Q: What is Competitive Mode?
A: Some of you TF2 lifers are as seasoned as vets get. You've stomped millions of pub players into the dirt. You've trick-stabbed, no-scoped and top-fragged through every map we've shipped (and the thousands we haven't). You've carried your team so many times you've got chronic back problems. For players like you with no mountains left to climb, there's Competitive Mode. This is your way to finally get the respect you deserve. Designed as a new challenge for experienced TF2 players, Competitive Mode lets you rank up, track progress, earn medals and record your accomplishments in a results-based competitive experience.

With Competitive Mode, every win (and every loss) counts. You'll be competing against opponents of similar skill level in structured and progressive play. Your match-to-match performance will determine how you rank up (or down). And because you'll be working hard to earn your ranks, we'll be working hard to protect their value. (See "How do I get access to Competitive Mode?" for more information.)

Q: What is matchmaking?
A: Matchmaking is a system that ranks your ongoing performance in competitive play and assigns you a score called your Matchmaking Rating (MMR), which is then used to match you with players of a similar skill level.

Q: Where can I see my MMR?
A: Your MMR is displayed on the main menu and the Competitive history menu. It is not displayed to other players.

Q. What are ranks?
A: Ranks are groupings of similarly skilled players. Competitive Mode has 13 total ranks and titles, from least to most skilled:

Your MMR increases by winning matches and goes down by losing. Push your MMR high enough and you'll rank up. But be careful -- you'll drop rank if you lose too much.

Q: Where can I see my rank?
A: Ranks are displayed on the main menu, the Competitive history menu, and in post-match scoreboards. Your rank is visible to other players.

Q: You said something about medals?
A: We sure did. In addition to gaining rank, you could be singled out post-match for exceptional gameplay and awarded a bronze, silver or gold medal in the following categories: score, kills, damage, healing and support. Your performance is benchmarked against recent global performance by players of the same rank.

Q: What happens if I leave a game in-progress?
A: Leaving a game in progress ruins the experience for the other players in a match, and it will cost you. We call this "abandoning" a game, and count it as an automatic loss. Since losses cost you MMR, abandoning games could cost you a rank. In addition, abandoning temporarily bans you from joining matches. Ban duration will increase the more you abandon matches -- in some cases, for a month or more. In short: Don't do it.

Q: What happens if my internet connection drops or my game crashes?
A: If you disconnect from your match, the game will prompt you to rejoin your in-progress match. Not rejoining will count as abandoning your match.

Q: Is it possible to join a match in progress?
A: Only if it's a match that you previously disconnected from. Otherwise, the only way to enter a Competitive Mode match is through the matchmaking system.

Q: Can I invite my friends into a Competitive Mode match?
A: If you have any, by all means. You can invite friends from the in-game Friends list or from the Steam Friend's list.

Q. Should I avoid playing with lower-ranked friends because they will hurt my rank?
A: No. The matchmaking system will take your lower-ranked friend into consideration when finding a match and attempt to find a comparable team make-up.

Q: How do I get access to Competitive Mode?
A: To gain access to Competitive Mode, you must be at least Casual level 3 and have a Premium TF2 Account and a qualifying telephone number on Steam. Examples of a telephone number that does not qualify would be a Voice Over IP number (e.g. Skype) or a number linked to a VAC-banned account. (For more information about qualifying phone numbers, please visit the Steam FAQ.)

Q: Why do I need a phone number?
A: Associating a phone number with a Steam account helps ensure a greater degree of account security and player accountability, which reduces the likelihood of cheating and abuse.

Q: What if I can't or don't want to provide a phone number?
A: If you are unable to associate a telephone number with your Steam account, you can purchase a lifetime Competitive Access Pass from the Mann Co. Store. When the Meet Your Match Update goes live, you will be able to buy the Pass at an introductory discount rate of $9.99.

Q: What are Competitive Mode's rules and restrictions?
  • 6v6
  • no class or weapon restrictions
  • no random criticals
  • no team changes
  • fixed shotgun spreads
  • for symmetrical Control Point maps, best-of-3 or best-of-5 (higher ranks only)
  • for Attack/Defense maps, stopwatch mode (fastest attacking team wins)
Q: Are there any minimum requirements to play?
A: The only minimum requirement is DirectX 9. However, certain graphical settings will be enforced in order to ensure a level playing field. Players will only be able to modify graphics settings that are available in the Options and Advanced Options menus.