So I was idly chatting with Davjo about spaghetti and games yesterday when he mentioned that the current campaigns in CS:GO (Operation: Bloodhound) and Team Fortress 2 (Gun Mettle Campaign) are coming to an end today. This actually caught me by surprise. Had it really been that long? It certainly didn’t feel that long. Has it really been so long since the Vaccinator was made shit again? Clearly so.
I’d ignored the whole damn event. A dear friend gifted me a middling Medi Gun, which was lovely of him, but I refused to shell out €6 for a campaign pass and didn’t really care about weapon skins anyway. It all passed me by. That’s probably why I forgot that the campaign was soon to end. But everyone else apart from me had fallen into Valve’s trap yet again and bought into the scheme. I asked a few of them what they thought.
Most people I asked directly felt negative about the campaign in general, while the complete strangers I asked were much happier. But then again asking random strangers gives a larger range of answers. Opinions were all over the place but mostly positive. Many did think that Gun Mettle gave Team Fortress 2 a breath of fresh air, especially since Gun Mettle was more than just a few hats, it included balance changes, new maps and something for everyone to do.
Out of the maps, the most accessible part of the update, not everyone enjoyed Powerhouse. According to Jigglypuff, “POWERHOUSE CONTRACT CAN DIE IN A FIRE”. His words. But campaign goers felt his pain. The community maps, even Suijin, were welcomed by the community, and contracts on those maps were generally okay and perfectly doable, but Powerhouse contracts often needed a steamroll, otherwise you could spend an hour trying to get a single win. Borneo and Suijin were both accepted as good maps. Snowplow though was troublesome, once everyone realised it was a rather boring Attack/Defend map, everyone decided they disliked it.
Contracts were a big selling point of the whole thing. While people did enjoy doing them, they were problematic. Many people thought that a lot of the contracts were simply too easy, only taking a short while to do. There was also imbalance and repetition among the contracts. As mentioned before, Powerhouse contracts could take forever, but there were some rather tedious contracts, particularly Engineer ones, should the circumstances be unsatisfactory. The advanced part of a contract could often be quite simple or rather stupid. The contracts did need some tweaks to make them less repetitive and needed to throw in some more interesting things outside of getting kills and points.
The balance changes were overall seen as good. Yes, Spy is still somewhat weak. Yes, Heavy still has that silly spinup nerf. Yes, the Vaccinator is still broken, but the Loch N Load was fixed, the Baby Face’s Blaster is no longer stupidly good and the Tide Turner was made usable again. Engineer got some nerfs which made him more bearable and gave him a more accessible counter in the form of Heavy and his miniguns and Spy got changes so that the Dead Ringer isn’t so god-like. There were questionable changes *cough*weapon drops*cough* but most of that appears to have been forgotten.
Cosmetics were hit and miss. Some thought the skins were ugly, some thought they were nice, but almost everyone agreed that the payouts were somewhat poor after the first two weeks. People who had managed to make their money back early on were much happier than those who had just missed the bus. Many people, particularly me, weren’t that happy about having to pay for a campaign pass then pay again to open a crate to get a low value weapon skin, and Civilian-grade weapons FLOODED the Steam Market for ages, until Valve added in a trade-up ability. Even then, prices only went up slightly because of randomness. That hasn’t stopped people hoping their masses of cheap weapons will be worth something when it all dies down though.
The addition of the cosmetic crate was a rather experimental thing. The Potassium Bonnet in particular stirred up controversy, but already that’s died down. I’m surprised there were so few complaints about the ballcap, since we already have a ton of them.
Total stats (after I stopped counting – more people probably posted since)
People who thought the GM update was great: 62
People who had multiple complaints about it but thought it was good: 79
People who disliked it: 34
Most complained about map: Snowplow
Most complained about issue: The contents of each contract
Overall, the biggest thing about Gun Mettle is that it gave Team Fortress 2 a big shake up. Yes, it may have been mostly copied from CS:GO, but that doesn’t matter. The campaign system meant that people tried harder in pubs (although mostly only in official Gun Mettle servers rather than all Valve servers) and it gave people a reason to keep on playing Team Fortress 2.
To quote InstantMuffin, the guy behind TF2 Karting, “if it is what they need to keep people on the game and so keep it alive, I’m fine with it”. But as my buddy Bacxaber said, we’re sick of seeing Pauling’s fucking face on the main menu. Let’s hope the TF2 team takes note.