TF2 Community Hats = Money Hats

By Jim Rossignol on October 22nd, 2010 at 8:48 am.


Virtual millinery proves to pay off. Valve sent us this on the roaring hat-trade in Team Fortress 2, and the benefits for the community creators:

Five Steam community members participated in the initial round of content creation. Rob Laro, Shawn Spetch, Steven Skidmore, Spencer Kern, and Shaylyn Hamm created items for Team Fortress 2 which were then made available to other community members for purchase from the in-game Mann Co. Store. Today they received checks for the first two weeks of sales, with royalties ranging from $39,000 to $47,000 per person.

“It’s astounding that so many people want to purchase the items that came out of the community,” said Spencer Kern, TF2 community content creator. “The response exceeded my wildest expectations. There really is no doubt at this point that there’s a huge demand for community-created content in TF2 and, hopefully, more games will start to tap into this demand.”

Yep. Astounding is the word.

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111 Comments »

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  1. Forch says:

    Not really astounding that they sold well. People bought the polycount hats because they give exclusive bonuses and nobody will trade a regular hat for a poly one.

    • Rich says:

      I thought the paid for hats were supposed to be only cosmetic.

    • clownst0pper says:

      The Hats are cosmetic but when an entire Polycount pack is worn, you get a bonus.

    • Rinox says:

      What IS astounding is that Valve is sharing ‘phat l00tz’ with the creators (who when they created the items had no idea it might land them 40K, too). God…just when the item store made a crack in my Valve Faith, they pull this. It’s so hard to hate them.

    • Rob says:

      And in doing so, making something which provides a competitive advantage purchasable, Valve have in my view become worse than Blizzard. At least the sparkle pony and pets are purely cosmetic, although once they see the success of this manoeuvre with the comparatively low level of community outrage who’s to say they won’t follow Valve’s lead.

    • Senethro says:

      Hey y’all I’m a real big player in ETF2L Division 8 and I can safely inform you that most of the polycount items are worse than the standard items where it counts even with the set bonus. They’re just for fun.

    • Rob says:

      Ah? I’ll shut up then.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Rinox, lose your rose-tinted glasses. Valve is paying the creators of these items 25% of the purchase price. That’s abysmally low. These six people who made the content are getting one quarter of the profits, while Valve, who only have to integrate their work into the game are getting 75%.

      For comparison most digital distribution sites for software (including Steam, to the best of my knowledge) take a 25%-40% cut, with the majority still going to the creator (and enough going to the distributor to cover their costs and make them a reasonable profit).

    • Rinox says:

      Rose-tinted glasses?

      I’m well aware it’s only 25% of what the items have really raked in. But that doesn’t take away that 40k is a very significant sum, the more because these people never designed their hats/items to make money, but because they thought it would be a fun thing to do. Maybe now a lot of people will, but there was no question of making money off them before the Mann Co update.

      I can’t even think of any other company that allowed 3rd party contributors to share in financial success. Valve had no obligation whatsoever to give anyone money for their efforts, but they did it anyway. Yes, 40k may be a joke for a company as rich as Valve, but it’s still 40 freaking K. (But that’s another debate I guess, kind of like the one about the ‘worth’ of Bill Gates giving a million to charity when he has billions.)

    • Eslut says:

      @VelvetFistIronGlove

      You’re both massively over-valuing the work done by the modellers and massively under-valuing what Valve bring to the equation. People are not paying to see a particular hat on their in-game character; they can do that with a free client-side reskin. What they’re paying for is for OTHER people to see that they have this hat, for any number of reasons all related to what Valve have created and provide. 40k for a few hours work? I assure you there’s no crime here!

    • TheLordHimself says:

      Yes I think you should consider how much work (in man hours) Valve will put into a system like this. 25% is actually very generous for what was probably not that much work, its only a model of a hat… And if you think 25% is bad, you should look at the figures of the record industry and see how much an artist gets for an album sale before you go all high and mighty about percentages.

    • Starky says:

      As someone who has sold 3D models in the past, usually technically accurate scale 3D models done in CAD (which usually sell for much more than Maya/3DS max entertainment models) – I can tell you with some level of expertise that 25% is a hell of a large cut.

      Seriously, I’ve sold some of my works to resellers (who sell bulk collections to companies and such), or through websites – and 25% is bloody high.

      10% is more realistic.
      As in they sell your model for $3 (£2) and you see 20p of that – because they are doing all the work, sales, support, and bandwidth/media costs, that and you either like it or lump it.

    • A-Scale says:

      Did you guys know that when you buy fruit or vegetables at the store, the farmers only get less than 25% of the profit from growing them? Take off the rose tinted glasses people, the Supermarket Industrial Complex is getting fat on everyone else’s work and making you think THEY’RE the good guys! Wake up sheeple!

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Also, from interviews, the creators seemed to spend about 1-2 hours per hat/weapon.

      40k for that is… a pretty good deal, I think.

  2. Devenger says:

    Any indication of how much of a cut the original item creators got in percentage terms? Would be interesting to know. (I suspect we won’t know for a while, if ever, though.)

  3. clownst0pper says:

    If that’s the designers cuts, what’s Valves?

    Eek!

    • Premium User Badge

      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Multiply the community earnings by three, they had a 25% cut with Valve taking home the rest (see this article). And then of course you’ve got the earnings from Valve made content and other sundries (I saw one guy blow six quid on keys for crates in a single game round), it’s safe to say their money hat is most likely of towering proportions.

  4. itsallcrap says:

    I still feel the need to earn (or at least chance upon) everything I get in TF2.

    Exchanging money for stuff somehow seems like cheating.

    That said, do you ever get crate keys dropped just by chance? Only I’ve got a locked crate and I don’t really want to just sit and look at it forever…

    • clownst0pper says:

      I believe you can, but you might be waiting a very long time…

    • MarkSide says:

      Looking at the official wiki, it seems keys can only be obtained in the shop. (What’s that all about? Oh yeah, making money.)

      So crates can be considered to be good if you don’t mind paying £2 for whatever might be in there, or they suck and are a non-entity, a degradation of all that is good an true in the game and a sign of the end of the world as brought about by the cold cruel hands of unbridled capitalism.

      I paid to open two crates so far. I got a goldie looking pyro hat and, I think, a name tab. And it seems both are trade-able, even though I sort of technically paid for them.

      Incidentally, you should be able to paint, rename and gift items to other players. But you can’t. You have to borrow their Steam account under some sort of pretext.

    • bill says:

      They have mystery crates you have to pay to unlock in TF2 now?!?!

      That reminds me of this awesome, yet totally scary article on the evily addictive nature of chinese “free” MMOS: http://www.danwei.org/electronic_games/gambling_your_life_away_in_zt.php
      I think they have the same.

      But I never thought valve would borrow the idea.

    • Alex says:

      I have three unopened crates. Anyone want to trade for a hat? I wonder if these will gain in value over time, like unopened Magic packs?

  5. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Ugh. I can’t help but dislike micropayments, wherever they crop up.

    I’m not sure why, either. Maybe because things which could be free might in the future require payment?

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      I have this creeping fear of over-monetisation as well, there’s something about micro payments that sets off an alarm bell in the back of my mind even if the game might end up being cheaper than a full game with all included to start with.

  6. Nallen says:

    Why were those guys chosen to wear the money hats?

  7. Chucrute says:

    I’m starting to like micro. Basically you buy only what you want, paying a fair price.

    The only problem is that i don’t consider $17.49 micro. That’s a lot of money considering the frequent offers on the Digital Distribution, and makes you think before buying. It doesn’t produce that impulse for buying, and Valve knows how much impulse helps sales.

    • Chucrute says:

      That was a reply to Hmm-Hmm post.

    • MarkSide says:

      Yeah, I love the way I can now pay more than I did for the actual game on in game crap, if I want to!

    • Rinox says:

      @ Chucrute (love the name btw):

      While I agree with your assessment personally – I could in some strange reality see myself spend 5€ for a hat, but not 18 € – I think you underestimate just how many people do impulse buys around the 20 € mark. Hell I don’t play TF2 THAT much and I’ve seen complete strangers give server-wide gifts (the 20 € gift boxes) on at least 4 occasions.

      I think most of them were drunk though. :-D New business niche, perhaps, drunk impulse buying?

    • Nallen says:

      I was about to start a rant on how paying 5 quid for a hat was fucking stupid, then I realised I played EVE on three accounts for about 5 years to basically get shiny tech II battleship space hats. And now I feel silly.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It’s also interesting to compare this to DLC and the prices they tend to sell for.

  8. clownst0pper says:

    I don’t think £27 is bad for every Polycount pack…

  9. pkt-zer0 says:

    It’s weird.
    Blizzard plans to give mapmakers the option to sell their stuff, people rage about greed.
    Valve adds a cash shop to TF2, but gives a cut to the original authors, people rejoice at their generosity.

    Am I just bitter because Valve managed to take the fun out of a game with this MMO-ish nonsense? Possibly. But at the end of the day, they’re the ones who have chosen to add a system of turning your real-life cash into in-game advantages to their game.

    • Davie says:

      I’m not happy with either system, but I think the reason that the majority of the rage is directed at Blizzard is because almost all the content Valve is selling is still available for free, just much harder to get. I think the assumption with Blizzard selling user-created maps is that they won’t be available any other way. People want their free stuff, and will get ripshit pissed if it’s completely taken away.

  10. subedii says:

    The thing is, this isn’t really something I can really find myself objecting to, even if I have no intention of buying any of this stuff myself.

    Valve gave TF2 three whole, solid years of continuous support and free updates. It was an experiment sandbox for them in some ways, but I was always expecting that they’d have to stop development on it at some point. Either that or find a method to fund continual development. We might like that Valve gives us all these updates for free, but no company can afford to keep working on a product in perpetuity, spending resources on it with no return.

    People are willing to buy this stuff, and it funds development of TF2. And Valve will continue updating TF2 because that’s what keeps the game being played. And people will keep buying items because the game’s still being played and getting updates.

    The only downside is that idea that complete sets give an advantage, that’s something I don’t like. IIRC they’ve said they recognise that’s an issue and are aiming to address it.

    • id says:

      To some extent I think TF2 functions as a loss leader: it’s cheap (and frequently discounted), and the steady stream of updates keeps old players coming back and brings new players in…all of whom have to load up Steam to play, and might end up wandering over to the store and buying other games, too.

      Adding optional micropayments on top of that to further fund development of TF2 and other projects is just gravy for them. And writing $40,000 royalty checks to people who made items for the game, that’s…I don’t even know what that is. That’s some kind of crazy, magical, fantasy-food analogy like unicorn cake topped with whipped angel farts or something. It shouldn’t exist, you can’t explain how it exists, but there it is and it’s pretty damn amazing.

    • subedii says:

      I have to agree that TF2 development probably was a loss leader for them (if not still one now). Valve really used TF2 to experiment with loads of crazy ideas and theories on gameplay styles, how to keep online multiplayer interesting and keep people playing it. Community involvement and events. Even fleshing out character and backstory, TF2 easily has more of each than most singleplayer FPS’s I’ve played.

      Heck, they’ve learned a TONNE about cinematics simply from doing the TF2 shorts, the improvement in quality as the series goes on is remarkable. Writing, pacing, direction, if Valve set themselves to it, they could actually make a really good half-hour Team Fortress 2 movie, and people would gladly pay for it. As it is though, all that quality leads into making things like that Left 4 Dead intro’s, and it’s knowledge and skill that will vastly improve any scripted sequences and cinematics in games like Portal 2, and whenever-the-heck-it-comes-out Episode 3.

      Basically, if this is all about learning how to do stuff, Team Fortress 2 has been hugely important for them, even if they ended up losing money on it.

  11. Leperous says:

    In a weird way, the community itself is to blame for this – back in the old days of TFC and HLDM, you could quite easily download custom models for free from your favourite website (Polycount?) and use them in-game for some others to see. Then people started using “glow-in-the-dark” models that let you see the enemy from a mile away, forcing Valve to ban these custom models.

    10 years ago you could run around as R2D2. Now we’re paying for hats. In another 10 years, perhaps we shall be signing over our first-born for ammunition. MADNESS I TELLS YA!

    • subedii says:

      I’m not sure what you’re talking about. There are a ridiculous number of mods and models that can be used, and they regularly are used. You can still run around looking however you like, it’s just that nobody else will see it unless they’ve got that specific mod downloaded as well.

      http://www.fpsbanana.com/skins/games/297

      If you want to mod your Medic to look like the Apothecary from Warhammer 40K, nobody’s really stopping you.

  12. henry porkchoppington the third says:

    Rewritten cause I was blathering on (still end up doing that):

    It can be a shame that you don’t enter a round of whatever game these days on an equal footing with your opponents. Counterstrike had that and it was fine. Trying to play Bad Company 2 lately and everyone is rank lololololol and it shows. It makes new players joining the game have to be very dedicated to getting killed lots before they reach escape velocity, or rather start closing ground on their higher ranked opponents.

    I don’t know how bad that is with TF2 because I stopped playing before the sniper and or spy update. And tried it once or twice since then and all the extra bells and whistles just turned my possible interest into disregard. I don’t have it on automatic update now.

    All the microtransactions in WoW are cosmetic, but then I stopped playing that ages ago too purely because of dullness. It might have changed.

    I think it’s a good way to allow TF2 to have money for it’s continued development.

    I’m starting to overthink this post on the internet that really doesn’t matter and never will.

    • subedii says:

      Actually I felt BC2 was fine for balance. Rank doesn’t really matter in terms of upgrades. There’s admittedly some what I would call critical equipment that’s level locked (like the medic’s healthpack), but those are actually unlcoked really fast.

      After that, all you’re really unlocking is alternate styles of weapons, not really better. Some of the perks like Magnum ammo take a while to get, but I don’t really feel they have much more of an impact on the game than earlier ones like armour.

      As for TF2, most of the weapons are designed to be balanced in themselves, which means they get positives and negatives attached to them. The only real issue I have is with this particular update where a complete set of items actually gives you a bonus. It’s not really any sort of significant bonus, but I feel it would be better if it wasn’t there.

    • Sinomatic says:

      Where do I learn how to make pretend hats?

      Seriously though, its nice to see content creators getting some nice big gobs of cash for their work. Most modders or content creators would never see a penny.

      The only real problem I have with the micropayment thing, apart from the prospect of it being a slippery slope, is the set-bonus issue – where pay-only items are included in the set that gives gameplay advantages. Apart from that, which I think is all manner of wrong (though admittedly I don’t have a clue as to how much of a real bonus they give in the game), as long as you can earn any game-changing item through playing/finding/trading, I don’t mind it.

      Besides, when I recently went in I wiped the floor with all sorts with my vanilla medic and soldier, so all the new stuff can’t be that big of a bonus. I’m no super-amazing-leet (ugh) player, so the only serious disadvantage to the game these days is our own greed for other people’s stuff, it seems.

  13. bonjovi says:

    @henry

    I think you’re bitter cause you are playing competitively (is that a word?XD)

    You see I really like TF2 as much as I liked any other on-line FPS i played (quite a few) but in TF2 it doesn’t really matter to me if I’m not on the top of the scoreboard. in COD for instance it was all that mattered sometimes, i was proving something to myself. In TF2 there is so little I can do alone that it no longer matters. I prefer to be a scout on CTF map when there is no sentries in flag room. Or a heavy when there is loads. Or a medic when there is none. My team can get pounded by the other cause they have all the fancy weapons and what not (not sure you can get anything better from the store than from the drops tbh) my point is that it’s far better to score 10 when others have 50 but you know you’ve captured all the flags or you defended one.

    That’s the reason i never play anti-sniper sniper, i can rack up 100s of points but the outcome of the game does not depend on me directly. ergo my team would often loose anyway cause i’d drive others from playing sniper into more useful classes for objectives :-)

    But i guess it’s just me.

  14. Heliocentric says:

    People spend money on this stuff?

    That’s the real wow for me.

    • subedii says:

      I take it you never heard of Blizzard’s infamous sparkly horse DLC. :P

    • Heliocentric says:

      MMO players are already haemorrhaging money, but shooter players drop cash once, or 5 times if you play Modern warfare 2

    • Urael says:

      I think TF2 long since stopped being a standard shooter, Helio. Valve are treating it more and more like an MMO. I propose we refer to it as a Micro-MMO or ‘MMMO’ because you can never have enough crazy acronyms in yer Gaming.

  15. pimorte says:

    @Forch

    Valve didn’t directly lie when they said you didn’t need to purchase items to get gameplay benefits, and they didn’t directly lie when they said they hadn’t altered the droprate of items.

    They were using weasel words, though. To get the set bonus from a Polycount set, you need the hats. The chances of one of the hats dropping for you is incredibly small – not only do you need to get a hat to drop at all (an incredibly rare event, I have 370+ hours played and not one hat drop) … but you need to have that hat be one of 4 out of 65 or so hats.
    The Polycount hats can be crafted, but for that you need at the extreme minimum to have 163 weapons drop, and it is likely you will need much more because only certain weapon combinations can be combined together into scrap metal.
    It takes anywhere between 1-5 or so hours of play for a drop to happen. There’s also an item drop limit for each week. The TF2 wiki’s speculation is that the cap per week is 8 items or so.
    So to craft a single Polycount hat would take nearly half a year of constant play – at minimum.

    In addition to this, a new item drop was added with a very high drop rate. These crates have to be paid to be opened, block other items when dropping, and cannot be used for crafting.
    So the drop rate for weapons themselves are diluted as well.

    The only feasible way to get one the set bonuses is to pay twenty dollars for a hat.

    • Heliocentric says:

      it didn’t happen in a flood but a trickle, i can no longer stand to play TF2 because of unlocked and now paid for stuff I don’t have. Ah well, didn’t pay that much for it, shame its gone.

  16. I have to say this says:

    somebody out there just made 47,000 for a stupid 3d hat.

    I hope the assholes who bought those items from the store are happy now.

    • cliffski says:

      Why all the rage at people buying stuff you dont want to buy?
      I don’t want marmite, but I don’t hate people who buy it.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Because it effects gameplay?

    • adonf says:

      If only we lived in a world where Marmite affected gameplay…

    • Sassenach says:

      I think it might be a fear that one is in a demographic too marginal to consider. If everyone but you is willing to pay for what you consider trivial rubbish (i.e. fancy TF2 Hats) then the supply of stuff you actually want (i.e. insert personal favourite thing here) will dry up. However, I also think that most people consider themselves to be more intelligent and tasteful then others and are in fact not so very different as they would believe. Thus the fear is commonly ill-founded.

      Which is not to say that negative trends will not be exploited by the enterprising, but that if you don’t like DLC you probably won’t be utterly marginalised as you might not be in such a tiny minority as you think.

    • Sassenach says:

      (I think I clicked the wrong reply button, it wasn’t even meant to be a reply so how I did that is beyond me)

  17. Freelancepolice says:

    Lot of jealousy in these here comments.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I’m jealous that my one time favourite game has changed into something I no longer enjoy, but others do.

    • Rinox says:

      But you said you didn’t enjoy it because you there were so many items you didn’t have…ie you want the items but don’t want to pay for them. Which is fine, of course, but that does sound like jealousy more than anything else. I ‘only’ have a few hats and not nearly all weapons, but I don’t care. It’s still fun. :-)

    • clownst0pper says:

      Why?

      You don’t need any of the items to be fucking awesome. Just do the class achievements to unlock every classes weapon set.

      Piss easy.

    • subedii says:

      I never even did the class achievements. Couldn’t be bothered with them. What weapons I’ve got are primarily from random drops, and that’s pretty much provided most stuff. Even then, I tend to stick with the vanilla weapons anyway.

      They’re alt weapons, but depending on your style of play, not necessarily more effective than the regular ones.

  18. Tei says:

    This don’t make much sense to me.

    But most indies must stop making indie games, and start making hats for TF2. Clearly theres a lot of money to be made on making stupid lame hats (or maybe making the first hats, probably no one will buy the 256th hat made by somehone)

    • Rinox says:

      I don’t see why there must be so much criticism of people who contributed to the community in their free time getting a (royal) payout for it. By that logic we should start hating on Notch for making millions with Minecraft while other indie devs make just enough to live off. Is Minecraft also 10 times better than the others? Surely not.

    • Tei says:

      If my post looks like criticism, is not because I am doing criticism. I am just describing facts. Some people is making more money from a hat, than others from creating full games. That will stop (probably) wen theres soo much hats around, that some are sell to very few people, but at this point, you can become “rich” with 2 hours of work, breaking the New Deal Ethics Code of Work of “the salary of 1 day, for the work of 1 day”.

      This is not criticism, because my hobby is economics. I see this like a phisic see water moving. My eye is naked.

    • Rinox says:

      But that doesn’t make sense. You also have movie stars and football players making hideous amounts of money for 2 hours of work (and continuously) and CEO’s making 500 times what a worker makes even though their work possibly can’t be 500 times as valuable.

      But that doesn’t mean everyone in the world is a going to (want to) become one of those. Besides, I don’t think people are going into making indie games for big cash rewards. if they do, they’re delusional in the first place. They just want to create a game or an experience which, as awesome as they are, hats definitely aren’t.

    • Tei says:

      “You also have movie stars and football players making hideous amounts of money for 2 hours of work (and continuously)”

      Movie stars are more like a brand name that you lease. The name will make the movie sell N millions more tickets. Has nothing to do with hiring actor.

      ” and CEO’s making 500 times what a worker makes even though their work possibly can’t be 500 times as valuable. ”

      Corporation are a broken system, and fixing then will be efectivelly fixing our own civilization. And I am not going to fix the human civilization in a post in a videogames blog. Another problem of Corporations is that are eficient because abuse our system ineficiencies. If we fix some of our problems, then as a result we would made corporations less eficient (are lagged by the weight of bureocrats in exceed, and yea.. huge power and salary concentration on the top of the piramid).

      I have not point to make because I am not arguing. I am just describing perceived facts.

    • Rinox says:

      The point was that you said that stunts like these will make people turn away from making indie games for ‘quick cash-ins’ off stuff like hats. Which just isn’t true. I wasn’t making a philosophical argument about the ‘value of work’. ;-) But I agree, corporate structure is broken.

    • Temple to Tei says:

      People know I worship Tei right.

      ‘breaking the New Deal Ethics Code of Work’ is going in the Book of Tei

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      “And I am not going to fix the human civilization in a post in a videogames blog.”

      Tei, I am disappointed.

    • Tei says:

      Valve has hired a lot of modders and indie people. And is not a strech to imagine that some of these are making hats. Are now hatmakers, and not game dev’s. If thats prove to produce a profit, Valve may hire more and more ex-game devs.

      There are only 4 persons on the planet that can start a new kernel like NT or Linux. If Valve hire these 4 dudes, and make then making hats, then you will NOT see new kernels being made, because all the available kenel makers would be making hats.

    • Tei says:

      I am starting to sound like these people that is always in negation of everything.
      *ARGGH*.

      I must fix that.

    • adonf says:

      That first, then the human civilization ?

    • Tommo says:

      Wish i could make hats instead of being knee deep in mud doing construction.

  19. General Disarray says:

    Personally, I don’t spend ‘real money’ on items, but if The Mann.Co Shop keeps money coming in for Valve, there is a lot more chance of the hundreds of FREE updates coming, (which must really piss off the money men in the Co when you consider they are paying developers to write these updates for a game that is now a few years old). If it keeps TF2 up, running, and fresh, Its got to be a good thing.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      You appear to be one of the masses who “don’t get it”.
      There are no “money men” in VALVe unless you consider Gabe Newell, Doug Lombardi, Erik Johnson, Robin Walker et al as “money men”. They don’t have external investors, they own their own company & work for themselves.
      As someone who’s worked for a large publically traded software development company in the past & now a smaller privately owned software developer I can wholeheartedly assure you the latter is far more preferable to the former if you’re a customer.

  20. Boris says:

    Astoundaning you say? Ridiculous I say.

    This is just another ugly mutation of the DLC disease that is plaguing my favorite hobby.

    But gratz to the hatmakers I guess.

    • subedii says:

      You know, not all DLC is bad. I doubt I’d ever spend on cosmetic stuff like this, but I don’t mind paying for things like, say, the SupCom 2 DLC, which gave new units and new maps.

      Really, DLC to me is usually just smaller addon packs at smaller prices.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “Really, DLC to me is usually just smaller addon packs at smaller prices.”

      However, DLC to most companies seems to be smaller addon packs at waaaaay higher prices (when looking at value-for-money or ROI).

      I’ve got nothing against the idea of DLC, just the implementation. Most seem to aim to extract more cash from the players, pushing games towards a higher price range.

  21. Monchberter says:

    The only thing i’ve shelled out for is the keys for supply crates, which are like crack. Keys don’t drop and tantalisingly you get a list of things your crate MAY contain. It’s then a quick impulse buy in the store for a £1.99 key and then…

    …A crap item.

    That’s really the only issue i have with the system.

    • Ganders says:

      You’re putting your money into a veiled slot machine- to unlock imaginary hats.

      With the supply crates they’re basically operating an online gambling house, and the house always wins (especially when all they’re giving out is some polygons on a computer screen).

  22. jon_hill987 says:

    I used to like TF2, even when they did the first set of unlocks everyone started the round on equal footing as they were side-grades, most of this new stuff is not, and now there is just too much of it. A competitive game should be competitive. They don’t make you run the 100m barefoot until you have run enough races to unlock trainers do they?

    Jarate was when TF2 jumped the shark, the bow didn’t really fit with the sniper either. I will be playing Quake Live from now on I think. A shame because I really enjoyed TF2 while it was a competitive FPS.

    • Rinox says:

      …yes because guns that heal and rocket jumps are not OTT.

    • OldRat says:

      Eh, I’ve yet to see these imbalances. Sure, the new items do all kinds of stuff, but to call them outright better is just silly. Yeah, they might shine in some situations, but so do the originals. I can’t really agree with the barefoot vs trainers sentiment, because it doesn’t really go like that. New items, polycount or otherwise, aren’t some sort of a gamebreaker that dominate.
      Actually, some of the polycount stuff is outright questionable in usefulness. For example, the Vita-saw.

      Also, I’m not really sure TF2 was ever supposed to be a big competive shooter.

  23. bigburpco says:

    There’s actually a recipe to make those Polycount hats. It just takes 4 refined metals and a Polycount weapon. So you see, the only advantage offered by buying the Polycount Pack is just saving the time needed to procure the need items.

    So no, buying the Polycount Pack isn’t the only feasible way to get a set bonus.

  24. General Disarray says:

    @ Malibu Stacey
    If the community developers are getting around $40G, and that is 25% (The other 75% going to the Co), then there must be money men involved somewhere (These things dont set up, and run themselves).. Perhaps you misunderstood me. I don’t mean that Valve on a whole are all money grabbing, but there MUST be someone who handles the financial side of things. All companies must make money to survive, So what I meant is, if the shop brings in money, to pay developers (either employed directly or community developers) then there is more chance of more people continuing to update, and improve the game.

  25. skinlo says:

    Of course there are money in , in the sense that Valve will have hired some economics/business/financial advisors/accountants or whatever. There is nothing wrong with a company making money.

    I also don’t see the problem that much with payments. I personally won’t do it, but I don’t mind if other people do. I don’t suffer from the jealousy some people seem to if someone has something they can’t get. I agree that you should be able to pay a clear advantage ( more weapons aren’t necessarily an advantage), but to be honest, if you can aim, its not a big thing.

    Plus, for all the people claiming that Blizzard have now overtaken Valve as the best company, remember that Blizzard are part of Activision.

  26. Shon says:

    Chemical Alicia wrote on her Deviant Art journal that she can pay off her college loans now with this one Valve check. I think that pretty much trumps anything.

  27. Greg Wild says:

    My inner Marxist is pleased. A lovely example of the surplus value of labour going right back to it’s creator. Heartwarming.

  28. Idleivey says:

    I’ve got to wonder how many of the people complaining about the Mann CO. update actually play TF2 on a regular basis. None of the new weapons or polycount abilities add any competitive edge with the notable exception of scout pistol, which is easily crafted. The new weapons and abilities are fun to play with for a short time but you will quickly fallback to standard load-outs once you realize how badly they handicap you.

    If your upset that Valve used double speak fine but it doesn’t change the fact that the new weapons and sets are fun but ultimately do not effect gameplay balance.

  29. RakeShark says:

    I bought the Polycount pack. And I have no regrets.

    These days I feel like whenever there’s a Valve product, I get more value for the money I spend on them, them being Valve, not necessarily the game. Portal, great fun for cheap money. TF2, 500+ hours played and counting. L4D2, I play it more often than L4D1. Alien Swarm, free fun for when I screw around with friends. I think really the only Valve game I don’t play is CounterStrike.

    So when Valve says “Here’s the next update, you can play as usual and get the stuff the normal way, or you can buy it upfront.” I don’t have a problem plunking down the $40 or so bucks for it, because I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time playing the game and enjoyed the free content up to this point. I don’t bat an eye when I say I would buy a Polycount pack for the other classes, especially if it was presented the same way as this last update.

    Of course, let’s clarify, I might be a Valve fan, but I won’t simply drop money on TF2 itself just for TF2’s sake. This was a situation where I felt that I could part with the money as a tip of the tower of hats to Valve, saying “Alright chaps, I’ll put money in the jar, because I feel charitable, even though you are poor and Irish.” If the next offering doesn’t meet my sense of value, I’ll stay my wallet reflex.

    I don’t get why people are up in arms about the set bonuses. People hated dying to crockets, dying to afterburn, getting pee’d on, getting 2-shot by a Scout as a Medic, or getting backstabbed in the middle of a fight. The only thing that has really changed about dying to those things is the usual after-update class stack and what hats they wear. The bonuses are minimal and don’t really effect either pub, pickup, or professional matches. Sure we all hate the fact the Shortstop is the scout’s flavor of the update, and the Soldier continues to get useful items, but we hated them from the beginning, unless you’re a Scout and/or Soldier, then you just love being hated.

    Seriously though, I think people are getting a little too miffed about the micro-transaction deal Valve has up now. Certainly, we don’t like being nickeled and dimed to death, and we hate grinding for useless little things that don’t do anything. But we’ve really been doing that ever since the beginning of TF2. Grinding achievements, grinding unlocks, grinding hats, and now grinding the new stuff. Sure I’ve done my fair share of grinding, but for the most part I’ve just hopped on servers and simply played. TF2 is still a great game, and the little controversial stuff doesn’t keep me, and I’m sure thousands of others, from enjoying it. I think it’s because for all the stuff we usually don’t like, Valve’s figured out a way to do it as right as it can be done.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to hop on a server and Pyro melee the crap out anyone I see. All hail the mighty Powerjack, because now the game rewards me for being a crazy melee Pyro.

  30. Diablo says:

    @Shon –

    Chemical Alicia wrote on her Deviant Art journal that she can pay off her college loans now with this one Valve check. I think that pretty much trumps anything.

    Do you by any chance have a link? I’d love to read that and share it with my TF2 buddies, but my google-fu is failing me.

  31. RadioactiveMan says:

    I am all for hats, and I like the polycount pack (except for the Spy knife which seems too powerful).

    I’m worried about what will happen if/when Valve decides to tweak these purchased items for balance. There is enough complaining when the regular weapons are adjusted, I’d hate to see how people complain when items they bought are adjusted.

    • Idleivey says:

      The new spy knife is a blast to use. For those of you who don’t know when you backstab with it you instantly disguise as your victim and his corpse disappears. So far my favorite moment with the knife was backstabbing a heavy while his medic was turned away, thinking I’m his buddy he hits me with his uber :)

      But the slap is that you can’t use your spytron to disguise. That means you have to hit your first victim undisguised. That also means your pretty much useless when it comes to taking out sentries, the Spy’s most useful role. Oh and if your in sight of a sentry when you attack, even if you successfully backstab, it starts firing on you.

      So fun but ultimately useless.

  32. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Haters gonna hate and I’ll keep unlocking crate(s).

    Feels good, man.

  33. Weylund says:

    Why would any artist work for years – probably for free, or nearly so – on an indie project when they knew they could clear a cool million-plus just by making some hats? I’m sure Arcen wouldn’t mind getting one of those checks as a return on the dozen or so man-years of work they put into their games. Hell, send them a little hat money and it just might save their company.

    It’s just an odd balance of valuation.

    • Rinox says:

      Because if you’re an indie developer and just in it for the money, you (usually) would have made a shitty career move in the first place? Cash isn’t (the only things) what drives creative people.

    • Weylund says:

      I left an industry that paid me, on average, three times as much as I make now, to make games. Am I in it for the money? No.

      Would I be pretty goddamned happy to stop pulling twelve hour days, if I could make several years’ worth of rent, diaper, and car repair money for just a couple weeks’ game development work? Yes.

      Remember that these people aren’t being asked to clean toilets for two weeks: they’re doing precisely what they want to do, being creative, and getting paid massive gobs of money for it, while other people put in a hell of a lot more work and get paid a hell of a lot less. Like I said, it’s an odd balance of valuation.

    • Rinox says:

      I agree with you to an extent – but desiging a hat isn’t nearly the same as designing an entire game. It’s more of an art job than a design job. So I can’t imagine indie developers going “well, shit, I’m gonna make hats from now on”. (in addition to the fact that they have no control over which hat is eventually chosen by Valve and which isn’t. I hardly think they will quit their day job to make hats full-time at the substantial risk of 0 payoff)

  34. Hat Broker says:

    I disagree that the new weapon sets are worse than the defaults or old unlocks. With the exception of the gimmick sniper set (can’t headshot or be headshot) all of the full sets are at least a sidegrade (Soldier, Pyro) if not a straight upgrade in most circumstances (Scout, Spy).

    Most of the items taken individually are great too and have great synergy with the older weapons.

  35. Jimbo says:

    That Neverwinter game needs to do something like this with content creation. Cryptic are pretty awful at creating actual content (and even if they were good they wouldn’t be able to make enough of it), so have the community do it and let them share the spoils.

    • RakeShark says:

      Cryptic does often operate on user goodwill, I think it’d be a good idea, but knowing them they’d just stick it on the C-Store and pretty much ruin the whole reason behind it.

  36. airtekh says:

    As someone who plays TF2 almost every day, I’ve found that I quite like the update in general. I’ve not bothered to buy any of the new stuff, as I find it more exciting to find it as a random drop, or craft it myself.

    I also haven’t noticed any imbalance as a result of the bonuses people get with certain weapon sets. In fact, my personal bodycount has increased due to the masses of new players who have bought the polycount pack, but are inexperienced at the game, leaving me with some ripe targets. >;)

    It’s quite amusing to see the trading ‘adverts’ appear at the start of every new round. People desperately trying to offload their junk for a fish or some hats. It’s conducted mostly in a friendly manner and, in my opinion, seems to have made the already nice TF2 community even better.

    The only thing that I don’t like about the update are that the crates are useless to me. Normally I just craft any duplicate stuff I get into useful items or hats, but the crates cannot be crafted at all; meaning you have to either trade them, discard them or buy a key for them.

    I’d really like for Valve to patch in the ability for the crates to be craftable because at the moment they are just sitting in my inventory; and the cynic in me believes they are just a money-making racket.

  37. ra_tf2player says:

    The game has NOT become unbalanced. Only those who desire waste their money on the items, and also they drop quite well. So don’t compare blizz money grabbers with valve please that is blasphemy.

  38. Zack says:

    I’m just thrilled that Valve has made something so awesome, that it not only rivals WoW as an MMO but also has people cheering them on. As a WoW player I often just feel empty after grinding, but with TF2 I waste just as much of my time and don’t regret it (as much) Plus its hard to stay away from a game where all the characters (personality and design, not getting my face owned) are my favorite character. :D sorry to interrupt ya’lls incredibly brainy discussion (and I really mean that, who knew such big words would be used in reply boxes) I just got caught up and wanted to pitch in my 2 cents as well.

  39. rf says:

    Crates aren’t worth much, they have a separate drop rate than the normal items (I think everything is at 10-15 drops per week, not sure what crates are limited to, but I know they aren’t included in that count), many people have them with only a few buying keys for them.
    Laws of supply/demand, you won’t get much for them, they’re more of a sort of currency along with metal. Their value also drops over time because they come in series, atm there are only 2. The different series have their own list of drops, so series one can only get pyro sombrero, while series 2 could drop the cheftain’s. Their value goes down in time because any item that could get unlocked from a crate also loses its value, the sombrero is worth barely anything now. The cheftain’s started out worth a lot because you could only get it from crates, but it’s slowly worth less and less. Same with unusuals, atm they’re worth a LOT, but soon they’ll be worth less as more and more are unlocked. Max’s hat, lum lid, bill’s hat, etc. are one time only hats, so they’ll always stay high-value.

    Atm, crates are worth one scrap each but you can sell them for about 1 reclaimed to someone looking to buy them to unlock, but it all depends on the person. You might be able to trade 4 crates for a bad hat, but I wouldn’t count on it.

    I enjoy the economies of MMo’s and games and such, so I just thought I’d post my observation on how trading works in TF2. If you want to work the system and make some metal then buy crates cheap, hold on to them until you find someone who wants to buy crates for keys and sell it for more (they usually by a lot at once and already have good items since they’re spending cash, so they don’t care as much about the price). Series 2 > Series 1 in all cases but sometimes the buyer doesn’t care either way.

    Some people think this is considered scamming people, but then so are stores and businesses and stock brokers. The Mann co. Store is the one scamming people, aren’t one of the hatless’ $10?

  40. justinsane says:

    Everyone whining about how it’s nearly impossible to obtain the polycount hats without paying, you should know that you can craft the hats with 4 refined metal and 1 of the other items in the pack.