"Enough is enough": Over 200,000 Team Fortress 2 players sign #FixTF2 petition for Valve to end the 'Bot Crisis' as Steam reviews plunge to 'Mostly Negative' [UPDATED]

Team Fortress 2
(Image credit: Save.TF)
Recent updates

Over 200,000 players have now signed the petition for Valve to address the "Bot Crisis." Additionally, players have begun to review bomb Team Fortress 2 on Steam, plunging the game's Recent Reviews score down to "Mostly Negative."

What you need to know

  • Team Fortress 2 (TF2), Valve's 2007 class-based shooter that's still very popular today, has been plagued with a "Bot Crisis" for five years.
  • Bots equipped with aimbot cheats have flooded TF2's Casual matchmaking servers for years, instantly killing other players with Sniper headshots, votekicking them from games, and spamming the in-game text and voice chat.
  • The people hosting these bots have even programmed them to leak personal information in some cases, and one TF2 content creator says the culprits even went so far as to "swat" them by making fake emergency calls to the police so that officers investigated their home.
  • In response to Valve's radio silence about the issue, players have organized a #FixTF2 movement and have created a petition for the developer that has over 150,000 signatures. You'll find a link to where you can sign it below.
  • Update: The petition now has over 200,000 signatures. Additionally, players have started to review bomb Team Fortress 2, with the game's Recent Reviews score on Steam now "Mostly Negative."

Original article: Valve's beloved 2007 free-to-play class shooter Team Fortress 2 (TF2) stands tall as one of the most popular multiplayer games as well as one of the best PC games ever made, but for five entire years now, it's been crippled by what fans call the "Bot Crisis" — a never-ending swarm of fake players equipped with aimbot cheats. These bots often overrun matches in TF2's Casual matchmaking by spawning as the Sniper class and instantly killing everyone they come across with headshots, while simultaneously taking advantage of their numbers and Steam's name-changing system to resist being votekicked by human players.

Since the Bot Crisis began in late 2019, Valve has only commented on the matter a single time in 2022, promising that it was "working to improve things" after the game's community got a #SaveTF2 hashtag trending. The problem then improved considerably for a time, but soon regressed to become just as severe as it once was, if not worse. That's the state the game remains in today, with the culprits now also programming their bots to spam TF2's in-game text and voice chat, impersonate other players, and even leak the personal information of individuals critical of their actions (this video goes into more detail about this). One TF2 content creator even says bot hosters went so far as to "swat" them, or make a fake emergency call to law enforcement so that officers would be sent to their home.

Again, Valve has remained radio silent since 2022 despite these illegal actions and the continued spread of bots, all while continuing to profit off of TF2's microtransactions and its item trading economy. This has angered and frustrated fans to the point where they've now come together under the banner of a new #FixTF2 movement, and have created a petition for Valve that has over 150,000 signatures and counting. If you'd like to sign it yourself, you can do so at the Save.tf website.

"On June 3rd, we’re all going to collectively group together to take a stand against Valve’s inaction in dealing with the bots. We’re going to showcase the absolute magnitude of this issue to the online masses. Screenshots, videos, and personal stories surrounding the bots in action, all accompanied by the tag #FixTF2," reads the movement's mission statement.

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"Alongside this is our petition, which will serve to represent the sheer enormity of how many players Valve’s inaction has negatively affected. We plan on forwarding each and every signature to them at a later date. We hope to gain the attention of as many mainstream gaming news outlets as possible, further shining a spotlight on the issue at hand. TF2 is not dying, it is being intentionally killed."

Initially organized at the end of May, #FixTF2 (as well as #SaveTF2) is already trending strong on Twitter (X), with players sharing tons of clips and screenshots that show just how serious the Bot Crisis is. Posts about the movement are also getting thousands of upvotes and views on the TF2 subreddit, as have YouTube videos covering it and its petition.

Promotional artwork for Team Fortress 2's Mann vs. Machine PvE horde mode, which is basically what most Casual PvP matches have felt like for five years when Sniper bots are in your server. (Image credit: Valve)

Speaking as someone who's been a hardcore TF2 player for nearly 15 years, I'm hopeful that some meaningful, positive, and long-lasting change will come from #FixTF2, though I can't help but feel a little skeptical after how little the original #SaveTF2 push accomplished. Still, there's no reason not to try, and this time around, it's going to take more than a single "we hear you" post to appease players and get them to ease up.

Ultimately, I just want one of my favorite games of all time to actually be playable again outside of player-moderated community servers, especially since despite the bot nonsense it maintains a healthy average concurrent player count of 80,000-100,000 (according to SteamDB data) — very impressive for a 17-year old game. Whether or not Valve responds to this petition or takes further action against the cheaters remains to be seen; I'll update this article if it does, but in the meantime, make sure you sign the petition and post on social media with #FixTF2 if you want to see the Bot Crisis end.

Team Fortress 2 — Free on Steam (PC, Digital)

Team Fortress 2 — Free on Steam (PC, Digital)

Team Fortress 2's amazing gameplay, charm, and community make it one of the best games ever made, even after 16 years. It's available now on Steam for free, as is all of the amazing community-created gameplay content added in last year's two major updates.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • fdruid
    Funny how players ask devs to fix a game players ruined. Devs have all the right to abandon the game if they're fed with that too, instead of dumping money into a neverending fight that they'll never win.
    People need to stop being absolute crap, but also players are the first to cry when devs enforce bans or hard rules on their games, like anti cheat engines.

    Sadly the whole PC multiplayer gaming scene is pretty much doomed by cheaters and hackers. Then we ask ourselves why the PC scene is unfairly made second to console gaming. This is why.
  • Gormless
    <edited by moderator> Valve clearly hasn't abandoned Team Fortress 2. They add new microtransaction to the game every few months in the form of cosmetics and they add new maps as well. They're selling a broken product. Alternatively, you're one of the bot hosters and you're saying this to encourage the doom and gloom environment of the online FPS scene. And you know what, the problem isn't just in Team Fortress 2. It's in every VAC game. Valve hasn't updated their Anti-Cheat since 2013, and it's used in Counter-Strike 2! Cheating is so rampant there that it's threatening their biggest money making game and what do they do? Nothing. That's why we're protesting because Valve does nothing to fix the problem with their games while putting more and more microtransactions in them.