Tweaking the Vaccinator

In my previous article I went through the basics of the Vaccinator, about how and when to use it. Since then, I’ve been using it more – in the niche area I’ve talked about: with a buddy on Steamchat and on a King of the Hill map – and I remain convinced that this medigun is severely underused. Nonetheless, I found a few things that need to be adressed to fully flesh out the medigun that emphazises team communication the most in Team Fortress. Because right now, the Vaccinator is suffering from some quirks that make it less effective than it could have been.

1. Resistances

That third one could use some tweaking.
That third one could use some work. Picture by Lord Kelvin.

The Problem:

The Vaccinator has three resistances that cover a large spectrum of damage: bullets, explosives and fire.  Yet every class in Team Fortress has an -although difficult-  counter to that: melee attacks. Aware Scouts will start bashing your head in when you popped your Unter. Demoknights are the bane of your existence with their charge and long melee range. This medigun is designed for medics who are aware and adapt to their surroundings to be effective. When melee attacks are a factor, I’m aware, but can’t adapt.

The Solution:

Valve, please make fire resistance something like Close Combat Resistance. Make a nice emblem with fire and a sword for the resistance type and we’re all set. No more cheeky melee crit deaths with full Unters.

2. Switching

Vhy is this button stuck all of a sudden? Scheiße! Picture by Medic.
Vhy is this button stuck? Scheiße! Picture by Medic.

The Problem:

Taken from yesterdays game on koth_lakeside: I was capping the point with my pyro buddy, and an enemy pyro ambushed me. I popped a fire resistance Unter, but my attacker suddenly dropped dead from a sniper. At that moment, two soldiers rocketjumped in and blew me and my buddy  to kingdom come. This all because I was still stuck on the fire resistance Unter. A lesser problem (for me at least) is having to cycle through the resistances to get the one you need. Although you’ll get used to cycling, a hotkey for each resistance would be good.

The Solution:

Why is there no switch mid-unter? It would allow for more skillful play like the Vaccinator without Unter does. Valve, please fix. It would make life so much easier. An Über, and by extension also an Unter, should be a source of power, not a source of potential weakness. The Kritzkrieg doesn’t stop healing when Kritzing, why should the Vaccinator lose switch capacity?

3. The Stats

The Problem:

The stats are a jumbled mess and even the wiki is vague and unspecific at times. The white text seems to only apply on Unter, but is in fact active all the time. The crit-negating aspect of the medigun isn’t even mentioned at all. Even after lots of playtime with it, I still haven’t found out completely what it does with crits.

The Solution:

Rewrite the stats, and some theorycrafting should work out the rest of the vague blurryness that the Vaccinator stats are now.

4. Wasted Untercharge.

See that greyish charge in the third bar? Once you pop, it's gone. Vaporized in thin air. Picture by Lord Kelvin
See that greyish charge in the third bar? Once you pop, it’s gone. Picture by Lord Kelvin.


The Problem:

This is perhaps the worst problem with the Vaccinator that hinders it from working optimally.  Upon pressing M2, you expand one charge for a 2 second Unter. But the Vaccinator only depletes full bars and completely erases any charge built that hasn’t accumulated to a full charge yet. Let’s illustrate that with an example using the picture:

You have about 65% charge. When you use an Unter right now, one full bar is depleted (the second one) but everything that was charged after that one was filled is lost as well! You’ll end up with 25% Übercharge (one filled bar) with no restitution of the 15% extra you had. Your charge cost you effectively 40%; you overpaid but got nothing in return. I’ve lost countless half-charges this way, and subsequently, died dozens of times because I had no charge ready where I would have had one, were it not for this downright silly mechanic.

The Solution:

Valve, this is the main issue for me with the Vaccinator. Just make each Unter subtract 25% of your charge and we’re all set.

It seems like a lot of work, but if Valve can implement these small changes, the Vaccinator will be so much more effective and user-friendly, shine more in its current niche, and can perhaps even dazzle teammates when outside of its niche. Geoff deserves some love.

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