So, Smissmas came and went, and in my honest opinion, I thought it was a bit of a disappointment, to put it politely. The new weapons were meh, the Festive weapons(aside from Bonk and Shotgun) sucked and we only got 7 of them, most of the cosmetics weren’t really that interesting, and they nerfed the Tide Turner. Say what you want about End of the Line, but at least it didn’t ruin a well-established weapon.
Oh, and we also got Mannpower, perhaps the most casual gamemode in existence despite nocrits. The powerups are so overpowered it’s ridiculous, not to mention those who have just joined the server and don’t have a powerup are at a major disadvantage compared to those who have already obtained one.
But there is one cool thing that came out of the Smissmas update. That thing is the Grappling Hook.
Oh yes, the Grappling Hook. True, it makes classes like Scout and Soldier rather redundant, since it gives Sniper and Heavy the same amount of mobility as them, but it’s just so much fun to goof around with. Especially on larger maps with lots of room to roam around(i.e. pretty much any map that’s not Junction).
Now, I may be the only person in existence who actually likes to play as Heavy. With that said, I’m disappointed that Valve hasn’t given Heavy a new weapon or ability that would drastically change up his playstyle(like Chargin’ Targe, Dead Ringer, Gunslinger, Huntsman, or even airblast). When it comes to Heavy, pretty much all you can effectively do is spin up your Minigun and shoot at things until they or you die. That’s it.
With these two things in mind, one day I had decided to do an experiment: What if Heavy got the Grappling Hook as a new Primary weapon?
I contacted a good friend of mine who owns a server, and asked him if he could possibly help me out with this experiment. He was more than happy to oblige. Everyone else on the server was playing regular TF2 as always, but I was given a Grappling Hook. There was one catch to this: I couldn’t use my Minigun under any circumstances, so I had to rely solely on my Shotgun and Holiday Punch for firepower.
Here is a more-or-less detailed version of my exploits on cp_gorge as a Shotgun Grapple Heavy Champion of TF2.
NOTE: For dramatization purposes, I am depicted as being on RED and the enemy is depicted as BLU. In the actual game, I was on the BLU team, but I decided to invert the colors for the screenshots because my loadout looks better in RED.
At the very start, things were going more or less alright. I had the element of surprise on my side, as the opposing team probably didn’t expect me to have a Grappling Hook. There was surprisingly only one Sentry near the left spawn exit(from BLU’s point of view), so I ran out of the right side of spawn and grappled to the cargo containers to the right.
The confusion had just set in for the enemy team. I flew right past 2 Scouts and a Soldier, who were more startled than anything else. I worked as a pretty good distraction: The three of them were all trying to shoot at me, which meant my teammates managed to clear them off. I then grappled onto the balcony to the left from the containers, where there was an enemy Sniper scoped in, aiming at our spawn. I decided it would be my duty to get rid of him.
After disposing of the Sniper, I actually managed to get on the first control point with relative ease. Despite them finally starting to realize there was a Heavy zooming around the map with a Grappling Hook, I managed to usually either evade their attacks or just get out of harms way.
When an enemy Demoman came to clear the point, I grappled on to BLU’s second spawn, and from there grappled to the wall past the control point. In mid flight, since you get to keep your velocity while moving towards your grappled target even if you let go, I turned around and landed a few good meatshots on the Demo. Soon enough, our team manages to push through the defense, and we manage to capture the point.
Suddenly, a tracer round just barely missed my head. It was the Sniper I killed earlier: He was on the bridge to the left, and he was out for revenge.
I grappled back to the ledge on top of the control point, doing my best to avoid getting headshot. My surprisingly high velocity helped, but more than anything I was saved by a friendly Pyro who was coming out the left side and running towards him. Poor Pyro unknowingly acted as bait while I grappled onto a wall behind the Sniper, and as I flung my way across the battlements I managed to land one good Shotgun blast on him to finish him off. Thank you, random crits.
Immediately, as soon as I landed on the ground and turned around, I got backstabbed by a Spy who just happened to be there at exactly the right time.
After I respawned, it soon dawned on me why there was only 1 Sentry near our spawn in the beginning: They must have packed all of their guns on last. This is when I also came to the realization that I was actually playing less like a Heavy and more like a Scout.
All things considered, I decided to change my strategy accordingly: I wouldn’t just rush at last with an über on me to take down the Sentries. I had to rely more on flanking and picks than head-on assault, like I had snuck up on the Sniper.
I walked to the right hallway past the first Control Point, where there was a Demoknight waiting on top of the staircase. I knew exactly what he was thinking: Right as he started charging, I shot my Grappling Hook and latched onto the wall on top of the stairs. The Knight was baffled, to say the least.
He didn’t have a lot of hp left before he came charging at me, so even from a distance a couple Shotgun shots were enough to finish him off. Afterwards, I decided to check out the hallway to the left, in case there were any other leftover enemy troops for me to handle. Suddenly, enemy Pyro.
Luckily, despite my playstyle being more akin to Scout now, the difference between a Scout and a Heavy is 175 hitpoints. The Pyro actually put up a good fight, and had it not been for a Crossbow Medic right on the other side of the room, I probably would have burned to death. He didn’t stick around though, so I was still on my own deep inside the enemy lines.
This is when my absolute favorite moment of the game happened.
After our Medic left to find some other teammates to heal, an enemy Medic came running through the doorway to the left, über ready to be deployed. There was a friendly Soldier-Medic combo behind the corner, and an enemy Heavy was waiting for the Medic to come about in order to eliminate them.
I grappled down to the ground, and punched the Medic in his back with the Holiday Punch. You can just imagine the rest.
Did I die? Yup. The enemy Heavy turned around when he heard the Medic laughing, and shredded me into a million pieces after I pow’d the Medic away. But it was completely, 100% worth it.
The rest of the round wasn’t all that exciting, just more grappling around enemies and shooting them while they were confused or at low health. Soon enough, the Soldier-Medic duo trapped in the enemy base managed to build über, and took down the Sentry nests guarding the last control point. A winner was we.
So: What is the final conclusion to my little experiment?
GIVE THE GRAPPLING HOOK TO HEAVY AS A PRIMARY WEAPON. NOW.
*ahem* But in all seriousness, it was jolly good fun. Maybe it’s not the most effective loadout in the game, in fact I didn’t even top score and once the enemy team starts to figure out what’s going on it’s not gonna go so well, but it changed things up. It was different. And most important of all, it was fun. This was perhaps one of the most fun experiences I have ever had playing Team Fortress 2.