So it seems that some people listen after all. There’s always been hysteria over the Demoman and his stickies, ever since he’s been able to explode them before they touched the ground. Some think he’s fine, some want him altered a bit, some want him nerfed, some want him nerfed into the ground, some want Demoman’s head on a pike and some people want him removed completely. Alright, we’re not going to get the last two, but discussion is a good thing.
The problem is, which side of an argument do you take? In this case, Valve tried taking the side of all the people who thought that Demoman was overpowered. They added a timed fall off that meant that most stickies did a small amount of damage unless they touched the ground. Sounds fairly reasonable, until you realise that a perfect ‘airburst’ was only doing 30 damage and that sentry nests were suddenly much, much harder to destroy.
Some people cheered, some people were upset. Most of the people who cheered were probably Engineers, while a lot of the people who were upset were probably competitive players, since their meta had rather unexpectedly changed. Of course, people throw the “just adapt!” argument, but this sort of change was like the Secret Shop suddenly being removed from Dota 2. It was a biggie, and right in the middle of the season as well. Or for a less video-game related one, it’s like shrinking the area in which a goalkeeper can handle the football with his hands. Again, in the middle of the World Cup or the Premiere League or whatever.
So over these few days, people rightly complained and people rightly argued that the nerfs were fair or balanced or whatever. A few people complained about the Axtinguisher nerfs (which I’m still unsure about) and even fewer people complained about the Heavy’s minigun nerfs because everyone loves Heavy no matter what. This was a core change on a core class so there were lots of ‘core blimey’s going around. It was all a bit of a mess.
Here’s the odd thing though. The majority seems to agree that the Demoman is a tad too powerful. THEY AGREE. People, agreeing in a video game? Ludicrous. The argument here though was whether these nerfs were enough, too much or even not enough. There were plenty of arguments on both sides, with most people seeming to veer towards the idea that the Demoman nerf was not the sort of nerf anyone wanted. The biggest outcry though was due to stickies not doing nearly as much damage to sentries as required, leading to longer games and harder to destroy sentry nests. The nerf to the Demoman was a huge buff to the Engineer, who has received a lot of other buffs and tweaks as of late. Engineer also owns four of the most controversial weapons around (the Wrangler, Short Circuit, Gunslinger and Pomson). Demoman’s downfall also led to Soldier being even stronger, due to his rockets just being more useful damage-wise.
In the end though, the cries of Demoman’s allies won out and the nerf was reverted. Unfortunately, the argument still continues. Many think that the nerf should be reinstated and others think that Valve just gave in to everyone’s cries. Valve did the best thing though, admitting their mistake and saying that they’ll continue to look at the Demoman and his airbursting stickies. The question is, what will they do, and when will they do it?
Overall, Valve can’t win either way, and neither can we. Let’s just hope that we’ll find some middle ground, as you can’t please everyone…