With yesterday’s release of the Shogun Menage à Trois for Team Fortress 2, Valve added four new weapons to the game, along with four hats. While some players debate the continued efforts of Valve to cash in on preorders for third party software, I’ve already stated my case on such matters. Instead, we turn to a matter on which there is no debate:
These items are bad.
“But WiNG,” you quaver, “they’re not so bad! They’re just situational!”
While this may be the case, situational didn’t become a synonym for useful, the last time I checked. After all, keeping a life jacket under my bed is situationally useful, in the situation that the midlands of New Jersey flood to above the third story of my apartment complex. Keeping a loaded gun in my car is useful in the situation that crime occurs in New Jersey. You get the idea: as probability of a scenario approaches zero, so to does the value of an item that relies on that situation.
So, let’s discuss the situation at hand.
What it does: When equipped, the Spy has only 60 health. Upon successful backstab, the Spy is healed/overhealed for an amount equal to his victim’s current life, up to a maximum of 180 HP.
Useful situation: Cloaked, you manage to make it behind the enemy team without getting hit by a single stray rocket, flare, pipe, sticky, bodyshot, arrow, or melee attack, all of which would instantly kill you. You backstab an enemy, putting you at 180 health, which immediately starts ticking away. Someone spots you, but before they can warn the team or kill you, you get another backstab, putting you back at 180 life. You repeat the process until no foes remain, ending your 11 kill streak with a revolver duel against the final pursuer. You survive, left with only 1 HP, thanks to the Conniver’s Kunai.
Situation likelihood: Same approximate likelihood of Half Life 2 Episode 3 or Half Life 3 being released in the next 2 years.
What it does: Dealing only 10% of the Scout’s normal melee damage, the Fan O’War “marks enemies for death” on hit, causing the target to take minicrits.
Useful situation: You’ve made it into a flanking position as Scout, only to discover your worst nightmare: a Natascha heavy. Since you have the Force-a-Nature equipped, you don’t think you can kill him, so you double-jump over his head, marking him for death. Landing behind him, you fire the FAN into his backside, launching him across the map with a mini-crit meatshot. Using your microphone, you say only one word: Pull. Friendly buckshot fills the air, rending the Heavy limb from gigantic limb.
Situation likelihood: Odds are similar to chance that Americans will realize Charlie Sheen is not a newsworthy story.
What it does: When this samurai-themed blasting horn is blown by the Soldier, nearby allies gain 20% of their damage back as life.
Useful situation: It’s Dustbowl 2, point 2, and there are only 11 seconds left on the clock. You allies are surrounding the capture point, but are hesitant to push forward, because an enemy Pyro recently set everyone ablaze and killed both of the team’s Medics.* While a friendly Engineer has built a level 3 dispenser, there’s not enough time to wait for its sweet but slow healing spray. Tooting your turn-of-the-century conch, you lead the charge, as allies pour around you, instinctively trusting a Soldier to be a source of healing. Your team sucks the enemy dry of HP like a flock of blue-skinned vampires and secure victory.
Situation likelihood: Remember that time, when you were 9 years old, when you were watching the lottery drawing on TV? It was the Pick 6 and you picked 5 in a row! Remember that? Man, that was neat. This gameplay situation is twelve orders of magnitude more unlikely.
What it does: Upon killing an enemy, the user (Soldier or Demoman) is instantly healed to full health. However, the Zato cannot be switched out once drawn until it is responsible for a kill. If used against another player brandishing this sword, it will result in a one-hit fatality.
Useful situation: You encounter another idiot running around with this sword.
Situation likelihood: Unfortunately, this situation is extremely likely.
Implications for gameplay: No comment.
*Just kidding. Nobody plays Medic, especially not more than one person simultaneously.