GEOFF! NO, WHAT HAPPENED? SPEAK TO ME, GEOFF, SPEAK TO ME! KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME, GEOFF! WE’RE LOSING HIM! HE’S FLATLINING… We’ve lost him.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m referring to the Vaccinator. The Fourth Medi Gun. The one that is now dead. I know Medi Guns can’t die, as they’re not alive*, but the Vaccinator has been driven into complete uselessness.
Okay, the original Vaccinator, when it was released, wasn’t exactly helpful. It charged incredibly fast, but because critical resistances weren’t factored into the three resistance types as a whole, it didn’t see much use outside of Arena mode, where you’d often find yourself in smaller 2v1 and 2v2 conflicts. That’s what it looks like it was designed to do, to survive and thrive in skirmishes rather than being a team’s pushing force. It was incredibly mediocre on maps like Dustbowl, that need an invulnerable juggernaut to push through all those sentries.
Later on, the Vaccinator was ‘fixed’ to properly compensate for critical hits. Turns out, they fucked that up too, as the new Vaccinator found itself capable of completely blocking critical hits. Assuming you match the correct resistance, crockets fizzle away harmlessly and fully charged headshots would bounce off, well, not harmlessly, but they wouldn’t kill you. A new anti-hacking meta sprung up, using a Sniper and a Vaccinator Medic to counter any scriptkiddies around. It became a secondary anti-Kritzkrieg weapon too. Ironically, this Vaccinator was best used without ever deploying an Ubercharge, since crits would instantly empty your current bar of Uber should you get hit.
The Anti-Critinator had its niche, being a counter to the Kritzkrieg and retaining its pocket-like Medi Gun ways, thriving in a skirmish environment.
Then the Gun Mettle Update happened. The Vaccinator’s crit-blocking abilities were moved to be Ubercharge-only. Vaccinator shields lingered for 2.5 seconds (meaning a full Ubercharge is 10 seconds rather than 8) and you can switch resistances while Ubering, although the emblems disappear should you switch away. Switching between targets is temperamental at best. And they added a new downside: -66% ÜberCharge rate on Overhealed patients.
Normally, to fully charge a Medi Gun while overhealing someone, you’re looking at 80 seconds to charge it, a minute and 20 seconds. If you’re constantly healing someone who is below 142.5% health, you can do it in a minimum of 40 seconds. With the Vaccinator, if you’re constantly healing someone below 100% health, you can get your bars of Ubercharge up in 20 seconds, while more normal healing, between injured and healthy patients, would theoretically be the same. If you’re only overhealing one person, it takes 2 minutes and 30 seconds to completely fill your Vaccinator. I sat there and tested that out. Fun.
Now, despite the fact that you’re not supposed to constantly overheal someone, this is still a huge problem. While playing, you heal a variety of players. But at the start of a round, everyone is healthy, so the Ubercharge rate penalty kicks in immediately. You need to have someone constantly rocket jumping or Boston-Bashing or otherwise hurting themselves to keep up. This penalty hits in instantly at 100% health.
What does all this mean?
It means that, at the start of a round, you will always have an Uber disadvantage. And because your Uber pales in comparison to everyone else’s, that Uber disadvantage will grow and grow.
The whole point of the Vaccinator was to be something new, with fast, sudden but weak mini-Ubers that can happily be wasted. But with such a steep penalty while building those mini-Ubers, you might as well just use stock. It’s faster.
Such a shame, the Vaccinator was such a good concept.
*On a completely unrelated note, there is a strict difference between not being alive and not being alive as we know it. A Medi Gun isn’t alive. A Bohrok is debatable. A Bohrok-Kal though has genuine emotions. Visorak were living beings until they were made extinct. I haven’t programmed an artificial intelligence into my Medi Guns yet.
Rest in peace, Geoff. We had a good run.