When I announced a Week of Love and Hate, I tried to be different. I wanted everyone else to have a crack at writing something before I decided to write my articles. I ended up writing about Pyro and Medic. What I REALLY wanted to do though was write about Scout. I mean, come on! He’s so hate-able! He’s an annoying little prick.
Alright, take a deep breath, Medic. It’s just Scout. Except he’s always there. An Engineer will, nine times out of ten, be whacking a sentry. A Sniper will be a cowardly bastard and hide. Pyros? Pyros are fine. Annoying but easily countered assuming you don’t let him get close to you. Spies? Use your eyes, ears and hitsounds and don’t follow them up stairs. Scouts though are oppressive, fast moving scumbags.
Calm yourself, Medic. Surely Scout isn’t that bad? Fine. On a stock level. But seriously, have you seen Scout’s weapons? We all complain about the Gunslinger and the Loch ‘n’ Load, but bloody hell, Scout has a collection of annoying weapons. Yet no one really seems to care and keeps on going back to the Gunslinger, which, since its ‘bug fixes’, isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be.
No seriously, wait a second and listen. The Baby Face’s Blaster. The Soda Popper. The Atomizer. The Pretty Boy’s Pocket Pistol. Crit-a-Cola. All annoying as heck. Then there’s the slightly less annoying but assumed to be okay weapons, like the Force-a-Nature, Mad Milk and the Sandman. Basically, Scout is just one big lump of annoying with most of his weapons.
What’s worse is that Scout is as all over the place as Soldier is, but faster and in your face. He has weapons for every occasion. He has enough mobility and movement speed to make even annoying blue spiked rodents dizzy. Scout has balance breaking weapons that everyone keeps on forgetting about. But hey ho, it’s Scout, he takes skill to play, so that’s fine.
It’s not fine. Any idiot can grab a Baby Face’s Blaster and some Crit-a-Cola/Mad Milk and go around blowing people’s faces off, same way any idiot can throw down a mini-sentry or fire a few grenades. It takes slightly more skill to use the Soda Popper, but when you can jump all over the place, the only thing that can just as easily stop you is what normally stops you: sentries.
Scout also has weapons that destroy his weaknesses. While Bonk! Atomic Punch is basically canned Ubercharge, it does have a weakness, not being able to use any weapon. Mad Milk on the other hand allows Scouts to last longer (assuming they’re using it right) and the Pretty Boy’s Pocket Pistol, in exchange for fire vulnerability, not only makes you immune to fall damage (the only side effect of Scout’s mobility) AND gives you extra health.
There IS a weapon for Scout though that I like, and it should be obvious why. The Boston Basher allows Medics to gain Ubercharge faster because of the self-damage, and is less risky and more conservative of ammo than using explosives to hurt oneself. The Boston Basher also gives advanced mobility for an actual cost. You can use the damage flinching to knock yourself just a bit higher. And if it wasn’t for the crappy hit detection on the Basher, it’d be the perfect high risk high reward thing. Other weapons with bleed don’t hurt you.
But even the Boston Basher is usurped by his other weapons. Why bother learning to abuse the extra height from self-harm when you can just equip the Atomizer and get a free jump for 10 health, which is far less than the self damage from the Basher? Or use the Winger for extra height on normal jumps? Or why not just use the Soda Popper? Free jumps for doing what you’re supposed to be doing!
The combinations make it worse. While you don’t get the extra Atomizer jump with the Soda Popper, you can still piss milk on everyone from a great height, or throw hard-to-see cleavers at people in chokes for easy bleed damage. The reduced damage on many of Scout’s primaries means little if you can drink a can of radioactive gunk, get mini-crit and a 25% speed boost for a bit. Doesn’t matter that you’ve lost 15 health with the Sandman when you run faster than a speeding bullet.
A lot of Scout’s weapons are stupid. But hey, Scout takes skill, so we just ignore his weapon problems. Right?