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Save TF2 / Fix TF2

Part of a series on Team Fortress 2. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jun 04, 2024 at 10:26AM EDT by Philipp.

Added May 24, 2022 at 07:18PM EDT by Philipp.

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Related Explainer: Who Started The 'Save TF2' Protest And Did It Succeed?


Save TF2 is a Team Fortress 2 community movement aimed at attracting Valve's attention to the long-running bot problem within the video game. Started by Team Fortress 2 YouTuber SquimJim in early May 2022, the campaign has pursued the goals of Valve recognizing and addressing the bot issue and ultimately fixing it. In June 2024, another protest was organized by the game's community and took place under #FixTF2 hashtag due to Valve failing to resolve the problem.


2019 – 2022 TF2 Bot Crisis

In late 2019, the multiplayer video game Team Fortress 2 experienced a massive infestation of bots, mostly playing as Sniper class with perfect aim. The bots would join official Valve servers, copy other player's names so it would create confusion and make it harder for them to be kicked, spam slurs and ruin the gaming experience for players in other ways.

On January 10th and February 7th, 2020, YouTuber[1][2] Toofty posted two videos about the infestation, both of which gained over 1 million views (shown below, left and right).

The bot problem persisted in 2021 and 2022, with multiple content creators highlighting the issue in their videos (example[3] shown below, left). On March 11th, 2022, Toofty posted another video[4] about the bot problem, criticizing Valve over its purported unwillingness to fix the problem despite the game maintaining a sizable fanbase (shown below, right).

Why does Valve not do anything about this? If there is one thing that we know for certain from all this chaos is that Valve doesn't care. Sure, there are a couple of absolutely legendary devs continuing to work on the game, but in general, the 12 billion dollar company, which probably has it within its capacity to put a stop to this, clearly doesn't care.

2022 "Save TF2" Campaign

On May 7th, 2022, Team Fortress 2 YouTuber[5] SquimJim posted a video in which he expressed his frustration with Valve letting the issue persist and proposed to organize and send multiple emails to Valve employees and to gaming news websites in hopes of drawing Valve's attention and getting a response. The video gained over 190,000 views in three weeks (shown below).

Is [one] email going to make a difference? Absolutely not. But what happens if they start receiving hundreds or even thousands of similar emails? […] And at this point, what do we have to lose. They already do nothing, they can't do any less, so we might as well try.

Following the release of the video, SquimJim posted a mailing list containing work emails of multiple Valve employees and gaming news websites to his Discord server SquimJim's After Breakfast Club.[6]

On March 13th, 2022, IGN,[7] prompted by multiple email suggestions, published an article about the Team Fortress 2 bot problem. On the same day, IGN shared a tweet[8] linking the article that gained over 6,000 retweets and 31,400 likes in 10 days (shown below).

... IGN @IGN Team Fortress 2's massive botting problem has made the game nigh-unplayable for two years and counting, and its community is begging Valve for answers - or at least acknowledgement. 1 WELL 2:01 PM . May 13, 2022 Sprout Social

On March 13th, Redditor[9] Kubsons07 posted a screenshot of the tweet to /r/tf2, where it gained over 18,900 upvotes in 10 days.

On May 15th, 2022, Robin Atkin Downes, the actor who voices Medic in the game, posted two tweets in which he pledged community his support in attracting Valve's attention to the problem. The tweets[10][11] (shown below, left and center) gained over 2,200 retweets and 19,300 likes and 6,000 retweets and 39,300 likes in 10 days. On March 22nd, 2022, Downes posted a thread in which he reported reaching out to several employees at Valve, urged them to continue the peaceful protest and promised to continue to lend his support (shown below, right).[12]

Robin Atkin Downes @Robin_A_Downes Meeediiiicccc!!!!!! If there's anything I can do.... I'd be happy to help! IGN @IGN - May 13 Team Fortress 2's massive botting problem has made the game nigh-unplayable for two years and counting, and its community is begging Valve for answers - or at least acknowledgement. 1:47 AM - May 15, 2022. Twitter for iPhone ... ... Robin Atkin Downes @Robin_A_Downes #Tf2 Community! I hear you! Please understand that although I worked as an actor on the game.... I do not work for Valve. That being said, I will do what I can to help you. I will contact those I know at Valve this week and ask them about this situation. #Medic #Tf2 11:15 AM - May 15, 2022. Twitter for iPhone Robin Atkin Downes @Robin_A_Downes May 22 TF2 community! As promised, last week I reached out to two Valve contacts. I wrote of your love for TF2 and your frustration with the bot situation. #Medic #TF2 TEAM FORTRESS 2 530 4,911 32.5K Robin Atkin Downes @Robin_A_Downes - May 22 I wrote of the letters and e-mails I've received from fans of the game over the years that have not only been entertained by this game but also helped in many different ways. #Medic #TF2 Pedik TEAM FORTRESS 2 3 171 ♡ 5,371 ↑ Robin Atkin Downes @Robin_A_Downes They in turn have forwarded my letter, and the response from all of you to my tweet, to the employees at Valve who can respond to this problem. #Medic #TF2 TEAM FORTRESS 2 6:57 PM - May 22, 2022 - Twitter for iPhone

On May 24th, 2022, a group of Team Fortress 2 content creators announced #SaveTF2 peaceful protest scheduled to take place on May 26th. The organizers urged the Team Fortress 2 community to post about how much the game means to them on social media with the #savetf2 hashtag (announcement poster shown below). The announcement posts gained over 9,600 retweets and 34,000 likes on Twitter[13] and over 19,400 upvotes on Reddit[14] in several hours.


May 26th, 2022 "Save TF2" Protest

On March 26th, 2022, the scheduled peaceful social media protest took place, with both current and past Team Fortress 2 players and content creators sharing posts, artworks, videos and other content with #saveTF2 hashtag. On that day, #saveTF2 became trending on Twitter, peaking at #2 rank worldwide with over 159,800 tweets with the hashtag shared as of 1:20 PM EST.[15] "Valve" and "Please Valve" also trended on Twitter worldwide.

Multiple posts with the hashtag went viral on Twitter. For example, a SFM image shared by Twitter[16] user @sansation122 gained over 2,400 retweets and 11,400 likes (shown below, top left). An artwork tweeted[17] by user @constantinnenn gained over 1,900 retweets and 7,500 likes (shown below, top center). A Breaking Bad meme posted by Twitter[18] user @zemithvx gained over 3,300 retweets and 19,100 likes (shown below, top right).

... sansation SFM @sansation122 Team Fortress 2... I may have come to the party veeeery late (in 2020), but the game and it's community still holds a special place in my heart. I love what Valve has created, and I don't want to lose it. Let's hope this all works. #savetf2 Please, Valve. elmaxo #SaveTF2 and 9 others 7:11 PM . May 25, 2022. Twitter for iPhone trøffelmasse @constantinnenn #savetf2 even though you were late to the party, you were still the life of it. #tf2 #teamfortress2 2:09 AM · May 26, 2022. Twitter Web App (10) : zenith #savetf2 @zenithvx You know Walter, maybe #SaveTF2 wont work, but there aint no shame in trying 9:49 AM May 25, 2022 · Twitter for iPhone
TheFlamethrower @TheFlamethrower Team Fortress 2 was one of the first games i played on Steam and this game is the main reason why i even have an audience. Thank you for ruining my dopamine receptors for the rest of my life! #SaveTF2 If nobody got me I know THE ENTIRE TEAM FORTRESS 2 FANBASE 9:27 AM May 26, 2022. Twitter Web App got me Can i get an AMEN ?

Valve's Response

On May 26th, after over 250,000 tweets with the #saveTF2 hashtag were posted, the official Team Fortress 2 account tweeted[19] that they hear the community and had been working on improving things (tweet shown below). The tweet gained over 10,000 retweets and 31,600 likes in forty minutes.

Following in the month following the campaign, Valve implemented a number of updates which incrementally but temporarily improved the bot crisis in the game.

2024 "Fix TF2" Campaign

On May 18th, 2024, Team Fortress 2 content creator WeezyTF2 uploaded a video titled "How We Can ACTUALLY Save TF2" to YouTube[20] in which he rallied for another campaign similar to "Save TF2" to once again bring Valve's attention to the bot problem in the game.

Following the video, on May 26th, 2024, a group of prominent Team Fortress 2 community members announced "Fix TF2", a petition campaign aiming to again to bring Valve's attention to the bot issue and for the company to implement continuous support to prevent the problem resurfacing (announcement posts[21][22] shown below).

#SAVETF2 #FIXTF2 ON JUNE 3RD TF2 has been suffering from malicious aimbots for over 5 years. It's time to give the problem the spotlight it needs. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Learn more about bots and what you can do to help at SAVE.TF #FIXTF2 JUNE 3RD ELECTRO-SAPPER

The campaign invited users to share artworks, video game clips, and make other posts about the bot issue in Team Fortress 2 with the hashtags #FixTF2 and #SaveTF2 on June 3rd, 2024 (examples shown below). On June 3rd, 2024, Team Fortress 2 and the hashtags trended on X / Twitter as users made posts[23][24][25] about the game.

TEAMFORTRESS $2 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH #SAVETF2 #FIXTF2 GO TO SAVE.TF Team fortress 2 will be f------ broken on everyday for the past 5 years To save tf2, repost and tag #fixtf2

On,[26] an online petition was launched, which garnered nearly 200,000 votes as of June 4th, 2024.

On Steam, the game's "Recent reviews" rating changed from "Mostly positive" to "Mostly negative" as users posted[27][28] negative reviews, or changed their existing reviews, en masse.

shork @ShorKtf2 Team Fortress 2's steam reviews have now reached MOSTLY NEGATIVE. For the first time in 17 years. Insane. #FixTF2 #SaveTF2 Team Fortress 2 Developer Valve Publisher Valve Released 10 Oct, 2007 Nine distinct classes provide a broad range of tactical abilities and personalities. Constantly updated with new game modes, maps, equipment and, most importantly, hats! TAGS Free to Play REVIEWS Hero Shooter Multiplayer + Very Positive (92% of 1,057,272) ALL TIME Mostly Negative (39% of 14,661) RECENT 9:00 PM Jun 3, 2024 142.3K Views

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Top Comments

Mistress Fortune
Mistress Fortune

Richter Overtime's video on the subject kinda made me wonder why people don't give Valve more shit over things like how Valve was arguably the first company to introduce lootboxes and microtransactions into a big budget AAA game (they added them back when TF2 was still a paid product), and how despite Gabe Newell having a larger net worth than Trump the dude just doesn't seem to be willing to hire on modders to fix the issues given Valve used to be one of the biggest companies that hired modders in the past (Valve even put a stop to the TF2 Classic fan project which is rather uncharacteristic for them, that's more so something I'd expect from Nintendo).

Kinda reminded me of what Tyler McViker once said: people probably need to realize Valve really isn't that much different from any other big name video game company, and Gabe Newell isn't anymore your friend than Shigeru Miyamoto or Phil Spencer is.

TLDR: Valve may be held on a pedestal the same way console fanboys hold up Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo, but Valve isn't really all that different from most other big name "AAA" companies at the end of the day, and to some extent might be ALMOST as bad as some of them when it comes to certain specific business practices.


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