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Weapons Before the Nerf
Many of the weapons of Team Fortress 2 (TF2) are continually being changed for the purposes of game balance; sometimes these changes are buffs, and other times they are nerfs. Team Fortress 2 has had so many weapons added to it over the years, and so many buffs and nerfs of those weapons, that nowadays it is incredibly difficult for anyone to even keep track of everything.
As I have been playing TF2 since May 2009, I have seen a great number of changes to the game's weapons. In particular, I remember a few weapons which, before they were nerfed, had pretty outrageous sets of abilities, so much so that people starting using them in rather interesting, unexpected, and even humorous ways. Of course, because I haven't played TF2 every day since May 2009—in fact, I have taken breaks from the game for longer than I have played it—I certainly am not aware of every single interesting pre-nerfed state of every weapon; what I have listed below are only those ones that I can personally remember. I hope it will still be of some interest to you.
- The Soldier's Equalizer and Escape Plan were originally a single weapon, which was called the
Equalizer but which used the Escape Plan's game model. This original Equalizer gave both the speed boost of the current Escape Plan and damage boost of the current Equalizer as the Soldier's health decreased, while also not giving the Marked-For-Death penalty of the current Escape Plan. Thus, when they were at low health, Soldiers could move almost as fast as Scouts while using a melee weapon that could deal a lot more damage than the stock Shovel. I recall seeing Soldiers on my team damaging themselves with their primary weapon until they were at low health, then pulling out the original Equalizer, quickly moving behind enemy lines, and catching members of the enemy team by surprise; sometimes they wouldn't even use their primary or secondary weapons to attack, but stuck instead with the Equalizer, since it did so much more melee damage at low health.
- The Heavy's Tomislav originally had a very fast spin-up time: if you look at the update history for this weapon, you can see that it was added to the game on 23 June 2011, and just five days later, on 28 June 2011, the spin-up reduction was changed from 75% to 40%—meaning that, in those first five days of the weapon's existence, its spin-up time was only a quarter of that of the stock Minigun's. I can remember using the Tomislav during those first five days, and this reduction was very noticeable; it pretty much felt like the gun didn't have a spin-up time at all! Apparently, Valve thought it necessary that the Heavy's primary weapon should always have some non-negligible spin-up time, so after only five days they nerfed it by changing the spin-up reduction to only 40%; a year later, they nerfed it to a mere 10%. Three years later, however, they increased it from 10% to 20%, which is what it was when I was writing this page.
- The Heavy's Sandvich, at one point, could be dropped (via alt-fire) by the owning Heavy and then immediately picked up by him, which would then instantly health 50% of his health (if he had less than 300 health); this is different to how it works now (when this page was written, at least), where the Heavy who picks up his own dropped Sandvich only refills his Sandvich meter, rather than healing any of his own health. I suppose that Valve didn't like it that Heavies who used the Sandvich as their secondary weapon could, in effect, instantly spawn the equivalent of a medium health kit for themselves. It was quite a useful trick in a pinch, as it was safer than leaving yourself vulnerable for those few seconds in order to eat the Sandvich, even if it did, in many cases, heal you less.
- The Heavy's Fists of Steel originally gave a 60% damage reduction from ranged sources instead of the current 40%. Back when it was a 60% ranged damage reduction, apparently that was enough for Heavies to be able to run straight into enemy Sentry nests alone with the Fists of Steel equipped, and actually punch level 3 Sentries to death before the Sentries could kill them. This was not an uncommon sight for me back then, and it was always funny to observe.
- The Spy's Dead Ringer is a relatively complex weapon that has been nerfed many times over the years. For a while, though, it had a 90% damage reduction for the initial activating hit as well as for the remainder of the cloak, could have its cloak meter refilled by ammo boxes, and had a very high 80% increase in the cloak regeneration rate as compared to the stock Invisibility Watch. These effects together made it very easy for Spies to survive very large amounts of damage, and then to quickly refill their cloak meter in order to repeat the whole process over again. Back then, it was extraordinarily difficult to really kill a Spy who knew how to use the Dead Ringer well: after they triggered the feign death, the 90% damage reduction made it very easy for them to survive any additional damage they took while cloaked, and they might have run away to refill their health and cloak meter, or they might have gone behind enemy lines, decloaked, and started backstabbing. By the time an enemy started attacking them, their cloak meter was quite likely full again, allowing them to pull out the Dead Ringer and repeat the process over again. A Spy who really knew how to use this weapon effectively could easily manage to feign death many times in quick succession, and we never knew with confidence if he was really dead. Additionally, during this time I remember seeing a few Spies using the Dead Ringer who didn't even try to backstab; instead, they just charged straight into battle with their primary weapon, and pulled out the Dead Ringer when their health got low, upon which they would feign death, run away without much trouble while cloaked, heal themselves, and then jump right back into the fight with their primary.
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This page last modified on 3 May 2021.