Team Fortress 2 Launches Matchmaking

Ranked matchmaking arrived in Team Fortress 2 [official site] overnight with the Meet Your Match Update, letting you and your pals leap in and scrap to prove you’re the roughtest, toughest, point-caputringest mercs this side of Dustbowl. Or find out quite how bad you are. How confident do you feel? Valve have also launched a little contest to decide which character class will next receive an overhaul: the Pyro or Heavy?

Ranked matchmaking arranges 6v6 matches with solo mercs and parties of similar skill levels. You get a fair fight, then, with random critical hits disabled and shotgun spreads fixed too. If you lose, it’s all your fault. There are eighteen ranks to climb (and fall), and everything is of course tracked with stats and medals and things. To dissuade cheaters and smurfs from making new accounts, players do need to have a ‘Premium’ account (obtained either by having bought it, or buying something from the in-game store) and an active phone number. They really don’t want Marlon Rando and his cheater pals causing trouble. Check the FAQ for more information on how it all works.

Valve have also added matchmaking to TF2’s quickplay, which is a bit of a sticky issue. Before, the quickplay option would dunk players onto a random active server which met a few conditions like running certain maps and having Valve Anti-Cheat enabled. Now, it tries to arrange 12v12 unranked matches with similarly-skilled players. That might sound nice in theory, but players do need to wait for the match to be made. Players are punished if they leave matches too, receiving lower priority in matchmaking. That’s a bit of a bummer. You can still hunt for a server through the browser but that is a lot more faff than pressing a button.

As for the Pyro and Heavy, Valve explain that this is WAR. To decide which next receives a class pack with new weapons, new achievements, and balance tweaks, they’re having players fight for a side. Next time you launch TF2, it should ask you to pick – and all points you own will go to your fav. Both will be updated eventually but which do you want first?

The full changelog for the update is over here.


  1. phreddo says:

    The people over at r/tf2 on reddit are not happy about this change. Worth reading.

    • TeePee says:

      Anything that upsets the Reddit crowd is wonderful in my book.

      TF2 is a strange beast – it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out, as class balance is such a huge factor in whether a team is successful or not, so much like Rocket League’s ‘solo standard’ mode, ranks will likely be more dependent on how lucky you were with avoiding terrible players than your individual skill.

      • phreddo says:

        Heh, now it is one of the top posts in r/subredditdrama. There’s huge list of complaints about this change.

      • Distec says:

        I’m slightly irked by this generalization of the “Reddit crowd”. If I like Team Fortress and decided I want to sub to r/tf2 to keep abreast of the community and game developments, what exactly does that say about me and any grievances I might potentially have with the game’s direction?

        I don’t care about the ranked matchmaking or quickplay changes since I only play from a list of favorites running 2fort 24/7. But praising a development as wonderful because it sticks a finger in the eye of some “other” you don’t care for is silly.

        • phreddo says:

          The steam tf2 forum is also blowing up too.

        • TeePee says:

          I was being slightly very facetious. I’m sure there are lots of wonderful people on Reddit who, like yourself are merely there to discuss the merits of a game they all happen to like.

          However, like most stereotypes, there’s a grain of truth in there that starts the ball rolling, and in the experiences I’ve had with Reddit, I’ve always found it to lurch wildly from the lowest-common-denominator drudgery of Steam forums to the teeth-gnashingly irritating elitism and circle-jerking of dedicated communities. In short, it has the worst of both worlds.

          I’m very aware that it was a sweeping generalization that likely has only the faintest of passing resemblances to reality, but it made me chuckle slightly, and this is the internet, so I reserve my right to make wildly inaccurate statements about things I know nothing about, just as you reserve your right to play father figure and call me on it.

          Hurrah for adult!

        • BooleanBob says:

          Please, let’s not pretend redditors aren’t anything other than the worst kind of entitled shitlord neckbeards.

          I just can’t stand their reductive, black-and-white views on anyone who moves outside their internet circles. Those people really just remove any hope of nuance from the popular discourse, you know?

  2. Zorgulon says:

    This may be in the realms of “back in MY day”, but while I have still played TF2 over the last few years and enjoy the content and events like the Gun Mettle Campaign they release, I do kind of long for the sort of community server play you would get before Quick Play was released. Of course it was convenient to hop in a match without needing friends online, but it does seem sad to see the days when the likes of the Hampshire Heavies and Ubercharged servers were popular. I think the death of community servers is something r/tf2 has been mentioning for years at this stage.

    It’ll be interesting (although pessimistic) to see what this new Overwatch-style casual matchmaking brings. TF2 is mostly a solo queue activity for me these days, but I wonder if matches will be more balanced (and have fewer 3-sniper, 2-spy teammates) now.

    • Jalan says:

      I can say (from limited experience since this went live) thus far that it hasn’t done much in terms of fostering team balance as your entire team could suddenly be “those guys” who decide they all just want to switch to a single class while you remain the lone Heavy/etc.

      • TeePee says:

        Yep, and this is my concern. I do feel that for 6v6, there’s a very legitimate argument for limiting each class to 1 per team.

        • Catterbatter says:

          6v6 comp teams almost always run two scouts and normally two soldiers as well. The problem with pubs is that everyone wants to go sniper and spy, neither of which has any real team-oriented role. But people do play 6v6 Highlander, like what you’re suggesting. So I guess it works.

        • Jalan says:

          I’m on the fence with locking class choice in/limiting the amount of any given class. On one hand, it would stop people screwing their entire team over by choosing a single class that has no real offensive/push capabilities at all but it would also prevent people from adapting if the other team’s strategy begins to overwhelm them.

  3. uh20 says:

    The matchmaking time is the real killer right now. 10 minutes for a match of casual, maybe 5 for competitive; due to larger team sizes I suppose.

  4. aircool says:

    Ooh, I wonder if all the dobbers from Overwatch will head over to TF2 and complain?