Stand by your Mann
TF2 Introduces the Mann-Conomy
The latest update has finally arrived, The Mann-Conomy update includes a whopping 65 new items (including more hats), the Polycount Pack, item trading, item customisation plus a few gameplay tweaks.
More significantly, this update sees the introduction of the ‘Mann-Co store’ where players can purchase items with real world money. Yes, to satisfy the insatiable hunger for fashionable headwear, micro-transactions have made a controversial debut in Team Fortress 2.
Even more significantly, there are more hats in this update.
The fact is, a lot of gamers know what they want and as long as they’re prepared to pay for it we’ll carry on seeing micro-transactions in our games. That’s capitalism baby. To be honest, this seems like an obvious move by Valve corp. It’s time to milk the cow.
Caption: The in-game store is a breeze to use. To pay, you must add Steam funds to your account. You can do so with most credit or debit cards and Paypal.
Mercifully, MOST of the added weapons in TF2 are balanced, thus preventing any high-rolling gamers from purchasing an advantage. More good news: you can’t get anything you want at Mann-Co. A lot of content is off the menu, so rare items will keep their allure.
How I learned to stop worrying and love the microtransaction
Why be scared of the Mann-Co store? It’s beneficial to TF2, think about it...
No more achievement grinding to get new weapons every class update.
If we had a trading system and no Mann-Co we would see the creation of a black market, as well as TF2 items appearing on eBay - which is something no-one wants to see.
It also solves the problem of uneven distribution. Take me for example: under the both drop systems I haven’t had a SINGLE HAT. The only hat I have to my name is a crafted Whoopee Cap.
Finally, we want TF2 to be a financial success. It means more money and more man hours are invested into the game, which will eventually result in more hats.
With this brand new recipe you can get any of the Polycount pack weapons by crafting 1 Reclaimed Metal with an appropriate item. For example: 1 Reclaimed + 1 Huntsman (Slot 1 Sniper) = 1 Sydney Sleeper (Slot 1 Sniper). 1 Reclaimed + 1 Jarate = 1 Milk (like Jarate, Milk is a thrown weapon). You get the idea.
Head on over to TF2Wiki for a full breakdown on crafting.
And did I mention you can ONLY get the new weapons through craft? A situation contrived presumably so players can familiarise themselves with the crafting system. So don’t be shy.
As of now you can customise the name and colour of your hat, using purchasable Name Tags and paint cans. Now that might not sound like a big deal to you, but look: A pink Hustler’s Hallmark:
Caption: I believe we’ve already reached the zenith of item customisation.
You can buy gifts at the store, which you can give to people on a TF2 server. The contents of the gift are random and so is the recipient.
Caption: I always wanted a pair of these
Trading does what it says on the tin. It’s easy, and you don’t have to add anyone to your friends list to do it. The GUI lets you trade easily with people on a server, or on your friends list. Easy. The only possible criticism is that it didn’t come sooner, however, with all this new content now seems like the perfect time.
The Polycount pack itself is well put together. TF2 had reached the stage where each class had additional weapons for each slot, and things could have stayed that way. The PCP represents a desire to keep on adding new content. TF2 doesn’t have the longevity of games like Counterstrike, and unless there is new content people get bored.
Each Polycount pack gives an extra bonus when you wear all the items in that class bundle. Check this out for full details.
Although you like fun, the Polycount pack poses a clear threat to the competitive scene. CEVO Season 6 being one of the first to oblige complaining pro gamers, banning all new items. It’s no surprise really, seeing how the Black Box will give you a handsome +45 health in fights.
Despite holding one less rocket in the chamber (that makes three in total, dummy) the Black Box will give you +15 hit points for ANY damage done by your rocket. Obviously if you miss, you get nothing.
If you’re a Soldier who relishes close combat, this should be considered a buff on the normal Rocket Launcher. If you forget medics, most classes go down after three rockets and you’ll be 45 health better off than they are.
You can’t headshot with this rifle. Do you still want it?
Oh okay. Despite being a dart gun, the ‘Sleeper is a histcan weapon. It works by soaking enemies with Jarate, although like the vanilla rifle it must charge the Jarate effect while zoomed. When I first read about this gun I hoped it would Jarate unzoomed allowing it to be used like a railgun, soaking people, unscoped, with 100% accuracy - but it wasn’t to be.
In the right place this can be an assist machine, but there is no fun in that. I’ll stick to my headshots.
Don’t underestimate the power of this weapon. When Scouts get up close and personal the Shortstop does a lot of damage per shot. At mid-range, the damage is comparable with the Scattergun, except this weapon has a faster fire-rate. Long range is weak, but the extremely fast reload rate means you can hammer enemies trying to escape your range.
Regular Scouts will need to adapt their scattergun aim as only very precise pointing registers as a hit. If your cursor isn’t in the right place you will miss.
The features of this update will be a comfort TF2 fans. People like to collect and posses rare things, and since the success of WoW developers have become acutely aware that gamers like to personalise their character, to give it some other identity than the standard skin. This release broadens those possibilities and gives players freedom to share and do what they want.
Perhaps its a sign of the times when such a major update contains no significant gameplay fixes. But this update should be seen as a crucial step towards ensuring the longevity of this mighty fine game. And this one needs to be kept fresh, because if not, it will go stale.