Something strange has happened recently… I figured I’d talk to you lovely people about it. (That isn’t the strange bit, but hang in there!) I’ve always disliked most explosive damage weapons in games, especially in multiplayer. I find them wholly unsatisfying and irritating as they often are capable of the performance of weapons with much higher skill requirements without the need for the aforementioned skill. I like knowing I’ve earned a kill. Not just gotten one via a panic mash of button presses.
Hence why when you get killed for the fifth time in a match by a Soldier shooting his own feet repeatedly because he couldn’t muster up the incredible amount of effort needed in order to move the mouse to locate a threat, you question why you don’t do the same if it’s so goddamn easy. The answer I usually come to is the same one. “Because it’s boring.” I remember playing the vanilla Soldier and Demoman years ago and being bored to tears. Do I live longer? Maybe. Do I get more kills? Probably. Am I having any semblance of fun? Hell, no.
I remember playing TF2 with friends on the 360 over a couple of years and having to get used to vanilla Solider and Demo again. (The good ol’ Windows XP had had it’s chips.) In the worst cases of spam I’d send a bitter remark to the source, claiming it must be hard to press a button twice. Although childish, it often made the half an hour of attrition in an attempt to take 10m of land feel a tad better. My favourite instance was one who replied with the usual 14-year-old boy string of curses but also a challenge. He claimed it was in fact myself who lacked in skill and said I couldn’t hope to do better as Demo.
I then proceeded to be bored out of my mind as I dominated him as his favourite and “best” class while dishing out a 30+ killstreak until he ragequit. I ended up killing myself with my pipe bombs as boredom got the better of me only reinforcing my hatred of the Demoman and Soldier knowing it was the same old story. Spam a chokepoint, win forever. This is still possible (in numbers) and it still baffles me why people enjoy it so much. I’ll always prefer a tug of war match which ends in a loss rather than an almost guaranteed win at the hands of spamcannons. Winning gets boring, guys. It really does.
Cut to a week ago and I’m crawling through my YouTube subscription box, trying to find something. I don’t know what I’m looking for but then I see this video. “What the hell, may as well see what it is.” I thought as I opened it. As I watched, I had a most startling realisation dawn on me… It looked fun. Someone had shown me a way that Demoman could actually be FUN. Which is when the even greater realisation struck me. It wasn’t Demoman I hated… It was the Sticky Launcher! 8 years of neglect and bitterness suddenly disappeared as I discovered, for myself at least, a whole new breed of class. A highly mobile, explosive damage scout. Where you had to land direct hits to do any real damage.
No longer was Demoman seen as a sloth with a bad habit of repeatedly detonating explosives within the same old 10ft of land, but as an airborne, speed demon with an appetite for firing pipe bombs directly into the face of his enemy. Thanks to Aabicus (Whose name still causes me to have a miniature breakdown as I decide whether or not to capitalise the first A) (Medic’s note: So do I, mate, so do I!) I had a completely new play style to try out. Which also involved cashing out for some new toys to cover my stupid hobby, so thanks and thanks for that.
It reminded me of Soldier. After watching a video of someone rocket jumping around, scoring direct hits and airshots as he went, I suddenly realised there was a variant of Soldier out there for me. Though in the case of Soldier it was his stock rocket launcher that I saw as the offender. The shotgun is nice, but I’ll always love mobility far more than another weapon. In bad situations I can simply rocket jump out to reload or retreat for health and use the reduced rocket damage to get back to the frontline faster. It felt fantastic to have more to play with after so long.
And with that I’m now playing the two classes I never expected to. It’s nice to be surprised. By the way, I recorded and edited my first day as Demo. Enjoy! (Now to cry about leaving my half-finished submissions for the Riveting Reviews of Randomness until the last minute…) The very first kill in the video is my first kill as demo since my rediscovery!