Today Medic announced a fun initiative for anyone who’d like to write two themed articles; one on which class is their favorite and one on their least favorite. And I would be remiss not to bring up the class I find more fun to play than all nine from TF2.
The Combat Medic from TFC has an unparalleled mix of mobility, firepower, and health regeneration that makes him truly unlike any other class from either game. As this old article goes into detail on, his primary job is to send himself flying through the air with conc grenades deep into enemy defenses, where he must deathmatch enemies and sentry nests with his double-barrel shotgun and super nailgun until he can grab the flag and try to fly back out.
But I’ve always believed that one’s favorite class shouldn’t be chosen based on the upsides; it should be chosen based on its downsides. After all, its possible to have fun with pretty much any set of upsides, but the downsides need to be something you as a player are okay with. And Combat Medic’s downside is that his job description requires him to repeatedly bite off more than he can chew and scrape an escape out of it. Playing him feels like Indiana Jones; everything is trying to kill you, nobody is going to save you, and despite all your abilities you are constantly having to improvise. It’s a thrill when you somehow pull it all off and are zipping back to your base wondering “how the hell did I get out of that one?”
The most interesting aspect is how he’s not overpowered. Really, he isn’t. A team full of nothing but Combat Medics would get its ass handed to it. Kinda like how Frodo needed Aragorn’s army to distract Sauron so he could sneak around the back, a Combat Medic is reliant on his heavy-hitting Soldier/Heavy allies to engage the enemy on the front lines while he concs his way through the skybox. He needs Snipers to pick enemy Snipers before they snipe him out of the air with their horrifying death rifles. He needs Scouts to help keep the flag-running chain going. He’s still very much a part of the Team in Team Fortress Classic despite his lack of traditional downsides, and that’s why I find him fascinating from a game dev perspective.