Home Editorial Balance How to fix Team Fortress 2: Valve must fire Kevin

TF2 Under Construction

Something has happened to Team Fortress 2.

Once, the game was remarkable for its never-ending content patches, quadrupling the game’s scope with new game modes and dozens of high quality maps and weapons.

Then came June 23, 2011, the Uber Update, and the free-to-play revolution. Things seemed as promising as ever, but something changed. Something about the patches ever since has carried an odious scent, like a chill whiff of manure through a door left ajar.

Something sneaked in through that door, my friends, and has been soiling our hats from the shadows. Something… has turned shitty.

This is a conspiracy, and the conspiracy has a name. I don’t know the conspiracy’s name, though, so I’ll call him Kevin.

Kevin works at Valve, maybe as an intern or an outsourced slave. Kevin did not work on TF2 prior to its release, and he probably wasn’t even employed by Valve prior to the Mann-conomy update. Kevin isn’t an expert designer, 3D modeler, or even programmer. But make no mistake: Kevin is your ruler. Kevin is the only person working full-time on TF2’s updates.

How do I know this? I’m a detective. I see evidence.


Evidence of Kevin’s existence and tampering

Exhibit A: Since the Uber Update, the only Valve-original content has been related to major event updates or third-party promotional events.

Let’s list all the content which Valve developed themselves since the Uber Update was released on June 23, 2011.

  • The ‘Foundry’ map.
  • The Halloween modification of the ‘Viaduct’ map, ‘Eyeaduct,’ as well as most of the associated item sets.
  • Various promotional items for third-party games and products, such as the Mask of the Shaman and the recent Grobdort pyro and engineer items.
  • One Hat (outside of the Halloween and promotional ones): The Manniversary paper hat.
  • One Misc item (outside of the Halloween and promotional ones): The spirit of giving.
  • The High five taunt.
  • The decal tool (note: none of the items it’s compatible with).
  • Existing weapons with Christmas lights on them.
  • Some noisemakers.
  • Static graphics for event keys and crates and shit.

Not exactly a sorry amount of content, but most of it is related to the Manniversary Update & Sale, Very Scary Halloween Special, or Australian Christmas 2011 events. It’s natural that Valve would relieve Kevin of his lonesome sentry’s post during those events. It’s also natural that Kevin would be uninvolved in developing any promotional items. No, none of this material is our concern. Kevin works the night shift, his job is the keep the ship running. His jurisdiction is the small, fix-up patches.

Exhibit B: Those patches have been unpolished and incomplete.

Small problems have been compiling within TF2, at first unobtrusive and easily dismissed, but their numbers have been slowly growing, and their magnitude increasing, and now they threaten to destroy our beloved game from within like an unchecked band of political usurpers. To name a few:

  • The Loch-n-Load reload animation is off-center, he visibly drops the grenades down the side of the barrel.
  • The grenade launcher shows six barrels while only supporting a four-shot clip.
  • Many gloves for the heavy clip through his hands.
  • The ‘circling TF2 logo’ unusual hat effect is difficult to tell apart from the sandman’s stun effect at a distance.
  • The particle effects associated with the crit-a-cola and the soda popper are identical, but the effects of each item are not.
  • Many scout hats have the incorrect attach coordinates, clipping into his head.
  • Pyro’s Phlogistinator flame is difficult to gauge visually in terms of range.
  • Spy’s disguises are frequently seen with no weapon or hat, making him stand out in the crowd.
  • Many newer hats have no level-of-detail scaling and disproportionately high poly-counts, harming performance.

Many of these are simple to fix, requiring a quick adjustment of some numerical values. Why do you neglect them, Kevin? Some of these issues have been around for years. Some of them are serious and game-breaking. And what do you spend your time on instead? What do you fix?

Exhibit C: Kevin is an idiot.

In a patch released as recently as January 11, 2012, a day which will be regarded infamously by history, the following note was listed among the changes: “Fixed the Spy saying ‘Prego’ for one of his ‘Thanks!’ lines.” Find here the centerpiece of my case against Kevin. Find here the bloody knife. Permission to treat the defendant as hostile?

Let me explain the ‘prego’ line to you, Kevin. As you probably noticed, ‘prego’ doesn’t mean ‘thanks.’ It means ‘you’re welcome,’ or ‘please.’ I’m sure that’s why you removed it. You took a high school course in Italian, and while you were playtesting the new (community-created) ‘Lucky Shot’ helmet you, slacking on the job, started toying around with the voice commands. You realized that the Spy says ‘prego’ when he means ‘graci.’ Must be a mistake! Better remove it and get your paycheck for being such a smart cookie.

It wasn’t a mistake, Kevin. It was a joke. The Spy’s character is one who wishes dearly to be perceived as a multicultural globetrotter, and so he pretends. He pretends to know Italian. He misuses the word “prego.” The player laughs, realizing that the spy is, despite his pretension, just another of the gun-toting nutcases who staff the team.

Exhibit D: I hate Kevin.

And so, ladies and gentlemen of the bloodthirsty war tribunal, I present my closing statement. If anyone involved with TF2’s creation were still creating or overseeing the patch releases, the ‘prego’ line would never have been removed. Therefore, there is no such person. There is only Kevin.


The redemption of Kevin

Can we trust Kevin? Do we owe him our loyalty? Will he uphold the game’s vision, and lead us to prosperity? Or will he ruin us, disrupt our bustling Mannconomy, leaving a bleak future for all our young, needy Pyros?

I propose the following ultimatum. Remove Medic, Heavy, and Engineer, Kevin. Do that, and I will follow you anywhere, even to Dustbowl.


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18 replies to this post
  1. ALRIGHT. I agree as far as removing Kevin, Heavy, and a bit on Engy. You might want to nerf Brian the rocket lawnchair. But why medic?

    And you know what else valve needs to do? Hire cheese20. Man. He knew everything about game balance. So balanced.

    Prego for your time.

    • Fun Fact: Holiday Punch can make übered players laugh.
      Its pretty hilarious, metaphorically and seriously speaking.

  2. I personally never thought TF2 was any good. Battlefield Heroes is better in nearly every way.
    – Better Graphics
    – 3 unique classes with abilities that are not only relevant to that class, but also all useful in their own right.
    – Game-modes that give you a different gaming experience every time
    – Hundreds of different costume customizations
    – A wide variety of different weapons, all of which can be used effectively.

    I could go on, but it’s just a really, really good game.

  3. TF2 has great graphics, just a different style of graphics, and that’s irrelevant to being a good game.

    TF2 has 9 unique classes with abilities that are relevant to them, ex: Heavy is large, and so he is slow but strong, Pyro is immune to fire, Spy is sneaky and can cloak, Engi is an engineer, so he builds. Scout is small, and so he’s fast, Sniper likes to stay out of trouble because he’s lanky and weak, but makes up for it in long-distance.

    TF2 not only has 6 different official game-modes possible, but also has a massive community-side upgrade in this aspect. Ex: Prop-hunt, Trading maps, Zombie mode, Vs. Saxton, Dodgeball, ect…

    This doesn’t make a game any better than another, but if you want it so much, hats, wooo…

    Scout has 11 melee weapons now, only 2 are re-skins. And that’s for one class, if you take soldier, he has 7 different Rocket launchers, only 1 is a re-skin. Not convinced? Pyro, who people say is under-updated, has 9 melee weapons and only 2 re-skins.

    And yes, I’ve tried “Battlefield Heroes”, It’s decent-ish, but I wont bash on it because it’s not MY type of game, I was just arguing for my side is all. No, TF2 is not the perfect game, and it’s been going downhill, but remember that the publishers read forums and answer E-mails every time, They WANT to make it the perfect game, but it’s impossible.

    • (Please don’t feed my Troll Apprentices, I’m purposefully starving them for not being good enough and/or misunderstanding what the word ‘troll’ means. Also, you didn’t actually reply to the other guy’s post so he may never see this).

      • I don’t think Jarod is trolling. He merely said he preferred battlefield heroes over TF2. And he explained his reasons, like the rules of the forum say. :/

  4. To be honest, I think Kevin just _might_ be the only one left on TF2, but not because Valve no longer cares.

    First, Steam continues to grow at an exponential rate, and there’s no reason to cull your best men away from your main source of income.

    Second, at least two developing games are entering the final stages, and Valve’s the primary source behind their creation. I’m talking about DOTA 2 and CS:GO.

    If you recall, TF2 went into something of a sloppy torpor during the L4D and L4D2 days. As good as most of the Valve workers are, finishing two games with such huge, vocal fanbases is no mean feat, and since TF2 is going on 5 years old now, redirecting resources away from it is expected.

    I don’t disagree that the game is falling far from what it once was, and I’m not a fan of that, but I accept that TF2 is itself now a smaller version of Steam, powered by its own internal economy. The game is now something of a business, both between players and the developer.

    I don’t see the game dying anytime soon, but support will begin falling away, I think, until TF2 must sustain itself on its own merits, whatever those might be.

  5. I am fairly certain Kevin will come up with the brilliant idea that Dota 2 needs hats.
    Thus, they will be implemented in a way as open and same-chances-for-everyone as those in Portal 2 coop.
    Then everybody will have a second TF2. Sitting around on servers dedicated to that purpose all day trading and showing off hats.

    Hell, why not implement them in the new CS? A FPS with changeable headwear, seems innovative!

    I bet a brohoof that the next game announced by Valve will have the option to play in 3rd person and wear the hats you have in TF2.

    And Kevin gets another slice of the cake made for Gabe. And little g.a.b.e.n. cries.

    • /Brohoof
      Yeah, I frankly don’t think it’ll have hats, unless it has some method of an ingame store. If the hats are just the ones you have in TF2, yeah.
      Otherwise, prolly not.

  6. I disagree with absolutely all of this. TF2 is and always has been great in every way. Especially the recent patches.

  7. Well, yeah, this whole Kevin thing sure is amusing, but the article itself is contradictory and ill-grounded. First the author claims his made up adversary to have emerged at Valve quite recently and then proceeds to blame him for the bugs, that were in the game since 2007. Moreover, I fail to see how the abundance of fan-made content is a bad thing. Polycount sets were fan-made, so what? And let’s face it, some of the pieces, which were contributed by gamers, are just brilliant! It’s only natural for game developers to draw upon their fanbase as time goes by. As for the certain… imperfection of the latest patches, I’m inclined to agree. Valve is gradually lowering the effort put into updating TF2 and as far as business goes this was inevitable. TF2 is not some sort of a perpetual motion device. It will end. Some day updates will cease to appear. And noone can change that. Not even Valve, unless they lose the last bit of common sense. And finally – the Spy issue. Throughout the years I have never considered Spy to be a ‘multicultural globetrotter’. He’s French in the same manner as Heavy is Russian. That’s it. The only other line to hint at Spy pretending to know languages is: “My appreciation, amigo”. And even that doesn’t prove anything. My guess would be someone at Valve saying: “Wait, ‘prego’ isn’t French! Better rub that out until someone notices”. Or maybe someone did notice and then sent a hundred angry letters to Gay Ben. Dunno. Either way, there’s still good in TF2. That’s why I keep playing it.

    • 1. I didn’t say that the bugs were implemented by Kevin – only that their not getting fixed serves as evidence of a lack of manpower on the game’s team.
      2. Same with the user-made items: not bad, only evidential.
      3. This article is a gag!
      4. TF2 is still very much a special case in terms of its decline: most classic games only diminish in terms of their playerbase, not in terms of their overall quality. Here I focused on new bugs and a lack of polish on new content, but it wouldn’t be difficult at all to claim that the game’s balance has been suffering for quite a while as well. That’s what I think makes this an interesting case – Tribes 2 may be dead, but for its hardcore fans, it still exists in its original form (albeit on a user-run master server.) Vanilla TF2 is lost in the wind.

      • Okay, i do admit taking the article a wee bit too seriously. It’s just the critical tone that I disagree with. What’s happening to TF2 now I consider natural and not that flawed. Don’t get me wrong, vanilla TF2 is great. But can you say without a trace of doubt that back in 2007 TF2 was a better game, then now in 2012? I sure wouldn’t say that. Copious amount of content (weapons, maps, seasonal events… hats, goddamn it) is what makes TF2 a unique game. One can claim Valve to ruin the art-style of vanilla, but the truth is: it is the new content that gives TF2 it’s outstanding vitality.

  8. okay, NO! I no this is a small gripe but, the grenade launcher appearing to have 6 shots is because it originally DID have 6 shots, but was patched because it was too powerful. Changing the model would piss off a lot of fans, and would go against the original design.

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