Gonzo makes a good deal of sense in a piece he put up on Vanilla.
People should have been delirious with excited speculation and fevered talk of finally getting one over on the more established e-sports titles. Finally TF2 enthusiasts could point to hard statistical data that suggests their game has a future, a much brighter one than any of the rival FPS titles could boast. They too are on borrowed time but Valve chose to give TF2 a shot in the arm first. If it was a move from a parent it wouldn’t be too difficult to see who the favourite child was.
Instead, in moves depressingly typical of large sections of the Team Fortress 2 contingent, the elitist barriers have been shut down in the face of those who have come in. Like a BNP welcoming wagon at the Port of London, the newcomers to this fair and green land aren’t being extended handshakes, or flanked by supporting arms. They are instead greeted with the resounding message that they are not welcome at all.
This piece would have carried far less weight than I think it does, if he hadn’t directly addressed in the piece the fact that the community that he’s most easily associated with is one of the most notoriously volatile, unmanageable, and unapproachable communities in gaming today. Let’s call a spade a spade. Doubly so considering the title of the piece (eye roll).
I brought up this same general thought in my last piece, but mostly in passing. The core thesis holds up: TF2’s competitive community could easily look a gift horse in the mouth and fuck this opportunity right over. People angry that the player base has multiplied three or four times over in a week are simply idiots.
Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, but it seems to be that the bulk of these idiots are pubbers. I simply haven’t gotten the same sense of Arizona-style ‘they took our jobs!’ immigration paranoia about the influx of new players around the typical competitive community haunts. While I’m sure it’s not universally shared across the competitive community, it seems that most are recognizing this as an opportunity and not an attack on their game.
That’s why, ultimately, I think this piece is a bit premature. I think that the potential surely exists for TF2 to slip into the position that DotA is in; one where you’re simply not welcome if you’ve not already several years under your belt in the game, where it’s damn near impossible to obtain that experience without a maddening amount of grief, and where the game relegated itself to second-class status. However, we’re not there yet.
At the least, I think it’s useful to point out where TF2 could end up if community leaders and evangelists aren’t actively trying to stamp that sentiment out. However, it’s far too early to indict the community for such crimes. Give it a season or two and let’s see where we are with things at year’s end, shall we?