As I mentioned in the Soldier Polycount Madness article, there was one item included in the Mannconomy update that didn’t get the recognition that many other items did. It wasn’t the Vita-Saw or the GRU (though most people didn’t know they existed for some time). It was the Rocket Jumper.
The Rocket Jumper doesn’t do fancy things like cause damage or hurt enemies. Instead, it gives you 64 Rockets (4 in the chamber, 60 in the Soldier’s lapel pocket) that are intended solely to allow you to practice your rocket jumps. Think of it as the ulimate training tool. Sure, the Soldier still takes fall damage, but because the rockets do zero dégats, you can spring around the map all day, mostly unscathed.
Because I don’t have the Rocket Jumper (and because I am terrible at Soldier, and therefore rocket jumping), I asked you, the millions thousands hundreds dozens of Top Tier Tactics readers to send me more information about how this training tool could be used outside of TR_Walkway.
The replies came pouring trickling in!
Rocket Jumper Run-Down
Before we get to the submissions, let’s take a second to review the most important points about the Rocket Jumper and its tactical applications.
- The Rocket Jumper’s rockets do no damage to enemies or to you
- Reflected Rocket Jumper rockets do not do damage to your allies
- The Rocket Jumper does not prevent fall damage
- The Rocket Jumper/its rockets appear identical to the Rocket Launcher/its rockets
- The Rocket Jumper is not craftable. It is find-able in the drop system
- It can also be purchased for 50 cents in the Mann Co. Store
- The Rocket Jumper negates self-damage caused by the Equalizer taunt (bug?)
TF2 commentator leptir was the first to send in footage on how the RJ could be used for maximum efficiency. His pal IAreSnipar recently recorded and commented on footage featuring the ‘Jumper on Hightower (a most appropriate map, given the weapon’s abilities). In this video, IAreSnipar demonstrates how the lack of self damage makes the Rocket Jumper a great tool for constant ambushes and tactical retreats.
While many of IAreSnipar’s jumps failed spectacularly, it’s obvious early on how much of an advantage the zero-damage RJumping ability is. Of course, this is heavily countered by the complete reliance on the Shotgun and Equalizer/Shovel. While these weapons are still deadly killing machines, they lack the appeal of insta-gibbing your foes with completely balanced critical-hit rockets.
Here’s a different video by Cyclopsided, featuring the Rocket Jumper on Gravelpit. As you can imagine, Gravelpit is a great map for rocket jumping, and Cyclopsided shows off some impressive positioning skills as he flies around the map with the Rocket Jumper.
Finally, Krowbar submitted this montage demonstrating the bug/feature that causes the Rocket Jumper to negate all damage from the Equalizer’s Kamikaze taunt. While the results aren’t perfect, they are hilarious.
Given the changes made to the Gunboats, it’s pretty likely this “feature” will be patched out.
So, does the Rocket Jumper have tactical applications? Perhaps on certain maps in certain situations, but the tradeoff of ridiculous mobility at the expense of nearly all the Soldier’s killing power is very steep. Two Soldiers with Rocket Jumpers, Shotguns, and Pain Trains could probably cap points faster than 2 Scouts could, but would run into a lot of trouble if they encountered even a single Sentry.
For now, just use the Rocket Jumper for its intended purposes:
- Practicing rocket jumps
- Trolling the hell out of enemy Pyros