Team Fortress 2 players will now have to actually play the game to get item drops.
Idling, the act of joining a Team Fortress 2 server and then just going AFK while you automatically collect items, should now be a thing of the past, thanks to the latest update to Valve's war-themed hat-simulator. As of last week, players can no longer receive item drops unless they are actively playing the game, which should effectively kill "idle" servers (servers where players join exclusively to idle).
Here's how it works. For players to earn item drops, they have to:
- Be connected to a VAC secured server.
- Respond to in-game drop notifications while not utilizing external programs to do so.
- Be running only one instance of the game.
- Not be in textmode.
If any one of these requirements is not met, the player will have their item drops paused, meaning no items will drop for that player until they meet all the requirements again.
Ever since the item drop system's implementation all the way back in 2009, Valve have tried a few stop-gap "discouragements" towards players who would rather idle than play. The first was the infamous "Cheater's Lament" debacle, where Valve gave out an exclusive item to all players who refrained from using a third party "idling program" shortly after the system was implement, and subsequently removed all items earned by idlers.
The second was the implementation of a weekly drop cap. Basically, you only had X drops a week, so if you idled all day, you'd hit your weekly drop cap pretty quickly and wouldn't be able to earn any more items. The drop cap would actually "roll over" to some extent, meaning if you took a hiatus from the game, you could come back to an increased weekly drop cap.
This new change should help ensure that Team Fortress 2 players are actually playing the game in order to earn their precious hats.
Source: Team Fortress
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