Purpose of Team Fortress
It should be obvious, but it seems as if many players miss it. Look at the
first word in "Team Fortress". Ahh, get it? Yup, this is no ordinary
deathmatch game, where it's everyone for his or herself. There are some people
who play TF as such, though. If you want a disoriented frag fest, with
classes, check out Future vs Fantasy (FvF). I am by no means saying such a
game is bad (hell, chaos is good once in a while), but for the most part,
that's not what Team Fortress is all about.
In TF, teams are pitted against each other. They have to work together in
order to: 1) secure their base, and 2) score against the enemy. Sometimes
scoring is done via flag capturing (a la CTF). Or sometimes it requires
damaging parts of the enemy base (like in Havoc). In any case, coordination is
something teams should be doing, if they want to win.
Although we all love killing, being #1 on the frag list doesn't necessarily
mean you're good at TF. If you're fragging everybody, but letting the enemy
team score against you, and not scoring against them ... you're not a good TF
player. A great killer perhaps, but it would undoubtedly be better for your
team if you adapted to the TF style.
So what does this all mean? Simple. You will take a rocket blast if it means
protecting the flag carrier. You will patiently defend your own flag. You will
tell others where the enemy is. You will go out of your way to detpack-open
grates and holes. You will go after spies that threaten to backstab your
teammates. You live, frag, and die for your team. And you will have a helluva
fun time doing so.
Defending your base is one of the most important jobs you can do for your
team. After all, you want to make the enemy team work if they want to score,
right? Fortunately, this is one of the easier things to do in TF. Respawn
points are generally near the flag, as are ammo/armor supplies. Enemies that
come your way are likely to be damaged already. And most maps have choke
points so that you know where they're coming from as well.
There are two types of defense: base defense and score defense. The former is
the first line of defense. It's their job to injure, if not kill, the enemy
before they reach the score area. This is the role Snipers usually play: kill
the enemy the moment they start heading towards your base. Engineers are also
necessary. Their sentries should try to catch anyone who happens to slip past
the Sniper. Players of other classes should situation themselves in whatever
choke points happen to be in the map. What you don't want to do is let a
person roam around your base unscathed. Doing so is dangerous for your fellow
Snipers/Engineers and more importantly, your second (and often last) line of
defense. Finally, if anyone does happen to get past you, and starts heading
towards the flag/score area, it's important that you alarm your teammates.
Score area defenders play a crucial role. Often, if they fail, the result is a
victory for the enemy. Its their job to stop the enemy, at all costs.
Unfortunately, this is a role often unfulfilled, because players get bored
waiting for the enemy to come. Just remember, though, that this job is vital
... and easy. As mentioned before, it doesn't take much to frag someone who's
gone through an entire base of hell.
Opposite of Defense is, of course, Offense. This is probably the more exciting
job of the two. But easily the most dangerous.
IMHO, there's really no easy way to subdivide offense. There is just so much
you can do to help your team. Usually, an offensive run consists of doing a
wide variety of things, which hopefully make it easier for those following you
to score. Some things you can do: scout (tell your teammates where Sentries
are), go on a Sniper/Sentry hunt, distract the base defense, clear out a path,
escort teammates, or even try to score yourself.
Whatever you do, remember your team. Yes, it may be fun to camp and annoy the
hell out of the enemy. But if a teammate is requesting backup, or needs to
have the flag picked up, or requires health/ammo, etc., be prepared to help. I
know I'm sometimes guilty of going on a simple minded fragfest, while
forgetting the purpose of my mission. Sometimes you just have to break away,
and sacrifice yourself for the good of the team.
Once the enemy flag/key has been retrieved, you'll obviously want to score
with it if possible. If you happen to lose it, BE SURE to tell your teammates
where it is. Once the flag is out in the open, the most important thing to do
is to keep it alive, by merely touching it. With enough communication and
teammwork, you should eventually be able to take it far enough to score.
As important as offense is, be prepared to help your team defend if necessary.
Obviously, it is not a good idea to send the entire team after the enemy flag,
leaving yours ripe for the taking. Don't stretch your resources too thin.
Finally, injuring incoming enemy offensive units will definately help your
defenders in the long run. You don't need to chase after them, but give 'em a
few rockets or nails as a greeting. :)
Basic Class Tips
The best thing you can do for your team is choose a class that you're good at,
and that they're lacking. Nowadays, classes like Snipers and Engineers are a
must. (So are Soldiers and Medics but a team almost always has enough of them)
Please don't choose a class if you're not good with them, though. All you do
is waste ammo and time. (Use small, really unimportant games to practice new
classes, or perhaps games in which your team is simply dominating)
Obviously, it's important that you know the strengths and weaknesses of each
class. Take note of the benefits and problems, and use them to predict the
actions of your enemy. "Knowledge is power", so read up!
Be aware of the speed differences. Namely, don't go chasing after Scouts if
you're a Heavy Weapons Guy. If you think you have a chance of catching up
(Soldier vs Demoman, go ahead and try, but don't waste too much of your time
if the pursuit turns hopeless.
Use them! Regular hand-grenades are supposedly twice as powerful as normal
grenade-launcher ones. Great for parties with the enemy! Bounce them around
corners, lob them onto balconies. Use them on sentries, Hwguys, other
unsuspecting villains, and watch the fireworks!
Also get to know the special grenades as well. Some are rather piddly, but
others can result in near instant death.
Used by Soldiers. Somewhat powerful, and they can really clear out a room!
Best used if thrown into a small room with lots of enemies. (Ever try the ammo
rooms in 2fort4? Gibs of fun!) Note however, that nail grenades are notorious
for causing lag and crashing servers. It's not fun for the server to record
where every nail in the grenade is. (I personally made a big boo boo when I
threw, uhh, 6 or so nail grenades into the top level in Havoc32)
Can we say cheap? Gobs of fun and gibs o' plenty. These little nasties will
spew forth multiple grenades, in attempt to blast open anyone within its
range. They're probably the Engineer's worst nightmare, since many o' MIRV has
"dismantled" a sentry.
Used by Engineers. Not much to them. Use 'em like normal grenades. However,
they pack a much LARGER punch. (Most blasts seem to result in instant death)
They're supposed to blow up the ammo of anyone in range. Maybe if you didn't
carry any ammo, you'd survive? :)
These really annoy me. Basically, they cause your view to shift around
automatically. Moving around is still possible, but firing is unwise (and
dangerous if you're a Soldier). I've heard of Medics "grenade jumping" using
these things. Must be hard, but definately a good ability to have.
Yet another "annoying" grenade. Used by Scouts to blind their foes
(momentarily) and slip through unsuspected. As with concussions, it's usually
not a good idea to fire ... who knows who or what you'll hit? (Can we say:
Used by Spies. Not terribly effective, though. It's sort of like the nail
grenade, in that rooms will be cleared (for quite a long time I might add).
But they're not likely to kill anyone, unless you happen to tranquilize enemy
players into them. In any case, they sort of give away the Spy.
Used by Pyros. These used to be not that powerful, but in the latest version
these can be deadly. Now they continuously burst into flame. They can be used
to block off passages and just as good as a mirv grenade for taking out
sentries. It's great for damaging incoming enemies.
Finally, the last "special" grenade isn't even a grenade at all ... it's the
flare. Used by Snipers. Flares seem to work best when used to light up those
shadowy areas Snipers like to lurk in. The Sniper can now chuck the flare
pretty far. But wouldn't it have been nice what if Snipers were able to SHOOT
flares, via the Sniper Rifle?
Knowing the Levels
One of the most important tips I can give: know the levels. Also, learn how to
score in them. It never ceases to amaze me how many people take the key to the
wrong place in the Rock or how many players don't know where the control room
is in Havoc. Do your teammates a favor and read the DOCs. Or at the very
least, don't pick up keys/flags if you don't know where they go. There's
nothing more irritating than watching a teammate in the Rock bring the key to
It's also important to know where the choke points and Sniper / Sentry
hideouts are. If you know where to expect the enemy, you'll probably find a
way to surprise THEM instead of vice versa. Also, I've found it much easier to
bounce grenades into areas with Sentries, rather than attack one head on. :)