It’s actually not very often that me and aabicus disagree on things, but somehow we’ve found something to argue about. Possibly. It’s not really arguing, more like politely putting down our opinions and compromising with one another. I don’t think we’ve ever really argued. But the sudden implementation of Medi Guns keeping Uber when dropped is certainly something to discuss between two Medic players who spend a lot of time running a blog together.
Weapon switching does very much spice up the meta, which, when you look at it competitively, often gets very stale. Heck, even Valve servers get stale with the billion Engineers on last or the six Heavies on the payload or the seventeen Snipers on the battlements of 2fort. So picking up the weapons of your enemies does two things – it makes sure that more people get to see your new sparkly weapon, whether it’s a strange, killstreak, festive, botkiller, decorated or Australium one and it opens up the chance to test out or change weapons on the fly. You don’t have a Liberty Launcher? Kill someone who does and steal their weapon.
This also adds more diversity. If you jump into a Payload server and the match is halfway through, you might decide to rock Gunboats to where your team is then switch your Gunboats out for one of the many dropped Shotguns probably lying around. Or you can go from Demoknight to Demoman if you’re lucky enough to find and kill a real Demoman. Not so much vice versa, due to the way that weapons attached to one’s body work, so no sudden Gunslingers for you.
Fun fact: The Gunslinger is actually just a body group for the Engineer.
Anyway, back to weapon swapping. Originally, this was a good idea for Medics too. They could use their Uber, kill the enemy Medic and if they are using a different Medi Gun, surprise them later by changing, with the downside of losing a small part of your Uber advantage. When weapon switching was first released, I was genuinely okay with it, because you’d lose the stored Ubercharge in both your Medi Gun and their Medi Gin in exchange for confusing the fuck out of the enemy Medics. The enemy Medic, being dead, would be at a disadvantage, but one he can recover from.
Then Valve decided it was a good idea to keep stored Ubercharge whenever you picked up a dropped Medi Gun. Immediately, the competitive communities collectively said NOPE.avi and picking up a Medi Gun means forfeiting a round. Why is this such a bad thing though?
Because it means you are punished twice.
From the perspective of the Medic on a winning team, picking up a dropped Medi Gun is amazing. If you popped your Uber and killed them before they popped theirs, you have a HUGE advantage. You can confuse the hell out of the enemy team, who, if they were using a different Medi Gun, are unsure whether you will stick with your Medi Gun or pick up theirs, but more importantly, there is no way the enemy Medic can get an advantage on you unless you die.
On the losing Medic’s side though, it all goes downhill. If you die, a LOT must happen for your team to be able to survive your death. Your team mates need to not only hold their ground, but they need to protect where your Medi Gun fell, to stop the enemy picking it up – a hard task when your team has just lost one of its most important members. When you respawn, you’re back at 0% Ubercharge, which means, unless the enemy team’s Medic has died or popped their own Uber, you’re immediately at a disadvantage. Of course, dropped Medi Guns last 30 seconds (and the maximum respawn time is 20ish seconds generally) so there is a small chance of regaining your lost Uber, but while you’re attempting to save your old Medi Gun, you’re wasting valuable time building Uber on your new Medi Gun, which will go to waste should you salvage your old Medi Gun and leave you at a continued disadvantage if you don’t. Meanwhile, the enemy Medic, unless your team killed him, has plenty of opportunity to build on your disadvantage.
Of course, a lot of people will just say “no worries! I’ll just switch weapons before I die!”, well it’s never that simple. Death can come from pretty much anywhere, from above, or below, or behind you. You have to know exactly when you’re going to die, as to not waste time building Uber or leaving teammates unhealed. And, in more competitive scenarios, all it takes is for you to fail to switch weapons once and that’s it, game over, unless your team can kill their Medic(s) and take your advantage back. But that’s not always likely.
In the end, the main reason why I hate Medi-Gun pickups is simple. It’s not fair to kick a man when he’s down. And that’s exactly what this new mechanic does.