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Team Fortress Tips - A guide for new players (updated!)

#1IceMage20Posted 6/23/2011 8:58:07 PMmessage detail(edited)
If you are reading this, welcome to Team Fortress 2! Whether you are a new player, or you are simply new to the PC version, I hope that the contents of this topic will help you ďget goodĒ faster.

There are a lot of guides for TF2 and its classes, but many of them have become obsolete due to all the updates and changes to the game - including this one! Iím hoping that this list of tips will help new players get off to a good start, and cut down on some of the extremely repetitive questions that are asked on this board. There are most likely many tips, suggestions, and bits of advice that I and others have neglected to mention; as such, please feel free to suggest additions or corrections, and I will try to keep the guide updated (hopefully on a better schedule than the last one).


Before You Start Playing...

Q: What's the best way to jump in and start learning how to play TF2?
A: Practice! Check out the tutorial and try an offline practice round. Also, download the tr_walkway map and practice on it until you get a feel for the game in general. Here is a video showing the map and how it is used, as well as a link to the download in the description:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiVzFMO3QVM

Q: Do I need a microphone to play this game?
A: Though it isn't necessary, having access to voice chat will help a lot. Teamwork is essential in this game, and being able to communicate over voice can mean the difference between a successful Uber push and a dead Medic who didn't know there was a Spy coming up behind him.

Q: Why do I have to click twice to change weapons?
A: If you find yourself having to pick weapons twice to switch, you have Fast Weapon Switch disabled. Go into options -> Multiplayer -> Advanced and turn it on. While you're there, take a look at the other options and tweak things to suit your needs.

Q: Okay, I'm ready to join a server! Any suggestions?
A: Avoid instant-respawn servers. Instaspawn unbalances many maps and teaches bad playing habits. Also, try to shy away from 32-man servers if youíre brand new. Find a nice 24-man server that plays a variety of maps and has little to no server mods. 24/7 2fort is also viable for newbies who just want to practice their class, but donít stay on it forever Ė play some CP, Payload, and other game types as well.

Q: I joined a nice 24-man server that had two spots open, but no one's here! What gives?
A: Some servers are dishonest about their player count Ė it will show 22/24, but then youíll join the server and see 0 players on both sides. Right click the server in the browser and click View Server Info to see if there really are players. Also, donít forget to add servers you like to your favorites, so that you can find them easily, and Blacklist those dishonest servers so you won't see them anymore.

Q: Okay, I'm in a good server now. Which class should I play?
A: Most people will suggest Medic, Soldier, or Pyro as good beginner classes. Medics can help their team by simply healing everyone and hitting the Ubercharge (right-click when the meter is full) when it's called for. Soldiers are a very straightforward class, but have an incredibly high skill ceiling. Pyros are also straightforward and simple, and mastering the Compression Blast (right click) to reflect projectiles and extinguish allies is invaluable.

That said, you should try all the classes, if only to see what they can do and therefore know how to counter them. However, avoid trying to seriously play the Spy until you're familiar with the game; a good Spy is a great asset to the team, but a bad Spy is completely useless.
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#2IceMage20(Topic Creator)Posted 6/23/2011 8:54:45 PMmessage detail
Items and Weapons

Q: I saw a Heavy with a gold minigun and a Sniper with a bow - are these upgrades?
A: In short: No. In long: Unlocks are not upgrades; they are (or at least, try to be) sidegrades. Some are straight upgrades, some are complete downgrades, but most are honest sidegrades: They support a different playstyle, and/or offer a balance of advantages and disadvantages over the default weapons. As such, while playing with new toys is all well and good (everyone does it when they first get a new item), you should weigh the pros and cons of each weapon, and try not to replace one with another exclusively.

Q: So how can I get some of these shiny non-upgrades?
A: There are five ways to get items in the game:

1) Item drops. Every so often while playing, you will have a small chance to find a random item. Usually a weapon, but very rarely a hat (see Misc. Info). This system was introduced in order to allow new, unskilled players to obtain class weapons even if they weren't quite good enough at the class to get items via...

2) Achievements. By completing class achievements, you will make progress towards a "milestone" achievement for that class (which is always "complete X amount of class achivements"). Each milestone achievement will grant you a weapon. The weapons are tied to the achievements, so getting Engineer Milestone 1 will always earn you a Frontier Justice, for example. Note that there are only three Milestones per class and much more than three weapons per class - only the "class update" weapons are obtained via achievements. The rest, which are community-made weapons, must be earned via random drops or...

3) The crafting system. Crafting allows players to smelt items into scrap metal and use that metal to obtain other items. For a list of all known blueprints, visit:
http://www.tf2items.com/crafting/blueprints.php

4) Trading. You can trade items with other players through the trading menu. Don't expect a free lunch, though - although many people have duplicates of items, not that many are willing to give them away for free. If you manage to get duplicates yourself via item drop, hang on to them - someone might want that weapon, and they'll be more than willing to give you a weapon you don't have in exchange.

5) The Store: Yes, you can buy in-game items with real money. No, this is does not mean that dropping $50 will instantly make you a better player. There are very few items that are store-only, and all of them are completely cosmetic. Every weapon can be found via random drop, or crafted.

Q: That guy killed me with a level 94 Backburner! How do I level up my weapon?
A: You don't, but it doesn't matter. Weapon levels are completely cosmetic; they were included as a sort of joke by Valve. For a short time after the Sniper/Spy update, players could find weapons with random levels, from 0 to 100; this was later removed, and most weapons are found at a default level.

Q: What about hats?
A: Hats are cosmetic items that have a much, much lower drop rate than weapons and a much higher cost to craft. You could play for a year without seeing a hat, or find two in your first day. Since they're just cosmetic additions to make your character look cool, don't stress too much if you aren't finding any hats.

Q: But wait, how did I get Bill's Hat and Ellis' Cap?
A: There are some "event" hats that can be obtained by either 1) playing during a certain holiday event, 2) clicking a hidden web page during a class update, or 3) having a certain game in your Steam library. For example, everyone who pre-ordered Left 4 Dead 2 on Steam gets Bill's Beret, and everyone who bought it at all now gets a Frying Pan (cosmetic melee item for the Soldier and Demoman) and Ellis' Cap.
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#3saLUEtesPosted 6/23/2011 8:55:48 PMmessage detail
Ah good tips
#4IceMage20(Topic Creator)Posted 6/23/2011 8:56:33 PMmessage detail
General Gameplay Tips

- Pay attention to your team composition. A balanced team is a winning team! A good amount of beefy classes (Soldiers, Demomen, Heavies), some high-damage offensive classes (Scouts, Pyros), at least a couple Medics, at least one Engineer for his teleporter, no more than 2 Snipers, and no more than 2 Spies is fairly ideal makeup. If you open up the class list and see that there are 3 Spies on your team, then no matter how good of a Spy you are, becoming the fourth Spy will probably just make things worse. Conversely, if your team is being wiped out by a nasty sentry and you have no Medics, switch to Medic yourself and get an Ubercharge push going.

- If there is a Medic healing you, DO NOT grab health kits. Your Medic can keep you alive, but he canít heal himself very quickly, and he canít extinguish himself if heís on fire. Let the Medic take health kits.

- Crit chance increases based on recent damage dealt, up from the default 2% chance to 12%. Critical hits do roughly 3x the damage of a normal hit and are not affected by damage falloff or ramp-up (they always do the same amount of damage, no matter the distance). Melee weapons naturally have a higher chance to crit.

- Spychecking: Spies can disguise as members of the enemy team, but it's not foolproof. Spies still take damage, can be set on fire, coated in Jarate, and cannot be walked through (you can walk through teammates, but not enemies). Be aware of your surroundings, spycheck anyone who is acting suspicious, can call out disguised spies over voice chat.

- Engineers: Engies are a support/defense class. They can build a sentry that shoots enemies, a dispenser to heal and resupply allies, and teleporters to bring people to the front lines. Engineers need metal to build and upgrade weapons, so unless you're really low on ammo, let your Engineers grab ammo boxes.


Class Summaries

Scout
A fragile hit-and-run class with low health but the highest run speed in the game. Can double-jump. Specializes in flanking enemies and dealing huge close-range damage with the Scattergun, while picking off mid-range foes with the pistol. Scouts count as two people when capturing points or pushing a cart.

Soldier
Beefy offensive class armed with a rocket launcher. Second-highest health and second-lowest run speed (below/above the Heavy). Use the Rocket Launcher to rocketjump, sacrificing health for increased mobility. Switch to the Shotgun to finish off enemies, or when facing a Pyro.

Pyro
Ambush specialist armed with a Flamethrower. Incredibly high close-range damage. Can alt-fire the flamethrower to use a Compression Blast, which reflects projectiles, extinguishes burning allies, and pushes back enemies. Mastering the Airblast (as it is often called) will make you a much better Pyro.

Demoman
Explosives and area-denial specialist. Pipe bombs can bounce around corners or go over cover, or explode for high damage when hitting enemies directly. Stickybombs can be placed and remotely detonated, perfect for taking out Sentries or defending key areas. With the right items equipped, can also be a melee combat specialist (called a "Demoknight").

Heavy
Big, beefy, and slightly quicker than fossilization. Highest health, slowest speed in the game. The Minigun, however, is one of the highest-damaging weapons in the game at close to medium range. Know when to keep your gun spinning, pay attention to your surroundings, and be a good Medic buddy.
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#5zero7717Posted 6/23/2011 8:57:06 PMmessage detail
Neat.
#6IceMage20(Topic Creator)Posted 6/23/2011 8:57:31 PMmessage detail
Engineer
Constructs buildings to aid the team. Sentries are powerful stationary guns that can watch over an area and shoot incoming enemies. Dispensers provide healing and ammo to your teammates. Teleporters move allies to the front lines quickly. Take care of your buildings, but don't forget that you have guns of your own - and watch out for Spies!

Medic
Healing specialist. Heals allies with the Medigun, building up an Ubercharge. When the charge is full, it can be deployed to make you and your patient invulnerable for 10 seconds. Alternate Mediguns provide different types of Ubercharge. Know your patients and know your surroundings - you're a prime target for Snipers and Spies. Communication with your team is crucial.

Sniper
Long-range assassin. Headshots can only be scored by shooting while zoomed in, and staying zoomed in longer will build a charge. A fully-charged headshot will instantly kill any class in the game. Heavies, Medics, and enemy Snipers are your primary targets - but pay attention to your surroundings, as you are a primary Spy target.

Spy
The tricky one. Can cloak to turn invisible for a short time, disguise as the enemy team, place Sappers on Engineer buildings to disable and destroy them, and - most importantly - Backstab enemies with the butterfly knife for an instant kill. In order to play the Spy well, you have to know the other 8 classes, know the map you're on, and know your enemy. Stab Engineers and sap their sentries, take out Medics and Heavies before they can Ubercharge, and sneak around to assassinate pesky Snipers. Don't forget to do some actual spying - communication with your team is crucial to being a good Spy.

Helpful Links

Steam Usersí Forums Ė TF2 board
http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=80

Team Fortress 2 blog
http://teamfortress.com/

TF2 wiki
http://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Main_Page
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#7InzanedudePosted 6/23/2011 9:16:51 PMmessage detail(edited)
Nice upgrade to the guide, too bad it's getting to the point where's it's impossible to say, USE THIS WEAPON, NOT THIS. since it'd take 200 years to cover all the weapons >_>
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Now Playing: Terraria, TF2, Batman: AA
http://www.tf2items.com/profiles/76561198026568310
#8Paradox_muchPosted 6/23/2011 9:21:10 PMmessage detail
[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]
#9IceMage20(Topic Creator)Posted 6/23/2011 9:22:03 PMmessage detail
Thanks for the support and whatnot. Keep this bumped until it's stickied, and also, go request an unsticky on the old version.
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#10ThamauturgePosted 6/23/2011 9:42:18 PMmessage detail(edited)
*Requested Sticky*

Edit: Requested sticky just a little while ago, and it's already stickied. (I requested the sticky, read the guide, and then posted) Can't believe how fast the mods did this when the Dissidia Duodecim board couldn't get this one completely useless stickied topic off for ages.
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