Things TF2 still really needs

I wrote an article about things that Team Fortress 2 lacks before and none of those things got added, as far as I recall. In Valve’s eyes, I simply don’t exist unless I’m sorting out my brother’s stuff after he got phished. And even then it took a week for Steam Support to sort things out. So since Valve clearly doesn’t acknowledge my existence, here’s another list of things that Valve should add to TF2. Because why not? If you want, you can read the first article here.

1. Play testing before updates.
The last few TF2 updates have been pretty poor. Not because of the lack of content, but because of the bugs we’ve been having currently. Just the other week, a bug so huge and confusing appeared that people stopped playing Sniper and Spy for ten minutes and started playing Demoman and, in particular, Heavy. Yes, for some weird reason, you could equip primary weapons in ANY weapon slot. Risks included crashing the game, being unable to use your melee slot, wearing booties instead of carrying a sword and being able to abuse mini-crits as Heavy on any map. This bug could have easily been found before sending out the update by choosing a weapon and picking from your entire backpack.

It’s not just that huge bug (that was rather quickly fixed). Scream Fortress 6 had a lot of bugs too, some of which should have been caught during playtesting. Some of the bugs were re-occurrences of bugs that had appeared in previous years, some were new. But even a little playtesting would have shown that the Elimination match lasts forever because of that tent poll.

2. The ability to turn off or turn down unneeded particles
Some particles are useful. That effect around the payload cart is invaluable. The glowing effect  on a Medi Gun tells you he has Ubercharge. The Domination symbol tells you that bastard there is dominating you and you should avoid him (or alternatively, hunt him down and murder him painfully). Other particle effects though are useless. You don’t need to see people’s killstreak effects or unusual hats. You don’t really need to see the map stamp effect. Or that big tank explosion in MvM. Or the Sentry Buster explosions. What would be nice is the ability to turn off all these huge, unneeded particle effects. Valve will never let us turn off hats, but at least we’d be able to turn off the silly particles.

3. Make sure everything works in every version of Direct X. Or upgrade, I dunno.
Have you ever played TF2 in Direct X 8? It sucks. DX8 is missing a large number of features. Some textures randomly appearing as fire is one of those DX8 things. You know that wonderful, healthy Ready Brek glow you get around payload carts and the bastard Scout who just stole your flag? They don’t work in Direct X 8 at all. There’s also no way what so ever to make them work. So why don’t we have some sort of, well, alternative? Surely you can think of something. While we’re at it, maybe let us use newer versions of Direct X too.

4. Less cosmetics
You remember any of the hats added in the last update? How many can you name? Not many, I assume. Problem is, we’ve got too many hats and people are starting to not care. Taunts were a step in the right direction, i.e. more cosmetic content that isn’t clothing, but that quickly dried up. Hats are worth nothing now and even brand new ones, unless they’re particularly interesting, are nothing more but crafting fodder within the first two weeks of release. There must be at least a thousand cosmetics and most of them sit and rot in backpacks.

5. More backpack space
Alright, you’re not going to give up on the hats. I get it. They make you money. You know what would make you even more money? More backpack space. I’m not suggesting that you give everyone more backpack space for free (although that’d be cool), I’m suggesting you up the maximum space for backpacks. 5000 should do. That way you can get every item in the game for certain. Also, while you’re at it, please increase F2P backpacks to 100 slots. That’s enough for 10 weapons per class and some crates. Otherwise newbies will just delete crates and never want to open them.

6. Something for the real newbies
Valve servers are okay for a vanilla TF2 experience, but it’s not great for newbies. There’s almost always someone of a genuinely higher skill level. While the best way to learn is to get your ass kicked by someone better than you, when you’re still learning the game’s controls, you don’t care about that. What we need are some actually decent tutorials. One for each class, then a tutorial that takes you through each map type, then an advanced tutorial which teaches stuff like rocket jumping and when to use certain weapons. Perhaps we could also have servers for players with less than 50 hours in TF2. Maybe we could have servers for players with more than 1000 hours in TF2 as well.

7. Get rid of this stupid SV_pure stuff on Valve servers and EMBRACE your mod makers.
A lot of good things started off as mods. Team Fortress started off as a mod. People enjoy mods, whether they turn a bad-looking weapon into a nice-looking weapon or they turn Scout into Rainbow Dash. Most mods are completely harmless. But Valve decided, in order to make Valve servers ‘more vanilla’, to turn sv_pure on all the official servers. Why? I don’t know. Surely it would have been a billion times better to make use of the second option of sv_pure, which means that the server specifies what’s blacklisted and can’t be modified via custom files? Heck, create a Valve-only version of SV_pure that doesn’t require a blacklist but is less strict than current SV_pure settings. Things like map textures ought to already be blacklisted. Altering sounds like Spies decloaking and footsteps should also be blacklisted. But what harm is there in having a mod that turns the Solemn Vow into a Spy’s head? Seriously, this SV_pure stuff is silly.

8. Something based on skill.
Like all games, Team Fortress 2 has players of all ages and skill levels, from the newbie playing Soldier for the first time to the guy trying out the Phlogisinator to the average Medic to that super trimping Demoknight to the ultra pro Scout who can wipe a server clean on his own. Unlike most games though, TF2 has no leveling system, no way of defining skill outside unofficial gaming leagues like UGC. Normally, throwing randomly skilled players into a server eventually balances itself out, but it doesn’t always. What we need is some way of defining skill in game, and allowing players to play to improve their skill. Of course, this would not be the main part of the game. It’d be a side thing, like Mann Up or Freak Fortress – there for whoever wants to play it. But it does mean that people can regularly play against people of their skill level and slowly improve.

Oh well, one can hope.

Of course, this is all pointless. I’ll shut up now.

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