It’s Relay Rant! The premise is simple: one writer per week gets to whine about whatever he wants. Then you, the audience, tell us which writer you want to see write next week’s Relay Rant and what it should be about!
Like a lot of you, I like playing TF2. I’ve been playing now for going on three years and I always find it good fun. However, with the more recent updates, there’s been a lot of shit be in g kicked up. The MannCo store, hat promotions with other games (or hats in general, for that matter) and, of course, trading. These can quite easily be explained away with “You know you don’t have to buy stuff through the store, buy the games or trade, right?” but with one of the more recent updates, it can’t be explained away so easily and a lot of people a re pissed off about it.I’m talking about the recent decision to give the Backburner airblast.
More importantly, this is an intervention as to why you should all lay off of bitching about Pyros.
Let’s get one thing straight: I never played truly vanilla TF2. When I began, the Medic update had only just been released, so I can’t really roll with the ultra-cool kids who can say “Oh, well I played in vanilla and things were different then. You weren’t there, man. You weren’t there,” but I can at least say that I played vanilla Pyro. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun setting people on fire and causing undocumented amounts of chaos, but it felt like something was missing.
The role of the Pyro back then was to spycheck and to spread general chaos, especially in close quarters. Things changed a little bit when the Pyro was released a couple of months down the line when the Backburner was added to the game and the Compression Blast (airblast) was added to the original Flamethrower. Now this was back in my old not-really-noticing-that-TF2-had-been-updated days so the first time I panicked and deflected a rocket back at a Soldier killing him and his Medic, I felt supremely godlike. I’d never seen it happen before; I had no idea what I had pressed and the Soldier, who was in the same boat as me, was both angered and confused.
It. Was. Glorious.
No longer, thought I, would Pyros be known as the boring ‘move here, spread fire’ class,* but people would instead learn to respect and fear the masked menace for his fire-setting and point clearing prowess! Well, we all know how well that turned out.
The problem I saw was that Pyros in general weren’t taking advantage of the fact that they could clear a sticky trap or make a Soldier’s life hell. A deflected rocket was in no way guaranteed, but looking at a Soldier and firing an airblast (most of the time just to prove you knew it existed) was enough to make them think twice and bring out a shotgun. The role of Pyro had changed ever so slightly to include making Soldiers hesitate before rocket spamming, and clearing sticky trap locations around the map or on the point. Pyros could be a true credit to their teams in this manner… yet everyone still hated the Pyro.
They were still that noob class that couldn’t do anything. If a Pyro deflected a rocket, they were called an airblast spamming noob. If a Pyro didn’t reflect an incoming rocket and someone died, they were called a noob who didn’t know how to use airblast. Why does this still happen as much today as it did a couple of years ago?
Fueling fun with friends
Okay, now let’s get to the stuff people really hate. I can’t remember when the exact update was, but the airblast was changed so it could blast players away and extinguish players on fire.** People flipped their shit. Players immediately started complaining about Pyros making Ubercharges useless, counter-acting a well co-ordinated push and (I really wish I was joking with this one) putting out burning team mates before a Medic could get to them. Now this could just be me thinking in some weird way but, if a Pyro can really be that dangerous to a push, shouldn’t you try killing the Pyro first?
“You don’t understand, THEY JUST DEFLECT MY ROCKETS BACK!”
Then why not use your shotgun?
“No Bin, you’re not getting it, I’m in the air and they can deflect my rockets, stickies and pipes.”
So why not tell your team this and get them to help kill the Pyro?
“Ugh, my team are retards and can’t do that kind of thing, I’m pretty much carrying them through this.”
My biggest and most recent WTF moment occurred when a good friend of mine (great fun to play with and I wouldn’t want to lose his camaraderie) was playing Soldier and I was playing Pyro. He kills me, laughs and says “HA! Deflect that, bitch! Soldiers can still fire rockets well in the air!” after I had gotten in close quarters with him and blasted him up and away. That’s fair enough, I got my timing wrong and my friend absolutely hates the airblast. Some time passes, he switches to Medic and ubers a Soldier coming in. As a Pyro, I move in and airblast him back to save my teammates and the Soldier completely ignored me, but I got an earful off my friend.
“Bin, will you FUCK OFF with that FUCKING AIRBLAST!”
But I thought Soldiers could still fire rockets well in the air and he’s invincible, why didn’t he kill me?
The channel goes quiet and my friend doesn’t talk to me for a while. Somehow, it was my fault that I didn’t get killed when an invincible guy with a rocket launcher ignored me pushing him back.
Guys, if you hate the airblast and how it’s used then change up how you play a bit. Don’t fire rockets at a Pyro. Ever. When pushing an uber in, make sure to kill the Pyro running towards you unless you want to be blasted somewhere. Just because you find them annoying doesn’t mean that they need to be nerfed or drastically changed. Why don’t you change up your play style a bit to take them out? Hell, if they’re just flame/airblast spamming noobs, that shouldn’t be a difficult thing. Right?
Pass judgment and pass the baton
What do you think about this week’s Relay Rant? Who should get next week’s article?
- Space Hamlet on player agency (if you can call it that)
- WiNGSPANTT on digital fucking chauvinism
- Rabid Ferret on why new content is bullshit
* I would say ‘W+M1’ but come on guys, every class moves forward and fires. Hell, Engineers tend to just sit in one place and whack a sentry, why don’t they get shit for that? Hmmm? Noob-ass engies.
** I thought it could do this, but it turns out I always tried it near healthpack locations. Oops.