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.