First steps.

This entry attempts to be as close to a fundamental entry point to competitive team fortress 2 as possible for new players - although not an enormously extensive write-up. Okay, the first - and easily point of greatest important with any kind of pursuit, is you need to have a clear idea of how far you want to go and what you want to acheive. If you intend to get to the very top, have that clearly established - and if you are less sure, then acknowledge that fully. Having a clear idea of what you want to do - or what you aren't very clear about at all, is always helpful in the beginning.

I know a lot of people who are attempting to get into competitive tf2 are familar with this article on gotfrag or this link , and for the most part it provides a simple, easily understood guideline to the beginning of tf2. There's nothing entirely specific here - but it gives you a semi set idea of what competitive tf2 is going to look like, and the tools required to get involved. Read these - understand them, and understand their limitations because that is a concept I'll get back to later. Understanding limitations and being able to draw your own experiences and conclusions from in game is everything. Furthermore, there are a lot of people in this game who will state "I want help" when in truth, this isn't true. Try and be as honest with yourself as possible - on a personal level most competitive players I know don't mind if a person is happy where they are, but if you act with arrogance above your station - don't expect much assistance, or to really achieve anything. Be honest with yourself, your team, and your community.

I know a lot of other people like to preface these kinds of discussions with personal anecdotes about how they "got good" and the tools or skillsets involve. You will experience testimonials when you play this game - that some players play this game relentlessly and tirelessly, putting in raw hours of any form of the game. Some scouts will duel nonstop or practice in ammomod servers, and you will encounter demomen who get tr_rocket_shooting out for an hour each day to familiarise themselves. There's a lot I can talk about with respect to pickups, bball, aim training and all those other concepts - it's something you can debate the finer points on for hours. But I won't - the tl;dr is this simple.

Try them all, and if it works for you, then do it. Personally, I find any kind of activity (Duels/Bball/Pickups/Scrims) to be helpful for my soldier - but I have to be constantly pushed and extended, playing against superior opponents or opponents who are equally motivated if I want it to hold my interest. However, it will be different for you - as it is different for everyone, so find what you enjoy and what provides your comfort zone. My opinion on this also extends to whatever little configuration changes you want to make - invisible models, different weapon viewmodel field of views (although for the love of god, please use fov_desired 90). Here's a competitive config of sorts if you want to take a look at how they might be set up.

Now, for links and concepts that can actually be universally useful.

Demo files - these are critical. Both Personal/Point of View Demo files, as well as those of sourcetv, these are excellent tools. It's a lot harder to gloss over your mistakes - or a team's mistakes, when evidence is presented to you, and they can be purely entertaining to watch as well.

If you have a server, there are autorecording tools for sourcetv files out there - I'll leave you to chase that down. As for recording your own Personal point of veiws - this requires diligence. Or being lazy and clicking around on this link. Make sure you watch those.

Firstly I will start with the ESEA - EsportsEA website. This is a league which uses their own servers to provide sourcetv files of every single game played for their leagues. As ESEA happens to have the invite level competition - which is more or less the top tier american teams, there's always opportunity here to pick up - Record of Past Invite level EsportsEA american games. - Same as above but for Open. - Schedule for the upcoming games in EsportsEA league.

Unfortunately a lot of the past files aren't availible for loading/get broken every update, but you should check these religiously. - European TF2's main league. Can be difficult to track down demo files worth watching here - but generally viewing the "Tables" and looking at all the division one matches is a place to start. This is the place for European TF2 at the high level, and thus links to all those sourcetv files. There's a handy little matchticker, and over time you will familiarise yourself with who is worth watching.

I may update this with more links as necessary or provided.

last edited - 24/6/2010 ;; fixed some links, improved clarity.
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