After the recent update (Or if you’re reading this in the future the MyM update) many of us are left questioning two things. Firstly, what the hell are the TF team doing and secondly, do they actually play this game? Well from recent discussions it seems pretty clear that Valve would likely try to break down weapon stats into more logical data. So to begin with we must query what actually makes a weapon. For most weapons in TF2 we can split it up into it’s effective range and its DPS. If we look at a simple example say… the minigun. It has a pretty constant DPS and a pretty short range. So if we were to try and work out what was going through the mind of valve it would be logical to assume that the intention of the minigun was that, should it have a longer range (aka a tighter spread) it should do less damage. So lets consider this class-by-class.
If you don’t understand what I mean, consider the following graph:
The height of any point on this line represents the damage of the weapon and the distance across represents the range. If you had a weapon in the exact middle, and chose to have a different weapon further up and a different weapon further down. Those weapons would be balanced (assuming no gimmicks).
Take Scout as an example:
Scattergun – The Scattergun has a high damage, small clip and slow fire rate. Due to the damage of about 100 per shot, increasing the damage doesn’t affect much as the weapon usually (bar overheal and heavy) takes two shots to kill someone. So we “lock” the damage as it is and reduce the clip but increase the fire rate. This explains weapons such as the FaN, Soda Popper and the Shortstop. Then, maybe we choose that we want a weapon with more damage, but the same fire rate. To do this, we reduce the clip and thus the Back Scatter is created. The problems occur when we try to add gimmicks to the weapon. For example, the knockback inflicted by the FaN reduces the damage of the second shot so to compensate, we have to increase the damage (or in this case the density) of the shot to make it as strong as the others.
Pistol – The pistol has a high rate of fire and a moderate clip, but suffers from lower damage. The Winger decides to reduce the clip, but increase the damage alongside it’s gimmick. On paper it’s balanced and in-game it doesn’t seem to be too bad. The PBPP trades off some firing speed for health on hit and makes the user take more damage. Again, this follows the sort of “take a bit of this but add a bit of that” logic.
Bat – The bad does low damage and has a high fire rate. Because of this it’s easier to balance them around gimmicks than it is to simply change these two values. The Boston Batter (and reskin) give the player a DOT bonus for hitting an enemy but punish them for missing. As with the other changes, on paper, this makes sense. The Fan O’ War reduces the damage the player can do to almost nothing, but dramatically increases the damage that the users team can do to the person. Another solid change. The SOAS is where it goes wrong. Players on fire take more damage, but non-burning players take reduced damage. Were fire a common thing this would be a perfect change, but as fire is so situational the times where this is useful are scarce. I’m not going to go through the rest because if you haven’t got the point by now you probably won’t.
This pattern can be seen through a whole bunch of weapons and on paper weapons like the SOAS make perfect sense. But when put into the actual environment suffer. When we compare the pinnacle of balance this pattern becomes most apparent. If we take the stock medigun and place it next to the kritz, one of them trades off the personal defense abilities of the stock über for incredible damage of the kritz über. However, it’s easy for a kritz über to be shut down by a good sniper so to compensate for it’s instability we give the kritz a charge rate boost. It’s simple, logical changes and offsets like that which create good balance. Take the Quick Fix. It has a faster passive healing rate. This is a big thing. To compensate, it’s über should be weaker than most. For the most part it is, 100Hp/s can be easily overridden by focus fire and good teamwork. The problem with the QF wasn’t it’s charge rate, it was that it was exempt to rules which bind all the other mediguns. The 142.5% rule no longer applies so it can build charge quickly from pocketing. Exempt from a system designed to punish that exact practice. The proper change would have been to implement it’s own 121.25% rule which would keep it in line with the kritz and stock. Simple. Move on to the Vaccinator… This one’s more difficult due to the fact it’s almost entirely a gimmick. I personally would leave this one alone. It’s in a good place right now. It counters the kritz, it loses to the stock, it has a much faster charge rate but a much weaker über.
What I’m trying to say is, many of the changes made in the MyM update didn’t follow this simple give and take system and that’s why many of them didn’t work.
Take their change to the CaC. Exactly the same, but you now take minicrits afterwards. That is a gimmick, not a stat. Furthermore, it solves nothing. The original problems were that it gave the scout +speed, +damage and +damage taken. The problem people had with it was that A. scout didn’t need +speed, B. on top of that scout didn’t need +damage and finally C. the damage taken boost wasn’t even that effective. What would have been a better way to fix this? Remove one of the (Positive) variables. Take out the +speed or +damage (Probably +speed because CRIT a cola kinda suggests critical damage). This leaves us with +damage and +damage taken, which can easily be placed upon my little line. +0% damage, +0% damage taken. +20% damage, +20% damage taken. +Wearer deals minicrits, +Wearer takes minicrits. (Oh, and to avoid confused +’s are used to signify 20% MORE damage taken, not that it’s a positive stat).
Hold on, that minicrits thing sounds familiar…
But nobody complained about this weapon back then… Huh.
Just my thoughts.
Oh, and random crits ruin all of this.