Original answers from Aoshi
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: When did ETF2L start to consider plugins as a way to rebalance the meta, rather than just for QoL fixes?
Aoshi: Plugins have been a key part of game balancing discussions this year. Ideas for aiming towards gameplay changing plugins have usually been pushed aside but with there being a broader push for it by the community itself it was just a natural progression. We tried verifying this through a poll before the start of Season 36. This did end up confirming these suspicions with only 1/3rd of the voters only wanting bug fixing plugins or no plugins at all.
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: Why was the nerf to medic attach speed introduced, despite a slight majority of Premiership players not supporting it?
Aoshi: The medic scout speed plugin is the most noticeable proposed change that we've made. With the very minor favour against the plugin from the Season 36 Premiership players themselves. Because of this we started with the initial season heads-up post before finalizing our season as well as already enabling the plugins with the cfg's. This to allow not only for further community discussions, by not just the premiership players, on the topic but also additional data for us to base our final decision on.
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: Was the introduction of plugins in S36 a way for ETF2L to slowly ease the community into these larger changes, or were there no plans for the S37 changes at the time? And does the ETF2L team believe all plugin changes could be reverted after S37 if they are received badly, or are these changes the future of TF2?
Aoshi: With valve moving TF2 from the backseat to the trunk it does seem like plugins will likely be here to stay. Due to the game's last major update being almost 3 years ago and there being consistent discussions by the community about balancing issues it feels like it was only a matter of time before plugins were introduced. While I can't speak for the full ETF2L staff team, personally I can see the plugins being either retracted or revised if they get received negatively. However how or what will be something that only time will tell.
TEAMFORTRESS.TV: What's the logic behind using S37 to test out these plugins rather than a Cup, and what are the team's expectations and hopes for this Season?
Aoshi: We have now settled on running a season within this year it has come at a cost. We would have preferred to test changes individually as well as in shorter events, but we just can't due to time limitations. The full effect of a change like will only be felt when used in a season but the base data that an initial testing cup gives would have been good to aide in our decision.