My Take on the Idle User Punishment and Drop System Pre-read Notes: My Problem with The Drop System The Team Fortress 2 drop system is a simple idea in which at a interval during a users gameplay VALVe's master servers will randomly give said user an unlockable/achievable item. This item is given as a free service to all those who purchased Team Fortress 2 and has no actual financial value or cost to the end user besides the initial purchase of the game. The drop system was VALVe's design for allowing newbie players to the Free Weekends, offered every large class update, to receive items and not feel discouraged due to the previous system. (The previous system use the achievement progress in which after doing a series of challenging feats, pertaining to a specific class, the user would be rewarded with a unlockable weapon which could be equipped to the class the achievements were unlocked on.) A recent update to this drop system allows the achieving of decorative hats for each of the current 9 classes. These hats are rare in chance and only a few users have gained these collectible novelties. Complaints arose from the community about the drop system. (Originally this system gave only items that an user didn't already own to eventually dropping repeats of previously achieved items.) In my opinion the drop system is useful in giving users a sudden gift or prize after many hours of playing the game. Yet, due to the rare chance of gaining the desired head wear, many users are discouraged in playing the game. This is caused by the other users whom receive items more frequently even regardless of playtime. I would like to now note on the recent appearance and use of idler programs. The program allows users to appear to VALVe master servers as if the end user is playing a game of Team Fortress 2. It increases the amount of hours a user has played but is noted to not have a significant effect on the amount of items dropped or the rate in which hats are gained. This comes to me as a direct result of poor communication between supplier and consumer. I would like to think of this as a failure on both VALVe and the end users part. The program should be taken as a important message of unhappiness with the drop system and the distribution of hats and other future collectibles. VALVe's fault lies with the lack of action against the use of idler programs and the means to find and utilize an effective solution. Of course the major flaw in any solution is that it can not satisfy all of the end users of the product. It is simply impossible. My suggestion is to provide users with some sort of consolation item that can be easily distributed and is already implemented within the game. I am refering to the Team Fortress Forced Birthday Mode hat. A simple and non-intrusive party hat. This can be easily give and distributed to all users and anyone could get them with a simple console command enabled on the server. My proposal is to offer all users this party hat as a easily equip-able hat to any of the 9 classes. The hat will take up a slot in anyone's inventory and will use the HEAD equip-able slot of all classes. I make this suggestion not only as a easy hat for all users but even usable as a punishment for all abusers of idler programs. I simply suggest the changing of all idler gained items into the party hat. All items transformed could include a witty or humorous expression common to novelty shirts such as "I idled all night and day and all I got was a simple party hat." This of course is not a solution to the drop system overall. I refuse to recommend increasing the rate of rare chance because it would defeat the purpose of the hats. The purpose I define as "A decorative item to create uniqueness among Team Fortress players which has no effect to skill or class abilities; it is purely cosmetic in nature and is a gift to players. It is a goal for all users to achieve that depends not on skill yet on enjoyment." Any change I recommend to the drop system is that the system becomes more balanced in the items dropped between players overall. I recommend however that the system be tuned more over that the longer you play equals a smaller chance for receiving an item overall. The system I suggest is that doing more hours should not equal a multiple of items. A user who can get on only 2 hours a day and a user who can be on for 10 plus hours should be given the same chance. I state that the system should lower chance overall for a drop the longer a user plays. My example is that after an initial 30 minutes the system can begin to drop items at any percent. After any drop the system waits another amount of undetermined time which will be proportionally larger than the original 30 minutes and the chance to receive an item of any kind will be lowered in percentage. This should be in effect on all users on a period of 24 hours. After 24 hours if the user has not received any new items the system resets the time and the initial percentage. These values can be change for a more efficient system. I hope to add more to this post or thread at a later date in time. Thank you for reading. Midel AKA "Flapjack"