Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Let Them Wear Hats

Slotted Backpacks? WTFBBQ!

Slotted Backpacks? WTFBBQ!

Slotted-backpack inventory systems. Customizable headgear. Achievements separated from unlockables. What is Valve doing to my beloved Team Fortress Two?!

I’ve got to admit, it’s driving me crazy to see major changes being implemented in my favorite time-waster and not being able to check them out. As of right now, I don’t have TF2 installed for the Windows partition on my laptop, and I’m not even sure it has enough space to hold it. That’s all purely speculative, of course; when it takes six or seven tries and forty-five minutes to download a one meg PDF file, the very thought of trying to download and install the seven gigs that are TF2 is simultaneously laughable and horrifying.

Some people are freaking out, saying Valve is turning TF2 into an MMO. Others are excited and asking where they can start paying their $15 a month and organizing raids. I think most of us, though, are either shrugging or scratching our heads. It doesn’t hurt that Valve tossed this code into their latest patch, adding fuel to an already-crazy internet fire:

“TF_MMO_LFG” “Looking For Group”
“TF_MMO_Quest1” “You must kill %s1 %s2 to complete this quest.”
“TF_MMO_Monster1” “Boars”
“TF_MMO_Monster2” “Rats”
“TF_MMO_Monster3” “Bats”
“TF_MMO_Monster4” “Wolves”
“TF_MMO_Monster5” “Spiders”

Relax, everyone. It’s a joke. Just like this.

What the changes boil down to is nothing more than Valve listening to customer feedback. New players and casual gamers had difficulty getting into the game after the one-two punch of achievements+unlockables was introduced, making them feel as though it required too much effort to get up to the level of those that had been playing for a while. Personally, I’ve also had mixed feelings about the new weapons, and it isn’t too much fun to see my server overwhelmed by a single player class whenever an update is released. I much prefer to have player differentiated solely by their level of skill, not how many times they’ve done X action to get Y result and earned the Backburner flamethrower or Kritzkrieg med gun. That being said, I understand Valve’s interest in keeping the game fresh – updates typically have an ancillary effect of boosting sales, so I can hardly blame them for wanting the game to constantly evolve.

I want my doctor to wear a cool hat. The end.

I want my doctor to wear a cool hat. The end.

Hats, for example. Those are good. They look cool (sometimes) and keep your head warm (all the time). They fit perfectly into the irreverence that TF2 strives for – it’s fun, and it’s competitive, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Something purely cosmetic like hats is a fun addition, providing they aren’t too out-of-character. Something tells me they won’t be; Valve has an excellent grasp on the characteristics of each player class.

When I log back into my server in August after 9 months of absence, you can bet I’ll be wearing one of those nifty hats. That, and I’ll be fragging lots and lots of people. Consider yourselves warned.


May 3, 2009 - Posted by | Gaming | , , , , , ,

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