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TF2 patch redeems Valve

Thankfully they came to their senses.  Valve fixed the unlock controversy with a patch today that makes the item unlock system work how it should have worked all along:  Items are once again unlockable through earning achievements in addition to being found through drops.  I’ve noticed that the drop rate has been increased as well (found 3 items, that I already had, in under an hour of actually playing).

Now that I have all the items unlocked, I feel like I can just enjoy the game.  I spent an hour plinking arrows at people on a standard point capture server and I did better than I thought I would.  It took some learning, but now that I have the strafe and shoot down I’m able to take out people semi-consistently.  It really is all about anticipating where people will be when your arrow reaches its destination.  People tend to behave and move in certain ways as certain classes and once you figure out (and certain players habbits) it makes the bow great fun.  The Spy items, aside from the now nerfed/fixed Ambassador are fun too.  The Dead Ringer and Cloak and Dagger are both really great for creating entirely new ways to play the Spy.  I’m absolutely horrible as a Spy even with the new items, but I’ve seen some people use them to achieve amazing results.

I’m really enjoying the multiple ways to unlock items.  Honestly, it’s a bit easy and if you play for any time at all you’re going to get items but that’s how a FPS game should be – all skill with these extras being fluff.  Thinking about this combination of ways to earn gear, it reminds me of Mythic’s new sigil system coming to WAR in the next patch.  No, this won’t turn into a post comparing TF2 to WAR, but I want to touch upon how progression being more open ended and more flexible can be a really good thing if the entire game focuses around the gameplay — in fact it allows a game to focus more on gameplay.  Earning gear through achievements/sigils in a MMO could be something to build upon and I’ll be able to think about it more after WAR’s 1.3 patch.

  • Finley says:

    This is great news indeed! Hopefully now they introduce trading of some sort to remedy the duplicate items that many people have.

  • Skuishe says:

    Beware of spies.

    (I am not a spy)

    On a completely unrelated note, that anti-spy shield thing is terrible. Don’t bother equipping it.

    😉

  • Snafzg says:

    Bah, I’ve yet to unlock any special items. Is there any trick to it? Do you just play and hope to get one? Once you do get one, is there anything special you need to do or do they just show up on your weapon select screen? I noticed something about a loadout. Should I check there?

  • Guido says:

    @Snafzg: The game tells you when you have acquired a special item through the randomizer. If you want to go for the unlocks through achievements, you can do that too – have a look at the achievements, each of the class packs (Medic, Pyro, Heavy, Sniper and Spy) does have 3 milestones you can reach. At every one of those milestones, you get a predetermined unlock, too.

    I really like this change, although it comes a bit late for me (I got all new unlocks except the two new spy watches, and lo and behold I also have enough achievements for all new unlocks except the two new spy watches and the Sniper shield – so I got one free, yay).

    But at least now I know what I can do to get the last two sniper items, and the good old well-known servers full of snipers and spies that everybody excepted right after this patch have finally arrived, too 😀

    …too bad there’s no class that really counters them both equally well, except maybe the Pyro (but he can be somewhat easily picked off at range).

  • Soapbar says:

    Well, I just hope that VALVe and other developers learn from this to implement all necessary systems that are required to avoid unnecessary frustration. If they had the trade system and ways to build up to certain weapons along with the big update, some headaches may have been avoided.

    Anyway, I am really enjoying all the new weapons that came out, Jarate and Cloak and Dagger being my favorites.

  • heartless_ says:

    Uhhh, great, cheaters get their way again. This doesn’t redeem Valve, it just shows how poorly thought out the unlock system was to begin with.

    You make the point that FPS games should get to the point and match players on their skills (not items). This combine system does nothing but bring the cheaters back with their achievement servers.

    I guarantee its faster to get items through random drops than it is through legitimately trying to get achievement milestones. Which means, the cheaters prosper again.

  • Keen says:

    They lowered achievement requirements as well though heartless_. I was able to get 5 achievements in 2 hours of legit playing and that’s already milestone #1 now. It’s also a milestone towards and item that I would want instead of a random item. In that 2 hours I found the ubersaw – an item I had and did not want anyway.

    Valve botched the original implementation and had they left it that way they would have left the vast majority of their playerbase angry. They needed to redeem themselves in a big way.

  • Sketch says:

    I’m loving the new Team Fortress patch. The game is a lot of fun and the loot help vary the play style for each class. I think TF2 is the best class-based FPS out there.

  • […] Why not leave the progression behind?Progression may be the root of the problems with older content, but it’s also a fundamental part of the genre and its business model. We have games that offer class-based tactical PVP combat and zero need to reset gear or worry about trivializing older content. They’re called First Person Shooters. The thing is, FPS players are historically very hostile to any concept of persistent character progress – see Keen’s comments on a recent failed attempt to add random gear drops to Team Fortress 2. […]

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