The noob's guide to Team Fortress 2, part three

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Team Fortress 2 Guide - Fire

Team Fortress 2 is now free, so everyone with a Steam account owns it. If you haven't played before, it can be an intimidating, hat-riddled game. So we're hastily putting together a guide for absolute beginners.

Yesterday we talked about how to get weapons and hats, and on Friday we took you through which classes to start with and how all the modes work. Today we'll go through the basics of all the nine classes, and how to find out more about their weirder variations.

How do all the classes work?

 
This has changed a bit over time, and it depends on which items they're using, but it can be handy to have a basic guide to the vanilla versions to get you started.

Scout: The fastest class, and you can capture objectives twice as quickly. But combat is a risky business: your weapons are best up close, but you don't have enough health to get shot much at point blank range. You can double-jump and take alternate routes to get to places enemies aren't expecting. Attack them when they're focusing on someone else.

Main thing to worry about: the Engineer's sentry guns. They'll shred you and there's almost nothing you can do against them. For this reason, you're actually better at defending your team than invading an entrenched enemy position.

Soldier: Tougher than most, slower than most, and armed with a rocket launcher. Reload any time you're not firing, aim at your enemies' feet so you'll catch them with splash damage if you miss, and retreat when you're low on health. You're tough enough to escape most dangerous situations, and if you keep doing damage and staying alive, you'll notice you start to score more critical hits. Critical hits with a rocket launcher are a hell of a thing.

Main things to worry about: Heavies at close range out-damage you, and Snipers at long range can headshot you and dodge your rockets.

Pyro: Harassment class - you are amazingly annoying. Your flamethrower sets people alight, which is usually enough to make them run for a health kit or water. Spray some attackers then get out of the way: you'll often stop their assault and survive.

Most importantly, the secondary fire on your flamethrower lets you bounce rockets, sticky bombs and grenades back, so you're great at defending your team. You can also use it to put out allies who are on fire, or shunt enemies away. Engineers love having you around to defend their Sentries and check for Spies - there's no friendly fire, so torch team-mates indiscriminately.

Main thing to worry about: Heavies kill you so fast that it's hard to get away in time.

Demoman: Ambush class. Your grenade launcher is a good way to make a corridor a bad place for enemies, but the Sticky Bomb launcher is even more devastating. Shoot stickies on corners or above doorways, then right click to detonate them when enemies come through. You can also pile them up near sentry guns to take them out in one fatal blast.

Main thing to worry about: Soldiers and Heavies will kill you in straight combat.

Heavy: The slowest class, but the absolute deadliest in a straight fight at anything from medium range to point blank. Your gun takes a while to spin up, and you can barely move while it's firing, but everyone immediately in front of it will die or run away.

Main things to worry about: Snipers at long range, Spies behind you.

Engineer: Can build turrets that attack enemies automatically, dispensers that refill allies' health and ammo, and teleporters to get people from the spawn point to the front line. These all cost metal, which you get by picking up ammo and weapons on the field.

Because you need so much metal to build, upgrade and repair your stuff, it's good to get a dispenser up somewhere safe where you can sit near it, and build your Sentry gun right there. Once it's up and upgraded, it's the most powerful defensive weapon in the game.

Main things to worry about: Demomen piling stickies up on your stuff, Spies sapping your equipment and backstabbing you.

Medic: Fire your healing beam at anyone who's injured, then at Heavies and Soldiers who are in combat. Always stay behind your patient: smart enemies will try to take you out first, because you're what really makes the team hard to kill.

Main things to worry about: Snipers, Soldiers and Pyros targeting you - don't be afraid to run for a healthkit if you need one, you're the only person you can't heal.

Sniper: Find a quiet spot with a long line of sight to an objective, wait for your shot to charge up a little, then click on peoples' heads. You have to be scoped for your shot to charge up. Target Medics first, if you can.

Main things to worry about: Spies creeping up behind you, other Snipers being better at headshots.

Spy: Switch to your disguise kit and use the number keys to dress as an enemy of that class. Engineer or Sniper is often a good choice, since it's not suspicious to see those guys out of combat. Right click to cloak, and get behind enemy lines before decloaking. Your knife kills anyone instantly if you stab them from behind, but is almost useless if you don't. It also breaks your disguise, and you can't fire or attack while cloaked.

Main things to worry about: bumping into people - it reveals you if cloaked, and tips the enemy off if you're disguised. And steer clear of Pyros entirely: their flame only has to touch you once to reveal you as a Spy.

Tom, I've been playing for a few hours and I'm still pretty goddamn confused. What does slapping someone with a fish do? How does that guy have a guitar? Why am I covered in milk?

 
Yeah. There are a lot of weapons in this game, and not all of them make a hell of a lot of sense. The game tries to tell you what killed you, but when that thing is a golden statue of someone called Saxton Hale, it sometimes raises more questions than it answers.

Luckily, there's an awesome official wiki where you can look up anything you don't understand. Bookmark this, because for some reason it's still not the top result for 'tf2 wiki' on Google. It should be, so allow me to SEO it up a notch: tf2 wiki.

Look up the class you like to play, and look up the class that kills you most. You'll find all the info on the various weapons they can have, how to get them, and what they're good for.

In our last few guides we talked about where to start with classes and game modes, and how to get new items. You can always find our latest Team Fortress 2 guides and browse them all here.