Team Fortress 2: free weekend. Help a newbie.

I’ve downloaded TF2 and am ready to try this thing out, but I’m quite nervous as I have never played online before. I don’t even know what “lag” is … well, I have a general idea, but I have no idea how to find out my framerate, that’s how lame I am.

I’m ‘okay’ at FPSes and would love to give this a try. But I’m worried because I have no idea what to expect as a newbie.

I don’t know how the game is played. There doesn’t appear to be a tutorial; is there? What class should I play? Are there any newbie-friendly servers?

Oh and I don’t have a microphone.

But I still wanna play! It seems like people LOVE this online gaming thing and have such fun, and I’m so curious about it. I just don’t want people to hate me for screwing up.

Any advice for me, please?

I don’t know that game specifically, but one tip from a mediocre-to-bad FPS player- pick a very large game, with as many people playing as possible. That way, as long as you don’t kill your own teammates, no one will be able to single you out for abuse.

Go ahead and screw up. There will be the usual assortment of idiots around. Ya gotta learn somehow. And it’s just a game. Enjoy it.

“Lag” doesn’t have anything to do directly with frame rate. If your frame rate is too low, you will notice it - the game will feel slow. Lag is typically referring to latency, which is the time it takes for your actions to travel through the internet to the server and then be sent to everyone else. Basically, it’s the delay between when you do something on your end and when it actually happens in terms of when everyone else sees it. It’s measured in ping - the number of milliseconds it takes for a signal to get from you to a server and back, or the server to you and back.

If you play on a server near you and you have a good internet connection, you can get the ping time under 50 milliseconds, which is almost imperceptable for most purposes. Anything under 200 is generally playable without much problem - above that and it starts to noticibly degrade the experience. A few unfortunate console ports won’t tell you a ping, but rather will only give you a number of bars, sort of like cell phone reception. They think their users are too dumb to be able to understand “lower ping = better”.

As for the game… well, you’re going to get your ass kicked at first. There are so many people out there that are pretty familiar with FPS games that will have a huge advantage over you. I can only say not to get discouraged, and that you will get better. If you aren’t cutting it in straight up combat, there are support roles you can perform like being a medic or engineer which help your team without necesarily requiring you to have great aiming or movement skills.

As far as a tutorial or newbie servers, I’m not sure. I haven’t played TF2 in a long time. There tend to be some servers with strong communities, some of which are more adult and tolerant and helpful, but since I don’t play TF2 myself much, I can’t really guide you on how to find them.

I think the free weekend period ends sometime Sunday afternoon, so you won’t have too much time to play. I think the sale extends at least through Sunday, and possibly into Monday. So if you like it at all, it’s a good deal at $10.

As long as you have a decent connection speed you really don’t need to worry about the online aspect of it, it won’t feel that much different than playing any other FPS, except you are playing with other people which can be more fun. Look in the setup menu for your keyboard controls, but they are pretty standardized. Don’t worry about not having a microphone, many play without one. You can google search for some tutorials, but ultimately the best way is to just jump in. You are going to be bad when you first start playing and likely will die a whole lot; there are a lot of good online player out there that spend a lot of time doing this. You might get called a noob, but we all have to learn at some point. Hopefully, you will at least see how it can be fun though and be willing to stick with it until you get better. The tip about choosing a game with a lot of people playing is a good one.

I just got into TF2 a few months ago, and it’s been a blast.

The things I love about it are:

  • The game doesn’t take itself too seriously - the death cam shots with arrows pointing at your various gibbed body parts are but one example. This leads to the players themselves not being as stick-up-their-ass as other more serious FPS, though of course you’ll have idiots here too.

  • Every class is unique and many of them feel like you’re playing a completely different game (e.g. a Sniper leads a very different life from a Soldier, while Engineers and Spies are pretty much their own sub-game). Good newbie classes include Medic, Soldier, and Heavy Weapons Guy. As a Medic, you should be healing people constantly; the best way is to follow one good player and be their personal healer (heal others who need your help too, just focus on one guy). You’ll not only be an asset to your team, but you’ll also learn how the good player plays and pick up tips along the way. Soldier is good because even with mediocre aim, splash damage will still hurt people, and you’ll feel like you’re not completely worthless. The Heavy is not good in open spaces where Snipers lurk, but otherwise, it’s not terribly difficult to find a decent spot and defend it with your scary machine gun.

  • Teamwork is encouraged but not always necessary to have fun in public servers; solo hotshots can still do great things, but you’ll need offensive teams (often with a Medic Ubercharge, which renders him and one teammate invulnerable for 8-10 seconds) to take down heavily fortified positions. However, if one team acts in a coordinated fashion and the other team doesn’t (even if individual skill level is higher), the coordinated team will walk all over the other. For a beginner, sticking with 1-2 other guys when on offense is simple and probably a very good idea, unless you’re specifically trying to flank someone or something.

And I’ve written way more than I thought I would… Just go out and play, it really is a lot of fun and I don’t think I’ve ever been yelled at, even when I was at my n00biest.

I’ve found that even TF2 players don’t take the game too seriously in general. I think everyone has their best beginner class, but the easiest I found to go with if I really, really wanted to just see how to play was medic. Just follow a guy with a minigun, hold one button, and you can learn the ropes and get a respectable score while seeing how the other classes are played from behind the scenes. Obviously this is the bare bones way to play a medic, and there’s more you can do, but medic probably has the most useful starting point team-helpfulness wise for someone who doesn’t know what any of the classes really do.

A few tips:

  1. Pick a character you like and take it into an empty server (there are tons of them) and just sort of run around and learn the ins and outs. Like, for example, the soldier can rocket-jump by pointing the rocket down while jumping. Ditto for a demoman who detonates a sticky grenade under his feet. These things are poorly documented within the game–most of the classes have special right-click abilities that you’ll just have to discover on your own.

  2. I’ve found the easiest noob class to be soldier…their offensive complexity pretty much begins and ends with firing rockets at people’s feet. The pyro seems pretty easy as well.

  3. If you log on to a server and see 5 people who are already snipers, don’t also be a sniper.

Other than that, just accept that you’ll get killed a thousand times by people who have been playing this game for two years and who know the maps inside and out. You’ll learn pretty fast. I even think that people are less likely to get angry at you in this game if you do something stupid because the tone of the game is so comical. I still laugh out loud at some of the deaths I see.

There’s also a Doper STEAM group that you might consider joining (if you haven’t already).

The game is pretty easy to pick up, and you can experiment with the different classes at your leisure. A microphone isn’t necessary; you can always communicate by text… Like everyone else has said, just hop on a server and have some fun! Also, if you’ve got questions, you’re more than welcome to send me a chat message if I’m on STEAM (presumably similarly for other Dopers, but I don’t want to speak for them).

Like most classes, Soldiers are actually quite a bit more complex than people give them credit for. Learning when to use the shotgun will add a great deal to your effectiveness, and it’s pretty much the only way to nail a good Scout. You often rocket someone, they’re badly hurt and running away, and your next rocket won’t get them in time (or is easily dodged). But don’t fear, the shotty will finish them off. I’m still pretty sluggish in switching weapons, but it’s a good habit to try and build.

And rocket jumping is pretty much the sexiest FPS trick ever, and adds an incredible amount to your game. I can only do mostly vertical jumps consistently, but already it lets me get great mid-air angles for bombarding the crap out of the helpless victims, or gets me to otherwise inaccessible areas, allowing me to cause mayhem from behind enemy lines. I’m still pretty bad at horizontal (distance) jumping, as I can’t seem to turn around and shoot at the right angle most of the time. But I’ve seen good soldiers go clear across the map off of wall jumps right into a sniper’s nest and take them all out while they’re still in zoom mode. I’m not sure I’ll ever get there, but it’s a beauty to behold.

Yes, I love this game. :smiley:

I tried it this weekend and engineer was my favorite class. The game was kind of fun and I don’t think the learning curve is that high compared to some other FPS’s. I’m still going to stick to Condition Zero as my default multiplayer FPS. The “adult” community there has a pretty strong presence.

One heads-up to anyone who just got into the game this weekend: more people than usual are playing soldier and demo because of the update. This tends to change the flavor of the game a bit. In time, things will settle down to normal .

Well, I agree that optimally using the soldier is more complex than I made it sound, but I still believe they’re the easiest with which to get started out because they have such an encompassing range and there’s not a lot of intricate technique to worry about, in contrast to a class like the spy.

I actually think the pyro is probably the simplest offensive class - there’s not much aiming involved like for the soldier, you just get close and fry them.

I agree that medic is the best way to learn the game… it’s very easy to not be very useful to your team as most classes, but as a medic if you do nothing but run around and heal people, you will be very valuable.

Well, until you heal an opposing spy and your whole team tells you what a moron you are. I did that once as a newb and I was scarred for life!

Heh. Thanks for the advice so far, guys.

I took the advice of ReticulatingSplines and went into an empty server to futz around for a while; I ended up in Sawmill and was so dumb I managed to get killed via the sawblades! :slight_smile: Also, I could NOT figure out how Demoman could set off the stick bombs. I realized my trouble is that I usually bind my right mouse button to “Forward,” but apparently right-click is important in this game? I think my USE key is what I needed (which I bound to U, appropriately enough).

I switched servers after getting kicked out for some reason to Brick____ – don’t remember the name – and someone suddenly joined me. He was really nice and cycled through all the classes, showing me various weaponry. Ooh and then he let me get an achievement by telling me how to kill him and taunt. Then we played hide and go seek for a little while. I managed to get like one kill. My trouble is I’m not very good with running and shooting. I tend to set up camp and blast away. (Maybe sniper would be a good class for me.)

Later my mentor left and the level switched to gravel pit, which was a capture point kind of game. Another newbie – or so he said – joined in and FRIED MY LAME ASS in about fifty different ways! It was hilarious how bad I am. I realize that though I’d say I’m good- to very good in FPSes as a single-player, there is just no comparison to playing with humans. I will say that I managed to win a round as BLU (capturing) and one as RED (defending), but I think the latter only occured because my opponent was having too much fun killing my pathetic self to waste time capturing. So I acted as kind of a decoy, letting myself get killed as the clock ticked away. I think I killed the guy twice.

Anyway, it was certainly fun and I think for ten bucks I’ll pick it up, just in case I ever get the courage to try again. I will definitely give Medic a try, since at least I’ll have some usefulness even if I can’t offensively shoot to save my life.

I have no idea how to find groups on Steam. (I’m totally new!) I’d love to play with people I “know” at least from the SDMB.

Detonating the pipebombs on the demoman uses your alt-fire key. The alt-fire key also does stuff like spinning up the gun for the heavy without firing and activating your ubercharge as a medic. By default it’s right click, but you can assign it to whatever button or key you’d like. I use one of my thumb buttons for the function (I also use right click to move forward).

You can find (and join) the SDMB steam group here or see the related thread here.

Ooh thanks for that, SenorBeef.

Is there a way to change my screenname on Steam? I signed up with my own name way back whenever I first installed Steam (not thinking I’d ever use it for multiplayer), and I’d rather use something else.

Go to the steam window, settings, and then the friends tab. Then you can choose a nickname. It doesn’t actually change your steam account name, but you will appear as whatever name you choose here on friends/group lists.

Don’t worry about your class. Right now you’re so bad that the class you pick doesn’t matter so long you don’t pick medic, pyro or engineer. Medics take a lot of awareness and play reading to play properly, and you’re not at that point. Pyro and engineer are just useless.

Here’s how you actually play TF2, which no one has bothered to mention despite being extremely important.

Each team has a big ball of death on it that consists of that team’s medics and their heavy classes (heavys, demos and soldiers). Orbiting this nucleus of destruction are the support classes (scouts, spies and snipers). On a map, the two groups meet and sort of sit back in a defensive position trying to get the advantage on the other team’s ball. Everyone is sitting on the safe side of a doorway spamming the doorway of the other team. They’re trying to pick off enough heavy classes from the other ball that their ball will be able to overwhelm everything and take the point. The support classes are trying to pick off the medics, since if the ball doesn’t have a medic, it will be crushed easily.

This is why playing medic is dangerous. It is difficult to avoid getting picked off when you’ve a bunch of people aiming specifically for you. A scout can easily run passed three heavy classes and kill a medic before dying. Snipers and spies can one-shot a medic before anyone knows what’s happening.

This is also why engineers and pyros are useless. They can’t burst a medic or assault heavy classes when the time comes to push.

After a push, it starts over again at the next point.