Players of Team Fortress 2 are reporting that a recent patch by Valve has ultimately failed to curb a major issue facing the title. Team Fortress 2 botting has become endemic on the 13-year-old Valve classic, an unfortunate side effect of the game's real-money item marketplace encouraging farming accounts.
Despite an official patch which claimed to improve the security and stability of the game, players are reporting that Team Fortress 2's most recent changes have been unable to address the botting pandemic. The patch did defeat the bots for a brief time, however, at the time of writing, many of the bot-operated accounts are now operational again. The issue has become so prevalent in the community, that the bots themselves will spam Team Fortress 2's in-game chat with 'Bot Immunity' deals.
The Valve patch, which rolled out on June 22, was swiftly countermanded by the botting community. As such, the game is still plagued by a horde of bot accounts. The Team Fortress 2 bot issue has been present for some time now, and going by Valve's glacial rate of progress in defeating the issue, they may still be present for some time yet to come.
In recent times, Team Fortress 2 has been struggling to counter malicious players exploiting the game's now-dated infrastructure, including a damaging source code leak last year. The accessibility and ease of use of Source Engine tools, paired with the attractive nature of Team Fortress 2's real-money marketplace, make it an unfortunately ideal target for bots to farm from. The bots are reported to operate primarily on the open-source Linux operating system, which grants the botters even more access to Team Fortress 2's Linux version.
The Team Fortress 2 community is standing resolute in the face of cheaters, even going as far to employ their own 'white-hat' bots to hunt down Team Fortress 2 cheaters. However, the fact stands that this shouldn't be a battle fought by the community alone- Valve need to step up and take control of the situation in a more urgent manner. While the botting issue is pervasive, and ever-evolving, it behooves Valve to up its standards and ensure that Team Fortress 2 is kept clean and as cheat-free as possible.
While Team Fortress 2 has lost some of its heft over time, especially in comparison to its sister title Counter Strike: Global Offensive, it still remains a popular game on the Steam marketplace. Team Fortress 2 reportedly saw a massive player spike last year, though it is argued that the numbers shown are currently heavily inflated by the presence of bots. At the time of writing, in-game analytics suggest the title has roughly 11,000 real players and 3,000 bot accounts active, with 714 of those bots currently in games with other players.
Team Fortress 2 is out now on PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.
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Sources: Valve, teamwork.tf
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