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Save TF2 explained: Valve speaks out on Team Fortress 2 bot fiasco

You don’t know how handy it is they have a whole mode with robots in (pic: Valve)

Team Fortress 2 has been besieged by bots and hackers for a couple of years, with Valve only now speaking out after fan outrage.

Valve’s now 15-year old multiplayer first person shooter still sees tens of thousands of people play it every day (so it’s bigger than Battlefield 2042!) and yet it only ever seems to be in the news when something goes wrong.

The game features two teams competing in different scenarios with a wild cast of characters, but the fun has been ruined for a while now and Valve’s priorities have skewed away from trying to fix it.

Valve has since taken to the official Team Fortress 2 Twitter account to lay fears to rest after a massive campaign from fans took over Reddit , saying that they’ve seen ‘how large the issue is’ and will begin working to improve it.

Bots and cheaters rule the roost and as the game is free-to-play, getting banned is simply a minor setback for a lot of people. Also, to the chagrin of the player base, Team Fortress 2 hasn’t seen a proper update in years.

Last year, bots were infesting servers with large amounts of spam, hacking people’s accounts and extorting server hosts for money to prevent the bombardment. Worse yet, it was reported some were posting links to child pornography.

They also ruin servers by taking up player slots and using aiming cheats to ruin the fun. Any interventions haven’t worked, as the game continues to die out due to the lack of care from Valve.

TF2 community, we hear you! We love this game and know you do, too. We see how large this issue has become and are working to improve things. — Team Fortress 2 (@TeamFortress) May 26, 2022

Since The Orange Box, Valve has shifted to hardware with a focus on virtual reality, and then portable PCs with the Steam Deck. Games from the company began to dry up due to this new focus, with only a handful of tech demos and very few new games coming from the company over the last 15 years.

Team Fortress 2 started development in 1999, with the original concept to offer a realistic take on first person combat, more in line with the style of Half-Life and Counter-Strike.

However, upon release in 2007, it adopted a cartoony look and became one of the first major titles to adopt a free-to-play model and come to Mac.

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Each update brought a new set of weapons to unlock for each class, as well as hats and other items to customise your look with. Game preorders on Steam even had exclusive items for a short while.

Valve also introduced the Steam Marketplace with Team Fortress 2, where you can trade, sell or buy items with real money without having to wait for the random items to drop.

This started the perceived hands-off approach Valve took to their storefront, which came to a boiling point when almost anything and everything was finding its way onto Steam, regardless of the quality.

Now, Team Fortress 2 fans have reached their boiling point too, with some missteps along the way.

Earlier this month, Tyler McVicker , a YouTuber who runs a channel dedicated to data mining and leaks around Valve products, called on fans of the game to email specific members of staff at Valve. McVicker immediately U-turned on this idea after being called out for it.

This has been a long campaign for a lot of fans of the game and while Valve has said they’ll begin to work on the issues, fans probably have their expectations set low as to how fast it’ll begin working on the issue.

Despite everything, Team Fortress 2 continues to be seen favourably, with around 65,000 players currently playing on Steam. The only thing is, we don’t know how many are just bots and cheaters.

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