Team Fortress 2 actually started out as a mod for the ever popular first person shooter of the 90s, Quake. Back then, the concept was more of a military-style shooter. The mod gained popularity and was seen by the game company, Valve, who picked up the two developers of the mod, Robin Walker, and John Cook, and set them on remaking the mod in the Goldsrc engine that Valve themselves had developed. At that point, Valve had only just released their first game, Half-Life, and so Team Fortress became a free mod for the game.
To build off of the popularity of the mod, Valve originally wanted TF2 to be a modern military-style shooter that emphasized the concept of teamwork by having 9 classes, and including a Commander class which looked at the battlefield at a bird’s eye view and sent commands to the other players on how to attack the other team. The game was initially shown off in 1999, but was caught in development hell before becoming the final cartoon-like version it launched as in 2007. The final design came from the inherent craziness of the concept of having two teams battle while having main bases so close to each other, which apparently didn’t work in a more serious, tactical form of gameplay. The Commander class eventually got scrapped because there was no way to make other players follow the commands the person playing the class would give. Team Fortress 2 launched with the Orange Box in 2007 exclusively being included with the selection of games in the package, and eventually got released as a free standalone version in 2011. The game has said to have gone through several variations and has even gotten so close as to have been a fully developed game on multiple occasions before being scrapped and reworked into another concept. TF2 is said by Valve to be an attempt at making one of the best class-based first-person shooters available.
Team Fortress 2 is a game kept alive by constant updates and has maintained a large audience since it’s release in 2007 and subsequent standalone release in 2011. Updates to the game might include new maps, game modes, weapons, crates, or cosmetics. The balance of the game depends on a constantly updating inventory of weapons unique to each class, which sometimes makes balancing the game very difficult on Valve’s end. Most of the new weapons and cosmetics are distributed through crates, which can be found randomly during gameplay, but require a certain key to open. There’s no guarantee what a user will get from a given crate, but there is a range of possible items associated with each one.
Quite a large community centered around the game, particularly the cosmetic side of the game, trading items that made characters from each class look unique to the player who played them. As the Steam Market evolved, an economy developed centered around trading scrap, crates, keys, and even buds (cosmetic earbuds) which represent a sort of currency in trading weapons, other cosmetics, and skins since the Gun Mettle update. This form of trading is separate from the Steam Market, which uses actual money with users putting their special weapons, cosmetics, and crates up on the market for people to buy. The interest around the cosmetics stems from the desire of players to basically tag each player of the class to be unique to their own identity, even going so far as to essentially trademark certain combinations of cosmetics, this happens most prominently with popular competitive players and Youtube personalities.
The community doesn’t stop there, however, as Valve introduced the Steam Workshop to the game several years back, allowing anyone to submit user content in the form of weapons, cosmetics, and maps. Though most of the content is unofficial and only available on community servers, Valve has had several ‘community’ updates to the actual game which include maps, cosmetics, and weapons from the workshop.
The Competitive Scene
Despite not having a competitive mode included in the game for several years, TF2 has grown as an e-sport, and while not as prevalent as some games like CS-GO or League of Legends, people continued to play the game at a competitive level, while constantly expecting the chance of a competitive mode to be added in. In 2016, Valve announced that they were developing a competitive mode, and eventually put out a beta for players to play. Later that year, Valve officially released the competitive mode and overhauled the game’s quickplay matchmaking and separated it into Casual, and Competitive, all but completely eliminating the server browser which allowed players to browse community and registered Valve servers with massive ease of access. Now the browser only allows players to join community servers, leaving the official servers to the Casual search mode.
The competitive matchmaking, however, is still separate from the actual competitive scene. While the matchmaking matches players up randomly based on skill, the competitive scene hosts official, sponsored, teams and matches are sometimes even held on community made maps which are even improved variations on official maps made by Valve for the game.
That’s everything we know about Team Fortress 2 in a condensed form!
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