A Chat with a Fellow SPUFer

A Fine Medic...
A Fine Medic…

In today’s article, we’ll be chatting with a SPUF regular who can often be found lurking around the Medic Subform. This fine player made himself famous for clearly explaining how the Quick Fix simply didn’t work before this year’s buff. After being abandoned by a Combat Medic, this fine fellow vowed to do his best to help others.

So, before we begin, how about you describe yourself? What’s your name, where are you from and what’s your main class?

My online name is Caldoran, I’m from Singapore, and my main class is the Medic.

What got you into TF2? When did you start playing?

Well, I first got the game in April 2011, just months before the update that turned it Free To Play. My friends were pretty crazy about the game, so after much hesitation I got the game as part of the Orange Box. They don’t play anymore, sadly.

That’s a shame… I assume you’ve made new friends though, right? Are you just an average pubber or are you in on the competitive scene?

Yep, plenty of friends made and faded away over the past 2-3 years. I’m a competitive player as Medic and a little bit of Soldier, in both 6v6 and Highlander, although I do enjoy a pub or two every so often.

When did you first get into competitive TF2? Was it hard? Are you ranked and have you managed to win anything?

I started my competitive journey in about January 2012, less than a year after getting the game. There was considerable difficulty in adapting to the vastly different mindset and playstyle that competitive play demands, especially so as Medic which requires quite a high amount of metagame knowledge and experience, something I did not realize at the time.

There is no ranking system where I am, but I’ve participated in Division 2 and 1 in the AsiaFortress Cup and my teams have won first and third place respectively.¬†Those are for 6v6. On the Highlander side, I’ve played in UGC and my team got 5th place in the free-for-all Asian division. I’ve also dabbled in ETF2L Highlander across the pond, which was a very exciting experience.

Ooh, that’s cool! So your team must be pretty damn good. I wouldn’t want to be alone against them. One of the turn offs for pub players are banned weapons. What do you think about blacklists and whitelists for competitive?

I think that nobody honestly wants blacklists and whitelists in most manners and applications, but they are necessary right now considering the state of weapons in TF2. Some players may think that banning weapons discourages variety, but in reality the opposite is true.

Take for example the Pocket Pistol, which grants Scouts a whopping 140 HP, which amounts to 210 HP when overhealed. In the 6v6 scene where Pyros are uncommon, the Pocket Pistol grants a humongous bonus for practically zero drawbacks, forcing all Scouts to run the same Pocket Pistol if they wish to not be put at a disadvantage.

As it stands right now, the Winger is seeing interesting uses with its newly buffed jump mechanic, but this would never see the light of day should the Pocket Pistol be whitelisted, simply because it’s better for most intents and purposes.

That’s understandable, and fair. I can see how that could really mess things up. What’s your favourite weapon?

My favourite weapon, fun-wise, is probably the Force-a-Nature, which always makes me laugh when I use it to send enemies flying. I know it may not be effective overall, but its always interesting to find out niche situations, and it’s not as bad as people make it out to be in non-competitive applications.

In terms of usefulness, definitely the Medigun. Its versatility and sheer pushing and holding power never disappoint me.

The Force-a-Nature’s an interesting choice.

Definitely, considering I rarely even play Scout. But when I do, I often take the chance to pull off unexpected maneuvers and surprise enemies, or indulge in the evil pleasure of launching someone flying off Upward’s cliffs.

Hats and stuff? Surely you like hats? And misc items of course.

Ah yes, the most important aspect of Team Fortress 2 of course. I used to be quite the trader, before I started competitive play, after which I simultaneously lost much of the interest I had in cosmetics and also had to make time for practice matches and pickup games. My personal favourite hat is the German Gonzila, and my favourite misc is the Quadwrangler. I think both of them complement the Medic’s appearance extremely well, and aren’t too garish.

A person of fine tastes! What about unusual hats?

Well, I do have an Unusual German Gonzila, but that was not in fact earned through hard work trading, but I instead had a humongous stroke of luck and uncrated an Unusual Salty Dog, with which I traded up to my current Medic hat. I’ve been offered objectively higher prices than what my hat is worth, but I’m a sucker for sentimental value, and so I’ve clung on to it for over a year and counting.

Yay, luck! Onto something different now, how do you feel about people taunting after killing you? And while we’re at it, how do you feel about the Ghastly Gibus?

Well, sometimes I do feel mildly annoyed, especially if I feel it’s an undeserved kill. Often though, I remember that getting a heated response is usually what they’re seeking, and hence I get back at them by denying them the joy of receiving the response they so desire.

Regarding the Ghastly Gibus, as with all stereotypes, is often inaccurate. In fact, it’s gotten to be such common practice wearing a Gibus to pretend to be new that I’ve in fact grown more wary of Gibus wearers, for fear they are in fact cunning skilled players in disguise.

What are your thoughts on pubstomping, which has been a big thing on SPUF lately?

Well, on pubstomping, as can be seen on my views in the thread, is really an issue in plenty and plenty of games, and TF2, with its massive skill discrepancies is definitely no different. While there are of course insecure people looking to stroke their egos coming into pubs with the express purpose of stomping players to feel better about themselves, oftentimes players who are simply good and happen to be paired with another good player get mistaken as a pubstomping duo, and are accused as such, potentially leading to the bitter emotions and misunderstandings as seen in the thread.

That’s understandable. It’s silly to think that all good players are people intent on ruining fun, some just want a break and to chill out.

Yep, definitely. And it’s rather crazy a notion personally that notion to me that good players shouldn’t be able to play with their friends. If anything, this speaks volumes to me about the state of teamwork, coordination and communication in TF2 pubs, where the existence of them is now seen by some (many?) to be an unfair advantage.

It’s a pity. But then again, people can get very annoyed at games. Oh well. How about the Wrangler and the Gunslinger? Do they fill you with rage?

The Wrangler not so much, except in Highlander sometimes on particularly badly designed maps, such as pl_cashworks. The Gunslinger though, is just the epitome of a badly designed weapon to me. Any random Engineer can mash 4, 1, M1 to instantly deny an entire area to Scout and Pyros, and sometimes Soldiers already in the air, although the recent nerf has alleviated that somewhat.

I thought you’d find double health and firing speed more annoying than a tiny sentry, but I know where you’re coming from. What about both combined?

I do find it more annoying, but the supposed “weakness” of the Wrangler is far easier to exploit when new and inexperienced Engineers use them, which forced them into tunnel vision. The true monstrosity that is the Wrangler only truly rears its head when an Engineer with decent awareness uses it.

In my opinion, the Gunslinger and Wrangler do not have as much a synergy as people might think. While in Highlander situations the Wrangler/Gunslinger combination is potent since it’s basically another non-mobile Heavy on the field, I find that the Gunslinger pairs reasonably well with the Pistol in pubs, which aids greatly in constant harassment and annoyance, which is pretty much the main reaction the Gunslinger elicits.

That… Makes much more sense now I think about it.

Yup, much like the other broken Engineer weapon, the Pomson 6000, the trio actually do not have as much synergy together and only truly reach their peak when paired with the Engineer’s other choices.

Fair enough. As a Medic, how do you feel about the Quick Fix?

Ah yes, the Quick Fix. The Medigun I used to despise with every fabric of my soul, I now deeply enjoy using after Valve buffed it with an idea I had in mind and subsequently spammed all over the SPUF Medic subforums for over a year. It’s definitely an interesting Medigun and it fits my “try to save as many people” mentality, and though this may be an unpopular opinion, I would prefer to see the gimmicky mirror jumping mechanic removed.

You’re not the only one who would like the tether jumping removed…

Yeah, I’m definitely not alone, but I’m sure there are far more people who greatly enjoy it, and I can’t blame them.

It is a fun gimmick, but it’s, um, a gimmick.¬†Okay, last question, because your fingers probably hurt now. Valve asks you to make one change to TF2. What change do you make?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. I would revert the Heavy’s changes in the 119th Update, that made him far too easy to use, and I believe triggered off a whole series of weapons that make a class easier to play and/or remove core weaknesses, contributing greatly to the game’s current state of imbalance.

That’s a really interesting choice.

I may have come up with something else if I pondered more, but that’s what came to mind first. Who has time to think for too long in such a fast-paced game, after all?

Oh so true. Especially if you’re being chased by an enemy Scout. Thanks for answering all my questions!

It was a great pleasure and very fun. Good luck with the SPUF Blog!

Thank you!

And that was the end of the interview. Thank you Caldoran for letting me ask you all these questions and giving some lovely answers. Watch this space for more interviews with other SPUFers some time in the near future. Possibly.

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