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 took you through which classes to start with and how all the modes work . Today we'll tell you why that man has an octopus on his head and how you too can unlock a sandwich.
As you play, you'll randomly be awarded new weapons every few hours - it happens more often on busy servers.
Every class also has a set of weapons that can be unlocked by earning a certain number of achievements , and these are the quickest way to get something specific for a class you like. You can see what the achievements are by clicking the rosette icon at the bottom of the main menu: there's a dropdown list that'll let you browse by class. Doesn't matter which ones you go for, these items just unlock when you have a certain number: usually 10, 15, or so.
Eventually you'll start finding items you already have, or that you don't want. You can reduce these to scrap metal by crafting them together, and then use that - and other weapons - to craft ones you don't have yet. There are hundreds of recipes for this stuff, the best place to browse them is over on TF2Items.com .
You can just pony up and buy them for real money. Almost everything is available to buy in the Mann-Co store accessed from the main menu. You'll have to put some money in your Steam Wallet to do so, but you can do that when you check out. The cheapest items are only £0.29 or $0.49c, but be aware that the minimum you can add to your Steam Wallet is £4.
As soon as you buy anything, however cheap, you become a Team Fortress 2 premium player, and you'll be able to find and craft rarer items. If you care about items at all, it's worth putting that first £4 on. Buy a £0.29p gun, then spend the rest on a cheapo indie game if you don't want to buy any more in-game stuff.
Once you are a premium player, you can trade items with others by going to the main menu, clicking Items, then Trading. You can trade with anyone on your friends list when you're both online, or anyone in your current game.
Oh. Well, you can't unlock most hats with achievements, but once you're a premium player, all the other methods apply. They're just much, much rarer to find, much, much harder to craft, and much, much more expensive to buy.
The easiest ones to get are rewards for buying other games or achieving something in those. There's a full list of all the promotional items and how you get them over on the official wiki.
Tomorrow: How do all the classes work? What the hell is going on?