Home Editorial Why everyone should stop whining about the Mann Co. Store

Yesterday, the dreams of Team Fortress 2 players the world over came true as the Polycount Update pack was released. With 65 new items added to the game, you’d imagine the TF2 community was ecstatic.

Optional and/or cosmetic updates to my game? I'll have none of it! FORUM RAGE!!!

But, as Valve is wont to include, there was a catch.

A problem.

At least, that’s what one would believe if he were to read the dozens of complaint-ridden threads on SPUF, forewarning the impending death of Team Fortress 2.

What was this insult, that would bring about the End Days? What terrible tragedy could possibly befall the greatest Hat Simulator of all time?

It wasn’t a game-breaking bug, or the removal of an oft-beloved feature.
It was the optional Mann Co. Catalog and Store.

As Saxton Hale himself would say, “Grow some chest hair and quit your crying, you good-for-nothing hippies.”

Your rage, disappointment, and skepticism of the Mannconomy changes to TF2 are not only unfounded, but hilarious. And while there are about 31 reasons why you should stop your sobbing and uninstall Team Fortress 2, I’ll focus on the strongest arguments for why you’re wrong.

#1. Paying is optional

You don’t have to buy anything. Nobody is forcing you to buy anything. In fact, if you bought any of the Polycount weapons, I’d go so far to say that you’re a sucker, as they can all be crafted extremely cheaply. As delineated in the FAQ (that most whiners failed to read), you can still obtain these items via random drops or crafting, so for people who don’t want to pay, nothing has changed.

#2. Paying benefits item creators

Many of the items created by the commnity took dozens of hours to complete. Rewarding these creative souls will increase the likelihood that they and others will continue to contribute to Team Fortress 2.

#3. Valve needs TF2 to be profitable

I bought TF2 as part of the Orange Box at launch. Many people did the same, or bought the game when it was on sale for $5. If you think Valve is still making a considerable amount of money off of retail/Steam sales of Team Fortress 2, you’re kidding yourself. Valve has updated the game for free for 3 years; if you want the company to be able to support future updates and upgrades, you have to understand they don’t pay their employees in good intentions. If you ever want to see a TF3, you know it relies on Valve not remembering TF2 as “a fiscal disaster.”

#4. Set prices prevent eBay scalping

Now that trading is incorporated into the game, it wouldn’t be crazy to imagine what would happen if the Mann Co. store didn’t exist. You’d see eBay auctions going up selling hats for $20 each, or Polycount items for easily double what Valve is asking. By creating the Mann Co. store, Valve has preemptively destroyed price gouging on item sales. Are some of the prices a bit high? Sure. But again, they are completely optional.

#5. Microtransactions benefit busy people

A lot of people playing Team Fortress 2 aren’t college students with endless free time. Many players, like myself, have full time jobs and other responsibilities that come before 10-hour grinding sessions. As I talked about in a previous article about microtransactions, this system allows players who don’t have endless free time (but do have some disposable income) to catch up to players with the opposite arrangement.

#6. Admit it, TF2 has been a steal

Although it’s almost shameful to say, I’ve logged hundreds of hours in Team Fortress 2 since its launch 3 years ago. Are a couple dozen/hundred of those hours from idling for weapon and hat drops? Maybe. Regardless, Team Fortress 2 has been a steal, especially considering its sub-$20 pricetag through much of its life. Can anyone really claim Valve has bilked consumers? If they hope you buy a single, $5 item, is that so insane, given the ridiculous deal on the game itself and over 1,200 days of awesome, free updates?


Team Fortress 2 is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, multiplayer FPS experiences available. Valve has poured untold resources into its development, release, and continued support. However, like all products, it must maintain fiscal viability in order to be deemed a long-term success. The Mann Co. Store provides that viability while remaining optional for all players (but giving a solid catch-up option to busy fans). Additionally, the store rewards creative contributors and staves off a seedy secondhand market. Yes, many items are overpriced, but again, those prices are optional.

33 replies to this post
  1. I agree with you on pretty much everything. The only thing I hate is the set bonuses which gives an unfair advantage to players who have them.

    P.S. You misspelled multiplayer in the last paragraph.

    • Actually, the Set bonuses are great in many levels, in perticular, you’re forced to use the set for the bonus. But some parts are better when not in a set. The scout and Pyro come to mind in perticular.

      • This I don’t get though. Most people that complain about the set bonus do so because: 1. it requires a hat (which are rare and hard to find) and 2. the bonuses in effect are class changing attributes (which everyone thinks it’s over-powering).

        The truth is that Set Bonuses are no different then the Pain Train or Homewrecker. They do add a new venture for the class (Speed buff, cloak sound, resistance) but their negatives are compounded from the set items. The Pyro for example, is compounded flame damage reduction, and requires melee kills to be optimal. With full set bonus, the speed increase will help alot, but they will need to be quicker to take down heavies and scouts. Likewise, The sniper set protects them from headshots, but they in turn cannot do their own headshots (which means they cannot cause area denial alone anymore) and have little defense in close-up matches (you have to no-scope the first shot to survive in a melee match)

  2. I’ll be honest: I bought a Sydney Sleeper and Powerjack for several reasons:
    1. I only have 1 Huntsman and Backburner, and now they’re vintage.
    2. No metal
    3. I wanted that free hat
    4. That sniper covers enemies in pee AND randomly crits
    5. Powerjack overheals
    6. I’m lazy

  3. I bought the megapack with all the items in it, and have yet to regret it. Knowing some money goes to community developers, and being thankful to VALVe for their continued updates to TF2 over the years keeping everyone interested, I was happy to fork over the money to get to the new items first. And running around with a fish with the name FISH KILL has been awesomefun. Anyway my favourite addition is being able to name your weapons. My knife is now called “Buzz was never really on your side”.

  4. Are you kidding me, since when do college kids have endless amounts of free time? That is a huge generalization. The college of engineering leaves you with hardly any free time, arguably less time than you

      • True facts. I’m Vet Tech myself (among other obligations) and haven’t played TF2 since before the Engineer Update. My boyfriend however, who is TRIPLE majoring in non-hard science courses, has informed me that it was a great update and he’s excited about the store.

        Sometimes I really wish I was an English major.

        Anyway, thanks for the post, WiNG. It keeps me up to date on what’s happening in the community.

  5. Thanks WiNG. This article ripped me off the mindless band wagon and made me think. Now all im going to bug valve about is a cosmetic option…

  6. The problem I have with the Mann Co. store is that if you want to get a certain item the best solution is to pay for it rather than use in game systems like item drops or crafting. I don’t disagree with the idea of the store. If you want to use the store that’s all right, I’m fine with that, It’s not something that I’m against. I don’t mind that some people will pay for the items they want. It’s just that the way it was implemented gives me this horrible feeling that valve made drops and crafting so bad that people would use the store out of necessity rather then choice. I do agree with the points WiNG made, the store is justifiable. Item drops and crafting aren’t.

    With the item drop system, it’s annoying because there are so many items and you have a very small chance of getting anything specific from a drop. The drops are just so completely random that you have just as much chance of getting something like the Grenadier’s Softcap or the Eternal Reward as you do getting your 4th razorback or 5th sandman. With a weekly limit cap on how many items you can get it just underscores how useless it is trying to get anything specific in a drop. The official tf2 wiki says that the average drop rate is 6 items per week. with such a small limit, a large field of random items, and some bad luck you probably wouldn’t see anything interesting for a while. For instance I’ve played for almost 770 hours and the only hats I’ve only found the Ghastly Gibus, the Cheaters Lament and the Alien Parasite.

    Crafting feels even more broken than item drops because it takes the flaws of the item drop system and adds even more badly implemented ideas on top of it. With some classes having so many weapons it takes just as much luck as the drops but it ends up wasting items in the process. I used my only axtinguisher and jarate to make the scotsman’s skullcutter (Which is a system that I like. One item plus one item equals one specific item) because I had a homewrecker so I thought I could just make another axtinguisher afterwards. I tried three times to get an axtinguisher and everytime I ended up with a homewrecker. That’s almost thirty items wasted trying to get one.

    I never found the store idea objectionable or offensive in any way, which seems like what most people are complaining about. It bothers me that the best way or the most efficient way to get the items you want is to buy them at the Mann Co. store rather then using Valve designed in-game systems. The Mann co. store is a sensible option to get items, it’s too bad it the only sensible one.

    • Definitely a good point, and it’s unfortunate the drop system is so bad. It would be much better if say, every time you could get a drop you could “roll” for a specific class instead.

  7. Are we all missing the MAIN picture here?
    That with this new update, comes fools
    And with fools, comes fools you can trick!
    And with fools you can trick, you can recieve
    gods greatest gift to man!


    Yes, if you look around, some people are desperate enough for new items they’d trade HATS for them!
    I got a Hustler’s Hallmark for a Knife I crafted today! :D
    People are doing ANYTHING to not have to pay to get certain Items
    (Which leads me to add in this for anyone wanting a knife, it’s a guaranteed craft! ;) )

    • (I didn’t deceive him, I asked if he wanted to trade his hat, and he gave me it for the knife! I may be a dishonest rogue, but I’m not evil)

    • Yes though making more and making “comfortably more” may be different. Additionally, they may have specific team or company goals they are striving to reach.

  8. Meh… I have yet to find a spy unlock for my playstyle. They are all good but just…not….me.

    Oh and I did trade crates and hats for items because I dont care at all for hats unless it’s a fedora. I would rather have cool and new items.

      ( I actually quite like the new revolver, though find it annoying there is so many spies now playing the eternal reward terribly D: )

      • Be fair, it’s going to take a while before anyone gets really good with the Reward. Which means alot of failing before people learn how to get in that first kill. Besides, a series of fail is almost instantly made up for in those times when you carve your way through 4 or 5 enemies to singlehanded allow your whole team to advance.

      • I’m alright with it i wouldn’t count myself as “pro” with it but better then most people using it :D

  9. I can sort of agree that Valve wants TF2 to make money. But TF2 is, as Valve has admitted, their sandbox. This isn’t just a money-making idea, it’s testing the nature of microtransactions (albiet not pay-to-win and instead optional cosmetic-type stuff) and how Valve’s community will respond to it.

    Personally, even if it doesn’t offer true ingame advantage, I don’t like the microtransaction setup. I’ll probably still purchase some name tags (or trade for them or become a massively lucky ass) at some point to name my Spy items, but as it stands, I’d prefer that Valve not attempt to make any more games with a system like the Mann Co. Store and so I’m going to try to avoid supporting it.

    Not because I don’t like Valve. Valve is awesome and they love their players. I’m not going to support it because I don’t want to see it in any other Valve games.

  10. !start_rant
    The ONLY downside to this update is the ability to trade earbuds! BLASPHEMY! They used to show that I had done something only have few had, play the game on a Mac. They were for Mac-users only, not to be traded for normal gear that everyone can get! I’m proud of my musical accessory and I am not willing to trade it for anything. Unless Robin Walker gives me that sweeeet Valve Rocket Launcher.

  11. Meh, if you said that this was the death of TF2, I am commenting three years later to say that it has become increasingly popular. I am not saying that its always going to be popular, but has not been affected by this update.

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