Ancient TF2: The Complete Go Team!

By Alec Meer on December 29th, 2011 at 11:22 pm.

We once had so very many screenshots of TF2. Where did they go, those screenshots? Are they alright? Do they have someone who loves them?
Back, back, back, back even further, back a bit more, keep going, yes, not much further now and… there we go. You are now back in the most dim and distant past of the then tiny baby website Rock, Paper, Shotgun, a mere three months into our making-it-up-as-we-went-along existence. You will see ancient typos. You will see only glimmerings of understanding of how the internet works. You will see Kieron Gillen. And you will see The Go Team!, a multi-part mega-feature in which the four RPS founders present their assorted thoughts on Team Fortress 2′s classes, based on our delightfully haphazard experiences in the original beta back in September 2007.

A warning: much of what you will read here might bear very little resemblance to Team Fortress 2 as you know it today. TF2′s classes have changed immeasurably over the months and years, but more importantly player understanding of the classes very quickly grew leaps and bounds beyond our early, in-it-for-the-laughs summations of them. In other words: big huge chunks of these are now probably enormously innacurate.

Hold on to your microtransacted hat: here we go.


Part 1: The Heavy.


Part 2: The Medic.


Part 3: The Demoman.


Part 4: The Pyro.


Part 5: The Sniper.


Part 6: The Engineer.


Part 7: The Soldier.


Part 8: The Scout.


Part 9: The Spy.

Oh, were we ever so young? Well, yes. And we have the photos to prove it, which we weep over nightly.

Oh, were we ever so ignorant? Also yes, but at least that hasn’t changed.

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39 Comments »

  1. Metonymy says:

    Hah, the scout being compared to the quake soldier. “TF2, the game where you play quake, except you aren’t allowed to move at full speed. Or have a good shotgun. Or pick your weapon. Or play single player. Or mod the game yourself.”

    When is someone going to make a good egoshooter again? I haven’t used a proper shotgun since the 80s in doom1. It’s all baby’s first machine gun now.

    • mpk says:

      The 80s? Christ, it wasn’t that long ago :)

    • Nick says:

      It came out in 93 =/

    • LionsPhil says:

      Probably when someone has the budget for decent ASPLODES but doesn’t have to work to the limitations of twin thumbsticks.

      The sheer motion and mobility has gone out of the FPS; its one of the most noticable absences in Hard Reset. (I don’t believe Serious Sam 3 is particularly bouncy either.) Oddly enough, it’s been Sanctum of all things I’ve found most rewarding for that recently, since you can actually rocket jump up onto your towers, and fire a second into a monster’s glowing weakspot while in midair before landing then jumping a gap as wide as the tower blocks themselves to the next while switching over to your shotgun. (Sadly it is not on a par with the DOOM/DN3D shotties.)

      Somehow Scout FaN jumping just never quite clicked the same way for me (and soldier is slooow). Although being repeatedly killed by the skittish little bastards it apparently fits the groove just fine for some. (It’s also kind of telling that I’ve been playing SiN of late and—oh yeah, the Scout’s movement speed was about average in the ’90s.)

    • pipman3000 says:

      probably when game developers get over their obsession for white marines gunning down hordes of brown savages

    • Matzerath says:

      LionsPhil has made me realize that I’m not playing Sanctum right AT ALL.

    • kio says:

      I’m praying that Tribes will be fun.

    • ThTa says:

      Tribes: Ascend is fun, absolutely. But it’s not really all that similar to Quake. Yes, there’s rocket jumping, and yes, you’re extraordinarily mobile, and yes, it requires tremendous skill, but that’s about it. There’s still a heavy emphasis on teamplay and roles, and the mobility in the form of skiing and jetpacks is quite a bit different than simply moving very fast; oh, and there’s vehicles.

      Aside from that, I don’t really see the need for another Quake. Quake 3 exists already, and I still find myself playing that from time to time, with friends. And this may sound odd, but I don’t think its movement, level design and sheer carnage would work quite as well if it didn’t look so lo-fi.

      But yes, I absolutely despise the current direction of mainstream multiplayer FPS’s, and I find both recent modern-manshoots to be awful. That said, I don’t think we’re entirely doomed: Tribes: Ascend and Team Fortress 2 are a testament to that. (Though I haven’t really bothered with the latter since the Soldier and Demoman update)

  2. rob_5000x1 says:

    When I read The Go Team! I was like oh the band? lol Since the exclamation mark is part of their name too

  3. Dozer says:

    Kieron Gillen!

  4. Dozer says:

    You can tell it’s old. There’s nothing about the Spyper, Painis Cupcake, Vagineer, Spycrab, Intelligent Heavy, Pootis Bird, or any of the other new classes.

  5. lurkalisk says:

    I gave up on TF2 a long time ago… I guess it was worth buying just to have seen the early days.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      It’s still the same game just with more bitterness where certain people are concerned.

    • Walter Heisenberg says:

      If by same game you mean the same game with hundreds of new variables that make it’s core gameplay random then yeah it’s identical to the game released in 2007.

      Listening to the old commentary about class silhouettes and weapons having to be easily discerned from any distance it was clear that Valve wanted to make TF2 a game where players could identify and respond to threats without feeling overwhelmed. TF2 today has dozens and dozens of weapons variants that change the game in countless ways and make it overwhelming and chaotic.

    • starclaws says:

      The gameplay variable is random because the incompetent people use the new, terrible weapons for some reason. If you find a decent server with decent players then you usually find mostly the same game. These new folks can’t even read and think for themselves. Ohhh its new and shiny so it must be better! … Try and avoid 24/7 servers if you can. New folks tend to flock there for some reason.

      Still see Natascha, Cow Manglers, Righteous Bison, Quikfix, Shield Demos, and such. Always hear on mic: “I can’t put my sword away!!!” … Always watch natascha heavies get mowed over by everything … including scouts. Natascha does no good if you can’t aim. And even if you can. It has such terrible damage that scout can still kill you. Always watch shield demos be completely useless all round missing 90% of their charges and grenades. A good sticky launcher demo is still the most feared enemy in the game. There’s a reason why only 1 of them is allowed on a team in pro leagues. Watch quikfix medics heal up teammates only for them to die from a near miss critical that would of saved them had they been overhealed. Still watch 3 huntsman snipers get owned by a single normal rifle sniper on other team all game and they never learn. A lot of the other weapons aren’t as good as well. Still watch people play/join a server … see 3 snipers, 3 engineers, 3 spies on a team and they go sniper.

      The core gameplay is still there for decent players that can actually think. You just have to find them.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Letting Engineers lug stuff about was a pretty huge change that is nothing to do with items (for the better, I’d say—I now have little reason to not keep that L3 dispenser wherever the team is bunching up).

      Also I believe pyro airblasting wasn’t in the game at first, although they’ve knobbled that somewhat with all the different rocket launchers firing at different speeds.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Sensibly laying sticky traps and patiently demolishing sentry nests piece by piece might be more useful to the team and net more kills, but charging in with gay abandon and clouting (or rather attempting to) your opponents upside their heads with some explosives tied to a stick is, frankly, just more fun.

    • Jahkaivah says:

      Valve is not a company that is incapable of making mistakes. If there is something the behind the scenes stuff they provide teaches is that some of their greatest strengths is that they have the wisdom to realise when they have made a bad move and the capability to scrap it before it makes it to the final product.

      I can’t help but feel they are somewhat limited with the latter strength when it comes to TF2′s post-release development. They seem to have an unwritten rule that they will never remove any content that they have put into the final game. So where as normally they have multiple years to reflect on the decisions that have been made and identify the fundamentally problematic parts of the game, potentially scrapping an entire year’s worth of work like they did with Portal 2. With TF2 a lot of new weapon ideas get brought in when they possibly only spent a couple of months/weeks/days in testing.

      I would love it if Valve could consider releasing an alternative version of TF2 which picks out the best of the ideas produced over the years to create a better focused and defined version of TF2. Of course that might wind up being what Team Fortress 3 becomes.

    • LionsPhil says:

      As noted below, the development of the initial release of TF2 itself is an example of Valve completely scrapping stuff that wasn’t working, even.

      But once you’ve taken someone’s real-world money for a Bigger Plank With a Nail Through It (+50% damage against players weilding the Pain Train), it’s really not a great place to be in to then remove that from the game and deny them further use of it.

  6. MikoSquiz says:

    This series was what got me into TF2. (closing on 1400 hours now) And the Minecraft diary got me into Minecraft. (I don’t know, I don’t want to know) And the rerun of that Morrowind thing almost made me reinstall Morrowind, but then I remembered about installing mods and futzing with the load order all day.

    ..I guess what I’m saying is, I would love more of these diary-type large-scale writeups, but I’m afraid I would have no life left at all after a few more.

  7. McDan says:

    Crikey, this takes me back. Another excellent assortment of words chaps. Does this mean that there might be more of these mega-features in future if you’re regurgitating them for us now?

  8. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    I remember playing this the first few days when friendly fire was an option (I think people discuss this in your Heavy article above), that was a messy few days.

  9. pepper says:

    Wow, talk about a blast from the past. And in the first story I clicked(spy) a reference to TFC! Hoozah!

  10. Waricck says:

    This was the article that made me fall in love with RPS, that long ago…

  11. Carra says:

    It changed quite a bit in four years.

    It was fun and it’s even more fun now.

  12. McCool says:

    As far as I can remember, this is around the time when RPS changed from being a casual interest to my main go-to website for all things PC gaming.

  13. Meat Circus says:

    HATMASTER BURSTINGFOAM.

  14. int says:

    Anyone remember when TF2 was gonna be a Battlefield-y realistic game?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yup. Still got the PCG preview of that somewhere.

      Also seen the oddity of a leaked beta video thing where they were all a bit WW1; it’s from that that the Proof of Purchase helmet comes, I believe.

  15. johnnyboy101 says:

    ahh the tf2 class roundup… this is what brought me to RPS.. looking for more information on the classes so i could get that leg up on my friends.. Good times!

  16. ain says:

    Oh what I’d give to play TF2 without all the hats and updates. That stuff completely ruined the game for me.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Your wish has been granted. Play on vanilla servers.

    • Jahkaivah says:

      I don’t think that vanilla servers are what you think they are.

  17. Jahkaivah says:

    Misreplied.