Team Fortress 2 competitive update begins its beta test next week

Valve has been teasing us with brief snippets of information about Team Fortress 2's competitive update for a while now but never did it seem close to completion, until now anyway.

In a Steam forum post that went up today Jill from Valve has announced that the first phase of the TF2 competitive beta will begin next week with a small amount of participants. Here's the message and the requirements you'll need to meet in order to be selected:

"We know you'd all like to start testing now, and eventually we hope all of you WILL get a chance to play and share your thoughts. But remember that all testing happens in stages, and right now we're at stage one.

Our plan is to start small and increase participation as we go. For this initial phase of testing - which will begin in the next week or so - we'll be gradually granting random members from this group an in-game item called a Competitive Matchmaking Beta Pass. Once you've been granted a pass you will have ongoing access to the beta.

In addition, we will begin holding both announced and unannounced stress-test events, inviting many group members to participate for the duration of the event to test our systems. Group members selected for stress-tests won't require a pass to play for the duration of the event."

If you would like to give it a shot yourself make sure to have a premium TF2 account (meaning you either bought TF2 a while back or made a purchase in the F2P version), Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator enabled and a phone associated with your Steam account. Do bear in mind that even if you fulfill all of those requirements you're still rolling the dice against thousands of others so you might not get in the first wave.

As someone that used to compete in TF2 (never at a really high level though) I'm looking forward to this and I do hope the balance is better now than it was when I played. Back in my day *shakes cane* every single team consisted of two scouts, two soldiers, a medic and the dastardly demoman who was the equivalent of the grim reaper if he could aim his pipe launcher well. Not the most diverse lineup for a game with 9 classes so ideally Valve has some sort of trick up their sleeves to prevent this from happening again.