Discussing: Why Team Fortress 2 is The Best Multiplayer Game for n00bs

team-fortress-2

When I had my Xbox 360, I owned a copy of the Orange Box. I bought it strictly for Half-Life 2 and its expansions. I ignored Team Fortress 2 and Portal (committing the ultimate sin, damning my soul to the fires of Hades). However, after some time I popped in the disc into my console and tried Team Fortress 2. I don’t remember much about my experience with the game then and maybe that’s why I put it back on the shelf. Cut to the present. Developer Valve announces that Team Fortress 2 will become free to play. There will be no ad support and revenue will be obtained solely through micro-transactions from the in game store. So anyone with a Steam account now owns Team Fortress 2. Then again, Steam accounts are free so anyone with a computer that’s no older than six or seven years can now play this game.

I’ve been wanting Team Fortress 2 for awhile now. I no longer own an Xbox 360 and most of my current gaming is through my PC. I already own everything else on the Orange Box and Team Fortress 2 was the only one left. So after Valve’s announcement, I immediately opened up Steam and downloaded the game. However, aside from configuring the settings, I didn’t play it. Once I had booted up the game, I felt intimidated. This is the problem with many multiplayer games. People are so good in these first person shooters that if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re just a target, a piece of meat, a n00b.

A week or two goes by and Steam is having its Summer Camp promotion and one of the scavenger hunt tasks is in Team Fortress 2. While on fire, jump into a pool of water. I decide to jump into the game to at least get this achievement. I jump into a capture the flag match and select the soldier class because he has a rocket launcher and a shotgun. A long range weapon and a short range weapon, both powerful, would keep me ready for both situations, I thought.

For the first 10 minutes or so, I’m constantly keep getting fragged over and over. I’m being gunned down by turrets, snipers are getting head shots and spies keep on sneaking up behind me. However, in the first 10 seconds of my playing, I fragged someone. Even though I’m constantly dying, I average one to two kills before I die. This is the first and greatest feature of Team Fortress 2. This game is so well balanced. Experienced characters can build turrets to protect areas and snipers can camp and wait for that perfect headshot and be rewarded for their patience and marksmanship. However, for new players, this game knows that the weapons in this game are supposed to kill their targets and no amount of expertise is going to change that. A spy can run around fragging players left and right but when the n00b shoots him with a rocket launcher, he’s going to die. The game engine is great in that it gives anyone a chance to win, anyone.

After awhile, I decide to try out another class. So I try out the Pyro class. Although I was able to frag someone after I died due to burn damage, I didn’t like how slow he was. So then I tried the engineer class, the heavy class, the demoman class and the medic class. This brings up the second feature about Team Fortress 2 that makes it great for n00bs. The classes are quite varied and for the most part, easy to understand. Medics heal people, heavies have a big ass gun, snipers have a gun with a scope, spies are sneaky and engineers build things. These different classifications make sense and since weapons are dependent on the class you choose, n00bs don’t have to worry about which is the best weapon. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Most people can wrap their heads around these concepts easily and find one that they like.

Eventually, I return to the soldier class and decide to stay on the defensive to protect my team’s base instead of going on the offensive and trying to grab the briefcase (the flag in this game) from their base. For the next several minutes, I’m enthralled by the constant action and my contributions to that action. I develop a rivalry with different players, it being called a nemesis, and am rewarded when I exact revenge upon them. This is the third feature about Team Fortress 2 that’s great. You are always being rewarded in some way. There are many achievements you can unlock and different statistical goals you can reach in every game you play. Because of this, there’s less of a chance for a player to get frustrated. Even if you died 20 times, if you kill one person a certain way, you’ll be rewarded. I was able to get that aforementioned fire / pool task done and even received an achievement called “Rasputin” for being shot, burned, bludgeoned, and blown up while remaining alive. I was about to die at one point and was backed into a corner by a spy. I whipped out my frying pan and whack him to death before succumbing myself. Achievement Unlocked!

Towards the end of this particular game, which was running about an hour long now, I decided to try out the scout. I thought he would be weak, having less health than other classes and being armed only with a shotgun, pistol and a baseball bat. At first, I was right. I tried to defend our base but I was being fragged quicker than usual. Then I realized that my team only had one point and the other team had two. The game would end after one team achieved six points. I decided that I would go back on the offensive and try to get a point for my team. After a few failed attempts, I learned of a way into the other team’s base that was unprotected and convoluted enough of a path that gunning me down would be hard. I went down this path and encountered only one enemy, and I was able to frag them quickly because I caught them off guard. I picked up the briefcase and ran back the way I came. I went into my team’s base and successfully earned a point for my team. The feeling that I had finally made a significant contribution to the match was amazing. I was quite elated.

Now do you know what I did next? I did it again. I ran back into the enemies base, retrieved the briefcase and score another point for our team again. Our team was now ahead one point, 3 to 2. This must’ve motivated my teammates as two separate people were able to get two more points for our team. The match now stood at 5-2 and I noticed another player going for the final point and I accompanied them. By now, the other team was now on high alert and we were met with heavy resistance. My partner was a soldier and he was blowing up our opposition while I jumped and ran around, drawing gunfire and shooting them with my shotgun when given the chance. We were successful in retrieving the briefcase and returned to our base. As we entered our base, my partner was fragged by a spy on the opposing team who had made it past the others. He dropped the briefcase, I killed the spy and picked up the briefcase. However, I ran into another enemy who fragged me. I dropped the briefcase but it needs to be dropped for a certain amount of time before it’s returned to the own base. The briefcase was still in our base and this guy was now forced to stay and camp over the briefcase in enemy territory.

I ran towards where the briefcase was and battled the same enemy and was fragged again. However, I still had time. I confronted him from a different angle than I had previously and this time fragged him. I grabbed the briefcase right as another player from the other team reached where I was. I made a dash for it. The other player was a soldier and he ran after me, shooting rockets at me as I ran towards the end point. I was faster than him and successfully dodged the rockets fired at me. I ran the briefcase to our base’s basement and earned my team’s sixth and final point, winning the match for our team. Out of the six points, I had contributed three. When I started the match, I didn’t know what I was doing. By the end of the match, I had scored half of the points for my team. This conclusion is such a perfect example of the strengths of the game. Anyone can win, due to the excellent balance in the game. There are so many well crafted and diverse classes that you’ll find one suited to you. This game is so good at giving you a sense of achievement consistently and continuously.

In closing, Team Fortress 2 is a great game for Valve to make free to play, effectively making it a gateway drug to FPS multiplayer. N00bs may have initial anxiety with the game but that is unfair. This game is truly different from the Call of Duties and Halos of the world and you won’t be overwhelmed once you get into the game. So go forth, try it out and let me know your experiences with Team Fortress 2. Maybe you have a great story to tell. Experienced Team Fortress 2 players, how do you feel the game lends itself to new players? Is the community helpful to n00bs?

Let me know what’s on your mind grapes.

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