After the recent class update, I've been trying to increase my play time from 2 to 3 hours per week to 2 to 3 per night in order to receive additional weapon drops. Yet this doesn't seem to be enough to find the weapons that I'm after. My question is:

  • What are the latest methods for idling in Team Fortress 2?
  • Does Valve still actively punish idlers, and if so, how do I avoid this?
  • 1
    I think this is a form of cheating and would almost say it goes against Valve's TOS, I just need a new close reason - cheating! – Ivo Flipse Jul 15 '10 at 13:41
  • See the meta post: How do we stand on cheats, in particularly for multiplayer games? for this continued discussion. – user56 Jul 15 '10 at 13:47
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    But, since this question does actually mention "how do I avoid getting punished", it seems to indicate that the asker is trying to get away with something that they perceive to be against the rules, which I think is not something that we should support here. If it just said "what is idling and how do I do it?", he'd be in the clear (in my opinion), since Valve allows "regular" idling. – TM. Jul 16 '10 at 13:50
  • 3
    While the arguments sound convincing, I still think that idling or camping ruins the game for others and I don't think we should be a resource of helping people 'actively' ruining other people's experience – Ivo Flipse Jul 16 '10 at 18:34
  • 4
    @IvoFlipse - I tend to judge multiplayer cheats based on one simple rule - If it's "hacks for everyone", it's fine (think low gravity servers, extreme speed etc) If it's "hacks for me" I.e. aimbotting, invincibility, wall hacks, etc then it is not ok. So where does idling sit? Anyone can join an idle server, so it's 'hacks for everyone'. If you choose not to join idle servers, that's your choice. There is no real benefit gained in-game from joining idle servers, so noone is put at a disadvantage. – Robotnik Jan 10 '13 at 4:13

You will not be punished for joining a server running "achievement_idle" and leaving your computer on.

However, the marginal gain idling provides means that it's not a very effective way of getting items, especially if running your computer for that long means overheating.

Valve never "punished" idlers, only those who used the external program developed by Drunken_f00l to trick the steam servers into thinking they were in the game, connected to the server, when in fact, they were only connected to the server, outside the game.

For what it's worth, I believe Valve stated that ~1 hour a night was enough to get all your weekly drops.

  • 2
    nice answer – Drake Jul 15 '10 at 13:58
  • 3
    Who runs a machine that will overheat just by running for a long time (3D or not)? You should never generate more heat than you can consistently cool. – Mufasa Jul 17 '10 at 3:38
  • My PC doesn't really generate that much heat running TF2, even for elongated periods. – user56 Jul 17 '10 at 7:19

As Raven Dreamer said:

  • look for servers with maps containing "idle";
  • there is no punishment for idling (currently).

But I would like to complement on what you are trying to do.

The official Wiki states (https://wiki.teamfortress.com/wiki/Item_drop_system) :

Players are guaranteed to find items at regular intervals of 30 to 70 minutes, with an average interval of 50 minutes.


The system has a cap on the amount of playtime in which drops can occur. This cap has been estimated to be 10 hours each week. Playing beyond the cap will not yield additional items.

So, your calculations should be: 10 items per week, 5 to 10 hours of gameplay.

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