The Art of Voucher Ringing

Team Fortress 2 was released initially as part of the Orange Box, which fulfilled the minimal multiplayer requirement to make that package feel worth purchasing. For the longest time, I feel that I’ve made that 49.99 dollar purchase stretch for years, making it worth its while until Keys, and overall, The Mannconomy came out. Once there was a defined path for my wallet to siphon into my all-time online timesink, the game’s metagame evolved. It was no longer about gunning each other down, it was about obtaining the prettiest, shiniest crap that you can don upon your visually self-proclaimed elite avatars.

Well it was still mostly about gunning people down, but now you get do it while looking incredibly stylish. Regardless of which, the idea of obtaining rare, visual novelties became an endgame goal to most players of TF2, creating an economy which also inadvertently split the community in two once the game inevitably became Free-to-Play in an attempt to extend the life of the game. A sort of clashing of the Rich and the Poor also feels prevalent in public play, with the poorer, younger and most likely free players being ostracized by highly decorated jerks.

The implementation of Mann vs Machine was Valve’s answer to a co-operational campaign mode, putting 6 random nobodies in the place of defending one of Saxton Hale’s various front companies from literal robots. Completing the missions consumes a ticket, which results in a checkmark indicating that you’ve done that one mission in the set. Completing ALL the missions on a whole tour will result with a Strange Botkiller Weapon, or in the case of the Two Cites Tours, a Killstreak weapon.

The unsung hero of the MvM update would have to be the Squad Surplus Vouchers, which allow an additional drop to drop for all the players who complete a mission.  This will be the emphasis of this article. 

A long long time ago when MvM first came out, I ended up finishing an Oil Spill Tour (the easiest tour), and then four more tours of that. Unhappy with my inevitable, lackluster “purchases”, I vowed to never finish another Oil Spill Tour after that four, leaving four missions completed.

don’t complete it. fight every inch in your body to leave it uncompleted
Don’t complete it. Fight every inch in your body to leave it uncompleted.

I did notice however, if I do retry on missions that I’ve completed, As long as I had a single ticket and I didn’t complete the rest of the tour, I can re-up indefinitely on any previously completed mission.  After putting two and two together, I realize that I can still redeem other player vouchers in completed missions.  Sure, you will be ditching your fair amount of games;  Some advocate finishing one wave before leaving to avoid the penalties.

A high stakes game. Shut up and put your money where your mouth is.
A high stakes game. Shut up and put your money where your mouth is.

To people who may want to criticize me for this, think yourself as a weathered ferryman, a knowledgeable shepherd or hell, even a cold, silent mercenary to those who are willing to pay the price for a symbiotic relationship. tl;dr, you are Boba Fett, and you won’t do anyone’s dirty work for nothin’.

There is an astonishing amount of people who are absolutely terrible at MvM who could use a guiding hand- If any of those players are offering an incentive, who are you to complain?  You’re just a Ringer who has a common goal, and will provide your services for drops.  Being a “Generalist” player (which you should be anyway), you may have to compensate for the lack of the other players offensive output.  Scouts WILL miss dollars. Engineers WILL hog the dispensers on their high platform to leave you and your team ammoless and thoroughly shafted.  Hell, be glad if there is a Scout at all.  Thats why you’re the valued variable, able to adapt to almost any combination of mercs. This is the low end of MvM, you are basically helping clueless newbies with deep pockets. A huge amount of patience is highly suggested, as well as the tolerance for squeakers. The loot isn’t much, but you’ll inevitably gain a few hats.

Or end up with this.
Or end up with this.

You won’t be gaining any unusuals through this, but with some fair trading, you can open yourself up to low/mid end goods, the refined acting as base currency as well as the hats that you gain. You can even tap into the Collector Value Market, and appeal to those who are trying to collect 200 of  a particular weapon. I’ve used my MvM metal to get my favorite Strange Loch from the former tf.marketplace, so think creatively. Once the loot is in your hands, how you handle it is up to you.


Just be patient, fellow Ringers.

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