I’m a Heavy main in The Finals, its biggest class’ massive health pool making up for my horrendous aim. Coupled with my trusty RPG, all that extra HP means that I love seeing a lobby full of Light and Medium characters – as long as I don’t get too close, most of them will struggle to kill me in a straight gunfight. But as The Finals’ meta has settled down, I’ve seen fewer and fewer Lights – and I fear that the new The Finals update might have all-but killed the class for now.
My evidence is purely anecdotal, but it does feel like the suggestions from early in The Finals’ lifespan – that the Heavy’s health gave it an unfair advantage – has come true, to an extent. In fact, I’d argue that it’s the Medium, a class that offers more effective health to its team through its healing beam and its instant-revive Defibrillator item, that’s top of the tier list at the moment. But even that is due to an abundance of health that the Light struggles to compete against. Increasingly, teams rely on bulk rather than damage, and that’s already pushing the Light out of contention.
So I was surprised to see how much of the latest update to The Finals takes aim at its squishiest class. Today’s update takes aim at the Cloaking Device, a quintessential Light ability that turns players temporarily invisible and is one of the few things keeping them alive through the chaotic cashpoint fights at the climax of each game. Both other classes have seen some of their abilities nerfed (such as the infamous ‘nuke’ technique) but not in such a way that seems to undermine entire playstyles.
When it comes to gadgets, the Light has been hit again, this time with a whopping 25% nerf to the Stun Gun, which hinders foes’ ability to do things like aim down sights, use their own abilities and gadgets, and move quickly. A pretty standard gameplay loop for the Light would be to go invisible to close the gap on an enemy, hit them with the stun gun, try and kill them in that five second window, and then turn invisible again to make a quick getaway. As should be apparent, that strategy has been gutted.
To add insult to injury, there’s even an indirect nerf to the Light in the form of a buff to the Heavy’s flamethrower. A weapon perfect for dealing with these fast-moving, close-quarters foes has had its damage ticked up, making it even easier to use it to see off a pesky Light. Elsewhere, however, the damage on the Light’s shotgun has been ticked down.
While it’s not as though other classes haven’t had their share of adjustments, it’s the impact on the Light’s entire gameplay loop that I fear all but spells the end of this class, at least when it comes to The Finals’ competitive ladder. Too much of what the Light is designed to do has been hit here to make it effective, and while there are other ways to play, I’d argue they’re simply less effective than the meta setups for Heavy and Medium. I don’t imagine the Light will be going away entirely, but I also don’t think its players are about to have a good time until the next patch rolls around.
The Finals devs weren’t even going to make a shooter at first, but what else are you gonna do with a team full of Battlefield veterans?