Yesterday and today (Dec. 17th and 18th), Valve made major overhauls to popular multiplayer, first person shooter game, Team Fortress 2, to be automatically updated when you log in. The update is being called “Tough Break” and features endearing art of one of TF2‘s only female characters, Miss Pauling.
Main tweaks and treats to the game include:
- 4 new community maps: Snowycoast, Vanguard, Highpass, Landfall.
- 26 new contracts, along with loaner weapons.
- 4 new community taunts: Badpipes, and the Bucking Bronco.
- New official taunt: Mannrobics.
- Brand new community cosmetics case with 15 items (Santa came early, it appears!)
Performance improvements include boosted texture setting for Mac players, reduced memory consumption resulting in faster map loading times, and “significant weapon and class balance improvements.”
Meanwhile, there are a CRAZY amount of gameplay changes–some that have rocked the boat for some long time players. Pyro suffered the biggest blow with what is being called as “the fall of the poof and sting,” a gameplay combo thought to be the staple strategy for Pyro. The “poof and sting” became such a cookie cutter example that many came to believe only novices would choose not to adopt the strategy. However, as of yesterday, we can all kiss the quick switching kill goodbye, as Valve reduced Pyro’s switch speed by 50% (from 60 to 30), thus strongarming player into changing up their gameplay. While this will force players to become more imaginative, it devalues popular vanilla flamethrower, Degreaser, meaning other flamethrowers are now viable (depending on situation and goal).
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as Valve now rewards Pyros who extinguish fellow teammates engulfed in flames, giving them a +20 health bonus. It is validating to see Valve offer incentives for players who work collaboratively. While you might understandably presume a game called TEAM Fortress is focused on, well, teamwork, most players rarely value the concept. Unfortunately, many are out to serve themselves or fuel their individual agendas, with little care for team composition or achieving the overall goal.
Otherwise, Engineers can forehow dark times ahead with:
- Sentries become disabled for 5 seconds Spy Sappers.
- Jag wrenches require 3 hits to destroy Sappers.
- Rescue Ranger: healer bolt down by 15%.
Truly, Valve puts their money where their mouths are when they say the word “Update.”