Most gag classes are not getting any sort of love from my Medigun. Trolldiers can go find their health somewhere else. Demoknights usually are in charge of taking care of themselves, what with the medley of health-returning swords at their disposal. Gunspies will get the same treatment as regular spies, i.e. a spritz behind friendly lines or a long-range crossbolt if I have a split-second and line-of-sight. And don’t get me started on so-called combat medics.
But shotgun heavies, on the other hand, are always treated by me as lovingly as any other legitimate class, and they can look forward to heals, Ubers, pocketing, the whole shebang. Unless they disappoint me for whatever reason, then they’re high and dry, but I always give them the same initial benefit of the doubt a regular heal target gets.
There are two reasons I’ve had actual good luck with shotgun heavies and treat them with the same attention I give to other combat classes.
Reason 1: Noobs never think to play shotgun heavy. They really don’t. Unlike most other subclasses, a shotgun heavy is not something you think of when you look at the heavy and try to joke around. I think a part of this is the lack of unlock support. Once a Rocket Jumper, Chargin’ Targe, or Buffalo Steak Sandvich drops for somebody it doesn’t take too many brain cells to think “this is so cool and different from stock! I’m gonna make it the cornerstone of my stupid loadout!” Plus I suspect at least a portion of players do gimmick classes because they suck as the stock class, and hope mastering a different playstyle will let them ignore their weaknesses with the intended primary weapon. This line of thinking just doesn’t happen with a minigun heavy because I’ve never met somebody who can’t do well as him.
Anyway, the point is that most shotgun heavies are players who know the game well enough to even think of such a thing and realize why they’re a gimmick and how best to compensate for this. This means they’re probably good with the shotgun and have some amount of game sense, which puts them a rung above most anonymous stock players running around on my team. Most of the time, I find shotgun heavies will attempt to protect a medic who heals them, either through bodyblocking or just good shotgun work, and they actually have the bulk to do it.
Reason 2: They still have a minigun. At this point, there is no unlock that removes the minigun in favor of buffing the other weapon slots, which means that every shotgun heavy still has the most devastating close-quarters death machine in their loadout, even if they’re choosing not to use it. This gives them an ace-in-the-hole unmatched by basically any other subclass, meaning that when times get tough they can switch back to their regular game role and just blast the situation back into his favor. I’ve noticed that this tends to happen far more when they have a Medic to protect, as they’re still heavies at their core. This also makes them great Uber targets. If you reach 100% Uber and your shotgun pal switches to minigun, he’s ready to lay down some serious fire on the foe. And he’ll probably have the TF2 experience to use that Uber well.
Remember that the shotgun is a perfectly decent weapon in its own right, and the Family Business is a complete upgrade when a Medic’s giving you the health to get all 8 shots off. Add onto that 300 base health and decent mobility (especially with GRU) and you end up with a decently attractive class that stands far above the ranks of most gimmick classes. At the very minimum they deserve one Uber to see if they have the responsibility to use their minigun during it. So show some respect for the under-loved fat scouts and give them a chance, because they’ve had a proven track record of not disappointing me.