With the release of the Sniper/Spy update for Team Fortress 2, Valve has changed how the new weapons and items are unlocked in the FPS. Previously, a certain number of class-based achievements were required to unlock each weapon, but now they appear as random drops... MMO-style!
You don't even need to be playing a particular class to randomly get an item for that class. You could be running around as a Scout, double-jumping and shotgunning to your heart's content, only to randomly receive The Huntsman, the new bow & arrow weapon for the Sniper.
This new method accomplishes a few things. Mainly, it will eventually give weapons to players that are not skilled or patient enough to crank out all of the achievements previously necessary. It will also most likely increase playtime for players that are interested in the new weapons. Additionally, there have been reports of some players receiving unlocks while in Spectator mode. It may not even require gameplay... Valve is expected to make a blog post explaining the new system soon.
It will also make the achievements less important, but more fun. Previously, they felt like required challenges as they were linked to unlocks. Now, they are just for bragging rights. Also, Valve has the best achievements. Those things are seriously creative.
How does this new method affect someone trying to get back into TF2, though? What about someone playing for the first time?
It's actually quite annoying. I was all amped up to play TF2 again as the Spy is my favorite class and the new cloaking device was basically built to get around the annoying trend of everyone shooting every teammate they see to make sure it isn't a disguised Spy. It makes playing the Spy harder than any other class in the game.
I was all amped to jump in and start unlocking achievements to get my new weapons. I wasn't ideal, but at least I knew what progress I was making. Now, I've basically forced to grind and hope to get lucky with a drop. Even then, I can't even control which class I get an unlock for at this point. I could end up with a Medic unlock, which I wouldn't even use. TF2 has managed to recreate the feeling of an MMO raid that doesn't drop any loot for your particular class.
This about new players that see all these cool weapons, but can only get them by playing more. Starting to sound like an MMO...? What do you think of this new system? If you haven't played TF2, it is free this weekend. Just download Steam and install the game.