Overwatch threw a gauntlet at the feet of Team Fortress 2, challenging its long-standing incumbency as the class-based shooter of choice for millions of fans. As Blizzard's game continues to gain traction, Valve is preparing a major update to keep its free-to-play game fresh and competitive.
The update, titled "Meet Your Match," will add two new modes and several maps to Team Fortress 2. Competitive is perhaps the biggest piece of the update. TF2 developers have detailed its workings in an extensive FAQ.
"Designed as a new challenge for experienced TF2 players, Competitive Mode lets you rank up, track progress, earn medals and record your accomplishments in a results-based competitive experience."
Competitive matches pit two teams of six players against each other. As you'd expect, every win and loss count. After a match, TF2 evaluates your performance and breaks it down as a score. It then feeds that score into new matchmaking algorithms to adjust your standing and pair you with opponents on or around your level of play. There are 18 ranks in all, starting with Fresh Meat and escalating to categories like Contract Killer and Death Merchant, the end-all-be-all standing.
Climbing the ladder in TF2 Competitive matches earns you more than points and ranks. "In addition to gaining rank, you could be singled out post-match for exceptional gameplay and awarded a bronze, silver or gold medal in the following categories: score, kills, damage,
If the idea of getting a few rounds of play in after a long day at work is more your speed, Meet Your Match will also roll out a Casual mode. Casual matches incorporate matchmaking to group together two teams of 12 players, and you'll level up as you play.
Three maps plucked from TF2's still-thriving community round out Meet Your Match's contents. Swiftwater is a new Payload arena, while Metalworks and Sunshine can be played via Control Point matches.
Valve has yet to reveal a release date for Meet Your Match. In the meantime, you can learn more about Competitive mode by reading theFAQ, and get a more general overview of the patch's contents on teamfortress.com.