As you’ve probably heard by now. Team Fortress 2 is now free-to-play and available immediately on Steam.
“‘The most fun you can have online’ – PC Gamer Is now FREE! There’s no catch! Play as much as you want, as long as you like!” touts the summary with the game. True too, there it is with the install button shining at me.
Team Fortress 2, originally released in October of 2007, changed the way people played squad-based shooters by introducing a class system directly into an FPS. Before that the concept was relegated to boutique shooters and mods to already existing squad-based FPS. The classes in the game also came along with wildly exotic and interesting personalities, which has endeared the FPS MMO community to the game hugely.
Players who have previously spent money on TF2 will be granted a premium account, this includes having purchased things from the store, activating the game, or buying it before it became free-to-play. Premium account holders will be granted a few extra perks—including access to rare and cosmetic items through random drops. Free accounts will have smaller backpacks (50 slots), limited access to blueprints, cannot trade items (but can receive), but can still receive gifted items as well. Premium accounts have all these restrictions removed and can expand their backpacks from 300 to 1000.
Of course, purchasing an item from the Mann Co. store will automatically upgrade a free account into a premium account.
The free-to-play version of the game will support itself by selling items through its micro-transactions store as before and, presumably, the Steam version will use the Steam micro-transactions backend to drive sales. The game already has a vast variety of for-pay items both cosmetic and buff-type items that affect gameplay.
As a result of the game going free-to-play, numerous of the servers have been dragged down. Twitter has been alight with the joy of the news, but also of people going elsewhere to play until the fever rush calms down.
Meanwhile, it means you’ll have no trouble finding someone to play against!