An Guide on Paranoia

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An Guide on Paranoia

Post  PixelRelic on Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:18 pm

I didn't write this, I also can't remember who wrote this but I thought I'd repost it here anyway.

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I wrote this guide for the steam forums. Some of you may have read it. For those who haven't....here it is.

1. Introduction

This is a long, long read. This article is intended for those who have just started Spy, or those who would like to get better with their Spy skills.

A lot of people would say that the Spy's biggest counter is the Pyro. That is only true up to a certain point. The truth is the biggest counter to the Spy is Paranoia.

Why? Because the Spy's biggest weapon is stealth. Any class that is paranoid enough can counter the Spy just as well as the Pyro can.

But then the reverse is also true. Any Spy that is stealthy enough can counter any Pyro, or any other class for that matter.

Knowing that, the bigger picture emerges. What seperates the good spies from the bad spies is how the good spies manage and manipulate paranoia to their own advantage. Let's go into more detail.


2. What do we mean by Paranoia?

Paranoia is simply when other players are afraid of getting backstabbed by you. What drives paranoia is a mixture of both survival instinct and childish fear. Symptoms of paranoia include the following :-


  • Shouting "Spy" in voice commands
  • Spycheck
  • Turning around and looking behind often
  • Purposefully walking in crazy ways to try to bump into a spy
  • Hitting the air or randomly firing
  • Shooting in or around dispensers or sentries
  • Walking backwards to try and catch a spy in the action
  • Dedicated spycheckers, particularly scouts and pyros.


This list starts from the least worst going down to the worst forms of paranoia. Just as the Spy's main weapons are Cloak, Knife, Revolver, Ability to see enemy health and Evasion, the above list is the many weapons that players will use against you, whether they know it or not, to fight your stealth. Know them well and be familiar with them.

No matter what game mode you are in, as long as you are a spy, there will be paranoia amongst the players. The more spies, the more paranoia there will be, which will then increase the symptoms of paranoia, not just in number, but in harshness. That is why one of the important decisions of picking the Spy class in a game is whether or not you want to do your spying in an extremely paranoid environment.

3. Every class has a counter, but can you counter Paranoia?

As stated, the biggest counter to the Spy is paranoia because the biggest weapon of the spy is stealth. So how do you counter Paranoia? There are many "weapons" that you can use to fight this invisible force attacking you, and here are some of the following :

3.1 Other team mates
Your team mates effectively counter paranoia. (There is one exception to this, the scout - more about him later) because after all, who has time to worry about what's behind them when they're being shot in the face? Your team mates firing at your enemy reduce paranoia by re-directing their stress sources to the situation in front of them. This is where you take advantage and strike.

Too many spies die trying to stab heavy-medic combos because they make the mistake of trying to stab them while they aren't shooting anyone, while they're moving towards their target for instance.

Another popular one is a sentry that just will not go down because the engineer is on the lookout for you constantly.

The mistake with these two scenarios is that the Spy has been effectively countered by the enemy paranoia. To counter the paranoia, stab them when they least expect it. Stab the medic when the heavy is busy shooting and let the heavy die on his own. Stab the engineer when he's hitting his sentry with his wrench when it's under attack. Use your team mate's fire to your advantage.

3.2 The one freakin' exception....BONK!:

Friendly scouts are your 2nd worst enemies after paranoid Pyros. You're probably thinking it's weird that a team mate can be an enemy. But guess what?

Friendly scouts attract an insane amount of attention. They also can cover a lot of space in a short space of time, and to top it all off, they will often use side routes that the Spy uses in order to get to their objective quicker. Scouts are a big threat to any team because of how directly they can achieve the team objective better than anyone else.

Combine this altogether and what you get is a big, fat, paranoia magnet. If you are near a friendly scout in enemy territory, you can bet on your death in the next 10 seconds. Stay away from friendly scouts as if they were enemy Pyros.

3.3 Illusion/Reshaping paranoia

We established paranoia was an element of fear. The fear element exists because people are afraid of what they can't see. So, one of the elements of countering paranoia is to create something for them to see. In other words, make them see or think the way you want.

Let's have a few examples:-

  • -On CTF maps, i would disguise as a friendly scout then purposefully let the enemy see me. Then i would cloak instantly as the enemy came rushing to find out where the "scout" had gone. I escaped into their base and camped a dispenser while i went to the bathroom and got a drink.
  • -I would disguise as a friendly soldier or demoman before approaching a sentry. If you've played engineer, you know that these two classes are a nightmare. I would let the engineer see me - he then grew tense and waited anxiously by his sentry to repair it "just in case" while i stuck a knife into his back a few seconds later and a juicy sapper on his level 3 sentry.

The idea is simply this, make them see something that they haven't, and while they briefly focus at the bait that you've just thrown them, stab them or use that as your opportunity to sink further into the base.


Focus the paranoia on a particular fixed area - then use your cloak to slip by the area of paranoia you've just created

4. Patience and Relocation

Sometimes the best way to counter paranoia is to avoid it and create it somewhere else. All enemies have a "zone" of paranoia which they project. Paranoid engineers will be paranoid anywhere around their sentry. Paranoid pyro's will often have their zone as the entry to their base, or side entrances like vents or tunnels.

The point i'm making is that paranoia is restricted to a space. If people are looking for you in that space, chances are they will find you. If you keep operating as a Spy in the same space, doing the same things (i.e, stabbing snipers at the back of the map) then that space will become "hot" in the sense that people will constantly be looking for you there.

Have any of you played the Metal Gear Solid series? Well if you haven't, the minute you're spotted by the enemy, they go on Alert status. They chase you until you disappear somewhere. Then they go on Caution status. Then eventually calm down as long as you keep perfectly still and silent in your hiding place. The Spy is no different.

Sometimes you will find that you've created so much chaos that people will actively run around and look for you. If this happens, switch your "zone" somewhere else. Go stab someone else instead of always attacking the sentry or the medic/heavy. Have some shooting practice. Or instead of attacking the enemy team's defences, attack their offences instead. The Spy can help the team in very diverse ways, just be creative.
Because if you wait long enough with nothing happening, people will stop caring. That is when you attack again.

5. Understanding the Spy for what he is

If you want to make your time with the Spy the most enjoyable, you have to understand that he is not an offensive class. He is a support class, just like the medic. Which means that your job is to slip underneath the enemy, support your team indirectly then attack at the right place at the right time. It's no different to Ubercharge. An Ubercharge only succeeds if it's used on the right person, at the right time, in the right situation. This is why i insist that the Spy is a support class and not an offensive class because his style is very similar to the medic.

People who play the Spy offensively i.e, "suicide spies" will often find themselves getting mowed down a lot quicker as time goes by. Eventually, they will change class. After all, if you backstab people, they'll just respawn. If you keep backstabbing them, they'll learn to expect you. Some will turn Pyro just to burn you.

TF2 is an objective orientated team-based game. Which means endlessly stabbing people isn't doing your team a favour. Because guess what, if people get backstabbed, they'll just respawn and try again. Unless you backstab for a good reason in a good place, then you aren't doing your team any favours. But then you might say, "Hey Hamshira, what about Arena?" even in Arena maps, if you just try to run in for the backstab all the time, the next round, they'll just learn to expect you- they will create paranoia which will kill you quicker.

6. Summary and Conclusion

  • Paranoia is the biggest weapon vs spies. Not the Pyro.
  • Paranoia is decreased when your team mates arrive and start attacking
  • Paranoia can also be shaped by focusing it in another part of the map
  • Paranoia decreases overtime if no visible spy activity is happening
  • The Spy is a support class. Play it like one. Or be prepared to die over and over, quicker each time, as the enemy learns to expect you by being paranoid.

Thanks for reading.
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Re: An Guide on Paranoia

Post  Almaironn on Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:52 pm

by Hamshira or so I think
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Re: An Guide on Paranoia

Post  Carlotso25 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:10 am

Indeed, by Hamshira. Also dat title grammar. Good you recovered this, stickied.

*EDIT* WILL STICKY ONCE I FIGURE OUT HOW. HOW2RUNFORUMLEL
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Re: An Guide on Paranoia

Post  PixelRelic on Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:30 pm

Carlotso25 wrote:dat title grammar
fuck I don't even know how that happened :L
edited
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Re: An Guide on Paranoia

Post  rocksword on Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:22 am

Really awesome guide, thanks for posting this! Paranoia is something that just kind of comes with playing Spy I guess, and it's something you need to deal with.

Personally I find that in pub, people get paranoid after two or three stabs. I like to target people like Snipers, Engies, and Medics for about that long. After that, I like to think my job is done. The Sniper has a Razorback on and is doing more spychecking in his roost than sniping, the Engie doesn't wanna walk two feet away from his gear, and the Medic is always paranoid of healing a Spy or getting stabbed by one out of nowhere. If they switch to Pyro or Scout or something, fine, the enemy team loses a valuable pick class, a strong defensive sentry, or a source of healing. It does get very hard though, to do all these things when it seems like the whole enemy team is going out of their way to find you. Just me.

This guide was really insightful and helpful, thanks so much for posting! :3
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