Team Fortress 2 has spoiled me. All these years that I’ve been playing it have ruined me when it comes to playing other games. The game may not have been my first FPS, but I’ve got nearly 1800 hours on the game and it’s done some weird things to me.
The first thing that has always bothered me is aiming. The majority of shooters generally want you to scope in or use an iron sight in order to aim more accurately. At the very least, you have way less accuracy when running than you do when standing still, and increased accuracy while crouching. I struggled immensely with the concept in Left 4 Dead and Garry’s Mod, so playing TF2 and always firing from the hip was amazing in my young, newbish eyes. Recoil was another big thing. There’s recoil while firing TF2 weapons, but it’s nowhere near as noticeable as other games.
But on top of all that zooming in, there were other aim-related things that I barely even knew existed. I learned that Snipers could do more damage by doing headshots, but that was a Sniper (and later Spy) only ability. Everyone else did the same damage no matter what bit of body they hit. This essentially trained me to always go for the bodyshot and dissuaded me from playing Sniper because everyone had weirdly-shaped heads and heads in general are hard to hit. Coming back to other shooters, I have to work that much harder to land those crucial headshots.
Movement mechanics are also a whole new thing. Crouch-jumping is an on and off mechanic, some games have it, some don’t. Source Engine games all have the unusual mechanic of holding crouch while in the air to give you, paradoxically, extra height. Most games just use crouch for small spaces. Then there’s explosions and advanced movement. Explosive Jumping is a nice mechanic, but most games just make it so you die when you fire a rocket launcher at your feet. There’s often none of the elegant but strange surfing of explosions that you find all the cool Soldiers and Demomen doing.
Then there’s class mechanics. It’s rare for a shooter game to have a permanent healing support character, someone who doesn’t fight. It’s odd that the Soldier, the guy with the rocker launcher, is the jack-of-all-trades class. It’s unusual that there’s no proper assault rifles. It’s even stranger to have a Sniper class that actually works best when fighting alongside his team and provides support, rather than being a lone wolf. These all do sound very odd when you’ve played other FPS games, but when you go from the insanity that is TF2 and enter other games, it’s everything else that seems… off.
Of course, now, when I play other video games, I’m completely lost. I’ve been playing Borderlands 2 lately and I scope in so rarely. I forget I can use sniper rifles even though I’m not a sniping class. I’ve also been playing Saints Row: The Third, which, while being a Third Person Shooter, still gives me the same problems. And don’t get me started on more realistic games like Counter-Strike! I’m hopeless, unlike my fellow Daily SPUF writers.
Funnily enough, all this talk about being brought up on Team Fortress 2 could have a lot to do with another phenomenon – the issue of bad players currently running amok in our servers. Compared to many shooters, TF2 is a very foreign game, missing or altering many of the features seen in other games, while adding a huge combination of other, sometimes off-the-wall mechanics. None of TF2 is expected. Very little of it is logical. And huge swathes of the game break that same old monotony that many FPS games have. The problem is that the game itself does very little to explain all the nuances that TF2 has, and all the standard mechanics that TF2 does without.
Now, if only I could get out of the habit of being scared of scoping in.