People are stupid. We’re mindless drones who will do whatever the man tells us, unless it’s something dumb like telling someone to eat their own vomit. Most people will probably not go that far. But yes, people desperately need direction, because they’re often too dumb to work things out. It’s almost certainly the case in TF2.
Like every other Free To Play game out there, Team Fortress 2 has its fair share of blatant idiots who refuse to learn. It also has a lot of geuine newbies who have no idea what they’re doing, because they are, in fact, new to the game. That’s where tutorials come in. Supposedly. Starting up TF2 for the first time quietly suggests that you try out the Soldier tutorial, which gives you the very, very basics of the game. What do you learn? Simple movement, switching weapons, crouching, jumping and firing said weapons. That is pretty much it. Oh yeah, and you have the option to play a game on tr_dustbowl. I still haven’t worked out the difference between cp_dustbowl and tr_dustbowl. Heck, occasionally I forget that Dustbowl is supposedly a Control Point map.
Anyway, what was I on about? Oh yeah, the simplicity of the Soldier tutorial. It tells you the basics then kicks you out, saying you’ll be fine.
Normally, I’d be fine with that. You don’t need a video game holding your hand every step of the way, that’s just silly. You might as well watch a movie if you want to be looked after the entire time. There’s a fine line though between giving people enough information to get started, teaching them the basics and throwing them into a pool full of sharks.
I’m reminded by Dota 2’s tutorial, which still doesn’t really make sense to me. First it had me running around some place completely unrelated to the game which I would never see again, making me think Dota 2 was some sort of RPG, then it taught me a few things about last-hitting and finally it pitted me against an AI bot that was, well, cannon fodder, before throwing me into a game with completely and utterly passive AI bots. Bots that pinged missing enemies for me then refused to tell me how I could ping for missing enemies myself. Needless to say, when I tried a game against not-completely-passive bots, they kicked my ass, then went to the secret shop to spend their hard-earned gold.
I still haven’t found the secret shop.
Thing is, a tutorial needs to equip you with enough knowledge to not 100% drag your team down. The TF2 only manages to do that if you want to only play Soldier at his most basic level. You want anything else, you either look at the inaccurate and sometimes incredibly stupid tips, or you do the smart thing and look up the official TF2 wiki and people who are playing TF2 on Youtube. Or you do the somewhat smart thing and ask for help on somewhere like SPUF or /r/truetf2 or something.
Problem is, this information isn’t readily available. You have to go outside the game to find the majority of information. And as I said from the start, most people are lazy, dumb or both. And the short, simple tutorials we have really don’t help, not just because they’re incredibly simple, but because no one is forced to play them and they only cover 4/9 classes.
This is solvable though. It can be fixed. How? In two simple ways.
1. Make the tutorial compulsory the first time someone plays TF2. Or at least have a series of warning boxes. “Welcome to TF2! Would you like to play the tutorial? No? Are you sure? You’ll get some random weapons and a hat if you do! Really? Are you sure? No? Oh. Okay then. The tutorial and I will be here if you need us…”
2. Scrap the tutorials we have and make one that teaches you the basics of every class. Including Medic and Heavy. Simple.
The dumb and the lazy can be saved. We just need to push them in the right direction.