Valve continues to keep Team Fortress 2 low-key, but it remains one of the biggest games on Steam regardless – as I write this, just over 75,000 people are playing it. Not bad for a 15-year-old title, and the Team Fortress 2 community knows two things: they love their game and they hate bots.
A recent youtube video (opens in new tab) about bots has attracted widespread attention from a lot of players who have had enough of the bot problem. The consequence of this was that many, many emails were sent to members of the press and, presumably, to Valve itself. It was quite ironic to be on the receiving end of humans acting like bots to complain about bots.
PCG contacted Valve about the issue a few weeks ago, but the TF2 developer wouldn’t say anything. In fact, he hasn’t done so yet, but at least he’s issued a sort of hold statement, assuring players that he sees the scale of the problem and is “working to make things better”.
TF2 Community, we hear you! We love this game and we know you do too. We see how big this problem has become and we are working to improve things.May 26, 2022
Whether this manifests into anything significant remains to be seen – there are some who think that the TF2 bot problem is too fundamental to be fully ‘fixed’ (opens in new tab), but at least Valve is committed to having another go at it. It also needs to be said that the accusations of abandoning the game are overblown. Last major anti-bot patch was in July of last year (opens in new tab) (after which the game reached its all-time player record), and the game continues to receive maintenance updates regularly.
TF2 is without a doubt the single most influential shooter of the 21st century so far, and remains a cracking game. The bot problem he faces is a consequence of his own success: he’s an attractive, juicy target, with an in-game economy that still matters to a lot of people. Who knows if Valve can actually fix this issue, but at least fans know it’s paying attention now.