On 28 March 2018, TF2 received an update

And in it came a bunch of matchmaking changes, balancing and bug fixes.

For one, Competitive mode now uses CS: GO’s Glicko skill rating system for matchmaking, which should help ensure that the matches are more balanced. Aside from that, The ranks in Competitive has been changed from 18 ranks to 13. Aside from that, Competitive Matchmaking Passes are now US$ 9.99. Non-pass holders need to be at least Casual level 3, be a Premium user and have a valid phone number associated to the account, which should hopefully reduce the amount of hackers in Competitive mode by raising the barrier for non-Pass holders.

Casual now also uses Glicko for matchmaking in order to have more balanced games, and Sawmill (CTF), Well (CTF), 2Fort Invasion (Of course this one’s CTF as well), Foundry (Mannpower) and 5Gorge are added back into the map pool. Match-end map voting now only lets you vote on maps for the current game mode, which is great for me since I almost exclusively play KoTH.

There’s some QoL changes for queuing as well. You can queue for multiple match types (MvM Boot Camp, Mann Up, Competitive, Casual), and you can queue when playing in Casual and Boot Camp as well. Accepting a Comp or Mann Up match will remove you from other queues. All in all, these are pretty good improvements to getting into and playing games.

As for balancing, Pyro’s Flamethrower DPS is modified to ramp up based on flame density, up to 200%, with initial flame DPS reduced by 50%. So now, instead of flailing about like someone just electrocuted your mouse hand, you actually need to maintain the flames over someone to get maximum damage. Meanwhile, the Dragon’s Fury has a smaller fireball, and the bonus damage will only work if the center of the fireball made contact with the target’s hitbox, so the DF now requires better aiming and tracking.

The Gas Passer’s MvM damage output was nerfed. The Axtinguisher, meanwhile, receive a rework. Attacks on burning target now mini-crits and extinguish the target. There is a damage bonus based on the remaining duration of the afterburn. In a rather touching move, a small perk called “Sketchek’s Bequest” was added. Killing blows on burning players grant a speed boost to Pyro. The Axtinguisher has 33% lower base damage, 35% slower holster speed, and no random crits. The Thermal Thruster’s holster time is decreased, which makes dropping out of the sky to set people on fire a lot easier. Or chasing down a Trolldier mid-air and roasting him in the sky.

Short Circuit got reworked. Now, M2 shoots a mid-range energy ball that costs 65 metal and destroys projectiles. It makes the Short Circuit a much more fair weapon to fight against than the electrifying shield of projectile negation we had before. Not to mention, you can run alongside a friendly Engie’s energy ball to avoid taking damage from rockets and pipes.

The energy ball
The energy ball by itself.
Projectile destruction in action.
Player destruction in action.

Aside from that, the Sydney Sleeper’s Jarate effect got nerfed, the PrettyBoy’s Pocket Pistol got nerfed, the Panic Attack got buffed, and there’s a ton of bug fixes. The full list of patch notes are [HERE].

Overall, I’m really happy with this update. A lot of things got fixed in here. It reminds me of the Summer Event 2013, where a lot of things got fixed and reworked. Moreover, it gave me a much better option to play a more support-based Engineer with the new Short Circuit. I really haven’t played frontline support Engie for a real long time, guess it’s time for me to start again. Assuming my lackluster ammo management won’t get me killed.


And yes, I am very well aware of the cosmetic case and the JoJo hat. I just want to focus on the gameplay side of things here.

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