When it looked like Valve’s next Team Fortress 2 update would be the Spy’s unlockable weapons back in September last year, I said the prospect filled me with dread. Now that they’ve ambushed us with info on two of his new tools, and the whole thing is much more imminent that anyone realised, I am filled with a dark and terrible glee.
I’m not usually a fan of feigning death in multiplayer games, except as an entertaining way to fuck with ragdoll physics in Unreal Tournament 3. But the Dead Ringer dodges the two problems I usually have with fake-outs like this: 1) Trying to time your phony death to convincingly coincide with an enemy shot, which is fiddly at best and impossible with any degree of lag, and b) Having to shoot every damn corpse to make sure it’s not just pining for the fjords.
Here, the timing is automatic: when you’re holding it (presumably) the first hit you take appears to have killed you. And corpses are never going to get up: the uncertainty is just “Should he really have gone down that easily? Is he cloaked somewhere around here now?” It still might lead to a tedious amount of speculative firing, but we’ll see.
The Cloak and Dagger is more exciting to me. Being able to remain invisible indefinitely, staying still to recharge, suits my style: I’ve tired of sprinting to the front line and sap-spamming sentries or hoping I slip through a crossfire by sheer luck. My most interesting lives as a Spy have involved taking impractically long routes around and stalking the enemy team from deep within their base, seeing how long I can prey on them uncaught rather than how rapidly I can score. Currently this is only viable on certain maps, like Well, that have high alternative routes and gloomy corners to recharge in. I’m hoping Cloak and Dagger will let me be this much of a dick in every match.
It’s safe to assume that a) the Sniper update is still coming at the same time, b) these two are mutually exclusive alternatives to the conventional Cloak, and c) the Dead Ringer provides some immunity to being revealed by stray shots, or it might not be terribly useful.