We go hands-on with Blizzard's take at Team Fortress
Blizzard may have canceled Titan, but today it revealed that the company hasn’t given up on trying to create a first-person shooter by revealing Overwatch. Overwatch is being pitched as a team-based multiplayer shooter. In short, it’s basically Blizzard’s take on Valve’s popular Team Fortress 2 shooter.
We had the chance to check out FanimeCon 2013 in San Jose, California this past weekend. While the annual event is widely known as an anime convention, gaming played a huge part of the show. In addition to having an entire expo hall dedicated to video games, there were a ton of game-inspired costumes. Popular outfits this year included the large roster of League of Legends champions to the ever popular Team Fortress 2 classes, and much, much more!
Presented below are some of our favorite FanimeCon 2013 cosplay costumes. Let us know which ones are your favorite in the comments section!
So you've played Team Fortress 2, but have you played it while wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset? It wouldn't have made much sense to do so up until now, as Valve just announced a VR mode to the free-to-play title that it plans to release in the coming days. In doing so, Team Fortress 2 becomes the first game to officially support Oculus Rift, a VR headset that raised more than $2.4 million in funding on Kickstarter last summer.
In the future, we're all going to sit in our rocking chairs and enthrall our grandchildren with tales of a time when videogames cost money. They'll then reply with a dismissive “Oh grandpa, you so crazy” before sauntering off to spend $400 on in-game hats. And everyone will have jetpacks. Where were we going with this? Oh, right: Team Fortress 2 is kicking its price tag to the curb and joining the free-to-play club.
Hooray! Another free update for Team Fortress 2! But this one, er, asks you to spend money. Easy now, put down that irate message board post. You wouldn't want to do anything you'll end up regretting, after all. Plus, this isn't quite as bad as it looks. Don't believe us? Let's hear what Valve has to say.
“We never really think about the money TF2 makes when we’re thinking about what to do. In this case, the thing that we are trying to build is a framework for a more robust collaboration with the community on content creation. This has been one of TF2’s main drives for some time now. In other games, community creators build content after the release, and it forever remains inaccessible to most players,” Valve told our sister site PC Gamer, who – as per usual – leaped all over this story like a rabid fox that's mistaken your face for a delicious baby bunny.
“We view the Mann-conomy as the next, crucial step in the evolution of how communities interact with products. Now they’ll not only be able to contribute to the product, they will be directly compensated for their work.”
Oh, there's also this exceedingly important bit from Valve's Mann-conomy FAQ:
“Our plan is to continue updating TF2 just like we always have, adding free maps, game modes, new features, and more. The Mann Co. Store is simply an alternative way of obtaining items that other players can earn during gameplay.”
Phew. Plus, almost every item – aside from a few minor cosmetic ones – can be unlocked through traditional means such as random drops and crafting, in addition to new methods like trading and winning mid-match duels. Yes, duels. Now you can daintily slip off the white lace glove of war and slap someone in the face with it. If they accept your duel challenge, they'll be highlighted during the match, and the game will keep track of how many times you've killed one another.
Currently, Valve's marketplace features a smattering of its own items and 17 new community created items, which – according to Valve – equate to “about five new class updates.” In the words of some guy on the street we just talked to: “Yeah, I guess it's a pretty big deal. Who are you? You said there would be food.”
Robots may not be able to (adequately) clean our houses, cook our meals, or rise up and sentence us to an eternity of house-cleaning and meal-cooking just yet, but they can play a mean game of king of the hill. And so, knowing this, Valve’s added bots to Team Fortress 2, though – at the moment – they’re still a few nuts and bolts short of completion.
“Since this is a beta test, the TFBots are only functional on these King of the Hill maps: koth_viaduct, koth_sawmill, and koth_nucleus. They don't understand the rules of multiple point capturing, cart pushing, or flag getting... yet,” Valve’s Mike Booth explained.
As for what makes these bots tick, Valve makes their method out to be a bit different than that of other developers. In a good way, of course.
“The bots have simulated humanlike senses, and only know what they see, hear, and touch. They also have realistic reaction times and aiming limitations. They don't ‘cheat’ or use omniscient knowledge of the server state to make their decisions,” Booth said.
Click through the link for instructions on how to add bots to your TF2 matches.
Gotta say, it’s a bit ironic that a blood-soaked week of virtual warfare – during which, more than twelve million casualties met their abrupt, though most assuredly excruciating ends – is the perfect template for videogame immortality. But hey, when happenstance writes my jokes for me, who am I to complain? And so it is with Valve’s Team Fortress 2.
As you’re probably already aware, last week saw Valve launch its latest update for the now two year-old Team Fortress 2. Which, in videogame years, roughly equates to dead. And a half. At the very least, you’d expect the public eye – easily distracted as it is -- to have wandered elsewhere by now, leaving Valve’s wacky shooter to the vultures and tumbleweeds of the world. But it hasn’t. War, as with each of TF2’s other updates, grabbed all kinds of attention – even as newer games like Modern Warfare 2 watched jealously from the outside.
So, why hasn’t interest in Team Fortress 2 faded over the years? Well, I can’t uncover the entire recipe for Valve’s incredibly intricate immortality potion, but I can outline one of its major ingredients: presentation. When Valve gives TF2 a tune-up, it does so with style. While other developers are content to toss their DLC out into the cold, harsh world with little more than a press release to keep it warm, Valve rolls out the proverbial red carpet with comics, videos, week-long Advent Calendar-style reveals, and – most recently – in-game competitions.
At first, we were going to go with “Soldiers Win War,” but that actually describes the end of almost every war in history, so we decided to be a bit more specific. So, with that out of the way, here’s the nitty-gritty: Soldiers rocket-jumped their way right up to 6,406,065 kills, but Demomen did their greatest forefather (that we know of), William Wallace, proud and went down fighting – resulting in 6,372,979 Soldier casualties.
As a reward for murdering more Scotsmen than there actually are in Scotland, the Soldier gets a new pair of shoes. These shoes, called “The Gunboats,” are outfitted with the latest in shock-absorbing technology – by which we mean they can absorb explosions. The result: decreased damage taken while rocket jumping.
On top of that, in order to lure out some fresh blood, Valve’s hosting a free weekend of Team Fortress 2, which is already in progress. Or, if you’d rather cut out the middleman, simply buy the game at its discounted price of $9.99. Now then, we’re done talking at you. Go spend the weekend with those who really matter: a bunch of faceless online folks – most of whom you plan to shoot on sight.
In a game that’s all about an ongoing fictional war, you’d think that calling an update “war” might be a tad redundant. But since there really isn’t a better word for technologically advanced armed combat on a massive scale, Valve’s sticking with the tried and true “W” word. So, what’s War good for? Well, for the Soldier and Demoman, three new weapons are on the way. There’s a bit of a catch, though: The well-documented Demoman-Soldier bromance saga must come screeching to a very bloody halt.
See, along with the eternal currency known as “bragging rights,” a fourth weapon is up for grabs. To the winner goes the spoils, however, so the foes-turned-friends-turned-foes-again are duking it out for the final mystery weapon. Whoever tallies the most kills by the end of the week bags the big prize. And if you were wondering, right now, team Soldier is winning by a very slight margin, so go turn that tide, Demomen!
But if you’d rather create than destroy, there’s something in this update for you too. Using a brand new crafting system, you’ll be able to turn all of your useless duplicate items into whatever your mind can imagine. If all that your mind imagines is guns and hats.
The update goes live on Thursday, and you can preload the necessary files right now. Happy hunting!
Team Fortress 2 is pretty great, but you know what would make it even better? Did you say “one or more zombies”? Yeah, us too. But instead, you’re getting a hat.
“For the first time in history, two separate Valve universes collide. That's right: it's a Left 4 Dead/Team Fortress crossover! This is not fan fiction! This is not a dream sequence! The characters from Team Fortress 2 will team-up with Bill's hat from Left 4 Dead 1!” reads a post on the TF2 Blog.
There’s a catch, though: Bill’s ridiculously regal Head Enhancement Item is only available to those who have preordered Left 4 Dead 2.
Honestly, though, to make such a strong fashion statement – nay, a fashion exclamation – we would’ve shelled out the full fifty smackeroos even if Left 4 Dead 2 weren’t involved at all.