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Are the Pyro's flamethrowers perfectly balanced?


Jacobmeister

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Pyro is a class I play sorta often (I main solly, most amount of hours after that would be spy and then pyro) and the Tough Break update really caused an uproar with some changes to the class. After a bit of thinking about it, I came up with this in-depth scientific weapon balance scale which definitely wasn't made in MS Paint:

 

hZsryDu.png

 

This is based around the idea that all the weapons are on a scale of "Damage" and "Utility" to represent the role while using them, with the stock weapon in the middle (hopefully). The recent changes to the Phlog and Degreaser didn't necessarily do much to affect their roles, but more or less made it clear what they do. Here's my theory:

 

  • The Phlogistinator lacks utility (no airblast) but can deal massive amounts of damage
  • The Degreaser lacks damage (66% afterburn penalty) but can airblast and can be used in conjunction with other weapons to increase their effectiveness
  • The stock flame thrower falls in between the two, offering consistent damage and is able to airblast more, but it's not too noticeable and is not as easy to use with other weapons.
  • The Backburner is one I'm still unsure on. It definitely does more damage at times but still offers a bit of utility, as you can still airblast with it. It seems to make the most sense to put it between the Phlog and stock, but eehh. It's kinda just there.

 

What do you guys think? Are there any other classes that can fit this scale nicely? Does this seem right? I'm interested in hearing other opinions on this.

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At the end of the day, pyros deal more, consistent dmg by walking towards a person, which makes the phlog really op. The degreaser's afterburn is so weak now too. Its bonuses don't really outweigh its lack of dmg

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There's no such thing as being "perfectly" balanced in a unique FPS game like TF2. IMO, when talking about how balanced Pyro is, it's not about how much damage he can deal, it's about how easily the damage is dealt (which is why W+M1 gets a lot of hate).

 

Anyway, looking at your graph, it's ok. The Backburner's position definitely makes sense since it's mostly used for damage, but has a bit of utility in it since it can still airblast. 

 

As for the scale's application for other classes, I don't know. I guess an Offense - Defense scale can be used for several classes like the Engineer, but I can't really come up with any other good scales at the moment. 

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After experimenting with the new flamethrowers, I can only say that pyro in general is slightly less viable, especially in higher level gameplay, than before, as pyro no longer have the option to flarepunch, making pyro 1 v 1s even more derpy.

Of course, the puff and flare combo is still usable, but the margin for error is much much smaller after the update. If you miss your flareshot, you are as good as dead. 

 

I also found out that pyro is less able to multitask, switching from defensive to offensive or vice versa.

 

To put the degreaser changes in a more understandable terms, the old switch speed was 0.67 seconds, the old degreaser had a overall switch speed of 0.2345 seconds.

After the update, the new global switch speed is 0.5 seconds, the new degreaser has a switch to speed of 0.2 seconds and a switch from speed of 0.325 seconds.

All in all, the switch speed actually got a buff and nerf at the same time. The 0.1 seconds slower switch speed may seem small on paper, but the effect is very noticeable

 

The stock flamethrower is much more viable in comparison now, I believe valve is trying to promote a more simple and passive play style onto pyro.

Then again. the phlog promote aggressive and mindless play style, which I do not understand.

 

Another big thing brought to the update is that extinguishing an ally with an airblast would grant the pyro 20 hp. This is good for promoting teamwork. However, this will also create problems when lighting enemies on fire. Combine this with the low afterburn of the degreaser and you just end up feeding the enemy pyro health. I would not be surprised that highlander pyros would switch to the stock after this update. 

 

answer to your question: No, the flamethrowers are definitely not balanced. It would need further reworking and tweaking.

 

I recommend using the default shotty or the reserve shooter with the degreaser to familiarize yourself with the new switch speeds. 

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The pyro class is very good at area denial. Specifically close quarters area denial. The problem people have with pyro is that they don't like that, they want pyro to be worthless, which I can't argue with. All the flamethrowers help the pyro deny incoming classes in some way, the phlog with crits, degreaser and stock with airblast and dmg. The main problem with pyro is that most of the community hates the class, because its no fun to play against.

 

Honestly, the phlog is a little op, given the opponents can't aim, or aren't aware of their surroundings.(Which, does, in fact, happen to be most of the player base) I think the degreaser is in a good spot right now, although its basically the same as it was before, but +25% airblast cost. and negligible afterburn. If you're using the degreaser, your dmg output should be from comboing.

 

Stock is probably better in competitive if you're going to be sticking with the combo or helping an engi, degreaser allows the pyro to play on flank.

 

Backburner is pretty gimmicky and pointless.

 

From a pub standpoint, phlog needs rebalancing and degreaser will probably get another nerf just because.

 

From a competitive standpoint, nothing really changed, and phlog is still kinda meh.

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Interesting...I like what you did here, but I think it simplifies it too much. The way I see it...

 

The Backburner is good for experienced players who want to wipe the map clean of less-skilled players--you have to be able to flank for it to be effective, which means 1) you're smart/experienced enough to flank and 2) they're dumb/inexperienced enough to let you. It's ineffective in the hands of an inexperienced player, though, and will get them killed even faster than stock. It's also ineffective in the absence of less-skilled opponents, because you can't ambush someone who watches their flanks.

Diagnosis: This weapon makes skill gaps between players more noticeable, and is the best choice for exploiting those gaps when they are significant. Otherwise a downgrade.

 

The Phlog is good for situations where no one is very skilled and/or there's so much chaos that the enemy team can lose track of a Pyro. It only takes one decent player to shut a Phlog down completely, though--a stickybomp demo, a soldier, even a sentry will shut Phlogs down hard. In a chaotic setting, it can appear very powerful, but don't be fooled--its weaknesses are magnified as well, perhaps even more than its strengths are.

Diagnosis: Players of any skill level can use this weapon to burn through hordes of unresisting enemies with great effectiveness. Coming in the next buff: a way to deal with the players who fight back!

 

The Degreaser is good for players who want to burn things, blow them into the air, shoot them with a shotgun, and whack a sapper off the dispenser in less than 2 seconds total. Since it got nerfed autobalanced new stats, it's no longer a 90% straight upgrade from the stock. Makes the Pyro better at combat in general, (specifically critical combo attacks) but slightly less able to defend his team (airblasting is a big part of support Pyro's role).

Diagnosis: You know you're addicted to that faster weapon switch speed, even if your afterburn is fap.5 dmg/sec now. And 30 ammo for airblast isn't THAT bad...

**Further note: The lack of significant afterburn damage, combined with enemy Pyros' ability to gain health from extinguishing teammates, makes it important to use the faster switch speed to successfully achieve kills, or else risk (slightly) helping the enemy team. This seems to be a slight penalty for players who *equip* the Degreaser for its upside, without *using* it properly. 

 

Stock has been re-balanced, not only to finally look like a viable option *side-eyes Degreaser*, but to arguably be the best choice for support Pyro. With the cheapest airblast, combined with +20 health when extinguishing a teammate, this weapon is the best choice for M2. It doesn't have any glaring weaknesses, either--you can airblast an opponent into the air and Reserve Shoot the crap out of them, if you so choose, and it deals great damage at close range even without any fancy airblasting or switching weapons. And it rewards extinguishing your teammates. I can't emphasize that enough. IT REWARDS TEAMWORK. (All flamers w/ airblast do, but with the cheapest airblast, Stock benefits most)

An interesting note: The Degreaser used to be seen as the flamer that you'd use if you were "skilled" (i.e. do anything besides M1) , because the insta-switch allowed you to do basically everything with all your weapons instantly. Now, it's (slightly) penalized when you do the "skilled" things with the Degreaser that involve airblast, with Stock now doing these things more effectively. Has Balance been achieved?

Diagnosis: Viable all-around, and the best option for support. Can't be used to effortlessly humiliate unskilled opponents like the Backburner and Phlog can, but is arguably the best weapon Pyro has ever had for the support role--and +20 health when extinguishing teammates decreases dependance on Medics/dispensers.

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I'd say so. Not much of a pyro player myself, but I don't see any problems with the way everything is right now. 

 

Phlog certainly isn't OP, it only works really well against idiots. Can be strong against good players as well when playing smart or with a medic, but that doesn't make it OP.

 

Overall valve did a pretty good job making it so there's more incentive to not just use degreaser.

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Well after seeing your diagram,

It really makes me think now Pyro is after the tough break update a diverse class while Defensive Pyros could use the degreaser and Offensive one of the Other 3 Options.

It really makes me think about just using stock Flamethrower since the update and giving the Degreaser another Chance.

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I was once burned by a degreaser Pyro.

 

The afterburn damage was like 1 per second. I was so dumbfounded that an enemy soldier crocket me.

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I'd say so. Not much of a pyro player myself, but I don't see any problems with the way everything is right now.

 

Phlog certainly isn't OP, it only works really well against idiots. Can be strong against good players as well when playing smart or with a medic, but that doesn't make it OP.

 

Overall valve did a pretty good job making it so there's more incentive to not just use degreaser.

I think it was a sloppy work for the phlog, just yo shut a bit the crying pyros' mouths.

While before it was a questionable but kinda balanced weapon (you trade the airblast and a bit of damage to periodically deal massive damage, a real pubstomper weapon), now it's the weapon of choice for many unexperienced players: Why come through the hassle of learning classes if you can deal massive kills with the new phlog? And you notice how people deal damage as the stock, then boom, he/she taunts, and you have to start running because he's temporary invulnerable, can look around in a blink of an eye in the process, and then fill the killfeed. All in the middle of a chaotic battlefield.

Before the tough break update pyros with phlog required to find a safe spot to taunt, now they can do it anywhere without any fear.

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