Team Fortess 2: Classes Part 2

By Shamus
on May 27, 2009
Filed under:
Game Reviews


tf2_engineer.jpg
Engineer

Engineers are a key support class in the game. They can build three things:

  1. Sentries: These automated turrets arguably deal out more damage than even the heavy. They have near-flawless aim, very fast (but not instant!) target acquisition, massive damage output, and they can run for ages without needing an ammo refill. But! They’re rooted in place and easily disabled by spies.
  2. Dispensers: A magic vending machine of ammunition and health. Looks like a gas pump. On maps with shifting battle-lines (like control points and payload) this has an interesting effect on gameplay. There’s just enough health and ammo in the average map to supply a small team. But as things get crowded, it becomes harder and harder to to find supplies after surviving an engagement. If an engineer takes the time to erect a dispenser, he can keep more people alive than even the medic. (The medic saves people during a fight. The engineer’s dispenser saves people that won or pulled out of a fight.) This small thing can change the battlefield completely.
  3. Teleporters: It can sometimes take twenty seconds to walk from your starting area back to the active area of the map, and along the way you might find yourself picked at by enemy forces. (Snipers, mostly.) Getting picked off means another trip into the respawn queue, and another hike. An engineer can set up a teleport to connect the start area to the front lines, thus getting forces back into the fight at much greater rate. Again, this can turn the tide of battle.

Tip: This class takes a bit of time to figure out. Building, upgrading, and repairing costs metal. Build a dispenser first, so that you can use the metal it provides to build your sentries and teleporters. Try to place sentries in good “ambush” positions, so that foes will walk around the corner and into the jaws of your bullet-spewing death machine.

Newbie suggestion: Try one of the other classes first. Once you have a feel for sentries (by getting killed by them) and teleporters (by using them) and dispensers (by having your life saved by them) you’ll have a pretty good idea of where to put them.


You know, she does look feminine here.
You know, she does look feminine here.
Pyro

The perfect ambusher class, and arguably my favorite. (It seems I prefer medic for offense, and pyro if I’m defending.) The pyro’s flamethrower spits out a cone of burning death that does tremendous damage at point-blank. It has a short range and a wide spread, letting you light groups of enemies in a single sweep. The pyro’s slightly diminished speed and limited range makes them very vulnerable in the open, and they tend to hide around corners or in small rooms where they can drop down or pop out on and unsuspecting foe.

Tagging a foe with the end of your cone can often force a retreat, even if the actual damage done is minimal. The psycological value of setting people on fire should not be underestimated. This makes it very easy for the cunning pyro to retreat if she’s injured. Other classes have trouble escaping when the battle goes against them, but people are usually very reluctant to chase a pyro. (And since the pyro’s flame hangs in the air for a split second, her range is effectively increased when shooting backwards rather than forwards. I’ve had battles where an enemy pyro was chasing me. She was running into my flames while hers were falling just short of me, and so she dropped dead while I escaped with only minimal damage.)

The pyro is the ultimate anti-spy. Her flamethrower fuel is smart enough to tell friend from foe, and will ignite an enemy even if they are cloaked or disguised. Not even the engineer’s sentries can do that. This means the pyro is the only class that can unmask a spy for others. Some classes have stuff they can do to see if a friend is a spy (and of course everyone can just shoot suspect teammates to see if they die) but if they discover a spy they still have to communicate their knowledge to the team. And “THERE’S A SPY BEHIND YOU!” shouted into team chat isn’t very illuminating. By the time they explain who the spy is, where they are, and who they’re behind, the spy will have already done his dastardly work and retreated to the shadows. But the pyro can just puff out bits of flame. If it touches an enemy spy he will become visible if cloaked, and unmasked if disguised. Everyone else will immediately see the spy (burning people are hard to miss) and be able to take action.

Like the heavy, using a pyro is more about strategy and timing and less about aiming and dodging. (Although pyros do end up in dogfights occasionally, which is more or less impossible for a heavy.) Knowing where to wait and when to pop out is the key to a successful life of murder and arson as a pyro.

Tip: Spy-check everyone. Even the guy you just spy-checked. If someone leaves your field of view, they are suspect when they return. I have racked up an amusing number of accidental kills by simply puffing a bit of fire at people who I thought were undoubtedly genuine teammates. Paranoia pays.

Newbie suggestion: The pyro is not a bad starting class if you’re eager to get right into the thick of things. You might struggle a bit before you learn where the good ambush spots are, but a newbie pyro can usually get a bit of positive feedback as long as they don’t run around in the open.


tf2_soldier.jpg
Soldier

The soldier class is straightforward. He’s armed with slow-moving splash-damage rockets. He’s slow moving himself, and has a decent number of hitpoints.

I’m not all that impressed with the soldier class. The rockets are so slow that most players dodge them without a fuss at long range, and out-maneuver the slowbie soldier at short range. The splash damage radius isn’t very large, and so bombing grouped enemies isn’t nearly as effective as it should be. It’s possible to get the drop on a cluster of foes and have them scatter before you can kill any of them. (This is much less true for the heavy or pyro.)

The soldier can only have four rockets in the launcher at once, which means he’s going to be reloading often. This increases the chances he’ll be in the middle of reloading when opportunity knocks. And finally, the soldier can only carry 24 rockets at a time. I find myself constantly withdrawing from the battle in search of ammo.

The game keeps track of who has been killing you and will let you know if someone is “dominating” you. (Killed you several times without being killed in return.) Sometimes foes will be elevated to “nemesis” if they’re really daunting you. But in all the hours I’ve put into this game, I don’t remember ever having a soldier as a nemesis. It’s very rare for the post-death screenshot to show me a picture of a soldier. This either means that the soldier is under-powered or under-used.

Tip: Like in Quake or Unreal Tournament, aim your rockets at the feet of your enemies, so that if they dodge (and they will) you can still nick them with a bit of splash damage. Reload constantly.

Newbie suggestion: My own gripes with his performance aside, some people really enjoy the soldier. He’s simple to use and is worth a try if you think shooting people with rockets sounds like a fun way to spend your time.


tf2_demo.jpg
Demo

The demolition man is a tricky class. He’s the only class that doesn’t have a conventional dogfighting weapon. Everyone else – even the medic – gets a backup sidearm or shotgun for emergencies or situations where their primary weapon doesn’t cut it. But the demo is armed only with arcing explosives. His primary weapon is the grenade launcher, which can lob grenades over walls or angle them around corners. His secondary is the “stickybomb”, which can place explosvies onto any surface where they can be detonated at will with the right mouse button.

The demo definitely takes some practice, but a good demo is a fearsome opponent. He’s your go-to guy for digging out entrenched enemy positions. A good demo will stand behind his team and hurl bombs into the fray, placing themselves beyond the reach of the enemy.

Tip: Placing stickybombs above eye level makes it much more likely that foes will not notice them and blunder into the kill zone.

Newbie suggestion: It’s a tricky class to learn to use, and it’s hard to do your job until you know the maps well enough to know what things look like around the next corner. It’s probably best to start with a different class.


tf2_spy.jpg
Spy

The spy is the most unique class in the game. No other class has as wide a range of powers or as steep a learning curve. A newbie spy is a nuisance that might get the occasional lucky kill. A master spy is a killing machine that can single-handedly break enemy fortifications, sow confusion, and force the enemy team to adapt to his attacks by changing their behavior. No other class can make the opposing team change their classes the way a spy can.

You can cloak at will, but you have a limited duration. You can disguise yourself as any class on either team, but performing an attack will instantly break the disguise. You can sabotage devices like sentry guns, but only if you can get close enough without the other team killing you. (Any they tend to be very suspicious of people that get close to the engineer and his work.) You can instant-kill anyone in the game with a backstab, but only if you can get close enough and get them to show you their back. Friendly players can pass through one another, but members of opposing teams bump into each other. This means that touching other people in a tight hallway can give away your status as a spy.

But to be a good spy you have to be familiar with all of the other classes in the game. It amazing how easy it is to spot a bad spy, because they break expected behaviors. You will become a suspect the instant they see: A pyro hanging out in the open. A sniper in a tight backstabby corridor. A heavy taking a secondary route. A medic alone. Anyone they can’t walk through. A scout standing still. An engineer too close to the battle. A pyro not spy-checking everyone she meets. A demo man without a view of the front lines. A soldier not firing rockets into opportune corners. A heavy who is near the battle but hasn’t spun up his minigun. A scout that takes the long way around a pit or object instead of leaping over it. A friendly spy going the wrong way or not wearing a disguise. Anyone besides a spy uncloaking. A friendly who is the wrong class. (Which happens when a spy disguises himself as a class that the other team doesn’t have. If the red spy pretends to be a sniper and blue team has no snipers, then he’ll appear as a sniper but with a random name from the other team. I know Rutskarn is playing as a pyro, so when I see Rutskarn the sniper I attack on sight.) All of these behaviors will out the hapless spy, who will then be gunned down and left wondering what he did to give himself away.

In order to be a good spy, you need to know how the other classes behave, where they hang out, and what they should be doing at any given time. You need to know the maps and where you can stand safely while waiting for your cloak to recharge. You need to know what targets are valuable enough that it’s worth breaking cover, and you need to know where there are safe corners are so you can recharge your cloak and ready your next disguise.

I’ve seen a skilled spy walk into a fortified room, sap the sentries, backstab the attending engineer, then disguise as a pyro and pretend to “help” in the search of the spy when the rest of the team comes running. They do another backstab, cloak, retreat, double back, backstab a medic and heavy exiting the spawn room, then dash to the front lines to sabotage the teleport. I can’t think of another class that could do this much damage to the enemy effectiveness in such a short time.

Tip: As with the sniper, too many spies on your team causes the enemy to become paranoid and instead of one excellent and effective spy you’ll end up with three useless ones. No matter how big the team, you never want more than one or two spies at most, but a good sized team should have at least one spy to keep the enemy guessing. Don’t keep assaulting the same location over and over. Change tactics often and move around. Paranoia spikes locally when you strike and subsides after a time as players get re-immersed in their work. By moving from one area to the next you’ll be facing the most distracted foes with the lowest paranoia.

Newbie suggestion: Learn the rest of the game before you mess with the spy. Like the sniper, the spy attracts newbies who want to rack up kills without placing themselves into the fray. And also like the sniper, the newbies usually end up frustrated and confused.

tf2_classes.jpg

My favorite gametype is payload. My favorite class is probably pyro. And my favorite moments in the game are when I see my friends burning to death in front of my flamethrower. This means I’m probably better at Team Fortress than I am at friendship, which is pretty sad since I’m not all that good at the game yet.

Stop by the server sometime and I’ll do my best to set you on fire.

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  1. Saint Rising says:

    Okay, really need to get this game now. I want to be a freakin’ pyro now. THANKS SHAMUS. THANKS A LOT. YOU KEEP ADDING GAMES ONTO MY LIST. HOW DO YOU FEEL KNOWING THAT YOU’RE CAUSING PAIN TO A YOUNG HIGH SCHOOLER WHO DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY FOR ALL THESE GAMES? HUH?

    …okay, I forgive you now. I’m over it…

  2. Lukasa says:

    As a dedicated Soldier/Medic player, I’d like to try to defray some of your criticism of the Soldier, although I accept that your comment is fundamentally an opinion, and not a statement of fact.

    A soldier is definitely weak at long ranges, although that’s only true against enemies who are aware of him. Nevertheless, a soldier cannot reasonably expect to get kills at long range.

    The necessary skills for being good at soldier are twofold: decent prediction of movement paths, and learning to aim low. Once this has been achieved, you can become a great pain to almost any class, especially if you are fortunate enough to send a player flying into the air: they absolutely will die against any well-prepared soldier, assuming no outside intervention.

    Also, critical rockets are devastating. There is nothing more pleasurable then seeing a glowing rocket fly straight towards a bunch of unaware enemies who have decided to cluster together, like fools.

  3. Groboclown says:

    Here’s some of my thoughts on the matter.

    Soldiers, if done right, are fearsome opponents. They can shoot people helplessly into the air, and hit them again (for a kill) on the way down (called “juggling”). Also, a krizkreig soldier can easily take down a level 3 sentry gun; just be ready to switch to shotgun when you’ve spent your rockets.

    For the engineer, some easy noobie tips: hit the devices with your wrench to build them faster. Also, on most maps, the first thing you want to build is a teleporter (and build it up to level 3!), as that can be key to getting everyone to the front lines faster than the other team.

    In regards to the demoman, his sticky bomb jumps can get him in to really unexpected places, where it can be harder to get rid of him than a sentry. Fortunately, he can run out of ammo quickly.

    The pyro is just fun. Air-blast is critical when on the defensive, though. As one person put it, “only selfish pyros use the back burner.”

  4. Matt` says:

    Not sure I agree with the assessment of the soldier, it’s definitely not underpowered. I think the perception of low effectiveness might be created by a dearth of unskilled soldiers – they spam rockets off into the distance at the spots where people are stood, then wonder why they’re easily dodged. Reloading is annoying but you get used to tapping R after each attack, and there’s always the shotgun to finish off anyone you’ve already put a rocket or 2 into.

    Good soldiers can be the backbone of a team’s offence (or defence for that matter) – they deal good amounts of damage, presuming they can aim properly, have a lot of health, and aren’t quite so terribly slow as a heavy. I think the trick, as with the demo, is getting used to the fact that your shots take a while to travel, so you have to adjust for how the enemy’s moving. At mid-range where it’s harder to miss the Soldier is pretty lethal…

    Also, rocket jumping. I cannot count the number of times I’ve hopped up onto the enemy battlements of 2fort and scored 3 easy kills on the Snipers and anyone coming out of spawn. People just don’t expect to be attacked up there by anything other than Scout, when they’re suddenly faced with a rocket shooting, shovel wielding, shotgun-for-backup death machine they drop like flies.

  5. Veloxyll says:

    agreed with Lukasa, the soldier requires you to think where the enemy will be, similar to the demo-man. THe difference is a soldier has about 3-5 seconds to plan ahead, demo-men have up to a minute or so with sticky bombs.

  6. Jericho says:

    I used to agree 100% with your thoughts on the soldier, but then I realized I was playing him wrong. It’s all about calculating splash and anticipating movement.

    As for the demo, I hate him. he is definitely my least played class, because I just don’t “get” him. His grenades seem utterly useless in combat that doesn’t involve a dozen players in tight corners, and his stickies are far less useful then even a L1 Sentry gun.

    As for the spy, jsut the other day I was playing Spy with the new “Cloak and Dagger” (permanent invisibility as long as you don’t move often) in the enemy flag room of turbine. Totally messed with the 3 engineers, waiting till they left the room and sapping everything, but never touched the briefcase. Makes them terribly paranoid, but they never found me once I got in.

  7. Ave says:

    I completely agree with the previous commenters that Soldier is one of the best killer classes if the player is skillful. Also Soldier/Medic pair with Kritz is unstoppable pretty much, part from someone Übered.

    And Pyro is not any slower than the other classes (except Scout and Medic who are faster than others).

    And I kinda also disagree on your point on medics from the other post. While it is all nice for all for the medic to heal everyone, a properly coordinated medic with pyro, soldier, heavy or demo can breeze through pretty much everything. The only real challenges for a good pair is another medic/something pair or being totally overwhelmed (by numbers or sentrys or whatnot). Quite easy to kill pretty much the whole enemy team.

  8. Sleeves says:

    I just bought this game this weekend. Can anyone vouch for the newb-friendliness of the Twenty Sided server? I haven’t had much of a chance to get some solid practice in yet, and I’m not very good at FPS games anyway, so I feel like I’m dragging my teams down, and the people cursing at me over the microphone tend to agree.

  9. Galenor says:

    “In order to be a good spy, you need to know how the other classes behave, where they hang out, and what they should be doing at any given time.”

    I’m just gonna add my own little part to this. :D

    I play a lot of Spy. I admit it, I love the class. While this tactic does often work, the tactic i rely on is “They cannot spycheck you if they cannot see you”.

    Now, your mind may immediately shoot to the Spy’s cloak – however, I’d like you to put yourself in the shoes of a Pyro instead. How does she attack the enemy without dying? She has to remain unseen. How does she do this? Terrain.

    When I play Spy, I oft play it as if I wasn’t playing a Spy at all – the only uses I really entrust with the disguise is 2-3 seconds of the enemy not shooting you (before they spycheck you) and the ability to approach sentries. My gamestyle, therefore, is very much like the Pyro – hide completely out of sight, wait for a moment to arise, attack, run. The running part is the part where you’re most likely to bite it, which is why i use the Dead Ringer – trick the enemy into thinking they killed me, then stealth to another hidey-hole and uncloak.

    Of course, if the enemy spot you, they’ll know you’re a Spy, given the fact that they’ll see one of their own hiding from their own team – but the fun part is making sure that never happens. Ensuring that the only thing the enemy sees is a friendly Pyro suddenly popping out of cover, murdering three people, then making a break for it, means the enemy never get a chance to fight back. These mini engagements don’t have to last more than five seconds, making it hard for the enemy to engage you.

  10. pffh says:

    As a paranoid engineer I just want to add one thing to your post: If you are an engineer trust NO ONE! If someone is coming towards your stuff hit them with your wrench I don’t care who it is or even if he has been in the same room as you for the last ten minutes hit him.

    I don’t know how many spy’s I’ve killed by being a paranoid bugger armed with my trusty wrench.

  11. jfpbookworm says:

    I know they can’t change it without totally changing the game and causing an outcry among the players, but pyro “spy-checking” seems utterly idiotic. I mean, really? Lighting everyone on fire because only enemy spies are flammable? This screams “bug.” At least make the friendlies take damage from it.

  12. TehShrike says:

    @Sleeves I haven’t played TF2 with the 20-sided gang yet, but after playing L4D with them I’m pretty certain your n00bitude won’t be an issue at all.

    I can’t speak for the other people in the server – and what has the ratio been like lately, anyway (20-sided to other players)?

  13. Jericho says:

    @jfpbookworm, If you find a FF server, then they will, but most servers have no Friendly Fire, so this tactic works. I do agree with your point, but it is so ingrained in the game now it would be almost impossible to change it.

  14. OddlucK says:

    Gotta say I’ve been loving the D20 server. The games are always very friendly with minimal trash talking. And, what trash talk there is is always friendly, funny, and often farcical (“How’d you like my Face-to-Your-Missle style?”). I love it.

    I’ll throw in my two cents about the Soldier class, too. I think I play him a little differently than most people (probably because I still suck at aiming and moving at the same time). I generally try to play the Soldier as more of a deterrent/obstacle to some of the more camp-oriented classes. I’ll keep bobbing and weaving in and out of LoS, while sending rockets over to spots typically trafficked by Snipers or Demomen. This isn’t really viable on all maps (works best on CtF, or Control maps, not Payload), but on some it can do wonders to keep Snipers moving (limiting their effect on my team), Engineers worried (and constantly having to repair their stuff), and Demomen from being able to rain death from above onto my team. The ability to fire across the map with the same effectiveness as up close, while staying a hard to snipe target, makes a defensive Soldier quite a hassle. That said, it’s not the way to go if you want to rack up the kills. Think of it more as simply irritating/frustrating the opposition into changing to a less-familiar tactic.

    The Engineer is my favorite class (followed by the Heavy, with the Medic quickly rising in use/preference). I am, as I said last night, “a defensive bastard” who really likes setting up in a good turret location and making my guns a matter of “deal with them now or die… repeatedly.” Incedentally, this is also why I hate opposing spies. Jerks keep sapping my sentries. Jerks.

  15. Skitzophrenik says:

    Definitely a well-played Spy is very annoying. I think Agent M killed me like fifty jillion times in under an hour the other day.

    Some maps are more Engie friendly than others, and sometimes the opposing team can sinply overpower through pure strength of numbers.

    Also, out-of-the-box thinking can really throw the enemy for a loop. Yesterday (or was it Monday?) the REDs started setting up Engie defenses in the BLU intel room on 2Fort, and we couldn’t for the life of us break them out of there. They had our intel as well defended as we ever did (with teleporters so they could reinforce if we did kill them) and honestly we just couldn’t compete. That was a great match.

  16. I’m really loving the D20 server. Each time TF2 gets new updates, I generally play for about 30 minutes and then uninstall the game.

    This group of people is really fun to play against though, and even worth waiting in line to get in. Even on some of the sillier maps. (That said, I wouldn’t be sad at all if 2Fort and Turbine were taken out of rotation.)

  17. moswald says:

    I’ve got over 100 hours of time put into the Pyro by itself (less than 20 for each of the others). Let me tell you, the Backburner is not just for the selfish. It does massive damage from behind. Any time you’re handed a weapon that does automatic criticals, even if it’s only in certain scenarios, you take that weapon. –Especially if those scenarios are easy to manufacture: TF2 has many ways to (literally) get the drop on your opponents, and lighting up a group of medics and heavies with the critical flame from behind is the best way anyone can help their team.

  18. Mordiceius says:

    One thing to note about the spy is that they can also disguise as their OWN teammates. This too is valuable. You do not ever want your enemy to know that your team has a spy.

    My favorite thing to do is to go as a spy and when I spawn, disguise myself as a soldier or pyro on my team. I run with my team to the front lines so that the enemy can see that I am there. The only thing is they’ll see me as a pyro or soldier or other class. They compensate for this while I go hide in a corner, cloak and disguise myself as someone on their team. I then am right near the front lines and can more quickly make it to behind the enemy front lines.

    I worry too many spies don’t know that they can disguise as their own teammates.

    An enemy should never see you as a spy until they see you standing over their dead body.

  19. Groboclown says:

    @moswald

    Oh, I know. I love my backburner. However, for defensive maps, the air-blast is the best way to get the enemy off of the point, and to stop on-coming ubers. There’s nothing more annoying to a medic than being ubered and not able to reach your uber-ee. Well, not as annoying as being backburnered as you’re ready to start an uber.

  20. TheDefenestrator says:

    I just have one thing to add: Engineers, your teleport exit is directional. Please don’t set it up so that when I arrive I’m facing the wall. Thanks.

  21. K says:

    Clan games (6 vs 6) usually go: Scout, Scout, Soldier, Soldier, Demo, Medic.

    That alone should prove that soldiers are not bad. I think valve has reduced the amount of crit rockets, I remember dying to them much more often when the game was released. Or it might be the current spy/sniper galore and nobody plays Soldier. It’s hard to find a server with less than half your team playing catch (spy) or point&click adventures (sniper) while being utterly useless for winning the objective.

    @TheDefenestrator (hey, I remember you from the game)
    I don’t think people will ever figure out how to turn teleporters. Which is a shame, as you easily lose a precious 2-3 seconds figuring out where forward is, and in addition are totally defenseless during that time.

  22. Suraj says:

    On most maps Engineers work best in pairs. Setup sentries opposing each other keeping good distance between them and you can cover most of the areas. Whatever you do as engineers NEVER place sentries side-by-side that is just an easy takeout for a Demo or Spy.

    Shamus you didn’t mention Pyro’s Air Blast capability. Usually Pyro engages in close quarters if the fight gets too tough Pyro can blow away the enemy with Right Click. It is also effective against ubers and Solders. As a bonus now it also extinguishes fellow team mates on fire (if a Sniper with Jarate is not on hand).

  23. SatansBestBuddy says:

    I hate spies.

    I’ve got maybe less than half an hour of play time clocked in as a spy, and I’m not looking to increase that time save for desperate measures.

    Just today, I was on a server with half my team being spies who got killed so often I was half convinced this was a joke server with guys who just hang out and don’t care about points…

    Till I saw the other team, who were a well oiled machine determined to win at all costs.

    Also, they weren’t using chat at all.

  24. Adeon says:

    @TheDefenestrator:
    I agree. A useful tip for new engineers, when placing a building right clicking rotates the blueprint allowing you to place the exit against the wall while facing outward.

  25. pnf says:

    I just bought this game this weekend. Can anyone vouch for the newb-friendliness of the Twenty Sided server?

    I will vouch for it. I played the game for the first time yesterday on the Twenty Sided server. Had no idea what I was doing, little or no command of tactics, was near the bottom of the scores every time, really padded some people’s kill counts, and people were nice enough to not say what they were probably thinking. I recommend it for a new player.

  26. Pocket Nerd says:

    Thanks for setting up the Twenty Sided server. I’ve owned the Orange Box since its release, but I’d never played TF2— and figured the 18-month veterans would be intolerant of my own lack of skill. A few days ago I played for a few minutes on a Valve server just to get a basic feel for the game, and it was like watching a room full of thirteen-year-olds with rage control issues. The server was big enough that I more or less slipped under the radar, but after ten minutes of “omg spys r ghey,” “STOP TRYING 4 ACHIEVEMENTS U FAG” and spamming voice with ethnic slurs (and, in one case, a viciously mangled rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner) confirmed my suspicions that it wouldn’t be a nurturing environment.

    Fortunately, the Twenty Sided server runs on the other internet, where people behave like grown-ups and treat each other like people. Thanks, everybody, for making my first real TF2 experience so much fun… and thanks for being patient with my lack of skill.

    P.S. Also, bonus points for being courteous toward women on voice. My girlfriend is a big gamer, and she’s tired of dealing with either stark disbelief (“lol no girls on teh intarnet”) or creepy patronization (“since ur a girl, maybe u should play medic since u won’t liek killing ppl”).

  27. DPhantom says:

    Don’t underestimate soldiers for taking out sentries either. Their long range will often let them out distance sentries, and they can do it faster(and less vulnerable) than demos thanks to not having to charge their shot. An engie may be able to repair the damage a soldier does too quickly to take out the sentry, but an enterprising soldier can often use their splash damage to knock out the low-health engie and then kill the sentry with impunity.
    Another favorite of mine is to simply use the soldier for covering fire. A slightly slower top speed and rockets that would travel the entire map in a straight line mean that I’ve got a great opportunity to pepper the common entrances for the enemy team whenever I don’t have a direct engagement. It softens up the enemy before they reach the fight, or might even cause them to take a less preferred route. And of course, there’s nothing like a random crit turning some unlucky slob to giblets right when he turns the corner.

  28. Pickly says:

    You’ve made the game sound interesting enough that I’ll be getting it (Though I may be running into some steam installation issues at the moment.) Hopefully it works out well (though I have little experience with FPS games.)

  29. CrushU says:

    Ahh, so that’s why the rotate building thing is there. I’d noticed it and wondered wtf the point was… And amused myself for a while with a spinning dispenser wireframe.

    Spies are indeed very difficult to play. Very rewarding when you break the back of a charge by taking out a heavy/medic pair, though.

    And yet I curse spies whenever I play engineer xD

    @Pocket Nerd: Yeah, I get annoyed too with the rejection of girls on the internets… Of course, usually whenever someone is revealed to be a girl, I just go ‘ZOMG, THERE ARE NO GIRLS ON TEH INTARWEBZ!!11’ as sarcastically as I can because I think it’s a joke, then drop it after that. xD Girls and guys are equally capable of fragging. :P

  30. Shadow2336 says:

    Yeah, it was humorous to find there was a girl on the server last night. I apologize again for thinking you were a young boy…

    The most powerful weapon in the game is a sticky bomb. When critted, it can kill anything in one shot. However, it’s ranged based, so if you move further away, it won’t do as much.

    What I like doing is what the demoman does in the Meet the Demoman video. Line the door with explosives, then wait until someone walks through it.

    Then follow up with some quip. :D

  31. Chuk says:

    If I am on fire, please do not use your Jarate on me. I would prefer to just burn.

  32. SatansBestBuddy says:

    @Chuk: Aw, come on, what’s a jar of piss between teammates?

  33. skizelo says:

    Does anyone want to discuss which is the best class for a Spy to disguise as? I mostly dress as a Sniper, because they’re tolerably fast (unlike the Heavy, Demoman or Soldier), frugal with ammo (unlike the Pyro, Medic, Soldier again), and are one of the few classes expected to be far away from the scrum. Pretending to be an enemy Spy has the advantage of allowing a de-cloak (though you’ll be the wrong colour, so it only works if they’re distracted), but I suspect it may be too cliche to be really effective. I may go as an Engineer if there’s a lot of machinery to sap, or the Scout if I’m needed on the front-lines, but Ol’ Snipy is my go-to.

  34. Joe Cool says:

    The spy is definitely a hard class to master. One trick I learned is that once I get close to the enemy lines and am trying to break through, I always run backwards, that way it looks like I’m retreating from the fight. This works even better if you’ve taken some damage. Enemies will often just think you’re retreating from the front lines to find a health pack or medic.

    And there is no greater joy then getting the enemy medic to heal you up, then backstabbing him.

  35. Groboclown says:

    There are two classes you shouldn’t go as spy (unless you know what you’re doing) – scout and medic.

    Spies disguised as scouts move way too slow to make a convincing scout (the spy will move at the top spy speed, instead of scout speed). Spies disguised as medics do not show an ubermeter on their heads, which is a dead give-away (the medic is also faster than the spy, but that’s hard to tell).

    That being said, there are situations where these work, but it’s much rarer than the others. When disguised as a scout, the spy has a smaller hit box (making him harder to hit), and runs at the spy’s maximum speed. And there’s nothing better than sneaking in a medic to the unexpected, and giving them a knife instead of a heal.

    EDIT: on second thought, there are a lot of things better than that, but it’s still fun.

  36. Lady Kat says:

    Man, I really want to play this game now. I can’t believe it, multi-player FPS games have absolutely NEVER sounded like any fun to me. If I get a chance, I’ll definitely check it out. Especially if the server is newbie friendly, since I’m probably going to suck. ;)

  37. Jericho says:

    @GroboClown, the latest patch added an ubermeter to spies disguised as medics.

  38. Link says:

    @ #11 – Even on servers with FF on, pyro flames will not ignite friendlies; they still take contact damage but won’t stay lit, so “puff to spy-check” is still valid. It just hurts a little bit ;)

    @ #35 – With the new spy update, spies disguised as medics now show an uber meter – so be sure to give any medic a good few rounds in the face, just to be certain :D

    While I’ve clocked the most hours on a soldier, my favourite class is the pyro as well; it’s just that pyros are a very common newbie pick so I tend not to play my pet class too often ;( No point having a team half-filled with pyros, heh.

    The utility of the airblast so outweighs the crit potential of the backburner that my usage ratio is about 50:1 in favour of the standard flamethrower :D

    As a round-up, the airblast can:
    – Deflect projectiles (including rockets, grenades, scout baseballs, jarate jars, flares, sentry rockets)
    – Push away sticky mine traps
    – Push away ubered opponents (or just launch the ubering medic away from his patient)
    – Push enemies away from the payload cart/capture point/into range of your team’s sentries
    – Juggle enemies (impractical, but fun if you pull it off)
    – Extinguish burning teammates

    And remember, if a spy wants a light, a good pyro always obliges with a smile!

  39. Shunal says:

    I’ve been playing on the Twenty Sided server with the name Cal-L?. It’s been loads of fun. The class I’ve clocked the most time after recently resetting my stats would be the Spy. I think I must’ve clocked close to four hours with the spy. Also, am I the only one here who absolutely loves the Cloak and Dagger watch?

    Oh, and thanks for the server Shamus!

  40. Terrible says:

    You got me wanting to play this game too, Shamus. Unfortunately, I only have enough time and money to read this blog!

  41. Duffy says:

    @Shunal: Cloak and Dagger is my new favorite toy. A pity the spy update has everyone even more paranoid then usual.

  42. Shunal says:

    @Duffy: Yeah, but it’s way too fun looking at them spy check when you’re just standing on top of some object completely cloaked.

    Also, their paranoia was well deserved. The servers I usually played on got flooded with teams composed of mostly snipers and spies. I’m really glad Shamus finally got a TF2 server. I wanted to play Left 4 Dead a bunch of times but either there was no room in the server, or there was noone to play with.

    Also, feels nice to not lurk. >_<

  43. Carra says:

    I’m having fun on the server. Still got to figure out which class I like best. I did enjoy playing a heavy today :)

    Carrandas

  44. Adeon says:

    @Shunal:
    I suspect that I would like the cloak and dagger except for the fact that The Lady has not seen fit to gift me with one. In fact the only new items I’ve gotten are the Razorback (boring) and Jarate (three of them).

  45. Submarine Bells says:

    Pocket Nerd said: My girlfriend is a big gamer, and she’s tired of dealing with either stark disbelief (”lol no girls on teh intarnet”) or creepy patronization (”since ur a girl, maybe u should play medic since u won’t liek killing ppl”).

    Indeed. I was playing yesterday with a pack of geniuses (*koff*) who refused to believe that I’m female even after hearing my voice because apparently I’m far too aggressive a player to be “a gurl”. *rolls eyes*

  46. Pindragon says:

    Payload is my favorite also! I say we ditch some ctf and add some payload >.>

  47. @11: You may think it’s illogical and absurd, and you’re absolutely right. But TF2 is illogical and absurd by design. What once seemed like an exploit in TFC (rocket jumping) was showcased as a basic ability of the class in Meet The Soldier. The whole art direction was supposed to step away from ultimately doomed attempts at realism and seriousness in what is commonly accepted as one of the silliest of pastimes–shooting digital people on the internet. If not wholly intentional, the Spycheck concept is certainly a fine case of emergent gameplay. And without Pyros, who could provide a counter to Spies?

    Perhaps Meet the Pyro will show the masked arsonist burning every ally in sight, only to show one guy still burning when it’s all said and done.

  48. Pickly says:

    Indeed. I was playing yesterday with a pack of geniuses (*koff*) who refused to believe that I’m female even after hearing my voice because apparently I’m far too aggressive a player to be “a gurl”. *rolls eyes*

    ur no gurl, voice means ur just ghey..

    (wait, that’s not the right response is it? hmmm…)

    Easy for u 2 say, ur just faking…

    (no, that’s not it either…)

    Ohh, gurl, let’s go t my place…

    (hmm, that may be it, but still not sure… how do you talk to females in the internet again?)

    (Yes, I’m joking around, I have played with females before. Actually, I’ve only experienced idiot female responses twice or so, in MMO type games where people have assumed I was female due to a female character. FPS type games might be worse, though, plus being an actual female will of course get more idiot responses.)

    As for the game, does anyone recommend a particular character for someone new to FPs type games in general (The closest experience I have to them is probably some guild wars PvP, and it seems that the heavy would work the best from the Shamus descriptions, but does anyone else have opinions on this?)

  49. Veloxyll says:

    Another reason for spys not to cloak as medic: Spychecking medics is easy, run towards them, if they don’t start hitting you with their healgun, they’re a spy

  50. Adeon says:

    Pickly:
    Pyro and Heavy are both good classes to start with since their game play is easy to pickup.

  51. Ranneko says:

    @47: But rocket jumping has been around since before TFC, it was a viable tactic in the original TF. Heck, it’s been viable in all of the quakes I’ve played.

  52. HERO OF THE IMPERIUM says:

    Actually, due to the new spy update, Spy is a really good disguise nowadays. What with the whole “random disguise mask.” Just stay away from pyros.

  53. Chakan says:

    Spy has certainly changed the most of any classes. When it forst came out, any team that knew the other team had a spy could effectively shut it down, at least on sanctioned maps. Maps like dustbowl were impossible to play spy effectively in some points, because of the limited cloak, and the penchant for enemies to just barely hit you as you’re rounding a corner, resulting in your death.
    Now, however, the spy is quite the force, and without every team member dedicated to killing the spy, he manages to get his goose 4/5 times. Even if they are chasing him, if he’s good, he’ll live. I think Spy’s one of the biggest reasons for the diminishing of the ubercharge, they’re not as necessary when you can just have one guy sap everything, and then all the enemies die, and they have an annoying tendancy to kill medics about to pop their uber.
    Though, the pyro update was probably the absolute biggest. Made pyro go from a joke class that was considered useless except for spykilling, to the W+M1 nightmare it is today, the only class they overcompensated for, and they realized it pretty quickly, as they patched the backburner some 2 days after the update. (The Backburner used to give pyros an extra 50 health, which meant they had 225, 25 more than soldiers.)

  54. Nixon says:

    I was actually one of those people that started playing the game as Spy! I was awful for the longest time, it took a good 70 hours to get any good. One of the hardest classes to master but like you said, a good spy is devastating to an opposing team.

    Here’s some tips I picked up over time.

    The cloak is one of the spy’s most important tools, used in conjunction with ammo the spy can remain invisible for a very long time, best time to disguise is when cloaked as no one will see the smoke and know there’s a spy nearby.

    Don’t forget about the revolver, it’s the second most accurate weapon in the game next to the sniper rifle, if you’re found, use it to try and kill the person while backpedaling away. if you can’t kill a sentry because an engineer is on it, pick off the dispenser from afar and then the engineer.

    Use the disguise kit to disguise as your own teammates, not only does this save cloak power, but it doesn’t alert the other team to you being a spy

    Choose your weapon carefully, a spy disguised as an engineer with a wrench is far better than one with a shotgun

    There is no “best disguise” only the right disguise for the job, that being said, there are some bad disguises:

    Scout: you do not move at the same speed as the scout and anyone actively watching you will be able to tell.

    Medic: While the updates have made it to where you have an undercharge percentage, people will still come up to you asking for a heal, basically you draw a lot of attention

    Sniper: You can’t bring the rifle up to your face

    heavy: you’re not only slow, making it hard to dodge someone almost bumping into you, but your hitbox is bigger and easier to hit

    On the subject of the Disguise kit, while it was a handy device at the launch of the game, it is perhaps the most misused tool in the spy arsenal by people new to the class today. In short: The Disguise kit should almost never be used as your primary means of avoiding the other team, the disguise kit is for the moment before you strike and then run and for tricking sentries.

    Target selection: Backstabbing a medic, destroying teleporters and distracting enemies are much better uses of your time than backstabbing that Heavy again.

    If you fail to backstab someone, don’t keep running after them until they stop. This invites other people seeing you or the person turning around to watch their back, instead: cloak and reposition yourself.

    Fight the enemy on your terms and above all else: Do it with class.

    Gentlemen

  55. Pocket Nerd says:

    @Submarine Bells:

    My SO has even been accused of using a voice changer when other players hear her on Ventrilo. (That always struck me as especially silly, because she has a lovely voice. If she sounded like GladOS I could understand the suspicion.) I guess some guys are really committed to their neurotic conviction that there are no women online.

    Oh, by the way… I’ll try to get her on the Twenty Sided server for some TF2 within the next few days. :)

  56. Avaz says:

    Thanks for the good games tonight, folks.

    ~[d20]Teldurn.

  57. Veloxyll says:

    You know, a GladOS voice modulator would be kinda cool.

  58. Jason Love says:

    It’s also worth noting that, for a variety of reasons, most attacks do less damage farther your target is from you. This means that, even when you manage to lead your rocket appropriately as a Soldier, targets a long distance away won’t take as much damage as they would when you’re right by them. The trick, then, is mastering rocket-jumping to get the drop on opponents, and plant a second rocket right in their midst as you’re coming down nearby. The soldier’s increased health makes this very viable.

    Also, I thought pyros were actually *faster* than most classes?

  59. Shunal says:

    Pyro’s are, by my understanding, the third fastest class in the game, ranking just below medic. Also, as for the farther = lesser damage rule, the sniper’s the exception. Again, by my understanding, the sniper’s damage increases the farther the target is.

  60. CrushU says:

    “Team Fortress 3”

    Finally found it. This is my favorite gender swap, because they all look similar to the originals, and believably female.

  61. As an Xbox owner, reading this makes me hungry to play again, but since you guys went all PC exclusive on me, I can only play with random Xbox riffraff. Feh.

  62. SkitzBROphrenik says:

    @ CrushU:
    Thats a really good flipped-gender lineup of the classes. None of them are particularly sexualized (just as with the male classes) and the “thicker” classes (Demo, Heavy, Engie, Soldier) have similar builds to the males.

    I especially like the way they didn’t change the Pyro whatsoever.

    Last night we agreed that the Pyro fills in any demographic that the other classes don’t cover, making the Pyro a Gay British Asian woman who is disabled (someone said there was no disabled class, even though I’d consider having ONE EYE a disibility).

  63. RichVR says:

    Please tell me that this was here 25 minutes ago. I saw it, went to get coffee and then it was gone. Now I check back and it’s here again with 62 replies?

    I have to go lie down…

  64. webrunner says:

    She wouldnt be British.. the announcer is British.

    But yeah, to summarize some things that were posted by others:
    – Spies as spies now show a disguise mask, so you can be sure a spy who doesn’t have a disguise mask *isn’t* an enemy spy, instead of the other way around
    – Spies as Medic now do have uber gauges
    – Pyros have an air blast, which does a lot of things. It may be partially why Soldier is less popular in public servers, nowadays: The pyro can reflect rockets back at the enemy team. Before that update, the Soldier pretty much beat every Pyro they ever fought. It can also be used to extinguish teammates
    – There are several unlockables that severely change the gameplay of a class: The Dead Ringer makes you rely on your disguise more, but allows it to become more convincing if you “die”. The Huntsman turns the sniper class into a front-line around-the-corner hunting class. The Sandvich allows heavies to work well on a team with no medics. The Jarate turns the sniper into a support class.
    – There are ways for a newbie demo to do well, but it depends on the map. For example, in point B on Gravelpit, you can spam grenades in through the windows, fairly safely, and it doesnt take much to do.

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