Insomnia 49 Multiplay LAN event!

Fri, 23 Aug 2013 01:22:00 +0000

The next big Multiplay LAN, Insomnia 49, takes place August 23-25 in Telford, England. Top teams from Europe will be joined by community-funded North American and Australian teams to fight in a 6v6 cup and Highlander 9v9 tournament.

This year's i49 features a prize pool of more than $7,000. With over 420 Team Fortress 2 players attending, i49 is one of the largest competitive Team Fortress 2 events of the year!

Don't miss the Grand Finale on Sunday, August 25th, at 11 AM Eastern time (4 PM England). The matches will be covered by VanillaTV, (with added content on their YouTube channel), and KritzKast throughout the weekend.

RomeBots: History Comes Alive!

Tue, 20 Aug 2013 23:51:00 +0000

You don't need to read a history book to know that Rome was a thriving empire bent on conquest, or a rich fantasy world populated by minotaurs, cyclopses and hobbits. Either way, you don't need a fancy history degree to know it was probably one of those.

You also don't need to go to four years of BS history school to get an all-class laurel wreath. You just need to pre-purchase Total War: Rome II. Once you get the wreath, try equipping it in a game of Mann vs. Machine to watch history come alive with an authentic Rome-Bot Invasion. You don't have to be a fat know-nothing history professor to figure out that we painstakingly researched every single aspect of these Ancient Roman robots for 100% historical accuracy, from going to the library only to find it closed to remembering stuff about that trip we took to Italy once, which is probably close to Rome.

So pre-purchase Total War: Rome II today to get your laurel, and sock it to those history majors who think they know more about Ancient Rome history than you just because you dropped out of their stupid history college after one semester and they got a smelly diploma.

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Tue, 20 Aug 2013 23:18:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Added Total War: Rome II "Romevision" promo for Mann vs. Machine mode
  • Updated the localization files

Wireplay's 9v9 Season Starts Soon

Tue, 20 Aug 2013 16:32:00 +0000

Wireplay's assembled its biggest prize pool to date for the new 9v9 Season. Signups close Friday 30th Aug and the league starts September 8th. Get full league details on the Wireplay site!

United Gaming Clans Starting Up Fall Season

Tue, 20 Aug 2013 16:25:00 +0000

United Gaming Clans are starting up their Highlander and 6v6 leagues in preparation for their Fall season. The first week of matches starts September 9th for Highlander and 11th for 6's. UGC has divisions in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand for both formats. Players from any of these regions are encouraged to sign up and join the fun! Remember, the last day teams can sign up is September 14th. Visit the UGC website for more information!

America VS Europe: a Team Fortress 2 Documentary

Wed, 14 Aug 2013 17:26:00 +0000

The folks over at eXtelevision just released a pretty fascinating documentary they made about competitive Team Fortress 2 and the blood, sweat and tears that went into hosting the first-ever TF2 global LAN tournament. We're always suckers for movies with "TF2" in the title, and it doesn't hurt that it's an engrossing watch, either. You can watch the whole thing on YouTube here.

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Thu, 25 Jul 2013 02:29:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed clients/servers not being able to run the game on older versions of Windows

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Wed, 24 Jul 2013 23:45:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Ended the Mann Co. Store summer sale
  • The Summer Claim check is now a rare drop
  • Medics using the Quick-Fix will now take jump force from Pyros using the Detonator to explosive jump
  • Fixed a client crash related to missing particle systems
  • Fixed a server crash when entering Sudden Death mode with only melee weapons
  • Fixed players sometimes being damaged by doors when they are closing
  • Fixed soccer/beach balls sometimes blocking Payload carts and trains
  • Fixed paint can icons not showing the Red/Blue colors correctly
  • Fixed the Loch-n-Load gun sight not drawing in the correct place
  • Fixed the Bonk Boy model using the incorrect normals
  • Updated Cp_Badlands and Koth_Badlands
    • Opened the windows around the center point
    • Smoothed player clipping around doorways

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Thu, 18 Jul 2013 19:04:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed regression causing game to not start on older Intel graphics cards under Linux

An Active Solution to an Idle Threat

Thu, 18 Jul 2013 01:44:00 +0000

Your time is valuable, and the fact that you choose to spend it on Team Fortress 2 is awesome. When we introduced the Item Drop System back in 2009, one of our goals was to reward you for spending your time with us.

We recently made a change that helps ensure players are playing TF2, not just leaving their computers on in order to get item drops. As of last week, players can no longer receive item drops unless they are actively playing the game.

As with any update, this change is meant to keep the game as fair, fun, and rewarding to as many players as possible. We will continue to examine how the Item Drop System is used, and make any adjustments as needed to benefit the players.

Questions and Answers:

  • What is the definition of “actively playing” Team Fortress 2?

    • From an item drop perspective, a player is considered to be actively playing if they meet all of the following criteria:

      • Is connected to a VAC secured server.
      • Is responding to in-game drop notifications while not utilizing external programs to do so.
      • Is running only one instance of the game.
      • Is not in textmode.
    • A player who meets all of those criteria is earning time towards random item drops (subject to the weekly cap).
  • Will I be VAC banned for not actively playing the game, also known as ‘idling’?

    • No, you will not be banned for just idling. You may be banned if you use external programs to circumvent idle detection. See VAC FAQ.
  • Will I lose my drops if I'm idling? Will it affect my weekly drop cap?

    • No, drops are not lost and the drop cap remains unaffected. Players will simply have their item drops paused. Item drops will return when normal play is resumed.
  • Why are you changing how the Item Drop System works?

    • This change is designed to make the TF2 experience equally rewarding for all players. The previous system had flaws that allowed players to collect rewards without actively playing TF2.
  • I don’t idle. How does this impact me?

    • The new system ensures you won’t become disadvantaged for playing TF2 the way you always have.

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Mon, 15 Jul 2013 23:11:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed crit and mini-crit sounds not playing in the ears of the attacker
  • Fixed some missing sapper particles in Mann vs. Machine mode
  • Fixed bots seeing the Payload cart as a valid target
  • Fixed an issue with mouse centering in non-native fullscreen resolutions for the Mac version
  • Fixed a problem with restoring the fullscreen window when app gets focus for the Mac version
  • Fixed the description for the Founding Father
  • Updated L'Inspecteur to include a blue material when equipped by the Blue team

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Fri, 12 Jul 2013 23:05:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed a server crash caused by running out of free edicts
  • Fixed a problem that was preventing some older demos from being played
  • Fixed the Spy getting the afterburn immunity while disguised as Demoman wielding the Chargin' Targe
  • Fixed the Process and Standin map stamp donations displaying incorrect map names on the World Traveler
  • Fixed the Pyro not using the correct model for the Reserve Shooter
  • Fixed a bug that would cause certain attributes (kill counts, trade time) to appear incorrectly on items viewed through Steam Community and the trade UI
  • Removed promotion restrictions from the Crosslinker's Coil
  • Updated the Loose Cannon description to match the updated gameplay
  • Updated the Short Circuit description to match the updated gameplay

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Thu, 11 Jul 2013 22:56:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed Quick-Fix infinite heal exploit
  • Fixed missing Cow Mangler 5000 particles when running in DirectX8
  • Fixed Disco Beat Down unusual effect showing through walls
  • Fixed incorrect projectile speed attributes being applied to giants in Mann vs. Machine
  • When disguised as a teammate, the Dead Ringer will drop the body of the player the Spy is disguised as
  • Fixed a bug where arrows and bolts would hit friendly players
  • Fixed a bug where Strange parts and filters could not be removed from Strange weapons
  • Fixed the "Show Entire Backpack" option in the crafting panel not preserving empty backpack slots and forcing items to stack
  • Fixed an areaportal improperly rendering in pl_goldrush
  • Fixed players getting out of map in cp_standin
  • Fixed players hiding in vents in cp_standin
  • Adjusted HDR lighting in cp_process

Move That Update Up!

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 22:03:00 +0000

Over the last week we've taken you through some of our thinking around maps, weapons and items. We thought you might find it interesting if we walked you through the process we use to ship an update to TF2.

There we go, update shipped.

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 21:51:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Added over 60 Gold Star community-submitted Workshop items
  • Summer Claim Checks can now be redeemed for Summer Coolers
  • Summer Cooler Keys are now available in the Mann Co. Store
  • Map Stamps and Strange Filters for the new community maps cp_standin and cp_process are now available in the Mann Co. Store
  • Reduced intensity of Bleed and Jarate screen effects under DX8
  • Added text search functionality to the backpack and the store
  • Added tf_hud_show_servertimelimit to display the server’s per-map time limit on the in-game HUD
  • In MvM, if all team members unready, the pre-round countdown will stop
  • In MvM, when robots are killed by sniper headshots or explosive headshot upgrade, they will drop ‘red’ money that will automatically be collected when it would otherwise dissolve
  • Fixed a bug with the Unusual Adjustment Slider that would cause changes not to take effect
  • Double-clicking a crate will now take you to the appropriate key in the store
  • By default, items with non-standard qualities (i.e., strange, unusual) will not be selectable as craft ingredient. The ingredient selection UI has a checkbox to disable this feature and allow selection.
  • Unusuals and Stranges no longer stack in loadout equip pages
  • Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause incorrect Steam Community Market prices to be shown on item tooltips when using non-USD currencies
  • Fixed a bug that would cause the popular items page in the store to not always update correctly
  • Fixed a bug where disguised red spies spawned a blue heal particle when touching healthkits
  • Fixed a bug where certain projectiles and Engineer building gibs could cause doors to become stuck
  • Fixed a bug where crouch animations would not properly play while in humiliation state
  • Fixed a bug where full ÜberCharge effects would always show on the client if a player was killed with full ÜberCharge
  • Fixed a bug that allowed custom item names/descriptions containing HTML to sometimes change the appearance of items in Steam Community
  • Fixed level 3 dispensers missing geometry
  • Fixed level 2 dispensers appearing identical to level 1 dispensers at certain LODs
  • Fixed the Marked-For-Death effect showing over the head of disguised or stealthed players
  • Fixed suicide deathnotices showing the dead player's last deployed weapon instead of the skull and crossbones
  • Fixed characters in the loadout page sometimes appearing as if they were cloaked
  • Weapon attributes will now show in the same order in-game and in Steam Community
  • Support for the ITFItems/GetPlayerItems and ITFItems/GetSchema WebAPIs have been removed
  • Added support for the Oculus-native distortion function via the "oculus_use_ovr_distortion" convar in VR mode
  • Added cp_standin and cp_process
  • Renamed mvm_coaltown_event to mvm_ghost_town to fix a problem with voting for challenges in MvM when on Coal Town
  • cp_badlands
    • Fixed jumps being ruined by small rock ledge near spiral
    • Fixed prop collisions
    • Fixed clip smoothing
  • cp_dustbowl
    • Fixed players building in Blu's first spawn
    • Fixed players shooting through rocks in stage 2
    • Fixed collision in tunnels in stage 2
    • Fixed textures not displaying properly in Pyrovision
    • Fixed lighting on cliff faces
    • Fixed skybox error in stage 3.
    • Fixed players getting killed through the ceiling under stage 2 cap 1
    • Adjusted ceiling height in stage 3 tunnel for better clearance
    • Cleaned up prop collision
  • cp_egypt
    • Fixed clip brush exploits
    • Players can no longer build on top of arches and high ledges
  • cp_gorge
    • Players can no longer build in Blu's first spawn room
    • Changed scale of water texture
  • cp_granary
    • Fixed improper orientation on arrow signs
    • Fixed players getting above red forward spawn
    • Fixed players building on cargo containers inside spawn room
    • Fixed holes in skybox geometry
    • Removed collision from hanging lamp over Red spawn
    • Removed collision from security cameras above Red and Blue spawns
    • Mirrored fence alcove from Blu final cap arena to Red side
    • Balanced collision of rocks in final capture arenas
    • Re-ordered spawns in the first spawn room to be consistent between Red and Blu
  • cp_gravelpit
    • Clipped roof of building over cap A
    • Removed helthpack under terrain
    • Added decals under health kits and ammo packs
  • cp_gullywash
    • Fixed players getting out of the map near the middle capture point
    • Fixed collision exploits near middle capture point
  • cp_mountainlab
    • Fixed collision issues on the ladders and hill that lead to the first point
    • Fixed static prop lighting
  • cp_steel
    • Fixed players blocking Blu's spawn exit door leading to capture point B
    • Fixed collision on ledge near capture point B
    • Players can no longer build inside Red spawn room.
    • Blu spawn point over grate removed.
  • ctf_2fort
    • Fixed building inside of spawn doors
    • Fixed clipping exploits on battlements
    • Fixed height of door leading to spiral stairs in Blu base so players can now crouch past a placed dispenser
    • Cleaned up prop collision
    • Smoothed clipping on wagon wheel and other props
  • ctf_well
    • Fixed players jumping out of the map
  • koth_king
    • Health and ammo packs now match on Red and Blu sides of the map
    • Players can no longer build in spawn doors
  • koth_lakeside
    • Fixed rockets passing through terrain near the capture point
  • koth_viaduct
    • Players can no longer build in spawn room rafters
  • mvm_bigrock
    • Fixed players building on rock in cave section
  • pl_badwater
    • Fixed player clip brush exploits and missing player clip brushes on roofs and rock walls
    • Fixed player clip smoothing
    • Fixed fence collisions
    • Fixed floating rocks in skybox
    • Fixed lighting on props
    • Fixed lighting on canyon vista
    • Handrails no longer collide with bullets and projectiles
    • Performance increase through poly reduction, model collision reduction and model fade distances
    • Players can no longer build inside Blu spawn room
    • Players can no longer be trapped with teleporters under the sign by the first capture point
    • Players can no longer enter the room overlooking the final cap through the windows before point 3 is captured
    • Players will now be crushed by closing doors upon the capture of point 2
  • pl_barnblitz
    • Fixed building in the skybox above Red's final spawn
    • Teleporters will no longer self destruct when used on the battlements near Blu's first spawn
  • pl_frontier
    • Fixed spawn doors not working properly after second capture.
    • Players can no longer build inside kill volumes
    • Players can no longer build inside of Blu's second spawn room
    • Red players can now enter the Blu team spawn upon round win
  • pl_goldrush
    • Fixed collision on props and clip exploits
    • Fixed buildings being prohibited from construction in the garage near the end of stage 3
    • Players can no longer block the cart through the wall in stage
    • Players can no longer build in spawn exits
    • Players can no longer build on the shack roof near the end of stage 3
    • Players and buildings can no longer be killed through the floor in stage 1 in the upper room by the cap
    • Players can no longer build on the perch in stage 1
    • Handrails no longer collide with bullets and projectiles
  • pl_thundermountain
    • Fixed gate visible through ceiling in stage 3
    • Fixed clipping in stage 3 Blu spawn
    • Prevented players from building in the cliffside kill zone in stage 1
  • pl_upward
    • Fixed exploit where Blu team could be trapped in their final spawn room
    • Fixed gap in collision which allowed Blu players to be shot in their first spawn
    • Fixed fade distances on props in Blu spawn
    • Fixed players building under catwalk on the ledge of the final pit
    • Fixed clip brush exploits
    • Players can no longer be trapped by teleporting under stairs near final capture point
    • Players can no longer build inside of Red's final spawn room
    • Players can no longer build inside of spawn room doors
    • Players can no longer be trapped inside of the capture point sign
    • Prevented Blu team from entering final spawn room while it is neutral
    • Smoothed clipping collision
    • Collision performance increases
    • Handrails no longer collide with bullets and projectiles
    • Replaced floor texture in Red team final spawn room
  • plr_hightower
    • Fixed clip brush exploit above building on cliff edge
  • plr_nightfall
    • Fixed players jumping outside of the map
    • Reduced prop collision
  • plr_pipeline
    • Fixed invisible faces
    • Handrails no longer collide with bullets and projectiles
  • tc_hydro
    • Fixed clip brush exploit where players could get out of world
    • Fixed players getting on top of monument.
  • The Chieftain's Challenge, Lord Cockswain's Pith Helmet, That '70s Chapeau, The K-9 Mane, The Stovepipe Sniper Shako, The Pounding Father, and Vox Diabolus can now be painted
  • "The Public Enemy", "The Urban Professional", and "The Dumpster Diver" sets will now show up as sets in the in-game UI
  • Cursed Soul items (Halloween zombie skins) are now renameable
  • Strange Bacon Grease can now be gift-wrapped
  • Added LODs to the Airborne Armaments set items
  • Fixed Bison/Pomson projectiles getting stuck on doors
  • Fixed Baseballs and Jars sometimes going through thin geometry
  • Crit-A-Cola
    • Removed: Damage taken mini-crits
    • Added: Damage taken increased 25%
  • Shortstop
    • Added 20% bonus healing while deployed
    • Added 80% vulnerability increase to all push forces while deployed
  • Winger
    • Added +25% Jump Height bonus when active
  • The Special Delivery (set)
    • Removed: +25 max health on wearer
    • Added: Leave a calling card on your victims
  • Battalion's Backup
    • Added additional +15% Sentry damage resistance to all teammates while banner effect is active (50% damage reduction while banner is active)
    • Rage is now generated from damage dealt instead of damage received
  • Black Box
    • Rocket explosions now use correct sound
  • Beggar’s Bazooka
    • Fixed an exploit that allowed players to hold a set fixed number of rockets (reload cancelling)
    • Misfired Rockets now remove one loaded rocket from the clip
  • Concheror
    • Rage is now generated only from damage dealt
    • Buffed players now receive a speed boost, in addition to the previous Health-On-Hit effect
  • Cow Mangler 5000
    • Reduced clip size (from 5 to 4)
    • Removed -10% damage attribute
    • Removed 5% slower reload attribute
    • Added missing "sets players on fire" description text
    • New particles and sound
  • Escape Plan
    • Players receive the Marked-For-Death effect after deploying, and for a short period after holstering
  • Liberty Launcher
    • Removed: 25% reduced clip size penalty
    • Added: 25% reduced damage penalty
  • Original
    • Rocket explosions now use correct sound
  • The Tank Buster (set)
    • Removed: +20% Sentry damage resistance on wearer
    • Added: Leave a calling card on your victims
  • Phlogistinator
    • Fixed "Mmmph" progress resetting after touching a resupply cabinet
  • Powerjack
    • Added: 15% increase move speed while deployed
    • Added: 20% damage vulnerability to all sources
  • The Gas Jockey's Gear (set)
    • Removed: +10% faster move speed on wearer
    • Removed: +10% bullet damage vulnerability on wearer
    • Added: Leave a calling card on your victims
  • Chargin' Targe
    • Added: Afterburn immunity
  • Loose Cannon
    • Range no longer affects direct cannonball impact damage
    • Reduced charge time to 1 second
    • Added: Double-Donk (directly impacting an enemy within half a second before the bomb explosion) sound and particle effects
    • Double-Donk damage now mini-crits
  • The Expert's Ordnance (set)
    • Removed: +10% fire damage resistance on wearer
  • Buffalo Steak Sandvich
    • Removed: Damage taken mini-crits
    • Added: Damage taken increased 25%
  • Dalokohs Bar
    • Increased amount of health restored per-bite from 15 to 25
  • Gunslinger
    • Fixed a bug that caused mini-sentries to heal while being constructed
  • Rescue Ranger
    • Minor increase in damage per bolt
    • Increased building healing from 50 to 75 per bolt
  • Short Circuit
    • Ammo cost reduced when an attack destroys a projectile
  • Wrangler
    • Slightly reduced accuracy of manually-controlled sentry at long range
    • Protective shield now fades 1 second after the owning Engineer dies
  • Crusaders Crossbow
    • Changed arrow projectile to a large syringe
    • Added new trail effects
    • Smoothed out reload animation (DPS unchanged)
    • Fixed being able to heal players that are using items that block healing
  • Quick-Fix
    • Added 50% Overheal
    • Über now affects the medic when there's no heal target
    • Shotguns with pushback (Force-A-Nature) no longer affect players under the effect of Quick-Fix’s Über
  • Vaccinator
    • Über now fully absorbs crit damage for the selected damage type, but depletes Übercharge based on the amount of damage prevented
  • Bazaar Bargain
    • Fixed the starting charge rate being -40% instead of -20%
    • Capped the max charge rate to 200%
  • Cozy Camper
    • Removed movement penalty.
    • Added: Damage taken increased by 20%
  • Darwin's Danger shield
    • Added: Bullet damage taken reduced by 15%
    • Added: Explosive damage taken increased by 20%
  • The Croc-o-Style Kit (set)
    • Removed headshot immunity
    • Added: Leave a calling card on your victims
  • Dead Ringer
    • When under the effect of Feign Death, damage taken decreases the duration of the effect
  • L'Etranger
    • Added: 40% increased cloak duration
  • Spy-cicle
    • Fixed a bug that would cause the charge meter to not reset when the spy was killed
  • The Saharan Spy (set)
    • Removed: Reduced decloak sound volume
    • Removed: 0.5 sec longer cloak blink time
    • Added custom particle effects when taunting

Move Those Votes Up!

Wed, 10 Jul 2013 01:10:00 +0000

Three weeks ago, we introduced an item import tool that lets item creators locally verify that their items meet a set of technical and performance standards. This helps item creators ensure that anything they create is more likely to be game-ready; and it also helps the community as a whole, by giving the TF2 team more time to devote to other aspects of the game.

Since we released the tool, this verification process (which grants items a “Gold Star”) has led to over 900 Gold Star Workshop submissions. We've been blown away by the speed and quality of the TF2 community's response.

Thanks to this verification system, we've been able to select a whopping 64 Gold Star items for this coming update. But how do we decide which to ship? Below, we've run this classy-looking Medic coat through a set of questions we ask when reviewing submissions. We hope this will give item creators and everyone voting in the Workshop a bit more insight into our decision-making process.

  • Does the item's vote count show support from the TF2 Workshop Community? This is a big one: We're not going to ship an item that the community has no interest in shipping. (Remember: Even if you're not an item creator, you can help the item selection process by up-voting and down-voting.) Our sample Medic item, for instance, had sufficient support to examine further.
  • Does the item introduce something unique and different compared to items already in the game? The Medic does not yet have a coat cosmetic that makes him look ready to dance the night away as if it were 1776. Let’s check this box as a "Yes".
  • Does the item interfere with class identification? Even in this new coat, the Medic is still easily recognizable as the Medic. The author has taken care not to remove areas that display team colors and has made sure the geometry complements the base character model underneath.
  • How well does it complement other items already in the game? Because the geometry is contained within the Medic silhouette, it will avoid clipping with most other cosmetics, allowing users to customize their look further.
  • Does this item fit well within the TF universe? It might seem at first glance that the TF universe is pretty flexible—flexible enough, anyway, to accommodate a Victorian-era aristocrat costume for the Medic. However, there are limits. Photo-realistic items or overly cartoony items are just two examples of art styles that probably won't mesh with the TF2niverse.
  • Lastly, Is your item Darth Vader's helmet? Because we don't own Star Wars. Here's a comprehensive list of other things we don't own: Everything that's not TF. Luckily, Darth Vader doesn't dress like a foppish 18th century rogue*, so this item's in the clear.

And remember: much like the game itself, the import tool is a work in progress. If you're a Workshop author and want to get advance notice of changes or to request support for new features, make sure to sign up for the brand-new TF Workshop/import tool mailing list.

*Note: We haven't seen Episode VII yet.

Move Those Weapons Up!

Tue, 09 Jul 2013 01:52:00 +0000

One of our goals as we continue to work on Team Fortress is to support a wide variety of play styles. In order to achieve that, it's been vitally important that the weapons in the game are fun not just to use, but to play against. We want players on both the winning and losing sides of an engagement to feel like their skill is being rewarded. In other words, when someone beats you, it's because they played better, either through pure combat skill, or through their strategic choices in selecting their loadout. Consequently, we are always reviewing both real world player sessions and player feedback to hunt down items that aren't meeting this standard.

We'll be tweaking the stats on dozens of weapons in this next update—but we thought you might find it interesting if we walked you through the decision-making process on a select few.

To start with, let's look at the "banner" items for the Soldier. The most popular of these by far is The Buff Banner, which provides an offensive buff enabling nearby teammates to do additional burst damage. Conversely, The Battalion's Backup, another Soldier "banner" item, is barely ever equipped. The Backup's owner-equip rate is well below what we'd consider healthy, with less than 15% of players who own it ever equipping it. If this data wasn't enough, the feedback we've gotten from the Backup's owners easily corroborates the lack of interest.

Clearly, we needed to bring The Battalion's Backup up to parity with the usefulness of The Buff Banner. Previously, The Battalion's Backup rewarded players for taking additional damage, making it a frustratingly high-risk item. We found that most Soldiers would die well before they were able to build a full charge. When the next update ships, The Battalion's Backup builds up its charge by dealing damage rather than receiving it and provides additional damage resistance while active.

Let's look at another example with the opposite problem: The Dead Ringer. At roughly 80%, the equip rate for the Dead Ringer is staggeringly high. Given the many other items available in this category, this means that players feel they don't have any other viable option but choosing the Dead Ringer. We've gotten emails from players who describe the item as frustrating to fight against, requiring too little skill from the Spies and too much from their opponents.

In our next update, the Dead Ringer will work generally the same way it always has, letting Spies feign death to escape from damage that would have otherwise killed them. However, now any damage the Spy takes after his "death" will decrease the maximum length of time he can spend cloaked. This gives any players chasing the Spy more of an opportunity to catch up and deal a real finishing blow, while also requiring more skill from any Spy trying to make his way to actual safety.

Finally, we'd like to talk about item sets. Historically, item sets have been thematically consistent sets of items that provide a unique gameplay effect when worn together. Unfortunately, these gameplay effects had two negative effects. For one, they limited player choice, making players feel like they would be underpowered if not wearing the complete set. For another, it was a balancing nightmare. An individual item that might be balanced as part of a set could feel underpowered (or overpowered) on its own.

One of the main goals of introducing a new weapon is to give players more choices that will help them explore the game in fun new ways. Set bonuses had the opposite effect, making many players feel constrained in their choices.

Set bonuses also required players to have full knowledge of other players' loadouts, including currently "invisible" items like melee-slot weapons. For example, the Croc-o-Style Kit set bonus gives any Sniper equipping it immunity to headshots. But there was no way for a Sniper to know whether a targeted Sniper had the bonus simply by looking. And this wasn't an isolated problem. Similar issues cropped up around the Scout's Milkman set bonus (extra health) and the Demo's Expert's Ordnance set bonus (extra fire resistance).

For all of these reasons, as part of this next update, we've decided to change the way item set bonuses work. Players have traded for, purchased, and crafted these items, many in order to complete the sets and get these bonuses, and we're not abandoning the bonuses outright. Instead, we've moved the gameplay bonuses to specific items within the sets, and introduced new bonuses to these sets that won't affect gameplay balance.

We look at this as an ongoing process. We want to provide more choices, more variety, and more clarity—all of which will hopefully result in a game that's even more fun. But more importantly, we want the TF2 community to feel as invested in this as we are.
So please, let us know what you think.

Move Those Maps Up!

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 16:04:00 +0000

If you'd rather not get spoiled on whether or not there's an update coming soon, you'd better not read the rest of this sentence, and you also might want to skip directly to the last paragraph of this post. Then also don't read it, because SPOILER: This post is allllllll about an upcoming update.

First off: this update is going to have a list of patch notes longer than a stalemate on Hydro. Rather than just dropping all of that in your lap with no explanation, we figured we'd spend a few blog posts taking you through some of the soon-to-be-released update content, so you'd get an idea of the process behind some of the changes and additions we're making. Let’s start with maps.

TF2 has been evolving since the day we released it back in 2007. Unfortunately, as players' tactics and abilities have grown, so have the bugs and exploits in some of the maps. For example, since Badwater shipped in The Heavy Update, TF2 has added more than 140 weapons to the game, some of which introduced new capabilities: sentry jumping, rocket jumping with no health cost, the ability to pick up and move your buildings. All of these are just a fraction of the many ways players can now turn maps like Badwater upside down.

It didn't take long before clever players discovered how to use sentry jumping to build on roofs, Jumpers to move quickly behind enemy lines and spawn camp, and sneakily place buildings inside of their spawns. While we love players coming up with new and inventive ways to win, let's face it: It's never fun to be gunned down from above and behind.

And Badwater is just one of the maps with fixes in this update. In fact, the majority of maps in TF2 have gone through the same process. By eliminating these exploits and bugs, players can once again feel like they understand threats and the dangers presented in combat spaces.

Secondly: Sure, it’s great to fix the old maps, but we’re also adding two NEW community-created maps by Ian Cuslidge that, and here's another spoiler warning, are fricking awesome. Introducing two all-new Capture Point maps: Process and Standin. Beyond a great polish, both of these maps offer unique and exciting gameplay; Process with its five streamlined Capture Points and Standin with its triple Cap Point free-for-all.



These maps were selected by the TF2 team in part for their straightforward and intuitive layouts, and in part because they were a hell of a lot of fun to play. These CP maps were designed with little visual noise, were easy to understand and fun to navigate through. If you're a community map maker and want to see us ship your map, here's another spoiler on how to do that: Make it better than these.



Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Tue, 02 Jul 2013 23:45:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Added the Summer Appetizer Crate to the drop list and added the Summer Appetizer Key to the Mann Co. Store
  • Fixed a server crash caused by multiple Spies sapping a building at the same time
  • Fixed a case where a Medic deploying Kritzkrieg on a Spy would sometimes result in permanent crit boost

Help Us Pay it Forward

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 19:05:00 +0000

Since the Steam Workshop launched in October of 2011, over 1,200 items created by the TF2 and now the DOTA community have been made available for sale. That's added up to a whopping $10 million in royalties paid to item creators.

The thing is, nobody creates a TF2 item in a vacuum. Chances are if you've made something for the Workshop, you've probably gotten some amount of help and feedback from various toolmakers, communities and mentors. A lot of these resources have proven to be immensely valuable to item creators. We'd like to give you a chance to show them just how valuable.

What if we were to tell you that you can now compensate the service providers that've helped you by giving them a percentage of the sales from your in-game item? And then what if we were to notice you walking quickly away from us after we said that? So what if we ran after you and told you hold on, you didn't hear the important part: You'll get to compensate those service providers without any actual money coming out of your own pocket. That's right: The contribution will be made from a set percentage that is redirected from Valve to the service provider, not taken from your royalty.

Starting today, item creators like yourself can leaf through a wide variety of communities, toolmakers and individuals, and decide who most deserves a percentage of your item sales (again, not your percentage). Those who'll benefit are completely up to you—from forums to programs to tutorial writers. You can divide the money between as many or as few benefactors as you'd like.

We've posted the list here, and we realize it's far from comprehensive. So be sure to let us know about other helpful resources we might have missed.

If you already have an item in the Team Fortress 2 Workshop, you can add and set Service Allowances by visiting the page for your item in the Workshop. So get out there and pay it forward like Kevin Spacey did in that movie, Superman Returns, when he gave Superman all that kryptonite, and then Superman paid it forward into space.

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Thu, 27 Jun 2013 01:28:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixing a bug with Description strings getting cut off for the MAC and Linux versions

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Wed, 19 Jun 2013 23:38:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed a client crash when downloading custom maps for the Mac version
  • Fixed browser cookies not persisting across game restarts
  • Fixed the Festive Frontier Justice using the incorrect skin for the Blue team
  • Fixed the Virus Doctor painting the entire hat instead of just the bands
  • Fixed the shading for the Couvre Corner, Stout Shako, L'Inspecteur , and Full Metal Drill Hat
  • Stopped dropping Mann Co Supply Crate #55 and added Mann Co Supply Crate #59
  • Updated the Pocket Pyro so it can get assists in Pyrovision
  • Updated the Liquidator's Lid so it can be painted
  • Updated VR mode
    • Added support for cloning your desktop display
    • Added support for running the Rift as an extension of your desktop at resolutions other than 1280x800

ESA Open Cup #1

Mon, 17 Jun 2013 20:25:00 +0000

ESA has announced a new tournament called Open Cup where players do not require an ESA premium account to participate. The prize pool is set to be distributed amongst the top 16 finalists giving all finalists something to earn. Further details can be found on the tournament site.

We just shipped some Gold Star items!

Thu, 13 Jun 2013 23:35:00 +0000

We were really impressed that so many of you resubmitted your items as Gold Star submissions since our last post two days ago. Now, given that this is what we asked you to do, you might wonder why we’re so impressed, and the answer is that nobody’s ever done anything we asked ever, so this is a bit of a novelty for us. We’ve been asking Robin Walker to stop breaking into our houses at 2AM to show us his latest hat designs for two years now, and we still wake up with him hovering inches over us, whispering “No worries” and holding up his sketchpad.

But enough about our night terror! The important part is that, to celebrate, we grabbed some of those Gold Star submissions and shipped them. “How much did you ship them?” you ask, your eyebrow arching suspiciously. We shipped them all the way, guys. No half-measures. We shipped the HELL out of these items.

This isn’t the big update we hinted at in the last post, by the way, or any of the other super-secret update content we've been working on that we haven't even hinted at yet*. This is just a little taste, a tide-me-over, what the French might call an amuse-bouche (“Your mouth pleases me.”) Enjoy! Or as the French say, Bon appétit! ("It is good that you are starving.")

*Except just then.

Team Fortress 2 Update Released

Thu, 13 Jun 2013 23:20:00 +0000

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Added 10 new Steam Workshop items
  • Added new promo items
  • Fixed the in-game UI not using the Language setting from the TF2 Properties dialog in the Steam UI
  • Fixed not hearing the Loose Cannon impact sound when playing on dedicated servers

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