By LordXavierBritish 24 Comments
So there are a lot of guides out there for TF2. Guides on specific classes, game modes, maps. The one thing that is a bit harder to find though is a real beginners guide. A guide that dishes out all those neat tricks vets learned when we first had to use them, or the little things new players might miss by accident and never learn until months down the road. Well this is that guide, this is the guide that's going to open all the doors for you in TF2 and really make the game really enjoyable. With such a huge influx of new players and people coming back for the first time in months, if not years, I thought it would be a good idea to create a little repository of information like this locally so that anyone new to the Giant Bomb/Tested server, or just the game itself, could get a handle on the game quickly and really start having fun.
So let's get started.
if there is anything you still don't understand about basic game mechanics, or there is something you want to know more about that isn't included here, go to the TF2 Official Wiki. It is a good wiki and I endorse it, that's how you know it's good.
How do I get new weapons?
Some people will tell you the only way to get items is to wait for them to drop. Those people are fucking retarded. It seems that all this time, people have forgotten there wasn't always a drop system. Before there were drops, everyone had to get new items for each class by completing class based achievements, and you can still do this to get weapons as well.
Better yet, you can game the system and get all those achievements in just an hour or two.
Look, maybe it's cheating but you're behind the curve already. If you want some of the most essential items in the game including both the Spy watches, Heavy's Sandvich, the Medic's Kritzkrieg and Ubersaw, and the Soldier's Equalizer this is the easiest way to do it.
The first thing you're going to want to do is download an achievement map, preferably one based around the class you want to be doing achievements for. There are a ton of them out there, including a few pretty funny fake ones, and you should have no trouble finding a few to use. Just in case, here are a few general achievement maps for you to try out:
The most important thing to look for is that it has an open spawn where you can see, and fire at, every single person who spawns.
Now ideally you want to get a friend or two to help out with this as some achievements are difficult to do alone, but with the following method you should be able to get a majority of them by yourself with little to no issues whatsoever.
Step 1. First click the little + on top of the Browse Server button, this will allow you to create your own TF2 server. Don't worry if your connection is terrible or your computer is shit, because unless you plan on bringing your friends in this isn't going to be a problem.
Queue up one of the achievement maps you've downloaded and wait for the server to load.
Step 2. Okay, now this is the part where you need to pay attention. Now that you are in the server you need to hit the ~ key on your keyboard to open up the game's console. If you haven't played a lot of PC games, this is basically what you use to control all the aspects of a game by inputting commands it recognizes, in this case we are going to control the server to spawn bots for you to kill.
Once you are in the console type in "sv_cheats 1", this will allow you to manipulate the server. This will turn achievements off, but that's okay for now.
Next type in "bot", this will spawn a bot. These are not like the bots in Offline Practice, they aren't going to be doing anything unless you tell them too, and this is just what we want. Keep spawning these bots until you hit the cap which should be 23, leaving one slot for you to make 24 players.
Now, type "sv_cheats 0" to turn cheats off and then type "retry" to restart the server. You can now earn achievements again.
Step 3. Look up the achievements you are aiming for and start the massacre.
The only real downside to this method is it will screw up your player stats, but once you are done farming these can be easily reset using the Stats screen should you choose to.
With this method you should be able to get all of the class update items for each class extremely quickly and without much fuss.
Enjoy your new weapons.
How do I learn a class?
Outside of looking up the previously mentioned class guides and just trying things out, here are a few tips.
TrainingIt's best to try out all the capabilities of a class on your own before taking it into a live fire situation. The best way to do that is on the following map:
This map is basically one long hallway with all manner of vantage points that will spawn bots running through it for you to fire at. You can adjust all sorts of things like whether or not the bots are firing or not to create the type of training enviroment you want.
You should also, of course, check out the included tutorials on Soldier, Demoman, Spy, and Engineer to learn all the capabilities of those classes as well as the offline bot practice mode to get a general idea of how your class can best assist your team in an actual match.
The BasicsHere is a quick run down of what classes are easiest to learn what you should be doing as each class:
Solider: General purpose combat class. Soldier is great for new players because he is relatively easy to learn the basics of but has a huge overhead for mastery. Basically when you are starting out you just need to aim and fire, trying aiming at the enemy's feet to maximize splash damage and pop them into the air. Whip out your shotgun rather than reloading your rocket launcher if you run out of ammo and need to reload. Try to use your rocket's firing distance to your advantage by keeping classes that like to get up close like Scouts and Pyros at bay with a few blasts to their feet. You can rocket jump to higher areas by jumping and then firing doward, use the height advantage to amplify your splash damage. Try to keep near the front lines and push them forward.
Heavy: Assault class. Heavy is good for teaching new players about class weaknesses and strengths, because Heavy is pretty much at the two extremes of both. You will need to watch your back for Spies aiming for your huge back and keep your head out of view from Snipers. When not trying to keep your fat ass alive you'll be the hardest class in the entire game to kill by conventional means with 300 health and the strongest close range weapon in the game. Always try to keep your gun revved up with alt fire when you think you might be getting into combat and jump and rev around corners to give you the combat advantage. If a Medic is on you, which is often the case, make sure to watch out for him as he will not only keep you alive but he will help to heal your team as well. If your Medic needs health, drop your Sandvich with alt fire if you have it equipped for him to pick up. You too should try to stick close to the front lines at all time and work with your team to move forward.
Scout: This is probably the hardest of the "easy" classes, so you may want to hold off on trying Scout for a bit. It's not that he is that hard to learn, he uses fairly standard FPS mechanics, but his movement can take a little getting used to and he, like the Solider, has a huge overhead for mastery. As a Scout you will need to focus on using your speed and close range firepower to distract the enemy and capture objectives. When in combat get in close and circle strafe your enemy while firing off your Scattergun, if you run out of ammo switch to pistol and back off rather than reloading. Use your double jump to get a height advantage on your enemies and take obscure routes to control points or intel. You can capture control points much faster than every other class, usually, so use this to your advantage and get to points quickly before the enemy has a time to react. Good examples of where a Scout can really screw the enemy team over with a quick cap are the final points of Granary and Cold Front, both of which cap in seconds and go twice as fast with a Scout on top of them.
Medic: Learning Medic is a great way to learn other classes as you will get to see them at work while helping your team out a ton. Medic may be the single most important class on a team, and as such you should try to know the basics of TF2's gameplay before trying your hand at Medic, specifically you should know when to deploy Ubers. As a Medic you gain Ubercharge as you heal teammates. You gain more Uber for healing wounded teammates so make sure not to stick on one target, your team will thank you. When healing, stick on your patient a little while after they hit max health when using the Medigun or Kritzkrieg, their health will extend past full and into Overheal giving them a temporary boost in health. When your Ubermeter is full you should generally only deploy on two occasions, either when you need to obliterate a heavy enemy defense or when you are about to die. The first will normally occur near objectives where you will need to take out Sentries and enemy players, the best classes for this are usually Heavy, Soldier, and Demoman. If you are about to die, it is best to deploy your Uber and save yourself and your patient rather than dying as Uber does not stay conserved after spawn. While it may seem like a waste, it is better that you are alive and without Uber rather than dead while your team goes without a Medic.
If someone calls for Medic you will see a tiny speech bubble with a + sign in it appear on your screen, this will indicate the level of health at which the person who just called is at as well as their general location. As a rule, you should try to heal everyone at any chance you get, but if they are very low or trying to take an objective they should take priority. The more red there is in a call bubble, the lower that person's health is, you can also sometimes discern their distance by the call itself if you pay close attention. If you are tied down to the front lines and can't move to their location, try calling for Medic yourself as a signal for them to come to you. I find that most of the time this works out very well for both myself and the patient in distress. Really, the most important part of playing Medic is communication. That is to say, talk. If you don't have a mic, at least say something so your teammate knows you are about to Uber. There are a few voice commands you can access directly in game, so you may want to start trying to use these as well.
Sniper: Generally speaking most people don't consider Sniper a very complex class due to how generic his mechanics are in the realm of FPS games, but there is a reason he's here and that reason is charge. Unlike most FPS games a headshot does not mean instant death on some classes. A normal headshot does 150 damage, which means it will not down a Soldier, Demoman, Pyro, or any class that is Overhealed. To take these classes down you will need to charge your shots, which is done by staying scoped in for a few seconds as the meter on your HUD slowly builds. At max a headshot will do 450 damage, enough to take down an Overhealed Heavy, but this is not necessary in most cases. While a majority of learning Sniper is based on learning to do headshots on all the classes, it is also important to manage your charge well. Rather than keeping scoped in all the time waiting for charge to build, you need to learn to scope quickly and get enough charge to either down a small health class with a headshot or hit a stronger class with a charged shot and then take them out with a body shot if necessary. You will also need to learn to deal with Spies as they will be your most frequent opponents outside of other Snipers and the occasional long range Soldier. Make sure to listen for their distinctive decloaking noise and never stay scoped too long once you've made your location known to the enemy. If you have Jarate equipped you can throw it as a Spy to make them visible even when cloaked and score minicrits on them as long as it is in effect. If you are near your team you can also use your Jarate in a supportive role to make the enemy team more vulnerable, it can also put out teammates on fire.
Don't use the Huntsman. Ever. Unless you are confident in your ability to score kills with it, don't use the fucking Huntsman.
Pyro: Learning Pyro these days is all about two things, air blasting and Puff and Sting. Puff and Sting is going to be your main offensive tool in one on one so it is important to learn it early. The flamethrower on it's on is great for clearing rooms and hitting multiple targets, but it is no where near as effective as Puff and Sting.You will need an Axetinguisher equipped and preferably a Degreaser, although the latter cannot be unlocked via achievements. Basically, you need to get your opponent on fire with the flamethrower and then finish them off quickly by switching to the Axetinguisher and using the flames to score crits. If you pulled it off correctly you should be taking most classes down in one to two swings. if they run pull out your Shotgun or Flaregun to finish them off, the Flaregun will core crits if they are sill on fire.
Air blasting is quite a bit more difficult to learn and will require a lot of practice to truly get down. Basically, if you hit alt fire while your Flamethrower is out you will be able to reflect enemy projectiles including Soldier and Sentry rockets and Demoman grenades back at the enemy. The best way is by going onto tr_walkway and trying to reflect the bots' projectiles back at them. It takes awhile to get the timing down but it is definitely worth it. You can also use your air blast to blow fire off of your teammates, so make sure to do this as well if you get the chance.
Complex ClassesEngineer: The key to learning Engineer is realizing the role of the Sentry. The Sentry is not there to protect you, it is there to protect the objective and it is there to protect your other buildings, but mostly to protect your other buildings. The single most important building you can ever build as an Engineer is the Teleporter, with the Dispenser coming right after that. Getting your team to the front lines as fast as possible is the best thing you can do to help your team. When you spawn the first thing you should do is get a Teleporter entrance up right outside the spawn door, and the second thing you should do is get an exit up, barring you aren't on the offensive team in an Attack/Defense map. You should learn the location of ammo boxes on each map so you know where to get more metal, don't rely on your Dispenser alone or you will never survive. Next, get a Dispenser up, preferably someplace it can supply you with metal while still being within reach of your teammates, if you are defending an objective you will want it wherever you intend on putting your Sentry up. Now that all of this is done, you can build your Sentry. Make sure to level up your buildings as you soon as you can, though leveling the Teleporter should take priority unless you are under heavy fire. If your buildings come under fire don't abandon them unless you need to, pick them up and move them. If an Uber is coming your way, run. If your buildings are being sapped by a Spy, don't panic and follow these simple steps.
1. Kill the Spy
2. Unsap the Teleporter
3. Unsap the Dispenser
4. Unsap the Sentry if it is still up.
To remove sappers, just hit them a few times with your wrench. You'll need to work quickly to save as much as possibly. Here is the reasoning behind the order. No matter what, getting your team to the front lines takes priority, they are more powerful than any Sentry ever will be. Next, your Dispenser carries your metal which will allow you to build up another Sentry much more quickly. Never save the Sentry first, ever. Unless it is your last line of defense, never save the Sentry.
This is of course all completely variable depending on the situation, but this is the basics. I may go into more complex strategies for the Engie at a later date, but for now just practice and keep your priorities in check.
If you do end up in a combat situation the Engineer's arsenal is very similar to the Scout's, albeit is much weaker. If an enemy is in close to medium range blast them with the Shotgun and then finish them off with the pistol. You may also want to use the Wrench at close range, particularly on Spies, as it has a very high crit rate tends to take most classes down in just a few swings. The one thing you should never do as an Engineer is pursue your opponent, especially if you are unsure if they are close to death. Your job is to protect your buildings and keep everything running, not to get kills. Points are nice, but helping your team to victory is even nicer. If you die and there is no one to repair your buildings or knock off sappers, your team could find itself in a lot of trouble really quickly. That Scout isn't worth it, just chill pardner.
Demoman: Demoman is quite possibly the hardest combat class to learn, this is because all of his main weapons use indirect fire and are very tricky to get used to the trajectory on. This is another class you will want to practice with bots on as the key to playing a great Demoman is learning to hit moving targets with your Grenade Launcher. Sticky Bombs are great for defending and laying down traps, but your Grenade Launcher should always be your primary means of offense. There is no real way to teach it, it's just something you have to learn on your own. Tossing a few grenades in the enemies' general location is enough to get a few good kills every now and then, but if you can't hit an enemy dead on with a grenade you should probably keep practicing or try another class.
If there is one thing the Demoman is good at it is clearing areas and wrecking Engineer buildings. Your Grenade Launcher is enough to take out Sentries most of the time, although Stick Bombs will be preferable in some situation. Usually it comes down to if the Engineer is repairing it or not. If the Engineer isn't near the Sentry and it can't fire at you., toss a few Grenades at it. If the Engineer is on it or it can easily hit you, it is usually better to use the Sticky Launcher. You may want to get a Medic's help in either case as taking down Sentries is one of the best things you can do to help your team push forward.
Other than building demolition Sticky Bombs are great for clearing and protecting certain points. Trying laying a few down on a point so you can pull the trigger with alt fire to kill anyone that tries to cap instantly. Remember that your Stickies can be destroyed with a few shots, so try to hide them out of sight. You can also try using Stickies to set up traps in combat, running around corners and laying down a few Stickies to blow up your opponent should they dare to come after you. The hardest thing to pull off with Sticky Bombs is Sticky Jumping. Much like the Soldier's Rocket jump, Sticky Jumping requires you to jump over a Sticky Bomb and then blow it up to send you flying into the air. It's a little bit harder than a Rocket Jump simply because you have to be timing it correctly and also have to be moving correctly. Some find it easier than Rocket Jumping because of the ability to trigger the explosion, some don't. Once again, practice makes perfect.
If you play Demoknight, don't play Demoknight.
Spy: Spy may be the most difficult class to learn if only because he has to know how all the other classes behave. To be a good Spy you will need to know when to strike and when to stalk, when to move within a crowd of enemies and when to stay back and wait for an opportunity. This is, once again, not something that can really be taught. If you plan on playing Spy you need to be observing other players at all times, especially when playing other classes. The spy has two main tools, the Knife and the Sapper. The Knife is capable of downing any opponent instantly if you hit them from the back, therefore it is the most powerful weapon in the game. That can be very alluring to new players, but you need to know what you're doing. You need to learn how people react, and most importantly how they move. The best way to score a back stab is anticipation, knowing what the enemy will do before they do it. You also have a revolver, though this should be used for escaping rather than kills. The two situations you would use this outside of that is taking down Snipers wearing a Razorback, a wooden shield that blocks one back stab, or quickly taking down Engineer buildings you have sapped.
The Disguise Kit allows you to visibly appear as an enemy or as someone from your own team, both of these have their uses. Disguising as your own team let's you move towards the front lines without altering the enemy to the fact that there is a Spy about, this will become less useful as you rack up more kills. The other use is deception, putting the enemy at ease. if a Soldier follows a Sniper through a hallway, he isn't going to be checking his back when he turns a corner. That is when you strike. Disguising as an enemy is, of course, very useful for getting close to your objective, either a specific enemy (the Medic) or an Engineer's buildings. There are two tell tale signs of a disguised spy you will need to watch out for. The most obvious if your class and player name. If that team doesn't have that class, you're screwed. Once again, you need to observe. Secondly, if a player sees his name on you, you are also screwed. If you are disguised as a Sniper try to avoid areas where Snipers dwell, if you are an Engineer try to avoid staying near buildings, etc. The one class you should never disguise as, at least if you are disguising as the enemy, is the Medic. People will know you are fake the instant you refuse to heal them.
Cloaking is by far a much better tool for moving behind enemy lines, but you have to use it efficenty. Cloaking lets you become completely invisible at any time, for a limited time, by pressing alt fire while any weapon is out. If you are using the standard Spy watch, you will only have a limited amount of time before you are forced to uncloak, a dead give away. Make sure you have enough time to move to a out of sight location before decloaking, you can also pick up ammo boxes to extend your cloak if you are using this watch. If you are using the Cloak and Dagger you will have an unlimited amount of invisibility as long as you watch your meter and wait for it to recharge. Use this to your advantage to watch your enemy and wait for the perfect time to strike, just make sure to stay out of their way as bumping into a cloaked Spy reveals them for a split second. If you are using a Dead Ringer, the Disguise Kit is actually kind of useless to you as you are mostly going to be focusing on back stabs. Let an enemy think he has killed you and then get him with his guard down and finish him off with a stab. Watch out for your decloak as it gives off a very distinctive noise that will alert the enemy to your presence.
From Tim_the_Corsair on Sapping and the Revolver:
For starters, you should always Stab and Sap Engineers if possible, not Sap and Stab. The SG turns slow enough that this should be possible the majority of the time, and is (arguably) easier than sapping and then trying to get behind the Engineer. Further, I'd argue that if you need to sap first, you're better off shooting the Engy than you are going for the stab, as it helps avoid a face full of crit wrench AND will usually get the Engy to come after you and leave their equipment to blow up.
Also, the revolver and it's variants are good for more than just knocking off razorback snipers and escaping. Ignoring the advanced strata possible with the Ambassador, the basic revolver can be used to execute fast classes with low health (Medics that are close to ubering, Scouts), and can kill Pyros fairly easily if you can land your shots.
The biggest mistake new spies make is underestimating the usefulness of their gun; at least a third of my kills are typically from shooting targets of opportunity or nailing Pyros and Scouts that come after me, and it is a very important skill to learn to boost your survivability.
Learning New WeaponsAlthough I'd love to, I don't have the time to go into specifics on every single weapon for every single class, so the next best thing you can do is go to the people who did have the time. The official Team Fortress 2 wiki is a great place to go for specific information, and below you will find a link to each class page where you can look up specific weapons as well as their stats and functionality:
We'll be back shortly
I'm going to add a crafting and trading sections next, but that's going to take a bit while longer so for now I'm putting a cap on this and putting it out there so any new players can start digging into all this delicious content.
Also I need to make sure I didn't completely fuck anything up.
If there is anything you would like added, or you would like to contribute, just post it here because I made this a blog so I have to read each and every one whether i like it or not.
Hopefully this helps you guys out and I hope to see you on the battlefield dominating my sorry ass sometime soon.