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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Ambassador and the Scout, Soldier Update weapons

Hello. Xiant again. With introductions out of the way and the basic structure of the blog established I'll get right into things. Today's topic is the update weapons for the spy and the scout and soldier. Once I finish with the nine class update weapons, I'll talk about the regular starting weapons, along with whatever else I can think of. I'll sprinkle in my thoughts from E3 tomorrow as well.

Also, I just pre-ordered Medal of Honor, and I'll get my hands on the beta on Thursday. Hopefully I'll remember to stop playing that and put something down here.

So, the Ambassador. Back when the Spy vs. Sniper update went live and the community first learned of it, the site stated that the first shot, if an accurate headshot, was a mini-crit, which did 46 damage, making anyone at least a three-shot kill. Afterwards, the update said the gun had a long cooldown period when accuracy became a real issue. This made the gun a tactical, wait-and-see weapon. At close range it was deadly in the hands of someone with a steady hand and an dead eye. Initially released, the Ambassador was a fairly balanced weapon, with a few key flaws. First, it shot through engineer buildings and there was a much smaller accuracy falloff, making distance mini-crits, a deadly thing even at the relatively low damage. Things got really hairy when Valve increased headshots to full criticals, at a whopping 102 damage. At the time, Valve did nothing about the others faults, so not only was the weapon now overpowered, but it had the ability to 1) shoot through before round gates, 2) shoot through engineer buildings, 3) make multiple critical headshots at even moderate distances. Released on May 21st of 2009, it wasn't until June 23rd at the gun reached its current state. Now, the gun acts like the regular revolver in all senses and only crits when the accuracy falloff ends. This makes the gun more balanced, but if you search around YouTube, finding Ambassador only gameplay for ludicrous scores isn't hard to come by.

As someone who took full advantage of the Ambassador before all the patches, it was a real let down to not be able to get right up next to snipers and know that you had two accurate crits to the head. It takes more skill now, and I admit I don't use the gun much, if at all. Sure, I'll put it on to change things up a bit, or just for yucks and giggles, but that's all.

As for the Scout's new primary, the Force-a-Nature, which wasn't nearly in need of fixing as the Ambassador, I think it's one of the most annoying weapons in the game. The only two above it are another Scout weapon and the Sniper upgrade, which I'll get to probably after Medal of Honor beta play winds down. Basically all Valve needed to do the FaN, as it's known, is tweak the effect it has on enemies and the ability it confers to scouts. In short, it knocks enemies backwards or allows the scout a third jump beyond if he fires at the ground. At first, the third jump worked no matter where you aimed, then they patched it.

I mentioned, though, that I hate the weapon, and I do. It's useful used intelligently, like anything in the game, but remains, to my opinion, a little over done. With its increased bullet count per shot and speed of shooting, scouts with any modicum of skill have the ability to kill almost any class in the game, even if it takes them two double barrel shots (since the FaN only has two shots per magazine). With the new item Crit-a-Cola, now even the really heavy classes have something to fear, since Mini-Crits, plus FaN, plus jumpy scout equals annoyance followed quickly by death.

Lastly, a weapon I'm more fond of but don't currently possess, since I crafted it a while back (more on that later). The Soldier's Direct Hit. Now here is a weapon with use casually and at the pro level. With increased rocket speed but reduced explosion radius, you must hit the enemies directly to be effective. Coupled with mini-crits to airborne enemies and also increased damage on a direct hit, even demomen or other soldiers have much to fear from a competent Direct Hit user. Originally, the DH had an even smaller explosion radius and air explosions were indifferent to how the enemy got into the air. Now, the enemy must be made airborne by some explosion to be mini-critted. Because of this, soldiers using the DH now cannot spam rockets in the hopes of kills. More skill isrequired.

It's getting late now, around 11:30, and my brain needs rest. Therefore, I'll continue this discussion of Update weapons tommorrow, perhaps with an errata of this post with more info about updates.

Good Night!


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