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Column: Quo vadis, Valve?
Written by Unknown on 23.01.2008 Time 19:02

This column only represents the position of the author and not of TFPortal.de.

Valve aren’t just the game designers for simple games for simple gamers. They have many tough games in their portfolio like Counter-Strike and Day Of Defeat, which are well-established in the competitive scene. Both games surely can be played as a little snack inbetween on Public-Servers, but have their real atractiveness in the clanwars, if things like tactics or aiming skills are important – even for winning prizes.
The so-called "E-Sport" may be an inciting word, but it’s a fact, that there are many gamers, who want to play this game organized: In a clan against another clan and not in a group full of unknown people on a overcrowded Public-Server.

One of the pioneers for developing the E-Sport-Scene in the last century was Team Fortress Classic. A class-based shooter, which resulted in many other imitations and now got a follower by the last year’s released Team Fortress 2. But it seems, as if Valve has some other plans with this game. Patch after patch one could divine in which direction the company wants the game to go: Away from the E-Sport right to the non-commital Public-gaming.
What did we have to bear from the release on: Pausing the ubercharge by switching weapons? Nooo, it’s too difficult, let’s call it “Bug” and patch it away asap. Optionally disabling Crits and classlimits? Really simple to build in, but noone at Valve seems to have it on his to-do-list. It’s just listed somewhere at the bottom, at first they will release the new Achievements.
But now Valve takes the bun by announcing the unlockable weapons. To get all the new guns for the Medic, one has to get all coming Achievements – which are 36 pieces, with such meaningful names like "Heal Grind". This means hard work for Clanwar-spoiled gamers by playing uncountable Public-hours to reach all Achievements.
How the Achievements really will look like no one knows for sure right now. But this principle should not only work for the Medic, but for other classes as well. Do clans have an advantage, when gaining these new acquisitions as fast as possible? Are we soon looking for enemies not only by game rules, but also by their Achievement-advance? Will we spam the channels with cryptical “Looking for…”-Posts like "Seeking 6on6, No Crits, Mediclimit 1, Classlimit 2, Medic-Level 2, Soldier-Level 1"? A last hope remains, that the new weapons will be possible to switch off by server variables or that the TFTrue-Plugin will be able to do this. It may be the latter option as Valve seems to have no interest in E-Sports as they – so far - didn’t react to the callings for an option to disable the Critical Hits.

Whatever might come, one thing is certain: With changes like these the small German TF2-Clanscene will shrink even more. Elements like the unlockable weapons may be an interesting point for casual players, but they will kill the competitive gaming. If it may be Valves goal to frighten away the E-Sport-gamers from TF2, they are right in their way.


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