Do you own a Community Weapon? Chances are, probably not. There are only two ways to get one: Be rich and buy a sparkly Lugermorph, or become a respectful upstanding member of the TF2 Community who leaves the game a little better than when he arrived, and wait for Valve to contact you and give you one.
The system is as old as the concept of weapon qualities. Back in the day that Vintage weapons outnumbered Unique weapons, Valve implemented this method of rewarding specific members of the community. But I’m starting to think this procedure could use an update.
The first reason? Strange Weapons. A few days ago I passed time with a fun question: If I could get any Community weapon, what would I get? The first thing that came to mind was my beloved Crusader’s Crossbow, but wait, I have a strange crossbow! I wouldn’t want to stop tracking my kills. As a matter of fact, almost every weapon I love is already in strange form in my backpack. I’d have to pick some nonstrangeable weapon I enjoyed, like Gunboats. But this extreme restrictiveness seemed to dilute the fact that the Community weapon was supposed to be a reward. It should be a 100% Awesome thing to get a Community weapon; I shouldn’t have to bittersweetly choose which of my stranges to retire.
The second reason is that Community cosmetics don’t exist. This I find odd, because with so many cosmetics in the game right now, it’s far more likely that somebody has a favorite cosmetic than a favorite weapon. A Community cosmetic would be usable with any loadout as well; a Community crossbow would have to say hello to my backpack every time I need to equip the Syringe Gun because my team can’t protect me. This might just be a holdover from the fact that cosmetics didn’t exist when Community weapons first became a thing, but I think that should be fixed.
The third is that TF2 gives such a high emphasis on customization that most players have probably formed strong emotional bonds with the favorite weapons they already have. Weapons gifted from friends. Weapons signed by competitive players you follow. Name tagged/Descripted weapons. Aforementioned strange weapons. Grabbing a community weapon forces you to retire this old and proud member of your arsenal, or to pick a weapon you care less about and make it Community. Again, I don’t feel recipients should have to make that choice.
So my suggestion: Community-fiers. Strangeifiers have proven that Valve can add qualities with the application of an in-backpack tool; give an untradeable Community-ifier to a person who deserves it and let them apply it to whatever weapon/cosmetic they like. The Strange Unusual Villain’s Veil and Strange Genuine Archimedes show that you can stack qualities. In my hypothetical scenario, I’d add the strangeifier to my crossbow and get a strange Community crossbow. Or maybe I’d Community-ify my Foppish Physician? It’s my call. This is better than the previous system because it lets the user buff a specific weapon/cosmetic that means something to them, without forcing them to abandon a beloved item or pick a Community weapon they won’t use.
I understand that not everyone develops emotional bonds with certain weapons or likes stranges as I do, but do you see how Community-ifiers would only benefit the situation? It’d also cut down on bureaucracy because Valve doesn’t have to ask them what weapon they’d like, wait for a reply, and finally grant that item. Just one universal tool, giveable to anyone, that lets them choose.