Okay so every so often a thread is made asking "hey guys am I ready to play lobbies?", so I thought it'd be a good idea to make one that might just answer every little question you might have about this subject.
One quick disclaimer: All of the advice here is for pre-div6 players only. If you have league experience or played mixes/scrims before (and made friends) you're all set. Like, the only thing that'll be useful here will be the comp.tf site. Which is very useful.
The ultimate question is:
"Am I ready to play lobbies?"
Shortest answer: If you're sick of topscoring in pubs, yes.
Short answer: You came this far, so you probably are. You're not going to learn by standing around and doin nothing so go play!
Long answer: In lobbies, you play entirely new gamemodes that public servers don't use. Before playing lobbies, make sure you read a bit on the subject of 6v6/Highlander/2v2/bball/whatever you want to play. Watch (some types of - more on this later in the thread) videos, ask people who are more experienced than you - learn by example.
You might be asking yourself, Kaelan where the fuck can I get such amazing information you talk about? Well there's comp.tf for instance, which has quite a few articles about competitive TF2, including the roles of each class, the use of each weapon, in the two most popular competitive gamemodes (you know these are 6v6 and Highlander, correct?). When I started taking competitive TF2 seriously I read a lot on the Medic, my favourite class, aswell as other classes to know what they do and what they're not supposed to do. This shit is useful, and it's not as hard to study as mathematics or physics in school. So go read it.
One thing, btw. Remember when I said "learn by example"? Yeah like, watch videos on strategy, have a friend help you comprehend something in the game, get a div6 team that has a good leader and eager players, look at your lobby team mates and see what they're doing. Don't watch high-div streams without tactical commentary or premiership match streams to take notes. You won't comprehend shit yet and you'll be wasting your time. Trust me on this - baby steps. You need to understand the basics and there's a lot to cover before you can understand why the hell Epsilon's roamer changed to Engineer or why StyX's Demoman changed to Spy in Viaduct. StyX isn't prem though, so fuck them. (rip my team ;~; )
Also, when playing 6v6, STICK TO COOKIE CUTTER. "Cookie cutter" in 6v6 is the usual 2 Scouts/1 Roaming Soldier/1 Pocket Soldier/1 Demoman/1 Medic composition. Don't adventure yourself in offclassing (for example GOD DAMN SNIPING) just yet. Learn how the game works first.
Here's another thing that makes people make this type of threads GUARANTEED:
"But Kaelan, lobbies have toxic players! I'll never fit in them"
I'll be blunt, gtfo with that shit. Who cares if they're toxic, they're assholes who hate themselves because they have a small genitals (jk it normally isn't that simple). Don't worry tho, I'm here to help you. HOW TO DEAL WITH TOXIC PLAYERS:
- You need to be extensively exposed to that toxicity. I'm sorry but becoming an ironheart won't come by just "ignoring them" or whatever. It'll be useful later in life, you need to have a spine, brother!
- If they tell you specifically why you suck it might be a good idea to listen to them, no matter how tarnished their character became when they called you a silly billy.
- Before you report them make sure they AT THE VERY LEAST have something good to say. Like, ask them who did what wrong or try to tell them to calm down. Please be humble to others even if they're dicks, sometimes people were just having a bad day and reporting them on the forums and subsequently getting banned will bring them down harder, making enemies/antagonizing people is seriously the most sour feeling in the world and you don't want that. Plus, you'll be saving the admins a lot of hassle.
- If they're clearly trolls or little fuckheads just report them in the forums and they'll be banned quick.
I'm used to it already and I know enough of the game to defend myself against idiocy - but of course I also know when I make mistakes and I apologize for it. To deal with trolls I just play their little game and they usually become tame afterwards. This is like, not insulting him and shit or trolling him back (that's fucking stupid), but laughing with his crud and never being hostile/challenging to the guy.
There's really no science with this, it comes with experience. So here's what I have to say, in short, about this subject on toxic players: YOU WILL FIND THEM. YOU WILL DISLIKE THEM. But they won't ruin your life or make you miserable, really. It won't be very fulfilling in the short term but it won't be anywhere near destructive as you'd imagine.
Quick 6v6 pointers just to reassure you on stuff
So I've played plenty of 6v6 lobbies, scrims and played 3 seasons on ETF2L and 2 on UGC, was mentored by div4/3 etc etc so I think I am qualified enough to help you in this subject.
HERE'S WHAT YOU DO IN 6V6 5CP: You gain territory. You can gain territory by picking, capping points and having presence in said territory, also achieved with successful pushes with the Ubercharge. The more territory you have the closer you are to the ultimate goal: capturing the objective, which is the final point. Easy as fuck. If you are Roamer or Scout, you need to cover the territory that the combo (Pocket/Demoman/Medic) ISN'T covering. An example of this is the ressup area and house in Badlands, with the Choke being where the combo is. Play with your team and you'll be fine most of the time.
WHAT ABOUT 6V6 KOTH, YOU ASK?: Same shit but you cap the point and you hold it. There's never need to push. Really, don't go kill yourself for the sake of killing people - dying in KOTH is a lot more punishing than in 5CP, you even respawn slower if you already have the point! The only time, and I mean the ONLY time you can go and suicide to get picks is when your Medic doesn't have Uber yet and you need to go drop/force their Uber or something to cap the point later.
And uh, that's it, really - no one really plays 6v6 CTF anymore in TF2Center, and god forbid if anyone opens a 6v6 PL lobby. By the way, for the love of Zeus, if you're playing Pocket, do rollouts with the Escape Plan (except on Viaduct). I won't go in-depth about tactics and stuff, that's another thread. To develop those you need to play mixes, scrims, all the good stuff to learn good old comp TF2.
So yeah, there we go! If you survived through this wall of text, then congratulations, you are a step readier to play lobbies. One final suggestion: Do not ever be discouraged!! Competitive TF2 is NOT an easy game! Take every loss and horrible decision you make as a lesson to be learned and not a moment to forget.
To be honest, everything that I just wrote really doesn't answer the question properly. But it sure as hell will make you ready to play lobbies, though!
Update by MT:
We also have a very useful collection of competitive TF2 guides and how-to's. Don't forget to check this out!
Edited by Mother Tereza, 04 December 2014 - 12:03 AM.
Added link to our guides