Rumours Of Fire Hose Denied: Pyro’s A Lady

By John Walker on June 20th, 2008 at 10:30 am.

Ladies and their fire.

It’s always important to note when you’re right. If you’ve read our Pyro coverage carefully, you’ll notice that we, along with the rest of the internet, believed that Team Fortress 2’s Pyro is a girl. And she is. It’s almost confirmed.

Robin Walker had a chat with CS-Nation, in which he said,

“We’ve never been terribly happy with the Pyro, in particular with her shallower skill curve than other combat classes. We really want highly skilled Pyros to be visibly more effective than the average Pyro, and the new features are designed to address that.”

There's a lot of fire on those servers just now.

Handsome reader Rich Powers tipped us off to this, and threw in this other quote from the interview:

“We’ve been playtesting an upgradeable teleporter, where the level affects the recharge time. It’s working out well, so it’s likely that you’ll see something like it in the Engineer pack.”

Everyone looks good in orange.

Which would seem a pretty strong indication that the Engineer will be next for an upgrade.

In other Pyro news, the update went live yesterday, resulting in THE NIGHT OF THE THOUSAND PYROS. Photographic evidence from the frontline:
Pyromania, etc

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86 Comments »

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  1. Alex says:

    Not necessarily. It just says that they’re going to update the Engineer at some point. Which we already knew.

    And I’m quite interested by the answer to the question about the female versions of the classes. I always figured it was just to preserve the ease of use of the class recognition system, since presumably the female characters would have different silhouettes. (Imagine a female Heavy with the same shape.)

  2. ImperialCreed says:

    Fantabulous. Now if they’d just hurry up and get to work on Tom Francis’ mobile Sentry idea.

  3. Frymaster says:

    CS-Nation: (From: Thortok2000) Is there a new gameplay mode in the works now that the Payload game type has come out?

    Walker: Yes.

    … I’d figured that civilian in the sniper video was just a shout-out to long-time fans, but maybe there is more to it after all…

  4. Steven Hutton says:

    (Imagine a female Heavy with the same shape.)

    I assume she’d just be heavily pregnant. WHICH IS IN PERFECT TASTE!

  5. Jay says:

    /cares

    EDIT: Alternatively, I’m just annoyed as Chinese servers apparently loath punctuality when it comes to updating servers

  6. Flubb says:

    @Steve

    I was desperately trying to avoid going there but I’m glad you did it for me :D

  7. MacBeth says:

    I don’t think it would be beyond Mr. Walker to add a little fuel to the fire (pun intended) of speculation with a ‘slip’ like that. Like he doesn’t know that people would latch upon it…

    The fact they say they wanted to do female models for everything but DIDN’T rather implies that all the models we use are male. They can ‘retcon’ it such that the Pyro was ‘female all along’ but frankly it makes no difference… still love playing as one.

  8. Seniath says:

    /me waits patiently for the Pyro-update hoohar to die down so he can get pack to setting people on fire in peace. And in the game.

  9. derFeef says:

    “We really want highly skilled Pyros to be visibly more effective than the average Pyro, and the new features are designed to address that.”

    They shot their own foot. The Pyro(ine) is now more accessible to all players. Even tho I love the update.

  10. Stick says:

    It’s been noted that there are code variables for all classes saying ClassGender=”Male”. Which, I guess, could be seen as “implied future female option”.

    @Seniath: Agreed. Both Medic and Pyro upgrades kinda broke the game for me, with no-one minding the most basic TF2 skill. (Picking The Right Damn Class For The Situation.) I love Pyro. But right now, there’s nothing to ignite. :)

  11. Theory says:

    It’s surprisingly hard to get a lot of players in one shot. I only managed six all evening, and they’re bloody miles away!

    They shot their own foot. The Pyro(ine) is now more accessible to all players.

    Eh? So what?

    It’s been noted that there are code variables for all classes saying ClassGender=”Male”. Which, I guess, could be seen as “implied future female option”.

    That’s something to do with the sound system. It was used for citizen speech in HL2 and for the two teams in DODS (Axis are all marked ‘female’, the pansies).

  12. Rosti says:

    Admittedly the sheer number of Pyros makes certain achievements complicated (what with them not ‘igniting’), but it’s a lot of fun, as is the new alt-fire. Try neutralising turrets with it whilst a buddy finishes it off.
    Makes the wait to future updates a little more agonising – who isn’t looking forward to mass espionage and burning Spies, anyway?

    It does ‘ruin’ the game on public servers for a while, I suppose, but the change of pace is welcome.

  13. Mickiscoole says:

    I’m fairly sure he said that just to create an uproar on the internets.

  14. Seniath says:

    @ CrashT: I seem to remember another, slightly more….subtle piece of fanart along those lines.

    Edit: Ahhh yes, here it is, was linked in the comments on that Kotaku post: http://img112.imageshack.us/img112/1909/teamfortress2zh9.jpg

  15. Pyro says:

    the pyro is not a woman, HE IS A SPY.

    Seriously though, “her” was maybe referred to “class”. The pyro is a man, and we are not gays for playing as HIM.

  16. Seniath says:

    Playing a character of the opposite sex make us gay? I’m sure many RPG/MMO players would beg to differ.

  17. sigma83 says:

    ‘I seem to remember another, slightly more….subtle piece of fanart along those lines.’

    If by ‘more subtle’ you meant ‘more anime’ :P

  18. aldo says:


    Pyro
    the pyro is not a woman, HE IS A SPY.

    Seriously though, “her” was maybe referred to “class”. The pyro is a man, and we are not gays for playing as HIM.

    Ah, so you’re in denial, like de Jesus in the big Lebowski

  19. Kast says:

    It would make a pleasant change to see a female TF2 line-up with more normal looking (by which I mean not all super-models) and visually varied characters. The one highlighted by Kotaku in particular suffers from an over-abundance of cleavage on ALL of them and the silhouettes are mostly very similar.

    In other news: what’s it really matter? The internet knitting circle seems to have jumped upon this issue and shaken it to pieces. Finding out the pyro’s gender wouldn’t change it’s characterisation, merely some people’s perception of him/her and (in extreme cases like commenter ‘Pyro’ implied) themselves.

    A server 90% full of pyros is an anarchic thing indeed and seemed pretty hilarious for a while. Being a sniper has never been so productive. Still I’m looking forward to the pyro-love dying down a little. Variety is the spice of life and it makes it so much easier to get many of those achievements :P

  20. DraconianOne says:

    I tried Spy last night for probably the second time – that was easy too because nobody questioned it when I disguised as a pyro. Can’t normally play it as a class but it was backstabalicious last night.

  21. Anonymous says:

    It’s so typical of the modern game industry that they haven’t bothered to release the female models that they’ve supposedly created. Why aren’t more people angry about this? I, personally, refuse to play any game that fails to feature characters who I can knock one out over.

  22. Doug F says:

    “Robin Walker had a chat with CS-Nation, in which he said,”

    Ironically, I had always assumed Robin was a woman. Kim Swift is female, right?

  23. Skalpadda says:

    Hmm, I usually play as female in any 3rd person game. Staring at man-buttocks for hours on end isn’t my idea of fun, and if that makes me gay, I can live with that.

    I’d love being a female medic in TF2, though I admit running around hacking up female chars with a bonesaw would feel a bit uncomfortable to me.. oh well.

  24. CrashT says:

    I remember somebody I was talking to was sure Kelly Bailey (Valve’s Audio guy) was a woman.

  25. Nick says:

    I’m actually really annoyed that, in my 35+ hours of pyro playing absolutely 0 of the stats were tracked (not even small ones taken from the most buildings destroyed by pyro) into the new achievements. When I know for a fact I have already done 90% of them several times over =/

  26. Nick says:

    Also – he probably said her just to get this sort of response. That and it’s common in, for example, a lot of RPG rule books to refer to all characters as her in the examples rather than him.

    I maintain it doesn’t sound female or look female, not that I have a problem playing a female – I loved Oni for example (hmm, must instal Oni again).

  27. Chemix says:

    As towards absence or over abundance of cleavage on TF2’s proposed female character roster. Have you taken a look at the male side, most of ridiculously muscular, which one could see as unrealistic from that side of the equation. In the end I do like variation, but the Spy, the Medic, and the Scout all need to look sporty, in other words, hot, and I leave out the pyro, as it has it’s own heat source and needs no help from large(r) breasts. That said, it’s not usual to see women with breasts of C or larger Cup that are natural. It’s common, even in highschool; so just because your wee little ones don’t stand up to the height of some others, doesn’t mean that they are the norm. Breast size is naturally going up as the years go on. Now, the Anime or Hentai breast sizes… yes, they are by far, ridiculously extreme in some cases.

    In essence:
    -I expect a big burly muscle woman for the heavy, that looks sort of monstrous, like the heavy.
    -For the engi I expect something more grungy and home grown
    -For the scout I expect the girls baseball skirt made famous in Japan, and a Brooklyn Bitch attitude, preferably with chewing gum
    -The Medic to be more along the lines of a Nurse, and a Hellloooooo Nurse at that, with various sharp objects to make ones mind stray to their pointy tips, rather than her chest
    -The Demogirl, to be black and scottish (or Irish, or Brittish) and generally not too shabby, but much to the same extent as the demoman, getting the job done.
    -The soldier to be a stout, uptight looking, nigh on faceless, minorly endowed, female version of the male soldier, with a simialr personality to boot
    -the spy to wear something akin to the deviant artist representation, one would only hope
    -the sniper to a similar extent, bare stomach section optional and probably not.

    Chances of any of this coming to pass
    0.000000000000000000000003%

  28. Y3k-Bug says:

    @MacBeth

    Are you the mapper of Frontline Force fame?

  29. phuzz says:

    Wasn’t assumed that the pyro was a woman before, as she’s got a handbag hanging up in her locker, next to the gas mask or some such?
    (aka lazyweb, prove me right because I can’t be bothered to look)

  30. Forceflow says:

    Remember kids,

    If you’re playing Pyro, you’re supporting international FEMINISM.

  31. Mr Peckerston says:

    @ImperialCreed

    There’s already a portable sentry, it’s called a Heavy.

  32. MacBeth says:

    @Y3k-Bug

    Nope, entirely different… only started mapping recently, in TF2 – had a little go in TFC days but didn’t get very far.

    However I do reckon I will be a mapper of great fame just as soon as I get the damn maps finished…

  33. CrashT says:

    Consider how normal female characters in Valve games tend to look, I’d imagine the female versions of the classes would be just as varied as their male counterparts. Something like Chemix’s suggestions wouldn’t be too unlikely. I can imagine the female Heavy as a “Russian shot-putter” fairly easily.

    Doesn’t the apparent existence of female characters imply that somewhere there’s a male Pyro?

    How about Flame Turrets for Engineers? Or Turrets with only the basic weapon but that can be upgraded with Radar to detect Spies?

  34. cyrenic says:

    Had a great time last night playing as heavy. I killed a lot of pyros :D. I didn’t get to see the push back ability used effectively but a few times, but I think its strength is in stopping uber charges. Pushing a heavy out of place to where he doesn’t have a good firing angle is just as useful as blowing the medic away trying to disconnect the uber.

    I didn’t even try out the new pyro, but I just found out the pushback shot takes ammo, which is a very smart balancing move. Kudos to the brilliant TF2 balance team.

  35. MacBeth says:

    It takes quite a lot of ammo – 25 from the 200 available to the flamethrower, so you only get 8 max (and that with no flames)

    Gives you a nasty shock when a crit rocket suddenly comes back at your face though!

  36. Matt says:

    But the pyro makes a distinctly male scream when dying or being hurt.

  37. PaulMorel says:

    If the pyro is a female, then it has to be Dr. Girlfriend (from The Venture Brothers), because in her emotes, the Pyro has a distinctly male voice. It’s obvious.

  38. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    The pyro is genderless.

  39. Jive says:

    I’m pretty fucked off about the Pyro achievements as well, having probably achieved most of them already through 30+ hours of Pyro fun.

    However, my blinding love for all things TF2 makes it easy to look past this.

    Here’s to another 30 hours playing Pyro!

  40. Dave says:

    There’s definitely an art to the compressed air blast. There doesn’t seem to be much advantage in using it just to keep another pyro off of you, since you’re just turning off your fire for a short amount of time.

    Blowing the stickies off a sentry, knocking people off the second CP bridge in Dustbowl or into the water in 2fort, pushing people into (or juggling people in front of) a sentry, knocking enemies off your sniper deck… all kinds of fun uses.

    I still can’t wait to unlock the Backburner though, to see how it compares. But I’m doing it all legit, not using an achievement server.

  41. Forceflow says:

    I don’t see the fun in going to one of these achievement servers … it’s a lot more satisfaction when you get them in actual gameplay.

  42. runningwthszzors says:

    Reckons of Samus all over again. Though honestly, Pyro doesn’t look like she’ll be a sexualized blonde in a jumpsuit that some people seem to be hoping for. Maybe more of a burnt out tough girl instead.

  43. Kast says:

    Like some kind of sour-faced, Nevada truck driver.

    ‘Burnt out’. Nice.

  44. Y3k-Bug says:

    Dave just nailed it bang on. They properly balanced the air blast so that there’s a short delay right after deploying one before you can activate your flames. This makes using the air blast randomly against an enemy completely worthless. It is GREAT for keeping scouts/medics in exactly the place you want them however. Also, there is definitely an art to reflecting rockets. But what beautiful art it is.

  45. Matt Greenwood says:

    A few times last night I just sat in a corner and watched half a dozen pyros (sometimes more) go at each other. It was laggy chaos, and full of win.

    It got frustrating sometimes watching all pyros all the time, though, and I can’t wait for the rush to be over. These achievement updates make one appreciate balanced teams!

  46. James T says:

    I really haven’t been fond of the ‘ladies of TF2′ seen around the place so far, so I’m doin’ it myself. First up, the Heavy. I’ve got a great idea for the Pyro…

  47. RichPowers says:

    The Backburner, in my experience, is grossly overpowered. I’ll gladly forgo the air blast to receive a crit machine that gives +50 health. If anything, the Backburner should take away 50 health, as to encourage players to genuinely sneak up on people. TF2’s definition of “back” is sketchy at best.

    Oh ya, the Backburner also detracts from the Spy’s role of “guy who sneaks up from behind and chain-kills multiple dudes before you can say ‘wtf!'”

    The air blast, though, is truly enjoyable. During stage one on “Gold Rush,” I sat at the bottom of the ledge outside of BLU’s spawn and blasted people into the air as they jumped over. Our sentry guns then pinned them against the ceiling with chaingun fire until they died. It was awesome seeing 5 guys in a row get wasted in midair like that.

  48. Erlam says:

    I was kind of unimpressed with the Pyro update. Well, and the medic one too. I think the kritskreig pretty much epitomises everything that is wrong with TF2, and the heal-you-while-you-damage-people needler wasn’t required, at all. If you’re a pyro with a flare gun and a flamethrower, a medic can kill you 1v1 with just the needler. Which is wrong. Very, very wrong.

    I did like the air blast feature. I think it’s going to be used in many hilarious, creative, and effective ways. Especially against goddamn crit rockets.

    Must say, I wish the Flare Gun was better though. My most played class is Pyro, but with the update, I decided to actually help my team win, as opposed to being one of 11 out of 12 pyros on my team. In several games, my best friend and I were the only non pyros on the team. So I was sniper several times – and let me tell you, that flare gun is useless against snipers. It’d hit me (I didn’t bother dodging it), I’d headshot the pyro, walk over a heal kit, and go back to killing. And one of the only ways Pyros can actually kill anyone is to use a shotgun, because it does quick damage at (medium-short) range. The Flare Gun isn’t a good fix for that, and really doesn’t add anything the pyro needed.

    I can’t wait for the achievement whores to die off so I can actually play my class in peace.

  49. Batolemaeus says:

    Oh great…now you can’t play public for days