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It seems like whenever I choose to play TF2 at dead-ish times (when my favorites are all empty) all the servers I join are 90-100% bots. Is there some easy way to avoid joining those servers?

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Not entirely. If the server admin is smart they will leave about 4 slots open and remove a bot each time a player joins. This means that you can't filter out the server. However, if a server leaves 2 spots open it's likely a bot server or those slots are reserved for admins. –  Sadly Not Mar 15 '11 at 16:55
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I'm guessing you're not looking for "Stop playing at dead-ish times." :P –  Matthew Read Mar 15 '11 at 17:15
    
@the, they're even more clever now; setting the number of bots to an odd number (or at least appearing that way), then one just sits in spectator. I've seen bot servers with 9/24 and 19/24...etc –  Nick T Mar 15 '11 at 17:25
    
I thought there was a filter, but looking at the server dialog, I don't see it. –  MBraedley Mar 15 '11 at 21:42
    
Another alternative (thought not really an answer) is to find a server you like that doesn't have bots and is open at the odd hours you play, then add it to your favorites for when you want to play at those odd hours. –  Zibbobz Aug 28 at 19:26

6 Answers 6

up vote 20 down vote accepted

If you right click the header, you can unhide the 'Bots' column. A regular server with bots will then advertise its bot count (unless there are enough humans playing; then it's not an issue right that second):

enter image description here

Be aware that some servers do not advertise their bot count at all, which is what you might be experiencing. If you're playing on Egypt in stage 3, you'll be able to easily tell humans from bots running against the wall; otherwise it can be quite hard to tell those bots apart.

What you can try is logging in at an unusual time where hardly anybody is online, like European morning. Those servers with 23/24 players (or similar) are probably entirely bots; go ahead and blacklist those. They're typically 24/7 servers or idle "trading" servers.

Sometimes I wish servers weren't this moddable.

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I'm not 100% sure if this transfers over to TF2, but I know for the Steam Servers for Counter-strike, if you preview the server you can see the number of players including their ping values. Bots always had a ping value of 5, if a server only has "players" with 5 ping it's full of bots.

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Is that the view server info option? That would do it. –  Sadly Not Mar 15 '11 at 18:40
    
Most TF2 bots showed real pings like 25 to 60. –  DrFish Mar 15 '11 at 18:41
    
@Sadly yes it is server info option. @Bora well that sucks, didn't know that they changed that. –  Sorean Mar 15 '11 at 18:51
    
I've seen TF2 bots with a ping of BOT. It depends, I guess. –  user56 Apr 28 '11 at 9:53

Next to the word "Tags", select "do not include" from the dropdown and type "bots" into the text field. Any server using bots will be filtered from your search results.

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I had the same problem you did when I was living in Germany...

Normally what I would do is the More Info (right click on the server) and then look at the player names.

Nine times out of ten they are similar or simple sounding names, and those could denote bots.

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It happened to me too and this is annoying but there is not much you can do. The only thing I can suggest is to continue improving your favorite list of "nice" servers by attempts. I also blacklist a lot.

Finally, if you like, try to increase your friends' list by picking people that play TF2 a lot so that you can join their game when your current server become empty.

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It's easy to recognize servers when it's filled with bots. Just look at the server and the "players" playing in the server and you'll recognize common bot names. Some examples are "The Cake is a Lie", "Screaming Eagles", "Mentlegen" among others. After a while you can tell just by the names that there are bots.

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