So, recently TF2 got its competitive mode update. That’s all fine – even though I don’t believe competitive in TF2 can work for balance reasons. What really pisses me off though are the eligibility requirements. For that I have to go back to where competitive started.
Back in CSGO, initially everyone was eligible for comp, besides the lobby limits on rank disparity. However, issues arose. Issues mainly being smurfs. So Valve had the brilliant idea to use the profile ranks to make it harder for smurfs to be eligible for comp. The idea was okay, because you can only get XP on official servers, so botting it out was impossible.
Now Valve had another (not so) brilliant idea: A two-classed competitive system. One matchmaking system as we know it, the other one being a “premium” matchmaking. Who was allowed to enter the premium/prime pool? Whoever thinks giving your phone number out to Valve is a great idea. Now, yes, this makes getting into Prime harder. But anyone can get a sim-card for like ten bucks. It’s not really an issue to circumvent this then.
However, it gets interesting for Valve because every non-smurf will use their actual phone number. A very delicate and private thing to share with someone you don’t know. So there was a risk to take, for somewhat of a reward after all. But it introduced a new pitfall: Elitism in CSGO matchmaking. Less cheaters/smurfs in premium, but way way more in the pleb competitive than ever before. Valve can now use this position and blackmail players for all kinds of verification information or payments in order to let them experience the game. They thoroughly recognized this and are exploiting this already. You now need a high profile rank for Prime, and they lowered the minimum rank required for pleb comp.
TF2 competitive beta started out with a premium account, and the phone number verification. But then they introduced the pass for ten bucks, for whoever doesn’t want to share his number AND does not have premium. Now, this doesn’t make any sense at all. Why would you add phone number verification, but also introduce a way easier method to (not) verify your account, the monetary way? The pass completely nullifies the advantage a phone number verification would have.
And here’s the deal: It only makes sense if you want to gather personal information and more money, and are not doing this for the competitive experience.
And this is where Valve pisses me off. Instead of properly moderating (and yes, maybe limiting access to) comp, they create two-class systems and try to blackmail us for cash and personal information. And this isn’t even the icing on the cake: I bought TF2 in 2007, before it became a F2P game. For almost ten years – in this industry multiple lifetimes of a game – I gave them my loyalty and gratitude, throughout everything. And I’m not eligible for comp? No smurf can replicate ten years of possession of TF2. I’m the most verified candidate they’ll ever get. And I’m not allowed to play the game I even purchased back in the good old days?
That’s not pissing me off, that is pissing on the customers, on me.
This is all besides why TF2 is not a competitive game in my opinion: Balancing.
How do you want to balance out this enormous shit-ton of weaponry? With every weapon needing a re-balance, because the default stats account for random crits? What a horrible idea. But as long as it gets you money and personal info Valve…