Team Fortress 2 Closed Beta to Test Pro Tweaks

by Nick Breckon, Aug 03, 2009 3:22pm PDT
Related Topics – Team Fortress 2, , PC

Valve has started a Team Fortress 2 closed beta test, with the goal of balancing the game for competitive matches, according to TF2 developer Robin Walker.

"The TF2 Beta is something we've just started running," said Walker to Shacknews. "It's aimed at filling a hole in TF2's iterative development model."

European and American competitive TF2 clans are being recruited for the beta, which will incorporate changes to the game ahead of an update's release to provide Valve with valuable balancing data.

"To iterate effectively, we need to be able to measure the impact of our changes," he said. "Up until now we've been successful at measuring that impact on the non-competitive TF2 community, because we have good internal proxies for it--the TF2 team itself, plus other internal and external playtesters. Our proxies for the high end competitive play aren't as good, and that's lead to us making some design decisions that have hurt it."

Walker pointed out that the beta does not represent a shift in Valve's approach to the casual community.

"This doesn't reflect any change of our attitude towards non-competitive TF2 play, it's just going to give us more data," he added. "We'll continue to talk and listen to the non-competitive TF2 players, as we have done in the two years since we shipped. The more data we have, the more effective we'll be as we continue striving for design choices that work for all TF2 players."

European TF2 clan FokkelBrigade says that a small group of top European and American teams have been selected for the beta, and that the first stage is focusing on tweaking the Sandman bat-and-ball unlockable, a weapon routinely banned from competitive TF2 play. Rumors of a fire-repellent suit for the Spy are also circulating.

Walker has previously expressed a desire to "get more insight" into what Valve can do for the competitive TF2 community.

"I'd like to build some more bridges to organizers within the competitive community, which is something we've tried to do but still continue to have trouble with," he said in a recent CommunityFortress interview.


See All Comments | 13 Threads | 86 Comments
  • What's with all the casuals in here whining about the game being less fun if it gets balanced for 'pro' players? The more balanced a game is, the more fun it is. Without such balance the game devolves into a boring state of mechanically repeating the same few strategies over and over.

    An unbalanced game designed by Mr Casual will have a couple of strategies that overpower everything else - in which state you are not really 'playing' anymore you are just grinding on autopilot. Good examples of this is aircraft in BF2, and grenade spam in COD4.

    The only people complaining here are the ones that aren't actually playing, just grinding the most lazy strategies, and are afraid to actually become engaged and think a little while playing.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 3 replies.

    • If the changes work well with 12v12, then the casuals have nothing to fear. The problem is competitive TF2 is nothing like regular TF2 because it's 6v6, and any changes to make other classes more viable in that setting won't necessarily fly in the standard one. The opposite of which is why the pros have been complaining and why Valve is trying to help, what's fine for normal games isn't good for them because of the play style and limits on players and classes, etc.

      There is no way around it except making 1 hybrid game everyone could potentially like or dislike, or two variants that both crowds are happy with. Valve is smart by doing this beta thing and keeping it separate for now, but their goal could very well be a singular game everyone is happy with. Good luck to them if that's the case. I can't imagine the effort required to essentially balance one game for two entirely different sets of gameplay.