TF2 Gets Unlockables

By Jim Rossignol on January 23rd, 2008 at 10:09 am.

MmMMmMM!
Yep, that’s what’s happening. Comrade Francis from PC Gamer UK is over at Valve playing the new map stuff for TF2, and he’s posted some details over on C&VG.

Starting with just two new items for the Medic, Valve are going to be gradually rolling out new, unlockable weapons for every class. These will be alternative versions of their current loadouts that, once unlocked by earning a certain number of achievements, you can pick and choose from on a new ‘Loadout’ menu.

It sounds like Valve are just experimenting at the moment, so there aren’t many concrete details. It will expand the options available to the various classes however, which will inevitably please some players while infuriating those who thought they have the game nailed down.

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77 Comments »

  1. Nick says:

    That is actually no too bad of an idea, considering the achievements are – by and large – easy to get. It will add variety which is nice.. I’m sure there will be lots of outcry though, as you mention. Plus new weapons means new taunts.

    At least, it had better mean new taunts.

  2. Butler says:

    Nice, a great way to make a nigh-perfect online shooter even better.

    It’ll also be another kick in the nuts for the people trying to play it competitively (read: eSport) which is always good.

  3. Turin Turambar says:

    Agh, i hate the idea. I only play TF2 in short bursts, so i don’t have many archievements (nor i am interested in them). Now i have to “grind” to get some of them to unlock the new stuff.

  4. Philip says:

    Nice idea, in as much as it allows people new to the game to get used to the classes and find their playing style without getting too bogged down in options, and then extends the games customisation and lifetime further down the track.

    I just hope that the acheivement requirements aren’t too hard to reach – I personally, as an only occasional FPS play, wouldn’t want the game to turn into a sort of FPS RPG, where high-level players get to pwn the newbs with their fancy kit. However, knowing Valve, I can’t imagine the new stuff being released until it’s play tested to the n’th degree, so it should be Ok.

  5. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    My initial reaction to the news can be summarised as “ugh?”, as it brought to mind the BF2142 system. But the way Tom describes it, it could be interesting. Although it sounds like a balance nightmare if each class is eventually getting two new ‘load-outs’.

  6. Richard Jones says:

    Oh please NOOOO

    To the people who are saying this is a good thing — why do you say that? What is your thinking that says this will improve the game?

    The way I see it this will be just like all those other multiplayer FPS games that introduce “unlockables” — they’re basically putting more power into the hands of the people who have played the game a lot, thus making it even harder for newbie players to get into it!

    Oh, Valve, I thought you had a clue about game design! We don’t want unlockables – we want more maps! More mission types!

    The only thing that can save this is if the new weapons etc. are just cosmetic just like the rest of the achievement system.

  7. Richard says:

    Giving them the benefit of the doubt, because hell, the TF2 guys know what they’re doing. But it doesn’t sit very well with me. There’s a simplicity to knowing “Okay, THAT’S a Medic, he does X…” that really sits well with the game.

  8. Dude says:

    Well the achievment so far are not that hard to get, ok some defensive one are more difficult but classwise if you play one class a lot you will eventually get most of them I would guess.
    And this is no Dice or EA, I think what valve wants to do is reward player who try to master a class. Good thing they start with the medic.

  9. Trezoristo says:

    I think I can speak for myself Richard, thank you :).

    It all depends on how they implement it. I would personally guess that the new lay-outs won’t be necessarily better then the old ones, simply different. That should work for everyone: New players won’t have a big disadvantage over players who have been around longer, other than the fact that they have less experience with the game obviously. Furthermore players who mastered their old layout have a choice to stick with it or, if they are looking for some variety, try something else.

    I guess we’ll have to see, but knowing Valve I really don’t expect they’ll disrupt the very nice balance in Team Fortress 2 by giving the more experienced players large advantages.

  10. James says:

    As long as there is the option of turning the weapon choices on or off on each server, I don’t see the problem.

    Maybe it’ll be small changes. Such as a Heavys MG getting a larger clip size at the expense or spin-up time, or the Medics gun getting a faster heal rate at the expense of no Invulnerable mode etc?

  11. Seniath says:

    I will refrain from comment until I find out what the extra Pyro things will be. So I’ll get back to ye in 5 months.

  12. AbyssUK says:

    Yes, make the sad losers you play the game 24/7 EVEN better than poor saps like myself who only dream of having the time to play a good game of TF2…. I HATE YOU ALL!

  13. Butler says:

    The fun lies in (like in BF2) trashing the people that play 20/7, along with all their flashy unlocks, with the start equipment alone! Oh, and some good old fashioned FPS skillz.

  14. Andrew says:

    As Richard says, this doesn’t sit well with me because I feel it goes against the simplicity of the game. Does TF2 really need unlockables when it’s so easy to grasp right now?

  15. Lu-Tze says:

    First of all, read the article. Secondly, the achievement list for Medic has been knocking around the internet for ages if you want to find out what’s necessary.

    From the only example we have, it doesn’t seem like they are giving experienced players any advantage over newbies… buffing health massively instead of ubering is just a different way the medic can do his job, the alternate sounds like a better way to have a Medic Heavy combo (no more one shot sniper kills) but would not work as well for Medic Pyro teams (where it’s all about that uber). It sets the tone as being “different” rather than “superior”. My biggest interest in the changes is how they will be applied to the Engineer class, where their primary weapon is their buildings rather than a gun… perhaps faster teleport recharging and more teleporter health at the expense of Turret potential? Or uber dispensers that dish out healing, ammo and metal at an increased rate. Speculation of course.

    What isn’t so much speculation is the medic achievements, and the fact that these are tied to those DOES make me worry. Notable achievements include Healing Someone In The Air So They Don’t Die From Falling, Killing Spies You’ve Healed, and Killing A Scout With The Syringe Gun. I am sure that following the release, servers will be full of medics playing the game in very unusual ways to try and get these unlocks only to never use them. I have absolute faith that the unlocks won’t unbalance the game in favour of veterans or a particular class but I don’t doubt that the process to acquire them as they unlock them for each of the 9 classes will skew the way people play online in unfortunate ways.

  16. Andrew says:

    Interesting, I just hope Valve keep it balanced – at the moment, good teamwork trumps having a rush of a single “powerful” class or similar.

    I just hope the class structure stays the same. I’d hate for anyone but the demoman to have grenade projectiles, or for anyone but the sniper to be able to get critical headshots.

    We’ll see, I’m sure.

  17. Feet says:

    I hope they balance it right. As someone else said the unlocked weapons should not be superior than the original loadout, they should merely offer a different way to play that isn’t more powerful then the original way, or just be cosmetic (like a new melee weapon) otherwise it turns into a game for powergamers. I hated the unlockabe weapons in TF2, players would grind for the unlocks and put me (the casual player) at a severe disadvantage. And I hate grind games.

    If they do it right it could make the game far more interesting. Being able to identify which loadout a medic is sporting quickly so you can adjust your tactics accordingly (on the same team, and as an enemy) will be very important.

  18. Feet says:

    Damn it, I meant I hated the unlockable weapons in BF2.

  19. Stick says:

    We’re doomed. Or it could turn out excellent. Or somewhere between those two. Wait, why am I posting again?

    Oh yes: more options for medi-gun! Very encouraging. (I.e, the focus is on the class role, not handing out rocket launchers to everyone.)

    thirty-five new Medic Achievements? Yikes.

  20. Stick says:

    Also: that new game mode mentioned in the article sounds great.

  21. Philip says:

    Andrew says: As Richard says, this doesn’t sit well with me because I feel it goes against the simplicity of the game. Does TF2 really need unlockables when it’s so easy to grasp right now?

    You’re talking about an FPS with 9 classes, 6 maps and 3 game types. Each class has a melee and at least 2 weapons, plus the extra abilities such as the double-jump for scouts, uber-healing for medics and invisibility/disguise as a spy. Sounds pretty complicated to me.

    Yet, as you say, it seems simple when you play it. I wouldn’t personally be worried about the complexity issue, more about balancing and unlock-attainment issues.

  22. Seniath says:

    Oh, actually, I will make a comment. I’d like to see the option for “Pure” servers perhaps, that restrict all classes to basic equipment, regardless of achievement status.

  23. Dinger says:

    We’ll see what they do. The trick is to make some of those toys quirky and cool. Maybe the other medic loadout is an area invuln. Or it will bring back that irritating “infection” mod to TFC.

    Engineer stuff? What would you want instead of the current setup? How about a catapult instead of a teleporter: automatically fling friendlies downrange, over obstacles and what not? Or instead of a turret, a security scanner that removes all ammo from enemies who pass through it (and de-cloaks spies)? They wouldn’ have the impact of the turret, but they could be doable.

    (or just make a flamethrower turret and be done with it)

  24. Jachap says:

    Completely meh about this. Obviously, I’d have to see it in action to pass full judgement but as an idea it strikes me as something of a misstep.

    Take the Overhealer, for example. The way TF2 works – on a public server, anyway – if the Reds see the Blus buffing up their soldiers, someone will inevitably start buffing up their own. So then everyone just has double the health. Woopee.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing some ridiculous comedy weapons, though, perhaps as randomly spawning pick ups with limited ammo or whatever, just to see where the slightly deranged TF2 world can go next.

  25. Philip says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing some ridiculous comedy weapons, though, perhaps as randomly spawning pick ups with limited ammo or whatever, just to see where the slightly deranged TF2 world can go next.

    Heh. I have visions of the landshark Gun from Armed & Dangerous rising from the ground to gulp down a pyro…or maybe choking on a heavy. Or perhaps a pack of weapons from Rise of the Triad…?

  26. Hypocee says:

    You know what this balanced, kinetic, pick-up-and-play game which takes great pains to communicate all available information to the player needs? Tiers. Apparently it needs tiers earned by a grind, however small, to fix one slightly underpowered class and a boring map. This is a priority. I can’t believe what I’m reading.

  27. roBurky says:

    I wish you’d quoted the bit from the article that explained what the upgrades were going to be. I thought they were still unknown, as did most people in these comments, it looks like.

    So it’s not an alternative weapon, it’s new ways of healing.

  28. Lunaran says:

    I was gripping my desk with the effort of trying not to be worried, but reading the article does actually help.

    It’s a megahealth gun that doesn’t uber.

    Now I’m feeling a little better. Breathing is slowing, pulse returning to normal … a medic is still a medic, and not a second-tier medic. Heavies will get chainguns that might act differently but they’ll still be big stupid Heavies. Spies might get new tricks, but they’ll still be hilariously flammable.

    All right, this might not be so bad.

  29. Dude says:

    I am sure a lot of people were crying when they saw what TF2 would be, a cartoon like shooter.
    Well as usual everyone cries before seeing what it actually plays like… So guess the whine about critical will soon be over on the official forum, lets start the whine about alternative weapons.

  30. Matthew Gallant says:

    I trust Valve, but I doubt this will be well received by the TF2 community unless it’s exceptionally well balanced and implemented.

  31. Daniel Puzey says:

    A lot of people seem to have forgotten that Valve are notorious for their in depth play testing and balancing. Of everything. To suggest that this is going to ruin the game seems rather premature.

    Alternative (but not “more powerful”) options seems like a perfectly good way of extending content. Making them unlockable helps to keep the player numbers up, and gives the game some more depth for those who might otherwise be getting bored of the same old by that point.

    And – honestly – who’s going to complain if you end up with one or two extra medics on team, eh?

  32. Nuyan says:

    Bringing stupid MMO tricks into fps games is something I dislike quite a lot. Bleh.

  33. Hypocee says:

    No, a Medic is not still a Medic, he’s a Medic A or a Medic B or (eventually, they say) a Medic C. I can only imagine that the geniuses who busted their humps for years making sure that class identification at a distance was absolutely unambiguous are livid. First person to say ‘you can tell them apart by looking at the gun’ gets a cookie.

    I know, maybe they’ll add an icon.

  34. Lu-Tze says:

    I’ll be complaining when they are ubering the Engineers to get an achievement rather than playing the game.

    You just know that the 2/3 medics that are farting around trying to get achievements are going to be the ones on your team.

    I have no objections to keeping the game fresh by having fun with stuff like this, what I find irritating is the fact they will be doing it class by class. Extra Medics on the team? Not such a big deal. I’m completely not looking forward to the fortnight following when they release the Achievement Pack/Unlockables for Snipers though. Or Engineers. Or Spies.

  35. espy says:

    Goldrush mode sounds excellent, and a lot like a hommage to the Enemy Territorry map of the same name. Great idea, I’ve always liked the ET rolling front concept and I’m really looking forward to this.

  36. Rich Powers says:

    Jesus Christ. Are some people so easily bored that it takes unlockables — and not a game’s intrinsic fun — to keep them playing?

    I trust Valve with this more than I do, say, EA, but unlockables inevitably reward players who have more time to burn in-game. The great thing about TF2, and BF1942 for that matter, is that everyone is equal from the start regardless of play hours.

    Call me old fashioned, but I hate unlockables almost as much as I do other new trends like microtransactions and in-game ads.

  37. The Fanciest Of Pants says:

    Return of the Napalm rocket launcher? I hope so :3

  38. Zaptrack says:

    WAH WAH WAH WE CAN’T READ.

    It’s not oh I play this longer so I’m better. It’s oh I play this longer so I get a neat new toy.

    And about the person whining about appearances. It’s not like you’ll see scouts running around healing people with their sticky bomb launcher. A medic still heals, a pyro still burns, a sniper still snipes. The medic might just make people get more crits instead of uber, or a pyro might get a longer flame range at cost of some intial hit damage (Read: What lets you damage other pyros with it)

  39. Zaptrack says:

    trust Valve with this more than I do, say, EA, but unlockables inevitably reward players who have more time to burn in-game. The great thing about TF2, and BF1942 for that matter, is that everyone is equal from the start regardless of play hours.

    Wrong wrong wrong wrong.

  40. Alec Meer says:

    Please be careful not to let your opinions collapse into insulting each other, folks. We don’t want to have to activate the bandroid.

  41. Optimaximal says:

    No, a Medic is not still a Medic, he’s a Medic A or a Medic B or (eventually, they say) a Medic C. I can only imagine that the geniuses who busted their humps for years making sure that class identification at a distance was absolutely unambiguous are livid. First person to say ‘you can tell them apart by looking at the gun’ gets a cookie.

    But it doesn’t matter… The whole point of the unambiguous classes was to tell the Solider apart from the Demoman and the Heavy and Medic apart from the Spy and Scout.

    A medic is still just a medic – who cares if he can heal faster or uber his team mates – as a crucial portion of his teams frontline suvivability, he’s still a prime target!

  42. Zaptrack says:

    Sorry, sorry, it’s just it ticks me off when people go into full blown whine without reading the nicely linked article. Just for the record, how many limbs does the bandroid have?

  43. Dinger says:

    It could be that they’re shifting the game to match the changing demographic: as the months pass, the people left are the “hard(er) core” players.

    On the other hand, it could be “tweaking” the balance by adding new encouragement for underutilized classes. While I’m not averse to the medic, after a few pints I tend to whip out the bonesaw and start charging folks.

    That’s presumably also part of the motivation for “achievements”: identifying the rare behavior and encouraging it.

    As a fan of the pyro – the one character in the game who cannot speak intelligibly, and must find all his expression in the flamethrower – I’m hoping that any new loadout will increase his weaknesses (say, a leaky flamethrower that spews less fire, but explodes in a fireball on death) and irritation to the other classes.

    (Giving the spy the ability to cloak enemies as enemy to their team, while making them vulnerable to friendly fire, would be cute too)

  44. Zaptrack says:

    Actually some servers run it so that the pyro does explode. It’s hilarious on melee only maps.

  45. Zaptrack says:

    Sorry for the double post, but further explanation is required to explain why it’s hilarious. The pyro explosion typicially does enough damage to kill other pyros, thus creating a huge explosion chain of death. The server that I play on with this modification is 32 players, and the most we’ve had explode in one go is 25.

  46. Turin Turambar says:

    Zaptrack said:

    “WAH WAH WAH WE CAN’T READ.

    It’s not oh I play this longer so I’m better. It’s oh I play this longer so I get a neat new toy.”

    Yes. And that’s the problem!. I also want to have new toys without the need of playing more. Why can’t they release the new loadouts for everyone, why the need of putting in unlockable “levels” like a RPG?

    Because people likes it, it feels addictive. People don’t see the difference between something -good-, for itself, and something -addictive-. See the amount of people who liked Diablo, see the bigger amount of people who liked WoW, see the amount of people who liked the adaptation of the xp/level system in CoD4.

    But i am not one of these… “people”.

    /elitist mode off.

  47. Chris says:

    This makes me nervous, because TF2 was the best game of ’07 and doesn’t feel like it needs tinkering. Still, if anyone gets the benefit of the doubt, it’s the folks at Valve.

  48. Jonathan says:

    Turambar, for someone who doesn’t play this game you seem incredibly upset.

    This is Valve we’re talking about. Have some faith.

  49. Kim says:

    What I want to know is if we’ll ever get ‘meet the-’ animations for the other characters >:(

  50. Turin Turambar says:

    ¿?

    I am not particularly upset, just commenting these news and my particular tastes, apart of commenting the overall trend to incorporate RPG systems in every game, partially thanks to the success of WoW/other games like that.