Team Fortress 2 Now Free To Play

By Jim Rossignol on June 24th, 2011 at 7:54 am.

Not exactly a surprise, because we’re the geniuses who called it earlier in the week. Valve have made Team Fortress 2 free to play. The future is free.

Announcement trailer below.


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84 Comments »

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  1. Phyla says:

    I foresee…

    more hats.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I forsee…

      VAC bans becoming useless.

    • Wulf says:

      I foresee…

      VAC bans being tied to hardware IDs and thus not at all being useless, but perhaps even more effective than ever.

  2. Tacroy says:

    Honestly, it makes perfect sense – everyone who was ever going to actually pay money for TF2 has, at this point. They’re just lowering their price point to something the market will support.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Exactly. This means the last two sapient creatures in the universe that haven’t bought TF2 don’t have to pay £verylittlemoney for it.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I fully support this endeavour to shut up and not take my money.

    • Premium User Badge

      oceanclub says:

      “is there any point in an old man with shitty reflexes even trying it out at this stage?”

      Oh yeah; it’s actually a multiplayer that _doesn’t_ just rely on fast reflexes; especially some classes like Engineer. I would actually recommend to play as an Engineer first; you get to know maps without having to run around and shoot.

      P.

    • Poet says:

      I’m in my forties and dominate which is the beauty of TF2, takes more then reflexes to win.

    • LionsPhil says:

      As someone who occasionally plays on a machine that struggles to get into two-digit framerates, Medic’s pretty low on reflex requirements too, since his most important ‘weapon’ is one huge auto-lock-on auto-aim tool. The skills required are positioning and knowing when to uber, which are both more thinky than twitchy.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Damn comment system eating my wordthoughts.

      Short version: Medic is also undemanding on aim and twitching, given his main tool is made of lock-on and auto-aim. Needs more strategising instead.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      The scout, sniper & soldier are the only classes which really need anything resembling decent aim. Everything else is either tactical or point & click in the general direction.

  3. LASture says:

    I just hope this doesn’t turn the servers into a teenage fest like Runescape. >_>

    • subedii says:

      That’s always the big question.

      IIRC one of the Valve devs said in the past that having TF2 at a set price instead of Free to Play (this was a while before the real rumours started) served the really good purpose of getting rid of cheats and other annoyances, simply because you couldn’t start up another account every time. Didn’t really matter what price, as long as it was there.

      Made sense, which is why I wonder what’s going to happen in that respect with the F2P model. I’m guessing the minimum threshold of spending money in order to gain access to the full game is what they’re hoping will do just that.

      Time will tell if it actually works.

    • gallardo1 says:

      Facts:
      1) now you can lament for newbies more than before
      2) if you have bought TF2, you are a better player a priori than those cheap-ass players

    • brulleks says:

      @Gallardo

      Quite.

      *Turns off text and voice chat, unpacks flamethrower, rubs gloved hands with malicious glee and emits a muffled cackle through gas mask*

    • MadTinkerer says:

      The two really nice things about an influx of N00bs are:

      1) The “mute player” button. Most important button on the main menu.

      2) Lots of players to educate about the importance of guarding against spies, by backstabbing them. Experience is the best teacher.

    • Poet says:

      One can always just beat the teenagers into submission and if that doesn’t work surely your adult wit can trump the little boy trash talk.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorManiac says:

      …And after that you can play TF2 with them.

    • Synesthesia says:

      yes, the noob influx is just…
      tasty.
      Just a few minutes ago i had a 10-backstab continued killing spree while 2 full spawn parties tried to cap C in steel with my eternal reward. Beautiful, they didnt know what was going on.

  4. Heliosicle says:

    What level of free to play is it? Do people get exactly the same game or do they have to pay for maps?

    • Heliosicle says:

      Seems fair.

    • dsi1 says:

      Which is much more than can be said for oh… every other F2P game in existence.

    • Betamax says:

      Seems similar to the way LotRO does F2P (my only other real experience with it to be fair). Without the need for a VIP option of course. I would imagine a high percentage of players who haven’t been tempted to play previously who are drawn in by the word FREE will end up buying at least one item from the store to get the added features anyway, so yeah a logical and clever switch really.

    • zugu says:

      @Betamax: TF2 has nothing to do with the business model of LotRO. The F2P LotRO is nothing but a glorified trial, and unless you pay for VIP access every month your gaming experience will be *heavily* crippled. Can’t access zones, can’t play certain classes etc. Of course, you can choose to pay and unlock cherry picked features, but that can be quite expensive if you want no restriction.

      TF2, on the other hand, REALLY IS free to play. It’s the full game, minus some stuff that has nothing to do with gameplay. You can play any class, on any map, for as long as you want, with no restrictions. You only pay for hats, and hats are purely cosmetic. You can also pay for weapons, but those weapons can also be obtained through crafting and random item drops. These weapons are not better than the default weapons, they’re just slightly different. You’ll have the same fun playing no matter what rocket launcher you use on your Soldier.

    • andrewdoull says:

      “These weapons are not better than the default weapons, they’re just slightly different.”

      Not quite correct. There’s been a level of power creep on melee weapons that means – except for the Spy knife – the stock weapon you start with is almost always less useful than one of the (purchase or drop) alternatives and some have been completely superseded. And, disappointingly, the Pyro stock flamethrower is clearly underpowered compared to the alternatives. It’s early days…

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Not quite correct. There’s been a level of power creep on melee weapons that means – except for the Spy knife – the stock weapon you start with is almost always less useful than one of the (purchase or drop) alternatives and some have been completely superseded. And, disappointingly, the Pyro stock flamethrower is clearly underpowered compared to the alternatives.

      Bullshit on all counts. Pure unfiltered bullshit.
      Even your example of the Pyro is bullshit & I can’t stand public Pyro’s as they’re a mere annoyance on either team. The Backburner is literally useless compared to the Flamethrower & the Degreasers benefit of quicker weapon switch is negated by only having 4 seconds of afterburn compared to the Flamethrowers 6 seconds.

      Are you even playing the same game? This is Team Fortress 2 by VALVe Corporation we’re talking about right?

    • Wulf says:

      Champions Online does it in exactly the same way, almost. All content is free, forever. Then you have cosmetic item packs and the ability to build your hero the way you want, power-wise, limited to premium players, but available for purchase by free players. It’s about as fair as fair gets. Having tried the free version of CO in the beta, it struck me as the most fair F2P system in existence.

      Well, before this. This completely tops CO, but CO isn’t far off. And it’s a hell of a lot more fair than any other F2P system I’ve seen.

      Though really I’m happy enough with the buy-to-play approach that TF2 already had, Guild Wars 1 has, and GW2 will have. That seems to be the best of all worlds, really, but I can understand Valve wanting more eyes on the MannCo store and all, that makes sense from a business point of view. But the benefits for the player still seem to be better with B2P.

  5. starclaws says:

    Now if only servers would update sourcemod/metamod…

  6. Kollega says:

    Yup. I think this is the end alright. Free-to-play games are rarely, if ever, balanced well, and their primary purpose seems to be getting customers to consistently fork over their money, as opposed to one-time payment for a “classic” game – though obviously the extent of “pay-to-win” varies between games. Then there’s the basic question of envy: i am too poor to actually spend money on virtual doodads, but that dosen’t mean i can just ignore them. Some of them do look really nice, after all. All in all, it’s kinda sad to see everything come to this. I remember the times when items in TF2 were actually welcome, as opposed to cluttering and prohibitively expensive.

    But even with that, Meet the Medic was totally awesome nontheless.

    And a small note: i kinda regret posting this now, because i will inevitably catch a lot of flak… but someone would have done it, and i guess that for today, that “someone” was me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Newblade says:

      It is mostly the same as it has been since the Mannconomy update.

    • Dana says:

      None of your points are valid.

    • subedii says:

      Then there’s the basic question of envy: i am too poor to actually spend money on virtual doodads, but that dosen’t mean i can just ignore them.

      Really? I mean… seriously?

      it’s like people are inventing reasons to get upset at now. Man I’ve been pretty much been ignoring what items I don’t have since they added the first ones got added. The vast majority are cosmetic, they don’t do anything. And pretty much everything except a few game exclusive hats can either be crafted or found in random drops as it is.

      Although I suppose my issue is more with the pay-to-win comment, because I’m not seeing what they’ve introduced here that affects balance.

      No matter how much griping I seem to see after every update about how “this is the end”, I still see most demomen running around with stickybombs, because that’s what tends to work best.

    • Kollega says:

      EDIT: Whoops, double post. Sorry for the confusion that it might have caused.

    • subedii says:

      Oh I’m… so sorry for addressing them?

    • Kollega says:

      Oh, i’m so sorry for voicing the opinion that was going to be voiced in a few minutes anyway. But i do seriously think that i’m not going to try and get into TF2 anymore. For whatever reasons, valid or made-up, the game dosen’t seem to be as good as it was. Maybe i just got tired of it, and all the controversial additions like these simply disincentivize me from ever coming back.

      Re: Mannconomy update – i didn’t like that one either. For the same reasons.

      Re: inventing reasons to get upset – yes, the most of hard-to-obtain items are cosmetic, but you know how it is: if it looks nice, you want to have it. And some of them do look nice. As for random drops… they occur far too rarely for my liking, and most of them are duplicates of old items i already have. Valve could change the drop system for the better, but i think that’d cut into the profits of Mann Co. store and so isn’t exactly in their best intrests. After all, the players would have less incentive to BUY what they want if they can FIND what they want more easily – right?

    • subedii says:

      Personally speaking, I have maybe half of even the vanilla class updates. I’m talking about the ones you can actually earn by gaining achievements. Heck, half the ones that I even do have are from random drops instead of actually working through the unlocks.

      It just… well it doesn’t affect my fun with the game. Really why should it?

      Then again, I’ve still got my Primeval Warrior pin so…

    • Kollega says:

      So, you mean to say that even with the basic loadouts, you can still have fun – am i reading this right? Well, then maybe i lack the patience neccesary, but to me, playing with only the standard loadouts seemed to get stale after a while (and i’ve played the game since 2008). The problem is, you can’t really tell which new loadouts seem good to you and which seem like crap untill you’ve actually tried them, and to try, you have to either play a whole lot to get random drops or pay a whole lot to get the items from the store.

      I guess my dissatisfaction with “TF2 BEING RUINED FOREVER” is not purely because of it going free-to-play (which i don’t like either, make no mistake) and dispensing items at a glacial pace, but also because i just got bored with it at some point and don’t really have the motivation to continue onwards. The only way i’m ever getting back in is if Valve add Fluffy Lombax Ears.

    • passingstranger says:

      This isn’t the predictable “how dare you question a Valve game” response, but I do disagree. If you want to mark Mannconomy as an end to the main era of TF2, that’s fair to an extent. But the lowering of the small (particularly during sales) entry cost of TF2 doesn’t mark a huge change in its mechanics, really.

    • subedii says:

      but also because i just got bored with it at some point and don’t really have the motivation to continue onwards.

      That’s precisely the point. You see, I can actually understand and appreciate where you’re coming from with that. Everyone gets tired with games after a while.

      The thing is, the vast majority of the time when I see people whining about how they simply don’t play any more since Valve destroyed TF2 is that, well, they actually stopped playing a long time ago, and it’s simply because they had moved on. It wasn’t the updates that did that, they just got naturally bored with the game and went on to something else.

      They would have gotten bored and moved on regardless. Heck, I got bored and moved on. It was only after a lengthy break that I was able to come back to TF2 again, and that was largely on a whim.

      It wasn’t the class updates that kept me away. In general the solid gameplay design combined with things like the class updates have done a surprising thing, in maintaining a really solid multiplayer community for a game that’s nearly four years old now. Most multiplayer communities don’t make it past 6 freaking months.

    • Sobric says:

      Basically agree with subedii – a lot of the whining about TF2 comes from players who left long before updates. I was in the same camp until I went back to TF2 after a few days a Brink. It’s still a quality, quality game.

      Also: “Free-to-play games are rarely, if ever, balanced well, and their primary purpose seems to be getting customers to consistently fork over their money, as opposed to one-time payment for a “classic” game”

      It’s still the same game mate, going free-to-play won’t suddenly change the balance.

    • Poet says:

      Speculation is the death of idiots.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      To speculate makes a spec out of u and late…er…nevermind.

  7. subedii says:

    I started up TF2 again after a long hiatus, in lieu of getting Brink.

    I was surprised to discover that regardless of eternal comments about how Valve “destroyed” TF2 and similar nonsense, it was still an awesome game, and I was having bucketloads of fun. It’s weird, I wasn’t actually expecting that.

    But hats be darned, the game’s still a gleeful cacophony of cartoony characters, cascading consistently into colossal crescendos of contrived, yet curiously charming combat. Collide as we do in our concentrated commotions, and commencing as we are in our contemplation of this comfortable congress, we find ourselves captivated by, nay, capitulating almost compulsorily to, the cheerful commotion that is:

    Team Fortress 2.

    (Yes this is actually a repost, but darnit, I spent time on that alliteration and nobody saw it. So there. :P )

    • dsi1 says:

      This, I started up TF2 after waiting for the DL to finish at ~20 KB/s (After all these TF2 updates Valve has never learned to buff their servers beforehand, or maybe they just always underestimate the amount of players) I almost expected to be disappointed, I haven’t played TF2 in a long time due to a combination of burning out on it and not really enjoying the concept of Mann Co (even if I know it isn’t really bad), I was amazing, I joined my old favorite server, took a few lives to get in the groove again, and played for a few hours.

      Also, I met someone with a “Strange” weapon (Engi shotgun, not sure if it was the basic one though), which leveled up after he got kills with it, very very interesting.

    • Aemony says:

      Haters gonna hate. What’s new on the horizon?

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Alliterations are annoying.

    • subedii says:

      So are landlocked African nations. :)

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I approvingly applaud awesome aliterations of another Anthropod!

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      The game is still awesome, despite the recent influx of undesirable changes. It was awesomer before, however. That was my impression after a long hiatus, starting up TF2 again, then playing on a standard and an unlock-less server.

  8. MiniMatt says:

    Ouchie, 9.8gb download! How did it get so fat?

  9. rocketman71 says:

    Great. The tiny part of TF2 that was still playable goes down the toilet, and the new DLCs containing hats and weapons will keep breaking DoD:S and CS:S. Just great.

    And why do they call this an Uber Update if it only comes with a puny new map?. God fucking damned hats and weapons. I smell horse armor in the horizon.

    Bad Valve, no cookie.

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      I think that may have to do with the medic getting a new uber.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      The tiny part? What, paying for it?

    • Araxiel says:

      I mostly disagree to your statement, but I do hate the idea of hats. And to quote our british colluege Yahtzee on this:

      “You know how Team Fortress 2 (take a shot) introduced optional hats and unlockables that did nothing but mess with perfectly good visual design like a bunch of jelly beans sprinkled on a wedding cake? Well, Bethesda saw this and cried “Valve will never outdo us when it comes to making bad decisions! Fully customizable outfits for everyone! You won’t even be able to fucking see the wedding cake behind the jelly beans!””

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      If you’re attempting to identify the classes by looking at their heads, then I’m afraid you have missed the point of the character design. Yahtzee was making a point about Brink, not TF2.

      And he says he doesn’t care for multiplayer only games anyways, so there’s a bit of bias against it. That’s not because of it being TF2, it’s because he’s said time and time again he doesn’t like multiplayer games.

      We get it, you hate hats. Your opinion on the matter has been recorded. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go get MORE HATS!

  10. mbp says:

    Well Predicted RPS.

    Very smart move I think but one issues I see is that TF2 has a pretty steep learning curve for noobies. You have to learn the characters and their various weapons and abilities, you have to learn the game play modes and you have to learn the maps. Free 2 play may attract a bunch of folks who have very limited experience of shooters on a PC. I hope they don’t get scared off.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Actually, the problem may be that it’s so simplistic as compared to the needlessly boring and complex serious face manshoots of today that people actually stumble a bit. I was playing with a friend who got it free, and he asked me many things that don’t apply like “How do I sprint?” and “What’s the melee button?”

  11. BreadBitten says:

    Wow, this was a surprisingly mild reaction from RPS…!

    • subedii says:

      Give it time.

      Although I shudder to think how the rest of the internet’s exploding over this at the minute.

  12. brulleks says:

    This comment was purely a result of my ever-delusional brain.

    IGNORE ME.

    Go play TF2 or something.

  13. The Hammer says:

    This is great news!

    Now my non-TF2 gaming friends can get it for curiosity’s sake, without spending a penny!

    THANKS VALVE!

  14. bonjovi says:

    Judging by the ‘I haven’t played for ages’ comments TF2 must have had a decreasing population for some time now. but still a fraction of it were people that are spending money in the store, so it only makes sense to make the game free to play, to keep paying customers company.

    • MrTambourineMan says:

      I’ve played TF2 quite a lot for a couple of months just before F2P and I can tell you it still had a HUGE community. But just as someone already mentioned in comments – everybody that wanted to pay for it already has + I guess their biggest income is from “microtransactions” – it’s still one of the best MP shooters out there.

  15. Lightbulb says:

    I thought to myself last night… Maybe I should try playing Team Fortress 2. I used to like TFC 12 YEARS AGO! I saw a free week and was pleasantly surprised. I am now even more pleasantly surprised.

    Also there seems to be a high influx of new players though as I am regularly topping the score tables – I can’t be that good I think I just know what I am doing…

  16. sfury says:

    Cool, I’ll finally be able to get all my other friends to try it (didn’t want to even on a free week because “it would be paid after that”…)

    Still though as an old user I’d like a better bonus item – what’s up with the ugly Proof of Paid hat? I know there is more stuff for us now-“premium users”, but I’d have loved it if they had acknowledged it with some better old-timer items, even if they are only vanity ones.

    That hat looks dull. :/

    • Premium User Badge

      Rinox says:

      In a way though, we already have a lot of advantages over new players…vintage weapons and/or hats from the olden days, a vast metal supply (either in the form of hats/items or actual metal), items like the soldier medals, primeval warrior badges, promotional hats and whatnot.

      All of those petty much belong exlusively belong to the old guard, since there is no way to get them now other than to pay for them, often at exuberant prices. :-) And with pay I meant trade.

  17. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    It needed to be free to play

  18. noobnob says:

    TF2 sure has gone a long way from a class-based team shooter to Valve’s experimental guinea pig. But yeah, FREE VIDEOGAMES! Who doesn’t like free videogames?

  19. Teddy Leach says:

    The last time I properly played TF2 was a few months before even the first patch that added new items. I played it again just a few months ago, and it’s still a good game. It just feels different to how it used to.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Hammelbamf says:

    I tried TF2 again after i bought it in 08. So I bscly paid for nothing and now I can buy “hats”?

    • Premium User Badge

      Anthile says:

      I guess you must really hate discounts then.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hammelbamf says:

      no, its just bad timing on my part

    • Nalano says:

      It’s 2011 now. You bought it in 2008.

      That’s not bad timing. You didn’t miss it by a week, or even a month. That’s three years. Your money was well spent.

      Geez, Louise…

  21. Sigh says:

    Is this news? I thought Trade Fortress 2 was already some microtransaction-driven MMO bastard child.

  22. Lobotomist says:

    TF2 will now officialy become most played game in the universe

  23. Premium User Badge

    Lamb Chop says:

    Time to go break my kill streak record as Spy (Yeah, I’m that guy you hate).

    As for the whole item thing, I got back into the game for about a month after a full year of updates and from crafting and random drops I had picked up all 15 or so new items in about 10 hours of play without ever trading. Unless you’re an obsessive completionist or like hats a lot more than I do, it doesn’t take long to max out on new items.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      And it takes even less time to realise how useless or purely cosmetic almost all of those new items are but haters are still going to hate even though they haven’t played the game for years.

  24. Premium User Badge

    mpk says:

    What’s that music again?