Confusing Comms: Health Callouts

An important part of competitive TF2 is communication. Being concise, clear and understandable are vital, especially as the environment you will be speaking in could have anywhere between 3-8 others all speaking at once while each listener is distracted by what is happening onscreen. It is no secret that the SPUF EU 6s and 4s team require improving with their co-op skills, so today I will talk about a simple aspect that is often overlooked: friendly health callouts.

Enemy health callouts are well known, and the skills well practised. The term “lit” has entered even the vocabulary of non-competitive TF2 players. But what of health callouts of fellow teammates? This too is important, and it is simply invaluable. The Medic must know what is happening to his team, so to better medicate, and better medication means it’s better for everyone. In addition, it allows it to be known when a teammate needs a helping hand (even if he doesn’t ask for it), or when a flack or battle might be about to be lost or won. There is no way faster to get an idea of what state your team and the match is in than knowing their health.

So let’s say everyone is calling out health now. Hooray! But what if Medic is told the following;

Demo: At 128 health, going for health.
Scout: At 56 health, retreating.
Soldier: At 183 health, taking fire!

…All within the space of 5 seconds? Well, that is just too much, he won’t be able to process that efficiently at all, and if does, he is likely not focusing enough at the job at hand. Ooops, Medic thought about the math problem too hard and for a single second forgot to not stand in the sniper lines!

Even just a single teammate telling a medic an odd number might be enough to get distracted at a critical moment. So how to solve this problem? Health threshold. No need to process the number, it can just be filed away without even thinking about it. Look at the numbers below for an example of the threshold of a pocket soldier, along with what they mean;

300 (No need to ever call this out, the Medic knows :D)
250 (Slight damage or overheal wear off. Only call if taking fire)
200 (Healthy, no worries)
150 (Slight damage, top up welcome)
100 (Moderate damage, heals required for prolonged fighting)
50 (Critical damage. Heal right now)
0 (You suck Medic)

…So really it’s only 4 values being used mostly. A lot better than saying number like 184, 78, 134 and 38, that requires a split second of thinking that adds up over time, especially if 3-8 people are saying it every 10 seconds. The same is for Demo (175, 150, 100, 50, 0), Heavy (300, 250, 200…) and light classes (125, 100, 75, 50, 25). Tailor to your needs, but it’s best if the entire team know the system. Get more accurate or less accurate with your numbers, based on the medic, the amount people talking, the amount of important pocket classes etc. Note also you never say things like “took 86” if it can be avoided. If you are in a fight, doing simple mathematics is pretty annoying when you are trying to focus. Keep it rounded.

Everyone understands Enemy Health callouts, they must be accurate so they are always rounded to the nearest 5. But if you were giving the same accurate enemy info while giving team health info, it really slows down thought processes. Health callouts aren’t a requirement in all classes through. In HL, with so many people, only the power classes or those near the Medic should be calling out their health so often, to keep comms clear. Spy and Snipers don’t need to say every time they get a rocket to the face. But in 6s and 4s, I encourage you to do so.

Medic

Also known as Doctor Retvik Von Schreibtviel, Medic writes 45% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Medic has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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