What is it Good For? Discussing the Latest Nerfs with WARHURYEAH!

3… 2… 1… It’s out! And it’s beautiful! It is 1am GMT on June 18th and I am currently enthralled by a lovingly crafted Source Filmmaker short featuring everything that we have come to expect from, and love about, Valve. Action! Excitement! Romance! Bread..! This is shaping up to be one hell of an unexpected update, and now we wait…

It is now 1am GMT on June 19th and the patch notes have been released! Oh, the exhilaration of learning all about these new taunts, all of these wonderful new weapons in my favourite game, and the balance changes… Hah! Take that Pyro!.. And you, Heavy!.. Oh, what’s this? The Stickybomb Launcher now has d-damage… ramp-up? Could it be true that Valve has finally nerfed the guy who always top-damaged in every game mode? The guy who can wipe teams with right-click, left-click whilst simultaneously browsing Facebook? The guy who can receive Kritzkrieg charge for a tenth of a second and blow up a Medic who is having his weekly book club and Uber building session two towns over? I loved that guy! And I wasn’t alone in my infatuation; in order to calm down and attempt to make sense of this scary new update, I enlisted the aid of Epsilon eSports’ big-boy damage Demoman, WARHURYEAH, fresh from a day’s experimentation with his new toy.

S: So, first impressions on the Sticky Launcher change?

W: I don’t mind it too much, I’m a bit sad at first because of the change which will probably pass. I’ll just have to deal with it and learn to adapt. It’s frustrating to play as you do a REALLY small amount of damage, it’s worse than I originally thought. But we just need to explore new unlocks, which we can’t do at the moment. The Scottish Resistance will be a good alternative after the mid fight and maybe using the shield as well. It puts A LOT more emphasis on using pipes though at the moment.

S: So you feel that the change is big enough to warrant the introduction of new unlocks to ETF2L?

W: Yes, but not this season. We need to explore other options, the Demoman will just be a frustrating class for people and will be a burden for some teams.

S: If, for whatever reason, new unlocks were not allowed or simply are not viable, then would you go so far as to say that Demo is no longer the must-have class in TF2? Perhaps there will be more offclassing of Demo mains?

W: It depends on the player and the team. We tried it today in our matches on Viaduct because it’s a very close map. The nerf to Demo has made Heavy stronger as he’s now harder to kill. At the moment it’s too early to really say, but if we don’t get some unlocks we may see Demoman becoming more of a utility class, but again, that depends on the players ability and how that person adapts. I think that I can do fine with the changes, you just have to re-learn the role and try to think of other ways to make you effective in the game. Demomen that are very strong with pipes will benefit the most in some cases.

S: On that note, some players are speculating that the pipe launcher should maybe be looked at to help bring back the Demoman’s damage potential. Do you think that this would be necessary, and do you have any ideas on what could be changed about it?

W: No, the only people that want changes to pipes are people that can’t use them currently. That will just be avoiding a solution to a problem I feel. You should try and find an actual solution, experiment with other things first. Pipes are actually really good as they are now, you just have to hit them and know the perfect timings to use them. I think something that could resolve most issues would be less self damage from the sticky launcher, giving the Demo more manoeuvrability and flexibility in various situations.

S: Perhaps having the damage ramp up on self damage too? Obviously with the hope that this does not affect knockback.

W: Yes, that would be really good, to give an example of why it’s bad now… In our game we were pushing against a Pyro, the Pyro was called weak and moved to airblast me, I launched a sticky at it, it reflected it between us. I took like 50+ damage and the Pyro took like 20. These situations are going to really harm 1v1’s versus any class now. Before, against a Scout, you could maybe get lucky in some situations in close range fights, but the Demo will lose more. But now he wont stand a chance unless you hit pipes, and jumping away will get you killed.

S: Have you had thoughts on how this will affect positioning when pushing with the combo? I know that in my team we like(d) the Demo front and centre spamming to victory. Now obviously this is not possible.

W: I’ve ALWAYS been a pocket Demoman so this change does make me sad in that regard, in our match we played it more as a support role, I covered the flank a bit more for our Medic and I took part in pushes once Ubers were out. You just gotta get the timing right on when you can go in. I did find myself using pipes a lot more though. In our official on Snakewater I got 6 kills, 0 with sticky launcher.

S: Do you think that Demo might transition to be hanging out with the Scouts on the flank a bit more, and maybe have 2 pocket Soldiers? Especially if damage ramped on self-damage, and if Demoknight unlocks were allowed for greater single-target pick potential and sustainability offered by the resistances on the shields.

W: If the shields were allowed, we would go back to pocket Demos, as that would mean the Demo can get in the fight and slam people. Flanking I don’t think can work too well, as you won’t do enough damage to help the Scouts that much, and you would have to hit pipes since if you don’t then your flank is lost.

S: How do you feel about the viability of the Kritzkrieg now that sticky-sniping could potentially not one shot the Medic?

W: Kritz is dead. Simple. You can only do it with Soldier on certain maps. It’s risky as it is, so having it when you can’t even guarantee a kill is even worse.

S: Can I just say, as a Medic player, I just died a little inside : ( Do you think that the nerf to the Minigun is enough to offset the strength of the Heavy in all gamemodes, or is the fact that he will no longer die to stickies so quickly make this nerf a little irrelevant?

W: Demoman was a main counter to Heavy, and without this Heavy is stronger. We ran it today in our official and had no problems with it. It will slow the game down but you gain so much reliable damage, and most of the time you are fighting close anyway so the change makes no difference. The Heavy will only be weaker on bigger maps, so you can’t run it all the time. But on last it can be unstoppable. I believe that most pushes now will contain just Scouts. As they can do the most damage on a Heavy the quickest.

S: Would you be more excited about one of the shields making the whitelist (and if so which) or the Scottish Resistance?

W: I don’t know the shields much, the newest one I think I’ve seen is very OP. But the others will just give the Demoman an escape option and a way of getting to fights. The Scottish Resistance will be a good change I think, as you can be effective at least, though it still won’t be that good.

S: Awesome, thanks so much for your time. Any final thoughts?

W: I’ll be looking at this further on my blog warhuryeah.com :D And I guess in general it will be interesting if Valve stick with this, as the change is massive. I don’t mind if the Demoman goes utility, as I can multiclass as it is. I am sad because I love playing this class and it’s just changed in an instant. Not only that but England are out of the world cup.

S: It is a sad day all round. Thanks again.

W: No problem, I enjoy ranting :D

Thanks to Reddit users for ideas for what to ask WAR.


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