Love is in the air! At least, most other places. Not much love happens in Team Fortress 2 around this time, unless you count hundreds of ring messages cropping up and blocking crucial elements of your custom HUD.
Yes, I’m talking about the Something Special for Someone Special, that $100 ring that made Cracked’s list of The 5 Most Absurdly Expensive Items in Online Gaming. It was added to the game on February 14th, 2012. Also added at that point was the Snapped Pupil, which is actually the byproduct of a troll post on Facepunch that a modeler ran with. Other items with such glorious backstories include the Seal Mask and (in my opinion) the first Quick-Fix buff. The Sandvich also received its famous nerf; no longer could Heavies drop themselves a medium health pack at will, instead they could only eat it or give it to teammates. Personally, I think this is a much better Sandvich than before, promotes teamwork.
Exactly one year later, Valve released the Tux, a Linux promo item obtained by playing TF2 on a Linux machine, in a fashion similar to the Earbuds. Unlike the Earbuds, it is untradeable and has remained so for months. Lots of people are wondering if Valve plans to ever unrestrict it; one one hand they may be trying to avoid creating another Earbuds, but on the other an untradeable Tux goes against the Linux philosophy of free and open resources to all. Time will only tell. My personal favorite exploit in the game lost its life too: Crusader’s Crossbow can no longer damage friendlies if you switch to spectator while the arrow is in the air.
Let’s rewind a bit to February 14th, 2008. Badlands was released, probably among my favorite maps in TF2. Sadly, I can’t seem to ever find any servers playing it. People need to play more of this map. A large list of small fixes to preexisting maps removed a couple of famed exploits, including Demo/soldiers clipping through this wall on Dustbowl and trains on Well not starting if it wasn’t the map that began the map cycle. Also added was a slight delay to the Sniper rifle before it could get a scoped critical hit; this was designed to prevent quickscoping and is the last thing Valve has done on that front.
Wrapping this bass-ackwards timeline around to 2012 again, February 9th added the Boston Boom-Bringer, the first cosmetic to come with a Community-submitted soundtrack added to the brand new “Sound Device” category of the Steam Workshop. To date, the only other “sound device” added to TF2 is the Infernal Orchestrina, which (fun fact) was actually rentable from the Mann Co. Store like a weapon for a few weeks after it came out.
So go show some love for Team Fortress 2 by playing it this Valentine’s Day! Your significant others have the whole rest of the year with you, after all.