The Importance of Weapon Balance

Behold, the most balanced soldier ever!
Behold, the most balanced soldier ever! Picture by Gen. DeGroot.

Weapon balance is, undoubtedly, one of the most pressing issues in Team Fortress 2, after hats and trading. It seems like either Valve can hit the nail on the head and fix a broken weapon, or they flop around like a fish, trying hard to accomplish something but ending up exactly where they were. Today, I’d like to discuss the importance of weapon balance and how to aide Valve.

If I had to gamble my money, I would say that you, at one point or another, had to play against a broken weapon. Regardless of whether it was the Pomson, Short Circuit, or Tomislav, they all had one issue in common: balance, but what exactly was wrong with them? Did they work all too well? Were they bugged?

This is where the topic spreads out into various issues, but in general a weapon was simply too powerful and/or it was designed poorly. The Pomson, for example, was a combination of both of these flaws. Penetration and Uber-draining mechanics, along with its refrigerator-sized hitboxes, the weapon along could change the entire tide of the game. The Tomislav started digging a hole into an issue that was already present, that being the buffed spin-up time was too fast. Now, the Heavy could silently wreck anything while not being afraid of being caught off-guard.

On the other side of the spectrum, a weapon could be made completely underpowered. The Diamondback, for example; such a beautiful gun model, crit sounds, and feel to it. However, one crit for every building destroyed in exchange for damage? On top of being situational, there was just about no use for using this great weapon since you could easily be using much better weapons such as stock or the Ambassador.

Weapon balance is critical! The entire foundation of Team Fortress 2 lies in that weapons are balanced so that there can be good, balanced fights between teams. Without weapon balance, what do you have? Underpowered weapons being unused, overpowered weapons being overused and on top of all of that, completely unfair and irritating games!

I hope not to sound pretentious or self-serving, but this has to be put across. Valve is, at the very best, mediocre at balancing weapons. It’s basically a 50-50 situation with weapons. That being so, we must assist them in all ways possible in order to salvage our beloved game that was once recognized as the epitome of balance! This is where my self-serving side comes in, but it’s a sacrifice that I believe must be done.

Two things can be done about weapon balance, and I truly recommend you do both. Just as a citizen of America should do jury duty, you should contribute to TF2. The first way is to contribute to the dedicated weapon feedback thread, which recently has had a shortage of community members contributing, ultimately ruining the its purpose and not helping Valve see which weapons are in need of fixing. The second way is to post your own ideas on weapon balance. Surely in the midst of ideas, there will be a diamond in the rough, glowing with wonder and balance.

If we were to rise as a group and actively start contributing instead of posting complaint threads about unbalanced weapons, surely there would be some progress. Valve would take notice – look over suggestions – balance weapons out! Perhaps, if over-optimism was still a thing nowadays, the TF2 Beta could be revived to serve its purpose in testing weapons out! But instead of wishing for all of this, we need to make this a thing. Now.

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