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One of the best parts about working on Team Fortress is that we have the ability to try new things. Sometimes this means "let's try making Halloween minigames that revolve around bumper cars!" and sometimes, like now, it means "let's try a new way of doing promotions".
Rather than working with the developers to have them produce some promotional content for the upcoming Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris that we hope you'll like, we're involving all of you guys directly — you who submit content to the Workshop and who vote on it.
Square Enix has agreed to open up the Tomb Raider IP so that we can have a contest. All of the Tomb Raider games are fair game, so if you've been waiting for your chance to put the heavy in short shorts, this is it. (Please don't do this.) You're welcome to pull from your favorite villains, heroes, levels, or any bit of lore. Because this upcoming game takes place in the classic Tomb Raider universe, we'd like to steer you towards the classic Lara games, rather than focusing on last year's "Tomb Raider".
The contest works like this:
In addition to being featured as the Genuine-quality items awarded for pre-purchase, the contributors who submitted the winning entries will (subject to the contest terms above) get a free copy of the upcoming Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris. And pretty much every Tomb Raider game available on Steam:
In case that wasn't compelling enough, Square Enix has also agreed to grant the winners free copies of almost every one of their Steam games:
This contest runs through Thursday, November 20th, and we'll announce the winners a few days after that. Whether you're an experienced Workshop contributor or someone thinking about getting their feet wet for the first time, this is a great opportunity to check out the item import tool and get to work. If you aren't interested in submitting content of your own, we're still counting on you to head over to the Workshop and vote on the entries that you want to see in the game. Good luck!
Step right up, mortals, to Merasmus the wizard's Carnival of Carnage... now LIVE in Team Fortress 2!
Very soon, fear-fans, the Halloween update other game companies aren't BRAVE enough to give you is coming! And those other companies are right to be hesitant! Last year's Scream Fortress update hit Valve with a tidal wave of wrongful death lawsuits! That's right: Everyone who played last year's update DIED mysteriously! The only clue was that everyone's hair had turned snow-white!
They died of FEAR, reader! Or possibly premature hair-graying! We're not doctors. No, OUR jobs are to be your ringmasters at this year's Scream Fortress Update! Check out the teaser Update Page to get a taste of what's coming!
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.
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.