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Old 03-12-2017, 12:03 AM   #1
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Would TF2 be alive if it wasn't for f2p?

I was just looking at the numbers here, and for a decade old game it's doing pretty well. I know quite a few people have complained about "usless f2p players", but if it wasn't for them, how many people would still play this game?

Games like CSGO aren't free, but receive quite a bit of support from Valve...unlike TF2. Without this support, as well as being an ancient game, I can't really see a reason anyone would decide to try out TF2 if it wasn't free. Anyone have any thoughts?
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:35 AM   #2
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Eh. It's one of those what-if questions that has so many more questions than your originally thought tied to it.

"If the game hadn't gone f2p would the devs have switched?"
-Ergo how consistent would the content be etc
"If the game hadn't gone f2p what other contents would differ?"
-Eg, would we still have casual? Weapon pickups?
"If the game hadn't gone f2p how would the economy be?"
-Would we still get devoted traders? Would metal be worth a bit more than it was?

So in reality:
no idea.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:51 AM   #3
The Medic
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Well, let's look at the other games that Valve no longer actively develops. What are the player counts for L4D2, Portal 2, older CS games, Team Fortress Classic, etc.?
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Old 03-12-2017, 08:08 AM   #4
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I'm also sorta treating CS:GO as a F2P game. I mean, I got the game for €2 and I'm pretty sure most people who are only vaguely interested did. Seems to me the game is more on discount than not.
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Old 03-13-2017, 01:24 PM   #5
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Not really. There would be a few community servers, likely choked by stupid modifiers and badmin abuse. TF2 wouldn't be profitable enough to make updates for anymore if it weren't F2P.
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Old 03-14-2017, 06:16 AM   #6
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It would still be alive, but with nothing like the numbers it has now because of F2P. In a way it's refreshing to see only a handful of players with cosmetics on Valve servers, but on the other hand it's increasingly more difficult to get a good game on them. This has been the case for some time. Occasionally it feels like a slow and painful death but interest will pick up again if Valve bring us some class updates.
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Old 03-14-2017, 08:11 AM   #7
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The current playerbase is more than it would have been without F2P, but less than it would have been with no F2P and with guard dog.
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Old 03-14-2017, 10:59 AM   #8
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Depends. If you pay for something you can argue that you'll want to at least try to get better at it to justify your purchase. With the current model I'm curious as to what the average downtime between sessions is for the playerbase, because I just have this feeling that newbies download the game, get stomped over and over, and abandon it within a month or so.
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Old 03-14-2017, 11:05 AM   #9
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If they never moved to f2p it is likely that tf2 would be a mirror image of CS:S right now. There are actually plenty of people who still play CS:S, though with a few caveats:

First of all, this is under the assumption that they never introduce microtransactions in any capacity since there is no migration to a f2p model (there was a period where the game was paid AND had the store, but that was a span of about 9 months or so and it almost certainly seems to have been an experiment to see if the move would be a total flop).

The servers would all be community-run, and like with CS:S, it's going to be rather difficult to find a populated server that isn't running at least a dozen sourcemod plugins unless you start a lan or something. Instead of the creative community around the game centering on creating new cosmetics in the workshop, it is likely that it would still be focused on creating nonsensical assets for maps, character models, and custom weapons. Gamemodes like vs Saxton Hale/freak fortress, prophunt, and even surf would still be well-known in the playerbase. Additionally, it is likely that many of the maps that are now included in the base game would never become official, though they may be included in the rotation cycles of custom maps in many servers. Custom maps in general would be a lot more common, so while the base install of the game may be smaller, you're going to start piling on hundreds of maps over time as you install 5 different versions of a map that is in development and 12 iterations of the orange map. Overall, since the maps are not generally under stricter conventions, you are going to end up with an enormous chaotic variation in map quality and layout in regards to how it affects gameplay. Some maps are going to be the kinds where there is absolutely no cover from snipers. Some maps are going to be the kind where the creator completely forgot to include pickups and resupply cabinets, so dispensers become insanely important and afterburn is going to basically kill everyone who can't extinguish themselves. Some maps will have enormous water features, some will have super tall heights several times as tall as hightower, some will be a straight up narrow corridor... you get the picture. There will be more low-quality maps that are actually super-entertaining if you only play them once or twice before they get annoying. There would also be more complicated maps like Steel where people put in lots of weird triggers for stuff. Also, there would still be a demand for arena mode somewhere.

And then of course there would be the servers where all scouts are replaced with femscouts, engineers can build multiple minisentries, pyros explode if you shoot their backpacks, etc.

But enough about the more-intense modding community, the real change would be in the caliber of player that you would deal with as you play. In all likelihood, every game that you play would be populated with more than half of either team consisting of competent players, instead of what we have now where it's maybe 2-4 people on the server actually drive the progress of the game, another 5-6 will actually do something useful, and the remaining 14+ people are useless dead weight who just started playing and seem only to exist to draw ammo out of your weapon so that one of the competent players can catch you off guard with an empty magazine. Instead of people pointing out and revering the team ringer, people would go back to singling out the team noob. If the game never went f2p, then it is likely that the competitive scene would remain obscure since not as many people look into it as a means of seeking competent players as you would be able to find a real match in a lot of pubs without looking too hard. The main con that this poses is that it may be difficult to get back into the game if you leave for a few months and need to get good at it again, since there will be a cliff right where there is currently a gentle hill of F2P corpses that you can stroll up to get back into shape.

Anyways, if you want to know what TF2 would look like without going F2P, just reinstall CS:S and the game would go back to that kind of vibe. I actually start up CS:S to play zombies sometimes because it gives me the same vibe that I used to get back in the earlier days of TF2, back in 2008 and 2009. The game had a much more savvy community back then, and really it's almost as if the f2p update changed the game community from the types of people who hang out on image boards and forums to the kinds of people you see using normie memes on facebook.
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Old 03-18-2017, 12:19 AM   #10
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honestly? it depends on if it NEVER went F2P, or if it stopped being F2P later

if it stopped being F2P around 2014 or so it'd still be alive, not as much as it is now but still kicking

if it never went F2P it'd be dead
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Old 03-24-2017, 03:25 PM   #11
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I think yes.
Also, what people often forgets is that being a F2P doesn't mean you're a newbie, it just means you can't pay for anything in the game. You can be a pro and F2P at the same time.

I think being free helps the game stay alive, to be honest. It doesn't matter if you're F2P or P2P, as long as you play the game and enjoy it.
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