Cole Gaither

Staff Reporter

20 April 2023

A game that came out October of 2007 still has a peak player count of over 100,000. No major updates have been made since 2017, yet its popularity remains. How could a game so old, with so many years without much new content, could stay alive after all these years?

Team Fortress 2, developed by Valve, and started development in 1998 as an official sequel to Team Fortress, a modification for another game called Quake, which took Quake, a single player campaign, and transformed it into an online team based game. The game had moved through many iterations, first as a realistic military game, then as a futuristic alien shooter, then finally, as a cartoon shooter.

Team Fortress 2 is iconic, inspiring video games as a whole. Such examples being Overwatch, Valorant, and even some systems that are present in today’s video games like loot boxes. In fact, everyone has probably seen at least one of TF2’s characters somewhere before. Each character design is iconic, and that’s intentional. Each character is meant to stick out, to the point where each character has uniquely designed noses.

The game features nine different classes: Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demoman, Heavy, Engineer, Sniper, Medic, and Spy. Each class has been designed carefully, and the community has been given their take on how those classes function, and give their ideas, and strategies on how to utilize those classes, and discuss their balancing. All of these different classes are surprisingly well balanced in a chaotic game of twelve versus twelve other players, with all nine unique classes all reaching for the same objective.

Team Fortress 2, although only having nine different classes, and only six of sixteen game modes that are regularly played, has a ton of variety when it comes to customization in what weapons you want to use, and how you want to dress up your character. This game has 160 unique weapons (not including reskins), 1750 different cosmetics, and with strange parts, qualities, paints, warpaints, nametags, and so much more.

After all of these years, how did this game survive for so long?

The game was centered around an issue with team based games: in standard games, it didn’t matter if your opponents were bad at the game, because in the end you were still having fun. Team based games propose a new problem: now your teammates are bad, and can drag your team down, which can cause you to lose to no fault of your own. This problem was solved by making sure that players would have a hard time screwing over their teammates, getting rid of friendly fire, and team collision. With the addition of classes such as the Engineer and Medic, new players didn’t have to worry about getting into the action, they could support their teammates from a safe distance. Every player can do their own thing, while still contributing to their team and the objective. 

Although this does help extend the game’s lifespan, Team Fortress 2 hasn’t had a major update in over 2000 days. Nonetheless, players still regularly come back to this game.

Player Zieglar said that he still plays because, “No game makes me laugh as much as Team Fortress 2.” Another player that goes by Dr. Sodacan said “[It] just got some interesting class dynamics you can’t see anywhere else.”

The community is a creative one, especially with Valve adding something called VScript, allowing players to implement coding into the custom maps they made. The possibilities were endless, players could build forts, have a monitor that displayed another part of the map, and make many tasks which would initially cause a headache, could now be performed with ease.

Though there’s a big issue in TF2, bots. How these bots work is that someone will host these bots that will join TF2 games. These bots usually pick the Sniper class and are given aimbot to headshot any player in sight. These bots can also recognize each other, not hurting any other bot on opposing teams, can spam music in voice chat, spam offensive messages in chat, and can vote kick other players. How did players deal with this? Of course, any bot was kicked from the game, but when the opposing team is infested with bots, and players can’t kick players on the opposing team, what could they do?

TF2 players fought back. Players have the tools to reliably fight back against the bots, they could use Medics and Engineers to reliably stop bots from effectively wreaking havoc. It’s a back and forth where programmers will program their bots to use different tactics. Players would try to exploit those tactics by coming up with a different solution, or trying to figure out how to exploit the new code.

Team Fortress 2 is a dedicated community that many players still come back to. With new players coming to see what the buzz is about, to veteran players who still play from time to time, it’s an active game that anyone can enjoy.

Posted by cgaith3148

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