This article will wrap up Ketchup week. We’re back on track for “This Week in TF2 History”! Congrats everybody! I know it wasn’t actually a week, but the only alternative was to wait to fall behind an extra 14 days before starting, and that’s just the sort of logic that got us into this mess.
Speaking of messes, the Spy weapons added as per Sniper vs. Spy were all decently buggy due to how strangely they messed with the mechanics of the game. The Dead Ringer in particular had more bugs than any other weapon before or since, and the never-ending struggle to balance that watch began on May 26 2009 when Valve made it drain the whole cloak meter even if the user de-cloaks early. Just imagine how awesome it would be to use a Dead Ringer that only drained equivalently, like the invis watch does. You’ll never get to experience that again. To compensate the Ambassador was buffed to deal full crits instead of mini-crits, when people did the math and saw that it otherwise wasn’t adequately rewarding the extra skill needed.
Remember how last week I mentioned that item collection changed from achievement-based to random drop? On May 29 2009 Valve addressed the complaints of the userbase by reactivating the achievement weapons as well, making it possible to get items through both methods. A related tweak changed weapon drops from having random levels to fixed ones. Any Level 0 Vintage items on the market came from before this update.
Nothing happened this week in 2010, but on May 31st 2011 Valve added the Conjurer’s Cowl as a promotional item for Magika. I’ve got a particular dislike for this item because a friend guilt-tripped me into buying his genuine hot pink one for two keys. He’s right in that that was technically the market value for the item, but despite my best efforts I was unable to get anybody to buy it even for a single key. I finally deleted it in effigy a year and and half later. In more important news, Demoman received a new leg bodygroup at the same time. It went unused at the time but less than a month later the F2P Update brought about the Ali Baba’s Wee Booties.
A year later on May 31, 2012, Valve dropped the first real nerf onto the Rocket/Sticky Jumper when they prevented its users from picking up the intelligence. I first started seriously playing Team Fortress Classic after this when a friend ranted to me about how Valve was destroying the closest parallel to the first game’s conc grenading. But while Sticky Jumper users were unanimously sad, Rocket Jumper users were excited because this update gave them the parallel orange skin and non-draconic stats to the Sticky Jumper. Before this update, the Rocket Jumper still had the outdated “+100% damage weakness to everything” and it looked exactly like the Rocket Launcher. The Enforcer also got buff/nerfed to its current stats. Before this, the only downside was a longer cloak blink time, meaning that it was a straight upgrade to stock when equipped with Dead Ringer. Not everybody thinks the current stats are balanced, but most agree its better than it was. Quantum Conundrum also got three promo items, everybody’s favorite being the Quadwrangler, the first not-Halloween-restricted full coat replacement for Medic. I also bought the white Professor’s Pineapple that appears in a bunch of my photos on this blog because I had a crush on Mad Milk at the time.
And since I don’t want that to be the last thing I say in this article, and I feel bed that June didn’t get to appear anywhere else, the TF2 beta gave everyone the 2 Beta Equalizers on June 1, 2012. They’d done this once before but decided not to pursue the concept, and this was the first sign they’d reopened the issue of the Equalizer being incredibly awesome in every way. This famously resulted in the birth of the Escape Plan and the Fisher Price Pickaxe during the Pyromania update.