Now with 100% more dance parties (seriously).
It's nearly Halloween, so that means that it's time for candy, costumes, and two mercenary teams blowing the ever-loving shit out of each other. I am of course referring to the Valve tradition of Scream Fortress, a Team Fortress 2 event that's been running for the past four years. This time comes a redesign of the Lakefront map, and yet another new boss to fight: Merasmus, the wizard who, among other things, has the Bombinomicon that took the Demoman's eye. Since Merasmus was also roommates with the Soldier, the antics of the latter have finally pissed him off enough to want to take it out on everyone involved.
Along with Merasmus himself, there are of course a new slew of Halloween items. There's items that have the holiday/full moon restriction, and the more tradition wear anytime fare. Notably each class has an item that will give them a zombie skin, which may apparently be seeing use in the new Mann vs. Machine challange that has the group facing off against one giant wave of zombies. There's also the chance to get items from past Halloween events as well.
One positive change I've noticed is that now rather than a gift dropping somewhere randomly on the map for anyone to grab, that a player is randomly selected and only they can actually take the gift if they find it. This is a change that I can readily endorse, because in years past entire servers ground to a halt when a gift spawned, and it was often Scouts that did nothing but sit around waiting for the spawn to happen then looking in all the spawn locations as fast as possible that got it. This new method, even if it's only used for the latest map (I'm not entirely sure myself) prevents things from becoming a traffic jam and stops the same people from sniping the gift over and over again.
Another neat feature exclusive the the redone Lakeside map is the Wheel of Fate, which spins whenever the control point gets captured. The effects can range from cosmetic -- big and small heads -- to low gravity, to everyone getting crits, or even being invincible for a short time.
All in all, I'd say that this is a fine holiday event to enjoy with a large group of friends. That's the caveat though, I hope you have a lot of friends, and a server that everyone hangs out at a lot, preferrably that also has at least one person with admin powers.
Why do I say this? Well, Merasmus is no push over. Since you only have a scant ninty seconds to beat him before he goes away it generally takes pretty much everyone working in co-operation on both teams to get the job done. If you go on random servers though you're probably going to run into at least one person who's being a complete idiot or just plain griefing by killing people when Merasmus shows up and everyone is focusing on him. I cannot iterate enough how frustrating of an experience it is to be trying to fight a boss only to have a Pyro or Soldier kill you on purpose because they're being an asshole. That's to say nothing of the people that kill once everyone goes through the portal to Skull Island, which is necessary to get the reward hat for the event.
Basically, it's fun, but I'd personally avoid pubs like the goddamn plague. Other than that, happy Halloween and all that stuff.