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Old 07-02-2011, 12:28 AM   #1
Blue Warrior
 
 
 
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A personal analysis of the pyro's role and what makes him effective.

The pyro's role is offensive support.

The pyro was designed to specialize in crowd control and induce chaos on the enemy team. By using fire to heavily damage a cluster, the pyro helps his team by breaking groups apart and using afterburn to weaken foes and/or scatter them around healing sources. As a bonus, the flamethrower is rapid-fire and has no clip, potentially allowing the pyro to fight indefinitely should the outside circumstances encourage it.

To accomplish this, the pyro at its base doesn't require much skill... on the other hand, it does require heaps of good strategy and teamwork. The pyro is designed with a limited range, which opens up several weaknesses toward the pyro; namely, it sets up hard counters like the sentry and heavy, while also making the pyro generally weak to just about anybody out in the open. When it finally does get within range of an opponent, the pyro is at risk to damage ramp-up; with good aim on his opponent's part, the pyro is revealed to be a surprisingly frail class in spite of its balanced attributes.

While skill can play a partial factor to the pyro's survivability against these weaknesses (such as tracking, secondary aim, proper reflect timing and aim etc.), what's really necessary is proper planning and good tactical decisions. A good pyro stays in confined areas to make the most of his flamethrower, only attacks when people aren't looking, knows when to pull in and out to preserve health while the enemy is harassed by afterburn.

More importantly, however, is that the pyro's effectiveness is very relative to proper teamwork. For the reason that he has several weaknesses, you want to effectively communicate to your teammates so they can kill the heavy or sentry that's preventing you from rushing into what could otherwise be a lot of free kills. Plus, by staying behind bulky allies that clear the way, the pyro can stay safe from being targeted by dangerous mid-range hecklers long enough for the pyro to get into a position where he can shine. In return, the pyro can watch their flanks from the likes of spies, defend his allies from projectiles (if the pyro was alone, soldiers would have just pulled their secondaries!), and ward off ambushing scouts from closing into their effective range. An uber, whether or not it's aimed toward the pyro, allows him to freely cause havoc in enemy territory without much regard for safety, making the pyro a good assistant to come along with a medic and his pocket. Pyro and spy is a very symbiotic relationship and allows the two to cover each others' weaknesses very well when sneaking into enemy territory. Hence, fulfilling your offensive abilities through support.

Also mind that a high killing power is not always necessary to make a difference. Yes, it is ideal for eliminating key targets, such as a medic who could potentially undo your work in the midst of an assault, but a lot of the time, the mere presence of a constant stream of damage on the battlefield can persuade some opponents to move in a certain direction, unlike the scattergun and rocket launcher, in which the firepower doesn't have a constant, fluid stream of movement, must reload, and is generally targeted at one person. Afterburn is effective, not as a killing tool, but as an incentive to drop what you're doing and go to a health kit. Preventing your enemies from doing their job is always a plus for your own team. Jarate? That's fine; you've forced the sniper to waste valuable resources on what could have been used offensively. Hence, you are supporting your team offensively.

So, don't think of it so much as "I must get into range so I can kill you", but rather "Get out of my way, or I will kill you."

Of course, as we all know, the pyro doesn't see much usage in comp outside of last-point defenses and the like; and I suppose that's a large concern here. Part of it is the fact that teams tend to have to integrate pyro strategies to fit their bill, which isn't the norm of 6v6, and the game style places emphasis on getting to the fight as fast as possible to ensure you don't lose any territory; so, waiting on the pyro is generally not an option. This doesn't mean the pyro is slow, it just means his movement is static. Standard moving speed over rocket jumping tends to come more in handy in mid-combat situations, so it's one of the things that helps the pyro keep moving. The pyro doesn't see as much of a problem with mobility in pub situations, because you can usually expect to find a heavy and medic that you can easily keep up with.

Pyro's comp situation may be looking up though; he's already received the degreaser as well as flare gun buffs, which have done wonders for the pyro's flexibility and helped him to defend himself in 1v1 match-ups. Maybe if the detonator receives a small buff later on, we'll get a little of everything we need for the pyro to really be viable in more competitive formats.

=====

Take a minute to also read Erinaceus's response, which gives a second opinion and some further insight on the pyro's role.

Last edited by Blue Warrior: 07-05-2011 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 07-02-2011, 12:41 AM   #2
thejimz
 
 
 
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Probably the best post I've ever read on "Pyro theory". You utterly nailed it.

Even though it doesn't do this thread justice, please accept a humble +rep and 5 stars.
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Old 07-02-2011, 01:24 AM   #3
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Now I wish people would have seen my similar logic when I defended a bleeding weapon in the spy forums for a spy primary. Damage over time tends to zone people, which I wholeheartedly agree with. Since you have the opportunity to, you drop everything you're doing and you put out that afterburn. Burst damage is great and all, but it doesn't have that same psychological impact on players as damage over time does. Damage over time makes the enemy more predictable and it makes them gravitate more heavily around health kits and the like, which can make it easier to ambush people since you have a better idea of where they're going to be.
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Old 07-02-2011, 02:03 AM   #4
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Something I'd say, only worded much better.

Danke.
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:06 AM   #5
ninchilla
 
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Warrior View Post
The pyro's role is offensive support.

The pyro was designed to specialize in crowd control and induce chaos on the enemy team. By using fire to heavily damage a cluster, the pyro helps his team by breaking groups apart and using afterburn to weaken foes and/or scatter them around healing sources. As a bonus, the flamethrower is rapid-fire and has no clip, potentially allowing the pyro to fight indefinitely should the outside circumstances encourage it.

To accomplish this, the pyro at its base doesn't require much skill... on the other hand, it does require heaps of good strategy and teamwork. The pyro is designed with a limited range, which opens up several weaknesses toward the pyro; namely, it sets up hard counters like the sentry and heavy, while also making the pyro generally weak to just about anybody out in the open. When it finally does get within range of an opponent, the pyro is at risk to damage ramp-up; with good aim on his opponent's part, the pyro is revealed to be a surprisingly frail class in spite of its balanced attributes.

While skill can play a partial factor to the pyro's survivability against these weaknesses (such as tracking, secondary aim, proper reflect timing and aim etc.), what's really necessary is proper planning and good tactical decisions. A good pyro stays in confined areas to make the most of his flamethrower, only attacks when people aren't looking, knows when to pull in and out to preserve health while the enemy is harassed by afterburn.

More importantly, however, is that the pyro's effectiveness is very relative to proper teamwork. For the reason that he has several weaknesses, you want to effectively communicate to your teammates so they can kill the heavy or sentry that's preventing you from rushing into what could otherwise be a lot of free kills. Plus, by staying behind bulky allies that clear the way, the pyro can stay safe from being targeted by dangerous mid-range hecklers long enough for the pyro to get into a position where he can shine. In return, the pyro can watch their flanks from the likes of spies, defend his allies from projectiles (if the pyro was alone, soldiers would have just pulled their secondaries!), and ward off ambushing scouts from closing into their effective range. An uber, whether or not it's aimed toward the pyro, allows him to freely cause havoc in enemy territory without much regard for safety, making the pyro a good assistant to come along with a medic and his pocket. Pyro and spy is a very symbiotic relationship and allows the two to cover each others' weaknesses very well when sneaking into enemy territory. Hence, fulfilling your offensive abilities through support.

Also mind that a high killing power is not always necessary to make a difference. Yes, it is ideal for eliminating key targets, such as a medic who could potentially undo your work in the midst of an assault, but a lot of the time, the mere presence of a constant stream of damage on the battlefield can persuade some opponents to move in a certain direction, unlike the scattergun and rocket launcher, in which the firepower doesn't have a constant, fluid stream of movement, must reload, and is generally targeted at one person. Afterburn is effective, not as a killing tool, but as an incentive to drop what you're doing and go to a health kit. Preventing your enemies from doing their job is always a plus for your own team. Jarate? That's fine; you've forced the sniper to waste valuable resources on what could have been used offensively. Hence, you are supporting your team offensively.

So, don't think of it so much as "I must get into range so I can kill you", but rather "Get out of my way, or I will kill you."

Of course, as we all know, the pyro doesn't see much usage in comp outside of last-point defenses and the like; and I suppose that's a large concern here. Part of it is the fact that teams tend to have to integrate pyro strategies to fit their bill, which isn't the norm of 6v6, and the game style places emphasis on getting to the fight as fast as possible to ensure you don't lose any territory; so, waiting on the pyro is generally not an option. This doesn't mean the pyro is slow, it just means his movement is static. Standard moving speed over rocket jumping tends to come more in handy in mid-combat situations, so it's one of the things that helps the pyro keep moving. The pyro doesn't see as much of a problem with mobility in pub situations, because you can usually expect to find a heavy and medic that you can easily keep up with.

Pyro's comp situation may be looking up though; he's already received the degreaser as well as flare gun buffs, which have done wonders for the pyro's flexibility and helped him to defend himself in 1v1 match-ups. Maybe if the detonator receives a small buff later on, we'll get a little of everything we need for the pyro to really be viable in more competitive formats.
Sort of self defeating topic title, don't you think? He's NOT effective. When a pyro charges into a group he gets cut down, assuming he even gets close. Pyros don't magically teleport into close range. They have to get there the old fashioned way: leg it. In comp, you can't justify swapping 1 out of 6 guys for a guy that's completely situational, has no range, no firepower, and never gets to mid/cp in time. In pubs, you will slaughtered by the hordes of demo/soldiers firing projectiles at you before you make it to the front and no, you will not reflect them all, nor will you coordinate a push with your team in a pub allowing you to act as "offensive support"; but if you are able to coordinate a push, why not play a more efficient class like soldier? Instead of "breaking up groups" one can simply blow them up at a further range. A soldier does more at a further range then a pyro can ever do at close range. You know at the flamer's effective range (jarateing distance) rockets are nuking the team, with splash, for like 80-90 damage per shot.

Only good thing a pyro does is reflect push ubers which takes no skill or thought and is highly irritating for the ubered. Oh, and spy check, supposedly.
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:18 AM   #6
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If you are getting juggled by a pyro when you are ubered, you deserved it. He obviously got the drop on you. Complaining about pyros being able to ruin ubers is stupid, it's one of the few things he's good at and he has to get the drop on you to do so unless he's ubered as well.
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Old 07-02-2011, 03:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ninchilla View Post
Sort of self defeating topic title, don't you think? He's NOT effective. When a pyro charges into a group he gets cut down, assuming he even gets close. Pyros don't magically teleport into close range. They have to get there the old fashioned way: leg it. In comp, you can't justify swapping 1 out of 6 guys for a guy that's completely situational, has no range, no firepower, and never gets to mid/cp in time. In pubs, you will slaughtered by the hordes of demo/soldiers firing projectiles at you before you make it to the front and no, you will not reflect them all, nor will you coordinate a push with your team in a pub allowing you to act as "offensive support"; but if you are able to coordinate a push, why not play a more efficient class like soldier? Instead of "breaking up groups" one can simply blow them up at a further range. A soldier does more at a further range then a pyro can ever do at close range. You know at the flamer's effective range (jarateing distance) rockets are nuking the team, with splash, for like 80-90 damage per shot.

Only good thing a pyro does is reflect push ubers which takes no skill or thought and is highly irritating for the ubered. Oh, and spy check, supposedly.
Yawn.
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Old 07-02-2011, 04:47 AM   #8
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Yawn.
He's pretty much correct. The problem is the pyro isn't effective.
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:08 AM   #9
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Great opening post. My main problem is one you identify yourself: it requires tactics. I know TF2 is supposedly all about tactics, but I haven't seen a whole lot of real coordination since I started playing. Last night, for example, I watched a medic with stolen intelligence unwittingly return said intelligence back into enemy hands because he hadn't realised he was holding it and no one was able to effectively communicate to him that he was ruining all our hard work.

In this kind of environment, the chances of my being able to signal allies to take out a particular enemy pinning me down before another enemy (or a sniper) finish me off are roughly nil. Sticking around a heavy for protection until you get into the meat of the enemy line is also poor strategy for two reasons: 1) you will move more slowly, and 2) the heavy is going to attract a lot of fire, much of which will inevitably hit you.

In order to cause the kind of effective disruption you describe, the best tactic is to quickly analyse the most undefended route across the map, make for it via as much cover as possible, rush in from the side and then hold out for as long as possible while constantly surrounded by enemies. Most of the time, you'll die fairly sharpish, but I agree that if you can stay alive, you can absolutely decimate the enemy line, sending them off to get health or to pick you off from a safer distance. While a soldier can probably do just as much damage from a distance, the psychological effect of an unexpected attack from a different direction might well be worth it.
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:29 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by thejimz View Post
Yawn.
Well you where setting yourself up for failure by using the word "effective" and "Pyro" in the topic title

If the pyro is designed to 'enter the enemy base/territory like the spy, and that they are actually a symbiotic relationship... and that the Pyro functions like the scout, where he hit and runs...

Problem is hes worse at them both.

Pyro sucks as a Spy, because he doesn't have the tools (cloak/disguise) to get into the enemy base. At best he can protect himself from spam with the airblast but aside from that he has as much chance and success getting into the enemy base and staying there to cause chaos as other classes do with no advanced mobility.

Pyro sucks as a scout, because not only does he have to get closer to enemies then a scout to do damage (no pistol) but he can't get close fast enough, meaning he would have to stick to closed areas which would make him very situational. No double jump means he can't hide in unusual places or dodge as easily.
And when he does get close enough to use his weapon he sacrifices the damage of the scattergun for the 'group disrupting flamethrower'. You covered the advantages of this nicely but usually its better to kill someone then let them live and hope that the afterburn kills them. With 7 ways of extinguishing afterburn its not just medkits and water areas that can do that.

Hes a failed concept, but with alot of work he can be something. Flaregun, Degreaser, airblast buffs (and the recent backburner buff) are all pushing him towards... something.

He can be more then a engineer buddy or spychecker.

Last edited by The Unbeholden: 07-02-2011 at 06:09 AM.
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:47 AM   #11
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He's pretty much correct. The problem is the pyro isn't effective.
Cept a lot of the problems Pyro players think they have are 80% solved by them just getting better. To a certain extent, yes, the class is underpowered, but there are many many many many many situations in which your own choices and skill weigh more heavily than just class selection. To blame it on the class is just lazy and more indicative about the skill of the poster rather than actual evidence of true underpoweredness. Even moreso, the post you think is 'correct' seems to believe that every game played in TF2 is on cp_orange. Rockets don't deal 80-90 damage on splash damage either, that's more like a close-medium range direct hit, which you stand a fairly good chance of reflecting anyways. If you take pure numbers and (lol) perfect accuracy into account, Pyro seems weak. But in the actual game, its a very different thing.
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Old 07-02-2011, 05:55 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by billybobby
To blame it on the class is just lazy and more indicative about the skill of the poster rather than actual evidence of true underpoweredness.
Saying it's down to the skill of the poster just doesn't ring true when most people are judging their experiences as pyro against their experiences as other classes. If you were crap, you wouldn't think the pyro was particularly underpowered - you'd think all the classes were underpowered (but only when *you* play them)!

But maybe there's a compromise, in that the problem is that people want to play pyro in a particular way that he's not suited for. Maybe the poster in another thread is right when he says you have to stick with a bunch of other team-mates and wait for the right situation to attack, rather than trying to solo attack or solo ambush. I would still say TF2's tactics/comm support/general community attitude to strategy means that it's not right to have a class that relies heavily on finely tuned strategies. It needs to be effective in some way when played solo.
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Old 07-02-2011, 06:33 AM   #13
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Cept a lot of the problems Pyro players think they have are 80% solved by them just getting better. To a certain extent, yes, the class is underpowered, but there are many many many many many situations in which your own choices and skill weigh more heavily than just class selection. To blame it on the class is just lazy and more indicative about the skill of the poster rather than actual evidence of true underpoweredness. Even moreso, the post you think is 'correct' seems to believe that every game played in TF2 is on cp_orange. Rockets don't deal 80-90 damage on splash damage either, that's more like a close-medium range direct hit, which you stand a fairly good chance of reflecting anyways. If you take pure numbers and (lol) perfect accuracy into account, Pyro seems weak. But in the actual game, its a very different thing.
Translation: l2p NOOB. Sorry we've heard it before.
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Old 07-02-2011, 06:54 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by billybobby View Post
Cept a lot of the problems Pyro players think they have are 80% solved by them just getting better. To a certain extent, yes, the class is underpowered, but there are many many many many many situations in which your own choices and skill weigh more heavily than just class selection. To blame it on the class is just lazy and more indicative about the skill of the poster rather than actual evidence of true underpoweredness. Even moreso, the post you think is 'correct' seems to believe that every game played in TF2 is on cp_orange. Rockets don't deal 80-90 damage on splash damage either, that's more like a close-medium range direct hit, which you stand a fairly good chance of reflecting anyways. If you take pure numbers and (lol) perfect accuracy into account, Pyro seems weak. But in the actual game, its a very different thing.
If you actually read my post, you'd realize i was talking about rockets @ flamethrower range. Good luck reflecting these rockets with reflexes alone. Or you could anticipate, right, except these anticipatory reflects are subject to the ENEMY's reflexes. All these bloody risks being taken, and you still get damaged by your own reflect and take immeasurable risk at the sort of distances involved.

I'm trying to think of what sort of maps you have in mind. Gravel pit? Granary? Badlands? Goldrush? 2fort? Probably the only map where you have a chance is in 2fort, where you flame/reflect guys when rounding corners, or do the puff-sting. Oh yeah and there's this *one* spot in Badlands, isn't there?
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Old 07-02-2011, 06:58 AM   #15
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>chaos

I really wish I would stop seeing this word in pyro descriptions.
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