Medic recently published an article discussing the myriad of ways Valve has allowed players to decorate themselves, and it got me thinking about a lot of the different points she brought up. It’s definitely true that Valve’s gotten more and more bold with every new cosmetic addition. We’ve come a long way since the simple character model toggles from Team Fortress Classic.
But of course we can go further. As Medic mentioned, stickers are the most obvious cosmetic advancement we’re currently missing, since it’s mind-bogglingly easy to implement (just add it to the texture square the game is drawing the skin from) and opens up so many doors for product placement, eSport team branding, and rare promotional drops. The only reason I can think they’re not already in the game is that Valve was testing to see if weapon skins in general were accepted by the community. Well, they were, so throw it in Valve.
Seriously. At this point, the sky’s the limit. Festivisers proved that Valve’s prepared to take weapon cosmetics to a whole new level than the parent game ever dared, freed from the constrains of realism. And at a certain point, it’s just cool to go completely overboard on letting someone make the ultimate unique weapon. I still only have a single crappy skin, but I must admit it would be pretty amazing to have a rocket launcher with skin, killstreak sheen, lights, unusual effects, StatTrak sticker and hell why not even an actual nametag like in CSGO? Like, bitch this is MY gun and there ain’t no other like it!
I’m wondering why Valve doesn’t go further with the “truly unique” perk of their style of weapon skins. The economical profiteering is greatest when you can take identically-skinned weapons and STILL somehow some of them are significantly more valuable. Imagine if the festive models had randomized light placements and quantity of lights, or rare possibilities of special colors like pink and purple. Or if the StatTrak counter had multiple locations it might appear on the weapon, and if you’re unlucky you can only read it during the put-away animation that shows the other side of the weapon. Whoever said rare variants had to benefit the player?
Medic also talked about reskins. And I wanted to bring this up too because it’s genuinely interesting what the weapon skins have done to the TF2 meta. All of a sudden stock weapons are everywhere, just because people want to customize them. It’s logical that we can’t add weapon skins to unlocks, because good luck distinguishing a funky-colored Brass Beast or Sydney Sleeper from the stock weapon its replacing. But I think that we could definitely get away with adding weapon skins for a specific class of unlocks that share completely unique models. The Huntsman, Flare Gun, Sandvich (with festive-style wrapping paper) and Wrangler are all instantly recognizable due to their unique models and could support skins no problem. Likewise we could give the ever-popular Crusader’s Crossbow some skins considering Valve skipped the Syringe Gun, and the Dead Ringer could support skins without a single gameplay consequence.
In conclusion what I’m basically trying to say is, I want to see how far Valve’s prepared to take this. If they’re gonna steal from CS:GO, they should expand on it as well. Unusual effects and Christmas lights are a great first step, but there are so many unexplored avenues. Let’s never stop. Let’s push the weapon-customization concept to untold heights. There’s money to be made.