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Team Fortress turns 20 today, and that means we're celebrating! Jump in a game and enjoy hats, cake, beach balls, presents, confetti and more cake! And if that wasn't enough for you, you can annoy your teammates and enemies alike with the screeching sounds of full-on birthday joy. Remember, you can always use a new hitsound.
And as long as you're remembering things, remember that we couldn't have come this far without you! So when you think about it, it's kind of your birthday today too. What we're saying here is August 24th is all of our birthdays. And in a more accurate sense, what we're trying to say is that August 24th is Steve Guttenberg's birthday. Happy birthday, Steve.
The Multiplay Insomnia Gaming Festival is one of the biggest annual gaming tournaments, not to mention one of the highest profile TF2 competitions in the world. This year boasts being the biggest one yet! Featuring GAME Fest for the first time, the show and the expo halls will be open an extra day, running from Friday, August 26th to Monday, August 30th in Birmingham, England at the NEC.
Check out the Team Fortress 2 Open from the 26th to the 28th. Sixty-four teams will go head-to-head in competitive 6s, including American team Froyotech and Australian team Jasmine Tea. Both teams were once again crowdfunded by the the best community in gaming history. Can't make it to Birmingham in time? No problem, the tournament will be streamed on Twitch, so tune in and catch all the action!
Just a quick update while we keep working on the Meet Your Match fixes we posted a few weeks ago. We wanted to call out a few noteworthy things shipping with today's update, as well as keep you up to date on some more substantial fixes that are on the way.
We're currently working on a more comprehensive Elo rating system to improve how Competitive Mode ranks are determined that we'll be shipping in the near future. This update will make the rank system more self-correcting and better distribute players based on performance.
In the meantime, though, we've shipped some rank balancing improvements in today's update that will help distribute ranks more evenly in the short-term. Players with high win-loss ratios will now be "fast-tracked" to higher ranks that better reflect performance (without having to grind through unchallenging matches). Additionally, players in the first tier of ranks (1-6) will now be penalized less for match losses, making it easier to gain low ranks at the outset without getting stuck.
Additionally, with today's update, we are rolling out our first matchmaking bans on problem players you've reported. Problem players will receive a six-month ban from Casual and Competitive matchmaking. We've also made it easier for you to report problem players by adding a new feature that lets you report directly from the scoreboard. (See today's update notes for more information.)
We also wanted to touch on upcoming improvements to the Casual Mode experience. A high priority is providing better flow for continuing play at the end of a match. To that end, we're currently putting the finishing touches on two features that many of you have requested: The option to rematch with the same players on the same map at the end of a match, and the ability to re-queue into a new match from the win screens for both Casual Mode and Competitive Mode.
Finally, we are working on issues with the region system that have been causing poor connections for players in certain areas. The next few updates will be integrating TF more tightly with the global server network already used by games like CS:GO and Dota 2 to provide much more reliable connections and the best-possible latency.
Well, it's been a tight race, everybody. Five weeks of ballistic trauma and charred corpses later, we've crowned our glorious king of war: All hail the PYRO. Winning in a 56% to 44% split, Team Pyro has fried, burnt and scorched its way through a smoldering mountain of enemies and into a brand new class pack, featuring new weapons, new cosmetics and rebalances, to be shipped in a future update. Congrats to Team Pyro!
It's time once again to announce this year's Saxxy Awards, and we couldn't be more excited! Last year we shook up the rules a bit by reducing the length of the themed categories (Action, Comedy, Drama) and adding a five-minute Extended category. We were overwhelmed with so many high-quality entries to the Extended category that there were some great entries that didn't get the recognition they deserved. So, if you're working on an entry to the Extended category, it may be worth editing your piece down to three minutes and submitting to one of the themed categories instead. We know it's not easy, but solid editing can make a good submission great!
As always, we can't wait to see the amazing videos you create! Don't forget that all Valve universes are available for use, and SFM shorts that were submitted to the Dota 2 Short Film Contest are also eligible for this year's Saxxy Awards. The submission deadline is November 11th. Remember, you can upload non-final versions up to a week in advance of the final deadline, to guard against last-minute computer failures, internet outages, login problems and so on. Check out the guidelines for details on the rules and deadlines, and get your entries ready!