Why Valve was Justified in the Removal of the Charge-Turn Exploit

It, as hilariously evidenced by the whole Reddit fiasco of April 2013, is quite easy to divide the SPUF community -or quite possibly the TF2 community as a whole. Nothing however, is more effective at this than the change of a long present balance issue. The booties exploit, while I do consider them that, were an exploit so firmly rooted in the balance of Demo-knight as a whole that they could be considered a balance issue. Valve however has done right in removing the charge turning. The issue of allowing exploits like this goes against past principles and actions that Valve themselves took. Charge turning scripts and joysticks only serve to further skew the public prospective on the balance of the Demo-knight. In the end however, any ‘fixing’ of the Demo-knight created by this exploit creates not balance but brokenness, not a strong unlock but a gimmick, not a strengthening of game-play mechanics but an unfair and annoying way to die. By looking at the implications of charge turning on the balance and equality of the game, it is easy to see that the charge turning script was an exploit that needed to be, and now was, removed.

The charge turning exploit cannot exist in TF2 because it creates an equality issue in the balance of an item that Valve both logically must address and historically has addressed in similar fashion to their action against charge turning. The essence of video-game balance is that “each option available to a player will be balanced to be able to reasonably compete with other options.” The allowance of things like joystick turning and joystick faking scripts simply denies this by giving an unfair advantage to certain players based not on skill, but on external programs and hardware. Should Valve, the same company who will not use “mouse4” due to its lack of universality, really allow those players who own controllers to have advantage over those who do not? It is to be completely expected that Valve should not allow a major advantage to those players with extra hardware. Hardware advantages, such as gaming mice exist, but to allow one to be incorporated into game-play is not only wrong but an admission of defeat. In addition to this, Valve has in the past taken similar action against scripts which provided game-play value. As a player who uses over seven hundred lines of scripting in their medic config, I find it unreasonable for valve to allow what is frankly a third party scripting exploit to go on. The purpose of a standard script is to make easier what is already achievable through standard game-play, not to add or completely change a feature of a weapon. Valve took similar action against the pistol rate of fire script and the beggars ammo holding script, why would they not remove the V-joy script. We can therefore conclude that the charge turning exploit breaks a key rule of Valves balance and development, it grants advantage to certain players based on a extra file, program or physical controller.

Charge turning is often touted as being balance, however it truly only provides the illusion of balance through a frankly broken concept. The concept of Demo-knights charge is to almost change Demo-man into a “pick class”. However this method creates a massive flaw in the balance of Demo-knight, possibly even leading to broken game-play mechanics. The primary problem with Demo-knight is that he can be stopped easily. He is loud, he runs in a straight and and he cannot control his fine movement. However the answer to this is not to make him unavoidable. If we create a class where death is inevitable for the intended target, that class will be broken. If a pocket soldier cannot stop a Demo-knight, and a medic cannot dodge him, their is nothing to stop the pick. It creates an unavoidable death situation that Valve has often stated they like to avoid. Valve at one point stated that they like players to feel like they learn from each death. Is there anything to learn when no matter where you go the Demo-knight can make the 180 degree turn to follow you? Is there anything to learn when an enemy has just walked through the choke, ate your rockets with no consequence, and zoomed around your body-block; immediately proceeding to acquaint his blade with your medics neck? No, there isn’t. Charge turning, combined with the modern Targe is a broken mechanic. The sole reason it is not used in competitive is frankly because it is a broken mechanic. A “broken” mechanic can be defined as one that provides an inherently unfair benefit for a crippling downside. So despite that unfairness, it gimps him. It removes his damage output, and gimps his entire team. The faster people realise the best way to “fix” Demo-knight is not to make him harder to stop but rather more versatile and skill indexed, the better.

To conclude, not only is charge turning an exploit that equalizes the playing field, it is also a badly balanced mechanic that should not return to the game. The Demo-knight deserves to be balanced properly, in a game that doesn’t need to make him unfair to his opponents to justify his massive ineffectiveness. He does not need to be a class that is both unfair and massively under-powered at the same type. It is for these reasons that Valves decision was well justified, and the first step towards getting away from the gimmicky, unfair, joke of a class that is current Demo-knight.

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