Saturday, March 20, 2010

TF2 Contribute Update

First of all, I have to extend congratulations to El_dawg, who cunningly kept over a dozen Camera Beards in anticipation of their upgrade to full hat status. Way to get 8 hats, including the Kabuto, you jerk!

So what about these new items? It seems like Valve has made them terrible in an attempt to avoid breaking any balance issues. I don't have the Dalokohs bar, but I imagine it will be as bad as the Homewrecker and Pain Train.

Homewrecker first. This is the worst item Valve has ever made, balance-wise. It does 130 damage to buildings per swing, at about .8 second swing, for about 150 DPS to buildings. Buildings have starting HP of 150, and max HP of 216. This means that you can't one-shot anything with the Homewrecker;* everything takes two swings. This would actually be a cool item for some classes. If a Scout or Soldier had a way of doing high damage to buildings without depleting a clip, that'd be great. But a Pyro already has an item that does high damage to buildings without depleting a clip. It's called a flamethrower. It does ~150 DPS, and can hit more than one person at once. Once you've destroyed the building, its broken shards will refill your ammo, so there's no risk of having to face the next player with no fire. To put it simply, Valve has taken a class with the best building destroying close-range attack, and given her an infinitely inferior alternative. It's like a handicap on people who like trying out new items, or are stupid.

Second up is the Pain Train. First of all, I don't like the idea of an item that can be useless** for one team. However, when you can use it, it seems all right. The first thing you have to remember is that the penalty isn't very big. On many lives, you don't get shot by bullets at all. I've tried it on some Payload maps, but that doesn't seem to work too well, since the speed of the bomb maxes out at x3. The Pain Train was designed for 5 point maps, giving Soldiers and Demos Scout-like ability to capture points, while simultaneously weakening them against those same scouts.The real question is whether it'll be picked up for professional play. My instinct is "no". No one likes dying, and scouts are a huge danger in pro play. I can only imagine one Soldier on a 6 man team taking a Pain Train and taking a sort of "professional capper" role, but even that seems unlikely.

I don't have a dalokohs bar yet, it doesn't seem like it's going to be that great, but I'll try it before I mock it. (I'm idling as hard as I can, Valve! Please give me more drops!)

*You can get things while they're still being built, but none of this matters, since the flamethrower does more DPS, as we'll see in a moment. Also, the 150 DPS statistic I just referred to can be deceiving; if you're attacking a building, it's never going to have HP divisible by 130, so you're effectively attacking with less DPS

**Not just bad, but useless. If you have a Pain Train on Defense, you are taking a penalty with no benefits whatsoever. Better hope you remembered to switch it out when you switched teams!

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