The Crusader’s Crossbow is an extremely versatile weapon. It’s one of my favorite in the game because of the potential applications it introduces to the Medic playstyle. It’s also one of the most adjusted weapons in Team Fortress 2; its patch history is long and checkered with changes and alterations, for better or for worse. Under the guise of this confusing title, I thought we could go back into the history of this weapon and look at some things it has lost over the years.

1. You can’t shoot arrows with it. When first added to the game, the Crusader’s Crossbow shot identical arrows to the Huntsman, probably because Valve wanted to save some time and the weapon was designed for Medieval Mode anyway. One nice trick this gave the Medic was to shoot some arrows down chokepoints for no reason other than to fool enemies into thinking that a Huntsman sniper may be watching that flank. It also fit Tf2’s cartoony artstyle to leave arrows comically sticking out of teammates.

Just my opinion, but the new syringes are a little more gruesome than funny when sticking out of people.
Just my opinion, but the new syringes are a little more gruesome than funny.

One possible reason Valve changed the projectile was to pave the way for the sharpened candy canes fired by the festive Crusader’s Crossbow.

2. You can’t rapid fire it like a minigun. Arguably the biggest change to the Crusader’s Crossbow was on Scream Fortress 2013, where it was granted the ability to passively reload like the flare guns can. This was huge for Medics since we never had to draw the weapon and waste 3 seconds reloading the thing before we could fire, but it also gave rise to a peculiar bug that allowed one to bypass the reload time and fire them much faster than anticipated.

This exploit apparently caught Valve’s attention, and the crossbow quickly found itself subjected to a nerf that raised outcry from a huge swathe of the Medic community, myself included. Thankfully since then we’ve found something of a middle ground between what we used to have and what we needed.

3. You can’t kill friendly players. A shame, I know. For the longest time, you could fire the arrow (it was still arrows at this time) at a teammate then switch to spectate while it was still in the air, and it would join Team Neutral, damaging anyone regardless of the Medic’s former allegiance. I mentioned this on my list of favorite TF2 glitches, because it was a very satisfying way of venting frustration on a teammate who provoked your wrath. Still it was probably for the better Valve patched this out on Valentine’s day 2013.

4. You can’t heal yourself. Sorry, physician. But after some setup involving a puppet bot Engineer and the hurtme console command, I got the chance to answer the time-honored mystery: What happens if a wounded Medic somehow shoots himself with his own crossbow?

Turns out it flies blithely through him, completely ignoring his plight. Perhaps it still secretly wants to work for Team Neutral.