Covering (but not limited to) all of my thoughts on the PC gaming scene.
Published on June 24, 2008 By Phazon88 In PC Gaming

Just recently Valve unleashed their latest update to Team Fortress 2. Last time the focus was on the Medic class which while very valuable to the meta-game within Team Fortress 2, was underappreciated by players because of its simple nature and lack of combat options.

This time the focus is on the Pyro class. Until the release of this update, the Pyro had a number of fundamental flaws (both gameplay and bug related) that made the class more difficult to play than he really should be. The update however has made a valiant effort in correcting these issues.

The Pyro class itself got some signifcant changes. The damage fall-off for the flamethrower was removed (previously it went from a scale of 100% damage to 25% with the damage being higher the closer you were with the flamethrower). Now, a Pyro will do 100% damage no matter whereabouts you are caught within the flamethrower. This change makes sense and helps a Pyro finish off targets that should rightfully be dead because they were in his killzone in the first place.

The second main change to the class was an addition of a new ability to the stock flamethrower. This new ability comes in the form of an air-blast which uses 25 ammo each time. The air-blast can effectively reflect projectiles in another direction (with the Pyro having some control over that direction particularly with Soldier rockets). It also pushes players away. This helps give the Pyro some additional possible tactics (my favourite being pushing enemy players off control points).

The Pyro also got a collection of new weapons and achievements in this update as well. Valve has listened to player's feedback and the achievements are now much more plausible in terms of you performing their requirements in-game. There are still a few difficult ones in there (such as Lumberjack and Clearcutter, which require 3 and 6 axe kills in one life respectively) but for the most part they are achievable. The minimum amount of achievements was also reduced so you don't have to grind as hard before you are able to play with the new "toys". Valve just recently released an update that lowers the achievement requirements for the previous medic update also.

Onto the Pyro's new weapons. The first weapon you will unlock is the flare gun. This weapon replaces the shotgun (if the player chooses) and is quite an interesting weapon. It essentially fires a flare that does a small amount of damage to a target as well as setting them alight. It fires like a grenade launcher with alot more velocity (so therefore you have to compensate at range). Its an interesting weapon and is quite handy against snipers or engineers who tend to stay still alot but the reality of it is you will probably switch back to the more useful shotgun after the novelty wears off. Here's hoping Valve tweaks the flare gun so it presents some more uses to the player apart from harrassing targets at range.

The second weapon you will come across is known as the Backburner. This alternate version of the flamethrower gives the player 50 more health (which is quite valuable to any Pyro player who is always getting up close and personal to their targets). The Backburner also puts out critical hits if you burn a player from behind with it (hence the name). The downside of this weapon is that it lacks the new air-blast ability I mentioned above, and the area you must aim for to get critical hits isn't very large (you basically have to aim at the very middle of the back to get crits). Other than that this is a solid weapon.

The final weapon you will unlock is the Axtinguisher. This home-made axe covered in barbed wire performs critical hits against targets on fire. The downside is it does less damage against targets who aren't on fire. It lets you finish off those people who have been dominating you in-game in a nice fashion.

Overall this update has been quite solid for the Pyro class and while some people have labelled him as being overpowered I say its a false perception (as everyone is playing the class since the update just to get the unlocks). As the novelty of the new weapons wear off people will realise that the Pyro is now a balanced offensive class that can now hold his own against other classes in the situations that the Pyro should technically excel in (which is close-range combat).

Another important change to note that was a long time coming was the removal of the Soldier's 40% reduction of damage from his own rockets (unless he is rocket jumping). This really gets rid of some of the cheesy tactics with this class and I for one am happy to see this change.

on Jun 24, 2008
Their new air blowing ability is extremely useful. One thing is that now, when they are spychecking, if a demoman is trying to blow up a sentry they can just blow the mines/nades away easier than any other class.
on Jun 24, 2008
At the moment, we are experiencing overkill...too many pyros in a team. Hopefully things will settle down and with a more balanced team, the strategic options are limitless.
on Jun 24, 2008

The servers over here in Aus seemed to have "cooled down" here (tehehe). Last few games I've played have seen less Pyros (mind you, you'll be seeing him alot more than before the update from now on mainly because the class is actually playable now).

on Jun 24, 2008

Reduced Medic's unlockable requirements to match that of the Pyro's. Medic players now meeting the requirements will receive their unlockables shortly after joining a server

I like having 9 pyros on a team... makes the flare gun harder to use! Its so funny to kill other pyros with it.

I really hope they don't make an update for the Sniper next. There are always too many snipers or one that is killing everyone and everything. We don't need more snipers!!!
on Jun 24, 2008
I've heard the next class to be updated is...

The soldier.

Looking forward to it.
on Jun 24, 2008
I thought Sniper was next. Anyway, doesn't matter to me. I stopped playing when the did the Medic. I'm not a fan of achievement farming.

It doesn't help that my two favorite classes have been the first to be changed, but maybe I'll start playing again (instead of COD4) since not as many people will be Medics. With all those Pyros running around peopled definitely need medics.

I can't wait to see what they do with the Scout. More health would be great.
on Jun 24, 2008
i hErd on teh gr4pEv1ne dat teh SPY!!! is teh next

nothing like 2 teams full of spies
on Jun 24, 2008
That'll be fun to see.

I haven't tried out the pyro update yet, but it'll be nice since I liked playing as the pyro even before the update. Required less accuracy...
on Jun 24, 2008
That'll be fun to see.I haven't tried out the pyro update yet, but it'll be nice since I liked playing as the pyro even before the update. Required less accuracy...

I really enjoy jumping into a crowd of people and setting them on fire. That is always satisfying.

And they're pretty fast moving.
on Jun 24, 2008
All the damn fire really ruins my scope abilities when I try to snipe from afar... 4-5 pyros (from both sides) in a big cluster along with friendly and enemy players.. so much flames, hard to see anything.

on Jun 25, 2008

Well following Valve's current trends, they have updated one "offensive" class and one "support" class. I'd be willing to bet that the next update will be on one of the "defensive" classes so that would mean either Demoman, Heavy or Engineer.

I'd be willing to bet it will be either Heavy or Engineer (with Engineer being more likely since they are discussing things such as upgradable teleporters and such as of late).

on Jun 25, 2008
I never could get to grips with the pryo (prior to this update) - I'd use him, and find he would lose to say a soldier 1 on 1 at close range, while at medium to long range almost anything could kill him. Meanwhile the soldier I found was good both at short, medium and long range, meaning I clocked up loads of hours (and kills) with the soldier, and hardly any with the pyro.

So I'm glad to hear about the suppressed air blast for the pyro - it'll make life much tougher for me as a soldier, but at least if I go pyro I won't feel at quite such a huge disadvantage.
on Jun 25, 2008
It's official from steam forums. Next update is scout.

The 'formula' Valve is using is least played characters.

When they first did this, medic was least played.

Then pyro.

Now scout.

After this, obviously the spy will be last, so you can expect him to be updated.
on Jun 25, 2008
Thanks for the info.

Apparently my favorite classes are the least played (with the exception of Engineer, which people play, but I generally end up playing because they are a necessity in most maps).
on Jun 25, 2008
While I like the idea behind the Scout, I just can't get a handle for him. His speed works against my aim, at the moment. If I played as Scout more, I would eventually become more accustomed to using him.