Thanks for all of your feedback over the last couple weeks. In our previous post, we talked about a number of issues with the Meet Your Match update and what we were doing to address them. Here’s a quick recap on what has happened since then:

Matchmaking:

  • We have been working hard to improve the matchmaking system, greatly reducing queue times and eliminating most causes of errors when attempting to play. On average, queue times are now below ninety seconds for most players. There are still some issues with lower population regions and game modes that we are looking into.
  • We have identified and corrected several issues where players weren’t being sent to fill empty slots for in-progress matches. There should be far fewer matches where this happens, and we will continue making improvements here.

Casual Mode:

  • Players are now able to specify the maps they would like play on when using matchmaking. However, it is sometimes the case that players joining in-progress matches (aka “late join”) end up on maps they did not select. This will be fixed in an upcoming update.
  • Abandon penalties have been removed, which means players can come and go as they please.
  • Vote-kicking has been added. Players that are kicked retain the experience they’ve earned to that point, in order to reduce the likelihood of players using the system to grief others.

Next, we would like to give you a quick overview of the things we are working on, and go over some of the issues you raise as needing more attention and work.

Abandons in Competitive Mode:

  • We are going to make abandoning penalties much harsher. The current system increases matchmaking ban times based on the number of abandons over a period of time. We are making a change to more quickly move serial abandoners into really long ban times. We will also subtract the maximum number of rank points possible, per abandon. The amount lost will be far higher than what could normally be lost in a completed match.
  • In addition, we are investigating several options to offset the impact abandoners have on games that are in-progress. More on that when we have details to share.

Griefing in matchmaking:

  • We are working on systems that will give players with high numbers of in-game reports automated cooldowns from matchmaking, to discourage disruptive behavior.
  • As a side note, you can report players while in-game by clicking the “Report Player” button – located in the “Play” section on the main menu.

High ping and queue times:

  • There are still cases where players can wait longer than we’d like. This is more common in lower population regions and game modes in Casual Mode matchmaking, and the result is that players sometimes end up on a server where their ping is higher than normal.
  • One solution we are investigating is allowing matches to start with fewer than 24 players — in cases where there are not enough available players to form a complete match, or when the players being considered are too far away. The system will instead prefer to start a smaller match more quickly, with a more appropriate ping, filling the remaining slots as more players become available.

Experience and incomplete matches in casual:

  • Right now, leaving a casual match results in no experience being earned. We are looking at changing this to avoid penalizing players for having to leave after investing significant amounts of time into a match, while still providing rewards for playing matches to completion.

We are monitoring the game around the clock, and we continue to read all your feedback and suggestions. Thanks again for taking the time to help improve TF.

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Updated Casual Mode
    • Fixed a problem where in-progress games with open slots would not receive new players
    • Fixed a case where players would sometimes not receive experience (when playing a match to completion)
    • Fixed not getting domination/revenge events
    • Added a feature to the game mode selection screen that allows players to play on specific maps
    • Added the Vote Kick option
      • Players that are kicked will receive partial experience after the match ends
    • Maps previously using the stopwatch timer will now play to completion, regardless of the first team’s time
  • Added a “Create Server” button to the “Find a Game” menu
  • Fixed the party chat window sometimes not drawing
  • Fixed Australium weapons not drawing correctly in the character loadout screen
  • Updated the Dr’s Dapper Topper to fix a material issue
  • Thanks to Justin G., aka sigsegv, for these reports:
    • Fixed sentry buster sounds not being cleaned up properly after detonating
    • Fixed a bug related to bot death detection
  • Updated Taunt: The Balloonibounce to end the taunt if the player is moved
  • Fixed a regression in the Pyro’s flamethrower where flames could sometimes damage players behind obstacles and walls
  • PASS Time update
    • Updated several HUD materials to support mat_picmip
    • Fixed seeing the wrong cap limit in the win panel

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Fixed the Strange Filter: Competitive tool not describing itself properly after being applied to an item
  • Fixed the Jackpot! PASS Time achievement not tracking wins
  • Updated Mannpower Mode to use 7 captures per round on matchmaking servers (was 3)
  • Updated ConVar zoom_sensitivity_ratio so its value is saved across sessions and it can be adjusted in Competitive Mode

An update to Team Fortress 2 has been released. The update will be applied automatically when you restart Team Fortress 2. The major changes include:

  • Updated Casual Mode
    • Removed the abandonment penalty
    • Players are only required to have a single mode selected before queuing
  • Fixed a dedicated server crash caused by projectiles from the Pomson 6000 and the Righteous Bison
  • Fixed being able to damage yourself to gain Hype while using The Soda Popper
  • Changed how much metal destroyed objects drop and fixed destroyed teleporters dropping more metal than intended
  • Fixed the Bonesaw not working properly while using viewmodel minmode
  • Fixed the Spy and Engineer not being able to equip the Prinny Machete

It’s no secret that Casual Mode has had a rough launch. We wanted to give you an update on what we’re doing to address your concerns.

Short version: We hear you. Later today, we will be shipping a patch to Casual Mode that will remove the penalties for abandoning a game, and allow you to narrow your game mode selections from two modes to a single mode before queuing. Additionally, in the very near future, we will be shipping a more comprehensive Casual Mode patch that will let you select the maps you will be matched into.

We’ve provided a more detailed breakdown of Casual Mode’s issues and how we are addressing your concerns below.

First, and most important, queue times. The queue times you are currently experiencing are a bug, not a feature. It is something we are actively working to correct. Several backend issues appeared post-launch that culminated in long wait times. Removing this issue is our highest priority right now.

Second, abandonment penalties. We had put in a ten-minute cooldown period to encourage players to complete matches. Your feedback has convinced us that it is more important for players to be able to come and go as they please. Today’s patch will remove abandonment cooldown penalties from Casual Mode.

Third, user choice. We’d intended to roll out the number of match options available to players incrementally, so as not to overload the matchmaking system with too many variables on Day One. In retrospect, of all the match options to hold back, map selection should not have been one of them. It is the next feature we are adding to Casual Mode, and you will get it very soon.

Fourth, Casual Mode levels. Levels are a cosmetic feature that show how much you’ve played. They can never be lost, and they do not affect matchmaking. We did a poor job of communicating that Casual Mode Levels are in no way similar to Competitive Mode Ranks (which do affect matchmaking, and can be lost).

Finally, we wanted to note that we value the role the community plays in the development of this game, and do in fact read all the feedback sent to us, as well as through reddit, the forums, streams, and more. We are not always as talkative as we perhaps should be, but we are listening.