Team Fortress 2’s Pyromania update: Hands on with the Pyro’s new toys


I can’t talk about the new Pyro weapons without mentioning Meet The Pyro, and because I don’t want to spoil movie for anyone that hasn’t seen it, you’re going to have to take my word that they’re worth chatting about. So first make sure you’ve watched Meet the Pyro, because the context is really important

So Meet The Pyro is the blueprint for one of the most ridiculous changes to TF2 I’ve ever seen: the visual elements of the Pyro’s dream world are brought across to the game; the sparkles, the glee, the rainbows, even the changed character voices. Equipping any of the new Pyro weapoons or the wearing new Pyrovision Goggles, a free gift to anyone that plays the game from now until july 5th, puts you in ‘Pyrovision’, where the Pyros fire rainbows and bubbles and Dominations are now “Best Friends”. The world is a brighter, sillier place: higher voices, confetti and balloons instead of blood.

The weapons, other than the Scorch Shot, are reskins of the Pyro’s stock armoury: Equipping the Rainblower you’re just getting a flamethrower, but it blorps out bubbles and trails a rainbow when fired. It also adds a new taunt that casts a rainbow over teh Pyro’s head and then surrounds him with flames: anyone nearby gets burned. it’s £3.49 in the shop. As is the Lollichop, which is just the Axe reskinned. The only way for other players to tell if you’ve equipped them is for them to use the “Pyrovision” goggles, that lets any class see the world as the Pyro sees it. It works in all maps as well. The two new misc items, the Burning Bongos and the Balloonicorn apply the effect as well.

The only new, game-changing addition is the Scorch Shot: it’s £1.99 in the shop, or it can be crafted.It does 15 damage on hit, but it’s main additions are that it burns and knocks back the target, and it also has a small area of damage, burning those around the target. So it’s good for quickly panicking a lot of people standing in a small space, like a control point or cart. If you’re accurate, you can use the nudge to get people off the new lift in sd_doomsday (that’s another post); it’s also a lot of fun to jimmy snipers when they’re lining up a shot. I can see it has some specific uses, but the shotgun remains the king of the Pyro secondary weapon for me.

So what use is an update to the Pyro that only brings one new weapons, two reskins, some misc items. I think this might be the start of a complete customisation rejig of Team Fortress 2: Pyrovision doesn’t affect anyone but you, they can’t even see the weapons you’ve equipped. This is how unofficial visual mods work in Team Fortress: you can reskin any weapon however you choose, but it involves fiddling with files. I have a suspicion this is a test to see if people are comfortable with the notion. Where would they get item reskins? The Steam Workshop.

I’m convinced that the entire visual reskin ‘Pyrovision’ is a similar test: Would you buy a new way of seeing Team Fortress 2? Soldier vision could be ultra bloody and explosive; Demo Man vision could make the hills of Badwater into a heather-filled Highlands, with bottles of booze everywhere.

However I am surprised at the cost of the new items; the Pyrovision Goggles are currently free, so anyone can join in the fun – the reskins are expensive, considering that the new weapon comes in cheaper. But they are fun to play with: particularly the Rainblower, which changes my mindset of a rushing Pyro from ‘indiscriminate killer’ to a bringer of joy. Feel my joy, people! FEEL IT!