What’s so interesting about the Pyro is that he’s a dedicated short-range class in a midrange game. Flamethrower, Shotgun, and Fire axe are all heavy hitters up close but rapidly run out of steam the further away your opponent is, and that’s kinda weird in a game where most secondaries are designed to fill a niche where the primary weapon is weaker.
But that leaves open the tantalizing possibility of replacing the Flamethrower with an incendiary shotgun of some sort.
Level 1 Incendiary Shotgun
When cool, expels hot air to turn up the heat.
- Shares ammo with shotgun secondaries. The core weapon functionality is exactly that of a shotgun (six rounds chambered, 10 pellets, etc.).
- Afterburn duration based on how many pellet land (1s/pellet).
- Afterburn damage based on how many pellets land (1~3 pellets = 1/tick, 4~6 = 2, 7~9 = 3, all 10 pellets has it deal 4).
- Alt-fire fires a “Hot Shot” that fires a round and creates an additional airblast effect, it has the normal airblast ability cooldown.
- If the airblast effect knocks back an enemy or reflects a projectile, it causes afterburn duration applied with that shot to triple, and the damage from afterburn to be as if all ten pellets hit.
- Fires underwater, however added fire and airblast effects do not work underwater.
An incendiary shotgun would fill the Pyro’s primary roles of spychecking, CQC and sentry defense in a way similar but distinct to the flamethrowers. It would probably synergize with the Flare guns better than the shotguns since you no longer require a secondary to gain hitscan. Depending on how costly the airblast mechanic hits your reserve ammo, the Scorch Shot in particular might be an appreciated choice.
Allowing the primary shotgun to retain an airblast of some sort would be interesting due to the differences in reload/clip of this weapon compared to a normal flamethrower. There’d be more of a delay between potential airblasts, since you’d have to wait not only for the regular airblast cooldown of .75 seconds, but also the shotgun fire rate of .625 seconds, and that’s assuming you haven’t spent your clip and need to reload first. On the plus side, since reserve ammo is calculated from your reserve shotgun ammo you can have up to 32 airblasts without collecting more ammo (and you can effectively double your ammo reserve with a shotgun secondary).
Visually, it would have to be longer and larger than your average shotgun, so nobody confused it for one of the secondary shotguns. In general, the sounds and design of the shotgun need to command respect, both because it needs to hold its status as a primary weapon and because real life Dragon’s Breath shotguns are visually quite noisy. This applies to the sounds too; both the normal and alt-fire attacks need to be loud and recognizable to immediately cue an enemy into what they’re up against. A different tank attached to the Pyro’s back would help this further since it would broadcast the Pyro’s primary even when he’s holding another weapon. Plus it just makes sense since this shotgun fires completely different stuff from whatever gas the flamethrowers spew.
Pyro is one of the game’s two jacks-of-all-trades, along with Soldier. This opens up great possibilities for designing unlocks, to the point it’s kinda weird how Valve has steadfastly stuck to flamethrowers, shotguns, and flare guns only. The Pyro’s unique enough to handle some variety. Let’s get creative!