Team Fortress 2 Closed Beta to Test Pro Tweaks

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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.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 3, 2009 3:30 PM

    "Pro" players ruin every game whose balance they get to influence. No doubt they will also ruin TF2 with their constant moaning.

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 3:36 PM

      I tend to agree. Competitive "pro" gaming is one of the dumber things the internet has spawned in recent years.

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 3:44 PM

      They've come close to ruining Halo for me. Tanks and other fun unbalanced vehicles are gone from Halo 3's matchmaking, but there's a special MLG playlist. What happened to fun?

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 3:49 PM

      did you not just read that changes will still be made to casual players? they are helping the competitive community out, too. you just don't hear the competitive players whining about the casual changes.

      • reply
        August 3, 2009 3:57 PM

        wait you mean "just like quake wars closed beta" ruined the game even before it went to the fileplanet beta stage? So now they get to kill this game?

        time will tell..

        • reply
          August 3, 2009 4:34 PM

          except quake wars was awful, tf2 is actually a good game

          trust me, knowing the TF2 dev team, they won't do anything to hurt both sides of the game. I'm hoping they implement server cvars to differentiate between casual and comp. play.

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 4:09 PM

      I think you're jumping the gun here. We don't know how these changes will affect casual play.

      Also, you actually think that pro players ruined the balance of:

      1) Counter-strike
      2) Starcraft
      3) Warcraft 3
      4) Quake 3

      ?

      • reply
        August 3, 2009 4:15 PM

        that is true about starcraft, pro gaming helped balance the units

      • reply
        August 3, 2009 5:01 PM

        [deleted]

        • reply
          August 3, 2009 7:55 PM

          Online Gaming Zeitgeist is NOT a reliable source for statistics. They selectively choose which servers to record and omit others. It's bullshit and people who try to argue TF2 is "dying" have used it and ignored more reputable sources since the beginning. Valve records their own stats of every single person playing games on Steam. According to Valve themselves, there are 17,000 people playing Team Fortress 2 right now. This lines up with Game Monitor, another tracker of video game stats, as well the number of servers and the continued sales of the game (TF2, not even including the Orange Box, has been in the top 10 sellers on Steam since launch).

          Steam stats showed TF2 at approximately 18,000 players during the beta. A week after launch, it dipped to around 12,000. It bottomed out at 8,000-10,00 until the class updates started to come out and ever since it has gradually increased back up to around 16,000-22,000. This fits with the fact that there are now 4,000+ servers. During the low point, there were roughly 2,000.

          So no, TF2 does not only have 800-1,000 players at any given time. It is, and with all likelihood, continue to be one of the most popular online games on the PC.

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 4:19 PM

      yea pro gamers usually know how to make games more balanced, without nerfing things, and a better game overall. Listening to casual players would ruin it.

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 4:26 PM

      From looking at the Steam forums it seems more like regular players complain more than comp players.

      • reply
        August 3, 2009 5:13 PM

        Truth ^^^

        The constant bickering and nagging, the barrage of petulant children crying about random shit, those aren't pro players.

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 5:05 PM

      the original tf was sorta made for the clan market.

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 5:19 PM

      from my experience in every game ive played, both competitively and fucking around in pubs, from q3 (especially this one), cs, dod, and tf2 i couldn't disagree with you more

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 6:54 PM

      I used to think that, when I was 12.

      But that was over 8 years ago.

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 7:05 PM

      Not really true at all, it's just a very difficult prospect to make both camps happy. That's why most developers just cater to the more numerous casual players only. There's no reason that both sides can't be happy, it's just a lot of work.

    • reply
      August 3, 2009 10:22 PM

      ^ this was a troll post

    • reply
      August 4, 2009 3:03 AM

      I tend to agree /partially/ in that I compare pro players (who undoubtedly awesome at certain games) to chess grandmasters - absolutely no fun for an average player to play against as I will be pulverised each and every time.

      i enjoy playing TF2 with a wide gamut of players abilities on show - better players inspire me to get better, worse players are worth teaching - but ELITE players are just too far removed from what I can relate with and as such are no fun (for me).

    • reply
      August 4, 2009 6:19 AM

      Those bastards removed the Riot Shield from Counter-strike!

      • reply
        August 4, 2009 10:12 AM

        The riot shield was hilariously broken if you knew how to use it at all.

    • reply
      August 4, 2009 7:33 AM

      Not to be confused with casual players' constant moaning, right?

    • reply
      August 4, 2009 2:39 PM

      Pro players at least know how to play the game unlike retarded w+m1 BB kamikaze pyros (i think you're also one of them).

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