In Team Fortress 2, two teams compete for a combat-based objective. In the game's fiction, the teams are composed of mercenaries hired by two feuding brothers to protect the company assets belonging to one brother while trying to destroy those of the other; the teams are thus represented by the names of these companies: Reliable Excavation & Demolition (RED) and Builders League United (BLU). Players can choose to play as one of nine character classes in these teams, each with his own unique strengths, weaknesses, and weapons. In order to accomplish objectives efficiently, a balance of these classes is required due to how these strengths and weaknesses interact with each other in a team-based environment. Although the abilities of a number of classes have changed from earlier Team Fortress incarnations, the basic elements of each class have remained, that being one primary weapon, one secondary weapon, and one melee weapon. The game was released with six official maps, although over 100 maps have since been included in subsequent updates, including competitive remakes of older maps and community-assembled maps. When players join a level for the first time, an introductory video shows how to complete its objectives. During matches, the "Administrator", a woman voiced by Ellen McLain, announces various game events over loudspeakers. The player limit is 16 on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. On the PC, in 2008 Valve updated the game to include a server variable that allows up to 32 players.
Team Fortress 2 is the first of Valve's multiplayer games to provide detailed statistics for individual players. They include: time spent playing as each class, most points obtained, and the most captures or objectives achieved in a single life. Persistent statistics tell the player how he or she is improving in relation to these statistics, such as if a player comes close to his or her record for the damage inflicted in a round. Team Fortress 2 also features numerous "achievements" for carrying out certain tasks, such as scoring a certain number of kills or completing a round within a certain time. New sets of class-specific achievements have been added in updates, which add new abilities and weapons to each class once unlocked by the player. This unlockable system has since been expanded into a random-chance system, where the player can also obtain the items simply by playing the game.
Classes and characters
Team Fortress 2 features nine playable classes, categorized into the roles "Offense", "Defense", and "Support". Each class has strengths and weaknesses and must work with other classes to be efficient, encouraging strategy and teamwork. Each class has at least three weapons: a unique primary weapon, a common or unique secondary weapon, and a unique melee weapon.
The Scout (Nathan Vetterlein) is a cocky, fast-talking baseball fan and street runner from Boston, Massachusetts, who practiced running to "beat his mad dog siblings to the fray." He is a fast, agile character, who is armed by default with a scattergun, a pistol, and an aluminum baseball bat. The Scout can double jump and counts as two people when capturing control points and pushing payloads. As a tradeoff, he has low health.
The Soldier (Rick May) is both the second-slowest class in the game and the class with the second-highest health (after the Heavy Weapons Guy). A jingoistic American military man hailing from the Midwest (despite the fact that he was never actually in the Army), the Soldier is armed by default with a rocket launcher, shotgun, and a folding shovel. The Soldier can use his rocket launcher to rocket jump to higher positions at the cost of some health.
The Pyro (Dennis Bateman) is a mentally unstable pyromaniac of unknown gender or origin, clad in a fire-retardant suit and a voice-muffling gas mask. By default, they are armed with a homemade flamethrower that can set players on fire, a shotgun, and a fire axe. Their flamethrower can also produce a blast of compressed air that knocks away nearby enemies and projectiles, and extinguishes burning teammates.
The Demoman (Gary Schwartz) is a black, one-eyed, alcoholic Scotsman from Ullapool. Armed by default with a grenade launcher, a sticky bomb launcher, and a glass bottle of scrumpy, the Demoman can use his explosives to provide indirect fire and set traps. The Demoman, much like the Soldier with his rocket launcher, is capable of using his Stickybomb Launcher to "sticky jump" at the cost of some health.
The Heavy Weapons Guy, or simply the Heavy, (Gary Schwartz) is a large Russian from the Dzhugdzhur Mountains of the USSR, heavy in stature and accent, and obsessed with firepower. Though he is the slowest class, he can sustain and deal immense amounts of damage. His default weapons consist of an enormous minigun that he affectionately refers to as "Sasha", a shotgun, and his fists. According to himself, it costs $400,000 to fire his weapon for twelve seconds.
The Engineer (Grant Goodeve) is a relaxed and intellectual "good ol' boy" from Bee Cave, Texas. The Engineer can build structures to support his team: a sentry gun for defending key points, a health and ammunition dispenser, and a pair of teleporter modules (one entrance and one exit). Armed with a wrench, Construction and Destruction PDAs, a standard shotgun, and a pistol, the Engineer uses his wrench to repair, upgrade, and speed up construction of his and fellow Engineers' buildings (first using his Construction PDA to build them). He can also remotely destroy his structures using his Destruction PDA.
The Medic (Robin Atkin Downes) is a German doctor from Stuttgart with little regard for the Hippocratic Oath. The Medic's "Medigun" heals teammates and gradually builds "ÜberCharge"; on activation, the ÜberCharge grants boosts ranging from temporary invulnerability to the Medic and patient to guaranteed "critical hits" (tripled damage that ignores distance penalties) for their weapon granted to the patient, depending on which Medigun is selected. By default, the Medic is also equipped with an air-powered syringe gun and bonesaw for situations in which his teammates don't protect him. He keeps doves as pets, one of which is named Archimedes.