Team Fortress 2 matchmaking update stops punishing you for leaving casual games

Team Fortress 2

The recent spasm of life from the Team Fortress 2 camp brought competitive play to the entire userbase as opposed to those who organise into scrims or attend Insomnia LAN events.

Not often you’ll see old PC games come back from the brink, cherish life!

However a few fairly obvious failings meant the Meet Your Match update wasn’t received with quite as much love and praise as its recognisable rival Overwatch’s was a few days prior.

In particular, abandons were behaving peculiarly in both the less competitive Casual Mode, with harsh penalties, and in the more competitive Competitive Mode with, well, not as harsh penalties.

Matchmaking itself was also taking a considerable amount of time with queues lasting in excess of five minutes for some players, something Valve has proclaimed fixed in this update.

The full changelist of fixes and new implementations is listed below:


  • Greatly reduced queue times and eliminated 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.
  • 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.

The team also listed things they are working on in future updates, including work on making competitive abandons a more punitive experience.

“We are going to make abandoning penalties much harsher,” the update says. “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.”

Valve are also looking into ways to ‘offset the impact’ those who abandon have on games in-progress, but said they would elaborate on what that meant in a future update.

Further improvements to come include a lengthier matchmaking timeout for griefers who receive high numbers of reports, letting matches begin with fewer than a full server to get games going faster, and actually letting casual game leavers earn some of the experience they’d accrued during the match.

Full details are available on the TF2 blog, and more should be coming to make the game’s next lease on life last a little longer.