubborn, yes, and easy to fool, but he knows it, and does what works (usually shooting things with a very large gun a lot or punching them).

    He’s a glacier in more than one way.. slow, but he gets there eventually and nothing’s going to stop him.

    The Soldier is the ‘stupid’ one, although ‘delusional and crazy’ fits more.

    A few of the other classes have deeper characterization then they immediately seem:

    The spy and sniper both like to think of themselves as professionals but easily lapse into what they dislike: the spy is surprisingly bloodthirsty, lapsing into maniacal laughter and taunting downed foes, breaking his suave exterior. The sniper is more of a “crazed gunman” then he wishes to admit (remember, he throws jars of his own urine at people)

    The Engineer has a lot of book smarts, but has a typically stereotypical Texan view of solving problems: If a gun doesn’t work, use more gun.

  37. Gahazakul says:

    We really need some moderators Shamus. We are starting to attract some flotsam from the net. I just left because of some guy typing in all caps about his horrid team and spamming a mic sound effect.

  38. Robyrt says:

    If only 8 viable classes exist for an FPS, that’s a really sad commentary on how shallow FPS design is.

  39. JoeFF85/Skitzophrenik says:

    This game has nine, so I guess it isn’t shallow.

    *whew*

    We were this close guys, but we made the cut.

  40. Duffy says:

    As many have covered my thoughts, I’ll just add I look forward to the rest of your class reviews, thank you for starting a server I can regularly attend, and apologize for having to backstab you and sap your turrets.

  41. Neil says:

    @ webrunner
    At least the Engineer gets some fresh air and sunshine.
    (says the man sitting at his desk staring at specifications)

  42. Chakan says:

    Robyrt:
    9 classes, dunno which one you’re forgetting, but it’s nine. Play spy, and learn to quickswitch sans looking, it’s fantastic.

    Shamus: You should take a look at some of the changes Valve made to TF2, especially the spy since release. Before they updated anything, I was a decent spy (1:3 Kill to death ratio), then they made metal restore your cloak and I was good (1:1 K:D) and now with the new update, without any of the items, I’m apparently very good (4-5:1). The classes have changed a bunch, but the medic pack was probably the most interesting I’ve ever seen a game get, 2 medics/heavy, and scouts were unplayable due to the blutsauger.
    I aim to please.

  43. Matt` says:

    Heh… 20 hours… I have more playtime than that on my least played classes, and I just passed 99 hours total for Demoman (~75 hours for engi, 50 a piece for soldier/sniper, gradual decline down to 25ish for the rest) :P

    As far as I can see, the best advice for every class, is to never stop moving. Ever. If you’re stood still you’re doing worse than nothing because you’re simultaneously not achieving anything and you’re an easy target.

    Engis who do nothing but sit and tank their guns are easy prey for experienced demomen/soldiers/spies, any other class stood about doing nothing will get sniped or backstabbed. Always, always, always, be running about doing something. Whether you’re on offence or defence, even if you need to stay close to an objective, you can always be patrolling a small area around you to make your effective presence bigger.

    Easiest classes starting out are probably the Pyro (don’t need a lot of strategy to be successful) the Soldier or the Heavy (plenty of health, lots of firepower). Takes more practice to get good with the Demoman’s grenades (to the point where you can lob them from a distance and hit a speeding Scout) or the Sniper rifle (lot of people snipe very poorly, it takes time to get good but the rewards are great). The other more supporting classes like engi/medic/spy can be played halfway competently by new players, but there’s a depth of strategy that separates a newbie from a good player. Once you get good you find most of the classes eminently usable, then it depends on the situation and what’s called for.

  44. MadTinkerer says:

    As someone who has played the Medic a LOT, allow me to offer some advanced tips.

    #1: What Ancorehraq sis said. It took me a while to discover the technique, but if you’re paying attention the Medic is the second best spychecking class after Pyro. Spies are often able to dupe inexperienced Medics into healing them (see the famous FYI I am a Spy videos on Youtube). Since how experienced you are as a player isn’t displayed above your head, you can pretend to be a newbie medic and ambush the professional ambusher. Just be aware that the spy class is designed to be played by sneaky people and you’ll probably get backstabbed a lot anyway.

    #2: If there’s no friendlies around, immediately whip out the needlegun or the saw. You can’t use the healgun to heal or defend yourself, and nanoseconds are precious when a scout is suddenly in your face. I personally prefer the needlegun, and unless you’ve got good experience playing ninja-style, you’re going to want to use the needlegun instead of the saw.

    Although the Medic’s offensive weapons are weak, they’re also the weapons the enemy tends to think are the weakest. Bear in mind that the Medic is the second fastest class in the game. So usually when I’ve accidentally run into the enemy base (on a new map), I end up being able to take down several of the enemy with me, or managing to hurt them before escaping with a few health left. Basically: they don’t bother dodging my needles, but I sure am trying to dodge their bullets, rockets, etc! Medics are the second best at dodging and those needles add up!

    Once you have some practice at playing a medic offensively, go ahead and try to grab the intelligence or capture some points on your own! They won’t be expecting a lone medic! Regardless of whether you survive, hilarity will ensue.

    #3: Certain maps lend themselves to the medigun or the kritzkreig. It also depends on the makeup of your team. Generally, the medigun is the best one to start a round because you get a good chance to charge it up completely before the round starts. Don’t forget you can switch equipement when you die, and that the kritz has a faster charging time, and that means a better chance of actually building up a charge in the middle of a round(getting killed when you have 99% of a ubercharge doesn’t do you or your teammates any good, and you could have kritzed them instead). On Balloon Race v2, the best technique I found for getting a head start is to kritz a Heavy at the front of the boat as soon as you move past the barrier so that he’s pouring critical bullets into the other team right away.

  45. Groboclown says:

    Personally, I think that the KGB (Killing Gloves of Boxing for the heavy) are the best unlockable. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than 1 punch kills to 5 players in a row.

  46. K says:

    I have to add something slightly off topic: Too much 2fort, well and especially turbine on the d20-server. 30-minute stalemates are so incredibly boring. 10 minutes per map would be enough by far, and I’d even prefer payload and the other attacker/defender maps alone.

  47. skizelo says:

    You left out the most annoying thing about being a Medic: after being duly nervy, constantly turning to look for spies and even switching to the dart-gun to spray anyone acting too suspicious: you find one, yell “spy” like five friggin’ times only for your idiot charge to keep facing forwards. It’s times like those that I think of when running for my life away from a too-hot battle. “Dummkopf” is right.
    Less annoying is when you uber a Pyro, which tends to click with the average Pyro’s “run forward while cooking people” mentality and can break the back of any Engineer-made defence (if it’s in range).
    Also, am I the only one who gets locked into playing as Scout? Everyone else moves like treacle after a round or two with him.

  48. @Skizelo:
    “Also, am I the only one who gets locked into playing as Scout? Everyone else moves like treacle after a round or two with him.”
    Gods yes. I _really_ wanna play as Scout with the Spy Cloak. Or even with the Engi shotgun. I find that, as Scout, I can get where I’m going quickly, but lack punch once there…

  49. Ysabel says:

    I’m glad to see we have a TF2 server now. I’ll have to come play some — I’ve tried TF2 before and really not liked the people I ended up with. (I played a reasonable amount of TF Classic long ago but I am certainly no more than barely competent at such things, and it’s amazing how little that’s tolerated.)

    Also, am I the only one who is completely entranced at the idea of playing a female Heavy where she’s a tiny anime girl with a gigantic gun?

  50. The Defenestrator says:

    Ysabel: No.

  51. Ranneko says:

    I disagree that all signs point to the Pyro being female.

    Much like V in the Order of the Stick, some point to female, some to male. There is the purse in the locker sure, but then there is the general body shape, and the male VA.

    The problem with most of the gender bender pics I have seen is that they would not translate into the correct hitboxes in game. A tiny anime girl carrying the heavy weapon guy’s gun is amusing sure, but this would also translate into someone who is much more difficult to shoot than a normal heavy.

    All I can say is that based on the appearance in the suit, regardless of the gender, whichever the is Pyro, it ain’t pretty.

  52. CrushU says:

    Oh I don’t know… Firefighter garb tends to be very unflattering anyway.

    As for those annoyed at the non-female models… Do you not play FPS’s much? Can you name FPS’s that DO have an actual wide variety of female model choices?

  53. Submarine Bells says:

    CrushU said As for those annoyed at the non-female models… Do you not play FPS’s much? Can you name FPS’s that DO have an actual wide variety of female model choices?

    That’s exactly the point. It gets old real quick having FPS model choices being All Blokes All The Time. Valve are so bloody brilliant at everything else, why can’t they get this right too? It’s not the 1950s.

  54. Seriously says:

    I’ve been playing about since the game was released, and the depth of it still astounds me. With the new bow for the sniper, I’m actually capable of using the class effectively!

    Do you have a favourite class yet, Shamus? I saw you leading the board as pyro and medic a couple times.

  55. Winter says:

    Regarding the Pyro: initially the classes all had gender tags, and the Pyro’s was an “M”. They’ve sort of retconned it, suggesting Pyro was female.

    Originally the joke was that the Pyro was gay–the purse, etc–due to the “flamer” double entendre. However, it turns out the Heavy/Medic make much better “gay” characters (for obvious reasons). And with the gratingly obvious lack of female classes… Well, players started assuming the Pyro was “the girl” of TF2 and Valve went with it.

    On 2fort: the only redeeming quality of this map is building an Engineer base inside the enemy flag room.

    Not that i’m bragging or anything =^_^=

  56. HERO OF THE IMPERIUM says:

    Glad to see you’re enjoying yourself

  57. Stephan Ahonen says:

    I just got out of playing TF2 as a matter of fact… All of the unlockable BS was annoying me. TF2 was an INCREDIBLY well-balanced game when it was first released… 7 years of development will do that. Every class had a role, a niche in the gameplay ecosystem, well-defined strengths and weaknesses. An elaborate game of rock-paper-scissors. Most importantly, it was a game that anyone could jump into and immediately be on a perfectly level playing field with everybody else. Pick any class, and the only thing limiting your ability to succeed with that class relative to any other player is your own personal skill.

    Then Valve introduced the unlockables. The sheer stupidity of this design decision boggles my mind. The classes used to occupy very specific and finely-tuned niches, with an elaborate rock-paper-scissors system of classes countering each other. The unlockables, in their quest to “be unique” and “worth grinding for” have ruined this delicate balance. A few days ago when I saw a pair of snipers using Huntsman to play an effective offense and run flags… That was when I decided to quit the game for good. There is no way in hell that sniper should EVER be an offensive class. What made it worse was that the option wasn’t available to me, only to the people who happened to get the drop. Why is this considered acceptable game design? I’ve never been comfortable with TF2’s extensive reliance on the RNG for its damage model, but having entire strategies be open or closed to you based on whether a roll of the dice happened to grant you a special item… That is simply ridiculous.

  58. SatansBestBuddy says:

    I have to say, I was surprised when I hoped on for a few games and foud so many newbies.

    I haven’t played for months, since well before the Scout update, so I was expecting to get wiped by experts who know what works and what doesn’t, while all the old tatics I knew would be obsolete.

    Instead, I was top of the leaderboard several games in a row. =/

    I’m not complaining or anything, I’m just impressed that the game can be so different yet still be the exact same game I played on launch.

    Except I can be a useful Engie again!

  59. Mephane says:

    This is an intentional decision on Valve’s part, to go along with all the other corny accents (see medic, heavy etc). But yes, I am Australian too and I can’t help but be insulted.

    That’s interesting. I am German and I find the stereotypical German-like accent of the Medic very funny myself.

  60. Dev Null says:

    Ok, so with the caveat that I am by nature pretty terrible at FPS games, I bounced on the 20s server last night and had fun – thanks for those of you with the patience to not bawl me out while I was on your team. Based on this write-up, I tried starting with the heavy and the medic, and while I agree that the heavy was pretty easy, I thought the medic was kind of tough; or at least tough to do _well_. Maybe its because so many folks are gunning for you, and maybe its because you’re so damn useful that its really obvious when the team medic is a hopeless joke. I did the “latch onto a heavy” trick a couple of times, but I always feel like I should somehow be healing the whole team – possibly just too much time playing MMORPGs?

  61. THOR says:

    Shouldn’t this post be in “Game Reviews” like its follow-up?

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