The other day, aabicus mentioned that a weapon (the Persian Persuader to be precise) had essentially been removed from the game. While it hadn’t really been removed, the stats that make the Persian Persuader the Persian Persuader had been changed completely, making it a pretty mediocre weapon in the process. But as everyone screamed in realization as one of Demoman’s more interesting and niche melees had disappeared, something else occurred to me. We’ve been getting new weapons all along!
The Persian Persuader is one of many of these new weapons. Alright, it doesn’t have the excitement of getting a new model with new stats and all that, as well as the expensive crafting costs, the ludicrous Mann Co. prices and people selling them for refined on the first day to other, more impatient people, but it’s essentially the same thing. Every update is a surprise anyway, no one knows what’s going to happen.
Geoff, our old buddy the Vaccinator, is a pretty good example of this too, even if it took two updates to get right. The Vaccinator from before the Gun Mettle update was a very different beast compared to the Vaccinator after the Gun Mettle update. One was a vicious crocket-blocker pocketer, the other is an Uber-sharing maniac. And while I’ll always miss the crit-killing Vaccinator (which should totally come back in some form or another), the new Vaccinator has a niche it still doesn’t quite fill, while being slightly more, well, useful. And they’re totally not the same weapon, even if they share the same name and model and perhaps some of the same attributes. The Short Circuit, the Cleaner’s Carbine, the Dalokohs Bar, the Eviction Notice, the Scorch Shot, many weapons have been changed and turned around, in order to create newer, better weapons.
That’s not to say that every attempt has been successful. As I mentioned earlier, the Vaccinator was pretty much useless compared to the other Medi Guns before the Tough Break update because of too strict downsides. The Axtinguisher was completely and utterly messed up and no longer even efficiently does its job of being a crit-machine. Still technically a new weapon though with all the messing around they’ve done to it, all that remains of the once almighty weapon is the fact that it still crits against burning players. Barely.
We’ve essentially got new weapons, as old, unused weapons were reworked to become usable. The pool of weapons that make the enemy laugh at you has very much decreased. That’s a good thing, right?
In a way, yes it is. On a basic tally of how many usable weapons are in the game, this is definitely a good thing. There will always be jokey weapons and useless weapons, but even they have their niches somewhere. The Holy Mackerel is technically better than the stock Bat because you can use it to Spycheck. The Fan-o-War has carved a niche for itself in Mann VS Machine as a really easy way to apply minicrits to giant robots. Plus, people have been saying for ages, let’s fix what’s broken before adding more things that will possibly be broken. Just look at the Panic Attack.
There are downsides though. While it’s great that all these weapons seem nice and clean and squeaky, it does mean that the only game-changing new things being added to the game these days are new maps. Contracts aren’t game-changing, they’re cosmetic. So are skins and campaigns and, obviously, hats. Meanwhile, there’s a billion wonderful weapon models in the Steam Workshop which will never see the light of day. We’ll also reach a point where we’ll run out of weapons that are completely useless.
These are more cosmetic thoughts than actual useful thoughts, but people like a bit of change and people like new and shiny things. Hats can be considered new and shiny, weapon skins can be considered new and shiny, but new weapons are the ultimate new and shiny! And it makes more sense to put genuinely new ideas onto new weapons, rather than swapping stats around on weapons all the time, and destroying weapons like what happened with the Persian Persuader.
After all, there’s only so many reskins of stock melees we can add.