TEAM FORTRESS 2: The most influential shooter of the 21st century

TEAM FORTRESS 2: The most influential shooter of the 21st century

By: Austin Childers

Valve as a company is one of the most powerful and influential game companies in the world. Having released dozens of the highest rated games of all time as well as having a borderline monopoly on pc gaming. One of the companies first major steps into becoming what they are today started with a very unique FPS in 2007.

Team Fortress 2 released on October 10, 2007 as part of Valve’s orange box. A multi game collection including Portal, Half-life and Team Fortress 2. The game was released to critical acclaim with critics praising its unique gameplay and artstyle.

The game’s art style was something that had not really been seen in an adult oriented game. The game uses a style of 3-D rendering called cell shading. This technique uses heavy shadows separate from the game’s environment to make the characters look flat and more like cartoon characters. During a time period where almost every first person shooter looked the same with heavy use of grays and browns, Team Fortress 2 set in stark contrast with its 1950’s inspired spy thriller look using washed out pastel colors.

The game is a sequel to the original game which wasn’t actually a standalone game but a mod released in 1996 for the original release of Quake, another very influential game. The mod eventually got a standalone release but didn’t see much of a player base or critical acclaim.

Team Fortress 2 was one of if not the most influential first person shooter of the 21st century. The game pioneered many common game modes as well as an entire genre itself. Payload, a gamemode seen in many current generation games like Overwatch or Paladins, saw its premiere in Team Fortress. Both Overwatch and Paladins owe most of their DNA to Team Fortress 2, Paladins even has a skin dedicated to the engineer from Team Fortress 2 as an unlockable cosmetic. For better or worse Team Fortress was also the game that popularized the loot crate system and in game economy shortly after the game went free to play.

While the game commonly stays in the top 20 of play count on steam and by all accounts still makes Valve a ton of money, the game has been neglected by Valve for a good 5 years now. The game hasn’t had a major content update since its Jungle Inferno update in 2017. More concerning is that the game has been infested with cheating bots who will join servers and cheat in an attempt to ruin other players time with the game.

After the bot crisis started in 2020 the community finally was fed up with the state of the game and rallied together to start the #SaveTF2 movement in 2022. During this period of time dozens of content creators and thousands of players spammed virtually every social media account Valve owned in an attempt to bring attention to the issues the community were facing. Eventually the voice actor who played the medic joined the effort and started contacting people who worked at Valve.

Following the events of the #SaveTF2 campaign the developers returned to the game for a short period of time and implemented multiple fixes that the bots were exploiting as well as making it easier for the community to kick the bots from their lobbies. While these steps have made it easier to still enjoy public lobbies the bot crisis continues as of the writing of this story. I tested 40 separate lobbies and found that 10 of those had at least one hacking bot in it, usually the bots were kicked immediately. However in two of those lobbies more than 6 bots joined at the same time spamming links to a fishy website charging 10 dollars for bot immunity.

While the game has gained quite a large flaw in its later years, the game is still one of the greatest of all time. It commonly cracks the top 10 of various “greatest of all time” lists and almost never drops out of the top 20 highest player count list on steam. Team Fortress 2 is free to play and available to play for free on steam.

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