Scream Fortress 6 is coming, and with it the flurry of presents Team Fortress 2 players have come to expect over the last four spooky seasons. But Valve have revised the gift system for this year’s event, in the hope of ending the iffy practices of Halloweens past.
“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,” write the dev team.
“We feel comfortable characterizing the current system as blatantly and transparently unfair.”
Gift drops were first introduced for 2011’s Scream Fortress update, as a bonus for participation. But in the years since, they’ve become the focus of the event for many - “often to the detriment of the players they were playing with”.
“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,” said Valve. “In this particular case, however, the overwhelming majority of gifts claimed went to a tiny handful of accounts.”
The median number of gifts claimed was just five per player last year - but some farming accounts swept up 500 each.
Valve’s counter-plan will see gifts doled out under new, tightly controlled conditions this year. Every player will be guaranteed a gift bundle for logging in during Scream Fortress - and can earn a secondary bundle by completing event achievements.
Players will wind up winning a larger number of items on average than during previous Halloween events - and the items will be more varied and interesting.
So: that’s good, isn’t it? Maybe warm up with some revived Team Fortress 2 Halloween events in the meantime.