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‘TF Concepts and Strategies’ (c) 1998 (Pt 1)


[Ok guys here it is, lets go into the vault, into the TF archives, all the way back to 1998, for a rare insight into the mind of OMC six months (!!) after I first played TF – yes, it’s my never before seen, unfinished ‘book’ on TF strategy, written in 1998, pre AGR, and pre CustomTF; so we’re talking about what would in 2011 be referred to as ‘vanilla’ TF. The comments in italics were responses written by a TF Guru who was schooling me in the ways of TF. Sadly, I just can’t remember his name. Anyway, I learned heaps from this Guru, and so I’m sharing the knowledge around. Enjoy. Note: It’s a lot of reading, so I’ve split up this ‘book’ into two seperate posts. OneManClan May 2nd 2011]

‘TF Concepts and Strategies’ 1.1
by Andrew Kyriakis andreas@alphalink.com.au*
Last modified January 29 1998
ã Andrew Kyriakis 1998

Foreword:
I originally called this a draft, but then I realised it will always be a draft. Always changing, methods being refined, so it’s a perpetual work in progress, ever expanding. Who knows, mabye this will eventually evolve into a full on book!

Andy

Contents:

Introduction
Chapter 1 Classes
Chapter 2 Modes
Chapter 3 General rules of behaviour
Chapter 4 Communications
Chapter 5 Code
Finally

Introduction
Greetings to all TF addicts!

I have been playing TF for about 6 months now, and the games can be anything from wonderfully brilliant, to pathetically frustrating. The key seems to be the emphasis on the ‘Team’ aspect of TF. This paper seeks to define a structured approach to the game, where the players can play a more efficient, professional level of TF.

I am writing this paper to spread ideas and suggestions on how to turn this sometimes ad hoc fluky kind of game, into an organised, professional sport, akin to chess. Indeed, there are many similarities between chess and tf. The Classes of players, the decisions as to whether to attack or defend. The element of time.

TF is also like soccer, in the sense that there are ‘goals’, and the team with the most goals wins; if tf was like chess, then 1 flag capture would end the game. (Not a bad idea in some ways.) TF is like soccer, in that when the teams are truly professional, the defense is rock solid; and there are only a few, sometimes no goals. A goal is scored, or a capture made, only when something has gone wrong, which in a pro team should be rare. Also, it only takes one capture to win a game, so a team which gets a flag, may switch totally to defense, knowing that if they can just stop the enemy from capturing, they will win the game.

TeamFortress isn’t really like chess. Yes, there are strategies involved, but the same can be said of football, and actually soccer/football is a closer equivalent. In TF, you can change classes mid-game, and while there are class limitations and class determines the type of “move” that can be made, the constitution of a team is its members, and not the classes they play at any given point in time.

Disclaimer:
I am not writing this article to dictate how the ‘proper’ game should be played. I urge you not just to follow what I have written, but to incorporate other, perhaps better approaches. I’m not so naïve that I think I have developed the definitive guide to tf! I want to encourage more people to develop tf strategy, and share their ideas, so the game we love can become a never-ending source of challenges, and of course sheer pleasure.

Chapter 1 Classes
Here is my (totally subjective) overview of the classes, their strengths and weaknesses.

I am assuming you all know what the classes are, and what they can do.

Scout
Great in amateur matches where noone in enemy base wants to defend. Just get flags, and avoid enemy (easy). In Professional TF though, scouts aren’t that useful, unless sentries are down.

Sniper
Must be good, and have lots of people, otherwise waste of time. Note: they don’t count as defenders, unless sniper is good enough to go one on one with intruders.

Soldier
Can RJ (Rocket Jump) but is slow.

Demo
Good weapons, detpacks, pipes, good as d or a

Medic
Great Grabber (see below), handy fast gun, and you can hide and wait to build up your health. Remember to stand BEHIND ppl you are giving health to! Don’t block their view. There are enemies everywhere!

Hwguy
Great protector of sentries BUT s o o o o s l o w.

Pyro
Destroyer of sentries/ great attacker

Spy
For sentries, stabbing, disorienting enemy

Engineer
Essential. Use bombs to det enemy pipes

Chapter 2 Modes
Ok, we have 2 tasks:
1. Get their flag (Attack mode)
2. Stop them getting our flag (Defense mode)

Players are therefore assigned one of these 2 modes: Defense Modes, and Attack Modes. Most of the time roles will not change. Defenders do not try to get flag, and attackers will not get distracted by enemies heading for our base. Focus! The only exception is if defense is in REAL trouble (“say_team Defense personnel urgently needed!”), and ALL players must switch to defense positions / classes until the crisis is averted. If you are in the middle of an Offense, this means keep attacking, but when you die, change to a D class. Note: snipers on battlements don’t count as defense

Going “all defense” is almost always wrong. It takes pressure off the other team’s defense so that it has time to repair and regroup. Sometimes the best way to defend is to attack – the two functions aren’t at all entirely inseparable. If a flag is out and lost, then the defenders have to pick ground between the flag’s position and the enemy capture point – if you defend at the flag itself, you lose it to any reasonable team. Sometimes that involves attacking the enemy base itself, to prevent anyone getting out to grab the flag. Technically, that is attacking, not defending.

Attack Modes:
The Grunt and the Grabber.
Pair up! Attack in pairs. One guy ( the Grunt) clears the path (eg spy, soldier), and the other (the Grabber) (eg scout, medic) stays as safe as possible to get to flag. Medic is actually better than scout. A bit slower, but better weapons, and can give the Grunt health. Stick together!

No, communicate. Attacking in pairs doesn’t mean staying physically close. One squad can clear a heavy defense and get a scout in, but maybe the scout has to wait before grabbing the key for the next attack wave to create an opportunity for escape. So the key isn’t attacking in pairs or groups, but to think about how you’ll get the flag out, and then execute a plan together.

If (When!!!) you get to the flag, Grabber ‘grabs’ the flag and runs home. Now, depending on the situation and the map, the Grunt either stays at flag location, and waits for flag’s return (to carry it), or Grunt tries to stay with Grabber, but stops if enemies are encountered, and distracts them. This depends on the situation.

The strategy of distracting a defense should not be underestimated. In a game where those you kill “respawn” quickly and near the defensive zones, it is almost a must. A second wave needs to draw the defensive away from the escape routes, so that the flag carrier meets next to no opposition to get home.

Remember, we are assuming here that the enemy is SHIT HOT, and in this case, it is expected that the Grunt will indeed be needed to protect the Grabber. On the other hand, with some levels, the Grabber can afford to die if the mission is accomplished. Eg in 2fort5 if Grabber can go up spiral, across top room, out onto the snipers range, and jump to the ground below, even if he dies, the flag is one closer step to our base. Remember, we want to move the flag closer and closer to our base. Focus on your mission, not your own life. Get their flag closer and closer to our base. Individual deaths don’t count. (They still do on some servers but hopefully this will change.)

Yes, absolutely.

Eliminating sentries.
On many levels, the Sentry is the main obstacle. Many lives can be lost in trying to destroy them.

Destroying Sentries is the Grunts job. Grabber waits whilst Grunt takes care of sentry. If Grunt dies, grabber WAITS!! Hide. Stay alive. Killing a few enemies just for the sake of it is stupid. Stay focussed on your mission (Retrieving the flag!). No point in getting killed for nothing. Grabber waits for Grunt to make second attempt to get sentry. Generally speaking, we want as many of our people in their base as possible ready to move that flag closer and closer to where we want it.

This is very position and map dependant. Sometimes the best sentry removalists are scouts themselves – because they can duck past a sentry, and depending in the angle, can even run right past without being seen by it. On rock, for example, getting onto the balcony can often be easily done by a scout, who can nail sentries from the opposite side of the yard in safety.

When a sentry is identified:
a. Immediately specify (sentry’s’) location to the others.
b. Don’t attack unless a) sentry destroyed, or b) Other path is available.

Ideally, each sentry should only kill 1 player; the player who first encountered it. At that point any other deaths should be from Grunts specifically attempting to destroy the sentry.

A sentry that only gets a single frag is not well placed nor well defended. A good sentry is defined by one that lasts – it’s just too expensive to have a player building level 3 sentries which only get 1 frag. It is a waste.

In levels such as Rock1, where a sentry (on the tower) is hard to get to (especially with enemies in the courtyard trying to kill you), it is likely that the Grunt will fail to get sentry, and will die in the attempt. In this scenario, you need to make sure your Grabber gets a chance to get past the sentry. Assuming there are no other routes, the Grunt may as well sacrifice his life, so that the Grabber can get through. It is imperative that there are Grabbers there to take advantage of destroyed Sentries. So always attack in pairs.

Retrieving flags
Run home :). Fast! DON’T stop to fight any enemies! Even if they are in front of you, dodge! Take a shot if you have to but KEEP MOVING. Focus on your objective! If you die state location. Fast.

*This email address is long gone, it’s only included here for authenticity

Next week (in part 2) we discuss defense strategies

1 comment to ‘TF Concepts and Strategies’ (c) 1998 (Pt 1)

  • Nined

    Hello, OMC, i yu a poet? lol, nice
    I like the concept “Grunts and Grappers” and i’m enjoing reading and lol about how you were involved in 1998 in TF gaming lol.

    Defend the flag not the base – good tip for defenders i heard during CTF quakelive match. It’s true. The second truth is “Teamwork” – it’s like a magic

    BTW OMC, check the AGR forum i’ve posted a video there on new TF class based game called Brink by Splash damage. They use Custom TF concept a bit. Gonna be cool game i think. Releaseed at 10 may 2011. 3 days left.

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