Team Fortress 2’s Competitive Matchmaking Beta Plans

We’ve known for almost a year that Valve have been planning to add competitive matchmaking to Team Fortress 2 [official site] buuut well, I imagine Valve got distracted chasing a squirrel in the park or something. After many months of staring at the tree the squirrel vanished up, Valve have shook off their coating of snow and come back indoors to crack on with TF2’s competitive matchmaking. They don’t have too much to say about it yet, such as when it’ll properly launch, but closed testing is beginning within a week or so and you can sign up.

Join this Steam group for a chance to try it early. Valve are prioritising people who have enabled the Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator, who have associated a phone number with their Steam account, and who either bought TF2 before it went free-to-play or who’ve bought an item from its in-game store.

Valveteer Jill explains a little more about how the beta will work:

“We know you’d all like to start testing now, and eventually we hope all of you WILL get a chance to play and share your thoughts. But remember that all testing happens in stages, and right now we’re at stage one.

“Our plan is to start small and increase participation as we go. For this initial phase of testing – which will begin in the next week or so – we’ll be gradually granting random members from this group an in-game item called a Competitive Matchmaking Beta Pass. Once you’ve been granted a pass you will have ongoing access to the beta.”

As for when competitive matchmaking might properly launch or the format it’ll take- oh for… get back in here you lot! Leave that poor squirrel alone! It was trying to reach a winter food cache, and you’ve scared it off again. You dreadful little monsters!


  1. MrFinnishDude says:

    I have never tried any sort of true competitive matchmaking in any video game. I just want to have fun and not get yelled at for being a noob or something.
    You know, playing competitive is like having one of those advanced professional Rock Band controllers, they just make you realize how much you suck at playing a guitar. It’s better to just ditch that thing away, take a normal one, and be a total rockstar for a minute of your life.

    • Metalfish says:

      Aye, I got pretty good at TF2 way back. Somewhere around pub-stomp good but easy-meat-for-compers kinda good. But I’ve apparently gained the “never again” quirk after around a 1000 hours, because micro-transactions and constantly shifting item stuff is my darkest dungeon. Or something.

    • crazyd says:

      Wouldn’t skill based Matchmaking work well for you in this case, then? Instead of potentially being matched up against a clan of pros, you will be more likely to be put into a fair fight.

    • Jalan says:

      I used to play Risk online and the system in place for matches was such that with each loss, you felt thoroughly demoralized whether you were good or not (skill points lowered and you had to regain them through wins).

      Some games really have a knack for sucking the fun out of things, be it when it comes to competitive play or not (in the case of the site I was playing Risk through, there was nothing but competitive play even though some sort of casual game method should’ve been a priority). Then, of course, there’s the players who will spare no expense at trash talking you into oblivion (in TF2’s case, this is pretty bog standard to the point where you can practically tune it out mentally).

      Early on when I started to play TF2 I became lazer-focused on climbing that scoreboard. Then I began to realize dominating in points doesn’t equate to anything (and when it comes to playing random public games, often the high point count usually equates to “person who has been sitting on the server for hours”). Valve needs to make a change all around in terms of individual points being displayed, since TF2 isn’t a frag-based deathmatch fest – most of its (official) modes are team-based and sticking with a more general “this team has 1 point vs. the other’s 2” is really all that’s needed.

      It would (potentially) curb the number of people who take screenshots just to showcase how “dominating at pubs” they are, since the impetus would be placed more upon playing in regard to your team’s overall performance and accomplishing the objective(s) instead of going for the stuff that helps you preen your ego online to people you likely will never greet in reality.

  2. wyrm4701 says:

    I love TF2. I’ve bought hats in TF2, and I’ve bought TF2 merchandise. I wish they’d put this work in to TF2 at almost any point over the preceding nine years, instead of all the trash they’ve been faffing about with. It’s been a long while since I spent any money on TF2, and I wish I hadn’t done so in the first place.

    Delightful art direction, though.

  3. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Just the announcement of this seems to have already lead to players complaining about ‘pubs’ and ‘f2ps’. Bah.

    • Jalan says:

      That’s nothing new, to be honest. It may seem more prevalent since there’s now an easily visible place for it all to be piled onto (the matchmaking beta forum) but it’s been a common thing for years.

  4. El_MUERkO says:

    if the pass is marketable or trade-able you’ll have them on ebay etc… just like with DOTA2