We all know the Heavy: slow, lumbering big Russian guy with a big gun. His slowness and general lack of mobility is pretty much why most of the community think that Heavy has a low skill ceiling. While Heavy does actually require a lot of gamesense, there’s no way around it: the Heavy has a very low mechanical skill ceiling since he’s limited by his low mobility. Many have sought to increase that skill ceiling by giving him more mobility. Foxzet tried replacing the Minigun with the Grappling Hook and had some pretty good results.But at the end of the day, Heavy is still only slightly more mobile than a Dispenser.
A long time ago, I made a Reddit thread called Minigun Jumping should be a thing… showcasing the picture you see above. What started off pretty much as a joke picture turned into a discussion of why Minigun Jumping shouldn’t be a thing: getting divebombed by a 450 Hp Heavy is really no fun at all. Sure, it’ll be hilarious to the Heavy, but the enemy Medic will hate his guts.
The reason why Soldier and Demoman can get a way with their ridiculous amounts of mobility is that a) they have to trade a large chunk of health for that, and b) they have far less health to play with compared to the Heavy. Thus, being mobile makes them more vulnerable. They are trading survivability to get more mobility. Meanwhile, a Heavy using his Minigun’s knockback to fly around doesn’t have that risk of damaging himself. Not to mention, unlike Soldiers and Demomen who are essentially doing very large, controlled jumps that requires a lot of practice to get right, the Heavy can actually fly properly with really good control over his flight path in mid-air, since the bullets fire in a continuous stream and Heavy can change his flight path by pointing his gun in the other direction. The only difficulty is that it’ll be rather clunky to control since you need to be looking at the opposite direction of where you want to go the whole time.
One guy asked if Valve should just make a Minigun Jumper, a minigun that deals zero damage but allows you to use it like a jetpack. It is the reverse of the hypothetical shield replacement people ask for to compliment the Fat Scout playstyle: instead of boosting Heavy’s already formidable natural bulk and turns him into a steel fortress armed with a shotgun, give him extra mobility to overcome his weakness, making him into a bouncing demolition ball of doom. It’ll be like Foxzet’s grappling hook idea except it costs a lot more lead. I personally like the idea of a Heavy blitzing through the air on a stream of bullets, and trading a large chunk of damage for mobility seems fair to me.
It’s just that after the shock factor wears off, I am not too sure how effective a hyper-mobile Heavy with a shotgun is compared to a normal Minigun Heavy. Sure, they now take different roles, with the Fat Scout being … well, a fat version of the Scout, using his mobility to dash around and trying to pick enemies. The Scattergun might be a stronger weapon up close in 1v1 fights and the Scout is definitely more agile than the Heavy can be, but the Heavy does possess more bulk. Aside from that, this’ll make melee Heavy more viable as he can close the gap between him and the baby men he’s fighting much quicker, as well as letting him get up onto ambush spots. I am just not sure how viable it is to play Heavy this way relative to how people normally play him now. I am pretty sure it’ll be a lot more fun though.
Speaking as a flanking Heavy, I can appreciate the extra mobility. It’ll let me get to the enemy team faster, and get to places they do not expect to see me. That is a key part to my playstyle. However, if I have to trade a large chunk of damage that I can deal for the mobility, I’ll be hesitant. The other part of my playstyle is to cause so much damage and destruction that I not only wipe out a whole chunk of their team, I will make sure that their attention is on me and not on the point. I want them to hunt me and fight me, as that’ll mean a lot less pressure for the rest of my team currently contesting the objective. Without that firepower I am less of a threat that requires immediate attention and more of an annoyance. I will have to adjust to the lesser firepower and abuse my newfound mobility, but as to whether that’ll make me more or less effective as a flanking Heavy, I’m not sure. I have a good reason to be optimistic though, since the Shotgun is still fairly good as a weapon, the mobility will make me more viable on large maps (I mostly play on KoTH), and I still have more Hp to throw around than the average lone wolf Soldier or Scout. Now, if only we get a Heavy update some time before 2020, that’ll be swell.
Or maybe we can have a third option. Say, when Heavy has his melee active, he can scale up walls at the same speed as his normal running speed. Now he can get up walls and have height advantage, but he’ll be more vulnerable while climbing and he is still slow. How’s that for an idea?