Skip to Content
Video Games

Valve Let Team Fortress 2 Rot And They Should Feel Bad About It

There is really no excuse for mismanaging on one of the best games of all time like this.

Credit: Valve

I have seen few games sink as low as Team Fortress 2. Once the crown jewel of Valve, these days its public servers are unplayable, filled to the brim with racist aimbot snipers spamming mics. This begs the question: how did Valve fuck up so badly? How did one of the biggest companies on Earth drop the ball on a beloved game for several years? And why should I ever trust Valve with a live service game ever again?

Hey, is that bad? Credit: Valve.

Team Fortress 2’s bot problem is not new. It goes back at least five years, and the company has functionally done nothing to address it. The bot harassment has even extended outside of the game: As 404 reported today, bot creators have gone so far as to clone the voice of critics like YouTuber megascatterbomb to say vile stuff in-game. In addition there has been doxxing, swatting and impersonating people to frame them as pedophiles, according to a document compiled by YouTuber TheWhat. It has gotten so bad that the community is pushing a petition to review-bomb the game so that Valve will do something. This is not the first time: Two years ago, Valve claimed it was listening to player complaints. That was the last update from the Team Fortress Twitter account, and since then things have only gotten worse.

The last update on the Team Fortress Twitter account. Readers have recently added context. Credit: X/Twitter.

This situation would be unfortunate but slightly more understandable if Valve was a smaller company without manpower or resources, but it’s Valve. It owns Steam, and Gabe is loaded. I don’t want to diminish the efforts of any people working on this problem, but considering it has been half a decade now, it’s also reasonable for players to assume that Valve as a company is not actively trying. I have always found the company’s bizarre, freshman libertarian, flat hierarchy to be annoying and confusing, one that is massively flawed in practice. Something is clearly broken if you can have a game this high profile be non-functional for this long. 

I highly recommend the People Make Games documentary on the internal company structure of Valve.

The gamers’ rights review-bombing schtick is too often over-applied and a tiny bit overbearing, but the community is correct here. These aren’t unreasonable demands being levied against a tiny or flailing company; this is a total failure to do the bare minimum. And it’s on a product that cosmetics are still being sold for, that is still on the market. It feels like you shouldn’t be able to sell items on a game that doesn’t really work.

This is more important to me than the Mona Lisa.

That would be bad if this game wasn’t universally loved, but Team Fortress 2 was! Source Filmmaker is one of the most culturally significant pieces of software to come out in the last few years, and entire swaths of animation wouldn’t exist without it. I used to eagerly await the regular updates in the “Meet The Team” series. Team Fortress 2 is a load-bearing piece of culture and gaming history, and it’s been left to decay in the sun. And that’s shameful given that Valve built its reputation on the  game. Gabe is a billionaire, the least you could do is give the Heavy Weapons Guy a pension.

Even if nothing happens, which seems to be in the realm of possibility, what does that say about Valve’s commitment to supporting its other products? Team Fortress 2’s age is no excuse for this level of public neglect. What confidence should anyone have in Valve games going forward? Why would I invest any meaningful time in Deadlock if it’s going to just end up like this? 
Above all, this just bums me out. I had a lot of great times in Team Fortress 2, as a game it means a lot to me. Seeing it in this state is like seeing an old friend waste away. It’s preventable and needless, a problem that no company of this scale should have this much difficulty fixing. And Valve–not any individuals toiling away on the project, but the entire company collectively–should be deeply embarrassed that it has come to this.

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading Aftermath!

Please register to read more free articles

See all subscription options

Enjoyed this article? Consider sharing it! New visitors get a few free articles before hitting the paywall, and your shares help more people discover Aftermath.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Aftermath

Things Are Not Looking Good For Dicebreaker, One Of The Few Good Board Game Websites

'I would recommend archiving your work if you haven’t already, just in case'

Sigma Ruined Ninja Gaiden II, So A Modder Is Fixing It

The quest to undo the changes made in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.

Here Are Some Cool Steam Demos I’ve Played

There's another Steam Next Fest going on, which means lots of games to try

See all posts