It’s taken me a while to write about this update because it deals with an aspect of Team Fortress 2 that really doesn’t hold my attention, I’m talking about Trading.
What’s great about TF2 is that there are many aspects of it that you can enjoy without harming the other, you can enjoy Trading, the Competitive Scene, Modelling, Fan Art, Public Server hopping, Community Building etc all independently, or together and still have a great TF2 experience. The game is unique as a F2P game because almost all of the items in game (weapons and hats) can be acquired via a system called random drops, you can read all about it on the TF2 Wiki page here (tl;dr, you have a chance to get any random item added to your backpack once you die). The only items excluded from this are that can only be obtained through crates, like items of a Strange quality and assorted promotional items. What’s great about this is that all items are pretty much open to anyone if regardless of how much money you put into the game, you’ll just get it quicker if you pay. Also! The ingame items are purely cosmetic! Sure each weapon does different things, but you’re hardly going to be at a great disadvantage from the get go without those items. A seasoned player might find it annoying once item servers go down, but for most classes the game is still playable and well balanced. I say most, because I cannot play as a good Engineer without mini sentries as I’m terrible at maintaining a nest.
Why am I telling you this? Well young one, because that’s all this update is really about. Items! Trading! To be more specific, Hats. By hats I mean
backpack cancer Crates. Still a bit confused? Let me explain.
Ever since Valve released their video making software Source Filmmaker (SFM), there have been some amazing fan videos, images and scenes created with the program. I don’t even think my computer will boot it up, that and I’m not very good at modeling. I tried Gary’s Mod one time and I just noped out of there super quickly. But yes! SFM has been out for a while and some super cool videos have come out of it. A few months back I saw this nifty video:
and I was blown away by how professional it looked. A group of modelers and artists had come together to create their own vision of a TF2 update, and were working on speculative items, and artwork. Turns out I wasn’t the only one blown away by this, Valve were too, and decided to make their vision a reality. So here we have it, the very first community created update pushed out to all TF2 players. I can only imagine how flattered Valve were to create a product and to have the community identify with their vision so much that they can emulate the tone and feel of the world perfectly. Everything about the update was apparently created 100% by the community so the splashpage, the items, the comics, everything, all created by the Robotic Boogaloo Community Team, all Valve did was host it. Take a look at the homepage (it’s pretty awesome) and if you haven’t yet, read the comic!
So what does the update contain? RoboHats and RoboMiscs, 57 in total, all reskins of items originally in the game. From the comic the story goes that Gray Mann is losing a lot of money because we’re all so gosh darned good at killing the Robots in Mann vs Machine mode (remember that mode, eh eh?), so he’s decided to sell the Mercenaries the only thing they care about, items, delicious items. One wonders why he doesn’t stop making his robots run on money, but that’s just silly logic talking, we know from laser weapons and drunk balloon unicorns that the TF2 world doesn’t exactly operate in the realm of ‘logic’.
Remember what I said about Unusual Effects? Don’t remember? Just pretend, yes, nod and smile, yes. Each RoboCrate can only be opened by a RoboKey and you can get the RoboItems from those crates, what you don’t know is that they can also be Unusual! What the heavens does Unusual mean you cry? I thought you said items don’t matter you mutter! Well, it depends, how awesome do you want your character to look? If the answer is very and you have a lot of money and a lot of patience then unboxing crates is for you! Certain Unusual Effects can only be found in these RoboCrates, click here to see what they look like, some are cool, some are not. I shudder to think how much money Boyfriend has spent on these crates. As the crates drop, you can buy keys from the shop without pausing the game, and unbox them right within the server and continue playing, he does this with such ease.
Like I said, I don’t trade and I certainly do not unbox crates (often). The only time I’ve really traded was to get boyfriend items for his birthday and I found the process awkward and uncomfortable. I’m not a good haggler! I like set prices, you tell me an item is X amount, I’ll happily pay that and carry on with my day, I’m happy to barter like for like, but I just can’t haggle! TF2 runs on odd pricing schemes and like a real stock market prices fluctuate daily often hourly, certain things I find valuable are not considered valuable by the trading community and I don’t understand idling for items, gah! I just don’t like it at all. Valve have recently introduced the Steam Community Market to make it easier to trade, but at this point I’d just rather not deal with it.
As I don’t really care much for cosmetic updates, it means this update is nigh useless to me as a player. I can appreciate the Robotic Boogaloo team worked really hard, and they’ve done a really good job at emulating Valve’s style for TF2, however the whole update feels a bit hollow. It feels like nothing of real substance has been added to the game no new weapons, no new maps, just cosmetic vanity items. It’s kind of a joke in the TF2 community that hats = skill, and you judge a player by the caliber of hat and misc item they’re wearing. We know that Valve treat the game as a testing ground for ideas to make their other games better and while they do love us, our willingness to engage in microtransactions without blinking for vanity items makes us a very attractive cash cow to them. However, this level of milking feels a little too obvious for my liking, the community in this instance has literally done all the work and they just rake in the cash. I don’t like that feeling.
What is: Robotic Boogaloo?
It’s a Team Fortress 2 Update created entirely by the Community and picked up by Valve for public release.
Do I love it?
It’s very well done, but it does nothing for me.