[Forked] Scorch Shot Ban Discussion

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  • @HA-Johnny
    It’s more so me jumping the gun a bit and trying to keep momentum with the spirit of change, to avoid having the discussion stagnate in the meantime. I also don’t want the discussion to end up being held back by the statistics, so I wished to voice my concerns on the matter ahead of time.
    I feel like if I was to voice my concerns after the matter, it’d only appear as attempting to discredit the results no matter the outcome.
    So I’d rather tackle the hypotheticals and what I see to be the larger problems now, rather than after the matter with the benefit of hindsight.
    I’ll admit I may be wrong in doing so, I just really want to see this sort of change last and to begin to transfer to other instances.

  • @Bliztank I respect that. I’m just motivated by personal curiosity. That’s why I made the other thread, since I felt that talking about stats/metrics would distract from this one. If, in satisfying my curiosities, I can provide something that’s helpful, that’s cool. If not, that’s also cool. Whether it’s helpful isn’t up to me!

    Anyway, to hopefully re-rerail the convo: I haven’t provided any opinions on the ban because I don’t really have one right now. If I HAD to choose, I’d probably ban it, but that’s just because I am a believer in the secondaries, like jetpack and panic attack, and I would love to see more experimentation with these weapons. Then again, maybe there’s been plenty of experimentation and I’m just not aware of it all. Then again, I think the weapon presents a lot of opportunities for fun and exciting tactics, such as double-axtinguishing heavier classes using the second hit to restart afterburn.

    Also, a thought on the weapon being low-risk: I believe a big contributor to that is not because of the scorch shot, but because of the degreaser, as well as the banning of the jar weapons. The less the pyro has to worry about reflecting things in the moment, the more time they have to spam scorch shot without much risk. The fast deploy speed of the degreaser lets you spam a secondary while have fast access to airblast and flames in order to react to a threat. And if the Jars were unbanned, I think there would be a HUGE pressure on pyros to reflect those consistently, otherwise their team will suffer greatly. Degreaser helps with reflecting jars, but sometime’s it’s much easier to handle positioning for those reflects when you are already holding the flamethrower out.

    Basically, pyro has extra time resources moment to moment when using degreaser, and when there is not a threat of a jar. Those resources can be used to spam scorch shot. Whether we should ban degreaser or unban the jars is a different topic, but tangentially related since there seems to be concern about low-risk high-reward gameplay. If we lock the other items in place and consider SS in a vacuum, then I can certainly see why it has that association of low-risk high reward.

    But that’s just me, maybe the weapon is naturally low risk. I’m just trying to see it outside of the vacuum.

  • @HA-Johnny
    I think relatively speaking, we’re going to see a lot less value out of a reliance on the switch speed with other secondaries. I touched upon the degreaser a bit in my second post, which I concur also plays into the issue.
    I think that the relative reliance on the degreaser’s switch speed is an issue, however I think that it’s only that unfair when combined with the scorch shot. I think that the degreaser promotes interesting play. The more one uses it, the more they are going to become reliant on the speed for combo plays and the extra saved time.
    I’d argue that you’d even see more synergy with stock while running the detonator, if not used entirely for a spam role, at which it is much less potent and requires more mechanical investment than the scorch.
    The degreaser gives an increase in potential mechanical ability, while somewhat lessening the importance of sense related functions, which can result in you developing less as a player in the long term. This creates an interesting dynamic between the weapons. That being said, I believe the presence of the scorch serves to destroy this dynamic. I also believe that there is not enough conscious thought put into primary choice.
    Without a secondary as spammable as the scorch, there is a lot more punishment for a lot less reward if you end up baiting your team by attempting to secondary spam.

    I wouldn’t call it unreasonable to call the degreaser a problematic weapon given it’s influence on past metas in addition to the current one. That being said, I believe that it genuinely is not an issue outside of when combined with the scorch shot currently. I think that a ban on the degreaser would needlessly restrict the playstyle options pyro has and weaken the class a bit too much from a mechanical standpoint, but that is a topic for another day.
    I do hope that going forward we see a bit less reliance on the degreaser, and I think that a scorch shot ban will help lead towards a healthy and natural progression from this point.

    I’m going to maintain that the scorch teaches poor mechanics compared to the other secondary options due to all of the usages it provides. If a player learning the class is relatively able to do everything, then I do not think they will truly learn nor master anything.
    For this reason, I think that banning the scorch shot will be beneficial.

    also +rep for giving a shoutout to the jetpack, I love that weapon for specific points

  • @supreme-toad
    Is sniper the most OP class in the game to begin with? yes. But these secondaries aren’t what make sniper OP. Banning them would do nothing to the meta.

    But let’s just think about what banning those would do to sniper. Banning the darwin’s, especially if you’re banning the scorch shot, literally does nothing. The only reason people run darwin’s is the scorch shot, so at this point, it’s like banning a weapon purely out of spite. If there’s no scorch shot, every other secondary is better, other than maybe razorback. You’re gimping yourself by running the darwins.

    The only situation darwins would be useful would be if a pyro chases you down like post-uber and you try to melee him to death. Sniper has an advantage to win that fight only the pyro doesn’t go for the melee fight, which most pyros are too stupid to do in my experience. My pan will out dpm your flamethrower, but you have more hp than me. I have to hit you three times with the pan, but you only have to hit me twice with the powerjack. If you die to a pan sniper, unless he has more hp than you, you’re just bad. Plus, if scorch shot is banned, you can shotgun me to death.

    Cozy camper at least is somewhat arguable to me if it’s worth banning. In my experience, snipers default to using the cozy camper but very rarely actually make use of its bonus. To me, it’s practically useless in most situations on sniper. Why? You have to sit there and charge for 5 seconds (90% of shots you take on sniper you won’t have a full charge), and even when you do, you still get juggled by explosives and aimpunched by fire, even though you’re on cozy camper.

    Take vigil last offense for example. A non sniper main might think you’d default to cozy camper for this situation, but I actually default to darwin’s. Why? Because the best place to peek from is big door, and when you peek big door, there’s someone watching it the whole time if the other team is good, so they’re gonna spam the fuck out of it the second they see your foot. Meanwhile, you have to clear like 5 different angles where the red sniper could be, and the chances the demo and/or med are just standing in the open without their sniper already hardscoped on big door looking for you are extremely low. Even other picks can be hard to come by. So the whole time, you’re trying to find the other sniper or find another pick that isn’t being protected by the sniper, while their whole team is calling “SNIPER BIG DOOR”, with the soldier and demo juggling you with explosives and the pyro shooting flares at you. I’d much rather run darwin’s there so at least i’m protected from one of the three potential classes spamming me and ruining my shot rather than none.

    It’s the same situation on pretty much every point in the game. Cozy camper can actually be a detriment to sniper gameplay because it encourages you to not rotate and just turtle instead. If the spy or anyone else on the other team calls you, if the other team is good, they can adjust their game plan around “sniper is just sitting x place doing literally nothing and not moving, let’s avoid/pressure him.” The other secondaries (especially smg) encourage you as a sniper to rotate a lot more, so the other team can’t just get your position and spam you out of it. A sniper that hits shots and rotates constantly is much more dangerous than a sniper that sits in one spot all day and dies for trying to get one combo pick he might not even get as he’s getting juggled or spammed. If you slow down and wait to charge up with the cozy camper while rotating like crazy, you put yourself at risk of getting stabbed, seen, or spammed by the other team.

    At the end of the day, banning cozy camper or darwin’s won’t change the fact that sniper is OP. You can still sit in pocket on product, get juggled, aimpunched, set on fire, etc. and you can still hit a full charge bodyshot on their medic to drop him, without any secondary. We’ve literally already tried banning the sniper secondaries before in prolander and sniper is just as OP in prolander. These reaching bans out of spite and frustration don’t solve the problem, and unless we are confident these bans are very likely going to change the meta of the game for the better, we should avoid them. That goes for all potential weapon bans, not just sniper secondaries.

  • @tua once the scorch shot is inevitably banned it may not make much sense to run the darwin’s anymore until you start getting det spammed and start putting it back on to completely negate the existence of pyro until they are quite literally smacking you in the face with the powerjack. i don’t think that anybody considers the detonator to be OP, so why should sniper be able to avoid the consequences of not killing a det-spamming pyro when they peek? it just doesn’t really seem like an option that the sniper needs to have when the class is already so powerful and i really don’t think it’ll be fair for the sniper to completely avoid flame damage once the scorch shot is no longer in the game.

    the sniper secondaries are not what make sniper OP but i think that they contribute, especially when one of them forces the pyro to put away their flamethrower/scorch/det/flare in favor of a melee weapon, just so that they can have a chance to kill the sniper. the most oppressive class in highlander should not be able to make nearly all of the weapons available to one of the weakest classes in highlander completely useless

    i think that at this point the scorch shot is pretty much all but guaranteed to be banned, so why not make it a double ban and take the darwin’s away too, leading to healthier counter play against the strongest class in the game?

  • @american because if a pyro forces a sniper to go darwin’s with the detonator, that mind as well be a success. sniper is no longer on smg or cozy camper which is a net positive for ur team.

  • @pajaro i don’t think that the sniper should even have the option to avoid one class in the game unless they have shotgun or they take out their melee. it’s healthier for the game if sniper can be spammed out by a pyro using det/flares. most people agree that sniper is oppressive, so why shouldn’t we make an effort to make the sniper just a tiny bit less powerful and give the pyro a way to have some counterplay against them?

  • @american because I don’t think the darwin’s is overpowered. yes, the sniper class is OP, but the darwins would not be a good secondary at all if the scorch shot did not exist. the detonator will have its niche as a more balanced scorch shot that doesn’t one shot squishy classes; it won’t be nullified in that regard by the darwins.

    compared to the cozy camper or the smg, with the scorch shot being banned the darwins is a far less formidable secondary to use. i just don’t see how that item could possibly be worth banning for the sake of the the pyro, of all classes, having harder 1v1s with the sniper and not being able to pressure sniper. sniper is the long range space denying class, i don’t really see why you think the shortest range class SHOULD have any counterplay to the sniper - but that’s a different discussion.

    i’ve been rambling a bit in this post so i’ll try to summarize in two points. detonator will still be very useful. darwins will not be nearly as strong/impactful compared to other sniper secondaries to warrant it being banned.

  • Sniper shouldn’t have the option to negate flames in the first place. That’s what makes the Darwin’s strong vs pyro because it shouldn’t exist in the first place. Banning all secondaries wouldn’t balanced sniper but it would at least help somewhat with nerfing the class.

  • @pajaro i don’t know if there is any other item in the game that completely negates the existence of one class like the darwin’s does to pyro. the pyro certainly is the shortest range class in the game, and that’s why the class is so weak. if the pyro class was strong, i definitely wouldn’t be advocating for the ban of the darwin’s but pyro is extremely weak and i think that giving the sniper more weaknesses (such as being able to be flinched by afterburn until their full charge from cozy camper kicks in) is only a positive change to highlander. if pyro was as strong as say, scout, then i’d probably be advocating for the banning of the detonator too, since a strong close range class doesn’t need to be able to make up for it’s weakness in long range (this is why there is another ban discussion going on for the flying cleaver)

    i don’t know if my replies will change your mind, and i don’t think that banning the darwin’s will solve the inherent problems with the sniper class, but i do hope that people read my posts and see that the sniper having a weakness to fire spam is healthy, rather than detrimental.

  • ban darwin’s and i will exclusively scorch the sniper. scout mains rejoice.

  • The pyro sneaks by the entire team, perhaps through clever use of their secondaries. Hunting, they find their target. A lonely sniper, ruler of his country (“China”). As the pyro begins to melt their prey, something is off… The sniper simply turns, gnarls his teeth in a devilish grin, and tears the pyro apart with his bare, australian hands/gun. This sniper has channeled the spirit of Saxton Hale, almost completely negating the pyro’s primary weapon by using the danger shield and staying close to walls, further reducing flame damage.

    As the pyro’s magical world fades, the sniper respectfully removes his hat, knowing the pyro’s fate was sealed long ago.

    Anyway. Back to the scorch shot. Here are some usage stats for invite matches, by season. This does not include playoff matches/playoff qualifiers, does not include EVERY invite match (basically just ignore season 1, that’s missing a ton of matches). It also does not account for pyros using the weapon for short periods of time. Basically, if a player dealt damage with the weapon in a logs.tf log, it’s included. Some matches might be double counted for that reason, if they have multiple logs. Not sure of the statistical techniques to correct for these things just yet. So take these numbers with some tasty grains of salt, and let me know if there’s something more specific you’re interested in.

    • Total logs for season 1: 18
    • Scorch usage counts for season 1: 9
    • Total logs for season 2: 34
    • Scorch usage counts for season 2: 30
    • Total logs for season 3: 38
    • Scorch usage counts for season 3: 21
    • Total logs for season 4: 41
    • Scorch usage counts for season 4: 31
    • Total logs for season 5: 39
    • Scorch usage counts for season 5: 37
    • Total logs for season 6: 36
    • Scorch usage counts for season 6: 49
    • Total logs for season 7: 37
    • Scorch usage counts for season 7: 63
  • @HA-Johnny said in [Forked] Scorch Shot Ban Discussion:

    • Scorch usage counts for season 1: 9
    • Scorch usage counts for season 2: 30
    • Scorch usage counts for season 3: 21
    • Scorch usage counts for season 4: 31
    • Scorch usage counts for season 5: 37
    • Scorch usage counts for season 6: 49
    • Scorch usage counts for season 7: 63

    Is that just the # of logs that has a pyro doing any mount of damage with the SS, or is that the number of pyros from the logs that did damage? I ask since there are 2 pyros on each team I want to clarify, might also be smart to include the total number of logs used per season, since the count will be different from each season due to FFWs and teams dying.

  • @HA-Johnny would it be at all possible to make the stat % of total damage?

    so scorch damage/total pyro damage*100

    doesn’t say exactly how long they ran it but gives you a decent idea of how often it was run

    @pajaro said in [Forked] Scorch Shot Ban Discussion:

    i don’t really see why you think the shortest range class SHOULD have any counterplay to the sniper - but that’s a different discussion.

    i don’t see why you think the class balanced around good long range but poor short range should have any counterplay to the pyro in close range.

  • @Mothership The logic for those stats are:

    For each match available in the invite match directory (incomplete set)
    if the match wasn’t a playoff match/qualifier for that one season
    For each logs.tf link for the match (sometimes more than one)
    For each player in the log
    If the player has “scorch_shot” in their weapons
    Increment the scorch shot count for that season

    So yes, ANY damage, and some double counting if a match has multiple logs listed.

    I can get the number of logs used per season for the calculations, for sure. Will edit this post with that later.

    @supreme-toad I can do that calculation per player per log. I can also do total scorch damage across all logs, over total pyro damage across all logs for whatever season or all. How should it be combined? A median or average of the percent scorch shot damage/ total damage? Should it include cases when the player does not use scorch shot?

    Here’s the percent of total scorch damage for pyros, across ALL players that dealt damage with the scorch shot. So I added ALL the scorch shot damage for a season, ALL the pyro damage for a season, then did the percentage. To make further progress on usage, eventually I want to use some heuristics to get the “Effective” usage time, which would be the last time a weapon was seen in a log, minus the first time, accounting for when you see a different weapon for that slot on that player.

    Scorch Damage Percent for SS users for season 1: 39.33
    Scorch Damage Percent for SS users for season 2: 22.05
    Scorch Damage Percent for SS users for season 3: 19.36
    Scorch Damage Percent for SS users for season 4: 23.11
    Scorch Damage Percent for SS users for season 5: 21.04
    Scorch Damage Percent for SS users for season 6: 34.06
    Scorch Damage Percent for SS users for season 7: 32.98

    And if I may butt in about the sniper/pyro dynamic: Sniper having long-range counterplay to pyro is fine with me. Short range too, but perhaps not 50% resistance. If I had one nerf for it, I’d make it so they aren’t immune to the gas passer: there’d be a tangible reason to run that weapon in that case.

  • From the perspective of a highlander team’s best interests (as voiced from a heavy player)*, the scorch shot ban should be batched with the throwables that were banned (mad milk and jarate). I will elaborate on this fact based on the perspective of a heavy- a core member to most team fights where HP advantage dictates the outcome of a fight (most koth and some PL fights, to a certain degree).

    This is not to say that the scorch shot should have been banned when the throwables were. The throwable items certainly hold the throne as more egregious attacks on the flow of highlander. The easiest point to make is how they can be applied to the mainstay strategy of saccing. The throwables effortlessly improve the equity of a sac play(eg throwing a bottle from bats to ramp on asheville while a soldier is bombing with the singular purpose to deal as much damage as possible to the area effected by the throwable before death), but I would like to argue that the attack is similar nonetheless.

    In formulating pushes, there are a large number of variables to consider. This should come as no surprise, as 9v9 highlander is a competition of 18 players- 18 different individuals with their own values, ideas, and strategies all working amongst each other to prove that their side is better. In my experience, the best formula for a winning strategy is one based on solid team dynamic, trust, and direction. In order to attain all three of these flagstone ideals, sacrifices need to be made. Not all 9 players can use their directive to push the team to victory- a team needs a main caller/a voice of reason. The best teams are built not only on a strong foundation of players, but are built on a foundation that is willing to compromise. A team that is able to adapt to the confides of how their roster operates.

    In order to evaluate how a team can best be run, its mandatory to evaluate the team based on high stakes circumstances. Fights that are won based on the team’s performance, rather than on an airshot or a pick from a sniper or spy.** This is what I refer to as a ‘team fight’. In a team fight, all 9 classes (or however many are alive) are in agreement that their own life is (generally) worth less than the advancement of the team, such as in the process of capturing an objective. In these circumstances, both teams are aware that the best play is to put all their chips on the table- to prove that their strategy(positioning, aim, focuses, …) is better than their opponents. These are the fights that we considered in the cases of mad milk and jarate, and these are the fights we should be considering for the scorch shot.

    The similarities between the scorch shot and the throwables is best seen from an analyst’s perspective of a team fight. A perspective which pinpoints which variables are expressed in determining the outcome for the team fight. In the age of the throwables, it was often too easy to pinpoint them as deterministic factors in how a push could be evaluated. The impact of the scorch shot is more convoluted, but certainly present in a similar fashion. Im thinking of a heated match between two rivals, where both teams know that the only way to secure a victory is to press the margins-to commit on the 55% and leave on the 45% fights. The scorch shot, through it’s RANGED KNOCKBACK*** mechanic, and it’s ability to PREVENT CRIT HEALS**** denies this margin from being toyed with. I’m arguing that the flow of the game that we have come to appreciate competing over is degraded by the existence of the scorch shot. The tense moments are replaced by the likelihood that a pyro can flare your key classes.

    But at the end of the day, we must reflect. At what cost is the scorch shot being banned? What are pyros losing? What are teams losing? I would argue that the losses are minimal. The arguments that seem to stick are generally the pyro v. sniper cases, but are all worth considering when banning a gun. (‘If the SS is banned, the danger shield needs to go too’ ‘Pyro should have a counter to the sniper’ ‘Pyro is already such a bad class, why make it worse?’) I dont play pyro so I dont want to comment too much on this perspective, but I would argue that the detonator should fill the niche of the scorch shot.

    *I was thrust into top level UGC hl in a sink or swim environment, and gravitated to demo reviews as my north star in guiding me in my own improvement. I learned to apply the reasoning that the team is centered about the medic, and the medic/heavy are played very similarly in this game mode. My points are based on this dynamic, as it is the most familiar to myself. Though there are very many ways to play, consider listening to my perspective out of courtesy to the community we all are a part of, one which we would benefit from improving.

    **Teams can choose to value team fights higher or lower, based on the ability of their pick classes/ high impact play%

    ***? why couldnt this be the end of discussion? someone should open this can of worms…

    ****BIG impact, most apperent on mids in particular, but also a surefire way to give impact to pyro even when they miss a direct.

  • @calo nice essay bro, just ban scorch shot and the darwin shields and call it a day.

  • That essay almost makes me want to keep it unbanned tbh

  • @Teapot agreed

  • I admittedly only read some of this thread because you fuckers type a lot (and I can’t believe I’m saying this for the 2nd time in my life), but I agree with spu. If you ban scorch, I’m never wearing darwins again anyways, even if pyros go fulltime det. I think most snipers would follow suit, though idk, I could be wrong. I’m just saying there’s no real reason to ban darwins at that point if you want to keep the whitelist as full as possible. If you don’t care about the whitelist being as full as possible, then by all means.

    tl;dr: The only way banning darwins will have a large effect on the game for snipers is if scorch isn’t banned, not that I’d advocate for that.

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