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Team Fortress 2 Has A Lovely Surprise For You

teamfortress.jpg

Note: Picture (right) is not the surprise


Team Fortress 2, the whimsical, cartoonish take on team-based FPS multiplayer (and Orange Box alumni) is back in the news, and with good reason: Valve has decided to lower its cost to the wallet friendly price of "zero dollars," as noted in Steam's news section. In an interview with develop-online.net, Valve's own Robin Walker discussed Valve's newfound interest in a free-to-play approach to TF2, which relies on micro-transactions from TF2's in-game store. Despite losing the profits from the sale of each game, Valve believes that a free-to-play model will ultimately be beneficial.

The more players, the more available servers in your area, the wider variety of other players you'll find, the greater the opportunity for new experiences, and so on. Another way we think of it is that there are a class of players who will never pay us a dime, for a variety of reasons. We're not upset by that, it's just a constraint we need to design around. The interesting problem to solve is how to make those freeloaders produce value for our paying customers. Obviously, getting those free players into the game is the first step to doing that.

I'm always curious as to how such models work out - the immediate assumption being that most people will simply download the game and spend little, if anything, on in-game content - but at the very least, it keeps an interest in a franchise that, while still rather popular, is coming up on four years old. As Walker notes in the interview, Valve's strategy also garners interest in Steam, as well as the "Steam Wallet": the system through which transactions will be processed.

I've become quite a fan of Steam over the years, and despite the bothersome task of waiting for comically-huge game downloads, it has become my preferred platform for PC games, due to the fact that I can retrieve games at well via my Steam Library. For both of you who haven't yet played TF2, it's an absolute blast. Aside from being charming, amusing, and all-around adorable, its accessibility harkens back to the days of classic first-person shooters. Particularly for someone like me, whose adeptness at such bother could be charitably described as "sub-par," it's one of the few multiplayer titles that I genuinely enjoy - and by that, I mean that one can play a few rounds without the bother of "constantly being shot in the face by people half my age," ala Counter-Strike. The one major point of concern I have is the question of hacking. Walker words that "we're as concerned about cheaters and griefers as [gamers] are, so we've spent a bunch of time trying to figure out all the ways that griefers can hurt other player's experiences," are about what one would expect. Still, it's not terribly reassuring.
What do you think, gamers? Is the strategy a bold, new way forward for TF2, does this have catastrophe written all over it (or anything in between)? Sound off in the comments section below!

5 Comments

AJ said:

Tried it and have it on steam but just couldn't get into it. Lack of dedicated servers puts me off.

Trying to find an un-modded, non-'pro' server that also happens to be fairly local so to reduce lag is a real pain.

Plus it's been out so long that most of the people still playing it can probably play almost blindfolded and I've no chance of beating them. They're the odd class of players on steam who you find own TF2, Half-life, Counter Strike possibly Portal and then NOTHING ELSE.

Mittens said:

LOLZ at AJ

Dude, I have tried apologizing over and over...I swear it was just a phase. What can my modded, pro-only, distant server ever do to win you back!?

I'm excited about this. Cause I liked TF2, but got tired of stand-off/endurance games which occurred very frequently. Hopefully, this will stratify the skill levels in the same game more.

Shin Gallon said:

What are you talking about AJ, the game has had dedicated servers since day 1. And I find laid back, more casual servers all the time.

As for the changes, I'm mainly only concerned with the new crafting screen (in that it's terrible). That and the new Demo stuff is overpowered as hell, but that's nothing new. They keep buffing the already broken Demoknights and nothing new for real Demomen.
Real Demomen use the frying pan >_>

Karrde said:

Well, sure the demoknight crap is mad OP but the game's such a mess these days it's pretty much possible to kill with anything. We'll adapt like usual and most of us are unlikely to change our loadouts much. Might get nerfed too.

AJ said:

Dedicated server wrong word maybe. Does it have servers run by Valve?

Admittedly I only played it for a few days, but whenever I tried all I could find when joining games was a huge long list of player made servers to sift through. Spent about 15-30 mins each time trying to find one one with good connection that used the basic levels/rules.

Might just be blind but I didn't find anything that let me just jump onto and auto-match to an official game server or anything like that.

Also, I played spy, which I'm told after that it's the hardest class the play...

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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AJ on Team Fortress 2 Has A Lovely Surprise For You: Dedicated server wrong word maybe. Does it have servers run by Valve? Admittedly I only played it for a few...

Karrde on Team Fortress 2 Has A Lovely Surprise For You: Well, sure the demoknight crap is mad OP but the game's such a mess these days it's pretty much possible...

Shin Gallon on Team Fortress 2 Has A Lovely Surprise For You: What are you talking about AJ, the game has had dedicated servers since day 1. And I find laid back,...

Mittens on Team Fortress 2 Has A Lovely Surprise For You: LOLZ at AJ Dude, I have tried apologizing over and over...I swear it was just a phase. What can my...

AJ on Team Fortress 2 Has A Lovely Surprise For You: Tried it and have it on steam but just couldn't get into it. Lack of dedicated servers puts me off....

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