Team Fortress 2 might still be experiencing incredible success for a game that's 15 (!) years old, but that doesn't mean everything is going smoothly. According to dedicated players, the game has been taken over by bots for a full two years now – and Valve hasn't even acknowledged it.
As outlined in a report from IGN, players have now been dealing with aimbotting, and even racism and homophobia from these bots since around mid-2020. And after two years of silence, fans have had enough. Players have started a coordinated publicity campaign to get Valve's attention, and finally make the much-loved FPS playable once again.
IGN reports that they received more than 100 messages from TF2 fans this week, pleading with them to cover the state of the game. Many appear to come from YouTuber After Breakfast with SquimJim's channel, who is one of many players raising awareness of the situation.
SquimJim is incredibly critical of Valve's inaction, calling the company out for being "totally okay just putting out community made stuff every few months for some quick money, while the bots spam all sort of terrible stuff in chat". In the video, he continues, "After two years of bots controlling TF2 and making it literally unplayable at times, I think maybe we're at a point where we need to make a big deal out of this. At this point, what do we have to lose?"
"Literally unplayable" certainly isn't an understatement. Anyone who has tried to play TF2 recently will tell you that the game is full of sniper bots, making absolutely no effort to hide that they're cheating. Even if legitimate players team up to get them kicked, they can just join another game as there is no penalty for getting repeatedly booted.
TheGamer's Stacey Henley actually investigated this very issue last year, and uncovered some even more shocking behaviours taking place in the game. Screenshots sent to us by another player showed a bot attempting to sell "CP", slang for child pornography. Stacey also found that the profanity filter was very weak, with users able to use slurs and even call themselves "n-word killer".
Due to all of this, SquimJim is encouraging his viewers to send emails to as many devs at Valve as possible – even Gabe Newell – in a bid to get their attention. He has provided fans with their work emails, and a template message that addresses the issues in the game.
Valve has not responded to this renewed wave of attention at the time of writing. Its social media channels are fairly inactive, with the actual TF2 Twitter account having not shared anything since 2020.
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