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The Almighty Buck Games

Micro-Transactions Coming To Team Fortress 2 Via Steam Wallet 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-many-hats-can-you-get-for-a-dollar dept.
whoop writes "Valve has announced that Team Fortress 2 will be getting a new Mann Co. Store to buy trinkets with real money through a service called Steam Wallet. TF2 is the first game to use this new Steam Wallet, but the money can be spent on anything in Steam, including full games. This would open them up to featuring gift cards, micro-transaction games, and more." PC Gamer has an interview with Valve's Robin Walker about why they're doing this. Walker says everything they're selling will still be obtainable by playing the game, other than a few cosmetic items.
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Micro-Transactions Coming To Team Fortress 2 Via Steam Wallet

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  • by Undead Waffle (1447615) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:45AM (#33756640)

    I'm going to jump in early on this one. If you actually read the fucking article, nothing being put up for sale is only available through sale.

    FTFA:

    Robin Walker: Almost everything. There are a really small number of cosmetic items that you can’t find.

    What's that about reading the article?

    Not that I care about cosmetic stuff.

  • Re:Final nail (Score:3, Informative)

    by rsmith-mac (639075) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:48AM (#33756650)

    Agreed. "You can get it through grinding" is usually a cop-out for microtransaction systems, and it's no different here. The new item sets (which confer a bonus for having the complete set) make this especially silly - the odds of obtaining all of the items directly through the game's anemic drop rate are virtually nil, and crafting doesn't make this a lot better because you need to melt down dozens of items (including already extremely rare hats) when the results of crafting are a random class/slot weapon.

    Just to put this in perspective, Valve is charging $20 for any one of the new item sets. Items that can more easily be obtained through achievement unlocks are $0.50. And that's not inappropriately priced - that's a really good representation of just how much grinding is necessary on average to acquire all the parts of a single set. You can't reasonably do it, especially if you're not an unemployed 14 year old (keeping in mind this is an M game).

    Ultimately Valve is going to argue that all of this is balanced, but that's not the case. There are already items that are better than other items, and the item sets infer additional bonuses above and beyond that which make the item sets must-haves for most situations. Items never fully replace skill, but after today they sure as hell make it secondary; for equally skilled opponents it's now a pay-2-win game. And that's a shame, as it used to be the best non-military multiplayer FPS on the market.

  • Re:Quick Question (Score:2, Informative)

    by Therilith (1306561) on Friday October 01, 2010 @05:40AM (#33756832)
    All of the weapons you can buy can be acquired (relatively) easily by playing.
    However, they also introduced "item sets" which require a certain combination of weapons and a hat (a previously cosmetic-only item) to complete.
    Hats are very rare in-game (even more so if you need one particular hat to complete a set) which used to be fine since they never did anything until now.
  • by Djehuty3 (1371395) on Friday October 01, 2010 @07:17AM (#33757138)
    And those few items you can't find are the preorder bonuses, like Bills Hat - given out for preordering L4D2.
  • by cycleflight (1811074) on Friday October 01, 2010 @07:43AM (#33757246)

    So far, Valve has been pretty careful to not make a weapon strictly better than anything else available in its loadout slot (the bonesaw/ubersaw being the exception). They always put in some drawback to a weapon that has new abilities. As a result, the proliferation of weaponry has tended to change emphasis on different styles of play vs. making the holder of a particular weapon mightier than anyone without it. There are usually kinks when a weapon gets first released, but once a strict advantage becomes clear, weapon stats usually get changed to alter it.

    It's interesting to see the ebb and flow... suddenly you learned everyone in the server who plays soldier is highly accurate (or not) when the Direct Hit came out. You learned who's an ambush scout when the F.A.N. came out. The cruise-control pyros got their own weapon. Scouts got a way to be useful against a sentry nest, but lost their medium range weapon for it. The list goes on and on.

    Except for that damn fish. I haven't seen yet, but if the taunt for that isn't Monty Python's "Fish Slapping Dance," I'll be a little disappointed.

  • Re:Price (Score:3, Informative)

    by VGPowerlord (621254) on Friday October 01, 2010 @10:39AM (#33758766)

    I was looking at the store last night and most of the items have "abilities". The soldier for example can get an Anti-Sentry rocket launcher and a backpack that causes nearby mates to take 35% less damage.

    Those items can be crafted (Direct Hit + Reclaimed Metal = Black Box rocket launcher, Buff Banner + Reclaimed Metal = Battalion's Backup backpack) and drop from the random drop system.

    The hats for the set bonus are what hurt, as there's no way of crafting a specific hat,

  • Re:Price (Score:5, Informative)

    by imakemusic (1164993) on Friday October 01, 2010 @10:43AM (#33758824)

    I have now looked into it and found that I was actually right.

    The person I was originally responding to was expressing their disappointment at there being items which can only be purchased and not earned through grinding.

    I said that these items do exist but that they are purely cosmetic i.e. don't affect gameplay. This is true (at least according to Robin Walker:

    PC Gamer: Just to be absolutely clear: everything you can buy with real money is also available to find or craft for free?

    Robin Walker: Almost everything. There are a really small number of cosmetic items that you can’t find. On the flip side, there are a few items that aren’t purchasable either. Our main goal was to make sure that all gameplay affecting items are findable, so that no-one can buy an in-game advantage over someone who’s choosing to find their items.

    To be fair, if you ignore the context of my comment and consider it as an answer to a different question than the one I was answering then, yes, I was wrong. Similarly, your comment is incorrect as an answer to the question "What is the capital city of Sweden?"

    For the record I stopped playing TF2 around the time they started introducing upgrades. Partly because I didn't like the upgrades and couldn't be bothered to keep track of- and grind in order to get new weapons but mainly because I just got bored of the game.

  • Re:Final nail (Score:3, Informative)

    by YojimboJango (978350) on Friday October 01, 2010 @10:53AM (#33758996)

    I'll back this up by noting that I play on a server that specifically does this for weapons that CEVO and ETF2L have removed. It's a server for those that like to practice for more serious matches the way they'll be played in the league events. You should see the rage some people have when they can't play with their favourite load-out.

    It's not that it's impossible to make a 'pure' server. It's just that everyone hates them and the servers sit empty till the admin takes them down. The only exception to this rule are the servers that limit a few select weapons that get a bit overpowered in smaller (6v6) matches with well organized teams. Those seem to be empty most of the times, but will occasionally see some traffic.

    So yeah, GP is in a vast minority of players. The idea has been had, and implemented, and then promptly forgotten about because of it's vast unpopularity.

  • Re:Final nail (Score:3, Informative)

    by hibiki_r (649814) on Friday October 01, 2010 @12:41PM (#33760916)

    First, all the items other than the hats and the GRU are easily craftable, today. the GRU has a 50% chance recipe. So most of us have been able to get the most of the items we wanted in a matter of minutes, without paying a dime. We'll be able to get the rest in a couple of weeks worth of item drops.

    Now, the hats were an issue, because the chances of hat drops are extremely low, so getting the rare hat that completes a functional set is very difficult. There's been enough complaining about it that Robin has said that they'll quickly add a recipe to build the set hats. Now, we don't know if said recipe will require 2 regular items, some intermediate metal, or a bunch of refined metal plus token. Either way, it will make it easier to get the hats you want without paying a ton.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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