Do not buff Medic! No, seriously, don’t. That seems like an insane thing to say, considering I’ve been calling myself Medic, The Medic, BLU Medic and many other variations of the word for the past three or four years now, not to mention the fact that out of my 1700 hours of TF2, about 900 of them are as Medic. But hear me out for a moment.
Medic is the most powerful class in the game. No one else has the pushing power capable of taking down sentries harmlessly. No one can stand in the way of an Ubercharged power class and his Medic buddy, especially when their team is following up behind them. No one can output enough healing energy to keep a team of mercenaries alive, while doing no damage on his own. The Medic is an amazing class that turns healing from a chore into something worth doing, if only to get that little glimmer of crazed power. A minute of work for 8 seconds of god powers. Invulnerability, triple damage or super fast healing and immunity to knockback. And whatever the Vaccinator does.
Amazingly, Medics do all this cool stuff without really doing much of anything. What separates a good Medic from a bad Medic is how well they manage and guide their team mates, while keeping themselves out of trouble. But even pro Medics can’t carry teams on their own. Medics are force-multipliers. On their own they do nothing but with teamwork they become an almost unstoppable pushing force. Which seems somewhat surprising when all Medics seem to do is click on people to heal them, occasionally right click to deploy Ubercharges and run away when things get bad.
For their simplicity, Medics seem awfully strong, don’t they? So why the hell are we making Medics stronger? The Tough Break update went and buffed the Medic class in general, a very unusual move for a class which can make and break games. We saw balance changes to the Vaccinator, which did need changes after being rendered useless in the Gun Mettle update, as well as a nerf to the Quick-Fix, which had it coming for years now. But we also saw some movement on the Crusaders Crossbow and the Amputator, neither of which really needed buffs, as well as the increased regenerating health while healing people.
First, we have the increased regenerating health while healing people. This is overall a good change, because it encourages Medics to actually heal people and do their job, rather than trying to kill people. On the flip side, the changes to the Amputator and Crusaders Crossbow might suggest otherwise, as ‘combat’ Medics now have more of an excuse to run around without their Medi Guns out, since they’re no longer 100% reliant on Medi Guns and the Ubersaw to get Ubercharge. There will always be people like that though.
The Crusaders Crossbow was already the number one offensive weapon of choice for Medics, with its really handy ability to heal people way outside the range of one’s Medi Gun, not to mention that one landed Crossbow bolt was worth a lot of syringes in terms of damage. The fact that the Crossbow gains Ubercharge while healing now makes it undoubtedly better than the speed boost from the Overdose. This change wasn’t needed and cements the idea that actual syringe guns are simply unworthy. It may not be crit-blocking-Vaccinator-on-allcrit-servers overpowered, but it’s not exactly balanced.
The Amputator’s change appears to be needed at first glance, but a deeper look suggests otherwise. The problem with Medic melee weapons is that the Bonesaw is 100% useless, because it has no utility what so ever. The Vita-Saw gives huge rewards for very little risk. The Ubersaw gives absolutely huge rewards for a good bit of risk. The Solemn Vow is a bunch of little rewards for no risk what so ever. The Amputator was the only outlier, offering an average-sized risk for an average reward. In comes the Uber gained while healing and we’re once again pushed back into small risks high rewards territory. Alright, any Medic stupid enough to taunt in the middle of the battlefield will die, but with the deceptively large AOE healing, you can stand in a corner and taunt your little heart out, while still contributing to the all-powerful Ubercharge. It’s not that the Amputator is overpowered, per se, it’s more that all Medic’s melees are now far superior to stock, just like the Degreaser was always the number one flamethrower. But because these are melee weapons on the healing guy, the general public doesn’t notice and may not really care.
This brings us nicely to the heart of the problem. Our issue here isn’t that these changes make Medics overpowered right now, no, not at all. Medic as a class is not a popular one at all, apart from when they have friends to play with and are in a more organized setting. They don’t get many kills they play mostly very passively, they die to a stiff breeze (or a headshot) and it’s very easy for your hard work to be ruined by a couple of minor mistakes.
Right now, these changes are to entice people into playing the class, someone who is rarely sighted on the average public server (excluding those with Medic contracts), but is always required when played on a competitive level. So I can see why Valve wants to buff Medic, so that people will willingly pick them up when matchmaking comes out. Medic though is an acquired taste, and enticing people to play a class by making said class stronger is always a bad idea. But in this case, we’re making an already strong class even stronger! A small buff here and there won’t do much in the short term, and it would probably take a relatively long time for Medic to become truly overpowered, but the Medic is a force multiplier, so a stronger Medic means a stronger Heavy, a stronger Soldier, a stronger Demoman, you end up with imbalances everywhere. And the slow trickle of changes could very easily snowball into some form of power creep, and no one likes that.
Rather than having to face the idea of Medics being overpowered, it’s best that we nip it in the bud before anything bad happens. Do not buff Medics. It’s bad for everyone.