Unlike most people who write articles here, I’m very much a one trick pony. I play Medic well, I play Soldier at a mediocre level and that’s pretty much it. Occasionally, I’ll grab a flamethrower or maybe a gunslinger if I’m feeling depressed. So when I’m forced to play a non-Medic, non-Soldier class, I flail like a lunatic. And after Sniper, who I have gone on about way too often, I flail most as Spy.
First off, a hint of honesty. I’m normally good at being stealthy and stuff. I sneak my way though Portal, avoiding turrets like the plague. I play Minecraft without ever blowing up a single Creeper, or catching the eye of another player. When I play Skyrim, 95% of all enemies have ghostly arrows or stab wounds in their backs. I’ll wander through the bushes of DotA2 or LoL for ages without being spotted by the other team. These aren’t the epitome of stealth games, but they’re an example of how I’m normally okay with sneaky backstabbing.
Plonk me in the world of TF2 though and things just go wrong from the start. The first issue is that humans, particularly ones in TF2, are much more paranoid than the humans you’re fighting against in other games. They’re also smarter than AI most of the time. From the start, being sneaky is harder.
Then you’ve got randomness. There’s two forms of randomness at play here, player-induced and game-induced. Game-induced is nearly impossible to avoid. A random crit could come from anywhere. That revolver shot could bring them down to 3 health instead of killing them. Or you could get a lovely fail stab or ten. Player-induced is slightly harder to avoid and involves a LOT of mind games, something I kinda suck at. You never know when someone might suddenly decide to Spycheck you and kill you.
It’s not just the enemy though that is indecisive and paranoid. Your team mates can accidentally betray you too. First there’s the “make sure he definitely isn’t an enemy spy!” issue, where a friendly player will continue to whack you, thinking you’re an immortal Spy. That’s not so commonplace though, especially as you climb the skill ladder. No, the bigger issue is that, while you can control the path you take to face the enemy, you can’t control where your team will go. This often leads to your team causing loads of commotion and you being caught in the crossfire.
So, not only do you need to worry about the enemy team, you also need to worry about where your team are going and what they’re doing. The best advice given to me was that “everyone is your enemy!” but that just seems, well, counter-intuitive. Oh, and there’s also the problem of my average ping being about 200, sometimes dropping down to 150 or even 120 if I am lucky. That really doesn’t help.
I’m left with a big problem here. I can’t play Spy at all. Not a bit. Alright, I can hit more things and maybe butterknife someone to death, but if I go Spy, I end up being a dead weight on my team. Almost literally.
Oh well. We rarely need Spies, there’s normally 5 of them already.