Comp vs Pro vs Pub in Team Fortress 2: You suck noob

Awww, Team Fortress is truly a home from home for a MMO player. In LoTRO, WoW, Everquest and so on, how many hours have we all spent debating hardcore vs casual, raider vs non-raider, solo player vs grouper in forums and within our guilds? Happy, happy times. Well in Team Fortress 2 we have the pub player vs the comp player or pub vs comp instead. Easiest way of looking at it; comp player = hardcore raider.

There is this idea that the competitive player (one who plays in a team in competitions and is competitively ranked) is humourless, elitist and treats the game like work. Who wants that eh? The pub player (one who plays on public servers that anyone can join), however, lacks discipline and commitment and basically can’t play very well. What a noob. It’s all so familiar.

Of course this ignores the fact that comp players (the pros earn money) were all pub players once and many happily play on pub servers. I know this. I’ve seen them. It also forgets that many pub players also dip in and out of competitive play and are part of more casual competitive clan teams that at the same time practice and are pretty dedicated to the game. The clan community server I’ve landed on is run by a clan like this; oh yes to be clear, clan = guild = kinship, more-or-less. You join a clan and get to wear their Tag.

It doesn’t help, that by and large, competitive play is 6v6; the main classes being scout, demoman, medic and soldier, with class limits, 1 medic, 1 demoman – this is held as being the most effective and flexible make-up. The other classes only make appearances as needed. So, the charge is that comp players can’t play the other classes and therefore don’t play TF2 as it is meant to be played, with all 9 classes present. Well, I’ve never seen a rule book saying how TF2 is meant to be played. But it is a flaw that 5 classes are generally not included so if someone loves playing pyro, say, it means that they need to change  if they want to go comp.

In response, the Highlander format has been introduced. This is 9v9 with every class represented, once; yes, Highlander – there can be only One.  Since I tend to play pyro and engineer, I like this.

So, comp vs pro vs pub….as usual in these matters, pretty blurred divisions. Or at least that’s how I see it, coming new to the game. Basically play how you want to play and enjoy it.

The video shows a Clan team from my pub server competing at i42 (big LAN held this Easter) against INFUSED.Tt, a comp team who later went on to win the whole competition. And on their way to briefly capture the middle capture point. So claiming a moral victory overall.

The last sentence in the video isn’t actually true.

(courtesy of TommytheCat)

About Berath

Interests: zombies, giant robots, kittens

Posted on May 18, 2011, in Competitive play, computing, first person shooter, kinships, Team Fortress 2 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Lulz, of all the videos, you use the one of us being pants-on-head retardedly bad at Comp TF2.

    But do I qualify as elitist? I play 6v6 scout pretty hardcore but we’re rubbish and all communications generally digress to us all yelling at each other. Then we go on the pub server and shoot the mans.

  2. Of course! But don’t worry I’ll find the next one to show the WDG team as the well-oiled competitive machine that I am confident it is.

    But that’s just the thing. I suspect the elitist-thinking Comp Players just hide themselves away. Most others are just players who sometimes play comp, sometimes don’t and this vast difference between comp and pub, that people go on about on forums like Steam, doesn’t exist.

  3. This article raises some good points.

    The main issue I have with the elitist attitude is that it seems to deter people from entering the competitive side of TF2 (and gaming in general). For example, though many of our 6v6 games have been enjoyable, with respectful and friendly opponents, an equal number have been irritating due to the unnecessary, often child-like behaviour of some comp players. It’s a shame to see them give competitive players a bad name.

    Also: I would like to say that I wasn’t featured in that video because I’m too pro /not elitist.

  4. Nice article, was a good read.

    Although, as somebody who plays competitive TF2, I thought I would clarify a couple of things:

    The reason games are usually played 6v6 is because it is then about who has the better players and whom works better as a team (it is a competition after all :D) and, arguably, smaller teams help this cause. Secondly, six players on either team make for a much “cleaner” game and is much easier for spectators to follow.

    I do recall when people first played TF2 there were 12v12s and 8v8s (with random crits and damage spread) and it was only after countless changes to the standard rule set that we have come to this stage where competitive TF2 is played consistently on 6v6/No Random Crits/Fixed Weapon Spread as to further the first point: separating who is the better team.

    The whole argument over the perceived “fixed classes” in 6v6 has been around for a while now as well – that is: 1 Medic, 1 Demo, 2 Soldiers and 2 Scouts. This is the cookie cutter setup, it balances a strong attacking force with an equally capable defence but not sacrificing speed (Scout and Medic being the fastest runners in the game with Soldiers and Demo having the ability to Rocket/Sticky jump to make up for their slow walking speed). The classes you mentioned, Pyro; Engineer; etc, are used but rarely because they serve fewer purposes than the other classes. For example, you would use a Pyro on the last point to disrupt an enemy uber (via airblast) but that would arguably be it – Pyros are good at close range combat but Scout scatterguns are capable as doing 100+ damage from point blank which can smoke you in two shots. Engineer is a funny one, with the introduction of the Gunslinger he has the ability to hold flanks rather well although I think people are a bit funny about, say, “losing” a Scout for an Engineer – but it’s just a theory.

    It’s a shame gamemodes such as 7v7 aren’t popularised as much for public players looking to try out competitive play – class limit of 1 for all so people will be able to play classes like Pyro, Engineer, etc a lot more oftern and the leagues are quite casual anyway so popular public maps (Badwater, Dustbowl, for example) and relaxed weapon restrictions (none of this “vanilla + medlocks” mumbo-jumbo) are used.

    Overall, I don’t think there is a problem with competitive TF2 – arguably with a minority of people – but the scene is filled with a lot of good people that are capable of doing a lot for things for a video game they enjoy playing with their friends in a competitive environment.

    /two cents

    • Interesting, thanks. Coming in pretty new to TF2, there is a lot of history I don’t know about and a lot more to the Comp scene/game dynamics I haven’t picked up on yet, so it’s always useful to get more info.

      I’d like to try Comp, not necessarily to compete as such but because it seems to me that the teamwork is a lot tighter in a Comp team, the communication better (smaller team/consistent membership). But I know that there is no way I would ever be good enough to play in a 6v6 format with the standard comp classes as is, more variety I think would give more opportunity.

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