As I mentioned in a previous article, I am very particular with the cosmetics I chose for my Medic wardrobe. As a matter of fact, I can walk through my old screenshots and watch my outfit evolve as the various parts came together and at no point have I removed a piece. So I thought I might dedicate an article to each piece of the most beloved outfit I’ve ever owned in a video game.
In college I made my first video game purchase ever; I bought The Orange Box and the Half Life Anthology pack in honor of finally getting a desktop. Unfortunately this happened right before I left for a quarter to study abroad in Britain, so for a while the only games my traveling laptop could handle were Half-Life, Half-Life expansions, and Team Fortress Classic. (I’m still proud of the fact that on my very first life ever I managed to kill a HWGuy with the super nailgun before dying.) While I was away, my girlfriend had a key to my dorm room and would play TF2 on my account, so by the time I returned I had a healthy supply of unlocks and two dropped hats, the Prussian Picklehaube and the Larrikin Robin. (The Larrikin Robin is now in her account, since she mained sniper). The Picklehaube felt like a perfect complement to Medic’s outfit, being a German-themed military hat. Who wouldn’t want to wear head protection on a battlefield? A few other cosmetics dropped for various classes, but I sold all of them for metal because I really liked Medic’s default appearance and nothing seemed to fit his look perfectly. For years the only cosmetic change I made was upgrading from my normal Picklehaube to an unusual Massed Flies variant. (Apparently I pawned the original off to a Warehouse.tf bot, a decision I now kinda regret)
It wasn’t until the Archimedes plush came out during the Mann vs. Machine update that I obtained a Genuine Archimedes after buying the plush for said girlfriend’s birthday. I adored his character from Meet the Medic, and he also came with new unprecedented facial animations; Archimedes will smile, talk, and generally parrot the Medic’s expressions on the battlefield. But even then, my third cosmetic slot remained stoically empty.
I finally made my last cosmetic decision when the Foppish Physician was added to the game. Back then, cosmetics weren’t the anything-goes smorgasbord they are now, and the Foppish came in the very first batch of cosmetics that dared to replace almost the entire character’s body. This attracted me because it meant I could cover a lot of ground with a single cosmetic, plus it went with the Picklehaube by turning the Medic into an old-fashioned military man, especially with the ‘epaulettes’ style. When it was first added to the game, the inner shirt was white, but a later update made it team-colored and I honestly preferred the white but I never could justify buying white paint for such a minor reason. I did end up throwing Halloween paint on it that my friend told me looked white, but totally doesn’t. Oh well, it gets me in the seasonal spirit.
But I didn’t want just any Foppish; my Medic had an Unusual hat and a Genuine bird, I wanted to complete his outfit with one more special quality, and ultimately decided to try and secure a Foppish with a craft number. It cost nine keys, but I obtained the Foppish Physician #49 after a few days of trawling the TF2 Outpost. It was even Level 25, my lucky number. I later added Jack, the guy who crafted it, and I think we’re still on each other’s friends list.
And that’s where my loadout ended its evolution, unless Valve ever adds the mythical fourth item slot. I’m not even sure what I’d put if they did, I’m pretty satisfied with my medic’s bling. After countless years of Daily SPUF articles containing my current loadout of choice, I’d have to think long and hard before changing anything for any reason.