Team Fortress 2 is having a renaissance after Valve listens to player concerns

Eleni Thomas
Team Fortress 2 image still feature

Team Fortress 2 has seen a surge in players and online activity in recent months, with community discourse and action a major contributing factor to what now appears to be a reinvigorated and re-energised TF2 game. 

Team Fortress 2 has always been a beloved title, one that has created a loyal and adoring fanbase. However, it’s been a hard time for TF2 players in recent years with a complete lack of support from Valve leaving the game in an almost unplayable state.

Thankfully, Valve have finally begun to pour love back into TF2 and with this new support, players are beginning to flock back to the game as though it has been given a second life.

According to Steam Charts, the average players for the month of June skyrocketed to over 90,000, an increase of over 20,000 from the previous month in May. This marks a 31% gain for the amount of Team Fortress 2 players.

Even more impressive is that this increase in June came off the back of what was the worst turnout the game has had since September 2020.

TF2 gameplay
Team Fortress 2 struggled for years, but is experiencing a renaissance in 2022.

Based on early numbers for July combined with the tail end of June, it appears this month will build upon June in an even bigger way. Since June 24, the game has consistently had over 100,000 players logging on each day. July’s peak so far is just shy of 140,000 players.

If these numbers are maintained for the whole month, the game could yet again see around a 30 percent increase in concurrent players.

Players have expressed their gratitude on social media as Valve finally pours some love into the cult classic. However, while this is an impressive achievement, it’s important to recognize it hasn’t come out of nowhere.

TF2 blue team pushing payload
The future of TF2 is looking bright after years of gloom.

The impact of #SaveTF2 in saving Team Fortress 2

The biggest issue Team Fortress 2 and Valve have been facing is major problems with bots. This issue, which has been going on for the better part of two years, has turned many players away from the game and has been a great source of frustration for those who have still been logging on.

Given how long the issue had been going on for, it appeared as though Valve had no intention of addressing the issue and that as a result, Team Fortress 2 would continue its decline in players.

However, in a last ditch effort to get Valve’s attention, the Team Fortress 2 community staged a “peaceful protest” as a way to garner attention for this bot issue — and the #SaveTF2 hashtag was born.

In May 2022, the community was able to get it trending, with over 310,000 tweets at the peak of the movement. This then sparking a response from the official Team Fortress 2 twitter account, a first since October 2020.

“TF2 community, we hear you! We love this game and know you do to. We see how large this issue has become and are working to improve things.”


Big June updates help fix up many major TF2 issues

After promising updates and changes at the end of May, Valve made good on their word by issuing two patches to the game on June 21 and June 23.

The former was the more extensive of the two and included fixes to the following issues that were plaguing the game.

  • In game exploits such as clearing the in game chat as well as general cheating and glitch problems
  • Animation and visuals issues and lagging 
  • Gameplay bugs and crashing 

Valve also updated the voting system and even brought in some new tournament medals. 

These fixes, ultimately, reduced the amount of bots players saw in game too — a core gripe. While official figures aren’t available, players suggest there’s about 60-70% less bots in their games, making casual TF2 a much more enjoyable experience.

TF2 Summer Jam image
The TF2 Summer Jam event will be a great way to attract even more players to the game.

A hopeful future for TF2 with more content on the way 

With more optimism around the state of TF2, players are coming out of the woodwork and events are being planned. TF2 Summer Jam is set to be bigger than it has been in previous years, with the 72-hour event ready to engage thousands.

In this past this has included artwork, maps, animations and much more. The TF2 Summer Jam event will also be a great way for players to support the charity cause Doctors Without Borders. Anyone who donates five dollars or more will receive an in game charity medal for 2022.

And if Valve’s earlier commitment is anything to go by, there’s set to be more improvements on its way as Team Fortress 2 gets its second wind.