Let’s face it, I am a spastic twat with all the coordination skills of a donkey wearing ice skates. I’m bad. And in organized play, this is multiplied tenfold in my awfulness. No seriously, poor old Jensen so rarely gets healed because I can’t damn find him. Okay, to seem less cruel to myself, Jensen is a good old Scout who never stands still, which makes even just locking onto him very tricky, but you get what I mean.
Knowing where everyone is could be considered the second most important thing in the entire game, the most important thing being knowing how TF2 works in general and where you’re supposed to be going. Put the two together and throw in basic aiming and movement skills and you’ve got competitive TF2 (low level competitive at least) wrapped up in a nut shell. Sounds simple, right?
Nope. Not at all.
Why’s that? It’s two-fold. Firstly you need to know where your team mates are. Secondly you need to know where your enemies are. It can easily get confusing.
Let’s take our only good 6v6 match from last season. Viaduct doesn’t count, anyone can win on Viaduct. So yes, we’re on Gullywash. Even on roll outs, you need to know where everyone is going. There are four directions one can go, they can go left, which is more sheltered and closer to a large health kit; they can go right, a tight, jumping path which leads right up to the enemy and could mean getting the jump on them or dying horribly; down, under and round the control point, which is stupidly risky but a good way of catching the enemy unaware; or finally, if you’re a jumping class, just jumping straight up onto the control point. Throw in where the enemy might go, and the fact that, excluding yourself, that’s 11 people you need to keep track of. It’s a lot of people.
It’s not just the Medic’s job to keep track of people, the entire team has to do it. If your Scout notices that someone’s slipped behind, they have to at least call it. Although, as Confusion says, friendlies need to call out their health too, so you need to be able to balance health communication with location communication, alongside Uber counts, respawn timers and damage calls. It’s a lot to cover. That’s why every map has its own little names for little places.
Every team will have different ways of naming each area. Viaduct is a good place to look when you start learning callouts, as its areas of play are pretty simple. You have a control point, you have the grassy, downhill area, you have the cliff and the sniper balcony (often called china, but I’ve jokingly called it Sham’s place) and then there’s Concrete, where you normally find those pesky corner sentries, but this can often have a tunnel with a health kit if you’re playing on the pro version. KOTH maps are somewhat simple though, 5cp maps are much harder to learn. Snakewater, which lacks both proper water and snakes, is all over the place. Sunshine though does a good job of separating the areas between mid and the second control points nicely, with very distinct areas – valley and cafe.
I’m straying off topic. Point is, it’s incredibly useful for both you and your team to know where everyone else is. Not only is it a good way of keeping you safe, but it also helps you organize pushes and know where to run when the enemy is heading in. It’s also why the SPUF 6v6 team was so shit – we had no idea where everyone was.
So learn your map callouts, otherwise you’ll end up like this team.