Thursday, December 17, 2009

War Update Thoughts

The War Update is TODAY! Have you killed your share of Demomen? Apparently not, as they've essentially caught up. Although I hope Soldiers win, I can't contribute enough kills to be significant, so I'm not going to kill myself trying to amass a few kills.

Unfortunately, Valve released the Achievements all at once, so we couldn't run the contest where we guess their purpose. Now I'm just thinking about how hard the achievements are. Quite a few of them are very difficult. Not as difficult as the stupid Medic achievements, but still harder than average.

It looks like they're not tying achievements to weapon unlocks initially, like in the Spy/Sniper Update.

Most of the new unlocks are pretty obvious: The Direct Hit can be worked out mathematically, the sword and shield turn the demoman into a melee fiend, the Pickaxe is a powerful melee, and the new sticky launcher seems to be less powerful than the normal one, but I'm not sure. The mystery element is the Bugle.

There are too many unknown factors that go into the Bugle to make any definite predictions, but here are my thoughts:
  • 14 Seconds are a long time, it's about 50% longer than an Uber/Kritz
  • Minicrits are obviously not as good as real crits, but they are still extremely good. As I've mentioned in a previous post, they don't just increase damage by 35%, they also prevent damage from falling off with distance. This means the damage increase can actually be as much as 150%.
  • I think we can say a banner is worth the same as an uber, if you can apply it to two or more people. What determines the value now is how difficult it is to charge up.
  • We don't know if the bugle confers crits to the user. The writing says "ally", so probably not. This is problematic; the guy who got his "rage meter" up to 100% is probably pretty good, and he's the only guy not getting mini crits.
  • The area the bugle affects is also an unknown (and incredibly significant) variable. If it's small area, that limits the classes that can usefully use the item: Pyros would be limited to using flares, or repelling attackers. (Come to think of it, Kritz Pyros turn reflections into crits, would mini-critting Pyro turn reflections into mini-crits?)
  • Regardless of how big the area of effect is, Heavies, Soldiers, and Demomen are going to get the best bonus out of this. I suppose Snipers could use their SMG's, they could get some good damage with the damage drop-off eliminated.
So, is the Bugle worth it? I'll need to know the two most important variables (Charge difficulty and Area of Effect) before I can say for sure, but I certainly want to try it out.

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