So as I’m sure any TF2 players among you will know, Valve released a new TF2 patch a few days ago which, amongst other things, buffed the Reserve Shooter to now have four shots per clip and an extended mini-crit time of 5 seconds. I’ve personally always liked the Reserve Shooter but never really been able to make it worth it as Soldier, so I’ve been giving it a go with the new and improved stats. I won’t look at Pyro with it (in this post, at least) since that’s a whole other kettle of fish :)
First off, the increased clip size is a major step forward for me. My main reservation before was the limit on shots before you had to reload, so while it doesn’t match the six shots offered by the stock Shotgun it’s still a bit more reliable now. The increased crit time is good, since us Soldiers don’t have a primary like the Degreaser, and makes it a bit easier to actually make use of the minicrit bonus. It’s a pretty good way to deal with Scouts, especially those erratic ones who make it harder to land an airshot, and the increased chance of being able to bounce someone up with a rocket and then minicrit shotgun them is good for if you know you won’t have time to reload your launcher and need to conserve ammo.
However, personally I’m still struggling a bit. It’s probably my playstyle as much as anything – a good 90% of the time I’ll be running one of the banners – but I still find the stock Shotgun to be much more reliable and versatile. I think a large part of this is the Pyro, since the Reserve Shooter’s mini-crits won’t help at all if s/he’s good enough to reflect each rocket you try to bounce them with. But at the end of the day my ‘go-to’ TF2 loadouts for any class tend towards ‘what can help me most, if not all, of the time’ and the Reserve Shooter can tend to be a bit more situational than the stock Shotgun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun gun and I do really like it – I’ll just still lean towards the stock Shotgun.
As always when I talk TF2, I’ve tried to make an accompanying video. This time, however, it didn’t really go so well – probably because, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m so used to my banners that I subconciously rely on my Rocket Launcer to do all the damage required. Another part (as previously discussed) is that, even when I was conciously forcing myself to remember that I actually had a Shotgun (for once!), the switch speed still limits the situations that you can really use the mini-crit feature to its full potential. Still, here it is, and I think it does show some of the strengths and weaknesses of the new Reserve Shooter.
Let me know what you think of the balance changes this update – my favourite is the minor Quick-Fix buff, so I don’t get left behind any more when a Demo charges off with his shield!