Back in the old days, there were not many miscellaneous items. You had your Procedure Mask, your Blighted Beak and that was about it. You also only had two slots, one for a hat, one for a miscellaneous item and that was also about it. It cost a minimum of 1.66 refined to buy a hat and crafting two hats together was not always a good idea unless you had duplicates. Keys were cheaper too, and two hats would generally get you one key. It was a simpler time, when you could name all the currently available hats and still have room on your piece of paper to draw a crude picture of a Heavy eating a sandvich.
The issue with early miscellaneous items was that 1. they were very uncommon and 2. they were mostly just hats but worn on your face. We had badges too, but not everyone liked badges, especially if it’s a Mercenary badge that pretty much everyone has these days. There were a few fancy pansy items but most of the time, it was an item for your face.
But as the technology improved, we soon found that we weren’t restricted to just hats! There were other places to put items! You could wear bottles and batteries instead of grenades. You could put teddies and stuff in your spare pockets, a trend put into motion by the still-incredibly-adorable Teddy Roosabelt. In fact, pets were a big thing for a while, with every class receiving a pet or two each. Unless they were Spy, who had to wait until this year to receive a pet in the form of a snake that clings to his arm.
As well as single items, more and more items started to come out in sets. Some of the first of these were the Halloween costume sets, a lot of which contained shoes of all things! Yes, we now had shoes you could wear on top of your normal shoes. Or replacing your shoes, depending on your class. Demoman and Scout in particular have bodygroups to remove their shoes while Soldier just wears shoes over his shoes. Other items included backpack items, like the Fallen Angel and the Emerald Jarate.
Then we have coats. And jackets. And t-shirts. And all sorts. Early clothing add-ons like the Quadwrangler just added a collar and a weird gizmo on the arm, but later clothing added entire coats, complete with fluffy collars and puffy sleeves. There is something for everyone, from warm jackets for traipsing around Coldfront, to Hawaiian to wear in Egypt, to restaurant apparel for those who wish to work in a cafe or something after slaughtering a team of noobs, to formal wear that would make any Scout’s mother swoon.
It doesn’t stop there though. Clothing in TF2 has evolved to the point that there’s so much stuff, you’re spoiled for choice. Should I wear that fancy jacket or that cardigan? Or how about that shirt? Who knows? Take one class and have a glance at their apparel. Heavy for example could be a lumberjack one moment and a wrestler another, complete with fancy belt. After that, Heavy could transform into a homeless bloke begging for sandviches and then become Medic’s version of the Frankenstein monster. Or he could just be a larger Rambo with a mini gun.
At some point, it will all collapse. There are so many items in the game that my last count of about 800 is hideously out of date. I think we’re closing in on the big 1000. You can’t even collect every single item in the game with one account any more. The question has been asked many times whether all the extra polygons that need to be rendered are slowing down the game, especially since not all of them have proper LODs or anything like that.
The question is though, have we already reached the point of no return?