Everyone whinges on, day in and day out about how shitty the Huntsman is. The Lucksman. The Fucksman. The C*ntsman. All abusive names. People hate this Sniper weapon with a passion, even more so than the fuck-up that is the Machina. People hate the Huntsman more than the new, Sniper-screwing Darwin’s Danger Shield. But the Huntsman isn’t that bad. In fact, with a few tweaks, I believe it could be the most balanced Sniper weapon ever.
I know why everyone hates the Huntsman. It’s somewhat spammy. When you’re using a weapon that can headshot people for 150 damage, then maybe spammy is a bad idea. But this can be fixed. The hitbox for the arrow projectile is huge. Combined with the awkward giant square hitboxes that our beloved mercenaries have, getting a headshot is as simple as pointing your bow and arrow down a hallway and firing. This is worsened on bad maps that consist mostly of hallways and choke points.
The Huntsman’s reputation is also worsened by its lonely existence on Degroot Keep. It’s one of the two proper ranged weapons in Medieval Mode, the other being the Crusader’s Crossbow. But since the Huntsman can do headshots, everyone spams it to death off the walls of the castle. It drives everyone but the endless swarm of Demoknights mad and is nigh impossible to fight against unless you get your own swarm of Snipers to counter them.
We shouldn’t let all those bad maps make our opinions biased though. Especially when even spammier weapons that are affected by random crits exist. There’s nothing shittier than trying to capture that last control point before time runs out and being blown up by a random crocket, which is basically 10ft of instant death to almost anyone. Seriously, 270 damage? That kills everything but a mostly full health Heavy or a completely overhealed Soldier! How is that fair to anyone?
I’m going off topic again. My point is, the Huntsman can be fixed. The idea itself is somewhat balanced. You trade reliability and hitscan for more visual awareness and increased speed while aiming. If anything, the Huntsman is often harder to use simply because it ISN’T hitscan. That’s why I like it though. A Sniper with a Rifle only needs to line up a head with a crosshair then fire, a Sniper with a bow needs to include travel time and even more prediction. Of course, professional level sniping is so much more than that, and the Huntsman’s giant hitbox ruins that professional outlook, but that’s an easily fixable thing.
See, the two things holding the Huntsman back are its unreliability and its gigantic hitbox. The giant hitbox makes the Huntsman easier to spam, but it means that the Huntsman can’t have a faster projectile speed to make it more reliable. Fun fact, the Sandman ball, the Wrap Assassin bauble and the Flying Guillotine all fly FASTER than the Huntsman’s arrows. The Rescue Ranger’s repair claw and the Crusader’s Crossbow giant syringe both travel at 2400 HU/s (Hammer Units per second), which is faster than the Huntsman until it’s fully charged. It’s a vicious circle for the Sniper’s archery alternative.
What’s the solution then? Simple. We make the Huntsman’s projectile hitbox tiny, but don’t change the size of the model, so players can still see them flying through the air and dodge as needed. That way, we can then make the Huntsman more reliable by increasing the projectile speed a bit more. This would reward skillful people, while reducing deaths caused by spamming arrows down choke points.
Also, maybe if the Huntsman is more liked, we’ll get more non-rifle Sniper primaries. Sniper Crossbow when?
Of course, it won’t help Degroot Keep, but there’s not much you can do about that.