Hat Fortress 2, when did it jump the shark?

Team Fortress 2 is a game that has gone through very drastic changes since it’s initial release. Some will tell you the game is still worth playing and has done nothing but improved over the years while others will argue it died September 30th, 2010. However at this point I think just about everyone can agree TF2 has in fact jumped the shark and may be the game that has jumped the most sharks.

So I bring you this question, has it jumped the shark and if so at what point would you say it did?

Update history here if you need a reference

The update that Conga was introduced has got to be up there. It was a fun joke for the first couple matches, forming Conga lines up and down the block, not capturing the objective, the feeling that it was all initiated by one sole Congaer. But then the conga went on for months. Years. The Conga is still alive. It consumes us all.

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I think I’m in the minority opinion here, but - Team Fortress 2 has been jumping sharks for 10 years, and that’s what makes it beautiful. It’s this big, sprawling, unbalanced mess and that’s the way I like it.


When they made it so you couldn’t carry the flag when you had the sticky/rocket jumper equipped, as far as I’m concerned.

Alternative answer is whenever they added those dumb space laser weapons.

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I think when hat/map creation was opened to public submissions.

Valve did a lot of good in building systems to pay fans for their work, but from the moment they posted the submission form I joked that we should start counting the days until Team Fortress 2’s art direction was in shambles. And that’s exactly what happened.

Though, oddly enough, it wasn’t actually by the hands of the fandom – I believe it was Valve that started putting like, Deus Ex and Monday Night Combat promo items in to Team Fortress 2 which clashed with the period and art style. That sort of made it open season on whatever weird, dumb, anachronistic stuff the community could think up. Gameboys? Cybernetics? Batman gear? Street Fighter references? Thematic consistency went right out the window.

That also meant a huge boost to weapon types now. People joke about how many hats TF2 has, but most of the community items that get added to the game seem to be new weapon skins. Any given weapon slot for any given class has 5-10 variants, with somewhere in the range of 20-30+ weapons per class.

All that talk Valve made about how they wanted to keep TF2 simple and coherent after what TFC became also got thrown right out the window. There’s something like 200 weapons in TF2 and thousands of loadout variations to consider. It’s a gigantic, sloppy mess.


There’s a part of me that wants to be real shitty and say The Scout Update (or maybe a couple months after that when they made the sandman bad (sandman stunning ubers is the individual thing I miss most about TF2)) but really I personally stopped playing TF2 because I burned out on it. I was in a team that practised every day around 2010/2011 and there’s only so much Team Fortress 2 a person can handle, I think. I complained that the game was awful now and had been for years almost the entire time I played it though, because I was like, 15/16.

I would say the dilution of the visual style was a real bummer for that game though, personally. I thought it looked so cool on release and then 90% the skins were all goofy and weird.

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I find it hard to pick exactly when it jumped the shark because I had a long period of time away from the game. I stopped playing when I switched to a Mac, came back for the Mac update and everything was awful. Only vanilla servers kept me playing and not for long.

It’s a lot easier to narrow down when the decline began, but I’m still not sure if it was the Scout Update or the Spy vs. Sniper update. Everything after and including SvS was definitely all downhill, but I couldn’t tell at the time if it plateau’d at Scout Update or slightly dipped in quality.

I’m of the mind that Valve should have stopped at the last class update. When every class had one set of regular weapons and one set of alternate weapons/items, that was a totally reasonable amount of things to expect players to be able to remember. But now if I see a soldier approaching, he can have one of eight different rocket launchers, to say nothing of his secondary and melee weapons, which means I can’t reasonably expect to know his capabilities.

Now multiply that by 9 classes. Is the Spy using the regular cloak, or the one that lets him drop a dead clone of himself? Is the Sniper off in the distance using the gun that lets him penetrates targets? And so on. It’s just too much to keep track of.


And, like, they had a solid hold on this idea before. This PDF from Valve in 2008 emphasized the importance of distinctive silhouettes, so you’d know what each class could do and whether you should fight or flee. That’s why it’s so disappointing: They knew what worked and lost sight of it.

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any update in tf2 that made it harder to play entire songs over your mic at the same time as 12 other people play songs over their mic was a bad update


I really, really miss some good all-speak mic-spam matches of the days I played TF2 regularly.


pl_donkeykong forever

I don’t think it did. I just slowly fell out of it as the updates started to dry up. a pretty natural multiplayer fps life cycle.

Alternate answer: it was the point where I realized there were more than 8 maps that are impossible to tell apart because they’re all in the exact same “industrial zone/gravel pit” tileset

Are these from different areas of the same map, or is each image from a different map? You’d never know!

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They did and they didn’t. You only get 25% of a cut but the playerbase is large enough that it often makes up for it. There is also the odd effect that typically once you get included in one update the chances of you getting picked again go up drastically. It’s even been abused in the past sadly.

It was over for me the second hats came in. As in, I have played maybe an hour or two of TF2 since they were put in

It was when the weapon variety got to the point that balancing even half of them became impossible

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I still fucking love TF2 but don’t play it because everyone I know stopped playing it.

The real problem, in my opinion, isn’t any one update, but rather the lack of consistent and significant support. It’s been what over a year since pyro vs heavy, and the promised update is still nowhere to be seen? It’s obvious TF2 actually died when Dota 2 came out and Valve had a REAL moneymaker. That wasn’t, you know, Steam.

Then Overwatch came out and showed Valve what support for a popular casual play focused FPS should really look like. Whoops!

But I guess that’s not really the point of this topic, now that I finish typing this out, oops. Okay, so:

It’s jumped every shark and invented new ones to jump, and that’s why I love(d) it. Most of the time, anyway. Wish the hats didn’t go so wacky. Also, fuck matchmaking. Gone are the days of a good dedicated server community in online shooters. ):


for me it was:

  1. probably after they gave all the classes 1 alternate weapon set and then decided “let’s keep going with this” and ended up with nonsense like “maybe that demoman is a melee class now?? who knows”

  2. the weta workshops update I think was what put all of tf2 aesthetically on a massive downward slope. the weapons looked like ass and the soldier beard was probably the worst possible way to model facial hair in that art style. it looked like newspaper clippings

  3. the second significant aesthetic thing they fucked is adding paint cans. the white paint was brighter and differently hued than the medic’s coat which was kind of a subtle “we don’t care”, and then the pink and green paints were a very explicit “we REALLY don’t care”

  4. and finally the last big thing, and i don’t know when this happened, but if you play tf2 now you’ll quickly realize that you can’t do sprays anymore. well, you kinda can, but nobody else in a matchmade game will be able to see it. this to me is the true death of self expression in tf2


Contrary to a lot of people here, I think the wacky loose unbalanced chaos of TF2 was a lot of the charm. I only started playing after the Mac update, when it was already inundated with weapons and silly hats.

I liked that there was a core good game, but it had rough edges and messiness piled on top of that. I played a lot of Overwatch, but lamented how tightly controlled and smooth an experience it was. I missed the days of sitting on the same server match after match, goofing around around, pulling off silly strategies with all the nonsensical guns. It was a fun game more than it was a good game.

Overwatch distracted me, and the next time I went back I found out TF2 had set up matchmaking system and tried to (ineffectually) male it more serious. That was enough to make me put it away again, because it seemed like they were undoing that silly fun it had, even if it was just a little bit.