When Girl meets TF2

Ulric | 4 October 2009 | Comments off

I’d never really been into online first-person shooters before Team Fortress 2 came along. I have no skills, you see: I can’t shoot straight to save my life, my level of situational awareness is so low as to be, for all intents and purposes, non-existent, and my reaction time is that of an anaemic sloth on the pre-coffee Monday morning after a big weekend out. Cautious forays into the genre inevitably left me being presented with my posterior, and I ultimately decided that I might be better off feeding my Sims addiction instead.

... what’re you looking at me like that for? A girl’s gotta have a hobby, you know? For some people, it’s macramé. For me, it’s creating Sim-versions of Star Trek characters and locking them together in a house with no exits. Let me tell you, there was this one time when Worf -

To this day, I’m not entirely sure what prompted me to give TF2 a go, all those months ago. Though it had come bundled with the Orange Box, the game had languished, untouched, for months since I’d completed Half Life 2 and finished Portal for the umpteenth time. Perhaps I just hated seeing a game I’d paid for go unplayed. Or maybe it was a couple of my friends, making jokes in silly Russian accents about it being killing time, and pointing me to memes about spies and sapping and sentries that I didn’t understand. Whatever the cause, one dreary winter’s eve I dusted off my headset, fired up Steam and ventured cautiously into a bright cartoon world full of death and destruction…

...and fell in love.

Oh, it wasn’t an instant thing. Like all romances, there were some rocky moments, particularly at first. In the first thirty minutes alone I got lost, blew myself up, fell off things and killed myself, carried the intelligence back into the heart of the enemy base, discovered what a sentry was by running around a corner into one, puzzled over the glowing red dot on the wall until I got shot in the head by the sniper it belonged to, and generally saw an awful lot of this sort of thing:

But the more I played, the better I got, particularly when I discovered that Valve had built classes into the game for people just like me. It was possible to top the leader board without firing my weapon once! Heck, with a bit of practice, I realised that I could top the leader board!

I was hooked. Night after night, I braved public servers, honing my craft as a Medic. I was noble in defeat, and magnanimous in victory, learning new tricks and improving my skills all the while. But, while I loved the gameplay, and was even starting to branch out into other classes, I started to find that running the same small handful of maps, over and over, was getting a bit stale. So, too, the puerile company too often found on public servers* – there’s only so many people you can mute before you may as well have not invested in that $150 headset, after all. There had to be other servers out there, servers where maps other than Goldrush and 2Fort got a look in, servers where the average player-age, in terms of maturity, was greater than fifteen - a server, in other words, for people like me.

And then I remembered TOG – I’d been an inactive member of it for a while – and wondered if they had a TF2 Division. When it turned out they did, I introduced myself and was quickly welcomed into one of the most lively, enthusiastic and friendly Divisions TOG has to offer. Within days I was spending all of my game time on the TOG server, and almost as quickly came to feel like one of the regular crew, sharing jokes and smack-talk, in-game and out.

The TOG: TF2 Division is extremely active; even leaving aside the twice-weekly stack nights, not an evening goes without at least a few Toggers getting together for a round or three. In fact, once a Togger decides that it’s time to play, the server typically fills to capacity in a matter of minutes with Toggers and pubbers alike. There are also frequent fun, theme and special event nights; we’ve just triumphed over a devious adversary in our second TOG vs. TYG match (aka ‘bring your child to TF2 and school them’ day), and there are currently whispers of an Angels and Devils (halo vs. non-halo) night sometime soon.

We have a good reputation within the Australian TF2 community, and our server is one of, if not the best custom map server in Australia. New maps are sourced by our crack selection team and trialled on a regular basis; the best maps are voted on by all members for addition to the active seerver rotation. The variety of maps, coupled with our relaxed atmosphere and zero-tolerance policy on bad behaviour, often sees non-Toggers queuing for entry.

For the more competitively minded, we also have a war server, and run our own internal competitions. The teams run the gamut from extremely casual to hard-core, the latter group forming the backbone of the new squad for external competitions, Jetfire. Jetfire is currently finding its feet in the OzFortress and Games Area competitions, and is actively recruiting new, highly-skilled players.

The Division is full of big personalities who love a chat and a good joke (even if it’s at their own expense), and who are there for each other in thick and thin. You’ll often find groups of us in other games as well – we have close ties to the Left 4 Dead and Day of Defeat: Source Divisions, in particular. While we’re mainly Australian, we still welcome our less fortunate brethren, living overseas, into our ranks - Awe$ome, our Divisional Captain, is actually looking into ways to better support the non-Aussies amongst us.

So, whether you’re a TF2 vet with leet skillz and many a kill under your belt, or a complete noob like I was, wondering what on earth all the fuss is about, give the TOG:TF2 Division a whirl. Current TOG members can find us on the forums, of course, but your best bet is to look in-game - our server IP is 118.127.17.36:27025, and all are welcome (Division members have priority access). Just be prepared to wave goodbye to your head, wanker!

* That’s not to say that everyone on public servers is like this - I’ve met some great people in pub servers. You know who you folks are.

Article by BookBuster

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