The Righteous Bison is a wonderful weapon. Alright, it’s not the best, what with there being options like the Buff Banner, the recently buffed Concheror and Battalion’s Backup and of course the normal shotgun, but it’s still a good weapon, and it’s much spammier than the Reserve Shooter. But I have an issue with the Bison. It’s not all-class. And it should be!
Before you all scream that I’ve lost my mind, let’s pause and have a look at a few things. It has infinite ammo and penetrating shots but does less damage. It’s designated as a mid-range damage gun, but it feels clumsy on the Soldier because he has a rocket launcher to do mid-range damage. There are plenty of other classes that could do better with it. Alright, maybe not much better, but it’s worth a shot.
Unfortunately, you can’t just flat out give the Bison to everyone. The weapon would go in different slots. Heavy and Pyro keep the Bison in their secondary slot, but Engineer would have the Bison as a primary weapon. Those are just the classes that already use shotguns. Would a Bison for Demoman replace his sticky launcher or his grenade launcher? I personally think, since it’s much closer to hitscan than anything he currently owns, it’d be best as a sticky launcher replacement. Scout has a powerful close-range scattergun as his primary, so perhaps the Bison would work better as a secondary, replacing the pistol? While a Bison would clearly replace a Medic’s syringe gun and a Spy’s revolver, are we ready to give Sniper a Bison to replace his SMG?
Of course, this is all unlikely. All all-class weapons are currently melee weapons, and even most of those can’t be used by Spies and Engineers. Why? Because of some rather obscure bugs, with which you can backstab as a Heavy or upgrade a sentry as a Demoman. So goodness knows what would happen if we just threw the Bison at every class!
What do we do now? Well, we could give the Righteous Bison slightly altered stats for each class. This does mean that we’re essentially making eight new weapons, but I think the Bison is worth it. What stats do we give it though? Soldier, Heavy, Engineer and Pyro would all have the same Bison. Demoman and Medic could get the same Bison as well, sacrificing their main damage output for the slightly-closer-to-hitscan weapon. Giving up the Sticky Launcher is a huge thing for a very small gimmick. For Medics, maybe the damage could be toned down a tad, but otherwise it’s not that bad, since it’s tricky to fight 1v1 with it. Spy would almost certainly give up his revolver, not that he’d want to, but oh well. Scout would probably have issues, as the Bison doesn’t allow him to continue his shoot-people-with-powerful-meatshots ways. Perhaps he’d have his replace the pistol, but with less damage and maybe a bigger clip. Sniper would have to give up his SMG, but most Snipers don’t use the SMG anyway since there’s far better options.
Thing is, is this even possible, or would it hideously break the game? I’m really not sure. I think Heavies, Pyros and Engineers getting the weapon would be fine and dandy, since they all have shotgun-like weapons anyway. The Family Business is another weapon that would work equally well among the shotgun classes. The Widowmaker too, but maybe not for Soldier. The Reserve Shooter is the only non-stock shotgun that’s for more than one class, but the Reserve Shooter is a very specific gun that plays well to Pyro’s strengths, while the others are just simple variants of stock. The same can’t be said for the Righteous Bison, since it’s completely different yet somehow the same.
And what about the other classes? For Medics, I see it as being perfectly viable. It’s less spammy than the syringe gun, it’s got a smaller clip but does more damage and it doesn’t have powerful effects like the Crossbow, Overdose and Blutsauger. It doesn’t fit Spies or Snipers at all, but as a slightly closer hitscan weapon for Demomen? It would close the gap slightly between Soldiers and Demomen, but that gap is already quite small, with Demoman missing out only on the support side of Soldier. For Scouts, it’d probably be a no-go, sadly.
Maybe I’m just over-thinking things though. This is never going to happen. Then again, we’ve said that about a lot of things and they’ve happened…