Team Fortress 2 Competitive Matchmaking Coming

I just thought the Spy looked like a bookie here okay.

I lost interest in Team Fortress 2 [official site] around the time that I became good enough to regularly top public servers but had neither the skill nor the interest to jump to organised competition. A little matchmaking, pitting me against other pubstar-tier fraggers, would’ve been wonderful. So huzzah! After many, many years, Valve are finally planning proper matchmaking.

Details are a little thin for now, based on memories of conversations that TF2 community folk had during a recent visit to Valve, but one thing’s clear: competitive matchmaking is coming.

Here’s a report of those conversations from the folks at eXtelevision:

To recap their recap, they call competitive matchmaking a “high-priority project” for Valve. It’s still early days so Valve are fiddling with how it’ll work. But the current line of thinking is that it’ll offer a quick play option to jump into matchmade games, perhaps with lobbies. It might be 9v9 or it might be 6v6, and it may or may not follow the ‘Highlander’ rule (only one of each class allowed per team).

Valve also expect matchmaking will help them tweak item balance, as it’ll give them a solid pool of competitive play to draw stats from. They might prohibit certain items in matchmaking so they can see the effects on balance, encourage players to use other items, and then maybe return items after tweaking them.

Or so initial reports say. Who knows what it’ll look like by the time Valve announce it themselves, or when it finally launches?


  1. FuriKuri says:

    I’m yet to play a game with ranked matchmaking that deviates from the following pattern (which is just a paraphrasing of the ol’ 80/20 rule really);

    40% You steamrolling them
    40% Them steamrolling you
    20% Genuinely well-balanced, fun and engaging match

    But best of luck to ’em.

    • Monggerel says:

      Are you talking about Team Fortress 2 or Counter-Strike there?

    • Lacero says:

      Sounds like dota2 to me.

      My last ranked game had a mid sniper who went afk for 10 mins in the middle of the match. How does mmr handle that exactly?

      • stblr says:

        Do you expect it to?

      • Fenix says:

        Dota games take a decent amount of time and life happens… you know phone calls, a package delivery that needs a signature, etc.

  2. cylentstorm says:

    Hmm. Do people still play TF2 with any amount of seriousness? Or sobriety? If so, then why?

    • Coming Second says:

      Yes. Usually. Because it’s fun. Thanks for listening.

  3. Mortivore says:

    Valve and competitive matchmaking in a nutshell: Cheaters, smurfs and VAC-ban waves that seem non-existant. Policing is done by the community and any form of actual competitiveness can only be found at outside sources; FaceIt / ESEA.
    No communication towards their community and patches hardly have any thought put into them; stuff that doesn’t bother anyone while the actual requests of the community are getting ignored for an eternity.

    Valve and competitive don’t work together as long as their not willing to put in the time, effort and manpower.

    Do I seem butthurt over the lack of attention they’re giving CS:GO? That’s probably because I am.

    • JustAPigeon says:

      Aye but why would they bother with all that when they can squeeze wallets with another weapons case opening simulator?

      I know TF2 already has this rubbish but now I guess they’re trying to make more money from it.

  4. Not_Id says:

    Why doesn’t Valve just make another game instead of nickel and diming their games and mods that others create. This new Project from Valve will have ads or some other way of creating revenue right? As that’s all they seem to be interested in nowadays…

  5. Synesthesia says:

    Back in my tf2 days, this was done through self organized mixes, in proper 6v6 matches, to 3 maps. I believe this is still done.

    It feels a couple of years too late for this?

  6. Mr_Blastman says:

    As my experience with Mechwarrior Online taught me, matchmaking for a team based game is a VERY BAD THING. All that happens is one team ends up slaughtering the other one, so what you’re left with is a 50% win/loss ratio (or it at least tries to make you have one–if you’re good you might manage 65% despite the odds) where the game puts trash-tier players on your own team if you’re really good to try and even things out.

    In concept that sounds good. In practice it is bad. Trash-tier players can’t compete with average-tier and no amount of one great player can make up for 7 – 11 trash-teirs. It isn’t possible.

    Matchmaking has no purpose in a large team based shooter other than pissing off your players. It is fine for 1v1 or 2v2 but start getting up to 8v8 and 12v12 and things get bad.

    • spiche says:

      The only reason I could see this happening is to bring new players to the competitive scene, not to replace the standard team matches.

      So I guess there would be some kind of “starter tier” for newcomers, then some tiers for people who’s getting the hang of it, and from then up it’s an alternative way to play in a real competitive way. It could be well implemented!

    • Alto says:

      Getting to a 50% winrate is kind of the whole point of a matchmaking system, it means that you are being put into matches where you have a fairly even chance of winning or losing.

      If many games in MW:O are one-sided stomps, then that means either the game itself is flawed, the matchmaking system is flawed, or the playerbase is so small that the matchmaking system can’t find enough players with similar skill levels.

  7. welverin says:

    It’s a high priority project for Valve? Guess that means we’ll see it sometime in 2078 then.

  8. iflv says:

    I got into TF2 maybe a little more than a year and a half ago. I love the game, and I have over 650 hours in it, but eventually, I started playing it less and less, to the point where I play 1 or 2 times a week for old times’ sake. It’s pretty much a situation where you become really good at the game after playing for hours straight, and you maybe try another game and get into that. But I think if Valve added competitive ranked matches into the game, it would be really cool, because it’s super annoying when some stupid kid who just downloaded the game because it was free starts running around messing up the whole match. I could definitely get back into the game if they added this. But I don’t think they should involve the Highlander rule – it would remove an element of fun from the game. What if you had the same favorite class as others? It’d be annoying. But overall, I think this is a great idea and I’ll be waiting for them to add it in. :)