Tf2pickup.org is ready with their first ever European-wide 6v6 pick-up website: tf2pickup.eu. Members of the European competitive community have been waiting a long time for the launch of the service, and it's finally here. Players with the required experience under their belt are able to register themselves, pick their favourite class on the homepage, and wait for the game to start.
Want to jump into a TF2 game in your spare time and without the hassle of getting 11 of your friends together? Join tf2pickup.eu and dive right into a competitive game of 6v6 with the assurance the game will be balanced, players will be vocal, and games will be fun.
What is tf2pickup.org?
Tf2pickup.org is a game service for competitive players of all skill levels to enjoy competitive TF2. It originally started out as a IRC bot for Polish mixes, and eventually the service launched their own tf2pickup.pl for 6v6 pick-ups in 2019. Since then, the tf2pickup name has spread across Europe in the form of regional websites offering 6v6 pick-ups, such as tf2pickup.de, tf2pickup.es, and many more.
The tf2pickup.org project is open-source and available for anyone to launch their own stance of. Communities are self-sufficient and run without the help of the original developers, which leaves them open to continue to develop and push the boundaries of pick-up mixes. Tf2pickup.org has no pay-to-play or shortcuts for players to gain preferential treatment, all players are equal and the service is entirely supported out-of-pocket by the owners and some community donations.
What differentiates tf2pickup.eu from other pug sites and services?
Tf2pickup.eu is open to everyone who is familiar with the 6v6 gamemode. Players are required to have collected roughly a season of 6v6 experience in ETF2L across the past few years, or have played at least 200 competitive matches (on sites like tf2center or scrims) in the past 12 months. Players also can be accepted if a high-level player or admin can vouch for you and send an application on your behalf, for which you will be given a 1 month trial period.
These requirements are to ensure a minimum standard of gameplay with which players of all skill levels can enjoy themselves. Players are also required to use Mumble for tf2pickup.eu to communicate with their team and to be vocal. Unlike other pug services, using Mumble to vocally communicate with your teammates is necessary and part of the rules.
These rules and requirements are in place to keep a minimum level of gameplay enforced, but the goal is to have fun and play competitive TF2. No longer do you have to worry about being fatkidded or missing out on a pug because one player wanted to pick their friend; if you add up to the queue and wait for the game to start, you will play the game.
Elitism is an issue faced by many aspiring TF2 players attempting to enter the scene, which is why tf2pickup.org is dedicated to providing a platform for players of all skill levels. Each player is given a skill rating on each class by the admin team, and these are used to try and create the most balanced teams possible. Everyone with an understanding of the basics of 6v6 is welcome.
Interview with the tf2pickup.org team
We reached out to mały and supra, the two behind the tf2pickup.org, to ask some questions about the service, how it’s evolved through its lifespan, and what’s next for the biggest upcoming competitive PUG service in Europe.
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: What was the motivation to originally launch the first tf2pickup.pl site?
supra: Prior to tf2pickup.pl, we had numerous Steam groups for double mixes. The problem with these was their lack of organisation. We were doing last-to-spec to get meds, and there were no consequences for people baiting the mix if they were stuck on Medic. Also, picking teams was a tedious process that just wasted too much time.
Mały took the initiative to create the site, guided by input from the Polish community. While he laid the foundation based on his own vision, the community began suggesting enhancements to improve the playing experience. For example, in the past, we had to host servers ourselves, but now we can seamlessly reserve servers using serveme.tf API, streamlining the game setup process.
Mały: Between 2017 and 2019, we had a bunch of players, we had a group of players from the Polish TF2 community who played double mixes every other weekend. However, organising a mix was a time-consuming chore, often involving long waits for the final player to join. Then there was team picking, choosing a map, etc. It really was a really tedious and boring process.
Not only that, the Polish TF2 scene lacked new players — our group was rather inaccessible. I remember some players mentioning both tf2pickup.net (that seemed to be about to be resurrected back then) and an old IRC bot made specifically for the Polish competitive TF2 scene (that one was dead for a couple of years already). I was learning some web technologies at that time, so I started toying around making a web-based tf2pickup.net clone, made specifically for the Polish community. Wonszu helped me a lot when it comes to design choices — all of this would not have been possible without him.
Tf2pickup.pl sounded like a perfect solution to our problems — not only would it be much simpler and faster to start a game and balance the teams, but it also became clear that new players could merge into the Polish TF2 competitive scene more easily. We played the first game on August 2nd, 2019 and despite some technical problems at first, the project gained some recognition. New players appeared, and even some of the retired ones came back to play the game and they stay active up to this day. Double mixes passed the torch along to a system that is still alive and kicking in 2023.
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: How did the tf2pickup.org project grow into the multinational service it is today? Has the philosophy of the site changed as the community evolved?
supra: Initially, the site was intended solely for Polish players. However, a player called Sage from Spain expressed interest in our platform and asked us if we could implement it in Spain. Mały said yes and provided all necessary help in order to start the website
As we expanded to other regions, we became more selective about the people we collaborated with. We started caring more about our project image and making sure the community members we worked with were trustworthy and aligned with our vision. In some cases, we proposed running these pick-up games in specific regions, but it didn't materialise. For example, we created assets for tf2pickup.dk, but it didn't gain traction due to low interest, similar to our attempt in the Asian region where Discord pugs were preferred over our platform.
I'd also like to shoutout bobair. He's done all our graphics for us and been with us since the beginning of the project. As we've expanded our need for more and more high-quality graphics has increased, and we'd like to thank him for always being ready to help.
Our ultimate goal is to provide a high-quality gaming environment for communities to play in their own languages. This is why we have tf2pickup.eu instead of tf2pickup.co.uk, as English is widely spoken in Europe, and why tf2pickup.de serves all German-speaking players from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Most importantly, the people who administer the site must be people who are part of a local community. So for instance, degu,krun, and playgrey are well-respected guys in the CZ/SK community and they lead the pugs, they also moderate them as they are native speakers and they know what they can expect from players in terms of skill so they can balance skills properly.
We rely on local community members to administer the site because managing multiple sites simultaneously is impractical. Personally, I oversee EU pugs as I believe I can maintain impartiality and draw from my extensive TF2 moderating experience.
Mały: As long as gamers game, the service is a success. I need nothing more.
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: How do you ensure that your pick-up game service is accessible and enjoyable for a wide range of players?
Mały: We are both quite transparent when it comes to our goals and very eager to adapt to gamers’ needs. The rules we enforce are strict, but they are designed to enhance the long-term enjoyment of the game for the majority of players.
supra: We actively balance players through the in-site skill rating and moderate participation of players who might not be ready for competitive play. However, there's a crucial aspect missing from this ecosystem, and that's providing support for new players.
Imagine a scenario where we initially allow someone to play but later realize they aren't quite ready for competitive matches. In such cases, we restrict their access and encourage them to find a mentor or try out platforms like tf2center. The challenge we face is that not many experienced players are eager to volunteer their time as mentors for free.
This is where we need to bridge the gap. Fortunately, services like mapreview.tf offer valuable resources to help players learn the ropes of competitive gaming. Yet, there's still a lingering issue. Some individuals who face restrictions might feel discouraged and disconnected from the community, which could lead to them leaving for good. This is a situation we must address and improve upon.
We're open to ideas and solutions that can help these players transition into the competitive format without feeling excluded. While our restriction policy aims to maintain high-quality games, we don't want it to become a tool for gatekeeping, where only top-tier players can participate. Our goal is to strike a balance that ensures fair access while fostering a supportive and inclusive community.
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: Now that Europe has an international pickup service for both 6s and HL, are there still any plans to expand tf2pickup.org?
supra: While we remain open to new opportunities, our current focus is on implementing new features and resolving existing issues. We don't have immediate plans to launch new sites. We do want to see the tf2pickup project become involved with more LAN events after the successful integration at the PoLANd.tf. We're open to helping host LAN PUGs for those event organisers who are interested.
Not only available for Europeans, the tf2pickup.org project also recently launched a hl.tf2pickup.us site for the American Highlander community to get in on the fun. No matter which side of the pond you're on, hop onto your preferred tf2pickup site and start enjoying some TF2.