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.