Out of the blue, a wild Team Fortress 2 update has appeared! A Team Fortress 2 update that actually has some substance, that is more than just the release of a new cosmetic set. Okay, that was still a big part of the update, and ironically the new collection is called the Blue Moon Case, but still, we got changes! Balance ones!
The biggest thing though is the change to the competitive system. The much needed changes. The changes we should have had ages ago.
Before the update, everyone, from b4nny to a guy who literally just started the game five minutes ago, started at zero and worked their way up. Through determination and sheer constant playing, one could rise up the ranks, but the skill required was more based on how long you were willing to play for rather than how good you are.
Now, the competitive matchmaking system is the same as that of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It’s like a lot of other ranked systems but it’s been lifted straight from CS:GO into TF2. There are now 13 ranks, down from 18, and everyone has to play ten placement matches to determine their initial starting rank, after which they can start climbing ranks as they please.
There has also been a change to how you access competitive matchmaking. The price of a competitive pass has been reduced to $9.99 and is currently on sale for 50%. You can still access it as normal if you’ve got a verified Steam account attached to a phone number and everyone who has a competitive pass still has one. The reduced price is great because honestly 1. it did nothing to stop cheaters (seriously, look at Overwatch, it’s a €30 game and you still get cheaters) and 2. it was expensive for people who didn’t want to give their phone number to Valve, understandably.
Another change was also added. In order to access Competitive, whether you have always had access or just bought a pass, you NEED to play Casual matchmaking until you reach rank 3. Which is great. Seriously, it’s a change that should have been there from the start. No new player should be able to jump straight into competitive and ruin games for anyone else. Whether rank 3 in Casual is enough or whether that needs to be increased further, I have no idea, but at least this means there will be a little less frustration for other players.
Of course the downside is that I can’t play competitive right now. Because whenever I play, I’m normally on community servers, thus I’ve never actually, uh, ranked up in casual.
This is a step forward for TF2 players. It’s a ranking system in line with other games. I hope. From what I’ve seen of the CS:GO matchmaking system, it just about does its job. How well that translates into Team Fortress 2? I’m not sure, but it’s all based on wins and losses, and in something as chaotic as Team Fortress, especially with multiple classes, it might still be problematic, but I have hope.
Of course, it’s all a little too late. How many veteran Team Fortress 2 players have already moved to other games, looking for more competition and more ways to express their skill. It’s great that Team Fortress is still keeping ots head above the water, but things like this should have been added years ago.
Still, let’s be optimistic. This is a change of pace for Team Fortress 2, and I sincerely hope it continues.