WoW vs TF2 – FIGHT! (kind of)

I’m going to let you into a secret. Ready? Team Fortress 2 is the first person shooter equivalent of World of Warcraft.

This isn’t opinion here. This is scientific fact. Kind of. TF2 is as close as you are going to get in the FPS stylee for now (not counting the horrible and practically unplayable first person view in WoW, cos no-one ever really uses that for anything other than taking screenshots of things).

World of Warcraft lets you make a character with one of several classes, based around three main flavours; tanking, healing, and damage dealing. Most of the classes are variations that mix and match these flavours, but there’s a class or two dedicated to each as well. WoW lets you make more than one character, of course, and you can level each one up over months and months of playing.

Team Fortress 2 lets you pick one of nine character classes at the start of your game. These are based around three main groups; attack (or it may be offense, I can’t remember), defence, and support. Of these nine classes, there is a tank (Heavy), a healer (Medic), and damage dealers (nearly everything else). TF2 lets you switch between these classes at any point (you respawn as the next class you’ve picked when you die), so in any given round you can play as each and every class if you wanted to.

Success at PvP in WoW is generally determined around three things; level, gear spec and talents. If you go into a battleground as a lower level character playing against characters that are higher level than you, you’re going to die a lot and not kill much. Generally. You can be a cunning bastard and get some kills in, but you’re going to die an awful lot while learning how to be cunning. If your armour and weapons and enchants aren’t up to scratch, then you’re not going to be effective. You just won’t last long enough or do enough damage to survive on your own, and you’ll have to stick to a group and pray for a heal. Finally, if your talent points are spent in the wrong tree (for example, warriors with defensive spec talents, rogues with combat spec), then your options in battle will be limited compared to other players of the same class who have a more suitable spec (fury specced warriors or subtlety specced rogues, for example).

Success at PvP in TF2 is generally about finding how to be effective in the class you have chosen. The extra weapon unlocks tend to have drawbacks as well as enhancements, and so what you have as a weapon tends to be irrelevant; your weapons are usually just as capable of killing as anyone else’s. Each class has their own way of playing, and the skill lies in finding out how to use the character’s abilities to their maximum potential. For example, the engineer can build a sentry turret pretty much wherever he likes. The skill comes from finding somewhere decent to put it; somewhere that the turret has the optimal firing position, is difficult for the enemy to get near or shoot at, and can be easily defended by the engineer.

World of Warcraft’s PvP can be soul-destroying, especially for a first timer. You get in the battleground, all excited because you are finally going to pit your character, one which you have poured weeks and months into making, against other players. Other people. And then you find they can kill you really easily. All of them. You don’t know what to do, or where to go, and it’s not like you can just sit back and watch the others play to see how they do it; you have to get stuck in there. Again. And die. Again.

Team Fortress 2 can also be soul-destroying, especially for a first timer. There’s nine classes to choose from, you don’t know what any of them do, you pick the Pyro because everyone loves fire, you find someone on the other side, you go to set them on fire, and you learn in that instant that the flamethrower only has a short range. While you are busy noticing this, you die. But. But! It doesn’t have to be like that. There is a spectator mode there if you really want to use it and see how other players manage to make kill after kill. But that’s boring. You want to be able to watch the other players from within the match. You want to be able to contribute while learning. This is where the Medic class comes in.

Honestly, Team Fortress 2 should come up with a question upon first loading the game – “Is this your first time playing the game? Would you like a gentle introduction to the game?” If you answer “yes”, it can then drop you into the lowest ping game it can find, and make you be the Medic. Because the Medic’s perceived simplicity makes it very easy to get to grips with. The Medic has a gun that shoots health at people on your side. You follow players that are the same colour as you (two teams, you’re either blue or red), and you shoot health into them. You get to follow them wherever they go, and you get to heal them while you do it, and you can see how they play the game first-hand. Up close and personally, as it were. The other players on your team often thank you for healing them, so new players will get a nice and friendly introduction. The other players on the team, who may or may not be more experienced at the game, will get someone who will follow them round healing them, so they are happy.

Anyway, I digress. There’s other parallels between TF2 and WoW; the achievements that bestow cosmetic changes (tabards and titles in WoW, hats and medals and weapons in TF2), kids whinging about how you aren’t doing what they think you should be doing, etc. There’s also a bajillion differences between them, which makes them both awesome when you know what you are doing. But for people who have played one and not the other, they’re not as different as you’d think.

Leave a Reply