To try and make things easier on newer players, Valve recently instituted a "random drop" policy regarding rare items in Team Fortress 2. It was a bad idea. One they regret, and are looking at changing in the future.

Valve's Robin Walker has said "I think we've learned that the random drop system is only good for some types of things, like the rare cosmetic hats".

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"It's good for delivering items to newer players over time", he told CommunityFortress, "so they're not swamped with choices when they're starting out, and they're not required to grind achievements to get them once they reach the point where they want to start making strategic choices. For competitive players, it's obviously a bad way to deliver items."

So that's a bad way. What, then, is a good way?

"At the very least", Walker offers, "future packs will allow you to use achievements to get the new items, but we might move to a mode where we just give them to you. As part of our goal of supporting tournaments more, I think we'll probably add better tools for them to control exactly what players can and can't use within matches".

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You know, for all the company's success, I wouldn't trade places with Valve for anything. Having to deal with all these irate fans all the time? Must drive them bonkers.

Exclusive Interview with Valve's Robin Walker [CommunityFortress, via Shacknews]