Yes I know we have all seen Star_ and other Youtube celebrities stomp upon the lowest of pubs with this weapon, but those tend to be highlight clips. The Rocket Jumper is a weapon that completely removes your ability to deal ranged explosive damage as a Soldier, you can no longer take out sentries, you can’t properly defend a Medic, and overall you cannot do anything to support your team. But at least you can jump around to your heart’s content while the rest of your team actually gets work done.
Why does this weapon even exist you may ask? Well it was intended to be a training weapon, only available in the Mann Co. Store and with the intended downsides of an increase in damage taken so severe it gave you effectively 50 health. Obviously this weapon was meant to never be used in an actual game. That is until the Market Gardener came out and players kept demanding it be buffed so they can jump around. I don’t care how good you are at getting Market Garden kills, a Soldier without a launcher is a Soldier who is not contributing to his team. They don’t call players using this weapon “Trolldiers” for nothing. Add a Base Jumper or some Mantreads to this item for added uselessness.
Now besides the occasional newbie who might come across this weapon and equip it out of sheer ignorance why would anyone equip this weapon outside of a jump map or local server to practice? That’s what a logical person would believe anyway, but no, this weapon is incredibly common in pubs because the Market Gardener has become so popularized that people are willing to become completely useless if they can get the occasional shovel crit once per round. The popularity of this useless playstyle is sometimes pinned on Star_ who popularized the play style and caused his large fan base to start copying him as well as other well known TF2 icons. I understand alternate play styles add variety but when the Gunboats exist there is no reason to sacrifice your ability to help your team for a few fancy shovel kills.
The Rocket Jumper’s presence and acceptance is what shows its bad influence within the TF2 community. The sad fact is equipping this and being a detriment to your team is considered acceptable in most servers. This weapon is a constant reminder of the derpy screwy conga hat trade simulator TF2 has become. Every time I see a Trolldier outside of a Hightower or trade server, I’m tempted to press the votekick button, despite the reactions I receive will probably be within the realm of “lel is just a pub who cares”. That is what bothers me, the fact that nobody cares about the actual objective anymore. The Rocket Jumper is just one of those weapons that encourages people to not play the game. Because of weapons like the Rocket Jumper, more and more people are ignoring the well balanced class and teamwork based shooter this game once was in order to occasionally kill that AFK Sniper with a shovel.