Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spying 101

I was reading this post at The Escapist earlier today about TF2, and this quote interested me:

 "the Spy's disguise has nearly reached the end of its lifetime. Over time, average players have become much better at detecting and dispatching disguised Spies, making the ability pretty useless for all but the sneakiest of players. Additionally, Walker feels the Engineer's sentry guns have become "too binary." They're highly lethal to some players and wholly ineffective against others. Sentry guns are also easily dispatched by skilled players, leaving Engineers with little recourse. Keeping a delicate balance is important, as is adjusting problems that arise from the way players utilize the different abilities of each class in the game."

First, about the spy. It's a fun class to play and can be hard to play sometimes, especially when you are trying to get through a battlefront of anywhere from 5-10 enemy players. However, I was playing on 2fort yesterday as a spy and had my best run ever as the class. The disguise ability is not totally useless. It's just much safer to cloak, which is where the update they had a while back comes in. Anyway, I'd thought I'd give some pointers on the class to keep in mind:

- Enemy Dispensers are your friends. They will continue to recharge your cloak for you as long as you are beside them. The best strategy I found is to actually leave the dispensers be. I mean, after all they aren't really stopping your team from winning are they? 

 - Do as much as you can manage to get done with your first life as a spy. Chances are after an enemy kills you they will be keeping an eye out for when you return. A spy is most effective when the enemy is not aware of his presence.

- Don't be afraid to back out. This one goes hand in hand with the above example. If you are about to be seen/killed get out of there. Find a good spot and hope the enemy doesn't follow you.

- When Disguised, do not run if someone starts to shoot you. This might sound silly, but it works. Enemy players cannot tell if they are damaging you (applies to shotgun,SMG, and pistol). If you don't try and run away they might assume you are a teammate and stop. Other weapons such as explosives will send you flying while flame will light you up in a second. Also, be aware of the Medic's Blusauger. It also is a great spy-checking utility, seeing how it will give +3 HP to the medic per hit (and display that on screen).

- Stay away from pyros. This one should be obvious. If they light you up, you're done. The whole team will shoot you down.
Same goes for heavies, the minigun fire can give you away with a couple of hits. Be even more aware of Natascha-wielding heavies, they will give you away and slow you down.

- When sapping, wait till the Engie is out of sight until you place sappers. This will give you more time to get away and less time for the engie to react. If possible, stalk the engie out of the range of his turrets and other teammates and then kill him. You can then return to his work and get the job done (unless there are other enemy engies present.)

-Avoid disguising whenever you can. The game will randomly assign you a name (I think it depends on which enemy is closer) from the enemy team. This can give you away sometimes, seeing someone might see you with their name. The cloak is a much safer choice.

-Don't underestimate the Revolver. When this thing crits, it's lethal. If you've got someone following you don't be afraid to shoot them down. If that fails just cloak and get out of there. I used to underestimate the weapon myself all the time when I first got the game, and still do on occasion.

-Engies hate you. Keep this in mind. They are also paranoid as hell, and will do everything they can to prevent you from harming their precious sentries. Also be aware a wrench to the face usually kills, so make sure you're not in the engie's way when he's upgrading/repairing. 

-When cloaked, try and stay away from enemies. You will flicker if you come into contact with them, which will usually give you away. Same goes for the Disguise.

So yeah, those are some pointers. Keep those in mind and you will be well on your way to becoming a master spy. Still failing? Well, either keep trying or wait till the spy update :)


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