Been a while since I wrote anything here…maybe that’s a good thing.

Anyway, if you play TF2 and don’t live under a rock then you probably know that the next big update hits on Thursday. The twist this time is that it’s a double update – both the Sniper and the Spy are getting new items and achievements. Since I’ve started playing Sniper recently (rather terribly I might add) and occasionally dabble in playing Spy this is good news for me.

On a related note, go watch Meet the Spy. It’s funny.

They’ve revealed two Sniper and three Spy weapons so far, as well as a new game mode, so here are some thoughts.

The Huntsman

A bow and arrow – I was hoping for something like a crossbow (the bow from Half-Life and Half-Life 2 is probably my third favourite weapon after the magnum and the shotgun) but this’ll do. It has a faster recharge time between shots and still crits on headshots, and will apparently pin people to walls if you kill them with it. No real complaints…it seems to fill the niche of people who want to headshot without having to scope (with the drawback that you need to be a lot closer to your target).

The Razorback

And here we have the other side of the coin. I find it hard to believe that any decent Sniper will ever equip this. For one, the best Snipers hardly ever stand still – they go for quickscope shots, and the move around a lot so that the enemy doesn’t know where they are. On top of that if Spies know that a Sniper can’t be backstabbed they’ll just whip out their revolver. 3 shots = dead Sniper.

The Dead Ringer

I think the fact that this triggers when the Spy receives a non-lethal hit will limit its usefulness. It seems to me that the ability to trigger the ability on demand like in Fortress Forever might make it more useful. I can only see this being a crutch for crappy Spies who get found out and don’t know how to use the revolver in conjunction with their cloak to escape.

The Cloak and Dagger

This, I’m a bit more enthusiastic about, as it allows Spies to lurk pretty much anywhere undetected without being seen, at the cost of not being able to refill their cloak with metal boxes. I imagine it might even let the Spy lurk behind enemy lines for extended periods, allowing him to let his team know about enemy movements. Not too many points in that, but it’s a team game, isn’t it?

The Ambassador

I had to do a double-take when I saw the name of this weapon, since given my background this is what comes to mind when I think ‘ambassador.’ That said, I’m not sure what they mean by ‘the accuracy of a sniper rifle.’ The regular revolver is already one of the most accurate weapons in the game; do they mean that this new gun will be able to headshot people? If that’s the case I can see this being a compelling upgrade.

Payload Race

I’m not too happy about this mode – Payload is a slow chokepoint-infested grindfest as it is, and all this is going to do is multiply that by two. On top of that, two Arena maps? Does anyone really play Arena? I mean, I do from time to time but the fact that you have only one life per round makes the existence of crits in this mode quite inexcusable.

In summary, the upcoming update looks like it’ll be about equal parts ‘awesome’ and ‘failure.’ Which, I have to admit, is a step up from the Scout update…

They have yet to show off the last Sniper and Spy unlocks, as well as that nonsense about personalized items…I guess we’ll hear about those tomorrow and Thursday. And let’s not forget that Valve likes sneaking other unrelated changes into their class update packs – we might see some other potentially interesting changes.

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