Zen and the art of the Demoman
This week I’ve been mostly playing Demoman in TF2.
It can be a bit of an effort. After a while of playing Pyro, playing Demoman needs a change of approach, a change of style. I need to get ‘in the zone’.
When I play Pyro, I do my extinguishing, and my spy checking and all that malarky, but I also like to disappear off, find flanking routes, approach enemies from behind or above to get in close and ambush then run away; by the way liking to do this doesn’t mean I’m good at it to lay any rumours of competency to rest. It’s just how I spend my time.
However, change to Demoman, and it’s steady there now. For starters, Demoman at close range, bit of a disaster. Total opposite to Pyro who is supposed to operate best, close to. So keep that middle distance. And slow down. As a Pyro, I’m quite excitable. I get over-excited capturing points.I run round and round and round, flame bursting. If asked, I’ll say I’m spy checking or protecting against last minute counters, but I’m not. I’m being silly.
But a Demoman cannot get excited. A good Demoman can be aggressive and push forward on the offense, but a Demoman of Berath calibre needs to hold back and attain a zen-like calm. Sticky bombs are placed with the sticky launcher to ambush, but at a distance, no running in (if he dies the bombs disappear and are wasted). He watches, which path might the enemy use, what route could they take, where will they go? And he waits. He waits for the enemy to come through or over or under. Then he detonates. And what if the enemy charges; well he retreats dropping and detonating stickies as he goes, exploding his opponents with exquisite timing. He is ‘in the zone’. He is not flustered. No.
He has his grenade launcher too, he can use that at a distance. But that is a weapon also less effective used in haste and mild panic, apart from wild spamming. Those grenades bounce and can be difficult to aim and distracting if not zenly calm.
So, switching class not only requires using different weapons but a different mindset too. Pyro and Demoman are pretty far apart. Maybe Pyro and Scout would be closer, they both flank and ambush, so easier to switch between, and what about Demoman and Sniper? And Demoman and Soldier? I don’t know. I do know that I want to play around some more, mix and match. And perhaps find my style over and above class.