Hey guys, my name is Tyler, but most people just call me Sid, or Sidular. In case you’re unaware, I’m the head administrator of TFCL, and am ultimately the man in charge of this whole shindig.
I know a lot of you are upset that ESEA decided to stop supporting Team Fortress 2. With ESEA’s absence, there is now a huge gap to fill in the competitive world of Team Fortress, and we aim to fill it. We’re not going into this with a brute force mentality, as no league can realistically sustain ESEA-level prize pools for a long period of time. We’re not trying to buy our playerbase with temporary profits that only last for a few seasons. We’re trying to create something that is sustainable. We want to create a balanced league with a realistic pool and structure for our size. But above all else, we want to create an all-in-one platform that combines everything good about our community, into a single environment.
Below is a breakdown of what we intend for the future of esports in Team Fortress 2. And yes, TF2 does have a future.
First up, if you’re worried about things changing too much, stop worrying. We know you just want an ESEA-like experience, so that is what we are going to provide. And we’re not just talking about the whitelist, or the map pool, or even the ruleset. All that stuff is pretty obvious, and any league can do it. We’re talking about the features. We want the core of TFCL to be as functionally similar to ESEA as possible, albeit without a downloadable client. Here’s a basic rundown of everything we intend to accomplish, and how we intend to do it.
1. Create the league itself. (duh)
2. Expand it with quality-of-life features.
3. Operate it at a sustainable level, and provide realistic pools that will result in continued growth, and zero risk of crashing a few years down the line. TFCL is a business, and any properly run league should be designed with profit in mind, which would allow for continued growth based on realistic expectations. Paying out of pocket isn’t a sustainable business model, nor is losing money.
- Automation: We’re replicating all of ESEA’s automation features, and even throwing in some of our own. No client required. Everything the ESEA website and client provided to TF2 players, we will also provide.
- Servers: ESEA was well known for providing its own network of servers. TFCL is doing the same. We have servers in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia, allowing us to offer our league in every major region. (no SA servers yet, but we’re working on it) If you don’t want to use our network of servers, you can also choose to use your own.
- Divisions: We provide four levels of competition, with three of them offering a prize pool.
- Prizes: The prize pools depend entirely on how many teams we have signed up. At our lowest paid rank, we guarantee at least $1,000. There is no way to reasonably predict how large our prize pools will be, as we don’t know how many teams intend to sign up for a pay to play division. If we have 50 paid A Rank teams (ESEA Open-IM level) and 11 paid S Rank teams (ESEA IM-Invite level), it wouldn’t be unreasonable to see an $8,000 prize pool. However, this depends entirely on you, the players.
- Formats: We will provide Sixes, Highlander, and Ultiduo, as our three primary seasonal formats.
Lobby, Pug and Scrim System
To go along with our main league, we will also be hosting automated lobbies and pick up games. The general goal is to combine everything into a single website, which adds an extra level of convenience, especially for newer players. Right now, the TF2 esport scene is rather divided. Everything has its own separate website, which can be rather daunting for newer players. It’s basically information overload, and people simply don’t know where to go, or what to do. Currently, if you want to play in a lobby, you basically have to go to TF2 Center, which definitely isn’t the best way to learn how to play. Similar issue with pick up games. You can go to PugChamp, only to never get picked because you’re “too new”. Or you can go to TF2PL, which is really just a weird version of Faceit with odd requirements and guidelines that everybody must meet and and follow before they can even play. It’s all separated, confusing, and divided, and TFCL hopes to fix that.
- Lobby: We’re creating a lobby system that will be incorporated directly into TFCL itself, providing a viable alternative to TF2Center.
- PUG: We’re creating a pick-up-game system that will also be incorporated directly into TFCL itself, providing a viable alternative to PugChamp and Faceit.
- Unification: We’re trying to unify the competitive community by introducing our own versions of popular competitive services, and making them easily accessible via TFCL itself. You never have to navigate away to a separate website to play a pug, a lobby, a scrim, or a league match. It’s all done through us.
- Scrims: We’re going to be creating an automated scrim system that should make finding and organizing scrims far easier, faster, and more convenient overall. We’re still trying to figure out the best way to handle this, but it will most likely be some kind of modified lobby system, with league teams being able to create a “scrim” and challenge other league teams of their division. We’re trying to make this as easy and straightforward as possible, and will have more information towards the end of the year.
This is all well and good, but when’s everything actually set to launch?
- League: The primary league itself will be the first to launch, and is scheduled to officially open its doors this summer. Registration will open up roughly one month before ESEA’s final season concludes. So, in about two months from this writing.
- Servers: We will have roughly twenty servers at launch. To reserve a server, you simply schedule your match and pick a server location that works best for you. The other team is then able to confirm, deny, or counter with a new server location, match day, and time. (basically the same system ESEA uses)
- Lobby|PUGS: We intend to launch our lobby and pick up game stuff closer to the end of the year. Current estimate is October. They will launch initially as a public beta, and will be actively developed based on community feedback.
If you have any questions on TFCL, and our vision for the future of TF2’s esport scene, feel free to reach out on Discord.
ps. we are going to be redesigning our primary website (the one you’re on) to be more visually appealing. This website is going to be converted to an info-only resource, with all league activity running through a new subdomain. So in short, our main website is for rules, downloads, and general information. Our league website is for playing, competing, and team management.