Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Has Team Fortress 2 changed since becoming free to play?

Recently the popular FPS from Valve Team Fortress 2 has been made free to play on Steam. This of course has increased the number of players on its servers and made it easier to find a game but is the game better off for it?

For Valve making the game free means that their revenue source for TF2 will be from people making in game purchases of weapon sets or clothing. While many of these items are cheap (some as low as 50 cents) the large increase of people will mean that Valve's profit margins will not take a hit. The game before going free had been in a steady decline in terms of its player base. more or less because players who had bought the game were growing tired of it and had moved onto other games.

Team Fortress 2 will be four years old in october, its had a good run and for any game to last this long and still be popular is quite an achievement. Usually at about this time in a games life the developer would be well into making the next game in the series or will slowly stop supporting the game on their servers. So to see it go free to play tells us that Valve love the game but given that there have been no announcements as to a Team Fortress 3 it seems that the company are trying to milk TF2 for all its got. But to extend the life of a game does not make it better.

Over the past week (as many of you know) I've been asking you readers what you think of TF2 going free and if it has made the game better or worse. The responce I got was massive. I was so surprised at how many people had messaged me on facebook and Google+, sent me a Dm on twitter or emailed me with your thoughts on this game. Before even reading them this told me a lot. Team Fortress is popular and while its player base was shrinking the amount of people still playing is massive. After reading every single message, DM and email it seems the community are divided in their feelings.

Some people hate it because it means more servers are full and that while having one new player on the team was okay, having an entire team of them is just plain annoying. Also one reader pointed out that hackers can create accounts at no cost and make the game unenjoyable for other players.

On the other hand not every person with a free account is terrible at the game or wishes to disrupt it. It has increased the player base significantly meaning that there are little or no empty servers at any time of the day or night. Many seasoned players are just playing on servers that don't have any new players in them so the game becoming free has made no difference at all. One reader who goes by the name Amyler on steam had decided that not helping noobs was counter productive and was teaching them how to play:

"There is fun to be had in teaching people how to be better at the game. I've taught plenty of Pyro's to airblast burning allies, incoming rockets and planted stickybombs. I've taught medic's when to ubercharge and what loadout to use for matchtypes. I've taught Snipers to stop running into the front lines with the fucking uzi. Seeing people learn from what you tell them and get better is more entertaining then simply dominating a clueless opponent."

So it seems that if you're a hardcore player, you wont notice the influx of free players because odds are they play with other hardcores on their own servers or you help the noobs and create a community that has people help each other.

In my opinion making TF2 going free has given life to a dying game. It has allowed people who weren't sure if they wanted it or not a risk free chance to find out if they like it or not. Plus because of how balanced the class system is (provided you don't use community built weapons) this game could be used in e-sports tournaments as an entry level game.

Once again I'd like to thank my readers for sending me your opinions. Still if you want to weigh in on this debate feel free to comment below and tell me. Do you think that making Team Fortress 2 free has made it better or worse?

1 comment:

  1. Hmm..Amyler, I may be the source of your problem.
    I encourage new players to storm with the front with the SMG.
    I also tell them crouching makes them shoot more accurate.