TF2 Without Weapons

Note: The following entry contains a lot of TF2 (thats Team Fortress 2 for you unsavvy newcomers) jargon and tactical discussion. If you don’t play the game, you won’t find it interesting. You can play TF2 for free by downloading Steam (Google it) and then downloading the game.

As of late the TF2 item server has been down. This means that users cannot use any custom items, be it hats, weapons, or accessories. It has been a callback to a type of TF2 gameplay that, frankly, I’ve never experienced but have always wanted to taste. The game was suddenly elegant and fun as the desire for hats and scrap and weapons and stranges and trading vanished.

Strategy changed as well. Because I knew exactly what every person could do, the game became a series of tactical calculations. If I confront a demoman as a scout, I know that I need to get up close to avoid sticky bombs, but stay to the side to avoid point-blank grenades. I know that he doesn’t have a shield or loch-and-load. When I see a group, I can more or less tell whether or not I can win. Suddenly the game becomes about pushing people in one direction or another. I need to hold one area long enough to allow the support classes to set up. One of the best parts is that spies are highly restricted. So many people play with the cloak-and-dagger or the deadringer; without them, people become worse at spy, and spychecking becomes much easier.

It also opens up new, unexpected approaches. Because spies became less of a behind-enemy-lines class and more of a fast-moving, harassment class, I saw some brilliant plays. For instance, on the opening arena on the last stage of dustbowl, a medic ubered a spy during a push; the spy walked up and kept placing sappers on all the sentries until the entire loading dock and stairs area was clear. There was nothing we could do about it.

As I’ve heard people comment before, the regular weapons are quite good. It takes a break from them to realize it, and I do use some of the classic weapons, such as the scattergun, medigun, smg, minigun, knife, sticky launcher, etc. However, one thing that struck me, or I should say others, was the scout bat. I got some amazing streaks with only the bat, being a 2-3 hit kill on most of anybody (not overhealed). The speed at which hits are delivered is astounding, and the sound is quite different so it is common to get 3-4 hits on an unsuspecting someone from behind, and which point they are usually dead. The scattergun-bat combo is even more deadly. Hit them 2-3 times from long range, switch as you close the gap, and then run circles around them and hit a homerun.

That’s not to say, of course, that I didn’t miss some of my items. Top on the list were the axtinguisher (our absence has only heightened my love) and the sandvich. The miss-list also contains the cloak-and-dagger (sweet sweet invisibility) and the wrangler. The wrangler in particular is a tactical tool an engie should never be without. Imagine if someone suddenly told you that you could call in artillery strikes in TF2: that’s the wrangler. Excellent for denying an area much greater than usually able to be covered, taking out pesky snipers, and pinning down the enemy team when defending or attacking the final point. Don’t forget the wrangler-repair engie pair that can lock down turbine or 2fort from the battlements.

Needless to say, we’ll all be very happy when the item servers get back up. However, I’ll miss this time and probably reminisce to a bunch of people that don’t care that much. I know I’ll be changing my loadouts. Will you?


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