I always raise an eyebrow when I see lengthy threads with detailed descriptions, where OP explains in great detail why random critical hits are unbalanced. So much wasted effort to explain something that is so obvious.
Random crits are not balanced – they are designed to be so. They are not balanced, and it’s good.
Why? Most of you who played, say, Mario Cart or even Call Of Duty already know the answer. Things like Blue Shell or the “Noob Tube” are there for purely social reasons – to keep players together, in a group.
Time passes and players who started to play any game earlier will inevitably become way more skilled than those who came later. Noobs will be easily outplayed, and gap in skill between seasoned players and newcomers will leave everyone wanting.
Skilled players will get bored without any challenge and newbies will feel impotent and powerless.
You all been there, you all know that guy. Lone killjoy at the party, easily destroying everyone at Street Fighter, man! Random crits, Blue Shells, Noob Tubes help to fill that gap. They give newcomers a fighting chance, and they give pro players something to be afraid of. That is their purpose – to break the balance, and stop players from building walls between each other.
Games without these elements exist, of course – Dota 2 being the most obvious example (although it DOES have critical strikes, they’re not as dangerous as a crocket). Games like this have the most toxic communities, they are extremely hard to learn and even harder to master. No wonder they say that Dota 2 tutorial is 40 first matches, which you lose.
TF2 is much smoother experience, and have much lower entry skill level. And this is fine.
Before I go – little, obvious thing.
While random crits prevent game from being unfriendly and intimidating for newcomers, in situations where there are no newcomers and all the players are of the equal skill, there are no need for them. But that’s why Valve gave us options. That’s why we have ability to customize our games. No crit and no damage spread servers exist and are fairly well-populated. Competitive TF2, built around teamwork and personal skill, would be meaningless with those random elements, but in my opinion regular play can’t exist without them.
Thank you, and goodbye.