This isn’t a gameplay discussion by the way, it’s a lore(???) discussion.
In the TF2 lore, the Engineer is supposed to be a genius, having eleven hard science PhDs. He also managed to build these wondrous buildings that helps his team out a lot. However, there is one thing that really annoys me about the design of the Level 3 Sentry.
We all know that the Level 3 Sentry is capable of shooting bullets and rockets. Bullets are hitscan in games and almost hitscan-like in real life. Rockets, however, are projectiles with travel time. Thus, aiming and firing rockets require a lot more leading and prediction than bullets.
So why, Mr. Dell Conagher, is your Sentry’s rocket launcher designed like this?
The way these hinge joints are connected means that the rockets can’t track and aim at people separately! The rocket launchers can only tilt up and down relative to the Sentry’s main body and not left and right. This means that the rocket launcher can’t fully track targets separately from the rest of the Sentry. Given that you need to lead shots differently for rockets and bullets, this just means that your rockets are not going to directly hit anyone that isn’t standing still or running straight at the Sentry if they are far enough.
In fact, if you observe the Sentry in-game, it doesn’t have separate tracking for the miniguns and the rocket launchers. There is only one targeting sensor on this thing, that is the laser-pointer thingy mounted on one of the miniguns.
And what annoys me the most is that the solution to this is extremely simple. So simple, in fact, it’s literally a part of the Level 3 Sentry!
Just install an identical swivel joint to the one here to the base of the rocket launcher and the problem will literally be resolved. Oh, and maybe another targeting sensor.
So why in the world does Engineer not do that?
It definitely isn’t because the swivel joint will add too much to the Sentry’s size. By the looks of it, it will add at most one and a half inches to the Sentry’s height. Besides, just look at the size difference between the Level 3 Sentry and the toolbox that holds it. I am pretty sure adding this one extra joint will not make it any harder to fit inside.
The second reason, then, will be that the rockets travel so fast that tracking and leading isn’t that important. However, that is definitely not the case, since the rockets have the same speed as Soldier’s Rocket Launcher’s rockets. Everyone that plays Soldier for more than an hour will know how important leading your shots is when using the rocket launcher.
The third reason will be that the Engineer is just plain incompetent. Looking at the Loose Canon comic and the Engineer update page, there is a good chance that all three buildings, which we thought were products of Dell Conagher’s ingenuity, were simply inherited from his grandfather, Radigan Conagher.
While there is no proof that Radigan actually built these devices, it is a rather real possibility. It is highly likely that Dell only copied Radigan’s designs and claimed it as his own, thus raising doubts about how good he actually is. It will certainly explain why Engineer didn’t add the extra joint: he didn’t know how.
That is, until we got proof that Engineer is an actual genius.
We knew that Radigan Conagher built the first Life Extender Machine for Blutarch and Redmond. The machine is large, almost the size of a small room, and prone to failure, as seen in the Loose Canon comic. The Engineer, after having access to his grandfather’s blueprints, improved upon the design to be much smaller and presumably more reliable. That was seen in the Blood Brothers comic.
Radigan Conagher is known to have made a third Life Extender Machine after building one each for Blutarch and Redmond. While there is no concrete proof of it, there is a good chance that it is the one worn by Gray Man. Unlike the machines used by his brothers, his is smaller, sleeker, and ran on Australium (Blutarch’s and Redmond’s machines show no signs of running on them, nor do they seem to know what Australium is). Using that as the benchmark, as the peak of Radigan’s capability, Dell’s work seemed primitive in comparison. That machine is also seen in Blood Brothers. It was used by Gray Mann up until it was torn out from his body.
However, in Blood in the Water, we saw Dell Conagher’s latest work on the Life Extender Machine. An extremely small and efficient machine, it completely blew Gray Mann’s machine out of the water. Dell Conagher may not have Radigan’s inventiveness, but he is definitely an excellent engineer. Thus, Engineer not fixing this flaw is definitely not out of incompetence.
After all these, we have still yet to find the true reason why this isn’t fixed. My only remaining possible reason is that Dell Conagher simply doesn’t care. Just like me right now and most people reading at this point.