Team Fortress uber update ‘Meet The Medic’ and… Free to play!

You can now (finally!) meet the medic!

And in amazing addition, Valve just went and took a bold, moderately scary, but awesome step. They took one of their greatest games, and made it free to play – free, forever, no catch. I’ll bet this is where they’ve aimed ever since they launched the cash store, probably as a better business model for them and a great way to encourage more new players. I can hardly believe it, as it’s one of a few games which I would still pay ‘full retail’ price for even now.

In every way, Team Fortress 2 seems like an inspirational game. It ticks so many boxes it… runs on a 5-year-old laptop, looks amazing on a brand new desktop, is artistic, tells a story (really well) of the characters in a typically storyless genre, is balanced, is about more than just you, involves the community, funds community developers, requires next to no money from you (absolutely none now!), receives regular (awesome) (free) updates, servers are well populated, and probably most importantly, is great fun.

As long as they keep up the balanced and quality update work, I can only see this being a good thing. By balanced, I mean, a person who pays gains no real advantage over a person who works to craft and collect items. They might get items faster, and they might get unique looking items, but the free player will always be able to match the item buying player. I doubt it will be anything other than this, as updates and new weapons are always balanced – or aim to be, and are polished up later.

If you’re new to the game, don’t worry. The team is what matters, so you can just do your best to help meet the objective – no one will hate you for being new. (if anyone does, hit them with a baseball bat (or a fish!))

Anyway what are you waiting for, stop reading this post right now and go download the game!

Uber Update – The secret Pyro Update

Again with the secret updates! Today, there is a hidden pyro update in addition to “World War Wednesday” Uber Update page. Right there as soon as you load the page. Yep, on the blackboard, a picture of a pyro with a great big arrow pointing to it – it’s a link to the pyro update.

Only one new weapon this time, “The Detonator”. Seems like a good name for it too, seeing as it’s a flare gun that detonates. Nice and simple! Details are scarce – “Alt fire detonates explosive flare” – but let’s take a guess – we shoot the flare, detonate it, and set nearby targets on fire. As benefits are rarely without drawbacks, I’ll take a guess at slightly lower damage, a slower moving flare, or increased reload time, though that’s pure speculation.

Sounds like a great weapon for setting distant enemy groups on fire, and a great addition for spy checking at a distance. Anyway, once again it’s exciting to find another secret. Makes me wonder if there’s a missed secret on page 1 – has anyone found one?

Team Fortress 2 – The Semi Secret Uber Update For Scout

Alongside the easily seen Mobster Monday and Timbuk Tuesday is a subtly (or not so) hidden scout update. Lurking at the bottom of the Timbuk Tuesday page is a can of what looks like bonk atomic punch. It’s a link! Click the can and you are led to a page detailing a new weapon set for the scout, “The #1 Fan”

Valve's scoutpack update
Awesome artwork as ever, courtesy of Valve.

“The Soda Popper” looks like another weapon rewarding you for killing effectively, like the Bazaar Bargain, building up ‘hype’ ready for a rain of minicrits. A smaller clip size is your downside, much like the Force-A-nature. A rain of minicrits from behind could cause total disarray to an unsuspecting team.

Next up is a bat – “The Atomizer”, which looks like an ‘access’ weapon – useful for getting behind enemy lines, grabbing a health pack, then wreaking havoc on the enemy team (or their teleporters). I imagine that third jump will also give an interesting edge in combat during the first few weeks when no one is expecting it! Combined with the force-a-nature, will this give the scout a quadruple jump… One can only imagine so, and the prospect is awesome.

The last new weapon, “The Winger” seems like a standard but nonetheless useful pistol replacement. The extra damage, presumably without scatter, looks like a great opportunity to sneak behind enemy lines and snipe their sentries/medics/etc when they least expect it.

Hidden updates somehow always excite me more than the obviously stated updates, it’s somewhat like a treasure trail…