Future Suggestions for Heavies

I feel sorry for Heavy mains, since everyone says they’re skilless noobs who should try to learn a different class. On the one hand, those Heavy-hating Scout mains do have a point, but on the other hand, why are you being so mean for no reason?

The Heavy Weapons Guy is a simple class to play though. Anything you do playing as Heavy can be carried on to other classes, he doesn’t really have anything special that you need to learn just for him. Alright, there’s spin up/down time and jump-revving, not to mention the art of throwing sandviches at your Medics, but outside of those small things, nothing is unique for Heavy. Ammo management? Every class has that. Health management? Everyone has that. Positioning? Communication? Map Awareness? Everyone does it. Or at least, everyone tries to.

On top of not really having his own little learning niche, Heavy has a really,  really big gun that does a lot of damage in a small space of time. Heavy DOES have weaknesses, like Spy but unlike other classes, his weaknesses become more apparent the more skilled enemy players are. On the flip side, his weaknesses barely exist on lower skill levels, where players lack the mobility and positional skills to avoid a Heavy and take him out from behind.

A lot of people argue that this is a good thing. New players can pick up playing Heavy and still do okay. The same thing can be said with Soldier, but Soldier has one small advantage, he has advanced mobility, in the form of rocket jumps, which allows you to tell the difference between a bad Soldier, a good Soldier and an absolutely amazing godly Soldier. The difference between a good Heavy and a great Heavy reaches a point where it levels out.

Now, there are two ways that Valve can fix this problem: they can either make the Heavy harder to play or they can rework him completely. Personally, I think reworking Heavy completely would be a bad idea. Heavy has this feel that, if removed, would suck the originality out of him. You can’t take away the main character’s favourite gun. What can we do then?

Well, firstly, the weird falloff nerf that was thrown on Heavy makes no sense. What does it do to increase Heavy’s skill level? I have no idea. If you wanted to directly nerf Heavy, then direct damage would have been a better idea, rather than adding this weird nerf. Unlike Demoman though, Heavy didn’t get his nerf reverted. Pyro’s still waiting on his Axtinguisher to be reverted. Problem is, noticeable damage nerfs or buffs generally get complained at.

Another often suggested, uh, suggestion is to ‘revert the 119th update buffs’. Small problem with that, the 119th update didn’t include those buffs. The changes happened on the April 28th 2010 update and are as follows:

  • Heavy changes
    • Minigun spin-up/down time reduced by 25%
    • Minigun firing movement speed increased to just under half-normal (from 80 to 110).
    • Throwing a sandvich to a teammate now earns a full bonus point (was half a point).

Maybe reverting all those changes would be a bad idea, but perhaps we could alter the spin up and down time or something.

Doing that though still doesn’t resolve Heavy’s problem of lacking skill or alternate play styles. This next sentence is going to sound silly, but bear with me. Why don’t we let Heavies have more variations between his weapon loadouts in exchange for weird bonuses?

What do I mean? Let Heavy choose what he has in his weapon slots. For example, Heavy could carry his normal minigun and shotgun, but the minigun incurs a movement speed penalty. Alternatively, he could equip the shotgun and the sandvich, for a health bonus but a damage penalty. Or maybe he could carry two shotguns for a speed boost but less health. Each of Heavy’s weapons would be changed to give him all-round downsides or up-sides.

Or we could make Heavy more of a tank class. In exchange for less damage on his miniguns (and no random crits, so no crit-sniping across the map), he could gain damage resistances (or just more health or whatever) and be better at body-blocking. Make him a proper defender of his team, not some sort of silly walking sentry-gun.

Or, after all that rambling, we could leave Heavy alone. Thing is, as much as we complain about Heavy, he’s an opening class so new people can learn to play, with distinct weaknesses when it comes to average game play.

I dunno. You can’t win with this guy.

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