After spending another couple of hours on Team Fortress 2 last night, yeah, I can see what all the fuss was about. I'm still painfully rubbish, but I am still learning all the maps, and I think I'm suffering from being too much of a games generalist: I've not played an online shooter for such a long time I've forgotten the dark arts of pulling off lag shots. No doubt things will improve after I've spent a bit more time online and learnt the ins and outs of each class.
I'm mainly playing as Soldiers or Heavies at the moment, as they're the two classes that are really working for me so far. I haven't tried Engineer at all yet, and only had the briefest of flirtations with the Scout and Medic classes. I found playing as a Spy last night really quite tricky, and the hit range of the dagger when you're trying to do a backstab seems really flaky (I say "trying" because I've failed miserably so far in that respect). The Demoman seems like quite a useful class. I did a fair bit of damage last night around choke points with the grenade launcher, but on the more open parts of maps they're pretty useless from what I've seen so far. The Sniper Class really isn't working for me at the moment. I really don't know how people are hitting anything. I'm doing more damage with their SMG than the scoped rifle, and that's just plain wrong. And there always seems to be a Spy lurking around the good sniper spots, just waiting to give you a knife in the back of the head. Though that's not really a surprise - just good tactics. I think I need to play about with my mouse sensitivity or something, because I'm finding the sniper scope just terrible - slow, laggy and the less said about the reload rate, the better...
*bang!* ... Okay, I'll just go and grab a beer from the fridge and make a four course dinner while you reload, shall I?
I'm also a little frustrated with the Pyro. As cool as it is to hear enemies screaming "I'm on fire! I'm on fire, people!" in terms of actual damage dealing, the Pyro's absolutely fucking useless unless you're within about three feet of the guy you're trying to kill. I had one encounter with a Demoman last night, where I ambushed him above a control point, set him alight, and we did about 30 seconds of circle strafing where he still managed to kill me before the flame damage did him in. Pyros are definitely best employed as ambush predators, because as one-on-one combatants, they're worse than useless.
This is why I've been playing mainly with the Soldier and Heavy classes, because you know where you stand with a big fucking minigun or rocket launcher. Well, you do, don't you? As I've been playing on public servers thus far, there's not really been much evidence of teamwork going on, which also makes things difficult when you're playing a game based on teamwork and mutual support. It's still a hell of a lot of fun, of course, especially because the map design is excellent and the overall aesthetic of the game is just so brilliantly over the top. "Pixar does The Dirty Dozen" isn't far wide of the mark, I think. This will be eating a lot of time away from WoW in the coming weeks, I feel.