Dante – The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

Well, it seems Ludo has called me out. Declaring me lazy and claiming I have stuff I’m going to post. Since I’ve left my dueling pistols back in the 19th century it seems my only option is to blow him away with the brilliance of my posting.

The moment Valve asked for help with the Heavy any blog with even a passing interest in TF2 immediately sprang up with half a dozen suggestions and a clever pun (I stared at the monitor for ten full minutes before settling on mine) as to how to adjust the heavy. These ranged from the simple (a mini-uber) to the crazy (roller skates) to the absurd (a giant sandwich). I, Dante, did not rush forward like this. Instead I waited, I watched and I considered. The Heavy does not have a glaring problem like the Pyro (underpowered) or the Medic (underplayed) did. In fact I play a Heavy a lot (I’m terrible at reflex aiming) so I’m understandably cautious. It’s a class which already has a strong identity and role, and not something I want to change too much.

Now I think I have an idea of what to go for, but rather than simply tell you my idea I’ve laid out the thought process, lest you think I’ve jumped to this conclusion, if you read the 1fort comments you might have seen this already, this is the extended ‘directors cut’ if you will.

NB: First off, if you’re not familiar with the goals and restrictions here, I refer you to this excellent 1fort post on the matter. Secondly I’ve only really considered the minigun, because a Heavy without a mingun isn’t really a Heavy, is he?

Idea 1 – The Slowgun (I know, I suck at names. Feel free to suggest better ones in the comments thread)

A mingigun that slows down people it hits bringing them down to the Heavy’s level. Making him (relatively) more manouverable.

Pros -Makes fleeing an option for the medicless Heavy, allowing him to retreat to the nearest dispenser or pickup more easily. Plays into the Heavy’s style (ie: spray and pray) as you’re looking to hit everyone nearby with it. You don’t think about using it, but it encourages more thoughtful/cautious play in general.

Cons – Not much fun for people who are slowed, violating the unspoken commandment, thou shalt not make things less fun for everyone else.

Verdict – Miss. Wrecking everyone else’s good time is a massive downside.

Idea 2 – The Knockbackgun

An evolution of the slowgun idea, a minigun with increased knockback, pushing people away from the Heavy, enabling him to better hold a position, or once again making it easier to flee.

Pros – Similar effect to the slowgun, but less irritating. We’ve all gotten used to knockback from other classes already.

Cons – The minigun already has a little knockback, so this is a very minor effect. It might require sustained fire to keep them back, in which case they’re dead anyway. Someone on 1fort suggested boxing gloves/knuckle dusters with knockback, which I think is a much better idea.

Verdict – Miss. Doesn’t do enough, it’s merely a subtle enhancement of an existing ability, and nothing that’s going to exite players.

Idea 3 – The Interceptor

A minigun that can hit rockets and grenades in mid air, making them explode prematurely.

Pros -The quick, hard impact of a rocket is the easiest way to die in TF2, this makes it hard for anyone to hit the Heavy with indirect fire from the front. It also carries on the depowering of splash projectiles started by the Pyro, as a lot of experienced TF2 players go that route. It meshes neatly with the spray and pray style of the heavy, allowing him to blanket the area the rockets are coming from. And it’d look pretty damn cool.

Cons – Soldiers and Demos will complain. At least during the first week when everyone’s a Heavy (but hell, it was hard for spies when the Pyro update rolled out too. Someone pointed out that a Soldier would be a little peeved if he couldn’t fire back when a Heavy concentrates fire on him, but I say “learn to rocket jump” also a Heavy is firing at you that much, you’re already dead.

Verdict – Cautious optimism. This could really work, it’s a subtle approach, but it gives the Heavy a little extra defence against rockets and grenades. He’s still vulnerable to snipers, but then he is with a medic too. he’s supposed to be. Plus, once again, it’s got to be cool looking.

Disadvantages – I generally think it’s better if these are sorted out in playtesting, when the effectiveness of the weapons can be analysed properly. But, in keeping with the idea of not giving extra advantages to a medic accompanied Heavy, I think perhaps he shouldn’t be able to be healed when he’s firing. This might seem alarming to some, but it makes players who chose the interceptor more tactical, and also encourages good medicing. What do I mean by good medicing? Well I could fill a whole article with this, but sufficed to say there are a fair few medics who just stick to one Heavy and heal him constantly, which is fine if you’re that guy, but less fine if you’re standing next to that guy whilst on fire.

So that’s that, my suggestions for the Minigun, please feel free to comment and justify the time I’ve spent here.


5 Responses to “Dante – The Unbearable Heaviness of Being”

  1. 1 Mike
    July 16, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Just to justify the time you spent 😉

    There is a real lack of what you describe as “good medics” these days. All too often am I the one standing next to the heavy whilst on fire! However, as you say, not being able to be healed while firing will spur a drastic response from the community methinks. I mean, what will the little children do when the most overrated combo in the game is taken away from them? Will they run crying into cover, desperately searching out a free medic and/or dispenser, whilst being backburnt by a pyro? I don’t think so. Instead they’ll run crying into an MMO, desperately searching out free equipment and/or accounts on eBay, whilst popping their disgusting spots. Sad as it is, the player base for most online games consists of retards and immature losers. And, although you don’t want to touch them unless with a stick, if you poke them too hard with the stick they’ll flee from your franchise, causing glee amongst the remaining tactically-smart players, but angst among those who are releasing such an update.

    Response to the actual minigun ideas later…

  2. 2 Mike
    July 16, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Perhaps a better name for the so-called “Knockback gun” would be along the lines of the “concussor” or something……but anyway.

    Slowgun – Amusing concept, but the con you mentioned says it all

    Newly dubbed “Concussor” 😉 – It really depends on how much knockback you’re talking here. As you say, the heavy’s gun already has quite a bit of knockback so there won’t be much difference unless you give it, say, the knockback of a sentry gun shooting a scout out of midair as he double-jumps some form of gorge with his baseball bat out, intending to bludgeon a nearby foe lest his……the knockback of a sentry gun. Make no mistake, there would be complaints about it, but if you lowered the fire rate of the gun and gave it a little less knockback than that of a sentry, I think it would make a pretty balanced weapon. That’s probably my favorite of the 3 ideas, with slight adaptation.

    The Interceptor – Of the 3, the most realistic to actually be considered probably. It’s practical, and it does give a boost to the strategic side of the game (one which always needs to see more action). It’s also something that’s worth EARNING. Note, not just do a load of achievements to obtain a gun that’s minimally better than your previous one at best, this actually is worth playing for (not farming naturally….) Pending the other new weapons, this would probably be the third unlock if implemented.

    Speaking of which, i don’t suppose you have any ideas about the new secondary and/or melee wep?
    I’ve been pondering this, and wondering how they could make an advancement on fists. I assumed it would be something along the lines of brass knuckles, but that wouldn’t really be very exciting…

  3. 3 Ludo
    July 16, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    There’s some good ideas for boxing gloves that cause knockback which can be found in the ever-inventive message boards over at 1fort.

    Good call on the bad medics, Dante was saying to me only the other day that he had plans for a post about poor medics who are so focused on healing one often completely healthy heavy that they ignore the solider who is burning in front of them shouting medic over and over again. That very thing happened on Well to me very recently. When you’re a soldier trying to stay alive and build your crit potential this is infuriating.

    I also think the interceptor fits within Valve’s stated rules. It suit’s the Heavy’s role as a defender, protecting those around him from rocket attacks and grenade fire. It’d be easy to balance too, you could have it cause less damage to other players than Sasha, or narrow its band of fire to make it more difficult to hit incoming projectiles. Also, importantly, it doesn’t screw with the class’s main weaknesses, snipers and spies can still get to him. The fifficulty is that it doesn’t increase the class’s offensive potential. It’s implicit in the rules that Valve think the heavy is underpowered on his own, so it might be wiser to increase his killing power overall, in which case some sort of carefully balanced crit weapon might be useful. Perhaps a Rambo style headband that builds up as the Heavy kills, like an ubercharge, until he unleashes in a blaze of crits and glory. That would be kind of cool.

  4. 4 Mike
    July 17, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    That would indeed be cool, but maybe a Rambo style headband would be a step too far? That’s a pretty big fifficulty to overcome anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Dante’s Twitter

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.

Man vs Horse Podcast


%d bloggers like this: