Game Balance : Proper Trade-Offs

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L2: Junior Member
Sep 27, 2015
At the risk of sounding pretentious, I will attempt to explain the theory behind weapon side-grades, and why certain weapons are unbalanced.

TF2 tries to ensure the game is fair by making all weapons equal in strength, so new players aren't put at a disadvantage. This also gives the game more variety. They do this with stat trade-offs, meaning a weapon will have a strength, but it will be given an equal weakness. For example the Tomislav is stronger at long range, but is weaker at damage. The Brass Beast has stronger damage, but less mobility. You probably know this already.

The one thing that will instantly make a weapon unbalanced, is if its strength is the same as its weakness, like a weapon that has stronger damage, but has weaker damage. I call this an improper trade-off. You may be thinking, that sounds absurd, no weapon is like that! Yet you'd be surprized.

A perfect sample of an improper trade-off is the Crit Cola. The downside is you do less damage because you don't have a pistol, the upside is that when you drink it you do more damage. The upside of doing more damage is also negated by the fact that you receieve more damage, so the crit a cola puts you at a disadvantage 100% of the time. Here I will list off a bunch of other weapons with improper trade offs ; Tribalman's Shiv, Axtinguisher, Cleaner's Carbine, Candy Cane, Sun on a Stick, Fan o War, Sharpened Volcano Fragment, Bazaar Bargain, Enforcer, (Pre Buff) Boy's Pocket Pistol . Now think, how many of the weapons I listed are balanced and viable? Not Much.

In my view, the best way to balance weapons, would be fixing the weapons with improper trade offs. Give them new unique stats to ensure that what they are trading off is not what they are getting back. I just wanted to explain this, because I could have just said I want this list of weapons to be rebalanced, but that's too vague. I thought it would be better to inform WHY these weapons need change. It might also help people construct new weapon ideas, because stat ideas like "+20% faster firing speed, -20% damage" sound useful and balanced, but in practice would be near worthless.