“On this map it’s the most overpowered piece of monkey turd I’ve ever seen”

12 Jul

Harsh but fair words about The Wrangler, the Engy’s joystick-operated manual aiming device for the sentry gun.

The list of perks this thing provides looks ridiculous on paper – a shield that absorbs 66% of incoming damage, pinpoint control of where (and when) the sentry fires, doubled firing rate and, if used with the level 3’s rockets and a disinterest in living long, the ability to rocket-jump. In practice it’s not as game-breaking as these benefits make it sounds, but it can cause chimp faeces allegories like the one above. Because using the laser pointer negates the sentry’s limited auto-targeting range, it can effectively become a fully automatic rocket-launching recoilless sniper rifle with an enormous clip. That sounds more like something a seven-year old would doodle after watching Die Another Day, rather than something added to an intricately balanced multiplayer shooter.

I’m hypocritical towards it. Tagging a distant Medic with the laser and cackling as he panics and dashes for his spawn before letting out a throaty scream and ragdolling into the door, body sizzling with a wasted Ubercharge, feels brilliantly evil. Indeed, the mere fact that the kill was made by me and not my beeping metal AI offspring is an improvement on automatic mode. But then guilt hits – that wasn’t a fair fight, I was a little red dot on the horizon, using a poncey beam to command my fully automatic rocket-launching recoilless sniper rifle with an enormous clip (it’s catchy, who knew?) to mince a helpless support class wielding a bonesaw. The satisfaction was fleeting, as is my patience when on the opposite end to a Wrangled sentry. Much like that Medic, the sight of that damned infinite-ranged laser (provided it’s not my team colour) now fills me with immediately dread and fear. The main drawback of the Wrangler is that the sentry shuts down for three seconds once it’s no longer equipped. Thankfully this needs to be done whenever the gun needs to be reloaded or repaired, but unless you’re at close range to the thing it’s not a significant enough delay to present the Engineer with proper retaliation.

Unless there are Spies around. The three-second cooldown is enough to backstab an Engineer without worrying about his gun instantly swinging around and exploding the poor spook. Considering the endless list of things that can go wrong with no warning, through no fault of the Spy’s, when sneaking up on an Engy nest, The Wrangler is as much of a benefit to the Spy as it is to the Engineer.

Unless some inventive players come up with an effective way to combat Wrangled sentries at range, I can definitely see it getting a nerf. As for me, I’ll stick to recreational use – making rocket jumps for giggles, or planting a turret in the middle of a local game and Wrangling waves of bots to death, most likely as a form of stress relief after being rocket-sniped by the buggers in public servers.

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