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Team Fortress 2 update adding matchmaking, ranked play and more

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Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Team Fortress 2’s incoming "Meet Your Match" update will include the long-awaited introduction of competitive play with matchmaking, developer Valve announced today.

The Competitive Mode in Team Fortress 2 will feature ranked play in a six-on-six mode that supports all nine classes and all weapons. You will be able to make your way upward through 18 ranks; you’ll ascend by winning matches and descend by losing. The mode will determine a score for you based on your performance, and use that score to match you with players of a similar skill level.

Matchmaking will also be available for quickplay. Team Fortress 2 will match you into unranked 12-on-12 pub games with similarly skilled players.

"This means no more auto-balancing — you'll be playing a match from start to finish, with actual winners and actual losers," said Valve, referring to the system in Team Fortress 2 that randomly switches players’ sides in an effort to balance teams.

Unranked games will have their own leveling; you can earn points to level up. As for playing with friends, you’ll be able to invite buddies into both ranked and unranked games.

Valve first confirmed more than five months ago that it was working on a competitive mode with matchmaking for Team Fortress 2. The company noted in its Competitive Mode FAQ that in order to play ranked games, you must associate a phone number with your Steam account and have a Team Fortress 2 premium account. (Anybody who owns a retail copy of the game, or has ever purchased anything from the in-game store, has a premium account.)

The "Meet Your Match" update will also mark the out-of-beta release of Pass Time, a rugby game mode that is co-developed by Escalation Studios and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions. In addition, Valve is turning three fan-favorite community-created maps into official ones: Sunshine, Metalworks and Swiftwater.

Today is the first day of the "Meet Your Match" update, according to its website, which says that Day 2 is "coming soon." Valve did not provide a release date for the update.

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