May 31, 2009

Team Fortress 2 Unlockables and Achievements: Back to Normal

Valve has updated the item unlock system of Team Fortress 2 to include achievement milestones again.
Added Sniper/Spy milestone achievements as an additional way players can get the new unlockables.
So, in addition to the new random drop system, we also have the old exploitable/grind achievements model. While, I like that there is a directed way to unlock the items for a single class again, I can't help but sigh at the fact that Spy and Sniper achievement cheat servers are going to run rampant. I'm not sure this benefits any legitimate players, as it appears the random drop rate for items has been increased. I'm getting new items faster than before and I've not suffered a duplicate item since my run in with Natascha x4.

Keen believes this combined system redeems Valve for the early stutters of the random drop system:
Thankfully they came to their senses. Valve fixed the unlock controversy with a patch today that makes the item unlock system work how it should have worked all along: Items are once again unlockable through earning achievements in addition to being found through drops. I’ve noticed that the drop rate has been increased as well (found 3 items, that I already had, in under an hour of actually playing).
I don't see how it redeems Valve. With the increased drop rate, I can't imagine anyone playing fair would actually go after the achievement milestones as a way to unlock an item. Which means, the only players using the achievement milestones are the cheaters that want the Spy/Sniper items (or whatever class is next to get updated).

In my opinion, this just shows how poorly thought out the unlock system was to begin with. As I've stated in the past, Valve should just dump the system and keep the random drops for things like hats.

Keen ends the argument for me:
Honestly, it’s a bit easy and if you play for any time at all you’re going to get items but that’s how a FPS game should be - all skill with these extras being fluff.
It will be interesting to see the spike in the number of Spys and Snipers running around with their new toys, all gained through legitimate means no doubt.