TF2 – Friendly Fire Being Removed

RPS can confirm that friendly fire will indeed be removed from Team Fortress 2 in the update rolling out in a couple of hours.

Lead developer Robin Walker told us that he did indeed email German forum Gamestar to say that the mode was never meant to be left in.

“We shipped it by mistake, as it wasn’t something we wanted to be a part of the game. We haven’t built the game around having it in, and it just stops it from working,” explains Walker. Breaking both the Spy and the Pyro, the TF2 team decided that friendly fire prevented the game from being any fun to play, and it will soon be gone completely.

Check back in the next couple of days for far more TF2 news, with our exclusive interview with the developers.


  1. Alec Meer says:

    I popped onto one server with FF on recently. It wasn’t a fun time.
    It’s sort of a shame the option’s being removed entirely, but at least it prevents the “friendly fire is the only true way to play!” militant hardcore from ruining everyone else’s party.

  2. born2expire says:

    say goodbye to competitive play!

    but then again its valve and they hate league play

  3. JP says:

    Looks like the militant hardcore can be summoned by speaking their name.

  4. josh g. says:

    Yeah, they should leave an option to completely imbalances the classes, that’ll make for much more effective league play.

    There are tactical team-based games and mods that work much better with FF on, but TF2 isn’t one of them. The game just doesn’t work with FF on. It makes spies completely undetectable until they choose to backstab you.

    I am surprised that they’re removing it entirely, but good for them. Giving people options is fine, but if servers are running with options that destroy a well-balanced game design then it’ll just give the game a bad name with the unsuspecting newbs who join those servers.

  5. CrashT says:

    Ok call me ignorant… (I get it a lot).

    But as I’ve never actually managed to get TF2 to let me play a game yet. What does this actually mean. Ala when this changes does shooting your team hurt or not? If yes then doesn’t that make the Spy undetectable? If no then doesn’t that just lead to everybody shooting their own team mates “just in case”?

  6. Masked Dave says:

    The thing is, TF2 is all about the splash damage. There are rockets and bombs and stuff flying everywhere. It’s awesome. But it does mean you can accidentally TK a lot without meaning to.

  7. Dan says:

    It means shooting your teammates will not hurt them.

    It means that some people shoot everyone they see just in case, wasting their ammo, and time spent not shooting the enemy. I’ve seen overzealous people shooting their team mates rather than an enemy who was right-there-in-their-godamn-face-and-now-hes-in-the-base. Mostly though it just means that these people won’t annoy the crap out of you so much by spraying a burst of heavy weapons fire at your fragile and innocent scout.

    Also it makes the Pyro actually playable because his main tactic is runnign right up into an intense fire fight packed into a tiny space (see point B on the gravel pit map) with the spinning ring of flambe death. With friendly fire enabled you become very unpopular as the pyro as your teams bold advance becomes a little less impressive and a little more on fire.

  8. CrashT says:

    See “Friendly Fire” is a really bad term for it, as I’ve been Googling it and various people seem to think it works the other way around: OFF means shooting your team does hurt and On means it doesn’t.

    This really confused me: link to

    From that it sounds like with Team Damage (A less ambigious term I feel) Enabled then the Pyro’s flames still don’t hurt their own team.

  9. The Sombrero Kid says:

    the thing about frendily fire is as long as you remember it’s derived from the act of american soldiers killing brittish soldiers even though there in the same team, you can remember that when it’s on you can expect to get killed by americans on your team.

  10. The Sombrero Kid says:

    PS although i’ve never played TF2 yet (bought it last night) i don’t think this is the right decision based on what i’ve been reading, they need a method of detecting spys not based on shooting each other, i think the enginears should be able to build area affect stuctures that fuck up the spys abilities like water for a predator personally, but i havn’t played it yet so don’t pay to much attention to me

  11. Jim Rossignol says:

    Depending on the awareness of a player you can spot spies fairly easily anyway. Their effectiveness is going to reduce rapidly as people becoming more and more familiar with how to deal with them. But friendly fire isn’t just about them – this is a game with a lot of flying ordnance, there’s good reason not to have friendly fire when demomen and heavies are just going to end up mincing their own team by accident.

  12. arqueturus says:

    Example for the doubters:

    As a sniper I’m in a bunker facing a long choking corridor on a CP map (sorry can’t remember the name) and I’m picking off hostiles as they try and run down it. At any given moment there are friendly Demomen, Heavies with Medic backup, Scouts and Soldiers running up the corridor – it’s a meat grinder. Every 3rd shot I fire will snag a friendly. There is no way freindly fire can make TF2 better.

  13. Crispy says:

    I agree with removing it as it, but I don’t agree on Jim’s terms.

    Both Demo ‘nades and Soldier rockets have very tight splash radiuses, you can stand mere feet away from a grenade or rocket and emerge untouched. The Demo is more problematic as he can fire into areas he doesn’t have direct line of sight of, so risks hitting teammates. The Heavy, I agree, has such a large cone of fire there’s not much you can do about avoiding hitting teammates, the onus would really be on them to be mindful of the consequences of crossing a trigger-happy Heavy.

    The Spy argument for competitive play is completely moot since any decent clan will have intimate knowledge of their fellow members’ types of play and will also have assigned various zones of the map that they should stay in. The only thing the Spy has going for him in competitive play is his cloak, which is short-lived and still detectable by observant twitch gamers. Doors opening by themselves are an obvious giveaway, as is the faint blur of a Spy in motion.

    Given the above, the game is clearly not designed for competitive play in mind. There are far too many on-screen messages, far too much redundant fluff as far as sound effects go, all of which competitive gamers would abhor. For instance on Well I was slammed by the train because I was unable to hear the audio warning as the signals change over the ‘your team has captured the control point’ klaxon blast. Next up many of the maps break down when you apply competitive strategy. 2Fort (a.k.a. “2FortKnox”) has a virtually inpenetrable basement flagpoint in the right hands, Granary (a.k.a. “Scoutsville”) can be dominated by getting as many Scouts to the middle flag for an ultra doublespeed cap, and GravelPit (a.k.a. “Tower of Dewm”) is virtually unassailable when faced with a Demo/Soldier blockade showering high explosives in every direction.

    For me the biggest bonus by far for keeping friendly fire OFF is that it completely cuts out any chance for griefers, which are far more damaging to the run of play than the odd teamkill. People can complain as much as they want about Valve taking control away from the server ops, but if it means less people are subjected to deliberate and vindictive team wounding that completely undermines the game experience Valve have sought to create, they are fully within their right to do so.

    P.S. Oh and for the record: FF ‘ON’ means you can hurt your teammates with ‘friendly fire’; OFF means they are invulnerable to off-target shots.

  14. Stick says:

    Excellent news. (I’m personally filing the “there MUST be ff!” opinions in the same cabinet as “waaah, Li’l Sis can’t be shot!” and “where’s my turn-based isometric post-apocalypse?”)

  15. Xerxes says:

    Personally, I think it would be nice for server operators to have the option of FF on or off.
    I mean 5-6 months from now they will have the option of putting all sorts of mods on their server (Counterstrike with Warcraft mod, gungame mod are just two examples) but they cant have the option of friendly fire on?

    I’m not going to say that yes all games should be FF on/off (delete as applicable to your own opinion) all I’m saying is, does it really kill the TF2 community to have the choice?

  16. Kieron Gillen says:

    Xerxes: I actually concur. Removing choice is something that sits ill with the PC-gamer part of me. I can see why they’re doing it – they don’t want anyone’s first experience of the game to be Friendly-Fire on, as – since it unbalances the game they’ve made – will lead to people new to the game just turning it off. The only way to make sure that all public servers don’t have friendly-fire on is by disallowing it.

    I think a slightly more friendly way to the people who *do* like playing with FF on would be that you can only turn it on as an option on a locked server. Private groups can play how they like, while those which anyone can join must play by an understood set of rules…


  17. Alex Hopkinson says:

    The problem with having no friendly fire is that you can just happily spam away without consequence.

  18. Xerxes says:

    I certainly see your point about locked servers, with Steam Community now, it wouldn’t be too difficult for a group to be created which lists all the FF on servers and their passwords for those people who would like the experience.

    The question is, should this really be necessary?

    Any game that lets you modify the original, as the Source games have so generously allowed us to do, will be taken in directions that the developers never intended, new maps, new mods…
    Will the developers not allow certain maps, because they do not fit the “theme” they intended?
    After all, it was this freedom that allowed the TF team to create their original mod…

    Actually my very first experience of Team Fortress 2 was on a FF on server, the first evening of the beta release, and that was the server I played all night, and hooked me on the game.
    Coming from a background of being a heavy FPS player I simply find it surprising that

    To blanket ban friendly fire on servers because of the possibility that people might not have a good experience on the off chance they join a FF on server their first time in a game is somewhat silly.

    You only have to look at the number of servers currently available, and then compare that to the number which have FF on, to see it’s a minority of players that enjoy this option, to treat it as some all pervading problem which will suck the TF2 community into the deepest level of hell (level 13, reserved for people who set up FF on games)

    You get team killed in games sometimes, you pick yourself up, dust off your clothes, run past your corpse and get back in the game.

  19. Andrew says:

    I’d hate to play as Pyro on a Friendly Fire On server. There’s a game feature where enemy spies can be set alight even while disguised, even when not showing damage from being shot unless they actually get killed. It makes the Pyro a great anti-spy class and having friendly fire enabled would make it useless, as your teammates would be set on fire anyway.

  20. Kieron Gillen says:

    I’m speculating – and theorising and (most of all) generalising – here’s some more….

    FF-on is an option which appeals more to the hardcore of players.

    (By which, I pretty much include anyone who reads RPS. By the fact we’re reading – or writing – gaming news online, you’re relatively hardcore)

    I suspect there’s more people in the position to (i.e. Have the desire to) set up FF-on servers who are in the Hardcore. Almost by definition – casual players don’t set up servers. In other words, this will lead to there being more servers with the option on than the playerbase will really demand (Because only hardcore players set up servers, when the full playerbase is Hardcore + Casual).

    It’s easy to say you should dust yourself up and carry on – that’s because that’s the way we’re wired. You don’t sell as many million as Valve has by just accepting people will deal with that annoyance, etc.

    So, at least to start with, they want to have a standardised version of Team Fortress online – that they’ve playtested, controlled and think will most appeal to people – just so *they know what they’re selling*.

    And kind of feeding off that long train of speculative gibberish, I suspect that – eventually – the option to have FF servers will reappear.


  21. Xerxes says:

    Actually Pyro fire doesn’t do team damage, even with FF on.

    link to

    It just seems to me that if the players are divided on this subject, let them make their own choices, no big deal.

    If pyro’s damaged their own team that would spoil it for them as I think its a great class.

  22. Jullian Murdoch says:

    I find it absolutely inconceivable Valve would *remove* an option. While I don’t think it’s great in pub matches, FF on is critical for any kind of clan or group play. By all means make the default FF off, but actually deliberately removing a server choice? What’s next, not letting people edit the map rotation or set passwords?

  23. Stick says:

    “We shipped [FF] by mistake, as it wasn’t something we wanted to be a part of the game. We haven’t built the game around having it in, and it just stops it from working.”

    So: what if the “competitive play” shoe simply does not fit?

    We can always mod stuff. I just think it’s kind of unreasonable to expect all FPS games to conform to the same notions of “serious gaming”.

  24. Ian Dorsch says:

    But Julian, why is it critical? If the designers feel that FF unbalances the game and breaks the way certain classes were intended to be played, isn’t it actually more like the opposite of critical?

    Besides, as others have mentioned, the game can and will be modded, and you can bet that a FF mod will be one of the first to surface. I just don’t see any compelling reason for outrage here.

  25. Sarble says:

    TF2 is a cartoony game, friendly fire is for realistic games. Or to put it another way:
    TF2 +FF = LOL
    TF2 – FF = ROFLMAO

  26. Xerxes says:

    The issue here though, is that the option to have FF on or off exists in the game, and now it is being removed because of how the developers feel it doesn’t fit their image of the game.

    Should people have to try and mod their way round this recent change, when all it currently requires is setting a CVAR to 1 instead of 0. They will remove that CVAR and then people have to go about re-enabling it.

    Would you say there is “no compelling reason for outrage” if it was being locked to FF on?
    FF on isn’t for you Ian, but to just dismiss the issue people are having is hardly fair.

    FF on isn’t just about competitive play, I don’t play competitively, but I like FF on, and I like it off. I like the choice. I don’t see why they can not just offer the choice.

    Sarble, I must have missed the meeting where it was written cartoony games can’t have friendly fire… Might want to tell the developers to patch Lego Star Wars to remove that then.

  27. John Walker says:

    To clear this up, they’re not removing FF purely because it’s less fun, but because TF2 isn’t a game designed to accomodate it. They haven’t tested it with FF, balanced it for it, or bug tested it. They don’t want their code to be broken by an option they never intended to run with. All these things that go wrong add up to it being less fun.

  28. Mujadaddy says:

    Attention: “friendly fire is the only true way to play!”

    “”TF2 isn’t a game designed to accomodate it. They haven’t tested it with FF, balanced it for it, or bug tested it. “”

    So, the developers are morons? Excuse me, cartoon morons?

  29. John Walker says:

    Aw. somebody didn’t get the same game again.

  30. Andrew says:

    I see their point, especially since the balance compared to TFC highly makes accidental kills very likely if you can kill team mates. Also, I am sure pyro’s can hurt (but not burn) allies with FF on too, and sentry guns love to shoot through a player standing in the way, which doesn’t help things.

    Just because FPS’s usually are tested for FF rules (and usually are more realistic and have more accurate weapons!) doesn’t mean all of them have to be.

    When I did try a few FF on games, it did feel utterly wrong, and spies were utterly powerful too, heh.

  31. Ian Dorsch says:

    To clarify, I’m standing up for the dev’s prerogative to release the game they intended to release, not expressing a preference for FF on vs. FF off. To play a game other than that which the developer intended to release: that’s what mods are for, and since we’re all clearly playing on PC, I’m sure we’ll be indulged in that respect.

  32. b.r. says:

    I really enjoyed Friendly Fire. Please leave it as an option, Valve. Not the default, but it’s a lot of fun.

  33. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Bit late now, they removed it this morning.

    “Removed mp_friendlyfire cvar for servers. Team Fortress 2 breaks in a number of ways if this is on”

  34. Kadayi says:

    Glad it’s been removed, I couldn’t see any real benefits to it save that it made it a hell of a lot easier for spies to move amongst the enemy undetected rather than having to use the cloak and costumes in tandem (like a smart spy does). As for competitive play, that’s a small market of players Vs the great majority who are casual gamers. Truth is TF2 is about fun and FF on may be considered more ‘challenging’ by some, but it certainly isn’t as much fun or as entertaining as carefree FF off. It may share the same roots as CS or DoD but TF2 is a game built around a different player experience, and one that is about having a good time regardless of how your team is doing, rather than the grim intensity that constitutes the atmosphere of your usual CS match (tense affairs, I’m sure you’ll all agree until the win is in the bag).

  35.   says:

    I love how they added it back in. Bravo Valve.

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