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Scream Fortress Is Coming Soon! Let's Talk About Gifts

October 27, 2014 - TF2 Team

There's a long list of reasons why we look forward to the Team Fortress Halloween update every year. It's a chance for us to try some fun new things within the framework of a time-limited holiday. We're all really excited to see what you think of this year's event.

It's also an opportunity every year to revisit decisions we made it in previous years and see what we've learned and what we want to do differently. As one specific example, we've spent a bunch of time internally talking about the Halloween gift drops. We have a bunch of amazing content we're about to ship and we wanted to evaluate the gifting system to figure out if it was a good method for distributing some of that content.

When gift drops were introduced way back in 2011's Scream Fortress update, they were intended to be a small value-add — a simple bonus for all players participating in the update. As time went on and Halloween updates came and went, however, some players spent more and more time focusing on gifts, often to the detriment of the players they were playing with. The Halloween experience for many players now consists of sitting idle in a custom server while a plugin teleports them from gift spawn point to gift spawn point.

Ordinarily we don't mind if players do things that we don't personally enjoy as long as their fun doesn't harm the quality of experience for other players. In this particular case, however, because the overwhelming majority of gifts claimed went to a tiny handful of accounts, we feel comfortable characterizing the current system as blatantly and transparently unfair: While some farming accounts claimed more than five hundred gifts just last year, the median numbers of gifts claimed was only five.

As before, we're continuing to iterate on gifts for this year's event. In line with our original goals of giving all participating players some free Halloween content without affecting the core experience, this year we'll be giving every player one guaranteed gift bundle just for logging in during the event. This bundle will contain a random sample of some of this year's content, including some that would otherwise only have come from crates. To keep some of the fun of getting multiple gifts through the event, all players can earn a secondary bundle by completing some of the event achievements. Put together, these two bundles will grant more items per player than the median five gifts from last year.

Because historically the total number of gifts has been unbounded, and the distribution incredibly skewed, we have been greatly limited when it came to what sort of content we could distribute. As we're now more tightly controlling the distribution, we can grant a wider variety of more interesting content and we look forward to seeing you all get your hands on some of it in just a few days.

All Five Scream Fortress Updates Now Playable!

October 22, 2014 - TF2 Team

It's been a whole year since you guys played a Team Fortress Halloween map. If we threw you into the 900-mile-an-hour hellride we've got planned this year without warming you up first, you'd essentially be going from an idle state of terrorlessness to a shrieking nightmare of solid 100% terror almost instantly. It would be the equivalent of going from seeing zero skeletons to seeing a thousand skeletons at once. Are your eyes deceiving you? That's when you reach up to your eyes and realize... they are also skeletons! AWOOOOO!

A shock to the system like that wouldn't just kill you. It would make you crap your pants (not fatal), turn your hair white (still okay), and make your heart beat so fast it would blow up your ribcage (now you're dead).

Luckily, you can now play previous years' Halloween spectaculars to get your shock tolerance up in advance of the update. Simply boot up the game, hop into multiplayer and quickplay any of our past five Scream Fortress updates. If you've missed out on previous Team Fortress Halloweens, or are new to TF2 in general, this is a perfect time to catch up.

Also, remember to LOOK WHAT'S IN YOUR DRIVEWAY IT IS THE WOLFMAN'S CAR! See? That was so scary it almost put you in a coma. Get practicing.

Issue #4 of Team Fortress Comics!

October 2, 2014 - TF2 Team

Good news, everybody! We've decided to release the latest issue of our annual comic book six months early!

And what an issue it is! This double-sized monster has got it all, folks! All the action! All the words we know! 113 pulse-crushing, revelation-choked pages! It took us years to write—but thanks to modern reading techniques, it will only take you minutes to read!

That said, we hope you're not scared of skeletons, because yours is about to fall out of your gaping mouth when you get a load of the shocking plot twists inside this issue.

Read on for Part Four of Team Fortress Comics: Blood in the Water!

The Winners of the 2014 Saxxy Awards!

October 1, 2014 - TF2 Team

It was one of the tightest Saxxy races we've ever had, with a lot of heated debate here at Valve. But even with so many great entries, it's still a contest, and someone's got to win.

Luckily, someone did! Announcing the winners of the 2014 Saxxy Awards! Head over and check them out. All winners will get an exclusive, highly rare in-game Saxxy Award, and The Overall Winner's getting flown out to Seattle to spend some time with us here at Valve.

Announcing the 2014 Saxxy Awards Nominees!

September 30, 2014 - TF2 Team

It's Hollywood legend that a young Steven Spielberg broke into the Universal lot to start his movie career. Less well known is that Francis Ford Coppola poisoned the head of development at Paramount with bleach, or that George Lucas knifed six guards in a prison riot to get Star Wars made.

There are two takeaways from this. One: America's filmmakers are degenerate thugs. Two: Security was a lot more relaxed in the Seventies. We wouldn't advise aspiring young filmmakers trying anything like that in 2014.

Luckily, you don't have to. Introducing the nominees for the 2014 Saxxy Awards, who were able to be incredibly creative without being the prime suspect in a string of brutal unsolved murders in 1974 (John Carpenter).