In my last article, I said that teamwork in TF2 is easier than in other games, with hero shooters being my example of the alternative. I’m going to explain why I think that.
Firstly, there is very little overlap in the class roles. The nine classes by default have very clear, distinct roles with minimal overlap, so you can tell what your team needs at a glance.
- You need someone to heal? Medic.
- You need to defend a point? Engineer.
- You need to destroy a particularly annoying Sentry Nest? Spy.
- You need to get somewhere faster? Scout.
So on, and so forth. Since team composition is one of the, if not the most fundamental part of teamwork in these games, the easier it is to get a workable team composition, the easier teamwork becomes.
The only cases where there is a role overlap is when you need a general damage dealer. Soldier, Demoman, and Heavy can all fulfill this role. But even in this case, there are some differences. You use Heavy when a meatshield is needed, and Demoman when you need to deal damage around corners. Soldier is the only one without a specific niche, but he is more or less a general-purpose class, so it really doesn’t hurt if you just pick a Soldier when you need a damage dealer. In fact, in this particular situation either three will work just as well.
Meanwhile, in, say, Paladins, there are 9 healers, and each of them work differently from each other. Overwatch has 7, and the same applies. Some may say that in most people will be grateful to have even one healer in a pub game no matter who it is, but the fact that there is so many characters for a single role that all operate differently makes it harder for someone to choose.
Granted, you can say that with experience, you’ll know what to pick. But in TF2’s case you’ll need less time and experience to figure out what to pick since the choices are much clearer.
The second reason why teamwork is easier is due to the larger team size. It makes class choices a lot more flexible because it reduces the burden on each team member. For example, having one more Medic in the team in TF2 is somewhat trivial in a full team of 12. However, in a team of 5 or 6, that is a rather crucial question, since that is an extra ~17% to 20% of their fighting force dedicated to healing. It makes picking the wrong class in TF2 harder, which ensures that your team composition has more room for error before being dysfunctional.
The last point for why teamwork in TF2 is easier is slightly counter-intuitive. Teamwork in TF2 is easier because each player is less dependent on each other.
By being less dependent on each other, the requirements for teamwork is lowered. Considering pub play mainly consists of randoms who has never met each other before and quite likely will never meet each other again, lowering the barrier for teamwork will get them to stick more or less together. If the teamwork requirements are more stringent, it will be more likely for coordination to fail, which increases the chances for people to just completely give up on teamwork and go solo-sniping or something similar. Not that solo snipers ever need any encouragement to hang back and take shots at anything but enemy players anyways.
This is basically my thoughts on the issue. Teamwork is easier in TF2 since it is easier to make the right choices to complement your team, and is easier to maintain since TF2 is a more forgiving game at that front. Which makes it the perfect multiplayer game for me since I have no friends to play with.