Class Hate

[I wrote this a while ago … and I have no idea why I never posted it before now.]

Greetings, in case you don’t know me, I’m C4Cypher. If you do know me you probably know that I hate a lot of things, most of which being spies.  I’m not alone in this.  Tell me about a class, map, game mechanic or other aspect of TF2 and I’ll give you a player that hates it.  I’ll leave most of the kvetching to other people for the time being, but I thought it would be entertaining if I could discuss each of the classes and why people hate them.

I might as well start with the Engineer, in all fairness … I should know why people hate this class more than anyone considering I play it so much.  People seem to have the idea that the class takes no skill … it’s not a class that seems to emphasize twitch aiming skills. The main point of contention seems to revolve around the sentry gun.  As the only truly computer-controlled combatant in the game, the sentry is immune to the pitfalls of lag (as it’s run server side) and boasts an unbelievable level of accuracy and damage output once it tracks on-target. Apparently all an engineer needs to do to rack up a bunch of kills is set up a sentry and dispenser right next to each other, wedge your butt in-between the two, and whack both as if you were playing a demonic game of wrench-whack-a-mole for the rest of the game … right … I’ll let you know how that goes.

Moving on to the Pyro … well, W plus mouse 1 … do I need to say more? Honestly though, the recent update has transformed the perception of this class from laughably underpowered to hair-pullyingly overpowered to the point to where the pyro has supplanted the soldier in the position of ‘noob’ class. I suppose the pyro should be proud or the soldier relieved, I’m not sure which.  I don’t think it’s a game breaker, personally, but I do think that the range on that blowtorch coupled with the damage output is a tad overkill, and the ‘puff-n-sting’ only adds insult to injury.

If you want people to hate you, start downloading the entire Lord of the Rings movie trilogy over bit-torrent, and then play scout.  The bugger is fast, and has a powerful primary weapon, which makes him the perfect vehicle for leveraging a dodgy network connection into a game-play advantage. Laggy-McLag Scout, I’m looking at you. And if you haven’t been victim or participant to an embarrassing surprise scout rush, you need to play this game more.

The heavy … is surprisingly balanced. The reining ‘Class noob hate’ champion of TFC leaves little for people to cry nerf about, his powerful primary weapon and massive pool of hit-points are very well balanced by his ponderously slow gait.  Don’t get me wrong, lard-butt is hardly gimp, but I rarely hear gripes about the class.

There’s never a medic around when you need one, and when there is, he’s off trying to ubersaw the spy in the back.  There is very little that can counter an effective uber … making him the centerpiece to any winning team, despite the fact that nobody wants to play him.

It’s easy to call the soldier a ‘noob’ class … he’s rather simple to pick up (ignoring the fact that he has a sufficiently high skill ceiling to seperate the skilled players from the chaff).  All you really need to do is point, click and possess some degree of linear prediction skill. Failing that, you can always shoot your own feet to kill anybody nearby … Maggots.

If you thought the soldier was a spammy pain in the ass, don’t get anyone started on the demoman. It’s ironic that the class that causes the most instagib surprise death is also the one that does so with projectiles that look like magic candy. Nobody likes getting one-shotted by a pipe, so if an angry drunk Scottish one-eyed black man offers you candy … just walk away.

The sniper is the quintessential choice for the camper … the best way of playing a game without actually participating it.  If you’re on two fort, I almost guarantee that the snipers on either side are playing in a completely separate game than the one you’re in … that happens to be running on the same server.  The annoying bugger brings instant death from across the map, conveniently placing himself in areas that make reprisals prohibitively difficult.

Ah, I love saving the best for last: The Spy.  Here we have the obligatory ‘stealth’ class. He has the benefit of both invisibility and disguises … he’s not too fast, doesn’t have too many hit-points, the sapper can even be forgiven … somebody has to have that role.  The problem is that knife … if it would work properly, nobody would argue … but for the love of god, if you’re going to give a weapon dodgy hit-detection, don’t make it the one that delivers instant kills? To make matters worse, his primary weapon is far from underpowered, giving the spy a choice between random victory in melee range or powerful ranged weapon with a blinding fast reload time.  I’m sorry, but the only thing I have for a class designed explicitly to break up teamwork and trust within a team is utter loathing and hatred. Spies should all die in a fire … and then re-spawn on fire …

td;lr All of the classes are overpowered, except the heavy.

I never really was on your side …

Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate how greatly the English language fails to convey context and meaning behind words at times. I figure that you all would have much less to read here if this was not the case.  Let me give you an example.

I hate the spy class.

It’s not a simple matter of not enjoying the class when I play it, or disliking the class when other people play spy.  I have a deep, irrational hatred and utter loathing for not only the class, but everything it stands for, to the point where I can not honestly justify in any rational terms or argument, any real justification for such hatred.

I think that more than anything else, the spy serves as some kind of freudian object for me to vent dislike and negative emotion into.

With all that said, I’d like to separate all of that from my real criticisms with the class.  Some people who have seen my hatred of the class might be surprised to find that such criticisms aren’t all that great.

As much as I hate to admit it, the spy does have a purposeful role in the game, and is somewhat balanced.  I’d rather not go into too much detail  defining what I feel that role is, preferring to focus more on where he seems to be too strong in the context of spy versus engineer.

First is the revolver.  The revolver is unique in the fact that it is very effective at everything up to very long range.  It is very accurate, holding about the same spread as the pistol, but inflicts around 50-60 damage per shot before damage drop-off.  The shotgun will out-damage the revolver at point blank range, but suffers far more from damage dropoff than the revolver, giving it the edge at close/medium range.

One might point out the engineer’s answer for this is to engage a spy at point-blank, but the engineer rarely engages the spy on his own terms.  Added to this is the fact that all a skilled spy needs at point-blank is a swift strafe movement and a little lag and he’ll get himself a nice side-back stab, rendering the confrontation over instantly.   Defending against a side-stab is almost more a matter of having good ping and luck as it is a matter of skill.  Most good spies I know will simply disengage, heal up and come back again if they don’t find a fight to their liking.

Should they nerf the revolver? I’m not sure.  I just find it very frustrating to usually have myself out-gunned by a class that can disable at-will my primary assets in a game, assets that took anywhere from ten seconds to two minutes to establish.  I would be in much less of a situation to complain if the spy was the only class that was effective in countering a smart sentry setup, but I also have soldiers, demomen and medics who can just blow through my stuff, and for the most part, are supposed to outgun the engineer class.

Fine, so I have to rely on my team to help me kill spies, as I’m not completely balanced to always deal more damage to a spy  than he can to me. I can accept that.

I cannot accept the dead ringer in its current form.   I would be fine if the spy got away scot-free from the hit that triggered the dead-ringer.  But why the hell does a class have access to the effective equivalent to an Uber shield that lets 10% of the damage through and lasts for six and a half seconds.  To add insult to injury, this shield makes him invisible and allows him to heal himself and recharge said shield from metal pickups.

With enough map knowledge and planning, a spy can antagonize an engineer at his choosing almost indefinitely, given that engineers prefer locations that have plentiful metal drops, usually accompanied by health drops.   It’s hard enough to kill these bastards with a pyro, much less as an engineer.  What incentive does a spy have to take any other cloak when he can simply make himself almost impervious to damage almost limitlesly, given enough thought and metal?