Is Team Fortress 2 still good?

Searching through the steam sales it seems as though they given away their latest campaign for free.

My question, is it still a good game? Is there still an active community?

Also what's the deal with these contract campaigns?

Campaign? What?

Well whatever. Yeah, you should play it I guess. It's a pretty good game generally. Too bad it's ugly as shit now but whatever. Beware though, the community is kind of twatty.

I still have lots of fun with it, but it's just not the same (wall o' text rant inbound!)

Yes, there's still a community of sorts. The player base skyrocketed after the F2P update and has consistently stayed at high levels, so you never have to worry about finding a populated server. The downside to all this is that the community has lost its "soul."

A few years ago Valve started pushing official servers via the "Quickplay" option. While it made jumping into a pub game extremely simple, it had the unfortunate side effect of killing off community servers. It's always a random group of people whenever you join a pub game now, not a tight-knit bunch of "regulars" that would frequent particular servers. I'm afraid the likes of this will never be seen again:


Now hardly anyone uses their mic, and when they do it's usually to fling insults at one another. It's definitely a more caustic environment than it used to be.

Another aspect to consider is the skill level disparity. Since everyone goes to Quickplay servers now it's always a crapshoot whether the matches will actually be decent. You've got longtime veterans with thousands of hours under their belt matched with total newbies and young children. This results more often than not in absurdly mismatched games, where a small group of pubstompers will band together and absolutely annihilate the other team. Valve keeps talking about introducing competitive matchmaking, but until that day arrives you have to go in expecting a steamroll one way or the other.

There was the issue of rampant idling/begging/scamming on official servers, but that hasn't been much of an issue lately ever since Valve introduced a bunch more hoops to jump through for trading, including verification via smartphone.

Finally, the switch to F2P has attracted the attention of hackers. After all, why worry about a VAC ban when you can create an alternate account and start playing again within minutes? A particularly nasty variety are those that use a program called LMAOBox, as it's apparently extremely hard for VAC to detect. Hackers don't crop up all that often, but it certainly happens far more than in the early days (I ran across maybe two hackers total from 2007-2010. Now I run across one every few play sessions).

As for the campaigns, they're similar to the contracts in CS:GO. Every few days you get a few tasks to do (score a certain number of kills, cap the point "x" number of times, etc.), and when you finish it you get either a random painted weapon or a special crate that has a chance of giving you a higher quality random painted weapon. You usually have to fork over some money to participate though, usually around the $5 mark. As for me, I don't bother because:

1. I find most of the weapon skins to be ugly as hell and clash with TF2's original art style (as if all those garish hats and particle effects weren't enough).

2. They cause my frame rate to drop like a mofo.

That's something else to consider as well. There have been so many additions and changes slapped on top of the game's original code that it's now creaking under its own weight. When I first got TF2 I could run it on high settings at 30 fps or more. Nowadays I have to run the game on the lowest settings in DX8 mode with a special "no hats" mod to remove most of the cosmetics and unusual effects...and it struggles to maintain 30 fps, often plunging into 20 or under in large firefights. Granted I have a toaster of a computer (2 GB RAM, baby!), but it should still easily be able to handle TF2's listed system requirements. Indeed, I recently downloaded a stand-alone mod called Team Fortress 2 Classic that, among other things, reverts much of the game back to its original 2007 state. What a difference! The mod runs smooth as silk, whereas TF2 proper is slowly shaking itself apart. Valve has indicated that they're going to work on optimizing the game for competitive matchmaking, but I'll believe it when I see it.

TL;DR - TF2 is still a fun game, but it suffers now from a toxic community, visual garbage and code held together with bubble gum and spit.

I could never get into it. The team chat and community are absolutely terrible. Completely ruins the game.

Dunno what peeps be bitching about, the Love and War update is the second best thing that ever happened to video games (was the best thing until Sekai Project arrived on Steam this year.) Capping a point with high fives, conga lines and Engies setting up their sentries (sentries on last, naturally) then chilling on that deckchair is really fun.

I mean I play Backburner Pyro almost exclusively so maybe i'm not the best guy to listen to on the gameplay side but the charm and character of the game is easily still there. You bloody fruit shop owners.

Silentpony:
I could never get into it. The team chat and community are absolutely terrible. Completely ruins the game.

Well, the handy thing is that with a server-based game like TF2 all you need to find is one server with people you like and you're set. No need to deal with the riffraff any more. These days, those servers are harder and harder to find.

There are still good community servers with regulars out there, not as numerous as they used to be but jumping into the server browser will still bring you to them. Plus, they often run custom maps and game modes like STOP THAT TANK, Freak Fortress, Versus Saxton Hale, and other, more nutty modes.

Personally, I enjoy it for a bit of a relaxing game with a beer, just... don't use the current Phlog... Please.

I have almost 4k hours in it and I play it competetively. So, yeah, it's good.

2015 has seen two well-needed weapon rebalancing patches on top of new maps and making the steps toward ranked matchmaking. The only issues I have with TF2 is performance, the game gets seemingly more and more intensive with each patch, and Valve has been holding back on an optimization patch for too long. For a game that's eight years old and running on Source, it's surprisingly heavy on requirements.

Also what's the deal with these contract campaigns?

You buy a pass for $7, the game gives you a bunch of little contracts spaced out over a few weeks to do, each one can usually be completed in one sitting (get headshot kills as Sniper, win Payload games, tank damage as Heavy), and for completing your contract the game gives you a low-level skin or a case that can be unboxed for a potentially higher level skin. At the end of the campaign, the cases are added to your normal drop list but not to someone without the campaign pass. Doesn't give you any benefit, just gives you a tiny goal to work towards when you play the game, get a little out of your comfort zone. I and many people thought contracts were just the tiniest little thing that had a good impact on the game as far as the number of people playing.

A lot of people actually did the campaign for profit. You'd pay $7 for the pass, get 2 cases on your first day, then sell the cases for $5 a piece on the first week. Or you could gamble on a key, get lucky with a $15 reskin, and sell that. So far the most recent campaign (Tough Break) sees nowhere near as easy a profit margin (cases are closer to $.50, Gun Mettle day one they were over $10), but I think I've already broken even after the first week.

TheYellowCellPhone:
I have almost 4k I've already broken even after the first week.

Good to see another TF2 veteran who can judge this game fairly. The only thing that irks me is that despite buying the season ticket, I still have to buy keys for the crates that drop.

The Wykydtron:
Dunno what peeps be bitching about, the Love and War update is the second best thing that ever happened to video games .

This, so much this. The amount of balancing done to this game is truly marvellous. Most of the unlocks have a useful function now, allowing so many interesting playstyles.

I have 4300 hours of TF2. Yes, the game is still amazing. It just got a new update about a week ago with 4 new maps and other misc stuff (mostly cosmetic contracts like Counter-Strike missions.)

The game keeps getting updates. People are still playing.

Common complaints from people that say that good TF2 is "done" are that they feel the new weapons can be convoluted, annoying, break class roles, act as crutches, etc etc. I don't agree with that. Most of the unlocks are fun, and they recently took another pass at trying to balance them. Most of the balance changes were good.

Other common complaints are that people in pubs are bad, and the matchmaking system puts most players into vanilla servers with random critical hits activated. Everyone there sucks, doesn't care about team play, and you'll always have at least 3 snipers or spies ruining it for the whole team and anyone that actually wants to play those classes. This complaint is mostly valid, but I don't mind pubs or random crits, so I'm still playing.

TF2 is still very good, and it's free, so play it. Just don't play too much sniper or spy if you're no good at it.

Edit: I think everyone mad at cosmetics are just angry cuz they're mad.

 

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