The Medic is the big game changer of TF2. It’s rare that a pure support class has that position in any video game, but that’s one of TF2’s strong points. Of course, being a game changing person means that making tweaks, changes, buffs, nerfs, anything, can be a huge problem for not just the individual but the entire game. So I was rather surprised when I saw rather unusual changes for Medics in the Tough Break update. But are they good or are they bad?
Honestly? Medic didn’t really need anything at all. All of the class’s problems lay within troublesome weapons that need fixing, and the only really urgent weapon is the Vita-Saw. Even then, it’s not a game-breaking weapon unless you’re playing at a high skill level, it goes virtually unused on pubs. The Solemn Vow and Quick-Fix did have some issues that could probably be easily fixed, and the Vaccinator, Bonesaw and Blutsauger were not in a great place, but overall Medics were healthy – required, but not overbearing or snowballing too much, while not being completely useless either.
So where do the Tough Break update’s Medic changes lie on the scale of good and bad?
Medics now have slightly higher health regeneration when healing a hurt patient
This isn’t exactly a needed change, but I can see why you’d want it. Basically this change rewards you for actually doing your job, reinforcing the need to heal everyone, not just a pocket. Will likely go unnoticed in pubs unless you understand Medic regen. I can’t find any numbers on the actual amount though, and testing this myself has proved to not be very good. Definitely not a bad change though. I rate it 8/10.
During setup time, ÜberCharge build rate is now increased by 3x
A really good change here, if currently bugged on some maps. Have you ever joined a server, seen that there’s classes worth healing, then realised you only have 20 seconds of setup time left, not enough time to prepare an Uber? I certainly have. This change fixes that, and also gives Medics more time to do other things, particularly overhealing everyone and getting into a better position. 10/10
- Taunt can now be activated by alt-fire
- Healing done with the taunt now grants small amounts of ÜberCharge
Two interesting changes here. The first is definitely good, since you no longer need to go through the taunt menu. Not only does this save you precious time, it also means that the taunt menu doesn’t block your screen, giving Medics more awareness and being better able to pick when they can taunt. Downside? You might hit alt-fire by accident, but that’s more the player’s fault than anything else. 9/10 change.
The second change is also good. It gives the Ubersaw some competition. But Ubercharge on healing isn’t exactly needed, when Medi Guns 90% of the time do it better. And even then, combined with the increased regenerating health when deployed (and including the regenerating health from healing allies? I think the duration of the taunt makes this very hard to judge), the Amputator still isn’t as good a weapon as the Ubersaw. Or the Vita-Saw. 6/10 change, wasn’t really needed, but is definitely good.
- Removed 10% health regeneration on proper resist
- Added slight ÜberCharge build on proper resist
- Increased ÜberCharge rate from +50% to +67%
- Reduced overhealed ÜberCharge build rate penalty to 33% from 66%. As this penalty is applied after the base increase, healing an overhealed patient is now 33% more effective.
The Vaccinator was in trouble after the Gun Mettle update and thankfully these changes fix the gigantic fuckup from before. Geoff is still hard to use efficiently, and it will probably never be as strong as the other Medi Guns, but this at least puts it in a position where it can still compete, as well as making it once again great at smaller fights. The regaining Uber on proper resists is also awesome. Definite 10/10 here.
- Fixed cases where Quick-Fix ÜberCharged players could still be affected by certain knock-back effects
- Players can no longer capture objectives while under the effects of Quick-Fix ÜberCharge
The first is a bug fix. They are always good, and I’ve noticed times where I’d be affected by knock-back despite megahealing.
The second is a nerf. But while nerfs would, in a more biased world, get a lower score, the Quick-Fix DID need something. Its super fast building rate meant that it was best reliably countered by the Kritzkrieg, combined with instakills from an explosive weapon, but the two weapons were supposed to charge at the same rate and the Quick-Fix ignores the 142% rule, always healing at maximum speed. Nonetheless, this is a change that I actually suggested a while back. So uh, yeah. I’m putting these changes at 8/10.
- Healing a player with an arrow now grants a small amount of ÜberCharge
You’ll probably have noticed that I’ve left the Crossbow until last. That’s because I think this is a bad change for the Crossbow. Simply put, the Crusader’s Crossbow is already a very powerful weapon, swapping spammy, low damage, inaccurate syringes with something a bit bigger, that can heal team mates at almost any difference. Because of its utility, the Crossbow is actually the most powerful of Medic’s primaries. And it just got buffed. Apparently, you can get up to 15% Ubercharge, with 1% Uber gained per 15 health healed. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s enough to make all the other Medic primaries completely and utterly useless. It’s Pyro and Degreaser all over again, but without the shouting and arm-waving that people make about Pyros. I’m going to give this a meager 2/10, because I like having a choice of weapons.
So while many of the changes here are good, the last change reinforces the idea that Medics only have one completely viable loadout – Crossbow, Medi Gun, Ubersaw. The Amputator change tries to counter this, but I doubt it’ll be as effective.
Oh well, so much for variety.