Spring Rule Updates

Date May 29, 2022

Banner by Poland bobair

As it has been a while since some rules were updated we have compiled a good amount of changes into one post. Without further ado, below you can find the rule additions and changes.

Rule Updates

Rule Additions

3.9.1 No Live Coaching allowed
During an ongoing official teams may not receive specific match directions or guidance by third parties who are not directly involved in the match themselves (e.g. with the help of screensharing, voice communication channels, by watching a player’s POV in person etc.). These kind of interactions must be limited to periods before and after a match, during pauses or in-between rounds.

3.9.2 Streaming official matches
Players are free to stream their matches on any streaming service. While we do not condone stream sniping, we will not punish any offenders as it is a risk players willingly take by streaming their matches. Teams are expected to understand this risk. We suggest adding a stream delay of at least two minutes and taking further measures to reduce the possibility of getting stream sniped (e.g. muting the stream during pauses).

5.5. Teams must be able to provide STV demos when requested
Teams must record STV demos for every official. Admins may request STV demo files at any time up until three weeks after the official match was played; admins may request as many files as they require. Only admins can request STV demos.

The responsibility to upload the files is on the team that owns the server or, if the server is owned by neither team, on the team that acquired the server. In case of a technical failure the demo file does not have to be uploaded, provided that evidence for the technical failure exists.
Please be aware that server hosters only keep demo and log files for a limited amount of time. We recommend that you enable automatic uploads to demos.tf or archive all of your team’s official demos until three weeks after the official was played.

Failure to upload a demo file until 72 hours have passed after the request will be punished with a Minor Warning for the responsible team. Repeated offenses will be punished with a Major Warning each. These warnings can be removed if the associated demo files are provided.

Rule edits

For 6v6 the following changes have been made to the merc rules:

1.3. Mercenary (“merc”) clause: up to two mercs allowed if the opponent agrees
“Mercs” or “ringers” are defined as players who are not part of a team’s roster. Players who are listed as “unverified” on a roster also count as mercs if they were listed as such at the time an official was set to start.

Teams may only use one default merc as per rule 1.3.3 Default Mercs. Otherwise, no team may use a merc at any time during a match unless the player(s) is/are granted explicit written permission to play by the opposing team. The team that requested the merc is responsible for making sure that this permission is granted. If a team wants to use any players who are not eligible to be a default merc, they must contact the opponent before the match starts.

Merc permission grants are player-based and class-based: teams are free to choose whether a player is allowed to play for their opponents as a merc and which classes they are allowed to play. Classes deemed as “off-classes” (i.e. Pyro, Heavy, Engineer, Sniper and Spy) are allowed by default. If no specific classes are stated, a player allowed to play as a merc can play any class of their choice.

All agreements for merc permission grants and the usage of default mercs must be logged and provided in the official match’s respective comments. Those logs must explicitly contain links to each approved merc’s ETF2L profile. Teams are advised to check if the proposed default merc is indeed eligible as per rule 1.3.3 Default Mercs. All mercs have to be registered on ETF2L. A team using an unapproved merc or an unregistered player will receive a Default Loss.

A team can use up to a maximum of two mercs (including any default merc), even if the opponent would allow the use of more than two mercs. Breaking the merc limit will result in a Default Loss for the offending team.

Additionally, any violations of the merc clause will result in the offending team being issued a Minor Warning.

1.3.2. A team can use up to a maximum of one merc in Grand Final matches
A team can use up to a maximum of one merc in a Grand Finals official match of any tier, even if the opponent would allow the use of more than one merc. Breaking this rule will result in a Default Loss for the offending team.

1.3.3. Default Mercs
One merc is allowed by default in all divisions:
– For Premiership, default mercs cannot be rostered in a Premiership team and/or have Premiership experience. Default mercs cannot be class-restricted. RGL Invite is considered to be equivalent to Premiership.

– For D1/High, D2/High, D3/Mid and D4/Mid default mercs cannot be rostered in a team and/or have experience in the tier that the match is being played in, or any other tier above that. Default mercs cannot be class-restricted. Experience in other leagues is also included (e.g. a high team will only be able to present a default merc from mid).

– For D5/Low and D6/Open specifically they cannot be more experienced than the tier the match is being played in (in accordance with General Rule 3.7), and they cannot be rostered in a team placed in any tier higher than that of the official match in question. Default mercs cannot be class-restricted. Experience in other leagues is also included.

If you wish to contest the default status of a merc, please contact a League Admin on ETF2L’s Discord server so they may decide whether or not the player is valid for the Default merc clause.

For HL the following changes have been made to the merc rules:

1.3. Mercenary (“merc”) clause: up to three mercs allowed if the opponent agrees
“Mercs” or “ringers” are defined as players who are not part of a team’s roster. Players who are listed as “unverified” on a roster also count as mercs if they were listed as such at the time an official was set to start.

Teams may only use one default merc as per rule 1.3.3 Default Mercs. Otherwise, no team may use a merc at any time during a match unless the player(s) is/are granted explicit written permission to play by the opposing team. The team that requested the merc is responsible for making sure that this permission is granted. If a team wants to use any players who are not eligible to be a default merc, they must contact the opponent before the match starts.

Merc permission grants are player-based and class-based: teams are free to choose whether a player is allowed to play for their opponents as a merc and which classes they are allowed to play. All permitted classes should be explicitly stated by the team granting permission. If no specific classes are stated, a player allowed to play as a merc can play any class of their choice. Default mercs cannot be class-restricted.

All agreements for merc permission grants and the usage of default mercs must be logged and provided in the official match’s respective comments. Those logs must explicitly contain links to each approved merc’s ETF2L profile. Teams are advised to check if the proposed default merc is indeed eligible as per rule 1.3.3 Default Mercs. All mercs have to be registered on ETF2L. A team using an unapproved merc or an unregistered player will receive a Default Loss.

A team can use up to a maximum of three mercs (including any default merc), even if the opponent would allow the use of more than three mercs. Breaking the merc limit will result in a Default Loss for the offending team.

Any violations of the merc clause will result in the offending team being issued a Minor Warning.

1.3.2. A team can use up to a maximum of two mercs in Grand Final matches
A team can use up to a maximum of two mercs in a Grand Finals official match of any tier, even if the opponent would allow the use of more than two mercs. Breaking this rule will result in a Default Loss for the offending team.

1.3.3. Default Mercs
One merc is allowed by default in all divisions:
– For Premiership, default mercs cannot be rostered in a Premiership team and/or have Premiership experience. Default mercs cannot be class-restricted. RGL Invite is considered to be equivalent to Premiership.

– For D1/High, D2/High, D3/Mid and D4/Mid default mercs cannot be rostered in a team and/or have experience in the tier that the match is being played in, or any other tier above that. Default mercs cannot be class-restricted. Experience in other leagues is also included (e.g. a high team will only be able to present a default merc from mid).

– For D5/Low and D6/Open specifically they cannot be more experienced than the tier the match is being played in (in accordance with General Rule 3.7), and they cannot be rostered in a team placed in any tier higher than that of the official match in question. Default mercs cannot be class-restricted. Experience in other leagues is also included.

Other leagues are included in experience. UGC HL Platinum is considered to be High (Div 1/2) and as such players with Platinum experience are not allowed to default merc in any division below Premiership, Gold and Silver are considered to be Mid (Div 3/4). This applies to all regions of UGC. We do not count UGC 6v6 or 4v4 experience. As there is no way to check UGC player history the three game threshold does not apply for UGC experience. Instead, for example, if a player was rostered on a UGC Platinum team in the last three seasons they will be counted as a player with High (Div 1/2) experience in ETF2L.

If you wish to contest the default status of a merc, please contact a League Admin on ETF2L’s Discord server so they may decide whether or not the player is valid for the Default merc clause.

There were a couple small mistakes in the previous version of the Default Merc example tables, you can see the correct versions here:

Division 1
Division 2
Division 3
Division 4
Division 5
Division 6

2.1.1. Penalties for not providing requested demos” now includes a mention of player infractions expiring after four years. The rule “2.1.2. Lower demo infraction limit for players with an appealed permanent cheating ban” has been changed to include every player with a cheating or a TF2 VAC ban within the past four years. Players who fall into these categories will now receive a warning the first time they miss a demo upload, a six month ban the second time and a one year ban the third time and onwards, depending on how many demo infractions they have already collected within the past four years. Players will not be punished retroactively for active infractions.

2.1.1. Penalties for not providing requested demos
Failure to provide a requested demo file before its due time (i.e. 72 hours after being requested) will result in a penalty for the player and a Warning being issued to their team. Multiple instances of requested demo files not being applied come with greater punishments for both the player and the team.

Warnings applied to teams that fail to provide requested demo files can be removed once those files are uploaded. Player demo infractions expire after four years and will not count towards future penalties.

Player penalties:

  • 1st time – no penalty
  • 2nd time – player is banned for two weeks from all ETF2L competitions
  • 3rd time- player is banned for two months from all ETF2L competitions
  • 4th time and onwards – player is banned for one year from all ETF2L competitions

Team penalties:

  • 1st time – Minor Warning
  • 2nd time and onwards – Major Warning

If a player was rostered in a team before being banned and is unable to rejoin after its expiration due to a roster lock being active, contact a League Admin on [ETF2L’s Discord server] to have the player reassigned to the roster.

2.1.2 Lower demo infraction limit for players with previous cheating or TF2 VAC league bans that are less than four years old

Players who have received an ETF2L cheating ban or a TF2 VAC league ban within the past four years have a lower demo infraction limit. As long as they have no prior demo infractions on their record in the past four years the following applies:

Player penalties:

  • 1st time – no penalty
  • 2nd time – player is banned for six months from all ETF2L competitions
  • 3rd time and onwards – player is banned for one year from all ETF2L competitions

Any players with two or more active infractions who were previously banned for the reasons stated above will not be punished retroactively.

3.6. Switching line-ups or hijacking teams is not allowed” had a small correction:

3.6. Switching line-ups or hijacking teams is not allowed
Any player that joins a team’s roster after the competition’s Provisional Tiers have been published is classified as “new”. Teams may only play official matches with a number of “new” players less than half of the lineup respective to the competition. For 6v6 and Highlander respectively, the limits are of 2 players and 4 players (rounded down from 4.5).

If a team goes past the limit of “new” players used in an official match, the team will receive a Warning and may suffer a Default Loss. A team can receive multiple punishments during a competition if they continue to use a roster of “new” players, even if that roster remains the same. Rostering an excessive amount of “new” players is not penalized, so long as the number of such players used in a match does not exceed the competition’s limit.

3.9. Only authorized spectators allowed” has been split into 3.9., 3.9.1. and 3.9.2. (see above under new rule additions). Player POV streams without any delays are allowed again, but players and teams are expected to understand the risks associated with zero delay streams. Live coaches and third parties who relay match information to a team via ghosting through in-game spectate, lowering the STV delay etc. are not allowed.

3.9. Only authorized spectators allowed
Only spectators authorized by ETF2L, or for the use of SourceTV, are allowed. Any third party who is caught relaying match information to a team via in-game spectate or similar means (ghosting), and/or teams who intentionally acquire information in this manner are subject to punishments including warnings, match or round overturns and/or league bans depending on the severity of the offense.

6.1. Bug-Using is not allowed” now includes an explanation about evaluating intent and impact of these kind of rule breaks. Map bugs are now put under “6.1.1. Abusing Map Bugs is not allowed“. Some examples of banned exploits have been rephrased. More examples have been added to the list for further clarification and community awareness:

  • Bypassing server sv_cheats settings to enable any cheat commands like showing wireframes, removing map fog, thirdperson mode etc.  (punishable with a cheating ban if used anywhere in TF2)
    • For example via game file/HUD modifications, but this will still be listed under 6.1. in case of other methods.
  • Abusing record;stop to see invisible Spies
  • Pyro: Extending crit or invincibility times when using the Phlogistinator; massively extending flame thrower range via exploits

6.1. Bug-Using is not allowed
Any kind of “Bug-Using” is not allowed. Players abusing unintended exploits that give an unfair advantage will be penalised on a case-by-case basis depending on the intent and impact on the matches. Possible penalties may include team warnings, forfeiting of one or more match rounds and / or league bans for the offending player.

Intent and impact:
When it comes to judging the intent and impact of a rule break, the way ETF2L generally looks at these cases is based on what the player wanted to achieve with or what they gained from it, even without intent due to an act of negligence, as well as how often and where the rule break occurred.
Some cases are easier to evaluate than others when it comes to the direct impact on the game.

Examples:
Someone using a panic script in the spawn room once in an official versus someone doing it to taunt the enemy team after each round win versus someone using it multiple times in front of opposing players in a fight, making themselves harder to hit.
– A
Sniper using a transparent scope the entire match versus a Medic off-classing as a Sniper, using it only in pre-game.

Some exploits, modifications or scripts may give a constant advantage throughout the entire match, making their impact more indirect, thus using those will more likely lead to an immediate punishment rather than just a team/player warning. Furthermore, someone who is repeatedly installing and uninstalling a modification/script is not likely able to claim they were not aware of it. Ignorance of our rules is not an excuse either.
With regard to an unusual bug, script or modification we advise players to use common sense and ask the ETF2L staff before using it in any TF2 match.

Examples of banned exploits:

  • Reverse Quantum Crouch (https://github.com/ValveSoftware/Source-1-Games/issues/2195) or any similar methods that bug hitboxes, visually or non-visually
  • Bugging player model animations (e.g. entering civilian/reference poses)
  • Bypassing the server sv_cheats setting to enable any in-game cheat command like showing wireframes, removing map fog, thirdperson mode etc. (punishable with a Cheating ban if used anywhere in TF2, see 6.4. Game Modifications)
  • Damaging/Killing players during setup time
  • Abusing record;stop to see invisible Spies
  • Pyro: Any methods that extend crit or invincibility times when using the Phlogistinator.
  • Pyro: Methods that massively extend the range of any flame thrower fire particles via exploits, e.g. by tricking the game to calculate that you are currently in a high velocity movement state while actually being stuck in the air.
  • Pyro: Storing the stomp ability with the Thermal Thruster.
  • Sniper: Crouch Sniper Peeking / Cornersniping
  • Sniper: Any method that allows for a faster re-zoom in order to use the time gained during the reload animation to negate the headshot delay, allowing you to hit headshots as soon as the weapon is able to fire.
    As an example: cl_autorezoom 1 and jumping is allowed; however it is not allowed to take advantage of it in an impactful way via a combination with special movement (e.g. c-tapping) or the usage of map terrain (e.g. doorways or low ceilings or higher elevated areas/props) with the intent to negate the headshot delay.

6.1.1 Abusing Map Bugs is not allowed
A spot on the map is commonly banned if:

– It gives players the possibility to see things they shouldn’t be able to (e.g. looking through walls).
– It gives players a way to shoot others without other players being able to shoot them.
– It doesn’t work on both sides of the map.

Wallbugs are not considered an exploit unless they meet any of the criteria above.

Most commonly seen banned map spots include:

– Upward: Building a teleporter in the dropdown spot on the 3rd point, using the resupply cabinet through the wall at RED’s forward spawn.
– Gullywash: Shooting through the shutter on last and taunting through the ceiling of elbow.
– Product: Bugged skybox spot.
– Steel: Using flamethrowers to damage players on A through the steel sliding doors.

If you are unsure about the legality of any sneaky spot on a map, please contact an admin on [ETF2L’s Discord server] to clarify the situation and prevent complaints from your opponent.

6.2. Cheats are not allowed” has received a mention of game exploits, illegal modifications, scripts that will lead to cheating bans if used anywhere in Team Fortress 2 for further clarification and community awareness.

6.2. Cheats are not allowed
Any kind of cheats are not permitted. Players who are found guilty of using cheats or game exploits or illegal scripts or modifications categorised as cheats (see “6.1. Bug-Using is not allowed”, “6.3. Scripts” and “6.4. Game Modifications” for some examples) anywhere in TF2 will be banned from all ETF2L competitions according to the following:

  • First Time: 2 Years
  • Second Time: Permanent Ban

There is no appeal process for cheating bans. ETF2L league bans for Team Fortress 2 VACs count as a cheating ban. Players who attempt to evade their cheating or VAC ban on ETF2L will receive a permanent ban. This ban may be appealed if the conditions of [6.2.1 Permanent Cheating Ban Appeals] are met.

Example situation:
A player is caught cheating by the Anti-Cheat staff and is banned from ETF2L for 2 years. After the unban the player receives a TF2 VAC. The player will then be permanently banned from all ETF2L competitions.

6.3. Scripts” sees the addition of any kind of sound scripts that may improve the player’s sense of hearing as a banned example (also see “6.4. Game Modifications“) and the addition of the Medic radar script, loadout changing/quick respawn scripts as well as viewmodel and crosshair switch scripts as allowed scripts. If you use a special script that is not listed, please ask the ETF2L staff before using it in any officials.

6.3. Scripts
Scripts that allow a player to perform an action in-game that they would not be able to execute without the script, or scripts that purposefully disrupt the player’s hitbox are banned. Scripts that freeze or glitch the player model (e.g. in mid-air to be less predictable) to make it harder to hit are also banned.

Usage of banned scripts will be penalized on a case-by-case basis, depending on the intent of the script and the impact on the match. Possible penalties may include team warnings, forfeiting of one or more match rounds or default losses, and / or league bans for the offending player.

Examples of banned scripts:

  • Charge-turn script (this includes the use of other peripherals to achieve sharper turn angles)
  • Panic spinning script
  • Freeze-glitching via spamming hud_reloadscheme
  • Scripts that enhance a player’s sense of hearing (also see 6.4 under sound file manipulations)

Examples of allowed scripts:

  • Duck-jump script
  • Null-cancelling movement script
  • Rocket/Detonator jump script
  • Übercharge mask script
  • Team say scripts
  • Medic radar script
  • Loadout changing scripts and quick respawn scripts
  • Viewmodel and crosshair switch scripts

If you are unsure about the legality of a particular script, please contact an admin on [ETF2L’s Discord server] to clarify the situation before using said script in an official match.

6.4. Game Modifications” now states that certain game modifications may lead to warnings and / or punishments on ETF2L if used in competitive-like TF2 settings depending on context and impact as well as player intent. Some examples that fall under “competitive-like TF2 settings” are ETF2L officials, scrims, PUGs (e.g. Discord PUG groups, TF2Center, TF2Pickup), officials of other leagues and so on. Examples that do not fall in this category are MVM, Casual servers, MGE/DM servers, community servers running pub maps like Uncletopia/skial/etc.
For more information on evaluating impact and intent please read the updated “6.1. Bug-Using is not allowed“. The “modifications marked in bold” which will lead to cheating bans were additionally italicised in this news post. The new listed examples of banned modifications are:

  • wallhack-like surface texture modifications
  • software sound enhancements that affect gameplay situations
  • oversized healing particles
  • making map props transparent intentionally

Tansparent viewmodels in combination with r_drawviewmodel 1 (to avoid transparent map props) have been added to the list of allowed modifications.

6.4. Game Modifications
Modifications that give the player a massive gameplay advantage are strictly forbidden.
Players who are caught using banned modifications in ETF2L officials, scrims, PUGs, officials of other leagues and any other matches in a competitive-like setting will be penalised on a case-by-case basis depending on intent and impact of the modification. Possible penalties may include team and player warnings, forfeiting of one or more match rounds or default losses and / or league bans for the offending player, with some modifications leading to cheating bans even if used outside of TF2 competitive-like settings (see below).

Examples of banned modifications:

  • Box/Square shadows
  • Surface texture modifications that function like a wallhack
  • Software sound enhancements or audio/sound file modifications or edits using surface properties that make gameplay situations far easier to detect (e.g. increasing the volume for Spy cloaks; Medic’s Ubercharge sound)*
  • Transparent Sniper scope
  • Removing map props (e.g. the rocks on Product), or making them transparent intentionally
  • Making footstep sounds more audible at all times („metal footsteps“)
  • Oversized healing particles
    *Switching sound files for rocket or grenade launchers or other weapons (e.g. using the stock Rocket Launcher’s sound with the Original or vice versa) is allowed as long as the modification has no impact on detecting other players or gameplay situations. We strongly recommend asking staff before replacing any sound files with custom sounds.

Modifications marked in bold will be punished with cheating bans if used anywhere in TF2 (see 6.2.). We advise all players to remove any of the modifications above from their game files in order to prevent reports and misunderstandings, even if the intent is to only use them outside of competitive TF2.

Examples of allowed modifications:

  • Custom HUDs
  • Custom hitsounds
  • Custom viewmodels and crosshairs
  • Removal of ambient soundscapes
  • Flat textures
  • “No-Hats” mods
  • Transparent Viewmodels (only in combination with r_drawviewmodel 1 to avoid transparent map props)
  • Changing the colour of overheal particles (without increasing their size, modifying the randomness of size patterns, changing particle positioning etc.).

If you are unsure about the legality of a particular modification, please contact an admin on [ETF2L’s Discord server] to clarify the situation before using it in an official match.

Please note that using the exploits, scripts, modifications etc. marked as being punishable with a cheating ban were already considered as cheating before this rule update.

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8 Comments

  1. HartzFartz: (ETF2L Donator) - IA6 - 0FO said:

    A div 1 player not being allowed as default merc in div 1 is a dumb rule.

  2. Mong: HARRYHILL - BRIT said:

    admins don’t play the game so they wouldn’t know that limiting defaulting mercs to be below your div is a horrible rule likely introduced just to make their life better since they were shit at knowing which mercs are default or not (2 admins were wrong/lied to me once about this).
    gj retards

  3. fnzkie said:

    cl_autorezoom 1 + jump is still gives advantage and its allowed [email protected]

  4. AlesKee: SDCK! said:

    Current default merc rule is good, encourages people to roster subs and prevents people from constantly mercing the best players in their div to get points.

  5. Tonton Flairix: A6E - help said:

    I thought default merc was only a thing in HL and not in 6’s

  6. wonder said:

    div 1 default merc = 1 (full?) season played in div1 max or below
    div 2 default merc = 1 (full?) season played in div 2 max or below
    div 3/mid default merc = 1 (full) season played in div 3/mid max or below
    etc….

    it would be better rule I guess

  7. mak: TBC - INSANE said:

    i flag anyone who knows what a default merc is as a noob hl player trying to win offis by defaulting or getting carry mercs anyway so thank u admins for making them madge

  8. $neaky: (ETF2L Donator) - SVIFT - ONCE said:

    based mak

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