Monday, 14 January 2013

Hold Onto Your Hats - TF2 Set to Discontinue the Original Nine

Where's my free sleigh ride? I ask because I think Hell just froze over.

Team Fortress 2 is many things: free-to-play, going on six years old, fun, frustrating, you name it. However, what many people would be unwilling to debate is that it's surely one of the finest war-themed hat based simulators that you can play these days. Indeed, to think of a time where TF2 didn't have hats is akin to thinking of a time when fish didn't swim and birds didn't fly. While merely decorative, hats are such an integrated part of the game that many people, myself included, thought that nothing could ever really change that.

Well, turns out, not so much.

I'll admit that this isn't exactly the most hard hitting news ever posted, just as readily as I'll admit that I haven't even actually been playing TF2 a lot lately, but the news of these hats being retired on January 24th took me by surprise, as I'm sure they have to many other people as well.

Players who remember their TF2 history might also note that these aren't just any hats they're discontinuing, but rather the first nine hats made available on the game, released during the Sniper vs. Spy update which took place nearly four years ago. For the sake of brevity I tend to call these hats the Original Nine. As the blog post linked above mentions, on the 24th, the following happens:

A: These items will no longer be sold in the store, randomly dropped, unboxed as unusuals, or acquired through crafting.

That's not saying that every copy of these hats are going to disappear. It's made clear that any of these hats regardless of quality will not be affected by this change. They'll be finite now as a result of no longer dropping, but given that they were the first hats to ever come about they aren't exactly going to be the rarest things out there. Their unusual equivalents on the other hand....

Now, the thing that got me thinking the most about this whole scenario as it's playing out is that if they are deciding to retire things, then what's next? Moreover, is this indicative of anything? I don't really think that there were getting to be ungodly levels of these items anywhere, and even if there were hats are always been destroyed for metal and to make other hats, so I can't help but wonder what has motivated this decision.

It can't simply be to make the hats a rarer commodity. Ever since the trading system first opened up people have had next to no trouble getting the hats they've wanted, and as far as rarity goes there was the Vintage level of item quality that applied to all items made before trading went live. Those numbers weren't going up, so why now, seemingly out of the blue?

I doubt that weapons are going to be retired anytime soon, but then again I didn't think that hats would ever be retired either. There's something strange about this whole situation that I just can't put my finger on. Maybe with a little more time it will come to me, but for now there's really nothing more to do than sit and wait.

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