A few years back there was a point where if you’d asked almost anyone in the community, they would have said competitive TF2 would be dead within the year. All of our major MGOs were disappearing, ESL had all but decided we weren’t worth their time, and LANs were vanishing left right and center. We were a small group having a laugh right at the end. I suppose in a way there was something gratifying about that idea. Everyone else had long since disappeared from the scene, those who had been playing TFC since the early days finally had real life staring them in the face, and all we had to replace them was a few pub players messing around in div 6.
But then things started to drag on. Brink came and went, yet the ETF2L signups continued to grow. i43, “the last big LAN of european TF2” passed, but TF2lobby remained active. Hats kept polluting the screen and the FPS kept dropping, so we just bought new computers. Almost as long I’ve been involved with this game competitively there has been a sense that we’ve reached the edge, but the edge just keeps on moving.
Given how things have went over the last 12 months, I think we need to recognise something: TF2 is not dying. 6v6 is not dying, and – not that I really need to say it – but highlander isn’t dying. What has happened is that we’ve seen huge growth in player numbers, a vast, incalculable increase in interest in the competitive scene from casual players, and new leagues begin to appear. As much as I may not be a fan of it, highlander has created competitive players from people who otherwise would have remained on their 24/7 badwater servers, and personalities such as Sal and Star have exposed a casual fanbase to something that they otherwise would never have looked into.
I think that it’s time we recognise where we are. We’re large, we’re growing, and we’ve got something truly unique. We’ve got hard working, talented people producing amazing content on a regular basis. We’ve got an amazing game that anyone can get into and follow. But most importantly we’ve got an amazing community.
We are TF2.