So I was playing on sd_doomsday, as I am wont to do, attempting to revitalize my old Sticky Jumper spark. For a weapon that hasn’t changed, it’s amazing how different it feels having to play with the new roster of available melee weapons. ‘Head Launcher‘ my beloved Persian Persuader is still deceased and all of the swords have become less attractive with the new draw times. My other favorite the Scotsman’s Skullcutter is still too slow and sets my teeth gnashing every time I die because my Demoman was taking his sweet time switching to it. When you’re switching to your melee weapon, it’s because you need to defend yourself right now and reloading isn’t fast enough, so snail-paced draw times are a huge dealbreaker for me.

It was after I failed to stop the elevator three times in a row that I thought, “the bottle just doesn’t deal enough damage to kill those darn flagrunners on the elevator. Wait! I could try out the new Caber!”

So many good memories of cabering snipers...
So many good memories of cabering snipers…

So I equipped my old friend ‘Sniper Launcher‘ (I have a theme with renamed demo melees, as you can see) and launched my way onto the battlefield. I fudged my initial rollout to the enemy spawn and wound up grabbing the health kit under the bridge. Then I noticed a YER spy futilely crouched in the corner, pretending he wasn’t there. So I pulled out my caber…

And smacked him in the face, dealing 52 damage to myself. Then he trickstabbed me. How much health did he have, according to the deathcam?


SEVENTY. I dealt fricking 55 damage with my hit, less than a normal melee weapon! I’m not positive what possible reasons there are to equip this weapon now, if it’s gonna deal so little damage. I kept using it for old times sake, but it was a painful exercise in futility. Sometimes it appeared to do more damage, and according to the wiki it can deal up to 130 damage if the explosion and melee both register, but that happened maybe 1 out of 3 times. I setup an itemtest server with a bunch of 125-hp puppet bots and just whacked them for a while, and the success rate on both damage types activating was painfully low. I don’t normally experience the legendary hitreg problems with Source melee, but something’s badly broken on the Ullapool right now, and it makes the weapon unusable.

But even if it did it’s job correctly, it’s just painful to use in general. The 100% slower draw time and 20% slower firing speed means that the delay from pressing 3 and actually swinging the grenade amounts to over a second long. And for what? Exactly one attack? I know once upon a time I claimed that was enough, but if the game’s going to be so darn bitter about it, I might as well carry the bottle or Pain Train and deal reliable, fast-swinging damage that doesn’t stop after one hit.

It breaks my heart, looking at the sorry state of my favorite Demoman melee weapons. All of them have perished. I’ve been having to use my Haunted Bat Outta Hell because its somehow the most sentimental item in that slot, and that’s just sad. Though it brings up a completely unrelated question: How come the Bat Outta Hell is allowed to wear opposite-team colored clothing, but the Unarmed Combat famously was not?