With Highlander Season 9 coming around, ETF2L has decided to allow a few new weapons – the Pomson 6000 and the Short Circuit. Now, many people think this is rather strange. These are two weapons that really do shake things up. I’m pretty sure that ETF2L has their reasons and they’ve probably already made them public by now, but I’m a lunatic with his own blog so I’m going to write about my own reasons.
Let’s start with the slightly less sane one.
Originally, the Short Circuit wasn’t an issue. It was a rather quiet little weapon, hiding away in its little corner gathering dust. It had always destroyed projectiles, but the ammo cost was so high and the firing speed so low that it just wasn’t worth the metal. You might as well just have wrangled your sentry and tanked the damage that way. In fact, the Short Circuit had received a buff in July 2013, half a year before Valve decided to really overdo it that Smissmas.
After December 2013, the Short Circuit was a monster. It tore though projectiles, costing only 5 metal per shot. Line up a couple of Engineers next to their dispensers and sentries and you could end up being unable to break through their defenses, since the fire rate was so high. It was so bad, it could do this:
Terrifying, right? Unfortunately for the weapon’s reputation, nerfs came somewhat quickly, on January 9th 2014, but the damage had already been done. Any further changes were even more nerfs, with Gun Mettle giving it a hand by moving the projectile-destroying ability onto Alt-Fire (right click for the majority) and giving it an airblast-like cooldown between shots. Finally, the Short Circuit was left alone.
The Pomson 6000 on the other hand started off incredibly strong and has slowly weakened over the years. Originally it would drain Uber from Medics with ease, strip Spies of their cloak and penetrate players, while being ammo-less and having a somewhat good clip size of 4. This meant you could spam it down any choke point, if a Medic or Spy were there, they could do nothing about it, not even hide behind team mates – something that Medics generally do.
Penetration was the biggest issue, since the gigantic projectiles, the side of a Pyro’s flamethrower area of effect, would often end up hitting players multiple times, not only damaging them multiple times but also applying the drain effect as well. This was removed and the Pomson was compensated with some extra damage.
The Pomson remained as it was from August 2012 all the way up until the Gun Mettle update, where the drain effect now scaled based on distance, draining up to originally 15, then reduced to 10 damage, all the way to no drain at long range, or 1536 hammer units.
So in the end, both the Short Circuit and the Pomson 6000 were nerfed to a somewhat normal level. One can argue that the effects of these weapons themselves – destroying projectiles and draining Uber/Cloak, are always going to be unfair and hard to balance, but now both weapons have legitimate downsides. While the Pomson can delay a Medic or screw over a Spy, the Engineer now has to get into very close range to be able to do so, and if you’re that close to a Medic, you’re probably not close to your sentry or something’s gone very wrong. The Short Circuit also has plenty of downsides now. Primary fire still does pitiful damage and you can’t spam your alt-fire as you please, otherwise you’ll just end up out of ammo.
There’s a second reason though, an indirect reason. When the Gun Mettle update came along and nerfed these two weapons, Engineers in general were nerfed as well. This caused other weapons to really outshine these fancy futuristic things with their fancy particles. The Rescue Ranger, with its ability to teleport your sentry to safety, is an incredibly powerful, game-changing ability, far better than nipping 10% off a Medic’s ubercharge meter. And the Wrangler, despite its nerfs, is still incredibly strong.
In all the time that the Pomson and the Short Circuit were banned from competitive play, other weapons came in and took their places and became the go-to weapons for Engineer. If we didn’t allow these new weapons, Engineers could risk having as little weapon choice as Medics do.
And we can’t have that now, can we?