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Team Fortress 2’s new mode gets a big update from Valve

The new Team Fortress 2 mode gets its first big balance update courtesy of Valve, with the TF2 Zombie Infection patch notes buffing almost every zombie class.

Team Fortress 2 update - The Scout smiles, his teeth glimmering brightly.

Team Fortress 2 is celebrating Halloween season, and the beloved class-based FPS game’s own 16th anniversary, with the launch of a new official mode based on a popular custom game variant and an old Half-Life 2 mod. Just a few days after its introduction, alongside its work on the newly launched Counter-Strike 2, Valve is already busy with balance changes, releasing the first TF2 Zombie Infection patch notes with big buffs to almost every zombie class and nerfs to the human Engineer and Demoman.

The new Team Fortress 2 mode, titled Zombie Infection, was previously available on community servers as a custom game type, but Valve has brought it to the official rotation as part of its ongoing Scream Fortress event for October. Putting an undead twist on one of the best FPS games of all time, Zombie Infection tasks the Red team with setting up defenses to hold out against the Blue team’s ever-growing zombie army, with anyone they kill being converted to the undead side.

In this round of Team Fortress 2 patch notes for Saturday, October 14, Valve includes buffs to almost all the zombie types while reducing the power of the Engineer’s sentry gun and the Demoman’s shields for the Red team. “These changes are aimed at making playing as a zombie more engaging, and to weaken the human meta of bunkering without hurting their ability to roam and fight,” it explains.

To try and force the human team out of full defensive lockdown, the Zombie Heavy is now a lot tankier and immune to critical hits, meaning running away is a far more effective play than staying in one spot against his might. The Zombie Sniper, meanwhile, can now damage the human team’s structures with its spit, while the Zombie Engineer’s EMP now deals enough damage to take out mini sentries in a single hit.

The Zombie Spy now passively cloaks three seconds after attacking or revealing, making it much easier to sneak into human strongholds and dodge sentry guns, and the Zombie Scout gets boosted jump height to get onto rooftops more easily. Speaking of sentries, their damage against zombies has been dramatically reduced to make them “less frustrating to play against.” The full list of changes can be found below.

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Team Fortress 2 update – Zombie Infection patch notes – Saturday, October 14, 2023

Here are the Team Fortress 2 patch notes for Zombie Infection, courtesy of Valve:

  • Zombie Spy is now passively cloaked, only losing his cloak for 3 seconds when attacking or using his “Reveal” ability
    • This change will allow Zombie Spy to circumvent sentry guns that are watching large areas, and allow him to sneak into or around strongholds.
  • Zombie Soldier’s “Pounce” ability is now significantly higher, and has a 5-second cooldown (from 8)
    • These changes will bolster Zombie Soldier’s role as a recon pick and a roof buster, capable of launching through sentry fire.
  • Zombie Sniper’s “Spit” ability now damages buildables
  • Zombie Sniper now drops a puddle of spit on death
    • Both of these changes will make you feel like you’re contributing more with your spit, and if that’s not enough, you at least get to drop one on death to cause a small area of denial.
  • Zombie Pyro no longer drops small health kits
  • Zombie Pyro’s “Hellspawn” passive now releases a flaming explosion on death on top of the existing gas passer cloud
    • These changes should strengthen their afterburn capability, and make them a scarier threat if you let them too close
  • Zombie Heavy’s “Tank” ability now adds the Battalion’s Backup buff (immunity to critical hits, 35% resistance to regular damage, and a 50% resistance to Sentry Gun damage)
  • Zombie Heavy deals 20% increased melee damage
    • Sentry and crit resistance will bring Zombie Heavy’s effective HP up much higher, buffing his role as a tank that you really oughta stay away from. His slower speed is unchanged, so you’re still able to run. The changes will just make bunkering much more difficult with him around.
  • Zombie Engineer’s EMP no longer rolls on shallow surfaces, and now does 110 damage instead of fractional damage
    • This change will turn EMP grenades into a much more immediate threat, instantly breaking mini-sentries, crippling level 1 sentries, and wounding other buildings

Team Fortress 2 - The Heavy eats a sandwich.

  • Zombie Scout’s “Speed Demon” passive now comes with an additional 25% jump height boost
    • Zombie Scout already has a triple jump, but increasing jump height will make him even more of a pest buzzing around your head, and better at climbing onto roofs once a hold is destroyed
  • One-fifth of the server will be converted to zombies at the end of setup (from one-sixth), and will also round up
    • It’s become clear that there simply aren’t enough zombies selected at the start of the round. Initial pushes should be easier to perform with a couple more units.
  • Sentry Guns deal 40% damage to zombies (from 60%)
    • Engineers are simply way too oppressive. The dispenser is invaluable for the sake of ammo, and the sentry still has use as a knockback tool, but now should be significantly less frustrating to play against.
  • Demoman shield items no longer halve the damage taken by zombies
    • He was just too strong and incredibly unfun to duel. The extended reach of swords is already amazing against melee-only characters. His strong maneuverability is unchanged.
  • Zombie Medic Heal cooldown reduced to 7 seconds (previously 11)
  • All Zombies except for scout, heavy, and spy, now have +25 HP (from +10)

You can read the full patch notes, including tweaks to other maps and numerous bug fixes, via Steam.

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