An Open Love Letter to @TeamFortress 2


Team_Fortress_2_Logo_by_Flamma_ManThere is a video game I’ve played (in one form or another) since I was a young man. I believe it started in the Quake days (in fact, it was based on Quake), was a part of a Half-life developer kit (late 90’s), and finally became its own game in 1999, before scoring a sequel in 2007.  That game, my friends, is Team Fortress 2 by Valve.

There’s so much more to Team Fortress than being “just another shooter” game. It is one of the most balanced, innovative, and downright fun games to be released in the past seven years.

Originally, Team Fortress 2 was released within the Orange Box bundle on October 10th, 2007, and then subsequently released as a standalone game in 2008.  In 2011, the game was modified to become to a free-to-play game.  This game has seen its fair share of iterations, but the changes have only made the game better!

Team Fortress 2 introduced an expansive list of weapons, tools, hats, emotes, and maps, collectable by just playing the game. The game also presents another gameplay style option, “Mann vs Machine.”  Instead of shooting at the other team, you can play cooperatively against AI “robots,” pick up some great loot, and have access to some hilarious short videos developed in their source filmmaker (which the public can access as well, allowing the community to build short videos together).

Their latest short is called “Expiration Date”, and is a hilarious watch:

unnamed-1I could ramble all day about this game, but for now I will focus on some of the basics; particularly I will cover the player vs. player mode (PVP) on the map called 2fort (a classic).  Players can choose a side: the Reliable Excavation Demolition (Red) or the Builders League United (Blue). Once you’ve joined a team you get to pick your class:

  • Scout: Quick and agile, the fastest of all of the classes, the Scout is known for his hit-and-run tactics with the Scattergun (a quick firing shotgun), his pistol, and his iconic bat.
  • Soldier: A great starter class for anyone new to TF2, the Soldier is equipped with a Rocket launcher, a heavy shotgun, and a shovel.  This guy can play both offense and defense play styles with ease.
  • Pyro: A maniac with a flame thrower, shotgun, and fire-axe, the Pyro is great for offense, particularly when mopping up behind soldiers. The Pyro is also amazing when spy checking on defense.  The Pyro is super annoying for snipers.
  • Demoman: This is the guy with the explosives.  Demoman is armed with two types of grenade launchers and a melee bottle o’ alcohol.  Demoman is great at both offense (he has grenades that detonate on a timer or when directly hitting someone) or defense (he has sticky bombs that you can lay in an area and detonate at will). This class is a little harder to play, but with practice and skill, the Demoman is incredible.
  • Heavy Weapons Guy: This is a big guy with a big gun and lots of ammo. Couple this Gatling gun toting monster with a medic, and you’re nearly invincible.
  • Medic: Every team needs a medic, and finding a good one is rare. The medic has a healing gun, a needle gun, and a bone saw. The healing gun is a huge asset to your teammates, as you can shoot-heal someone at a distance.
  • Engineer: The Engineer is the cornerstone to any defense.  The Engineer has the ability to build lifesaving buildings like a dispensary that heals while in its proximity, or an armory that increases ammo, or a very-handy teleporter! This guy is super fun to play if you enjoy a defensive style of play!
  • Sniper: This is the class I play and by far my favorite. The Sniper can easily be the most annoying of any class (to other players) due to his ridiculously powered, long-range sniper rifle. Used primarily in defense, it is ideal to have one or two of these guys on your team (it can easily turn the tide of the game).
  • Spy: Ugh, this guy. I hate this guy. The Spy is the bane of all snipers.  He can make himself disappear, he can disguise himself as a part of your team (takes the form of other classes), and he stealthily stab you in the back.  An offense player, the Spy can be tricky to play, but with practice you’d be a god amongst your team.

unnamed-1You’ve picked your team, you’ve picked your class, and now it’s time to explore. On the map (2fort), there are two forts, a bridge in between, and a waterway with tunnels that have access points to both team’s bases.

The point of this game is to:

  • Infiltrate the other team’s base,
  • Make it to the basement to grab the enemy intelligence (a briefcase stuffed full of papers), and,
  • Make it back to yours without dying.

Essentially, it’s a big game of capture the flag, with an immense amount of teamwork and character-strategy needed.

And that’s the basics of the game! There’s still more to cover (crafting, powerful weapons, other maps, different types of game play, etc.) but this is enough to get new players started.  It is a ridiculous amount of fun, and I implore you to give it a try (check out Steam).  Besides: it’s free to play, so why not?  And if you do – come and find me — I’ll be sure to save a sniper round for ya.

Brian Fuhrman
Project Manager