An Apple A Day

Leave me alone!

It’s important to make it clear at the start that I’m very bad at Team Fortress 2. I’m pretty bad at most online shooters, with the odd exception of Quake 3, where back in the day I was: alright. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them – I just don’t do very well in them. It’s also not to say I’m no good at shooters. Offline, single player, I’m fine. I think the point is, everyone else is a lot better than me, and so I die a lot.

With that out the way, I’d like to make an appeal: Please, Medics, don’t ubercharge me.

You can't even hide behind them.

I can’t handle the pressure. You might think a burst of invincibility is exactly what I need, but the moment I see that percentage figure appear on the screen, I fall to pieces. Suddenly I’m no longer able to just muddle along in my own remarkably embarrassing fashion, heading in entirely the wrong direction, or trying to capture a protected base, but instead I’m beholden to another player.

There’s still a thimble of anonymity in a ten-man team. I can muddle along at the bottom of the scoreboard, the unheard sighs of my teammates not affecting me as I blow myself up with a rocket, or press the wrong button and turn invisible in front of the entire opposing team. But once that wispy stream of healing magic is attached to me, I’m done for. It’s too much. And I spontaneously do the stupidest thing imaginable, which normally involves falling off a cliff, or standing stock still in front of an enemy sentry.

You're heroes, you really are. Just not mine.

I’m suddenly exposed. It’s like when I drive. I’ve no sense of direction to the point where I can get lost going up a flight of stairs. In a car, my average trip involves about thirty-four hasty turns in other people’s driveways or dodgy U-turns in wide junctions. And that’s fine on my own – I’m used to me, and my exceptional incompetence. But the moment there’s someone else in the car, my uselessness is exposed. “Oh, sorry, yes – this is just sort of how it works with me.” And they glance at the door handle and regret their decision. I’m a good driver – safe, capable. I just don’t drive in the direction I need to go. That Medic behind me is that passenger. In fact, worse, he’s the teacher in an exam, who suddenly looms behind your shoulder looking at what you’re writing, and you forget anything you might have revised.

Go heal the sick.

It’s too much! I never know when I’m invincible, and then infuriate the more capable player who thought to give me this opportunity by standing facing a wall throughout my immortality. I hear people telling stories, where they say, “I couldn’t believe this idiot. I ubercharged him, and all he did was go and get first aid!” And I bow my head and feel sympathy for that mocked player, knowing that he too can’t handle the weight of responsibility.

Admittedly if I play Heavy, I'm asking for it.

So please don’t ubercharge me. Clearly it’s not worth your time, but more, it’s ruining mine. Sure, I know how ungrateful I sound, and I promise, it’s not a criticism of you at all. It really is me. There are other people more deserving of your attention and effort. I, meanwhile, will be getting killed by the same sentry eight times in a row before I remember where it is.


  1. PaulMorel says:

    lol. I feel ya. I’m pretty good at TF2, but I still get all nervous whenever someone ubers me. It’s much MUCH worse in competitive play too, because how ubers are used basically determines whether your team wins or loses.

  2. Ian says:

    I haven’t played TF2 yet, but I will, and I suspect I’ll think back to this article and empathise.

  3. Frank says:

    Maybe when you’ve played the medic more, you’ll understand and like ubercharges better. I’m thinking of going back to get those unlockables thanks to the most recent TF2 update:

    Reduced Medic’s unlockable requirements to match that of the Pyro’s. Medic players now meeting the requirements will receive their unlockables shortly after joining a server

  4. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Oh, don’t worry. Decent Medics quickly pick up on which team-mates are worth healing and I don’t think I’ve ever wasted more than one uber on a team-mate who was obviously useless.

    In other news, I now have the ubersaw as Valve have kindly made the un-lock requirements somewhat less stringent.

  5. FringeRock says:

    I feel your pain Mr Walker. I’ve just come back to TF2 having been away for a while (The Pyro Update marketing seems to work then!) and I feel a little out of place, of sorts. I just wanted to be left alone to get back into the swing of things but couldn’t manage it. I didn’t even get to play as my favourite class – The Pyro – due to all the Achievement-Grabbing-Monkeys maxing out the server limit.

    Maybe we should look for servers that actually discourage teamplay or wait around for rubbish bots to turn up on the scene to ruin the fun entirely.

  6. Kieron Gillen says:

    I agree. Walker is rubbish.


  7. Lorc says:

    If it makes you feel any better, while almost all players have learned what to do with an uber, a kritzkrieg charge sends them into a state of panic. Otherwise competent players suddenly turn tail and flee to the dispensers – perhaps thinking that the lightning shrouding their weapon is some fiendish attack. Or make false assumptions and suicide-charge a level 3 sentry. Or just stare at a wall, gurning.

    I’ve taken to stealthily deploying it on unsuspecting teammates in the middle of their business – often they don’t realise what I’ve done and will carry on shooting at the enemy in a sensible fashion.

  8. Chaz says:

    Reminds me of the last time I tried playing Counter Strike Source. I hadn’t played a CS game for years until a mate of mine persuaded me to join him for a few games of CSS. In my first go I had some how managed to survive as the last man standing on the map as a CT, but not before the terrorists had planted the bomb. Feeling a huge weight of responsibility on my shoulders, and knowing that all the others players where right now watching me, I made my way over to where I heard the bomb bleeping it’s count down. I reached the bomb only to realise that I had no idea how to disarm it. I totally panicked and began to try all the keys on my keyboard in a desperate attempt to find the right one. By now of course I had become the recipient of a torrent of abuse and scorn at my noobishness, and by the time I’d found the right key the bomb blew up in face a few seconds later, much to my humiliation.

    In later matches I used to dread being the bomb carrier as the terrorists, as I usually didn’t have a clue where I was going. It got to the point where I used to start playing very recklessly so that I wouldn’t end up as one of the last left on the map, as I couldn’t bare the thought of all those scornful judging eyes watching my every move from the spectator’s gallery.

    They say the internet is anonymous. But I when ever I make mess of things in an online game I still can’t help feeling a flush of embarrassment, a bit like a kid who drops a pile of plates in the school dinner hall and everyone cheers and turns to stare at him.

  9. aiusepsi says:

    Now that the unlock requirements are relaxed, we should see more people with the kritz, so people will get used to using it more.

  10. Feet says:

    I’m not quite as inept, but I do crumble under the responsibility of the uber-charge, whether I’m given it by someone else or I have one to give.

    If I’m given one then I feel stupid if I only achieve one kill or something.

    I’m if giving one I feel stupid if the person I give it to does nothing with it, usually this is as much my fault as theres as I choose to use it just as the person decides to run away from the frontline or just as the last enemy flees the scene.

  11. TychoCelchuuu says:

    I’m awesome at Team Fortress 2 and love getting ubercharged but I drive exactly like you so I know exactly how it feels.

  12. Butler` says:

    It’s not you… it’s me.

  13. Citizen Parker says:

    A brother in arms!

    In addition to your “Please don’t uber me” and Chaz’s “Please don’t make me the bomb carrier,” I’d also like to add my own “Please don’t make me the VIP.”

    Being the VIP is perhaps the worst experience imaginable in life. When I become one, I just run towards mobs of friendlies thinking “I want to die I want to die I want to die…”

    Generally, that’s a rather self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I wonder what other “extra responsibilities” like these there are in gaming?

  14. sigma83 says:

    Lol I feel your pain. Every second of that glowey-goodness counts, every shot magnified, every click and button press made magic.

    Or un-magic. Depends. I’m fairly good at the game, but very often spend several respawn tickets walking back and forth between the spawn and my demise.

    Speaking of ubercharges, as their most common use is to take out niggling sentry emplacements, has no one else noticed (I appear to be the _only_ person on the servers I play on to do this) that you can rain demoman grenades onto sentries from way outside their range? All you need is a safe spot to stand, a quick direction check, and raising your barrel to about 45 degrees.

    If your aim is on, you’ll be landing grenades directly onto or right next to the sentry, and since the bastards tend to be built in corners the grenades will just deposit themselves around the sentry’s legs. A single engineer cannot repair that much damage going off at once, and more than likely he will be killed as well.

    It’s obviously not as simplistic as firing rockets at it, but it’s way more effective since grenades do not have a damage drop off at range.

    Like I said I don’t believe for a moment I’m the first to discover this, but I’ve never seen anyone else do it.

  15. M. Banana says:

    I agree, I don’t like being ubered. And I’m actually pretty good at TF2. The pressure just crushes me though.

  16. Lu-Tze says:

    I always feel stupidest when I get ubered and charge into the wrong part of the level, not in the wrong directio persay, just not into the Engineer nest or cluster of enemies they knew about and hoped I would gravitate towards.

    My bellowing war charge takes me straight through half the map towards their base without seeing a single enemy, and then all too soon I become completely mortal again and suddenly the entire enemy team turns up and turns us into one big smear.

  17. Dave says:

    Am I the only one who always gets ubered when I have 2 ammo left?

  18. Lu-Tze says:

    @sigma83 : I feel like i’m the only person that realises the Sticky Bomb launcher can be charged up to launch shots at ridiculously long range. Even a small charge can often mean the difference between “just shy of where it needs to be” and “right on the money”.

  19. sigma83 says:

    Whenever I’m a medic, I say ‘Get ready (name), you’re gonna get the uber/critz’ and it warms the cockles of my heart to watch them reload, bless them.

  20. sigma83 says:

    Lu-Tze: Yes it’s a great weapon. Demomen feel like the ‘advanced’ class, right next to high level soldier play and spies. (sorry snipers of the world)

    That’s not to say I’m great at it. I suck at up-close confrontations, and possibly even medium-long range ones. I just know how to take out sentries from really far away.

  21. rei says:

    I know exactly how you feel. Furthermore, I’ve noticed that when I start healing people more often than not they abandon all reason and run off into certain death, presumably because they feel pressured to do something heroic with my precious gift of health. That’s what I feel when someone starts healing me, at any rate.

    We geeks are all so self-conscious, eh?

  22. liquidindian says:

    Yes to the uber-panic, and add in the panic of grabbing the intel after everyone else worked hard to get the opportunity. ARGH RUN OH GO WHICH WAY IS IT AGAIN OH NO ITS THE ENEMY SPAWN oh I’m dead.

  23. Pod says:

    Lu-Tze: I know of it, but only because I read those helpful “tip” on the loading screen. Medics, press RMB to activate an ubercharge!

    Lately people keep ubering me as a solider. Which is rubbish. As I fire off 4 rockets then panic and switch to my shovel in a desperate attempt to still cause some damage whilst I’m invunerable. Usually, of course, I’m pinning to the back wall by the still-very-much-alive sentry, stood there having my shovel. I’ve taken to just pressing “G” and hoping people enjoy the scene

    bind x say_team “Please don’t ubercharge me! I’m shit and it’ll be a waste! Please? Please?Please? Please?”

  24. AbyssUK says:

    I also suck at FPS’s but love playing them.. it’s almost sadomasochistic.. I love it in Battlefield when everybody is taking things so seriously I wade in and basically just mess about (I don’t team kill or anything I generally try to help but just end up doing stupid things).. i’ll be setting off in my jeep to try and basically just jump onto somebodies head when some ‘serious’ players will jump in the back. I then get scared and confused and generally end up either embedded in a tree, upside down or underwater to the cries of my teammates…

    But fear not Mr Walker your going to love BF:Heroes its a game made for people like me and you!

  25. liquidindian says:

    Oh yes, and add in the uselessness I feel when, while ubered, I bravely take down the dispenser and engineer and leave the sentry untouched.

  26. Don says:

    I wouldn’t worry, for every incompetent recipient of an uber there’s at least one medic who still couldn’t deploy an uber correctly if it came with a 100 page instruction book.

    The usual cock up is to for the medic to deploy an uber then fail to keep up with the player, round the corner you go to tackle that sentry to find the uber disappears along with your limbs. I’ve also had several medics who’ve started the uber when there wasn’t an enemy in sight, they seemed hurt when I spent the time hitting then on the head with a shovel.

  27. Malibu Stacey says:

    I feel like i’m the only person that realises the Sticky Bomb launcher can be charged up to launch shots at ridiculously long range. Even a small charge can often mean the difference between “just shy of where it needs to be” and “right on the money”.

    I am so going to be whoring this tonight. Soldier, Heavy & Medic tend to be my favourite classes (plus a little late night Spying occasionally) but I’ve taken to the Demoman recently.

    Also w00t for medic unlocks having their requirements lowered. Free Kritzkreig for me & only a couple of achievements to get the ubersaw!

    And in closing can I say, for all those asking not to be ubercharged, I’ll take their ubers/kritz any day especially as Heavy/Soldier but please switch your mic on & warn me first.

  28. SwiftTheRedFox says:

    And this is one of the reasons that I’m still a little afraid to get into TF2. I don’t mind running around on CoD4 and being “alright.” But on TF2, I feel like I’d let all my teammates down and damn it I just don’t want to feel like that!! Will I ever play you TF2?!?!

  29. Mman says:

    I also go out of my way to avoid being ubercharged. Not because I am terrible or anything, but because my computer gets all knotted up inside when I do get ubered. My FPS go from a smooth, fast pace, to a slow crawl and all I see durring an uber charge is about 4 screenshots of the mayhem I am trying to create. Not sure why this one particular action does this to my computer, but it sucks.

  30. kwyjibo says:

    On the other side of the coin, there’s medics who uber you at precisely the wrong moment.

    Mostly, it’s when I’m just back from the front lines to reload my rockets, which leads to a waste of time at the beginning. But the worst is when you’re safely capping something, there’s no threats around and you get ubered, breaking the cap.

  31. SuperNashwan says:

    I don’t like ubering players I don’t know, especially pyros, who tend to chase the nearest enemy like a dog after a butterfly. The real give away on who you shouldn’t uber is how often they spam the medic call when overhealed, if they’re constantly doing it expecting an uber, they invariably suck.

  32. Grill says:

    Oh, now he says it! I did wonder why John-boy kept running away from my healing beam when he was grinding those Pyro achievements earlier today.

  33. Kieron Gillen says:

    Re: Others. Ubering me as a soldier when I’ve fired my last rocket is a particularly heart-breaking moment.


  34. Down Rodeo says:

    Hmm, I kinda get the pressure when Ubered but generally as a demoman I tend to know that means stickies out, find a sentry and destroy. Similarly pyro means run towards things burning all in your path.

    Yes, demoman stickies are awesome. I’m really starting to ‘get’ the arc of the grenades and the power of the sticky shots for the distance. It feels good running in like that. The only problem is close encounters. If an enemy knows how to dodge you are very dead with only your whisky as a recourse. Then you pray for crits.

    I got my Ubersaw just there. Good thing too as the achievements were getting hard. It was nice to go onto a server, die, respawn and be given the weapon :)

    Also, Mman, this might sound really obvious but have you tried new drivers? The number of times that this has been the issue for me – it’s helped on CoD2, Audiosurf and TF2.

    @KG/others: Yeah, I know that one too. There are some players I have seen who choose to charge the demoman based on the fact that he has more ammo – not always the best choice, a good soldier can do pretty well on an uber.

    Uh-oh, I sound too geeky here. Help! I’m not like this! :D

  35. Jon Bristow says:

    Heh, as a frequent medic, I am so worried that I’ll uber at an inappropriate time that I sometimes either die from sniper fire with an uber ready, or accidentally uber at the first sign of pyro flame.

  36. Cargo Cult says:

    I’ve found a brilliant guide as to potential recipients of my nascent übercharges is a quick press of the tab key – if someone’s near the top of the scoreboard, they’re more likely to receive it than a beginner.

    Elitist, yes – but doing so has dragged me up the scoreboards as well. Bwuhahaha!

    (Something else annoying? When the endgame’s going on near the end of the map, and I’ve just spawned as medic – it would be nice if the occasional player would slow down so that I could charge them en-route. If someone does stay with me, instant friend! Until they die horribly, obviously.)

  37. phuzz says:

    Is it me that always seems to uber people just before they run out of ammo?

  38. Malibu Stacey says:

    (Something else annoying? When the endgame’s going on near the end of the map, and I’ve just spawned as medic – it would be nice if the occasional player would slow down so that I could charge them en-route. If someone does stay with me, instant friend! Until they die horribly, obviously.)

    To the best of my knowledge only Scouts & Pyros are faster than Medics (at least it was so in TFC & QWTF & appears to be in TF2). You should be able to keep up with anyone else obviously excluding rocket/sticky jumping Soldiers & Demomen although if you over heal them before they jump & keep healing them afterwards until they are out of range they’ll be mightily pleased.

  39. Maj.Havok says:

    Me…I love the uber, I want the uber. Watch the other team scramble like little flies…until it ends and your left standing like a fish in a barrell as your medic runs for his life and 10 criticle rockets rain down on you… :)

  40. Batolemaeus says:

    Being a medic involes shouting at teammates a lot. It has been my favourite class next to engineer (somehow i’m the only one building useful teleports in the teams i play in).

    Being an engineer is okay, but people not knowing how to cooperate with a medic are meh. Often i get chased by pyros, while the people i heal don’t even care. Frustrating..

    The best moment i had was when the position the heavy and i were was assaulted. I uber the heavy, and accidently step on a teleporter..

  41. theapologist says:

    This is SO me. I absolutely feel your pain. And it’s also why I never play games online – I’m just embarassingly rubbish, and any form of in-game interdependence fills me with horrow.

    So, as the gaming world gets more and more obsessed with multiplayer, I feel ever more sidelined as some kind of weird niche player, on his own. In the corner.

    The thought of WoW just petrifies me.

    And servers for quantifiably rubbish players only would be great :)

  42. PFC Skinner says:

    I think it was me you were talking about (on the PCG server) but as a medic i have a panic attack whenever i see an enemy and i just hit that ubercharge.

  43. Alex says:

    Concerning bombs in CS and CS:S – you do know you can drop the bomb, don’t you?

    If you don’t want to carry it, just drop it as soon as the round begins (maybe saying that you’re dropping it might be a good idea too).

    I wanted to start playing TF2 as a Medic but now I feel such amounts of pressure, I’m not sure I want to.. :(

  44. angelessme says:

    I think you’re letting your inexperience get to you.

    In order of priority, here is why a medic will activate an ubercharge on you:
    The medic is dying/about to die (hello shiny rocket coming at my face).
    The medic knows there is a sentry around the corner.
    There are 8 guys coming at you and theres no quick escape for the medic
    He thinks you’re a shit hot player.

    Yes sometimes the ubercharge will get blown just because it can be, but most of the time its a defensive survival tool for the medic.

  45. Mataway says:

    @Malibu Stacey:

    Character speeds go
    Engie, Pyro, Sniper

    There’s some console command that will show you the exact break down, but I haven’t the foggiest idea what it is. The question came up yesterday on the Steam TF2 forums.

  46. Carlton Stevens says:

    I have to say, playing the medic all the time the most infuriating thing isn’t death, humiliation (getting BONKed for instance), or critique of my medical procedure. No, it’s when there’s a sentry pinning down and mutilating half of the team and myself and a pyro are right there.

    And then I say “Let’s do this” like I’m Jason Statham about to wrestle in some oil.

    And then I uber.

    And then he runs.

    The other way. Yelling medic and grabbing some ammo.

    Stuff like this happens to me often, I think the most recent one was even worse because right after the uber, a spy appeared and stabbed me in the back.

  47. Poet says:

    Sigma, the longer you hold down the fire button on the sticky gun the farther they go. I can hit sg’s all the way across some maps and certainly from a safe distance.

  48. Manticore says:

    Great post!

    I’d say, the key is to just run at the enemy and shoot like theres no tomorrow. Kind of: “At least I tried my best”.

  49. Erlam says:

    I think, beyond just not wanting to let people down, is the problem of people not understanding that some people simply are new players.

    My girlfriend will only join ‘noob friendly’ servers. The reason is she’s not just new to TF2, she’s new to FPS’s in general. And what makes it even harder for her to learn are people screaming at her for not psychically understanding what to do. We did find a great server though – where people will encourage new players, congratulate people on getting better, etc.

    That said, she’s seen far too many that don’t do that, and that will make a lot of people simply not bother with the game.