Halloween makes people do strange things — for instance dress up in costumes and beg for candy from people who might be murderers. Sometimes, it also makes them create Team Fortress 2 cheat plugins that teleport players between Halloween items, which ruins the game. It’s a trick alright, but it’s definitely not a treat.
Team Fortress 2‘s Halloween updates traditionally include a gift drop component, which was originally meant to be a small bonus for players who joined in on the team-y, scream-y festivities. However, some players decided they really wanted those gifts. “The Halloween experience for many players now consists of sitting idle in a custom server while a plugin teleports them from gift spawn point to gift spawn point,” wrote Valve.
They elaborated on how that harms other players — not just those riding a broomstick made of hacker witch magic through a private server.
“Ordinarily we don’t mind if players do things that we don’t personally enjoy as long as their fun doesn’t harm the quality of experience for other players. In this particular case, however, because the overwhelming majority of gifts claimed went to a tiny handful of accounts, we feel comfortable characterising the current system as blatantly and transparently unfair: While some farming accounts claimed more than five hundred gifts just last year, the median numbers of gifts claimed was only five.”
This year, Valve’s enacting a couple of fixes. For one, everybody gets a randomised gift bundle just for logging in during the event. You can earn a second bundle by completing achievements. Apparently that will add up to more creepy, kooky, mysterious, and perhaps even spooky items than last year’s median of five.
It’s a pretty heavy handed approach, something I’m sure not everybody will be super pleased about. Valve’s hoping to offer more variety this year, though, so that’s something.
This year’s event, which TF2’s dev team describes as a “900-mile-an-hour hellride”, kicks off in mere days. Do you plan on die-iving in, or perhaps giving it a ghost? Doing so will provide you with an opportunity to shoot me for those horrible puns, so there’s that.