If you haven't played Team Fortress 2 in a while, you might come back to find it's completely different. Recently Valve activated an in-game store, giving you the ability to purchase items that would normally be obtained through gameplay. For those who worked hard for their hats, is the MANN-Conomy a depression? Kotaku AU reader Steven evaluates the update as a whole.
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This review was submitted by Steven Bogos. If you’ve played the new update, bought something from the new store, or just want to ask Steven more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Team Fortress 2: The MANN-Conomy Update
Last week saw the release of the most controversial Team Fortress 2 update to date: The MANN-Conomy update, which brought us item packs for five classes, item-trading, an in-game store for items and of course, many new hats. The big talk has been attributed to the in-game store, which allows you to buy TF2 items for real world monies. Some say Valve have finally sold out, others say it’s a step in the right direction. Let’s have a look at the ups and downs.
Five for Free: At the core of this update, we have item packs for five classes (as well as new melee unlocks for the medic and heavy) that not only drop as freely as any item beforehand, but also have fairly simple crafting recipes for fanatics like me that have accumulated a stockpile of weapons. Valve seems to have put a tad more effort into the balance of these weapons (with a few exceptions) making them cool, interesting additions to change up the play style of your favourite class.
Hat for Hat: The long-touted trading feature has finally arrived and it works pretty much as well as we had hoped. Players can trade any item in their backpack with other players via three methods – selecting them for their friends list, their current game, or entering their steamID profile. When used in conjunction with the store's popular trading section, it makes swaps of hats and weapons a generally painless experience.
Optional Shopper: Valve have stated that that all items that effect game play, and most cosmetic items, will continue to drop or be crafted as they always have, with only a handful of purely cosmetic extra’s exclusively available at the store. You can skip the whole thing and still remain competitive.
Pay to Win: The new item sets contain ‘set bonuses’, when all of the items of the set are worn. Unfortunately, the set bonus only activates when you also have the hat of the set, giving players willing to shell out the $17.50 for one of the new hats an instant advantage over us poor saps waiting for the God of RNG to favour our free item drops. Valve said they will remedy this with crafting recipes for set hats, but I’d rather they remove the bonuses completely.
Open Sesame: Also included in this update are the new ‘Mann Co. Supply Crates,’ which drop just like normal items and have a chance of containing super dooper ultra rare hats that have cool particle effects. The catch? To open them you have to purchase a key... which is only available at the Mann Co. Store. Sure, I can just trade or delete the box, but my overwhelming curiosity means I just must know what is in... THE... BOX! If the keys also dropped it would be fine, but making them exclusive to the store is a bit underhanded.
So put away your pitchforks, TF2 fans, Valve hasn’t quite sold out yet. They’ve simply offered up an alternative way for lazy/rich folks to get items, without taking away the good ol’ fashioned method from us cheapskates. Once the red mist clears, you’ll realise that Valve have given yet another completely free update to one of the greatest, most avidly supported FPS games of all time. Think about that next time you buy three Call of Duty maps for ten dollars.
Reviewed by Steven Bogos
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