tempest in a teacup

the pointless musings of a strange recluse

A dispatch from 2fort

Been a while since I last wrote anything…I’ve been spending a lot of time playing Team Fortress 2. For some reason, since the Heavy update hit I’ve been playing the game a lot more. I’ve also been reading the official TF2 forums from time to time to gauge what the state of the game is, and figured I would record my thoughts here.

Arena Mode

I must say, I rather like this mode – since every player only has a single life and health pickups are limited, having Medics on your team becomes a lot more important, and Spies become incredibly lethal when played correctly. It’s a mode that rewards skill. On the other hand, I could do without the random shuffling of teams – it makes it hard to plan strategy when all you have are 5 seconds at the start of the round to decide on class makeup.

Badwater Basin

This is probably my new favourite map. It’s a payload map much in the vein of Goldrush, but much more open – there are tons of alternate routes making it great for ambushing while both attacking and defending. There aren’t too many chokepoints, so BLU tends to have an easier time than it does on other maps like Dustbowl and Goldrush.

Class-specific stuff

The Pyro is still my most-played class (although how much of that is because of achievement farming, I’m not sure), but these days I’ve been trying to avoid picking it, if only because it’s starting to seem to me that Pyros have a fairly low skill ceiling. Adding the air blast to the regular Pyro has added some new capabilities (in particular the ability to blow attackers or defenders off a control point, and reflect projectiles), but his combat strategy is still entirely limited to ambushing – head-on encounters rarely seem to go well. So I’ve been trying some other classes.

I’m having a lot of success playing Heavy, which is a lot harder than trailers would have one believe – you need to be completely aware of your surroundings at all times, pick targets carefully and know when to pull back (before you take too much damage or before your ammo runs out). I’ve only earned one of the unlocks so far (the Sandvich) and it can be useful if the team’s Medic is busy somewhere else and I need to heal up after retreating from an attack. However, the shotgun is arguably the more useful weapon in most circumstances.

I’ve also been playing Soldier a lot more. This class gets a reputation as one based on spam and luck (lol critrawkets, etc) but if you ask me the distance between an expert Soldier and a novice Soldier is greater than that between an expert Pyro and a novice Pyro. Good Soldiers know to aim ahead of their opponents and take advantage of juggles, use the mobility afforded by their rocket jumping to attack from unexpected angles and retreat from battles, and most importantly to make their shots count (given that their reload time is so long compared to most other classes). I can’t say I’ve mastered any of these skills, but I have been trying.

On a final note, the Spy. Playing Spy is amazingly fun when you get it right (like in Arena matches like I mentioned earlier) but when you get it wrong it can be amazingly discouraging. I’m alright with getting discovered by a nosy Pyro who suddenly appeared around the corner, but when your primary weapon – the instant-kill backstab – fails to register half the time there’s clearly a problem. Sometimes it’s because the stab doesn’t register as a backstab, but most often it’s because of the laggy backstab animation you get if you’re too close to the enemy. I know the Spy is arguably the class with the highest skill ceiling, but this stuff even bites players who have far more Spy experience than I do.

The other thing I’ve been doing recently is keeping track of King of Fighters XII news – but that’s a topic for another post.

4 comments

4 Responses to “A dispatch from 2fort”

  1. TF2 Inept Wind says:

    I’ve been playing my friend’s PS3 copy of TF2 (yes, I know it sucks compared to the PC AND 360) lately and I’m amazed at how bad I am. I have trouble hitting people and can’t seem to say alive longer than one or two encounters. Also damage I inflict never seems to have the same effect (read: killing) that comparable damage done to me does – particular with the Pyro’s flamethrower.

    Is TF2 initially tough on the PC too? I find the game oddly compelling but it can be really really frustrating for a neophyte…

  2. PenPen says:

    TF2 is a pretty awesome game and has been in my gaming cycle for a while, I even joined a clan.

    The thing I like is that as long as you can play FPS a little you will probably get to play at least a class decently. For guys liek me who can’t aim worth crap, I can use the medic or the pyro. Or if I want to look leet and possibly potentially useless at the same time, I can use spy or scout. Or if I’m just a lazy guy who likes to shoot people while standing still I can use sniper or engineer. And if you like killing a whole bunch of things you can use the heavy, soldier or demo. Each guy suits each type of style of play.

    Speaking of which SS you still haven’t started that Steam group. =P

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