Here are the answers I’ve given to the questions posted in the Dear Aaby section:

What Weapons did you use in your early days of TF2 that you believed were good but you soon realized they weren’t as good as you thought?

Aabicus: When I first started playing TF2, I didn’t have the patience for regular Pyro, and I was well aware that I sucked at the airblast. So when the Pyro Grordbort set came out, I had my first experience trying to craft with tokens, as they didn’t have proper blueprints and I thought they never would. Several refined metals worth of drops later, and I had enough flare guns and backburners to equip an angry mob.

I finally got my Phlogistinator and Manmelter once the normal blueprint came out, and rocked it with my Homewrecker, because I never got melee kills so I figured removing sappers was a free utility. And I played that for a really, really long time…

My Manniversary Paper Hat and untradeable Manmelter are the only pieces that still exist from my first Pyro loadout.
My Manniversary Paper Hat and untradeable Manmelter are the only pieces that still exist from my first Pyro loadout.

Another loadout I really liked was Loch-N-Load/Chargin’ Targe/Persian Persuader, because I’d seen this video by STAR_ but had a deathly fear of lowered base health. I remember was a randomizer server that gave me Spy with Black Box, Sticky Jumper, and Spycicle, that I fell in love with the Sticky Jumper. Honestly, the very last demoman secondary I tried was the Stickybomb Launcher.

What is your opinion on each of the Paints in TF2?

Aabicus: I think it’s a cool idea, as I always like further ability to customize. Unfortunately, I’m such a stickler there aren’t many paints I use personally. I’ve got a real thing for White paint, I find it looks good on a lot of loadouts. Other than that very little of my stuff is painted. Instead, I find myself drawn to the default colors of most cosmetics. But I don’t discriminate based on garish hues. As a matter of fact, I’m more likely to heal those people and trust them because they’ve shelled out the dosh for paint and probably know how to play the game better (of course this isn’t a certainty, but on the battlefield a Medic’s got to make snap decisions, and discrimination can save my life).

If you could add a weapon of your own design into TF2, what would it be?

Not the best Steam Workshop model, but damn does it sum up my idea incredibly well. By M-NINJA.
Not the best Steam Workshop model, but damn does it sum up my idea incredibly well. By M-NINJA.

The Clear Shot
Level 5 Grenade Launcher
On hit: +20 health
-25% clip size

aabicus: As someone who loves the Grenade Launcher but wishes he had more survivability, this very simple setup (that should remind you of a current TF2 weapon) has been my favorite stat concept I’ve come up with. We’re going with Clear Shot for its name only because my suggestion was a little rude.

In my opinion, it holds an attraction for all brands of Demoman. Sticky Launcher demos can use it to regain health if they get the opportunity, demoknights and Sticky Jumper demos have to trade off a lowered damage output for survivability. And, the downside helps reduce pipe spam, something I’ve seen a lot of TF2 players complain about. Not too different from the stock Grenade Launcher, but the stock Grenade Launcher is awesome so why would I stray far from it?

Why do you hate Snipers so much?

Aabicus: Snipers can be teeth-gnashingly annoying, but in all honesty they don’t bug me as much as they could. I’ve since learned to be very careful before crossing into territory where a sniper could see me, and unlike most classes, I’ve got a way to turn myself invincible against all damage, for when I finally poke my head out. That’s not to say that sniper’s niche of “deals lethal damage from the other side of the map” isn’t incredibly difficult to counter as anything but another Sniper, but most of the good maps have ways to limit good sniper lines. Also, we’re not playing Team Fortress Classic.

For those who don’t know, the TFC Sniper Rifle could charge/headshot from the hip, charge-up damage infinitely (so you could OHKO lvl 3 sentries if you charged long enough), slow enemies on bodyshot, and had an alt-mode which turned it into a perfect-accuracy rapidfire machine gun that shredded anyone in seconds. It’s only “downside” was eating through your ammo reserve. So, as long as I’m not playing against that, I can count my lucky stars.

What’s In Your TF>Custom Folder?

aabicus: Nothing. Yes, I know I suck.

I’m serious, I have not modded or customized TF2 one jot. This wasn’t really a personal preference or anything; I just don’t really think that way, and am aware this is a flaw. I enjoy hearing about the loony things others do with their customs but personally I don’t even know how to do that stuff. It’s really just me being lazy for the past 4 years, not willing to put in the time to figure out how to do all that. Other things I’ve never learned how to do are add a map into TF2 without playing it on a server, install a custom HUD, make my own TF2 items, or improve my performance in any way like Chris’ config or interp. I learned how to add a spray just long enough to write this article, and I haven’t even changed the “Sentry ahead” spray since then.

UPDATE 2014: I finally installed my first custom thing, this AK-47 that replaces the SMG!
Update August 2014: I finally installed my first custom thing, this AK-47 that replaces the SMG!

This extends to SPUF too; I was a 5-star user before I learned how to check my rep on the control panel. Apparently I’m not very attentive about exploring options any further than 1 degree away from basic. The day somebody decides to sit down and walk me through all this crap one baby step at a time, I’ll love them. I bet it’d make my TF2 twice as fun. But I’m never going to find the time to do it myself.

On the other hand, I have random critical posts installed on SPUF! Get them yourself from this thread. Be warned: Trebel appears to be immune to critical posts.
On the other hand, I have random critical posts installed on SPUF! Get them yourself from this thread. Be warned: Trebel appears to be immune to critical posts.

What’s your dream unusual?

aabicus: For many of the reasons stated in this article, I like Massed Flies as my favorite effect. So a flies medic hat was a no-brainer. I also love the Prussian Pickelhaube because it was my first hat, so you combine them and you get my “Anti-Headcrab Hat.”

Lookit how cute these guys are! Picture was taken years ago in a thread that's been deleted; if you took it, let me know and I'll credit you!
Lookit how cute these guys are! Picture was taken years ago by stephy, thanks again man.

But because “the one I already own” is a lame answer, instead I’ll tell you what unusual effect I’d add if I had the chance: Massed Fireflies. They’d look like the current fly but they’d glow orange or yellow. You’ve got to admit that’d look seriously cool swarming around you!

What do you think about the new price of keys in refined metal?

aabicus: Sweet, I sold my strange festive Ambassador for 6 keys, and now those keys I’ve ignored are worth eight keys! Or something. I’m not a math major.

Now of course I don’t like the rampant inflation, but it’s not like we haven’t seen it coming. This has been a steady uphill climb ever since Halloween 2012 when the keys rose as expected but then didn’t go back down. At this point, I find the most intelligent move is to either eschew key trading entirely or get as many keys as you can and hold onto them. I don’t see a real way to fix the problem, so instead I learn to live with it. And I’m aware that it’s far easier for me to do that as someone who keeps getting keys for things because of all the crap in my backpack I’ve had for years and don’t care about.

What’s your spray?

aabicus: This awesome spray made by 1Fort2Fort! Thanks so much man!


Why do you do this blog?

Aabicus: You’re definitely in charge, Medic. 🙂 I’d hazard to say you’ve done more for this blog than I have.

As for why I write for the blog; because otherwise, I’d spend my spare time doing something that accomplishes less. Writing is something I have boundless enthusiasm and patience for, and Team Fortress 2 is a subject that really fuels my muse. I enjoy connecting to an audience and I feel that I have important things to say on this topic that can educate others and even improve their game. Plus it gives me a more timeless venue to address issues I care strongly about; SPUF threads always felt too transitory, and you couldn’t attach pictures to augment your main point.

What’s your most sentimental item?

aabicus: Early items that stick with you because of their history are the best. Sadly, I sold/crafted all of my personal ones whenever I bought an upgrade, so I don’t really have any of those. (It appears the oldest item in my backpack is a self-crafted Vita-Saw.)

You mentioned that you would be willing to sell most of your backpack; well, actually, I recently did just that. Almost everything that didn’t make the sentimentality (or tradability) cut got axed for metal and keys. Most of the remaining items are now featured in the Item Showcase on my profile, and I consider those 10 items the closest thing I have to sentimental items. Especially my birds; Giddeon recently became my first ever Mann Co. Select strange!

What is your favorite thread in all of SPUF’s history?

aabicus: Oh man, I’ve got some. Most of them are name-dropped in this thread or that one, but one that isn’t is “I didn’t choose the fort life“, where Junko plays The Sims 3 with each Sim a TF2 class. It got quite far and is filled with his/her own peculiar brand of humor, and only stopped when the author was sadly banned from SPUF. I miss you, Junko. Why couldn’t you have kept updating through your Steam group?

One of the advantages to having this blog is that I can take threads of mine that I enjoyed and kinda polish them into real articles with pictures and whatnot, so a lot of the TF2 threads of mine I’ve enjoyed appear somewhere on this blog as an article.

What’s your favorite TF2 bug/glitch?

Aabicus: Medic already mentioned the neutral crossbow one, that’s probably my favorite. But since she already took that one, instead I’d like to mention the glitch where the Beggar’s Bazooka will continue loading rockets and misfiring if you hold down m1 during Humiliation. I’ve only ever managed to kill anyone once with this glitch (not counting myself) but it was awesome. Who’s humiliated now?

Another great map bug I once experienced was on the beta rd_asteroid. One team scored 300 points through killing robots and won, getting their critacular humiliation time. Right in the middle of it, the losing team’s core returned and they reached 300, and then the other team got their humiliation! It was pretty funny, but newer versions of rd_asteroid have updated and fixed that one.

This one was quite fun too while it lasted.
This one was quite fun too while it lasted.

Design a weapon for TF2! (part two!)

aabicus: You know what I’ve always wanted to see? A Medigun that kept the invulnerability Uber and tampered with the other stats instead. Just because the Kritzkrieg swapped out its Uber everyone thinks they gotta have a new one, but its pretty hard to beat invincibility. So what about a Medigun designed to teach new players how to Medic better with the stock Ubercharge?

The Vita-Gun
On 100% Charge: Ubercharge automatically triggers on taking lethal damage
-25% ubercharge duration
-1 hp/sec drained from wearer

My goal with this weapon is to make something that new players think: “Oh, wow! I want to play medic now!” and then actually be a credit to team, as it removes their biggest scare (dropping Uber). However, good players will still be able to beat them with the stock medigun due to the shortened Uber, and eventually players who use this weapon will realize its holding them back and consider switching over. And everyone else finds there are more medics on their team healing them. Plus, it rewards Medics for staying alive long enough to reach 100%, but punishes Medics for “dropping” by leaving them at 1 hp+regen upon the Uber wearing off.

Do you remember your first life?

aabicus: I remember my first life in TF2 and TFClassic!

I actually played TFClassic first, even though I started my multiplayer gaming career in 2011. It was while I was studying abroad in Britain, I’d recently purchased the Orange Box and Half-Life anthology as my first ever Steam purchase (unless you count a free copy of Portal), and I needed a multiplayer game my crappy laptop could handle, plus I was attracted to the Half-Life old school graphics so TFC it was. I spawned as Medic on a server running the custom map odyssey, and I experimentally cycled through my inventory before deciding to wield the silver shotgun into battle. The first player I met was an enemy Heavyweapons Guy in the lower level of my team’s base, who I fired at ineffectually before he blasted my face off with his minigun. It was a few hours later I realized everybody on the server, including him, was a bot.

My first time playing TF2 happened when I returned to America. In my absence my roommate had been playing the game obsessively on my desktop, so she’d already unlocked the Kritzkrieg and even the Prussian Pickelhaube. She knew I wanted to play Medic, so put me on Upward as RED with the Kritzkrieg. The second the gates opened, I ubered a heavy standing next to the cart and raged when I died instantly to a headshot, because I didn’t understand why I hadn’t turned invincible. Good times…

Pretty sure I was standing right about here
Pretty sure I was standing right about here for the entire second my first life lasted.