I'm going to miss ya' TF2

I'm not one of those guys who has 1000+ hours clocked on TF2 but it is safe to say that I love the game. I love it for its simplicity and I love it for its complexity. I love the characters, I love the sounds of the game, I love Valve for updating the damn thing without asking for a penny, hell I even love the community. But recently i've felt that the TF2 i'm playing isn't the TF2 I love anymore.  
 
I feel that playing it isn't just about winning a round and maybe finding an interesting item along the way, it is all about finding the items. I found myself playing and logging hours into the game just to find weapons that I could craft into scrap, and eventually trade that away for hats instead of playing because it was genuinely fun. Or worse yet I found myself spending money to unlock crates to find cool little unlockables that are completely unnecessary. I quickly realized that I wasn't playing for fun anymore, I wasn't playing because I loved setting up sentries as an engie or runnin' and gunnin' as a scout, I was playing it because I wanted items. And it seems to me that many other people are doing that now as well, I mean there are servers dedicated to trading or idling for god's sake. 
 
The item system didn't ruin the game for me, in a way it made it exciting and humorous. The class updates were always well thought out and each item had a background and a clever story and you earned them for the most part through the achievement system for each individual class, which made earning the weapon a source of a feeling of accomplishment. The Mann-Conomy update however did water down the game for me, it is safe to say I suppose that it 'ruined' the game for me. Now I want to make myself perfectly clear and say that I understand why they implemented the store and that the store itself is not required to play the game. The Mann-Co Store is a necessary evil. Without it people would be selling hats for hundreds of dollars and/or coming up with sleazy schemes to steal items (much like happened with WoW accounts). I stuck through it though, having understood the need for the store I brushed it off and continued to play. After the newest update though I can't bring myself to be excited about TF2 anymore, I found myself preparing to play a game like I was about to grind experience. I just didn't enjoy it anymore, I enjoyed getting a new item, but I didn't enjoy the ride before getting to the item anymore. The items seem so impersonal and strange now as well, they have little to do with the classes and it is beginning to feel like an actual hat simulator, as the community often jokes about. 
 
So after a lot of pondering I have decided to call it quits, and to bid farewell to my beloved TF2. I did the same thing when I realized I wasn't playing WoW for fun anymore, I was playing for the epic loot or the titles I 'needed' to have. It was a good ride, and I had a lot of fun. I'll never stop enjoying the TF2 characters or music, but the time has come for me to stop trying to enjoy the game. I love Valve and in no way blame them for updating their game, they will continue to make fun games and I will likely continue buying them. I fully understand that none of the updates to TF2 (Mann-Co. Store, new items, crates) are even necessary to play the game, but they have made it feel like they are to me. So as I put on my Vintage Texas Ten Gallon and ride off into the night, I wanted to thank Valve for giving me one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I ever had for a time, and I wanted to thank every TF2 player for making the game a blast. 
 
It was fun.

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