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An Active Solution to an Idle Threat

July 17, 2013 - TF2 Team

Your time is valuable, and the fact that you choose to spend it on Team Fortress 2 is awesome. When we introduced the Item Drop System back in 2009, one of our goals was to reward you for spending your time with us.




We recently made a change that helps ensure players are playing TF2, not just leaving their computers on in order to get item drops. As of last week, players can no longer receive item drops unless they are actively playing the game.


As with any update, this change is meant to keep the game as fair, fun, and rewarding to as many players as possible. We will continue to examine how the Item Drop System is used, and make any adjustments as needed to benefit the players.


Questions and Answers:


  • What is the definition of “actively playing” Team Fortress 2?

    • From an item drop perspective, a player is considered to be actively playing if they meet all of the following criteria:

      • Is connected to a VAC secured server.
      • Is responding to in-game drop notifications while not utilizing external programs to do so.
      • Is running only one instance of the game.
      • Is not in textmode.
    • A player who meets all of those criteria is earning time towards random item drops (subject to the weekly cap).
  • Will I be VAC banned for not actively playing the game, also known as ‘idling’?

    • No, you will not be banned for just idling. You may be banned if you use external programs to circumvent idle detection. See VAC FAQ.
  • Will I lose my drops if I'm idling? Will it affect my weekly drop cap?

    • No, drops are not lost and the drop cap remains unaffected. Players will simply have their item drops paused. Item drops will return when normal play is resumed.
  • Why are you changing how the Item Drop System works?

    • This change is designed to make the TF2 experience equally rewarding for all players. The previous system had flaws that allowed players to collect rewards without actively playing TF2.
  • I don’t idle. How does this impact me?

    • The new system ensures you won’t become disadvantaged for playing TF2 the way you always have.