Why the New Loch and Load is Pure Evil

Evil! Purest evil!
Evil! Purest evil!

The Loch ‘n’ Load. SPUF has always had a love-hate relationship with this weapon. It was loved for being able to kill sentries and how it was less spammy than its default brother, but at the same time hated because it could kill light classes with a single shot, while still being somewhat worse than stock in most situations. This weapon was changed in the Demoman update of Smissmas 2014, where the Loch ‘n’ Load was changed and has remained this way ever since.

The Loch ‘n’ Load was a weapon which traded half of the stock grenade launcher’s four barrel clip size and rollers in exchanged for more damage and faster projectiles. On paper that seems alright, you get more damage in exchange for less deathmatching and reliability in fights, the shots are easier to land but you only have two of them so you really have to make them count. Except the issue was that the damage bonus was enough to make this weapon’s damage exceed the amount needed to kill light health classes with a single shot. This made the weapon pretty frustrating to play against, considering how the faster projectiles made it harder to dodge and how Demo’s main counter is the Scout, who is a low health class. You can see why this weapon was considered broken, or a crutch.

Now the old Loch ‘n’ Load may have been annoying but the current one is borderline overpowered. Valve listened to our cries about it one-shotting light classes and made sure it never exceeded 124 damage, but they replaced its extra self-damage taken penalty with a 25% splash radius penalty and, most importantly, gave this weapon a third pill . Now imagine this, this weapon can now deal 360 damage in a few seconds, and has faster projectile speed to make all those pipes even easier to hit. You can see why this is possibly even more annoying than its previous incarnation. It has essentially gone from a weapon that screws over light classes, to a weapon that screws ever everyone, especially Engineers and Heavies.  This weapon has actually recently been banned in Highlander leagues (and everywhere else) because high level Demo players were out damaging stickies with this thing.

Ever since it got buffed there have been Targe tanks loch’d, loaded, and ready to destroy anyone in their path for weeks. Don’t even get me started on the Targe. There are Demomen with incredible tanking power and stronger, easier-to-use grenades everywhere just destroying pubs. Add the newly buffed Skullcutter, which is pretty much a straight upgrade due to its movement penalty becoming active only when you’re using it, and you have yourself an unkillable damage-eating tank of a Demoman, with easy-to-land pipes and a low skill straight line charge only used to run away after over-extending.

The worst part is, myself among others used to enjoy this weapon because the clip size penalty felt fair and added depth to the weapon, where it seemed like every shot counted. With the clip size buff in addition to its increased projectile speed, it is now incredibly forgiving and easy to use. This weapon needed a buff to compensate for the loss of the ability to one shot, but this was not the right way to do it.

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