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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/22/13 in Articles

  1. 7 points

    A Satirical Take on Themed Hats

    Time-zone appropriate salutations and welcome, unwashed masses. It’s me, sultan of suggestions and imperator of being just a little bit irritating, Gent, and today I’m coming to you with a warning. Did you know, that you could have in your inventory a far more valuable hat than you realise right now? That indeed many unusuals, some very common and frequently traded, have worth that far exceeds their “backpack.tf price,” and could make you richer than Bill Gates’ recipe for triple-chocolate pudding? Honestly, two mouthfuls of that stuff and you’re so done… I’m sure you have many questions; “How can this be?” “What have you been smoking?” “How deep IS my love?” But don’t despair, for the answer is in fact very simple. Many hats possess a mysterious, pervasive quality that backpack.tf does not recognise or account for in their pricing: themes. A “theme” is when an unusual effect suits a hat so well, it instantly and unquestionably makes it worth double, triple, even quadruple what its price would suggest, and what many “sane sensible traders” would tell you it's worth. All you have to do is identify and aggressively force the theme your hat definitely possesses, and soon you’ll have some many keys you’ll need a big Scrooge McDuck-y vault to keep them all in. Below are just a few examples of some very, very themed hats; Circling Peace Sign Noble Amassment of Hats “But Gent!” You cry, with a surprised pitch to your voice, refusing to admit the future of trading is here, “that’s just a crummy Noble Amassment of Hats with a low-tier effect! That hat’s been around for years!” And first of all, lower your voice, I’m only here. Tinnitus is a serious problem. And secondly, o uncultured bumpkin, you’re simply not thinking the theming way. What you’re looking at here is what I like to call, a “Noble Peace Prize.” And unlike the real Nobel Peace Prize, which only gets awarded to really, really boring people, this hat looks the complete opposite of boring. Moreover, there’s only 31 of this unusual in existence, which makes it WAY rarer than, say, the Sumatran Tiger, and people are always on about how rare those are. Realistically I’d put an estimate of 80-100 keys on this hat, and that’s only if the scalpers don’t beat you to it. Disco Beat Down Modest Metal Pile of Scrap Now you’ve got the basics down, let’s try something a little trickier. Here’s a concept I’d like to introduce to you: anti-theming. That is, an effect and a hat that clash so badly, that they BECOME themed. In the example above, the Disco Beat Down Modest Metal Pile of Scrap (try saying THAT three times fast with a mouthful of snooker balls), the effect doesn’t seem to match the hat at all. But this is the thing; robots hate disco. Can’t stand it, it reminds them of the 80s, all those people doing those awful impressions of their ancestors. In fact I hear the robots are working on time travel just so they can go back and erase that dance from human history – and when they do you can bet they won’t be wearing these. I expect this hat to be selling for at least 200 keys once the theme market takes off. Plumber's Cap Why have I linked to a generic unusual hat page? Am I insane? Fear not; my parents had me tested. The reason couldn’t be simpler: because every effect on this unusual is themed. Remember that time Mario went to space? Bam, Orbiting Planets, themed as heck. Remember that time Luigi fought all those ghosts? Boom, paint it green, Haunted Ghosts has got you drowning in keys. Orbiting Fire? Mario throws fireballs. Purple Confetti? Mario Party is a thing. Bubbling? Water levels. The possibilities are literally limited only by your imagination. People are already selling these hats for a great deal of money for stupid reasons like “it’s rare” or “it’s assassin grade” or “it genuinely looks pretty good,” so imagine the astronomical sum your themed one could sell for. Poisoned Shadows Conjurer's Cowl Here’s our final challenge for today; nobody would initially look at this hat and say it’s themed. We’re gonna have to use every last trick in the book. Firstly, paint that bad boy green; paint is a very important tool in making hats more themed. Secondly, combine it with some misc items; a Professor’s Pineapple, painted Team Spirit and named “Health Potions,” and a Toowoomba Tunic, also painted green. Finally, name this about-to-be-infinitely-themed beast “Hey! Listen!” and what have you got? Suddenly that’s no normal cowl. It’s the hat of Ocarina of Time’s Link, and with it, his fairy Navi! By pushing the limits of theming, we’ve created something magnificent; and at just 5 in existence, if this hat doesn’t hit a four-digit sum the next time it hits the market I’ll be surprised. Surprised I tell you. Do I see this new boom in themed hats having any negative repercussions on the delicate Team Fortress 2 economy? Maybe. Obviously the price of Name Tags is going to skyrocket, as they’re bought up in droves like Madonna buys up African children. But alas, there’s no better way of making your themes known. Secondly, this revelation I have made greatly rewards the creative – those who are too thick to think up a theme for their hat are going to suffer in this new market. Finally, I suppose you could argue that if every hat is themed, then it wouldn’t affect the overall value of hats at all – but honestly this just sounds like people who are resistant to change. If the Luddites of society always got their way you’d still be squatting in a mud-hut in candlelight. That just about covers every reasonable argument against theming, and they were some of the worst arguments I’ve ever heard. Bring on the themes. In conclusion, you’re welcome. I have single-handedly made your unusuals significantly more valuable, and will be expecting your gifts and letters of thanks in the post. My PO box is [REDACTED]
  2. 7 points

    Non-Stock Skins? Here are some predictions

    So, Valve has announced a couple of weeks ago, that the upcoming camapign is going to feature some non-stock decorated weapons as rewards. Curious, isn't it? Which weapons can they choose to apply skins on? Today, I'm going to attempt to unveil some of that mystery, as there are weapons that can just not be decorated. Please keep in mind : this article is mostly focused on artistic / aesthetical choices or integrity. I know that weapon usage / popularity also plays a role in the weapons they choose to add attribute to them, but there are cases where it's simply not possible to apply decoration on a weapon, regardless of how much popularity it could have garnered within the TF2 playerbase. Reversely, there are weapons which are very good candidates to get skinned variants, even if the TF2 community isn't as likely to take notice of those since they're not as popular. For this reason, I will not acknowledge the "popularity" factor in the first part of this article, where I will list the weapons that are the least likely to receive the decorated quality, and will mention it on the weapons which are the most likely to be added as skins. Before highlighting the more likely candidates, let's go through an elimination process to see which weapons are simply not fit for decoration ; there are several things to take into consideration, so bear with me. I - The less likely contenders Weapons which too closely resemble other weapons You have to take into consideration that some weapons already exist within the Decorated quality ; if you pick weapons that are too similar and apply a paintjob on them, it's going to be harder for the player to tell them apart. Some weapons are strongly affected by this due to the fact that they make the same noises as the stock variant that resembles them. For example, the Kritzkrieg provides the same sound feedback as the stock Medi gun (when healing), and the Scottish Resistance uses the exact same sounds as the Stock Stickybomb launcher. Those which have a different sound, such as the Natascha or the Backburner, are affected by this to a lesser extent, as the player can immediately tell them apart by the sound they make. Applying a paintjob on them could still confuse players who are trying to tell them apart on sight, but not when they are faced with the aforementioned weapons, and forced to deal with their users. On the other hand, you have weapons which are very similar to one another, without having one of the variants already existing within the decorated quality. This can be observed with the Equalizer/Escape Plan, and the Killing Gloves of Boxing/Gloves of Running Urgently, where both weapons share the same models, but have different textures. In this case, my guess would be that the one with the smallest amount of distinctive features is the best candidate for a skin. The GRU has a bunch of flames on its textures to distinguish it from the KGB, and applying a paintjob over them would make this distinction irrelevant. A point can also be made on the fact that the flames are already a decoration on their own, and the KGB could be more deserving of a skin due to its wide, plain looking textures, making it all the easier to apply textures on it. In the case of the Equalizer/Escape plan, The Equalizer features blood to distinguish it from its counterpart, which makes this weapon less likely for a reskin, and makes the Escape Plan a good candidate. Weapons where there isn't much to decorate This is something that is particularly relevant to translucent items, where applying decorative textures would ruin the concept of having an icey weapon, in the case of the Spy-Cicle. When it comes to the Mad Milk or the Jarate, it would be difficult to decorate them too, as changing the bottles' textures would make it impossible to see what the jar contains. The only thing you can do for those is to either put some paint on the Jarate's lid, or put a label on the bottles ; that's very unlikely to happen, simply due to the fact that when a weapon is decorated, it is entirely covered in paint (or partial decorations would be a new thing, even if I don't suspect it). If this were to happen, there wouldn't be as much to look at for the player, ruining the concept of skins. In the case of weapons like the Huntsman (and to an extent, the disciplinary action), they just seem too thin to feature any sort of interesting paintjob. Weapons which are already decorated These weapons already feature some degree of decoration on their own (either in the textures to distinguish them from another weapon, or in their very models, which makes it hard to put any form of interesting paint jobs), which make them bad contenders for further decoration. Paintjobs aren't edible Some weapons cannot be reskinned, simply due to their nature. The Sandvich, or the Buffalo Steak Sandvich, for example, are very unlikely to receive some decorations; it wouldn't make sense to apply decoration on a food item, without modifying the model entirely. Same goes for the Ham Shank or the Holy Mackerel, even if (unfortunately), you don't get to put it in your mouth. Weapons you can't see within your viewmodel Decorated weapons aren't the same thing as hats ; they're both entirely cosmetic, but skins have an additional feature: they're not only here for the sole purpose of showing off to other players. Skins also serve the purpose of pleasing their owner, by giving him the ability to have a look at his skin as he's using it. They also come with an inspection animation to further this point. Any item that can't fit within a player's viewmodel can't have an inspect animation, and therefore isn't a good candidate to receive the decorated quality. The banners are affected by this to a lesser extent, as they come with an instrument; but I strongly doubt the TF team will include these only to skin a small trumpet. While the Spy's watches do appear on the player's viewmodel, they always appear as invisible, making a re-texturing of these watches quite useless. One can argue the point that the Dead Ringer also shows up when the Spy is not invisible; but even then, what if he's using a skinned revolver, and tries to inspect his watch as he has his revolver out? The animations would overlap, and it would be too difficult to implement; which makes the Dead Ringer a bad candidate for a skin also. Demoman's shields feature the same problem; while you can see it on the viewmodel whenever you equip a sword, it cannot appear there as its own thing. How could you feature an inspect animation for it in this scenario? This also applies to all shoe items, since the player can't see them either within their viewmodel. Weapons that can't be obtained through an in-game item drop The list is way too long to put their images, and I think it's fairly easy for you to understand what I'm talking about; weapons such as the AWPer hand, the Sharp Dresser, the Nostromo Napalmer, the obnoxiously long list of all-class craftable melee weapons, the Invasion update weapons (restricted to a certain collection), and so on and so forth. These weapons are supposed to be rarer than the usual weapons, and are usually already a reskin of the stock weapons, breaking the promise for skins of non-stock weapons. I have to say though, if we were to get decorated AWPer Hands, that would be hell of a reference... Weapons with a very detailed model / wavy model Applying new textures to these would look absolutely horrible. Most of their aesthetic traits are tied to parts of their model, and trying to change that could make the weapon uglier than its regular counterpart. Weapons with visual restrictions Even for the Pyro update, these are (unfortunately) also poor choices for decorated weapons. Not only are they a reskin to stock, they're also restricted to pyro vision, and will display a different weapon to those who are not in Pyrovision; while I previously said that skins were mainly for the owner's pleasure, they also serve the purpose of showing-off. They're not mutually exclusive, and will in fact only work if they go hand in hand together. II - The most likely candidates Weapons with wide areas of plain texture These weapons feature very large areas the TF team can apply textures on, onto the which the player will be able to admire his hard-earned contract weapon. This is a pretty straightforward trait to understand, as these weapons can definitely use some decoration for themselves, due to their very plain textures. Even if the Frying Pan is a reskin to stock, I still think it is an excellent candidate, simply due to its sheer popularity within the TF2 community, as it is quite an iconic weapon. The Wrangler also has a massive bonus point, as there's already an inspect animation for it in the game, only used for the Giger Counter (Assassin Grade, Quarantined Collection). Weapons with a dark color palette With the exception of the Machina, which already has its own next gen design, these weapon are fairly generic looking, which is very good,if you want to apply new, decorative textures on this gun. They are distinct enough from their stock counterparts, and most of them seem to have garnered a fair bit of popularity among the TF2 playerbase. These are definitely weapons I can see getting the Decorated Quality. Iconic weapons These weapons are very old, for the most part; they had the time to settle down as classics, and common representations of the game. When they were released, many of these weapons introduced something new to the game. As such, their design had to be simplistic so that the player could quickly understand what these weapons were, which is why most of them don't have as many decorative features as some of the most recent weapons (ie. Dr. Grordbort's items). The Flare Gun, for example, has a very simple textures, as it had to set the standard for flare guns; all players needed to recognise it as a Flare Gun back then, when their only other option was a shotgun. If you check the Flare Gun's item description, you won't find any stats telling the player how it's any different from the shotgun; he has to figure it out on his own via gameplay. What's even more interesting now, is that all of the other Flare Guns will build on the player's knowledge by informing them of the differences from the stock Flare Gun. It's almost as if the Flare Gun was treated like a Stock weapon, as it sets the standard for all of the others. Since the weapon has sunk in time as one of the most iconic weapons in this game (as its sheer popularity makes so that it doesn't even need a description to know what it does), thanks to its simplistic textures (which can now be easily worked on), it would be a very likely candidate to receive some skins. And since most of these weapons have very simple textures too, they can also be easily worked on to add some decoration to those. Stock Melee Weapons Yes, I know, they're stock weapons, which already makes them very unlikely candidates. However, it is important to consider that Valve didn't say they would only include non-stock reskins, and these weapons just happen to perfectly fit the aesthetic criteria for the Decorated quality. Large areas of plain looking surfaces, unique and characteristic to Team Fortress 2, and they're all very consistent weapons, even if there are better options. The point I'm trying to make is purely aesthetic; I'm sure you can see how they can receive some decoration with a bit of imagination. Wouldn't it be badass to have a skin on the Heavy's gloves? However, since this is only about aesthetics, and doesn't take into consideration factors such as their popularity, these are still quite unlikely to receive the Decorated quality. But hey, one can still dream. Weapons with Australium / Festive variants Weapons which have received a Festive variant appear to be more likely to receive a skin, as the TF team will probably allow the playerbase to make them festive on the Smismass 2017 event. Australiums also play a role in here, as australiums are, well, rather basic texture replacements. If they did it on australiums, they can certainly do it again with skins. However, it should be noted that Festive weapons from the Smismass 2013 event (Force-A-Nature, Flare Gun, Crusader's Crossbow, Black Box), have very large portions of decoration, which could cover the skin entirely, resulting in a player not being able to see his skin beneath the festive wrappings. What's to note with these Festive and Australium variants is that they haven't been picked at random; they were chosen because the TF team knew they would appeal to the TF2 community, as they hold (held, in the case of the Axtinguisher) some standard of popularity. They knew they couldn't go wrong by reskinning those. However, this argument can swing both ways; the TF team might also choose to retexture different weapons because they plan on rebalancing it or wish to shine a light on them for the sake of bringing more variety and weapons to pick from on the battlefield. This is why I consider this factor to be considerably less important than the aforementioned ones, when it comes to my... III - My final predictions Please, keep in mind these are only predictions, and I simply cannot claim to be 100% accurate on them. However, I'm doing my best to be as accurate as one can possibly be, as making predictions which would then automatically prove themselves wrong would be an utter and simple waste of time. The TF team might also have chosen to surprise us, which they have very much proven to be capable of during most of the major updates; and this is, by definition, an unpredictable thing. That's the point of a surprise, after all! By having a look at the number of skins released for each weapon during the Gun Mettle update and the amount of weapons reskinned per class, it would be foolish to expect more than two weapons per class. Past that amount, there would simply not be enough room to provide a variety of skins for each new weapon. Scout The Force-A-Nature and/or the Sandman Why? The Force-A-Nature has had the time to settle down as one of the most well recognised weapons in this game, thanks to its unique knockback mechanic. It also features very dark and plain textures, as it tends to follow the same texture pattern as the stock Scattergun. This makes it a very good candidate for skins. When it comes to the Sandman, it already has an inspect animation for it, currently used by the Batsaber only. Just like the Force-A-Nature, it features plain textures, and can be easily told apart from the Bat from both the noises it makes, and its sheer ability to shoot balls at opponents. Soldier The Black Box and/or the Direct Hit Why? The Black Box is very easy to retexture thanks to its simple shape (which is also fully black, by the way, making it all the better for its candidature). Its very recognisable shape won't make it a confusing weapon to fight against at all, and there's already an inspect animation for it, used by the Rocket Launcher. Same thing goes for the Direct Hit; an iconic weapon, loved by its users and hated by those on the receiving end of these rockets, with a distinct shape and very generic textures, this would also make it a very good choice for the Decorated quality. Pyro The Degreaser and/or the Flare Gun Why? The Degreaser has consistently been a popular choice for most Pyros since it was released, thanks to its ability to ease Flare Punch/Axtinguisher Pummeling combos. An inspect animation is already featured for it, currently used by the Flame Thrower. Looks plain, generic, and features wide surfaces to cover up with decoration. The Flare Gun has just about the same properties, except this one only features two colors, without much variations throughout the textures, which would make it an excellent candidate for skins. Demoman The Eyelander Why? While the Eyelander is a sword, one has to take into consideration how significantly thicker it is when compared to other swords. The TF team was also able to put a skin on the stock Knife, which is also a very thin weapon. However, its handle doesn't represent an insignificant portion of the weapon, enabling them to put noticeable decoration on it too, which is why they were able to do it. I can very well see the Eyelander fitting within this scenario too; it is a popular choice for Demoknights, was released all the way back during the WAR! Update, and doesn't feature too much distinctive features within its very model. Honestly, it is very difficult to accurately predict what is the Demoman going to receive for this update; there is most likely a Grenade Launcher to predict here too, but the problem is which one of them is the best candidate? Is it the Loch-n-Load, due to how easy it would be to retexture it? Is it the Iron Bomber, for how similar it is to the Grenade Launcher (and its undeniable popularity)? Or could it even be the Loose Cannon? The problem here is that all three of those follow the exact same plain texture pattern; black cannons, brown handles. Aesthetically speaking, all three of those seem to make for great candidates, even if the Loch-n-Load appears to be the best candidate of the three, especially considering the Loose Cannon already has a (pirate) theme attached to its design, and the amount of details featured on the Iron Bomber. The Loch-n-Load doesn't appear to be the most popular choice among Demoman players though... Tough to predict, and I don't think I can go any farther with Demoman Predictions Heavy The Tomislav and/or the Killing Gloves of Boxing Why? As I said for most of these weapons, the Tomislav is a popular gun, large surfaces to cover with decorations, looks plain and simple, and already has an inspect animation ready, thanks to Decorated Miniguns. The Killing Gloves of Boxing appear to me as a less likely candidate, but still one of the more likely weapons to be picked up; as of right now, the Heavy doesn't have any decorated melee weapons to equip, and I hardly see any other viable candidate for skins. However, setting up an inspect animation for the Killing Gloves of Boxing could prove to require some originality on the TF team's end, which is also why I think the Tomislav is a better candidate than the KGB. Engineer The Wrangler and/or the Frontier Justice Why? The Wrangler has got to be one of my most certain predictions, simply due to the fact that there's an inspect animation for it, that is only compatible with the Giger Counter or the Wrangler. The TF team being the TF team, I'm almost certain they won't be able to resist the temptation to recycle that inspect animation. Also it looks plain, dark, large areas to cover, you get the point. The Frontier Justice would also be a suitable contender, since it is very similar to the Shotgun, which already received quite some fancy decorations. The Jag also seems to be a great one, but I tend to lean towards the Frontier Justice, simply due to the different kind of gameplay it tends to favour. The Jag doesn't provide any new ability, it simply allows the Engineer to be better at certain tasks while worse at others. Medic The Blutsauger and/or the Übersaw Why? The Blutsauger has the same usual characteristics to define it as a good contender; compact, easy to retexture, dark, plain looking, etc... The usual characteristics to define a great possibility for the TF team, along with some bits of underdog low-key niche kind of popularity among Medic Players. The Über saw also seems to be a reasonable guess, as it is also dark, generic looking, and easy to retexture. However, the "Fluid" Über thingy inside of the Übersaw is to be considered; it's supposed to be bright and visible,so that your enemy can instantly know if you have a significant amount of Übercharge or not as soon as you pull it out, even if nobody pays attention to such a detail. It is an important feature to take into consideration, and putting a texture all over it would prevent players from seeing that glowing Übercharge. If they were to leave this part untouched, it would be the only partially Decorated Weapon in the game though. The Crusader's Crossbow would also be a good option to consider, but due to its very detailed model, I don't think it's as great of a candidate as the Blutsauger, or the Übersaw, despite its overwhelming popularity when it comes to Medic primary weapons. Sniper The Bushwacka Why? Sniper is a very difficult one to predict if they're going to release non-stock skins for every class. Pretty much every weapon that isn't the Jarate or can be seen on the viewmodel already has a theme attached to it, and has some details on its very model to remind us about it. Sure, the Machina has a quite dark colour palette, but its model is very detailed and already gives it some degree of decoration, to take it as an example. If you review the few iconic weapons the Sniper has in his inventory, you'll find the Huntsman; however, the Huntsman's viewmodel is an absolute mess, and it would be very difficult to give it an inspect animation as the string extends infinitely outside of the field of view, giving it no precise bound. One could also see the Bushwacka as a possibility for the Sniper, as its combo with the Jarate is very well known. The Kukri could also be a decent choice for a skin, even if it is a stock weapon. I'm afraid I won't be able to give that much more information on the Sniper, it's most likely going to be a surprise to us all. Spy The Ambassador Why? The Ambassador is a very large weapon for the Spy, and a very popular one too. The decorations it features on its barrel are textures, and can easily be replaced with new ones by the TF2 art team. It would be difficult to predict anything for the knives, as there isn't as much of a need to distinguish them from one another, as most of the time, you won't be able to see the Spy's weapons, and all of the Spy's knives share one main purpose; backstabbing. While we can surely get rid of the Spy-Cicle, for example, both the Your Eternal Reward or the Conniver's Kunai could serve as decent contenders for additional decoration. Multi-Class The Frying Pan Why? The Frying Pan would be a great possibility if the mercs were to all get a weapon in their Melee slot. Conveniently enough, the frying pan can't be equipped by the Engineer or the Spy; both already have skinned melee weapons. It is dark, it has very large surfaces of generic looking textures to cover, and it would be an easy way to give everyone a melee weapon to look at. While it is a reskin to stock, it is certainly a very popular weapon within the TF2 community, and a very well recognized one at that, thanks to its obnoxiously loud noises. There you have it! An attempt, as accurate as possible, to narrow down the different possibilities for skins we might be receiving pretty soon for this Pyro Update! While this non-stock skin announcement left me quite curious, it is important to remember that this also means that contracts are back, with quite an amount of new features for us all to enjoy! That being said though, please understand that this isn't a list of weapons I want within the decorated quality. This is more of an article to explain what makes a weapon likely to receive the Decorated Quality and to narrow down the different possibilities one could think of to the weapons we can realistically expect; both for aesthetic, or technical reasons.
  3. 4 points
    Kevin the Chicken God

    What effect has removing the overpay rule had on backpack.tf and the TF2 economy?

    Since it is now a year and a half after the mandatory 90% value of unusual trades was removed (for those who don't know, overpay was a concept where if unusual A sold for unusual B and unusual B was offered on unusual A, you would value the sale at unusual B*0.9), I thought I would look back on one of the largest and most universally liked rule changes to look at the impact it has made and if it was successful. Given that success is difficult to determine and varies from person to person, I have asked some of the moderators who helped decide to implement this rule to inform me what the end goal of it was. Before I present you with the data, I'll give my personal predictions as well as a quick anecdote as to the purpose of the site in regard to pricing unusuals. First, I do believe that removing unusual overpay will increase the number of suggestions accepted raising unusuals, however I think the increase will peter out over time. As far as the purpose of the site, it has always been stated that the goal was to represent the pure value of unusuals, and higher priority would be given to sales which occurred in pure. Overpay showed that was a value that the site felt was important, and getting rid of it might have signified a shift away from pure valuation towards unusual valuation. First though, we have to look and see if it even carried impact. To do this, I went back and looked at archived front pages from the months leading up to the change and calculated the percentage of unusual changes on the front page that day were raises. I did this four to five times per month, every two months to get a decent sample size without taking up too much time. I then repeated the process for a year after the change. You can view the data I gathered here: This showed that the change certainly did have an impact, with the percentage of unusual suggestions raising unusuals accepted rising by 14%. Obviously this is not an entirely accurate representation of every suggestion, but it gives us a decent idea of the amount of change occurred due to the lack of unusual overpay. So the impact of the rule appears to be more unusual raises and unusuals being valued for what they sell for in unusuals, not necessarily just their pure value. But was the change a success? It certainly changed how unusuals were priced and traded, but did it accomplish its original goal? For these, I had to reach out to people who influenced the creation of this solution. Here are the questions I asked and the responses I got: From Woifi What was the goal of removing overpay? Were you targeting a certain percent change in unusuals being raised, or was it considered a success immediately after implementation because it was an outdated rule that no longer served a purpose? As a consequence of the bud/key currency transition many hats were inflated, the 10% overpay rule helped to mitigate that. After some months of pricing hats in keys that issue got smaller and smaller. Do you feel trading has evolved its own form of overpay in how common it is for people to 'quicksell' unusuals constantly at a smaller discount (~10-15%)? Some hats sell for pure easier than others. It's impossible to treat all the same with a 10% overpay rule for example. With classifieds being more popular people undercut each other more often. That's part of the reason why some prefer to go with a discount. The classified deals page might also have a small influence on that now. Did you feel like the change was necessary? And do you feel like it was a success? As I mentioned above it's impossible to have a general overpay rule like that without making it unfair towards better hats. So yeah removing it was necessary and I think it was a success. From Polar What was the goal of removing overpay? Were you targeting a certain percent change in unusuals being raised, or was it considered a success immediately after implementation because it was an outdated rule that no longer served a purpose? The idea that people would expect a higher payment in items vs pure has always been around and is a fact of life even outside of tf2 trading. maybe even more so. ideally we would only allow suggestions using pure sales. because there are now over 25,000 hat-effect combos, that's just not a reasonable expectation, so we have always allowed item sales. 10% may have been a reasonable number when 2nd gens first came out, but for the last 4 years, it has been a meaningless, arbitrary number. most hats require overpay much higher than that, so keeping a 10% rule really serves no purpose than to gradually devalue all unusuals overtime. we would have gotten rid of it years ago (we only removed it 1.5 years ago), but we intentionally left it in there twice due to inflation from currency changes from USD to buds and then buds to keys. it was our way to gradually counter the inflation that we caused when we changed currencies. after two years, we felt that most hats had been adequately updated and were no longer inflated, so we got rid of the rule completely. as a rule, it's really just unfair while accomplishing nothing. that doesn't mean that "overpay" has changed. if you're buying stuff from a pawn shop or craigslist or ebay, do you expect to be able to pay people in random items? people will always expect an overpay in non-currency. and how much people expect in overpay depends on how easy it is to sell the items offered. can be anywhere from 0% to 50% Given the responses, it looks as though the overpay rule was a success. Although we still see rare unusuals overpriced from the bud to key conversion, overpay definitely devalued unusuals back to what they were initially worth. Getting rid of the blanket rule definitely helped as well and allowed unusuals to be more accurately valued if there was higher demand. However, something that I thought about while gathering the data for this article was have traders evolved their own form of overpay? Now more than ever we see classified sellers giving smaller discounts for pure at a similar percentage to that of what overpay used to give us. Given that most of theses sales are listed as quicksells and not used to establish ranges, or are too young to impact the suggested range, they no longer show up in suggestions. In my opinion, this is definitely a good thing for the site. Given the abundance of unusuals available at these smaller, incremental discounts, it has become clear that traders no longer view backpack.tf prices as the price an unusual sells for in pure, but rather what it sells for in other unusuals. Or, as Woifi put it, "Some hats sell for pure easier than others. It's impossible to treat all the same with a 10% overpay rule for example. With classifieds being more popular people undercut each other more often. That's part of the reason why some prefer to go with a discount. The classified deals page might also have a small influence on that now." Overpay has become naturally implemented into the economy without the need for archaic, general rules which can often be inaccurate. If somebody pays 55 keys for a 50 key hat, it's obvious that the 50 key hat is worth more, so it goes up, while it previously would have been refreshed. If a 50 key hat sells for 55 pure, it is priced at 55 all the same. This could lead to negative consequences for paying full pure for an unusual. Why pay 55 pure for an item priced at 55, when I can pay, say, 45 pure for an unusual priced at 60, then just offer it as overpay? There's no longer a need to pay for items in pure. This is almost creating two separate evaluations for unusuals - one that is unusuals for pure and the other that is unusuals for unusuals. There is no standard trade-off for pure to unusuals, some unusuals can sell often for 90-100% of their full value while some can't even get 65%. As demand for keys increases their value will increase and the trade-off gap between unusual and pure will rise, however this is not shown in unusual prices. Overall it looks as though removing overpay was just as everyone felt at the time - a huge positive. Overpay has served its purpose effectively, no longer lumping all hats into the 10% club and causing constant devaluation. The market has corrected for overpay, and the introduction of a buyout cap rule where unusuals cannot be valued higher than their buyout has still retained some of the pure valuation aspects. There are obviously still flaws in how items are priced, but getting rid of overpay fixed a big one. Thank you for reading!
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