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. Previously we gave you a handle on the
, now we're going in depth on
We've covered the
. Now it's time for the game's ultimate asshole: The Scout.
You're fast, you're violent, and you get shit done. Don't let anyone tell you the Scout is weak - he's a ferocious combat class when you use him well.
The first thing to understand is that you can double-jump: hit jump again any time you're mid-air, and you'll leap as if from an invisible platform. Combined with your ridiculous speed, this lets you get to perches no other class can reach without hurting themselves.
Just as importantly, it saves you from fall damage: any time you throw yourself recklessly off a high capture point, just hit jump before you touch the ground and you'll lose all your downward velocity without taking any damage. For that reason, don't use it needlessly: it's handy to have a double-jump ready for if you're knocked into a chasm or off a dangerous height.
The other special rule for the Scout is that he captures objectives twice as fast as the other classes. Exploit this. Capturing on Control Point maps is vital to your team, and gets you lots of points. On Payload maps, standing near the cart makes it move as fast as if two people were on it. You get things done.
Your style, though, should always be tricksy. Never run directly at a combat class like a Heavy if they're facing you and ready to fire. You don't have to - you're so goddamn fast no-one can chase you if you run off and take an alternate route. Get deep behind enemy lines, so you'll always be coming from angles they don't expect. Engage enemies from behind, or when they're busy fighting someone else, or best of all: both.
You get a
damage bonus for firing at extreme close range with your Scattergun. Since you're also usually attacking from an unexpected angle, it's a good idea not to fire at all until you're physically touching the enemy. Almost nothing can survive two point-blank blasts from your weapon, and almost no-one who's distracted can find and kill you before you can get those two shots off.
You're slow to reload a full clip, though, so don't waste shots randomly: fire when you're sure you'll hit. If you find you're missing a lot, try the bat for a while: it's faster to hit with than any other class's melee weapon, so you can just hold down fire while circling your opponent and beating them. You'll be amazed how effective that can be.
Last point: run around the map and look for medkits. When you know where these are, you become incredibly hard to kill: you're so fast that you can leave any engagement as soon as you're hurt, and get to a medkit before anyone can finish you off.
The most valuable alternate weapons for the Scout
The Force-A-Nature is a hell of a thing. It's a replacement for your Scattergun that does more damage and knocks both you and your victim back. Miles. It can only hold two shells, but it can fire them in even more rapid succession and is quick to reload.
The upshot is that is that in the 0.4 seconds it takes a surprised enemy to react to you getting up in his face, the Force A Nature can get both shots off and inflict 226 damage, where the normal Scattergun would only do 105. Since 8 of the 9 classes have more than 105 health and less than 226, that's a pretty important difference.
Even if it's a Heavy you're blasting, the knockback will send him so far away that you can escape before his gun can cut you down. You can even use the gun to triple-jump, by firing it downwards any time you're in mid-air.
Bonk is the other essential. It's a drink that replaces your pistol - quaff it, and you're invincible for 6 seconds. You can't attack during this time, but it's just long enough to get you past Sentries, which are usually the one thing on the battlefield you can't do anything about. Once you're behind the enemy lines, it's hilarious to ambush them when they come out of their spawn.
Is the Scout Starter Bundle worth buying?
Yep. You get the Force-A-Nature and the Sandman, a bat that can stun people by hitting a baseball at them. It's only £0.49p. Unfortunately you don't get Bonk, but you do get another drink: Crit-A-Cola. It amplifies all the damage you deal and take for a short while: good for making that first shot count, but horrible once the enemy spots you.
The hat you get is pretty naff.
How to help a Scout
Keep enemies busy. Even if you can't win a fight, it's valuable to ambush classes like the Scout if you just fire a few shots off at them then hide again. They'll concentrate on you, and the Scouts on your team can get the jump on them.
How to fight a Scout
Most classes can kill a Scout if he's running straight for them - get into a corner or tight corridor so the Scout only has one direction to come at you. That way all your shots will probably hit, which is usually more damage than a Scout can afford to take. If you're still having trouble hitting them, switch to melee and swipe constantly - Scouts find it hard to resist getting close.