Team Fortress 2, released amongst other notable game titles like Half Life 2 in the popular 2007 compilation “The Orange Box”, has recently dropped in price to zero dollars. That’s right, the game whose community is as lively and ever expanding as the game itself is now free. While many players are rushing to get their copy of the game with glee, not everyone is taking so kindly to the news; specifically, players who have already shelled out their cash for the game.
A TF2 modder called asherkin has been created for TF2 servers that would barr players who have the free version of the game from entering the server. Amidst both praise and damnation from TF2 community players, the plugin is eying popularity from those who want to see it a server requirement and those who want to point out the message behind the plugin as less than user friendly.
Comments on the Steam forums about the plugin range from
“What a stupid plugin”
“I’ll have to find a list of every server that runs this, so I can make sure to avoid them like the plague.”
Defense of the plugin seems to be solely based on an influx of non-skilled players into a community of veterans in addition to a supposed influx of spammers, trolls and on some accounts hackers.
Generally speaking I am also upset that I paid for a game that will now be free to those who want it and I understand the need to protect a community from an influx of undesirable gamers, but there needs to be a distinction between a real threat to the structure of the game and new players who just want to have fun.
Not all your hard earned time and goodies will go to waste, however, if you do own the paid version of the game also called a “Premium account.” Players with premium accounts have more room in their backpacks, and the option to wear rare items, among other things.
All in all while I am not happy that a game I purchased is now free, especially considering that for a game released four years ago the community is still very much alive, and as a self-proclaimed Valve fangirl, I have to admit that I simply don’t care. I suppose that’s the inner elitist douche in me that thinks “I bought it while it wasn’t free therefore I am cooler and more elite than all the free to play players,” but in the end really the idea is that now there are more people to play with. Sure I’ve been vocal about TF2 items and how they reflect more of a marketing plot than any real in game awards based system, but perhaps that is the route games are taking. Where you pay for content you want and not just a bulk sum of things. Personally I like the bulk sum of things though it is a a more risky investment.
More players who can learn and enjoy the game without the need to server hop hoping to find one server where points and perceived skill don’t out-rule having fun. Games should be fun and if more people are in on that fun, great! Sure it sucks to have spent money on a game that is now free, but considering I receive more benefits than F2P players and the fact that I’ve had the ability to play TF2 all these years, I’d say it’s an even trade. It’s also a good reason to convince friends on steam who don’t yet have the game to get it since it’s free now they have no excuse! If you can run L4D2, you can run TF2.
With the quality and popularity of free to play games reaching mainstream gaming, I think we will see an influx of more F2P games and possibly a whole new way of marketing and developing games in general. So get used to it guys!
For a more concise idea of the Free-to-play TF2 change, visit the TF2 FAQs page about free to play players and you.