Well, ever since tax season ground me through the wringer and spat me out (I work in a tax place these days), I took a weeklong break from “This Week in TF2 History”, and now that it’s almost June I should probably dial myself back in. That’s right, this week is:
And what a week to start with. April 29, 2008 brought the first major TF2 update ever: the Gold Rush Update! Payload immediately sky-rocketed to becoming one of the most-played game modes ever, the Medic class experienced a renaissance when he suddenly became fun, and future TF2 traders felt the first stirring of the hoarder mentality deep inside them. It also became impossible to regenerate health through drowning, a bug which would resurface (and never get fixed) with the introduction of the Dead Ringer. To make sure 2fort wasn’t completely abandoned, Valve also added a medium healthpack and ammo crate into the sewers. You know which ones I’m talking about. I could take up an entire article on how many things this update added and changed, but suffice to say it was a very big deal.
Did you know the original Medic achievements were far harder to get than right now? Not only did most of them have huge numbers like “Kill 50 Medics with your bonesaw”, you needed ALL of them to unlock that Ubersaw. Or, if you played for the 24 hours before Valve patched it, you simply typed “achievement_unlock_all” into console. Congrats!
Exactly two years later on April 30, 2010 we got another large update. cp_freight saw the light of day, one of the few maps that has never been touched or patched in any update since its inclusion. Crit-a-Cola became a thing (though it looked exactly like Bonk!), cementing Scout as the beverage class to Heavy’s food. A LOT of weapon tweaks came rolling down the chute as well, almost all of which have remained in the base game up till now; you can read all of them here.
The very next day, they one-upped themselves with the much-trumpeted 119th Update. A number celebrated with tongue firmly in cheek because they’d missed celebrating the 100th update, it introduced even more weapon balances, and introduced the employment badges, such as Grizzled Warrior and Mercenary (though it was originally called the “Weekend Warrior” before some weekend warriors felt insulted.)
The day after that, Valve made a surprisingly touching gesture when they added some extra support for Prop Hunt, a game mode they didn’t even make. The “SetCustomModeRotates” input let the server dictate whether the custom model should rotate, and the “SetCustomModelVisibleToSelf” let it set whether players will see their own custom model. A bizarre bug was also fixed where spectated Soldiers will not gain the self-resistance from the Gunboats. This is because the Gunboats is designed to not trigger if the Soldier damages an enemy in the shot.
April 28 2011 added some of the first promotional crafting recipes, specifically for the Fishcake and SpaceChem Pin from Awesomenaughts. The Fishcake, based on the Dalokohs Bar, remains the only promo weapon to not be a reskin of a stock or class achievement item.
April 27, 2012 brought about a number of new items, including the Toss-Proof Towel and new strange weapons in Crate 43. Also in that crate was “Allies Extinguished” and “Posthumous Kills”, sending every Pyro player ever into a purchasing spree. There was also a minor stickybomb nerf in that the bombs now gained a flashy team-colored aura and a strobing critical effect. I can still remember the gadzillions of threads that got made about this minor change.
Jump forward two years to April 24th 2012, where some Wolfenstein: The New Order promos saw the light of day, as well as ETF2L 6v6 Season 17 and ETF2L Highlander Season 5 medals. A number of bugs involving disguised spies and the new 3D HUD model were addressed, as well as two much-loved and long-broken bugs revolving around hats. Metal hats finally made metallic noises when falling off players heads, and (more importantly) had physics models again so they actually can fall off players’ heads. The final change was the removal of the mysterious Valve Store Shipment Box from the game. Two years earlier on May 3rd 2012, this iconless item was added for less than a day and then quickly removed. It was purchaseable for that brief period of time, but if anyone bought it, they didn’t speak up as to what it did and we’ll basically just never know it did.
And, due to me being hella late on these articles, I can cover 2015 for the first time! In addition to a number of fixes to items having incorrect skins on BLU team, the Tip of the Hats Jaunty Pin was added, as well as functionality given to the strange Dalokohs Bar, which until now didn’t actually track anything since the immediate recharge prevented the game from realizing you’d eaten it. The most important change was a fix where sentries were unable to hit crouching midair opponents. As a BASE Jumper Demoman this made me sad, but it was for the better good.
Whew…this might be the busiest week TF2’s had yet. Hopefully next week will be a bit smaller, right? I mean, Valve’s gotta relax a bit after these huge updates right?