6v6 play in TF2: my struggle to find a team
I’ve mentioned 6v6 play in Team Fortress 2 before. This is the format most commonly used in competitive play (Highlander comes second). A 6-player team comprises a Medic, a Demoman, 2 Soldiers and 2 Scouts, with other classes used as required during play.
Currently there is a debate going on on the ETF2L forum about a perceived decrease in the popularity of 6v6 play. They’re wondering how to attract pub players to the format and to competitive 6v6 TF2.
Well I don’t play though seasoned readers will know that I’ve wanted to try 6v6 play for a while now. What’s the problem?
Is it unlocks? Valve are constantly releasing new weapons; unlocks. In the EU most are banned. The US allows more and 6v6 is seen as being more popular there; is that because of the unlocks? Highlander is seen as being increasingly played and that allows unlocks. Well it could be for some, but I play Demoman and I use the basic loadout, unlocks don’t matter.
Is is the classes? As said 6v6 is normally demo/scout/soldier/medic plus off-classing. This doesn’t favour those who main the other classes. Again, this could account for the popularity of Highlander; but I main Demoman.
What about skill and knowledge required? 6v6 play is perceived as being high-skill. It’s not the same as pub. Players need to know how to sticky jump and rocket jump, they need to know various map strategies, learn rollouts and have a clear understanding of class roles. I’ve had some mentoring and watched casts etc. but theory is very different from practice and practice is hard to find for a Demoman; there’s only one of him and he plays a crucial role. This is daunting.
What about finding people to play with? A 6-player team needs 6 players. Bingo, that’s my biggest problem, and I don’t think I’m the only one judging from what I hear from others. Finding people and starting is tough.
Forming a team is not just a matter of throwing 6 people together. Teamplay is crucial in TF2 6v6 and the goal is to find a team with compatible members, similar experience and with a good dynamic. A beginner team would learn the game together.
I’m working on this, but since my clan/community only play on our server on Fridays these days, there’s not a lot of opportunity to build a pool of possible 6v6 recruits from there. Often a team forms from a group of people who regularly play together on a pub server, get on with each other and then decide to try 6v6. Others have expressed interest, but it’s difficult getting everyone together.
There is also a Newbie mix group for new players which is a suggested recruiting ground, but I don’t feel confident enough to try it on my own as a first time 6v6er. And I feel uncomfortable being female. There are relatively few females playing TF2 so when one appears, it’s noted. I’d stand out however much I tried to be just another player as soon as I used the mic. When I’d inevitably crash and burn, I wouldn’t just be a bad player, I’d be a bad female player which would sort of make it worse bearing in mind the stuff that’s said about female gamers.
There are other possibilities. UKCS have held some mixes all of which I missed but there may be more. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of carrying on. I could decide to give up, 6v6 play is only one part of TF2, but the ‘team’ part attracts me and makes me want to at least try it. That’s what I enjoyed about Raiding in LoTRO; working as a team to get through demanding content or just playing, and the great feeling when everything came together. For me that’s one thing that makes gaming.
(And, there is always Highlander)