Gosh, it's been over four years since Team Fortress 2 introduced random item drops. Four years of people standing idle in servers waiting for hats. Curiously, Valve's now chosen to clamp down on that. It's all perfectly reasonable but, well, hasn't everyone already moved onto idling in other games to score Steam Trading Cards?
"We recently made a change that helps ensure players are playing TF2, not just leaving their computers on in order to get item drops," Valve explained in a blog post yesterday. "As of last week, players can no longer receive item drops unless they are actively playing the game."
"Active" players are people who are: on a sever with Valve Anti-Cheat enabled; not running TF2 in the terminal-like 'textmode'; only running one copy of TF2; and responding to drop notifications without using an external program. You know: people who are actually playing TF2. They're not affected at all.
Valve says the change is to "designed to make the TF2 experience equally rewarding for all players." Though, farming items is also a messy loose end as Valve introduces more and more things to trade with others or sell on Steam's Community Market. It'll be interesting to see if Steam Trading Cards receive similar changes once the initial hype wears off.