I see this pop up occasionally, mostly from the same person over and over on SPUF but also on SCUD and other places as well. The idea that giving the TF2 classes an additional slot for weapons is a good thing. Or that having an additional slot would open up for more, uh, stuff. Well, here I am, stamping on that idea. Additional weapon slots are a bad idea, and today, I am telling you why.
Let’s get the first obvious reason out of the way first.
We have a LOT of weapons in Team Fortress 2. Medic, Engineer and Spy have the least weapons among TF2 classes, but just looking at Medic alone, we have 13 weapons that all need to be balanced among each other and balanced depending on how allies and enemies. Looking at someone like Soldier, with over 25 weapons, things get even trickier. Every weapon needs to be balanced in many ways. But we are currently unable to properly balance all these weapons, and there are a lot of weapons that are either underpowered or overpowered – very few non-stock weapons can claim to be truly balanced.
If we add a new weapon slot, we need to add 9 new items to fill that slot. That in turn need to be balanced with every other weapon. And of course we’d need extra weapons to make this extra slot worth using. If we can’t balance the weapons we already have, how the hell will we balance these extra weapons too? Valve have already shown that they aren’t really sure what they are doing. Why exasperate things?
But the other huge problem is what will we actually DO with these extra slots? Think about it. If we go and add a slot for every character, for the sake of fairness, what will each class actually do with that slot?
Again, let’s take Soldier and Medic.
Soldier could use his extra slot to, I don’t know, wear the Gunboats. But then he’s able to equip the Shotgun or the banners too. This is a balancing disaster though. The whole point of the Gunboats is to make Soldier sacrifice his reliable shotgun in exchange for a huge boost to his mobility.
For Medic, this becomes even harder to balance. One suggestion has always been that Medi Guns and Backpacks be split into two parts that are combined and equipped together, but that sounds incredibly hard to balance. For a start, which attributes would go where? You’d end up destroying the Medi Gun triangle of power.
So if we can’t share items, what can we put there instead?
Definitely not grenades. I’ve gone over grenades before. Perhaps a Riot Shield weapon for Heavy? Or a grappling hook for Spy? There’s ideas there, but all of them would probably be better replacing existing items. Upgrades in Mann VS Machine could work, but we already have canteens for that sort of thing. Any sort of game-based weapon slot already has a space as an action slot.
On top of all of this, we actually already have some extra weapon slots. Spy has the Disguise Kit with no alternatives and Engineer has the Building and Destroy slots, which again have no alternatives. We already have these slots and we have done absolutely nothing with them. Why even bother adding new stuff when we can’t work with what we’ve got?
It’s all unneeded messing around. Perhaps maybe four weapon slots could be worked into Team Fortress 2 Episode 1, but right now, in Team Fortress 2, there is no need for a new weapon slot.
If you want a new slot, at this point, there’s better arguments for a fourth cosmetic slot. At least that could be added without utterly breaking game balance!