YouTube channel CrowbCat – which is fast becoming something of a videogame industry watchdog – released a video last night comparing Team Fortress 2 to itself a decade after release.
Without going down the clickbait road of “the results will shock you!” the takeaway from the video is that the game has seen mostly downgrades in the visual department, with texture quality going down, particle effects being reduced, and objects being less permanent.
The main reason for these changes, according to commentators on places like Reddit, is to reduce server load and increase performance. You may be wondering why that would be necessary if the original game ran fine in 2007, and the answer to your question like most of those related to Team Fortress 2 is “hats”.
The avalanche of cosmetic items added to the game placed an extra load on both the game’s servers and players’ ability to run the title smoothly. For Valve to keep their lucrative hat business going, they’ve had to reduce other parts of the game.
The comments also point out that some changes are unrelated to this. The Spy revolver reload, for example, improved gameplay by increasing visibility. Many of the changes are still down to those damn hats though.