Now, I get that as a medic main I meet a bunch of friends (perhaps more than any other class main) just from playing the game. Indeed, many of them I become really good friends with and we get along great. But, as with most friendships, eventually people drift apart. (And yes, mopey post ahead.)
Now my steam friends list is full of people I’ve met from a bunch of different games. From guys I spent hundreds of hours to guys who randomly decided to help me through the first part of that game I got yesterday and spent a few hours downloading. I’ve even got guys from when I helped proof-read for SourceStuff and Medic’s in there from a single game of MvM.
While this may not seem like a very good preface to an article I am getting somewhere. Throughout the entirety of my steam life I seem to keep snagging up these people I talk to for maybe a week, and then rarely see again unless we happen to bump into each other in a server or something. Now I’m (fairly) certain this happen to most people, and most people just let it happen (seeing as having 20+ friends is a challenge in itself) but it raises the question, if you had to pick 20 friends who you wanted in your friends list, who would you chose? Would you chose the friend who you spent the most time with? The friend you enjoy being with the most? The people you want in your friends list because you feel like, even though you don’t talk to them, it wouldn’t be the same without them.
Ok, I’ll get to the point. In my experience, it seems that certain games and certain playstyles make people more prone to getting friends, regardless of the actual person. So, to test how this worked I took a group of friends (aka the ones I knew which class they mained) and examined their friends list. From the 90+ friends I examined I found that soldier, sniper and spy mains tend to have the fewest friends. Heavies, medics and engis have the most friends and pyro, scout and demo have the middle group of friends. Moreover, from those where the answer was obvious, on average, medics have the most friends of any class and heavies have the most friends who are also heavies. (All information here should be taken with a pinch of salt due to rounding errors, private profiles and the like. I tried to balance out the data the best I could.)
From this it seems to work out that dependent classes tend to be those who get most friends (pyro, engi, medic and heavy taking the top four slots) and those who are more independent (soldier, sniper, spy and demo taking the lower four slots). This raises the question, is it fair to accuse people of team stacking? (I know, complete tangent right?) Most likely those who team stack are those who rely on their team to do well (at least from my experience). And I don’t mean team stacking in pubs, that’s understandable (because what medic wants to be on a team of potatoes) I mean comp stacking. While we always hear from the view of those who are stacked against (not saying it’s fun to be stacked against) it’s rare to see discussions about fighting as a stacked team against another stacked team. I personally find playing on a stacked team to be quite boring if we’re steamrolling but there’s nothing I enjoy more than a purely balanced match (so not tf2 matchmaking). A team of six average friends (because I’m nowhere near the best player ever etc) versus another team of random six friends.
Back on topic, does this information show that Team Fortress 2’s support classes actually promote friendship and by extension teamwork? I have no clear way of checking, there’s too much data to analyse for that. What I can say with relative certainty is that the players who rely on their team tend to have more friends than those who try to solo everything, even if they don’t play with those friends regularly or even at all. And those who support their team rather than trying to solo everything also have this. So the main connection we can make here is that yes, teamwork does promote friendship even in tf2 where teamwork can be defined veeeeery loosely and therefore classes which utilise teamwork tend to follow this rule.
Now I can hear you screaming through the screen “You said you were getting to the point!”. I am, I swear. The next thing I want to question is how well skill and friendship are intertwined in a good team. Can you, for example, take the best player in the world and stick them on an average team and have them perform as well as they do on their normal team? The answer is obvious: they do not. A good team can’t just be formed of the best players in the world. What I wonder is how much teamwork applies. This can be generalised into a simple pros list. As so:
Pros of being a skilled player:
- Know positioning
- Know counters
- Know general gameplay mechanics
- Know map layout, healthkits etc
- Know what weapon to use for what situation
Pros of having a team of friends
- Able to predict your teams movements
- Able to sychronise with teammates
- Able to infer messages
- Able to make group split-second decisions
Wow, that’s pretty impressive, and that’s just scratching the surface of it. So now I have to ask- Actually looking at the word count I’ll wrap this up.
Teamwork plays such an important role in how the game is played and is born out of friendship, making friendship and equally important aspect of said game. This is why modes such as matchmaking are flawed from the base as they attempt to match non-friends together. This would work great if there weren’t the ever looming possibility (again especially in tf2 but this applies to other games as well e.g. Overwatch) that a team of 4+ friends could be matched against a team of skilled players who don’t know each other, giving the friends the advantage.
Anyways, that’s the end of my random SPUF article, hope you enjoyed.