More than a few fans have spoken with me or on Tumblr about online anxiety, and how they become very nervous about playing Team Fortress 2 or online games in general, or many who just have general anxiety about a lot of things— some, to the point where they’ve never actually been able to gather…
4000+ hours and several seasons of comp play here. I don’t want to make a long story post or such because it wouldn’t be very interesting so I’ll just list some things I find important.
¤ Play with friends and trustworthy people. I can’t emphasize this one enough! It’s the main reason competitive play is so popular: the game is so much more fun when you’re coordinating with friends against a competent opponent doing the same. You can do it on a smaller scale on public servers, though personally I don’t find it very fun unless the classes are completely silly e.g. one pyro pushing players into water in 2fort and another one hitting them with the Neon Annihilator.
¤ Whenever you’re playing with strangers there’s a chance of someone saying hurtful things. I know “ignore it” doesn’t sound very convincing but it’s true - like many other things in life, enjoyment in TF2 relies entirely on your attitude towards it. Someone who tries to learn from their gameplay mistakes and doesn’t dwell on non-constructive criticism will have more fun and improve a lot faster than someone who takes every bad word to heart. Remember that you can always mute players, which also prevents their chat messages from showing up! If you’re really scared of trash talk, try to look for a server with strict rules against it.
¤ Public servers are clusterfucks by design. With default settings it’s possible for one team to go 6 Demomen & 6 Engineers and lock down every single entrance on the map. The amount of effort/coordination it takes to destroy a defense like that is far, far higher than setting it up - in other words, it’s unbalanced. Don’t make winning your absolute #1 priority because it’s often not possible. I find it more fun to make my own mini-objectives, such as “get behind lines and bat a few snipers to death”. Again, someone might rage at you for not trying your absolute hardest at all times but as long as the server doesn’t have rules against it, there’s nothing wrong with doing silly things. The game itself is silly!
I probably forgot to write about a bunch of things so if you have any questions or just want someone to teach you the basics of the game, feel free to add me on Steam! :)