Salvaging an idea – The Uber-Syringe Gun

Pictured: the average potato Scout who gives Medics free Uber.
Pictured: the average potato Scout who gives Medics free Uber.

There’s always been several ideas that are tossed around the Medic sub-forum of SPUF. The Overhealer, a Medi Gun that makes you invisible, Vita-Saw reworks, all sorts. One of these ideas is a Syringe Gun or other primary weapon that works alongside the Ubersaw. On hit, you get Ubercharge. But nine times out of ten, the suggested ideas just don’t pan out. I believe otherwise. I think the idea of an Uber Syringe Gun could be made to work. But it quickly becomes a bit complicated.

Our first step is to see what problems such a weapon would create. Ubercharge on hit is the third original concept, the Ubersaw was the third unlockable weapon ever released for TF2, so it’s reasonable for an idea to be reused elsewhere – just look at the Escape Plan and GRU, which share the same downside, or the three banners that all gain charge when dealing damage. It makes sense to give the Ubersaw a friend. But immediately, by giving people a way to gain Ubercharge without much risk that doesn’t involve healing draws the attention of Battle Medics, and cheapens any Ubercharge gained by healing or Ubersawing.

The Ubersaw is actually a very good weapon. It’s incredibly dangerous for a Medic to get into melee range – Scouts will meatshot you, Spies will trickstab you, Heavies and Pyros will destroy you and you need to get through the barrage of death to get to a Soldier, Demoman, Engineer or Sniper. Really, it’s a last ditch weapon, so maybe you’ll be able to get that hit and escape, or maybe you won’t. There’s a downside too, noticeable really only to the more experienced Medics, but it’s there, so you can’t spam your melee quite as quickly.

Putting such a simple on-hit mechanic on a spammy weapon like a Syringe Gun though is asking for trouble. Syringe Guns have a large clip size – 40 syringes in one go, and even if you make each syringe give you one percent should they hit someone, it’s not hard to spam down a cramped corridor and gain a nice easy 20% Uber. In competitive, this is a harder issue, since most people move better and there’s less people around, but there’s still choke points and spamming syringes is far easier than attempting an Ubersaw hit.

How do we fix this then? We’ve got two options. We either keep the Syringes but give then an abysmal Ubercharge gain on hit, possibly on every third syringe, or we make this weapon less of a Syringe Gun and more like a Crossbow. But making it into a Crossbow is almost as bad. A good Medic with some aim (which, for most people who aren’t me, isn’t that hard) or some spam can build up Ubercharge by firing bolts across the map. There needs to be risk and skill involved in this weapon. This isn’t too much of a problem though, as long as people don’t go flat out Combat Medic.

It’s not that Combat Medics are a bad thing. In Team Fortress Classic and other predecessors, the Combat Medic was a lightweight flag-capturing class. But healing to him was just a side effect of capturing the flag, it wasn’t intended to be a full time job. The Combat Medic also had shotguns and super nail guns and concussion grenades and all sorts of goodies designed for combat, and this was all twisted into the speedy, bunny-hopping monster that the Combat Medic became. In a different game of course. In Team Fortress 2, Scouts were actually made useful and Medics were redesigned to do their job of healing and be rewarded for doing so – hence the Ubercharge. Many of these changes involved making combat very difficult and awkward, so Medics would RELY on others doing the killing.

So a Syringe Gun that gains Ubercharge on hit pretty much counters the idea of relying on team mates. It makes a Medic selfish, since they don’t need to heal anyone. How do we fix this then? We make this Uber-gun weak in the damage department, so a Medic is unlikely to get a kill – they still need to heal people, and healing people builds quicker than using this Uber-gun.

Uh oh, this actually looks very bad, but it’s not really. We just need a whole lot of tweaking and to follow a few rules: it can’t do a lot of damage, it can’t be spammy and building Uber must be generally better with the Medi Gun, making this weapon a high risk, high reward thing. Unfortunately, combat-wise, this makes for a weak weapon, but you have to do a lot to salvage these ideas. I think now that we’ve covered all the bases, we can try and put some stats together!

The Uberbow
Level 5 Crossbow
On enemy hit: +5% UberchargeOn enemy headshot: +15% Ubercharge
On ally hit: heal 20 health
-30% damage dealt
Player must have healed an ally within the last 10 seconds to gain Ubercharge with this weapon

All other stats are the same as the Crusader’s Crossbow.

As for that last stat? It’s my way of making sure that a Medic actually does do some healing. It means a Medic must actually use his Medi Gun (or the Amputator) to heal someone, otherwise he’s not doing very much at all. I’m in two minds in whether to let healing from the Uberbow count or not, but ideally, it’d be better to use Medi Gun healing only.

 

Syringe Gun pictured is the Hypodermic Dilemma, and you should all go vote on it.

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