Tag Archives: original

I’ve been making lots of videos lately :>

Serious announcement about Space, promoting ctf_facing_worlds_2011

6v6 is serious business, where I offclass Pyro in a mix and rek

TF2 Instagib, which is about TF2 instagib

And finally Moosetorpedo MGE Extravaganza, where I play Pyro MGE because i’m a tryhard

Enjoy! C:


Pyro Loadouts!

Right, time to write another post. It’s been a while and in honesty i’m only going to get more afk in the following months, but oh well.

This post intends to help you choose the perfect loadout for your Pyro, and should be updated any time a major change comes through. I’ve been playing Pyro pretty much exclusively for a few months now and i’ve tweaked my loadouts a number of times to try out different playstyles and to keep the class feeling fresh, and there really is a noticeable change when switching loadout; for example by changing your secondary, you can immediately see a difference in how passive your play becomes.

The most important thing here is that you need to define what role you’ll be performing as Pyro, and structure your loadout around that. A common mistake is to choose weapons based on their base traits – fine, but different weapons synergise better with some that they do with others. As an example, Flamethrower/Reserve Shooter is a combination which would possibly -not- synergise well, especially as with the RS you have only three seconds to deal minicrits.

As I touched on in my State of the Game: Pyro post, there are two main roles you can play with the class. The Defensive or Pocket Pyro will help defend an Engie nest or Medic/Offensive combo, reflecting spam and putting out ignited teammates. Of course, it would make sense for an Engie pocket to use the Homewrecker to destroy any sappers planted by spies, especially as their role is more passive and will be centered in one place. A Powerjack will be a poor weapon to choose – an Engie nest will no doubt have a Dispenser situated nearby, so the upside of the Powerjack (+75hp on melee kill) is irrelevant. For that matter, chances are that there will be few enemies within melee range of a level three sentry!

The Roaming Pyro is an infinitely more aggressive role – simply, it involves running around the map, setting up flanks and killing stuff. In a sense, it acts as the polar opposite to the Defensive Pyro – while the Defensive Pyro is passive, the Roaming Pyro has aggression, and as such weapons which work for Defense will have limited effectiveness for Offense and vice versa; the Powerjack in the hands of a Roaming Pyro may save his life if he is not close to a Medic, but a Homewrecker would have little use at all due to its crippled damage.

The best way to craft your loadout is to imagine what role you want to play. Are you intending to be an entirely self sufficient aggressive Roaming Pyro, at the cost of some damage output? Then maybe the Powerjack is for you. Are you a glass cannon; able to deal out massive damage very quickly, but may require healing? Take the Axtinguisher! Most importantly, test out your loadout in its desired role; if you’re running out of health a lot but you’re on a map with a lot of health packs, try out the Back Scratcher. Don’t be afraid to switch out weapons every so often – not only will you find out whether you use that weapon well, you can become more flexible in your play and adapt to situations a lot faster.

It’ll help a lot if you understand the mechanics of each weapon, and how they can synergise with other weapons. For the benefit of people who aren’t yet familiar with all of the weapons, i’ll list the benefits and disadvantages below, along with my recommendations.

Primary

Flamethower/Rainblower: Useful in Pyro vs Pyro fights when opponent is using Degreaser and Flare; additional damage means use of this weapon will help you m1 them to death. Using this weapon means being less reliant on your other weapons to finish enemies. Has ammo for 10 airblasts. Recommended!

Backburner: Flanking weapon designed so that the use of other weapons is not required. Crits when behind enemies. Has ammo for 4 airblasts; useful in a pinch, but don’t expect to rely on them.

Degreaser: Extremely versatile weapon which allows for more reliance on other weapons. Reduced effectiveness versus other Pyros. Has ammo for 10 airblasts. Recommended!

Phlogistinator: Useful when Mmph bar is filled, otherwise worthless. No airblast.

Secondary

Shotgun: Very versatile weapon; unlike the Flare gun, useful against both Pyros and non-Pyros, and has a large ammo capacity. Can deal huge damage, but is limited by its close range. Recommended!

Flare Gun: Gives the Pyro immense range, and crits on hit (90 dmg) with burning enemy. Passive reload means Flare Gun reloads while other weapons are drawn. Ignites players and does 30 damage, but has extremely limited use versus other Pyros. Recommended!

Detonator: Slight variant of Flare Gun; does 45 damage on hit with burning enemy, but can be manually detonated. Promotes more passive play and allows for slightly more manoeverability through Detonator jumps. Passive reload.

Reserve Shooter: Variant of Shotgun; Minicrits airbourne enemies in the three seconds after it is drawn, but has an ammo capacity of three, effectively trading potential aggression for burst damage.

Manmelter: Crits can be stored by extinguishing burning allies: projectile travels faster than flare gun but does not crit on burning enemies. Rewards passive play with aggression, useful if airblasts are a commodity and you are willing to perform two roles. Avoid because Flare Gun already crits on burning enemy hit.

Scorch Shot: At time of writing, effectively worthless. Flare gun crit already deals knockback, and reduced damage means this gun is not worth using. Avoid until buffed.

Melee

Fire Axe/Frying Pan/Conscientious Objector/Third Degree/Sharpened Volcano Fragment: Useless, as your flamethrower does more damage and at range. Avoid.

Axtinguisher/Postal Pummeler: Does huge amounts of damage versus burning enemies in exhange for limited effectiveness versus other Pyros; but then using melee versus other Pyros isn’t very smart anyway. Recommended!

Homewrecker/Maul : Passive weapon, irreplaceably useful for pocketing Engineers. Recommended!

Powerjack: Grants health on kill, useful for Roaming Pyros on maps with few health packs or no medics. Recommended!

Back Scratcher: Passively gives extra health from health packs, and a little extra damage to boot. Can be useful in some circumstances, but usually better to use the Powerjack or Axtinguisher.

Neon Annihilator: Damages sappers but takes two hits to destroy them, also crits on wet enemies (such as jarate’d or mad milk’d enemies) at the cost of 20% damage penalty, meaning a smaller crit. Not really worth using over the Homewrecker, unless you’re being pocketed by a Milk Scout, and even then doesn’t do that much damage.


An alternative Replay system: adapting PREC for public servers

This post is tailored towards people who mostly play on public servers.

With how buggy the replay system currently is, there’s always room for alternatives. Competitive players will already be familiar with the PREC plugin, which automatically records match demos (which are often required to be recorded by league rules).

Without further ado:
Download PREC here here here here (works as of 18/4/14), and save the files in /Steam/steamapps/accountname/team fortress 2/tf]
To adapt the PREC plugin for pub usage:

* Set prec_mode 3, prec_delete_useless_demo 1, and prec_min_streak to number of your choice, we’ll use 7 as an example. All this can be done from console.
* Bind prec_mark to a key you’ll remember (I have it bound to both ] and 0 on the keypad).
* Type prec_dir ‘demos’. Now all demos recorded will save in /Steam/steamapps/accountname/team fortress 2/tf/demos

A quick rundown;

* Prec_mode 3 tells the plugin to record every game you play.
* Prec_delete_useless_demo 1 deletes every demo you record without a killstreak or a bookmark.
* Prec_min_streak 7 sets the minimum killstreak needed to save the demo to 7
* Bind prec_mark “Your key here

The demo will contain the map, and the killstreaks.txt file generated by the plugin will tell you the time and ‘tick’ at which you can locate when you pressed mark. You can choose to record the output via fraps, or you can choose to export it as an .avi file using the recorddemo command.

If you don’t get any killstreaks in a life of 7, or if you don’t press your bookmark key, it’ll automatically delete the demo after the session. Marking the demo will save it from deletion, and give you a time in killstreaks.txt at which you marked. You can mark as many times as you like in a demo, for when you get multiple awesome moments or killstreaks.

Advantage of this system:

* Killfeed can be enabled/disabled
* HUD can be enabled/disabled
* Minimal chance of corruption of file
* Greater editing capabilities
* Automatically saves good killstreaks
* Works on servers without replays enabled

Disadvantages:

* Can require some basic knowledge of console commands. Recommended reading
* Somewhat user unfriendly UI
* May cause a framerate drop on some slower computers

With these settings, you should have no problem with corrupted replays and the like, or being on non replay servers. And you can even have the HUD and killfeed enabled if you so choose!

EDIT: Original PREC webpage has gone down. I’ve uploaded my version to Dropbox.


Australian Christmas weapons are not OP, so please shut up about them.

It seems that everytime I go on a pub, or log onto r/tf2, I get waves and waves of ‘SPYCICLE OP! PHLOG OP! NERFNERFNERF’ Well, no. They aren’t.

This post’ll be fairly short (or concise, if you like), because there’s only so long you can go on about pixels.

Spycicle

With ‘Dr. Enforcicle’ becoming more and more the average spy loadout, one wonders why it’s so popular. I mean, the Enforcer’s biggest downside is that you’re not using the Ambassador, a weapon while makes happy feeling blossom inside you as you plug your victims skull with your throbbing handcannon. It requires no skill to use and is a straight upgrade when partnered with the DR, but if you treat the spy like any other class and actually dodge instead of running straight at him, you’ll do fine. And yet the cries of OP IMBA resonate, but i’m not really here to talk about the Enboreser.

The spycicle gives one solution to the spies biggest question, which is ‘How do I get that pyro to not turn me into a smouldering carcass?’ So on contact with flames, your knife will melt (rendering it unusable); on the plus side, you’re immune to fire for two seconds. Also, when you backstab someone you leave a pretty little statue instead of a death cry. Nice. Three problems arise, however.

On the surface, you can perhaps see why this is OP; taking away the most common form of spychecking is sure to lead to disasters of balance. Except… No. What many, many new players don’t understand is that everything you can hear, EVERYONE ELSE can hear. And from my playtime as a pyro, the ‘TSCCHHH’ of the icicle is very, very distinguishable. From there, the spy is airblasted into a corner for a few seconds until he can be ignited; if he is using DR, continue airblasting until it runs out – then finish with a flare or axtinguisher to the face. You could say ‘IN THE HEAT OF BATTLE, YOU WOULDN’T NOTICE!1’ or maybe ‘HOW CAN YOU HEAR THAT?! HAX!’ My advice is simple; from now on, treat spies in the same way that you would treat a dead ringer’d spy; the uncloaking sound of the DR is very distinctive (unless of course they’re using saharan spy), so just get used to that melting noise.

On a more practical note, the second problem is the loss of your knife. There’ve been many times where i’ve been set on fire, and then either successfully killed/gotten away from the pyro through headshots or a trickstab or being a smartarse or whatever. These times I lived, and even got an awesome kill on that pyro which i can totally brag about later. Without your knife, and against an if only barely competant pyro, you have only your gun to defend yourself. Now don’t get me wrong, this is far from a death sentence, but i’ll be damned if my aim doesn’t suffer somewhat in high pressure situations like this. And this is only in encounters with a 1v1 pyro; there were a number of times where I was just about to make a key pick on a medic when TSSCH! Knife gone. I’ve lost a victim whose life was worth dying for; if I had used any other knife, I would have taken that medic. Perhaps died, but it wouldn’t have mattered; key picks will change the game.

Finally, the third problem not only affects you but also other spies on your team; those pretty statues, while sometimes put into hilarious postures, are basically a flashing reminder to your enemies to spycheck more; on top of that, to expect the spy to use a spycicle and deal with him accordingly (as described above). They’re paranoia generators, and as any good spy will tell you, paranoia is your biggest enemy.

Verdict: Not OP. The statues make it very obvious that there is a spycicle user around, losing a knife is flowbreaking and in some cases detrimental or dangerous, and it’s not even like it’s difficult to find spycicle spies. Stick to vanilla.

The Phlogistinator (Phlog)

Three massive downsides there to the new spy weapon. However, the second weapon gets even more shouts of unfair than the first; the Phlogistinator rewards doing what pyros do with crits and nigh-invulnerability for a short period of time, allowing for pyros to go on a lone wolf rampage.

The phlog acts like the backburner acted when it first came out; no airblasts, more damage. Actually, with how the bb is played now, it just works like a second backburner. W+M1 everywhere. Boom. Charred mess all over the floor.

This weapon is less about fundamental flaws than the spycicle, and more about approaching the situation in totally the wrong way. By removing airblasts from the weapon, you introduce a nice, big, exploitable weakness; spam. Spam down the phlog pyro, who will be totally and utterly helpless against the explosive barage. All the while, make sure you backpedal away so that you don’t get ignited.

The loss of airblast also promotes bad teamplay; without airblast, you cannot reflect rockets or demospam away from teammates, you cannot put teammates out and you can’t juggle the enemy. All of these are -essential- to the pyro; in 6v6 play, a pyro is brought out for the sole purpose of juggling ubercharged enemies into corners to defuse them.

The second part to the phlog is more of a problem; while post taunt, the phlog pyro does crits and also shrugs off 90% of all incoming damage while taunting. Common sense dictates here to -run-. Rocket jump, sticky jump, GRU, whatever. Once the pyros weapon has stopped glowing, resume pelting with projectiles. An alternative approach would be to have a spy backstab him – while in critmode, the phlog pyro suffers from tunnel vision, much in the same way that ubercharge might.

Verdict: Not OP. Keep him at a distance, fire him down if he’s not glowing and run if he is, and above all try not to be set on fire for the good of everyone, just to reduce the chance of crits.

The Pomson 6000

Okay, i’m sorry, i’m gonna have to change the title of this post; this weapon is overpowered. No, really. Even talking about this weapon makes me see red, so i’m keeping this brief:

  • Does not require ammo. This is fairly self explanatory; while the widowmaker could be considered to have unlimited ammo (which is a story for another time! :D), you have to at the very least be halfway decent at aiming, and put yourself in some sort of danger in order to earn that ammo. Not with the Pomson. Which leads me onto my next point:
  • Infinite range. Whereas the other engineer weapons are shotguns and act as such, this weapon can be fired from behind friendly lines, travel happily over huge distances, and hit some unsuspecting bastard in the distance. Coupled with not requiring ammo means spam on a level similar to demoman or soldier, which is -NOT- the point of the engineer. So you could hit that medic/soldier combo from across the map. Oh, and did I mention:
  • Projectile penetrates targets. So you could hit the soldier, have it pass through him and hit the medic behind him. Protecting your medic is integral to the game, and blocking projectiles using yourself as a human shield comes under protection. Thus the weapon is simultaneously promoting bad play, and punishing good play. As of [patch date], the Pomson no longer penetrates players. However, Valve in their infinite wisdom decided this could make Engies decide to not use it, so increased the damage so it now equals Shotgun at mid range damage. gg Valve. Oh, AND DID I MENTION:
  • On hit: Victim loses 10% medigun charge. This really makes my blood boil; suppose you’re almost at uber level, and your pocket is sustaining very heavy fire – you hold m2 and wait for that gloriou–oh wait, you’ve been hit by some idle pomson spam from miles away, and now both you and your pocket are doomed. What makes this part is that due to the nature of the spam all coming from one direction, you’ll never be hit by just one projectile. You’re gonna be hit by four, reducing what little uber advantage you might have had. This is game changing stuff, brought about by a support class with one weapon who put himself in absolutely no danger whatsoever.
  • Victim loses 20% cloak. Powerful in its own right against dead ringer spies due to the watches increased drain rate; one shot and you’ve effectively reduced what little cloak time you had to a few seconds.
  • Projectile cannot be reflected. This doesn’t even need explaining, it’s just kicking you while you’re down.

In conclusion, this weapon actively promoted bad teamplay (by holding back and not drawing fire), bad gameplay (by encouraging spam), entirely changing the point of engineer (the primary weapon is used to defend your buildings, not to go lone wolfing); simultaneously, it punishes good teamplay. There is literally one reason to use the vanilla shotgun over this weapon, and that’s a small damage increase – but the damage difference is only noticable if every single one of your pellets hits. It can be compared to why the Vita Saw is banned in most competitive leagues; it provides a very, very safe alternative – there’s no point in using the situational and risky ubersaw if you can use the vitasaw, which rewards you for doing nothing. In the same way, the Pomson is a very safe alternative to the vanilla shotgun, but instead of a health penalty you have ridiculously over the top power. Use it if you must, but understand that you have my undying hatred if you do.

Verdict: OMG NERF SO OP

Thanks to Aquason for correcting me on the phlog!


The Ambassador and You

If you read my post on spy loadouts, you’ll know that I consider the Ambassador (or Amby, as it is affectionately known) to be the revolver most worth using, when given the choice. Not only is the crit entirely worth the downsides (-15% damage penalty, 20% firing speeds), you can totally feel really smug and professional when you get that elusive pyro headshot from across the map. It’s like playing CSS all over again.

First off, the absolute basics. Amby will fire perfectly accurately on its first shot (as all bullet weapons will), and will score a crit on headshot, dealing 102hp worth of damage (assuming no vulnerabilities or resistances). This brings about a cooldown 0.95s long, in which time crits will not be performed (regardless of whether you get a headshot). The reload time is 1.16s long. A shot will range between 56 and 15, depending on how close you are to the target.

Noticing the tiny difference between cooldown and reload time gives a pretty obvious tip; upon firing, reload your weapon (or have it reload automatically, if you have the setting enabled). This will allow you to gauge whether your next shot will tear out the skull of your enemy, or whether it’ll just irk him a bit. However, many people find the reload animation to mess with aiming properly; in which case, a fantastic spy by the name of stabby stabby has graciously donated his scripts, including one which removes the ambassador’s viewmodel so it doesn’t get in the way.

Aiming. Of course, you need slightly better aim than your average spy to use this weapon. But then, the average spy will just use the enforcer anyway. You don’t want to be common, do you? Of course not! And they’ll have it coming to them when they’re unable to see enemy health, which is a nerf being tested in the beta at the time of writing. Haha!

Ahem.

A wonderful thing about TF2 is how every class is roughly the same height, although it’s not something you might immediately notice: this diagram explains further, visually. The great thing about this fact is that centering your crosshair on a friendly teammate and keeping it at about that level will give you a benchmark on which you can aim, assuming that the enemy is on the same level as you.

Alternatively, you can compare the head level of a player with various environmental features. This image shows that the head of the scout is roughly level with the red/white intersection on the wall of pl_badwater, or slightly above the ledge. Basically, you need to realise that you will not have the time to find a friendly to get your y axis aiming set up; if you have your gun out for whatever reason, your aim should default to head level.

Now let’s say you have you gun aimed at the perfect axis on which heads lie. You now have two options for aiming in the x axis: either move your mouse, or strafe. I find that strafing works better with closer enemies, whereas aiming with the mouse tends to be less precise, and ends with you aiming too far left and right. And then you die. Owch. On the other hand, if your enemy is a sniper far away, strafing is not sensitive enough; you will need to manually aim for these enemies.

Now, damage output. The damage penalty and slower firing speed means every shot you fire must count. However, also realise that not every shot you need to fire has to be a headshot, and indeed wasting time lining up to get red mist could cost you your life, when a single bodyshot would take them out. As a general rule, light classes on red health will require one or two bodyshots to finish off; this will take 0.7 seconds, and unless they were already aiming at you, they have no chance to retaliate. If you have time, then by all means go for the headshot, but be aware that the ambassador has a very meaty firing sound, which is distinctive to those familiar with the game. Alternatively, a headshot/bodyshot combo on a light class (e.g a razorback sniper) will be more than enough to take them out. Besides, if they use the razorback then they definitely won’t be expecting it. And they’ll deserve it.

There are three classes I avoid when my ambassador is out, and those are the Heavy, the Demoman and the Soldier. The Demoman’s sticky launcher will make short work of you (as will the Soldier’s Rocket Launcher), and has just enough health that he’ll survive a headshot/bodyshot combo, requiring an extra bodyshot. The Heavy has too much health and is too easily backstabbable to want to shoot; additionally, all of these classes are likely to have a medic nearby, which makes your job infinitely harder.

The Pyro is almost perfect to use the Ambassador on; he struggles with anything beyond close range, meaning the average w+m1 pyro can be backpedalled away from while you pop shots at him – two headshots, or a head and two bodies will finish him.

Of course, you could be the best shot in the world, but you need to know when to use your gun. The following are my suggested times to put away the knife and pull out the revolver:

* Behind friendly lines – there’s nobody to backstab, and your gun can still be used to rack up damage on people in the distance

* Down narrow corridors which leave little room for strafing (e.g the tunnel in pl_badwater)

* When being chased by a class which outmatches you in close combat (Pyro!)

* If using your knife would put you in too much danger (Sentry around the corner?)

To finish off, i’d like to show some love towards a map i have a great fondness for; tr_walkway is, in my opinion, the best aiming trainer besides actually going out and playing against real people in a pub or what have you. The sheer customisation allows all sorts; light class, medium class, airshots, backpedalling… On top of that, when you’ve had enough of the ambassador you can use it to train your trickstabs; there is a wonderful slope which just begs for stairstabs.

I’d also like to show some more love for stabby stabby, who I consider to be a human aimbot. I advise you watch his videos and read his annotations, where he will give additional tips.

Happy spying!

Thank you to Fripplebubby for the suggestion!

Thank you 2C3C for reminding me about the viewmodels!

Thank you j0lian for the height image!