I’ve never exactly had a positive relationship with the new CSGO-style weapon skins in TF2, but at best my opinion was neutral. They weren’t exactly hurting anything, and they were strictly cosmetic. I also supported the new weapon pickup mechanic, as I describe in this article.

But as I play more TF2, mainly because my Christmas desktop is badass enough to allow me to do so on high settings, I’m finding that both of these mechanics are annoying me far more than they’re endearing themselves.

The new skins are really bothering my weapon recognition. Now, at the moment you can only decorate stock weapons so the problem’s not huge, but I’m constantly blindsided by some weird-looking gun and wondering “what the hell is that minigun?” Several skins make the minigun look like the Brass Beast, or the shotgun look like the Widowmaker. We had this problem from day 1 with the oft-maligned “damage-dealing Rocket Jumper“.

Minor complaint but it's also it's weird to see the skins change team color when the enemy picks them up.
It’s also weird to see the enemy skins change team color when you pick them up.

Again, though, so long as Valve never adds weapon skins for unlocks, we can avoid the majority of this problem. And there were already other things screwing with weapon recognition, especially festives. So that leads me to weapon dropping. I just don’t think weapon-dropping works with TF2’s design. Unlike Counter-Strike Global Offensive, the game TF2 stole it from, not every weapon in TF2 can be picked up by every player because of class restrictions. Matter of fact it’s more likely than not that a player won’t be able to pick up most of the guns he finds scattered along the ground, making the whole mechanic more confusing than anything else. And weapons in TF2 have so much ammo that I can count on one hand the number of times I grabbed a discarded weapon to replenish my ammo.

We all know its actual job is to encourage players to buy more expensive stuff.
We all know its actual job is to encourage players to buy more expensive stuff.

At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is the Ubercharge collection mechanic. (Especially with the only other loadout that relied on it removed) And while I can count loads of times I respawned, sprinted to my dropped Medigun, and continued on from where my previous life left off, I’ve noticed that this only happens when I’m on defense. A defensive medic is more likely to drop his medigun in friendly territory and be capable of reaching it in 30 seconds (minus respawn) without enemies getting in his way. And that’s not great; Ubercharges are designed to break stalemates and buffing only the defensive Ubercharge engenders more stalemates.

It also buffs another kind of ‘defensive’ Medic; those in a pickle who choose to die holding their Medigun out rather than try to defend themselves because they want to be able to pick up their gun on respawn. This really irks me every time I find myself restraining my self-defensive urges and allowing my death just because I’m at 76% Uber. I want to go down fighting, not keel over pathetically, but dieing with your Ubersaw out negates any chance of later collecting that ultra-valuable charged Medigun.

Barring of course an idiot teammate taking matters into his hands...
 As does an idiot teammate taking matters into his hands…

Plus it’s extremely rare that I want to pick someone else’s Medigun off the ground; I have to be at like <10% Uber. And in a position of complete safety to even bother trying it. And often I still regret doing so. So in conclusion I’ve grown to dislike the fact that the mechanic is completely forgettable except for one major game-changing element that slows down play and softens the blow of failing as Medic.

But ultimately they’re not going anywhere, so tough break. I guess hypothetically it could have been a lot worse.