Scout Update Day 6: Going Live

By John Walker on February 25th, 2009 at 9:32 am.

Valve goes to the bullpen.

Baseball pre-season begins. And the Scout Update goes live. After the vote to see in which order the unlocks should be added, the order is announced. It’s Force-A-Nature first, then The Sandman, then finally the Bonk Energy Drink. You can read all the details of all the updates with this handy link.

Valve have also announced 50% off the price of TF2 until Friday (and presumably 320% more dosh for Valve). That makes it £7 in the UK, 10€ in Europe, and $10 in the US. We don’t know if there will be a free TF2 weekend this weekend, as has previously happened with updates, but have contacted Valve to find out. So let us know your experiences of the new Scout below.

As you’ll have noticed, there’s no Meet The… video announced, which is a shame. And as commented below, still no mention of the dual payload map we saw a glimpse of. However, there are a bunch of other updates tucked in with the Scout’s new bits and bobs.

Along with the Scout’s unlocks and achievements and the new maps, there’s also some new sound effects, new dialogue, and some new details for the Spy.

The Spy can now choose which weapon the enemy sees him holding, and has had the backstab tweaked to fix stabbing people in the face (sometimes games journalism has you write some stark phrases). Also, a disguised Spy can now see player IDs for enemies. The full list of changes are below.

New features
* Added The Force-A-Nature, The Sandman, and Bonk!
* Added 35 new Scout achievements
* Added crit boosted on/off sound effects
* Added new sounds for upgraded teleporters
* Added new sound for a fully charged medic dying
* Add bonus points section to scores
o Scouts earn a bonus point for killing Medics who are actively healing a target
* Added several new speech concepts, mostly hooked up to new Scout lines
* Added new “Remember last weapon between lives” option to the Multiplayer Advanced dialog
* Spies can now control which weapon the enemy team sees them holding. Hitting the “last disguise” key while disguised updates the disguise to show the Spy’s currently held weapon
* Added several new Arena mode announcer speech events.
* Added “First Blood” to Arena mode
* Removed 2x item respawn times in arena
* Changed backstab handling to fix facestabs
* Spies disguised as enemy team can now see player IDs for enemies

New maps
* Added community maps: cp_egypt, arena_watchtower, and cp_junction
* Updated cp_fastlane with Arttu’s new version

Mapmaker requests
* Added new input for forward speed modifier to FuncTrainTrain
* Added TeleportToPathTrack input to func_tracktrain

Bugfixes
* Fixed a bug where players would sometimes gib from non-gib damage kills
* Fixed stat screen showing an entry for a class called “map.”
* Fixed item model panels not using team skins

- Fixed obscure bug where spectators were able to carry the flag

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62 Comments »

  1. Scuzzeh says:

    Guess I might actually go for some of the heavy/pyro achievements tonight.

  2. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    Oh no, gotta wait at least a day until I can play this. Let’s hope the scout spam will still be there when I get the chance to join a game, because these are great times for the pyro!

  3. The D-Man says:

    I just checked the site itself and strangely there’s been no mention of the dual payload gamemode suggested in the background for the Bonk! reveal. Does this mean valve have scrapped it altogether, it wasn’t ready or they included it unannounced? I’ve yet to play myself.

  4. BooleanBob says:

    I’m a bit BAWW about the lack of new ‘Meet The…’ video. So I’m rewatching the old ones with Steam’s HD media thingy to compensate.

    Meet the Soldier is the funniest, but my favourite has to be the Sniper’s. C’est magnifique!

    I found this link on the Steam forums, amongst all the internet raeg and entitlement:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX__swbUwag

    POTENTIAL SPOILERS. It’s the new scout taunts, replete with class-specific kill and domination jibes, and there’s some real gems in there.

    “Here’s somethin’ you shoulda built – a not dying machine!”

  5. Punjab says:

    No “Meet The” video this time?

    Aw.

  6. DarkNoghri says:

    @ RC-1290′Dreadnought’
    Not really. From what I played earlier as a heavy, having more than two scouts running around with the FAN (Force-A-Nature) is ridiculous. This is backed up by my clan-mates saying that the game is basically broken right now. As a pyro, a scout can not only outrun you, but if you do get close, can easily knock you right back out of range.

    On a side-note, spies got a really nice buff tonight. Facestabs/backstab hit registration is supposedly fixed. Which they did by severely shortening the backstab animation. A spy clan-mate of mine was having a ball tonight. It’s also easier to chainstab. Add to that the ability to use alternate weapons in spy disguises…..

  7. Malagate says:

    Judging by the update notes, the dual payload map has not been released yet D-Man. That’s the kind of place where they tell you everything in the update, as I read it this morning there was no mention of such a map, just some pretty spiffy tweaks and of course all the new stuff mentioned in the scout updates.

    Tonight I will have a reason to use Natascha, and possibly get that Medic achievement for killing lots of scouts with the syringe gun. Besides, I’m crap with a Scout.

  8. Hermit says:

    I usually play soldier, but I’m thinking it may be time for a brief break from him. Pyro times ahead I think; good old flammable scouts.

  9. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Yes, Spies got a buff. But quite a few servers I went to apparently have crash problems with the new Spies. As in “Server goes poop.”

    And if the Force-A-Nature’s too powerful we may get to see a debuff soon. Maybe increased reload times, since they still reload awfully fast when you consider their range compared to an airblast. But I’ve managed to adapt in most cases (FAN can’t exactly knock projectiles back, for starters, and a Pyro ambush is still as lethal as ever). The Sandman isn’t too terrible either, since you’re always on the move anyway (to stand still is to invite headshots). Or the few cases of Bonk!ers I’ve come across, who can be treated as the tactical equivalent of “Uber-lites.”

    But if there’s enough of an outcry to nerf the FAN that Valve changes it, I wouldn’t terribly mind.

  10. Nick says:

    The stun from the bat at close range is enough to get killed pretty easily before you can move again.. which sucks.

    It’s quite amusing having 24 scouts flying everywhere though.

  11. ChaosSmurf says:

    Delicious Spy buffs, but not exactly great ones. The system to change weapon displayed is a little fiddley from the 20 seconds I tried it out this morning, but I guess I’ll get used to it.

    The no facestabs is nice, less cheap kills is always helpful. Anyone know how helpful the change to IDs is? Cause you still don’t know who you’re disguised as, but it’ll be nice for picking on people.

    They should just do our pack already >.>

    Anyway, scouts. Lovely. I wish I had natascha unlocked.

  12. michaelfeb16 says:

    The crash problem was horrible after patch. In an hour I connected to around fifty servers and the servers all crashed within five minutes. Fortunately for me, the admin of my TF2 home found out (don’t know where) that the crashes were caused by part of the update to the spys hit detection. He deleted a file and the server was up for hours.

  13. AlexW says:

    So the gamemode they said they were adding never appeared? You’d think they were at least in the final stages of developing it if they were going to include it in PR material.

    Also, damn you everyone that has access to a TF2-able PC, and the free time.

  14. phuzz says:

    Servers may be going POP because their admins haven’t applied the update to them yet, it’s only been a few hours after all.

  15. Malcolm says:

    I had a bash on Arena for a few minutes this morning and was averaging about 15 scout kills with Natascha before getting killed myself. Good times!

    Saw a couple of scouts with all three upgrades – so some people have obviously done little else overnight.

  16. Starshot says:

    @Malcom – You’d think so, but you’d be wrong. There was an achievement unlocker uploaded to /v/ last night, so many have already easily gotten the upgrades.

    I’ve always sidestepped buying TF2, but with the new upgrades and price reduction, I’m considering changing that.

  17. Kitt Basch says:

    Why did everyone vote for Force-a-Nature, you should have voted for the new Meet The Team video.

    Did you not see the option?

  18. Bobsy says:

    Er. Where’s our new Meet The Team? Huh? HUH?

  19. Jeremy says:

    I saw the same, Malcom. Getting the “Miss” sign was interesting.

    On the other hand, I’m halfway through my natasha scout kils from zero. Only took me 45 min.

    I quite like the updates…FAN does seem a bit overpowered, but I imagine people will figure out how to counter it soon enough. It’s only been a day.

  20. Haml3t says:

    An image just popped into my head: a line of scouts running past a corner with a pyro hiding behind it, in classic stampede style, on fire. I’d love to see that.

  21. Chalkster says:

    I’ll give it a shot tonight, no promises on my performance, I have bad luck with scouts… they’re out to get me I tells ya!

  22. chaves says:

    Finally! Let the achievement grind begin!
    It’s also nice to see those changes for spies. Not that they weren’t able to be a pain in the ass for the opposing team, anyway, but this may help increase the class popularity.

  23. PaulMorel says:

    It occurs to me that the “dual payload” map might not have two carts at all. In fact, it might just be a payload map with a circular track where one team tries to score as many points as they can within the allotted time.

    If it’s even a real map.

  24. cyrenic says:

    I’m surprised the dual payload map didn’t come out, as far as I can tell there wasn’t a single official valve map in this pack :\. I’m hoping we’ll still see a new Meet the Team video later this week.

    The servers are great fun at the moment, I easily got my “Don’t touch sandvich” achievement last night from scratch :).

  25. ChaosSmurf says:

    @starshot: Friends of mine try to convince me that using achievement unlockers/servers isn’t cheating. It’s pretty funny.

  26. ReturnToNull says:

    @ChaosSmurf: Ha. Good for them. ;P Considering that it alters game files it’s a VAC bannable sort of thing, whenever they get around to dealing with it, if at all.

  27. Dave says:

    Hmm, the no facestabs thing might be enough to make me not go on hiatus after all.

    TF2 completely pissed me off last night. On one cp_egypt server, round after round I led on points, and yet went away with ONE achievement. Not much later than that I kept running into a bunch of scouts that had all three unlocks.

  28. itsallcrap says:

    Those people are unlocking their weapons using console commands.

    Stick to doing it the manly way.

  29. Carda says:

    I’ve taken the middle ground; I’m getting as many achievements as I can on an empty map by myself. I might be able to unlock the FoN before I’m required to play with others.

    It’s kind of interesting to see what sorts of restrictions I can play a game with and still enjoy it.

  30. Jahkaivah says:

    It would seem silly to start a free weekend just after the sale.

    That said, no new gamemode is a dissapointment, but I guess they felt the dual payload map wasn’t ready yet.

  31. M_the_C says:

    There is supposedly a multi-core update on the way, maybe they’re going to release the new game mode with that?

    I haven’t been on yet, but it will be interesting to see what changes this has made to the Pyro.

  32. Tworak says:

    source games still run like shit on my pc. crysis, by comparison, run with double ze frames.

    amcry

  33. Goforte says:

    Not having played TF2 before, is it worth taking advantage of the half price offer this week? I don’t want to jump in just to find server after server full of players that know the ins and outs of every single level and never getting a chance to play properly….

  34. shon says:

    @goforte I joined during the free weekend that went with the heavy Update. The servers were crammed more with goofballs than people out to shoot my shiny skull. Just avoid the Arena matches and you’ll have fun.

  35. A-Scale says:

    Those people are unlocking their weapons using console commands.

    Stick to doing it the manly way.

    Actually it’s the achievement servers. They locked down the console commands to my knowledge. I still hate myself for using a medic achievement server, and my stats have been broken ever since. Using the console command to get the medic achievements on the other hand…

  36. Real Horrorshow says:

    Sandman was such a horrible idea. Game is broken now.

  37. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Dodging a baseball is as easy as dodging a pipebomb.

  38. DarkNoghri says:

    Not when you’re a wound up heavy, which was previously an easy scout counter.

  39. Dave says:

    Not having played TF2 before, is it worth taking advantage of the half price offer this week? I don’t want to jump in just to find server after server full of players that know the ins and outs of every single level and never getting a chance to play properly….

    It’s VERY worthwhile.

    Compared to other FPS’s there are some factors that are helpful to noobs and middle-aged guys with slow reflexes. Depending on the map and situation, you can contribute well to the team effort even if you’re not that good or don’t know the territory that well.

    No matter how good or bad you are, some idiots out there will always accuse everyone else of playing it wrong. Those people can usually be ignored.

    Generally though, don’t play Spy until you know the map well, and don’t play Sniper or Spy unless you’re good with them if there’s a class limit for that particular server/map.

    I’m one of those aforementioned slow middle-aged guys, and when I’m having a particularly bad streak I get frustrated. The rest of the time though, it’s on my top five bang-for-the-buck games. At 50% off it’d be a crime not to pick it up.

  40. Rich_P says:

    Gimmicky weapons are gimmicky. I wonder why they suddenly decided that stun weapons would be a good idea.

  41. Arathain says:

    The Sandman does seem a touch overpowered, as the stun is rather long, even when the Scout delivers the shot from very close. I was mostly playing Heavy, and it’s an ‘I win’ button against those.

    If it’s really a problem then Valve’ll tone it down. I trust ‘em.

  42. Goforte says:

    Cheers Shon & Dave, I’ve gone for it, hopefully get to play after work tonight…

  43. Doc MacRae says:

    The Force A Nature is ridiculously fun. And apparently the prevailing wisdom is that it isn’t as good as the standard scattergun. But it’s just too cool. Gotta earn the others.

    Thanks Valve!

  44. Real Horrorshow says:

    “Dodging a baseball is as easy as dodging a pipebomb.”

    Sure, except the baseball flies 4x as far and as fast.

    That’s like saying dodging a sniper’s bullet is as easy as dodging medic needles.

  45. Crispy says:

    Initial verdict:

    The Force-A-Nature
    I’m kinda disappointed this was voted the first unlock as it seems to be the least useful. The triple-jump it affords you leaves you a shot down and doesn’t add as much height or distance as a double-jump. It can save you from fall damage, though, which is about the most useful thing it does for me. Using it in mid-air is an utter pain since it shoots you backwards all the time, so you’ll mostly be using it on the ground where the Scout is at his most vulnerable. The rate of fire may be quicker, but unless you have uber-twitch reflexes you won’t be taking advantage of this: you’ll probably just slow down your RoF to what you’re used to with the Scattergun. Okay, so it pushes people backwards, big woo. You have to bear in mind when you equip this you’re trading off reliable firepower and combat mobility for an escapology tool. It seems to be a defensive/passive weapon for an offensive/aggressive class. I can’t see it being that useful for any meaninful purpose other than flagrunning or very advanced CP running where you’re relying on not getting into a scrap and having to defend yourself. It’s worth noting that the stun and Bonk! would also play solidly into this more passive role. Basically these are upgrades for people who want to play the Scout but don’t want to shoot stuff, but conversely you seem to have to be quite good at shooting to get them (legitimately) in the first place.

    The Sandman
    Broken, OP, imba; whatever you want to call it. There’s no charge-up and unless you let it off at point blank range the time the target is left immobile is more than enough for a Scout to finish them off, Heavy or not. Only having 1 ammo is fairly immaterial for the Scout since a good one can dominate the pickups through sheer speed and mobility. Although I haven’t tried it yet (I’ll have it in 3 -legit- achievements time) it seems about as fast and has about the same arc as the Flaregun, which imo aren’t that difficult to aim and at least give you the option to recover. When a Scout rounds a corner and shoots it in your face, there’s basically nothing you can do about it. Also there’s no obvious way to tell if someone is about to stun you or run up to your face and melee you, leaving you NO CHANCE to anticipate their method of attack. This kinda flies in the face of everything Valve have said about the ‘readbility’ in TF2. There is no counter to this ability, none (flame, gunfire, melee, uber, crit shots, explosions – none of these works as a counter) I expect to see this getting a nerf pretty soon.

    Bonk!
    I haven’t tried this yet but I’ve seen others using it. It seems like the best upgrade in terms of balance and usefulness. Scouts can now decoy sentries with impunity while someone else takes them down, or just ignore them completely. There is a massive tradeoff, though, so there’s a lot of skill in judging when it’s safe to use this and not have to pay the consequences for the resultant slowdown after the effect wears off.

    Spy buffs
    Faster backstab animation makes for speedier and more accurate stabs! Disguise as an Engy with a wrench for “epic lulz” and massive Sentry devastation. Enemy player names help you take out the better of the two Snipers. Will Valve ever stop buffing the Spy or is he to become some sort of one-man wrecking ball of pwn?

    cp_fastlane update
    Some good, some bad. The top corridor overlooking the last CP has been made slightly chokier and given more cover, which is a good thing. But, the corridors just before CP3 have been made super-chokey with tiny doors that you get stuck on. I never really saw that as a problem area, so I’m a bit puzzled with this.

    New maps
    cp_egypt: Confusing layout and quite chokey, with not much space to manouvre. There are lots of incidental walkways and ledges that don’t take you anywhere important and there’s a lot of visual clutter.
    arena_watchtower: Solid arena map that I would happily play again if standard Arena didn’t suck so hard (even harder now with the ‘First Blood’ feature – which lets the first killer have about 4 seconds of free crits – stupid). It has a real different style of play to it than the others and is perfect for Scouts.
    cp_junction: yet to play this

  46. itsallcrap says:

    From the latest post on TeamFortress.com:

    Having watched how the sorry lot of you comport yourselves on the battlefield and in the forums, I would consider it a small miracle to trust one of you enough to lick stamps without asphyxiating.

    LOL

    Whoever does that blog is a genuinely talented writer. The big long story behind the Meet the Sandvich video in particular was brilliant. Somehow reminds me of things from years ago by J Nash.

    On a related note, WTF ever happened to J Nash?

  47. Nick says:

    Annoyingly, they still haven’t fixed whatever the hell is causing some people to get massive (from 60-80 to 20-25) dips in framerate since a few updates ago (and the last left4dead update caused it to happen there too). It’s taking most of the fun out of the game as a big melee of scouts is imossible to hit without a flamethrower or luck when you suddenly hit 20 FPS when they get close. Most irksome.

  48. Crispy says:

    Wait, WHAT?

    So Valve punished players who used an exploit LEFT IN THE GAME by removing their unlocks for a month and punished the players who used an EXTERNAL APPLICATION to break the rules of the game with only a week’s time.

    They punish players harder for showing up their poor testing than for hacking the game. Has Valve been licking the windows or something? Because that’s just retarded.

  49. Malgate says:

    To quote Crispy: “There is no counter to [The Sandman stun] ability, none“.

    Apart from Pyro air-blasts which can push the ball away just like any other projectile that’s not a bullet. And sentries, which can’t be stunned. And walking around in pairs rather than going it alone, defending stunned team mates is a nice thing to do. And I believe scouts can hit back enemy scout balls with their own bat.

    So yeah, no way to counter it? Quite.

  50. itsallcrap says:

    I think the Sandman ball needs to be more slow and floaty, so it would need to be lauched up in to the air more to hit from any decent distance.

    That would solve the readability issue so that being hit would mean you just were’t paying enough attention.

    And let’s face it, there’s no way that weedy little guy could whack it like that, eh?