TF2 Medic Unlock Scrapped?

This will hurt you more than it hurts me

Remember that Team Fortress 2 Medic Overhealer unlockable we were all waiting for? The one that let the good Doktor double his buddies’ maximum health, at the expense of uber-charges? Oh, how I dreamed of a Heavy resistant to a Sniper’s headshot.

It is not to be, at least if this post on the Steam forums is true.

No details on the Pyro’s unlockable weapons yet, sorry. We’re still focusing on the Medic, and the underlying system. Your fire axe will be happy to hear that the Overhealer didn’t work out as well as we wanted it to, and won’t be making an appearance.

So, apparently, says TF2 co-overlord Robin Walker, though there’s no official statement yet. It’s all too easy to imagine that Heavies and Soldiers rushing around with double-health presented an unstoppable force, but I do feel a little pang at having to remain Sniper bait.

Presumably a different unlock is planned. Care to speculate upon what it could be? I bet you do.


  1. Jay says:

    I never saw the point of adding all this new stuff into TF2. Seriously, the game was ALREADY fun. Why risk all that by introducing an entirely new concept into it?

  2. Meat Circus says:


    Unlockables are a stupid idea in a team shooter that’s all about balance. Make them available to all people immediately, or don’t bother.

  3. Mr Pink says:

    I agree with Meat Circus. I don’t want these unlockables. Cosmetic customisations are fine, but why risk unbalancing such a well balanced game?

  4. Crispy says:

    I’ll speculate on why it isn’t going ahead:

    Unlockable 2 x health boost. I think that’s going too far. It should be +100HP capped imo. Think about how hard it’s going to be to kill a 200% HP class (think about the lighter classes, too, e.g. the Pyro). Plus this means the medic can keep everyone on a team topped up at 200% instead of having to choose who to uber, which could actually mean less people feeling the need to go Medic if one person is doing a good enough job at it.

    I’m just trying to picture how much more lethal a Medic-Soldier combination is going to be now. Good Scouts with a medic double-healthing them might never die.

    I know I’m always skeptical, but 200% health seems a bit overpowered for a lot of classes.

    They’ll probably make it so the overheal targets cannot be healed by the medigun until they die.

    That wouldn’t be a bad compromise at all. If it’s like that then it would probably be fairly balanced with uber, but it still brings up the question of what happens if two overcharge medics are on the same team – one healing the medic healing the Soldier in front, so you have a 200% Medic and Soldier to contend with.

  5. sigma83 says:

    Well they clearly didn’t feel they could make it workable, hence the scrappage.

    I’m against the idea of unlockables too, but I feel that loadout options available to advanced players who know what they want would be okay. In response to the don’t fix what ain’t broke, well, it is their game, they can do whatever they want, and if it gets broke, then they’ll have to deal with it.

  6. Crispy says:

    Closed my tab. Lost the rest of my post.

    So, I’m guessing it’s problems with getting it balanced on the one hand, and on the other with making it intuitive.

    E.g. Currently, when you come up against a Medic healing someone you have to account for the possibility that the recipient is topped up to 150%. When you have two different Medics with two different maximum overheal capabilities, you need to distinguish between the two possibilities. This needs to be achieved either by distinguishing between the two Medics, or by distinguishing between the two possible maxed-out health states of 150% and 200%. But then what happens if a 200-percenter Medic starts topping up a recipient who is already at 150% from a different Medic – how is this changeover visually displayed? I’m guessing this was presenting issues in itself, but I’d think the balancing would be even more problematic.

    As for why they feel these weapon unlockables are necessary, I don’t know. I’d far more prefer a new map to play on. Both new weapon options and new levels can offer increased variety to the gameplay, but I feel that the maps department is where TF2 is sorely lacking at the moment. Dustbowl and 2Fort got old around about 2003. 5 years later and it’s nice to see new versions of them included in TF2, but not at the expense of delivering new content.

    The weapons in TF2 already offer a huge amount of variety and interest, and a lot of it is new versus TFC. The maps don’t seem to provide that same variety. Dustbowl and 2Fort are very little changed from what many will have played in TFC. Granary and Well are very similar in layout and style… Gravel Pit and Hydro are the only maps that I’d stick around for on the mapcycle repeat.

    I’m sure there are others who’d prefer to have more trinkets added. But for me these just result in Valve having to release micro-updates for months afterwards trying to restore the balance. I’d prefer to have a new level to play on whose post-release updates don’t majorly impact on how I play the game.

  7. The Sombrero Kid says:

    ehhh not really we paid for it and since they force you to play the latest version they have a responsabilty to provide you with a good experience.

    What if they decided it’d make it better to switch out all the models with white boxes and all the levels with black boxes to increase the contrast and make it easier to idenitfy people to shoot while making the levels easier to navigate, it’d make a game you paid to play unplayable and you’d certainly have something to say about it. As would I.

    on the other hand i trust these chaps they know how to balance and not ruin things and i’m sure the stat tracker is showing things tha need tuned and that people are not playing TF2 as much and they’d like to rectify that which is fine with me. :D

  8. Alec Meer says:

    It’s eminently possible that, once the unlocks do come through, there’ll be an option to host servers with and without them activated.

  9. Git says:

    The new skill should allow the medic to sew gibs together to re-build a team mate. However, if the medic uses parts of more than one person then they have to share control of the fleshy undead soldier.

    Well, I’d find it interesting…

  10. Optimaximal says:

    …the rest of us would just find it disturbing :)

    Given how people managed to hack TF2 servers to bits, even in the beta (likely thanks to their knowledge of CS:S servers), what Alec said is quite likely, even if its not an official patch/option from Valve.

    I’m on the side that reckons the game spent ages being meticulously balanced, why fuck it up with unlockables that radically alter the classes? You just end up with Dawn Of War/Company of Heroes syndrome where new additions are brilliantly balanced against something yet horribly balanced against another.

  11. The Sombrero Kid says:

    they do have a shit load of info detailing where the game currently isn’t balanced, maybe these are tweeks of a more interesting type than lowered pryos dps by 0.0001 hp/s, i say wait and see at least they’re trying to do something intresting and free with digital distrobution

    GP about the server options i feel a bit silly not thinking that would be an option

  12. Freelancepolice says:

    I’d love to see some more varied map textures. Currently it does feel all very sandy.

    Still a superb online game though so it’s a minor quibble

  13. Cigol says:

    On the one hand it’s nice to see they can back out of something that clearly doesn’t work, on the other; why announce it if they haven’t playtested it fully? A bit strange, but I have faith they won’t break the game.

  14. Andrew Farrell says:

    If I remember, they didn’t make an announcement as much as tell a visiting journalist “Oh yeah, we’re looking at this”

  15. spoodie says:

    How about stealing that idea in the Battlefield Heroes trailer? An area of effect healing gun, like a dispenser but on the move and with a slightly wider radius.

  16. RichPowers says:

    How does Valve expect unlockable weapons to mesh with Team Fortress 2’s design principles?

    In interview after interview, the devs stress that players should be able to instantly recognize a given class, even at a distance, and asses its capabilities. Hence the exaggerated, bright character models that “pop” against the subdued backgrounds; when you see a heavy coming, you know what to expect.

    But this falls apart if the medic can carry one of three different guns, or if the demo can bust out some special grenade launcher with a higher rate of fire or something. Unpredictability is added to the mix, and players will be unable to precisely determine what weapons you’re packing.

  17. Chris R says:

    There are lots of servers out there that have custom maps in the rotation, and some of them are quite good (Warpath, Castle, Turbine, CTFWell, etc.) Sure, the custom maps aren’t as balanced as the 6 original maps, but they’re still fun to play.

  18. terry says:


    Just kidding ;)

  19. ChrisL says:

    How about a Leech Gun? Like a medigun, only it drains the enemy’s health to fill the medic’s ubercharge.

    Or a dual-barrel medigun, which allows you to heal two nearby teammates at once, only at half the normal rate.

  20. Alex Grose says:

    nice ideas chris. That would be good.

    Or allowing engineers to build more than one copy of each thing (at double the metal cost?)

  21. heartless_ says:

    I’ll agree on the “more maps please” assessment. I think it is great that we have quality over quantity in the current TF2 maps, but some of the maps are fairly boring (Granary for example).

    Unlockables are a nice idea, but then it runs into what I am mainly pissed off about CoD4. Everyone in CoD4 is level 55, uses the same lame weapons, and it really makes you wonder ‘why even have levels/unlocks in the first place?’ As much as I praised the CoD4 unlocks at first, they are really becoming annoying as everyone suddenly realized that higher level unlocks were the best options. P90 or die motherf’r.

    TF2, like CoD4, is just not built for the unlockable system. The Battlefield games work a lot better for unlockables because of the play style and openness of the battlefield maps.

    I would much rather see TF2 go the more route of the CoD4 “customize a class” feature, without unlockables. Just give us all the new toys and let us mix’n’match. Allows players to outfit towards their playstyles.

  22. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    It’s worth noting that the planned ‘double health’ buff wasn’t set in stone.

    Adorable news-fumbler, Mr. Tom Francis wrote:

    Er, I may have oversold it a little. Most people focus on the idea that everyone would have been running around with double-health, and that’s my fault: Valve stressed that they hadn’t settled for sure on those figures, and I reported them anyway. There didn’t seem another way of communicating the severity of the changes they were talking about.

    Like most, I was dubious about how the balancing would work out. However I’m slightly disappointed that they couldn’t find a way to do it as it fits my Medic play-style, which involves me flitting around trying to heal everyone and invariably being killed before I can trigger an über.

  23. yutt says:

    I love the idea of unlockables, and thought the alternate medigun sounded great.

    Apparently I’m one of the few not terrified when designers try something new and interesting. Sounds like most of you would rather have Team Fortress Classic with upgraded graphics than the wonderful game we received.

    You don’t have to be monotonously cynical about everything in life. Really.

  24. Andrew Farrell says:

    Yeah, the day they give the medic more than one type of gun is the day I .. no, hang on..

  25. dw40 says:

    Amen. TF2 is the only class based shooter where I would ever consider setting my class to “Random” and I actually do that quite a bit on TF2. I find the fact you still see all classes played on all maps even after all this time is a real testament to the balance. I’d hate to see that messed with in a significant way. I’ve been seeing a lot more soldiers lately and a lot less heavies, but I play on a lot of 2fort servers, so that might have something to do with it.

    I would also prefer new maps to new abilities, maybe new server modes (the melee-only sudden death is genius). I do trust the guys to make the right decision. I haven’t had as much fun playing a FPS in years. The balance and the cartoonishness are great, which I think leads to my favorite part of TF2: the players are the most pleasant and team oriented I’ve found. Been playing some CoD4 and the difference is shocking.

    BTW, been lurking for a long time, great site, good comments. Best wishes from across the pond.

  26. Steve says:

    Heartless, I really have to disagree. Although this post isn’t about CoD4, it needs to be said that largely speaking, CoD4’s balance is quite good.

    Admittedly, shotguns are a major misstep. They simply aren’t a very good choice in 95% of situations. But most every other weapon has some worth. The only reason things like the P90 seem so prevalent and overpowered is because they’re easy to use. A gun with 50 rounds in a clip that still reloads at a recent speed is easy for anyone to get kills with, but I’ve topped the scoreboards on tough servers with a Skorpion. The problem is most people don’t experiment. A well tuned set of perks will beat even the most seemingly over-powered weapon.

    Similarly, I’m not worried about unlockables in TF2. I get the feeling the overcharger was scrapped because it unbalanced the game hugely, not that it was 0.5% more effective than the regular medigun. Although, yeah, I’d prefer more maps as well.

  27. Chris R says:

    Custom map servers people! Play on custom maps! They’re out there, and some of them are quite good.

  28. matte_k says:

    OK, so the new medic weapons might not make an appearance, but what happened to all that stuff about a ridiculous amount of new achievements? Is that going to shift the balance somewhat when achievement whores switch class to start claiming all these new bragging rights?

    @Chris R: I agree, some of the custom maps are fantastic, I highly recommend players to at least try them. But for god’s sake, avoid the Mario one like the plague…

  29. Mr Pink says:

    All the custom maps I’ve tried have been rubbish. Could anyone recommend some good ones?

  30. yutt says:

    Mach4 is the greatest custom map ever.

  31. Crispy says:

    Map Zone

    cp_castle is a nice push map, but needs at least 8v8, and the last capture point can be too difficult to cap due to the whole hairpin turn chokepoint. That said it has a very nice feel and looks the part. This map is probably on a par with Turbine, but for more players.

    ctf_turbine is a nice small map, ideal for as little as 5v5. If you played it in earlier versions and got penned in at the spawn, the spawncamping issues have been almost completely solved with a second spawn exit (I say almost completely solved because it exits onto the same corridor as the other exit so spawncamping is still possible in the hands of a skilled player). The middle section also got more cover added, so it can no longer be dominated by sentries. All in all it’s a fairly strong effort that’s definitely worth a look.

    ctf_floodzone is more of a funmap that revolves around a single, massive chokepoint. You will literally spend hours on this map just fighting over it. Occasionally either team does get pushed back to a previous CP to mix things up a bit, but they can usually bounce back if the other team doesn’t really carry their momentum over and push up with their snipers. Snipers can cover the whole middle of the map right down to the spawn, but you can usually escape if you make a run for it. A fair map that will keep you occupied for hours at a time, but not one that will produce a variety of tactics and playstyles.

    ctf_mach When I tried Mach I honestly didn’t like it. It was too small and a lot of the indoor areas had very low ceiling which basically voided the Scout’s major asset: mobility, as well as rocket and pipe jumping. The middle area is small and congested, and there are stuck points on the lifts. It may have been improved since I last played it, but be wary it’s probably not as great as some people make out.

  32. Quirk says:

    ctf_turbine_v3 is in fact my favourite map, and I’d contend it’s a very much better CTF map than 2Forts.

    For a start, snipers are useful on Turbine rarely, but when they are, it’s chiefly to lock down an already dominant position. Hence you don’t see so much of the sniper duels of the 2Forts battlements and the four snipers per team; instead, they’re maintenance to help you keep the open space.

    The “closed” game of sentries in the centre and snipers/demomen can be fun on both sides, particularly when the dominant side overstretches and gets its intel poached by a spy, turning it in on itself and allowing its dominance to be destroyed. It becomes a very tactical game, requiring teamwork, and it rewards the player who doesn’t just run out into the thick of the action thoughtlessly.

    The “open” game, with the balance of power swaying and engineers cowering in the intel room tunnels, is fast and frenetic. Medics and soldiers and heavies charge across the wide open space to raid for the intel, and get brutalised by spies and pyros hiding in the little cubby-holes where the health live. Scouts also have plenty of opportunity to round the obstacles at high speed and shoot people in the back – in fact, some of my best scout scores have come on that map. Meanwhile, demomen and engineers try to lock down exits in the hope of closing the game down into something more friendly to their playstyle.

    I heartily recommend giving it a try if you haven’t already, and spending the short amount of time needed to understand how to use the terrain to the best advantage.

  33. Midnightmare says:

    In a response to all the people who are against achievement unlockables, I must say that to an extent I agree. The game has perfect balance which would be a huge shame to lose. Said balance, for a time, was a bit rough, but valve were quick to fix it. They put huge amounts of thought into every aspect of new weapons they release. How well the weapon will manage solo, where it will be most helpful, how it is counteracted, what kind of skill is required to operate it, how can they limit it to be balanced for all players and so on. Valve staff have incredible attention to every detail, which is definitely evident in some of their better games. I would trust them to make any decision regarding balance of classes and not question a thing.