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Old 21-07-2014, 04:13
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iMaporiaintel aporia is offline aka Pookie
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Take two: Having just lost a near completed post to an ipad app crash I'm going to attempt this again: Welcome to my updated guide to getting into comp tf2. It has recently come to my attention that valk's post is getting a bit old and dusty, and that we are desperately in need of a new guide... so here it is. A small word of warning: as I am writing this for the second time on an awful ipad keyboard while on holiday (in Switzerland atm thanks for asking) this post is not likely to be eloquent or comprehensive. My sole intention is to point some new players in the right direction, and hopefully impart some useful knowledge along the way. There will be a great deal of parenthesis (because I'm lazy and sentence structure is tedious) and also some lame injokes to keep myself sane.


The Lingo:

Before you get started in the tf2 community it might help you to know the local dialect. Fortunately for you, the TF2 Cant (which is affectionately known as elite speak, or cool talk) is mostly nonexistent, however I'll do my best to help you out with the common ones throughout this post.

The following are those that don't directly relate to the actual playing of the game that I can think of at short notice:

Pug: "Pick up games" are played between two teams of mixed players that don't regularly play together. A pug is intended to be a light hearted emulation of the competitive format and a means for players to both have fun and practice in a competitive environment with people they don't typically play with.

Scrim: A scrim is the nerd-sport equivalent of a "friendly". Scrims are played between two established teams with the express purpose of practice. There is nothing on the line in these games besides the stroking of the all encompassing, holy ego.

Match: The real deal, basically a game played as part of a tournament or otherwise significant.

Logs: Stats posted after the game, useful for comparing performance however not entirely indicative of your overall performance. Type !livelogs on most servers, or visit livelogs.ozfortress.com

dets: Server details/connect string.

OWL: ozfortress winter league - the primary competition hosted my ozfortress.

OZFL: ozfortress league - doesn't always run, and there are no real winners, but it is essential that you join and participate in this with your team if you wish to join OWL.


Required downloads:

The only required download to participate in the ozfortress competitive community is Mumble.

You can download mumble from the following link mumble.sourceforge.net.

Mumble is the primary method of communication used throughout the ozfortress community, and it is essential to have this downloaded and set up before attempting to play in pugs or join a team. The set up is fairly straight forward, simply open the program, follow the audio wizard prompts, and then go to configure/settings, enable advanced in the bottom left and play around with it a bit if you feel like you need to. The most common problems are solved by turning off attenuation (in output or input) and setting push to talk through shortcuts.

To join a server with mumble go to connect, press add on the popup, and then ensure that you place the address and port in the required boxes. Label and Name are entirely up to you (name being what others see when you join, and label is used for sorting servers). The password is entered following a number of prompts to accept certificates (press yes). Don't be "that guy" and put the password in the name field.

Getting Started:

Now that you've downloaded mumble and are familiar with some cool talk you must be feeling ready to jump into competitive tf2. There are two main avenues to playing competitive tf2 without a team, which are coincidentally the two primary methods of continued personal improvement outside of playing scrims with a team and watching your recorded demos. These avenues are MGE and PUGs.

MGE: MGE has become the traditional starting point for many a new player keen to make their mark on the competitive scene. MGE is a tf2 server mod that allows players to 1v1 each other in a controlled and arbitrary environment in a particular arena. These arenas are reflections of popular dm areas on many popular maps (although some are a bit perplexing) and MGE is a useful tool to sharpen your dm skill (death matching... or clicking on the bad guys) and will likely continue to feature heavily as a warmup and practice tool throughout your tf2 career.

Before I throw you to the wolves however there are a few things that I think you should know about MGE. The first thing is that provided you play scout or soldier you should have no problem finding a wealth of opponents of diverse skill to practice against, however if you play demo most people will find the experience distasteful and finding a sparring buddy may become more difficult. The second thing is that MGE is the home turf of a particularly hostile sect of the tf2 community, a group of people so sunk into the trappings and false idols of "superior" arbitrary deathmatching skills that they are unable to interact with others who trespass in their domain. These people are typically referred to as "mge nerds" and the easiest way to spot such a nerd is to score at least one point against them in a standard duel to 20 and endure the vile tirade unleashed by your apparent affront of the natural order of things. Don't let poor performance (and nasty nerds) deter you though! All of us were like you at some point, and there is no shame in trying to get better. There will be plenty of poeple willing to play against you and you will see improvement as long as you are committed. A word of advice however: don't become an mge nerd, in a lot of people it will actually stunt their growth as a player through over-reliance on successful deathmatch in very specific situations (sorry!).

Pugging: The second option is to play pugs. As mentioned before pugs are a popular pastime for all skill levels in tf2, and they can be a little daunting at first. In a later section in this guide ill give you a speedy overview of expected class skills and general tf2 knowledge so hopefully that may alleviate some of the anxiety, however nothing can truly prepare you for a submersion into competitive tf2. The current pugging service is operated by tf2center.com - a website which allows players to create and join lobbies, select their class, and play a pug with their peers. There are no strict skill barriers on tf2center at present, however you must login through steam on an account which has at least 300? hours on tf2 to play. To join an Australian lobby simply click on an australian flag, choose your class, and enter the password on all AU lobbies which someone in the lobby chat will share with you (don't want to post it here obviously), then wait until it starts and use the buttons to connect to mumble and the server.

As with MGE there are a few points of etiquette involved in playing pugs. The first is an expectation that you have a general understanding of the game and the class you have selected to play. The second is that you absolutely must not, under any circumstances, play sniper. Ever. This may seem totally unfair, but if you trust me on anything in this guide its that I'm listing this as a rule for your own good. The reason for this declaration is that sniper in comp tf2 (6v6) is entirely unlike sniping in pubs or in highlander. Hitting headshots does not necessarily validate your usefulness, and there are few players out of the hordes of seasoned veterans that don't effectively ruin a pug with incompetence and poor timing as soon as they select the sniper. Don't tempt the hatred of everyone you are playing with, you are likely among those snipers that fall into the just-ruined-any-trace-of-fun group and you're better off not sticking your hand in the fire.

Another similarity is that there are many players which may appear gruff and intolerant of your shortcomings as a player. The best solution for this is honestly to explain that you're new & trying to improve, maybe ask for some pointers as much as you can, soak up what others say to you, and try to ignore the derision of those less favourable. The reality is that most players are typically helpful, and while many of these people may not be experts they likely know more than you and it will be valuable for you to listen to what they have to say and try to implement it in your game. The most important advice I can give to you is not to get disheartened, improvement will come and its well worth the struggle, especially if you can find some likeminded people to play and improve with.

General 6v6 Guidelines

The next two sections will be very brief, as I don't really want to repeat the content in our video guides which you can find here: (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...mdjo1CWCTVXlrx & youtube.com/shinuftw)

Competitive tf2 is currently played exclusively on 5cp and koth maps. The current map pool varies, however the most stable core cp maps are badlands, snakewater, process, and granary, and the current koth map is pro_viaduct. In OWL maps are played first to 5 (koth first to 4), with two 30 minute halves and an enforced changeover when one team reaches 3 wins. In most pugs and scrims teams either play first to 5, or just a full 30 minutes regardless of the score.

There are a number of class restrictions enforced in competitive tf2. In OWL these are 2 scouts, 2 soldiers, 2 pyros, 1 demo, 1 heavy, 1 engineer, 1 medic, 2 snipers, 1 spy. As there are only 6 players per team the most common arrangement of these has 2 scouts, 2 soldiers, 1 demo, and 1 medic - with either a scout or soldier "offclassing" as needed. This may be switching to sniper or spy during or in anticipation of a stalemate, or attempting to stall and defend with a heavy, pyro, or engineer.

There are weapon restrictions in ozfortress competitions, the most recent of which can be found here: http://ozfortress.com/showthread.php?t=61217

General Class Guidelines

As posted earlier the most common arrangement includes 2 scouts, 2 soldiers, 1 demo, 1 medic. You should pick one of these classes and attempt to specialise in it. These classes are then further divided into roles in some cases.

General responsibilities and role:

Scouts: Some teams run designated roles for their scouts (aggressive/passive or "flank" and "combo") however others simply allow their scouts more freedom to fulfil their role. The scouts role is complex, however it typically involves striking a balance between aggression on the flank and protection against similar aggression from the other team against the combo (the players surrounding your teams medic and the pushing powerhouse of your team - see later). The scout typically relies on superior mobility & the strength of the scattergun in "mopping" (cleaning up - killing low health targets following a clash between teams) and also the ability to effectively cause havoc on the flank and behind the enemy team.
Soldiers: Divided into Pocket and Roamer roles the soldier effectively transforms entirely depending on your role. The pockets responsibility is typically to lead uber fights and protect the medic, while also having more immediately accessible mobility to allow for aggression in comparison to the demoman. The Roamer's responsibility is typically to work the flank, effectivelly attempting to destabilise the other team through aggressive plays or "bombs" (rocket jumping at the enemy team with the intention of killing the demo/medic typically), or through flanking behind/distracting/otherwise causing trouble for the other team to make space/initiate for the combo.

Demoman: Alongside the pocket the demo is the damage powerhouse of the team, and is the core of many fights. This is particularly true on rollout as much is decided by the demos ability to execute the starting jumps & effectively aim the initial damage of the round. Demos typically play on the combo near the medic and pocket, and will often receive the second most love from medics following the pocket. Demo is one of the most complex classes to play in the game, and while it is the most rewarding in terms of sheer damage output, you should expect to be a common target for enemy aggressive players as you are essential to effective area control in holds and pushes, particularly in no-uber situations.

Medic: The medic is the heart of your team, and is carefully protected by every action of the other 5 players. The medic's value in healing and gradually building ubercharge is essential to progressively pushing the other team back to allow the capture of further control points, and also to the successful defence of such pushes. As such there is great emphasis on killing enemy medics, and roamers and scouts often occupy their time in probing for an opening to attempt to "drop the medic", and either purchasing their team an advantage or a reprieve from disadvantage.

General Strategy:

TF2 is constantly evolving, however there are some eternal and core elements to general strategy which I will endeavour to list succinctly. The most important of these is to understand the notion of advantages. These advantages are the hinges upon which success in a push swing, and they are typically manifested in the guises of uber, player, positioning and incidental advantages.

Uber Advantage: Uber is the most commonly dwelled upon advantage, especially by new players. The notion of pushing into a team which can potentially become invulnerable for up to 8 seconds before you are able to is daunting, and even in pro games relative uber percentages will dictate great sections of the game. Ubercharge is a progressively accumulated resource which eventually allows the medic and his heal target to become invulnerable for 8 seconds (a length of time which diminishes each time the medic "bounces" or "multies" to a new target), and as both teams consistently attempt to push with, nullify, or otherwise attempt to take advantage of the uber situation it is an extremely important game mechanic.

Player Advantage: Player advantage is the second most commonly understood and acted upon in TF2. The concept is extremely simple, as if the other team has less players alive than you, it will be easier to push ground and capitalise. Learning to differentiate what kinds of player advantages are pushable is somewhat more involved, and a good tf2 player will be constantly thinking about whether they have enough of an advantage to push. This concept will be especially important later when I talk a bit about trading, however even a basic understanding of player advantages and disadvantages will help you immensely as a new player.

Positioning and Incidental advantages: I'm going to lump these two together a they are the most complex category of advantages in the game, and also the least acted upon by most players and teams. These advantages manifest in many ways, from estimated health and ammo levels, to uniquely favourable positions, and are the factors often coming into risky plays made by confident teams. I won't go into too much detail about this because it honestly gets a little convoluted, however some straightforward examples anyone can keep track of is counting enemy demo/pocket ammo (and roamers on the flank! you'd be surprised) during spammy situations before pushes, to estimated levels of hp - an easy example of something that becomes pushable in this situation is if you can keep track of these things you may be able to get into a point like granary last where the respawn is a long distance for the point during a demoman ammo rotate. Another more complex example involves using even minor distractions from roamers to muscle ground away, or utilising the fact that the enemy team knows you have a player behind them to force them into surrendering position to your team or into a compromising uber fight. Like I said its all a bit complex, and probably the easiest ones to keep track of are to just consider the relative strengths of attacking/defending on certain points (check our videos!)

With all of that in mind I'm going to talk about the basic strategic options in tf2 that recur across the board, and also talk a little about things that you as a player should learn to anticipate.

The most logical place to start is the rollout. If you've watched our vids then you know that in most cases rollouts come down to something of a formula, at least in lower levels. The demo will arrive early and attempt to damage/establish position on the mid, scouts will generally look to protect against aggression and look to exploit openings provided by demo damage & the roamer. The roamer will typically look to jump either a separated/extended player, the demo, or the medic and cause as much general havoc as possible to open up the point and allow your team to push across and follow up. During this the medic is healing low targets & looking to stay alive, while the pocket typically helps to protect against aggression and in some cases capitalise on factors mentioned earlier/assist the roamer in aggression.

On most maps there is typically a "yard" or transition area between middle and the second point, and depending on how your rollout went you'll likely be either attacking or defending this area. An important thing to remember is that you should never sacrifice ground for no reason in TF2, and wherever possible you should contest the other team at every opportunity (note: only if its safe to do so! don't make it worse by all dying stupidly - you want to stay alive in most cases...unless you're a roamer and then its all about judgment). There are a lot of factors which will influence your potential to attack/defend the yard and second point (watch vids! mostly just player/uber situation though and the merits of each point), and it is typically at this point that a "combo" and a "flank" will emerge. The flank typically consists of the roamer and perhaps either a floating or rotating scout, and you will want to be holding the other side of the map to your combo in most cases - preventing against the other team looping around your combo and attacking them, and looking to do the same to the other team/pressure their flank to establish aggressive positioning. The combo will be attempting to gain position against the other teams combo, typically either through concentrated spamming/waiting for an opportunity provided by flank/or an uber trade.

The final stage of the round is attacking the other teams last point, and in many ways the roles remain the same. Last point is often where util classes (sniper/spy/engineer/heavy/pyro) appear to either enforce a defensive stalemate or break one. The dynamics concerning last are often complex, and entering into a discussion requires specific map analysis which is more than I want to go into in this article. There are a lot of good resources out there though, really the biggest thing is to remember your advantages, accept that sometimes you are going to have to push in a perfectly even situation and attempt to establish position with a strong uber trade, and not die like an idiot.

The beauty in tf2 is the transitions between points, and the to-and-fro that often occurs when evenly matched teams play against one another. For the most part it is a fast past game with some stalemates, and there are a lot of opportunities for individuals to shine while still operating in a fundamentally team based environment. The most important things to remember when you are new and trying to improve are as follows:

Try to stay alive as much as possible, particularly in stalemates. In saying that though, you don't want to bait your team by sitting around hiding while they do all the work. Just don't die like an idiot trying to duel all game.
Keep track of advantages.
Listen to people on your team and try to communicate your intentions.
Try your best to perform your role, nobody likes it if you are meant to be playing roamer and you never jump on rollout or are never on the flank.
When you are pushing, your team should try to cover all exists to prevent backcaps (capturing a point behind the other teams current position), especially on last.

Some class specific pointers that I think will help you improve faster:

Scout:
If you are new I think that you are much better off trying to play more of a "pocket scout" role rather than attempting to be a hero on the flank. Playing aggressively is difficult and requires good understanding of various timings & the ability both to exploit holes and connect your shots. If you do this poorly you are negatively impacting your team almost constantly. Look to protecting your team from aggression and capitalising on your teams pushes.
Don't pick (bad) duels. So many new & veteran players try to take duels that they don't need to take, or that they are ill equipped for. This is especially true if your team has player disadvantage. In most cases you are more benefit if you stay alive and help consolidate your losses, rather than trying to even the score. I'm editing this part a bit for clarity - while duelling is obviously very important, you want to focus on duelling at a disadvantage as little as possible, especially when you're new. If you aren't sure if its a good idea or not, its probably safer to assume that it isnt.

Soldier:
Many of these are similar to scout, although another is not to go middy hunting. There's nothing worse than watching a pocket shoot all 4 rockets at a player in the air, rather than focusing on neutralising real threats to his team.
As a roamer spend a lot of time considering positional advantages and look to support your team as much as possible. Also try to stay off your medics heal beam as much as possible and get good at rocket jumping efficiently & often. Mobility and timing are often your best tools.
Learn to conserve ammo and efficiently use your shotgun if you're a pocket. Also spend a lot of time watching good pockets play (like yuki!) and try to learn how to use ubers effectively.

Demo:
You are a king. Let the peasants die for you rather than leading the charge. This isn't always the case but a lot of demos get tied up in all the numbers they are producing and tend to overextend, never be an easy target... people are hunting you.

Medic:
Don't get in front of your pocket/the person you are healing.
Learn to dodge spam.
Try to run towards people that can help you when you have 1 player bombing you, rather than away from them.
Learn your rollout healing rotation (demo as long as you can, scout, scout, roamer, pocket).
Try to keep track of your uber, people are lazy and will often ask you if its advantage or disadvantage.
Develop a thick skin.


Conclusion

I think thats pretty much all that I wanted to say. I feel like I'm missing some things I wanted to put in last night so I might add to this over time if they come back to me, or if you guys think I should include something let me know and I'll add it. Hopefully this is useful to new players, however there might be some stuff in there that is useful to the rest of you too... its pretty general but anything more specific and analytical is not really in the spirit of helping new players get started.

Remember that the most important thing is to have fun, and try your best to find a group of likeminded people to share your journey with.

:~)
Last edited by aporia; 23-07-2014 at 04:44.
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#2
Old 21-07-2014, 16:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aporia View Post
this post is not likely to be eloquent or comprehensive.
lol'd

Nice write up aporia, I'm sure a lot of people will appreciate it
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#3
Old 21-07-2014, 19:19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aporia View Post

Before I throw you to the wolves however there are a few things that I think you should know about MGE. The first thing is that provided you play scout or soldier you should have no problem finding a wealth of opponents of diverse skill to practice against, however if you play demo most people will find the experience distasteful and finding a sparring buddy may become more difficult. The second thing is that MGE is the home turf of a particularly hostile sect of the tf2 community, a group of people so sunk into the trappings and false idols of "superior" arbitrary deathmatching skills that they are unable to interact with others who trespass in their domain. These people are typically referred to as "mge nerds" and the easiest way to spot such a nerd is to score at least one point against them in a standard duel to 20 and endure the vile tirade unleashed by your apparent affront of the natural order of things.
:~)

hahaha
Last edited by Bunneez; 21-07-2014 at 19:40.
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#4
Old 23-07-2014, 03:05
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRsPheErBj8

EDIT: I'd like to add that watching and learning from the best can also be an effective tool for improving, whether it's a situation you can't quite grasp or figuring out just how that scout manages to slip by.

From my own experience I vastly improved my pocket soldier watching former Australian allstar and Ultiduo champion Nicholas "eps" "little nicky" McVickson weave one of his battle-born works of art that can only be described as the the epitome of pure tactical and mechanical brilliance, and the foundations that every soldier that wants to get good should base their play on.
Last edited by J T; 23-07-2014 at 03:26.
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#5
Old 23-07-2014, 03:49
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iMaporiaintel aporia is offline aka Pookie
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This is very true although I think it may be dangerous to direct new players towards lil_nicky's fabled skill, talent, and dedication.

One such example of this danger lies in his awesome, and unique, ability to get 1000 kills in mge in a little under 4 hours. I challenge you to find any other upon this luscious earth who could resist the temptations of mge nerddom, and to do so with such little apparent effort. I worry that a newer player would struggle to emulate lil_nICKy's innate personal virility and steadfast resilience in the face of greater tf2 evil, and couldn't help but fail in upholding all of the virtues represented by King Nicholas, Overlord of Waniora, Defender of the Truth, Champion of the Children, and Protector of the Realm.
Last edited by aporia; 23-07-2014 at 03:52.
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#6
Old 23-07-2014, 04:04
Australia
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Some little things:

You mention the "combo" in the roamer segment "... to make space for the combo...", yet you do not mention what the combo is. You may want to just chuck in somewhere clearly what the combo is; it appears the meaning of it is scattered somewhere in Africa. Maybe you should have a more gameplay related term list?

Quote:
Don't pick duels. So many new & veteran players try to take duels that they don't need to take, or that they are ill equipped for.
I can kind of agree to this to an extent. However, there are times where going out of your comfort zone to go for an aggressive frag will net a massive advantage for your team, and you might not die straight after it! Should say something like, "Don't constantly go for duels. If you do want to, try and do it at even the smallest advantage/even ground, preferably not at a disadvantage". Otherwise, you may breed a generation of scouts that don't go for duels, ever - we have enough of them

You probably want to touch base on communication a bit more, if you can be assed. Stuff like: calling intentions (done), calling damage, calling targets, calling fights you are in, communicating advantages/disadvantages. Stating one of the main reasons for communicating a lot of this stuff is because it prompts your team to react accordingly, e.g. "I'm fighting a soldier at resup", will often just prompt one of your team to come help you - you may not always need to call for help (although, it is a good idea!)

etc etc good post

also don't shitpost a useful thread goober

EDIT: gullywash is another "stable map"
Last edited by yuki; 23-07-2014 at 04:13.
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Old 23-07-2014, 04:38
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I'll update some stuff about most of those things.

I'm not too sure about duels though - obviously you're right when it comes to most people improving & also just general what-u-should-do, but I wasnt *really* intending on this being a general guide to tf2. More of a helping new players, and honestly I think its "generally" better if new players focus on not getting into bad duels as much as possible and focus on learning to read the game. Learning bad habits isn't great sure, but I think the pendulum swings worse towards noobs that start off dueling too much and never break out of it than the other way

Maybe I'll just clarify what i mean a bit better
Last edited by aporia; 23-07-2014 at 04:42.
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#8
Old 23-07-2014, 04:48
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You make a good point. I was kinda thinking that as I made that post; carry on!
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Old 23-07-2014, 11:46
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this deserves to be stickied
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#10
Old 23-07-2014, 15:44
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Make Soldiers bold plz
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#11
Old 23-07-2014, 17:54
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Good work Aporia, now I can finally be good at this game.
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