Poor, poor Caber. Once the proudest member of Demoman’s unlockable melee weapons, the only one that merged Demoknight and Demoman into a weird parody of both classes, the only weapon that brought the ‘Demo’ part of the class name to Medieval Mode…the mighty Ullapool Caber is a shadow of its former self.
The old Caber will always hold a special place in my heart. It was undeniably, indisputably fun. There are few pleasures in life more satisfying than flying through the air with the Sticky Jumper, landing on top of an oblivious sniper and obliterating them with a single melee swing. It was error-prone for all sorts of reasons; it suffered from traditional melee hit detection problems and bizarre explosion-related problems. Sometimes it wouldn’t explode when you hit somebody, sometimes it would but only you would take damage, sometimes they’d survive and kill you, and their killcam would show them at 5 hp and you’d think ‘how the hell did that happen?’ But it was all worth it for the many times it panned out, sending some finicky squishy to respawn faster than they could say “But it doesn’t deal random crits!”
Of course, those days are behind us. Because Valve changed it so that the explosion deals so little that squishies can survive the initial hit, requiring a followup. Sure, it deals more damage than a stock melee would in its first hit, but after that it’s a neutered stump that becomes a straight downgrade to any other melee weapon in the game until you die and get it replaced. Why on Earth would I use an Ullapool that two-shots light classes when stock melee two-shots light classes? The fundamental point of the weapon is gone.
Some may argue that if the Ullapool Caber’s only niche was one-shotting light classes, it should never have existed in the first place. But the downsides for this power were among the most crippling in the game. After that hit, Demoman is launched into the air and reduced to double-digit health. Plus, if he’s not going Demoknight he lacks any reliable non-self-damaging attacks. (If he is going Demoknight then he’s now stuck in the middle of the battlefield with reduced health and a detonated Caber, the worst melee weapon in the game.) These are downsides enough. I appreciated how the Ullpaool Caber was one of only two Demoman melees that didn’t come with any global downsides, by which I mean you weren’t hurting your stats even if you never wielded the weapon in question. It was a different angle on the design philosophies Valve had always adhered to in the Demoman melee unlocks, giving it a downside so that the stock bottle always served a role in the equip options.
Sadly, nowadays the Ullapool serves no role and is pretty much a downgrade to the stock bottle. Not much more to say about it, I highly doubt Valve’s going to change the stats now. They’ve hardly touched a thing in months, and any Valve employees worrying about game balance right now are probably preparing for the fabled Pyro or Heavy updates of myth. Like the Persian Persuader of yore, the Ullapool Caber is gone, leaving us only with memories.