JENING’s Early Thoughts On New Spy Update (Cloak Unlocks)

JENING has seen that Valve announced a secret spy update with its sniper updates! Many of JENING’s friends have asked JENING to opine about the two new spy unlocks! Although any opinions at this point are mere speculation, JENING will still share some thoughts, based on certain stated assumptions that JENING will make.


JENING assumptions as to how it works:

  • Ability to cloak engaged when hit with a non-lethal attack
  • Creates illusion of dead spy corpse for other players
  • 8 seconds of cloak

JENING’s Big Questions:

  • Will you be able to engage the cloak at will? (if not, then trying to fool spycheckers by pretending they’re not hurting you will no longer work since you’d automatically drop into cloak)
  • Will you be able to disengage the cloak at will?
  • How does it recharge?

Pros: Theoretically makes escaping easier since opponent will believe you are dead and will more likely not give chase.

Cons: Assuming that it only engages after you are hit, you lose the ability to cloak at will and easily get past the front line. You will always be damaged when your cloak is engaged, and the enemy will already be alerted to your presence. Less cloak time and no obvious way of recharging. Will also increase spychecking. Will be even more problematic if you automatically drop into cloak when hit, since you won’t be able to fool would-be spy checkers by simply standing there and taking your lumps.

JENING Tentative Verdict: JENING believes it sounds intriguing, but will not prove to be very useful, much like the Scout’s Bonk drink. The primary advantage it gives you (fake death) is somewhat mitigated by (i) the fact that all players are aware that this item exists and will be less likely to be fooled by your fake corpse, and (ii) increased spychecking that will almost certainly follow from this.


JENING assumptions as to how it works:

  • Cloak and decloak at will (same as current watch)
  • Charges cloak when standing still (whereas current watch allows recharge through (i) metal; (ii) staying uncloaked)
  • Drains cloak whenever you move (whereas current watch drains cloak based on time progression, irrespective of movement)

JENING’s Big Questions:

  • Will it drain the cloak meter when you are moving, but uncloaked? (The update says “The Cloak and Dagger is ONLY powered by standing still”)
  • Is the rate of cloak drain on the Cloak and Dagger greater than the current watch’s drain rate?
  • Is the rate of cloak recharge on the Cloak and Dagger slower than the current watch’s recharge rate?

Pros: Makes it easier to perform sap and stabs on engineer setups since you can wait longer for the engineer to give you an opening. Makes it easier to perform ambushes since you can wait in one spot indefinitely. May make it easier to stalk targets when there is no metal around since you may be able to engage in a pattern of run/stop/run/stop behind your target, although by doing this it is likely that you will lose ground and fall too far behind your target.

Cons: Makes it harder to escape after having executed an attack since escaping is dependent on constant movement (rarely will you be able to simply cloak and hide behind some boxes if the pursuer is skilled) and you cannot rely on metal to recharge cloak. This will be especially true if movement drains cloak even when the cloak is disengaged since you would lose cloak when running around to perform your attack. Will also increase spychecking.

JENING Tentative Verdict: If the watch either (i) drains while you are moving even while uncloaked, or (ii) recharges slower than the current watch, or (iii) drains faster than the current watch, then JENING thinks it could be a balanced option as it would force you to significantly tradeoff your own mobility (including ability to escape) for the potentially infinite cloak.

If the watch has none of these drawbacks and is a pure buff, then JENING believes it would unnecessarily eliminate (or significantly reduce) the need for cloak management, and would thereby significantly reduce the skill required to play the class. JENING thinks this would be very regrettable as it would make the spy a much more shallow, boring class to play. JENING also fears that it may encourage more “do-nothing” spies who stand around in the idle safety of their cloak without significantly engaging the enemy, and therefore, doing little to help their own team.

JENING believes that spies who only come in for the infrequent, occasional, stab will most benefit from this unlockable. Spies who engage in constant assaults, and are consistently engaging the enemy team, will derive far less benefit from this since for those spies, movement will continue to be key.

JENING looks forward to seeing these items in action and invites your comments . . .


27 Responses to JENING’s Early Thoughts On New Spy Update (Cloak Unlocks)

  1. UnrealCanine says:

    The main concern with the Dead Ringer is wheter it’ll create fake kill icon?

  2. Vazzaroth says:

    Nice article Jening!

    I agree with Unreal, that was my first though. I dont think this is how it will work, but I wish the dead ringer would make your corpse fall as whatever disguise you had on, so if you were a friendly scout, the enemy would think they killed a scout. At least it would give a point to friendly disguises.

    I doubt the Cloak and Dagger will go down while de-cloaked. I am looking forward to the C&D because when I spy, I like to work my way to the enemy’s backlines/spawn, and work my way forward. Being able to freeze when an enemy comes around a corner will help in getting there. I know I’ll be using it, I was wishing for a cloak that simply didn’t go down while still, but recharging while still works as well.

    Furthermore, I think the powers of these watches may change depending on other spy unlocks, if Valve is making any.

    Finally, I have to say I def. dig the style of having a pocket watch, that was a good design call. 😀

  3. Chadam says:

    I’m sure the Dead Ringer will still be able to cloak normally like the current watch, but it wont fool experienced players who are trigger happy to kill Spies. I do look forward to new strategies that Spies will use, but I’ll probably play Sniper more then Spy.

  4. Alkydere says:

    I think the way the Dead Ringer works is you activate it, perhaps after pulling a nice stab’n’sap chain. When activated, you don’t cloak, instead the game waits until you’re hit, perhaps by a stray (hopefully non crit) rocket and makes you go “poof!”. After that, it follows all the normal roles.

    Anyways, Jening, I’m kind of surprised. I was half expecting your response to the Spy update news to be something along the lines of “FUCK YEA! That is all, Jening!”

  5. Pulviriza says:

    I think (i) will be false and (ii) and (iii) will be true for the second weapon. Depleting cloak when you aren’t cloaked? preposterous.

  6. Aradour says:

    Very Nice article JENING!

    If these are the 2 first spy weapon updates, who knows waht valve have up their selves for the next 2!


  7. Slowpoek says:

    As much as I love playing Spy I was really wanting to pin peoples’ corpses to walls and ceilings with a bow and arrow.

    Were the Sniper update unlockables one big phony hoax the whole time, or is this a dual-class update?

  8. Frunk says:

    Thanks for the thoughts Jening, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head regarding the concerns for these two unlockables, especially the C&D. There really needs to be some sort of drawback to using it, otherwise it is a straight upgrade from the regular watch.

    I think some of the allure of going forward with the dead ringer stems from the fact that they’re releasing two watches at once. This way, no one can be 100% sure that any certain spy has any certain watch equipped, thus reducing the chance of extra-paranoid spy-checking. I personally play on servers where I know this will happen anyway, and like you said will most likely make this watch a gimmick at best, but I remain optimistic.

    As mentioned elsewhere, the main concern is that kill icon. I’d go a step further and even say that the skull next to the player’s name is also important, especially in modes such as arena. having that skull display while the spy is in post-shot cloak would make the watch more reliable in its usuage, depending on the situation.

    There is also the possibility of using this watch to fake the death of another player on your team(medic?). The watch enables such tactics; it will certainly be most interesting to see how it works out in the battlefield. 🙂

  9. Anonymous says:


    Doug Lombardi confirmed that both classes are getting unlockables.

    I wonder what the revolver unlock will be? hopefully something anti-pyro. Anything that kills pyros is good in my book.

  10. diznoid says:

    forgot to write my name in the above post ^^^

    Also, sapper unlocks?

  11. [WAT]Falcon says:

    The Dead Ringer seems more like it would work if everyone on the opposite team were Metal Gear Solid guids…All it takes to counter the Dead Ringer would be another attack in the direction of the fake corpse. Chances are if you’re hit by any of the non-minigun bullet weapons, it would be fine, but if you’re already being chased by a heavy, pyro, or a soldier who’s willing to throw another rocket at you, you’re as good as dead anyway. I’m probably going to avoid this like the plague for a real game, and use it to drop bodies everywhere when I’m just plain dicking around.

    The Cloak & Dagger watch is surely built for the ambusher spy who’s tired of relying on their disguise to lie in wait. The only way I can say this would be a good substitute for the normal watch would be to wait and see how the cloak meter behaves in terms of recharge/use speed. It would seem kind of unfair if it decreased at the same speed, since you’re already able to cover a decent amount of ground with the normal watch. Though I’m not much of an ambusher, I’d probably try playing with this one :\

    Whatever, I’ll be avoiding spy after the update, since there’ll be spy-checking out the ass

  12. Panthermans says:

    I’m not exactly sure how i feel about either of these weapons..
    I’m just gonna wait to see how they pan out in-game.

    But i cant wait to see what JENING does with them =]

  13. hecosean says:

    Ive played a similar mod to hldm where they implemeted the spy with the cloak and dagger sytlye cloak. Actually it was my clans server for hl2dm. It worked very well. Until an sdk update broke all our server mods. When they say only movement drains its power i think it probrably means it will go down like the regular cloak and as soon as you stop it starts charging agian. If you look at it in perspective or the original spy cloak you have the first upgrade that charges cloak with ammo(Which was huge) and the cloak and dagger which charges cloak with no movement. I think the one now engourages a more mobile style of game play and the cloak and dagger will let you hang out and hide more. I am sure that it will decrease just like the regular cloak when you are running and i am pretty sure you will not drain the cloak while not cloaked. Its what alot of players wanted from the spy from the beggining. I dont find this any more powerful than the ammo cloak to be honest. If anything I would not be suprised if it had a smaller cloak time like say 6 or 8 seconds since you could just stop and let it regen. I think its a good sidegrade.

    Now the Dead ringer we really dont know enough about to get an objective judgment. I can see it being a huge buff to friendly disguises if it drops a friendly rag doll. But I’m inclined to think that this unlock will be more gimmicky and situaltional. Would be good to have but may not use it that much. I certainly have to reserve judgement though until having tried it. In any case will probrably be better to have one more option in the spys arsenal than to not have it.

  14. Crit Goes Where?!? says:

    As I personally play for fun or enjoyment instead of necessarily winning, such as playing mind games with the enemy team. I think the Dead Ringer would be perfect for that. The Cloak and Dagger perhaps would be more useful and standing in a spot while cloaked usually works for me while the enemy thinks I’ve escaped would be easier. But again the gold watch is sexy and most likely more interesting. If there is no fake kill icon then yes it wouldn’t be nearly as useful as one would imagine but after people using it often enough responsible players would still try to check to see if you are dead. As for it recharging I think ammo would recharge it as the Cloak and Dagger had to specifically say that ammo doesn’t help in that instance. In any case I’m going to have fun seeing which of the three cloaking devices I prefer. But that gold pocket watch sure is attractive…

  15. SATAn says:

    Everything you’ve brought up so far are things that have passed through my mind. I think the cloak and dagger is a great idea, and hopefully it still recharges when you’re not cloaked. If so than I will most likely switch to it since it matches my play style as spy.

    Honestly I don’t think I will be using the Dead Ringer watch but I will definitely give it a shot and see what I can pull off.

  16. hecosean says:

    On second thought I thought of some situations where this could be useful or confusing after reading the description again (Dead Ringer). Since it say you cloak up to 8 seconds then I am assuming that it means you have the ability to uncloak at will. Of course the loss of control to be automatically cloaked will of course be a downside. But imaging sapping a sg and the engi gets in a rare non crit wrench on you(Because we all know engis have almost all crit wrenchs when your a spy.) You will appear to be dead to him and can just manuever to side and uncloak and continure the attack. Will confuse the heck out of engineers especially if there is no cooldown time and it drops another ragdoll on the next hit. Basically right now if someone spy checks you you are screwed 80 percent of the time anyway so it is an upgrade have this ability to instantly fool someone yet any loss of control of your abilitys like jenning said “taking your lumps” is a downgrade. So this may be a good unlock after all. I can see all 3 cloaks encourage a different play style to suit different types of spys. I could even see changing for different maps. Like I could see the Dead Ringer being very useful on 2 fort where it is very hard for the spy to penetrate compared to some maps.

  17. Wudz says:

    On the Dead Ringer, the way I see it working is: You can still trigger cloak at will, but it’s still the 8 second limit. For the feign death part, it seems like you’d have to be holding the watch in your hand or something. Not entirely sure how that would work, but it looks like that in the pictures. Maybe he holds it in his hand at all times, rather than wearing the watch? Not sure. Also I read some people’s questions last night: will it activate at any damage at all, such as fall or environmental damage? If so, it could be interesting for ambush from a height or something similar.

    The Cloak and Dagger: as long as it still has the 10 second duration and doesn’t degrade while not cloaked, it could be great. Seems like it could make you play more carefully, and make you take a look at your surroundings a bit more. Gives you a chance to see where the engineers are, and what to look out for.

    This is going to be the best update. Both of my favorite classes on one day.

  18. Yith says:

    I feel like both of these items will increase Spy checking and Spy paranoia. : (.

    The revealed updates aren’t over yet, so I’ll wait and see how it plays out.

  19. GHṌST says:

    Sup Jenning.

    The “Dead Ringer” spy watch seems to me like it could use some improvements. For the sake of argument, I am going to assume that with the Dead Ringer Spy Watch you will still be able to trigger cloak at will; up to 8 seconds at a time and use ammo to recharge the cloak meter.

    I’ll even go as far and say that each time you get hit by a non-lethal attack while UNCLOAKED, your cloak meter would then start at full, instantly turning you cloaked for up to a 8 seconds again, while producing a limp corpse of your body.

    The Dead Ringer watch will also produce kill signs on top of the enemy screens and provide instant cloak if you get hit by a non-lethal attack; but will not protect you from PYROS if you get hit by their flames.

    Here’s Some Problems I Have with the
    “Dead Ringer” Spy Watch:

    It promotes bad spy gameplay, the watch only activates it special affects if you get hit by a non-lethal attack. Even if your not trying to get hit at all, you will not be able to get better at aiming, because you must cloak.

    IT FORCES YOU TO GO CLOAKED, IF YOU GET HIT BY A NON-LETHAL ATTACK. While cloaked you cannot defend yourself and there is always a 50% chance that the enemy can kill you while cloaked, instead of finding a way out of that situation. There is also a two second uncloak time that a spy is vulnerable to enemy fire before he can attack.

    If the spy does not have any cloak left and does not regain FULL CLOAK while shot UNCLOAKED, the spy will still be force to instant cloak costing him 3 to 4 seconds from instant cloaking to uncloaking upon taking enemy fire.

    Getting hit by a attack is never a good thing and from my experience cloaking isn’t your best option if your trying to fight or get away from a enemy.

    Only 8 seconds compare to 10 seconds of cloak time, compare to the spies original watch, fair trade for the dead corpse though.

    Useless in arena gameplay, because enemies check the kill timer and will would not be fooled by the dead corpse.

    Useless against spy backstabs or sniper headshots, let alone anything that can kill you with one shot.

    Finally, would not be effective against pyros, unless they give you a 1 to 1.5 sec. of invincibility after getting flame, which is not likely to happen; since Pyros are supposed to be spies hard counter.

    On the other hand, I am really looking forward to using the Cloak and Dagger Watch.

    The Cloak and Dagger Watch is superior to the spies original watch in almost every way.

    Spies would still be able to move while cloaked and recharge while standing still. With this watch you no longer need engie dispensors and ammo boxes to refill your cloak meter anymore.

    Enemies would have to waste more ammo to find you and teammates would have more ammo to use, because your not using it to refill your cloak meter.

    SPIES WON’T HAVE TO RELY ON THEIR DISGUISES ANYMORE because they would be able to stay cloaked permanently. Spies would be able to pick your moments of attack rather than rushing for ammo and bumping into people around corners.

    Lastly, spies wouldn’t be restricted to certain ambush or hiding spots on maps to kill or get away from enemies at a time. A spy would be able to stand in the middle of the battle field without the enemy knowing any better.

    So it really comes down to personal preference. After some long and hard thought, I could see how the Dead Ringer Spy Watch could be useful on standard tf2 gameplay.

    It could be useful in those 1 vs 1 situations against a enemy who thinks he has killed you, then you would be able to backstab him all the better.

    Though, after everything is said and done; I believe The Cloak and Dagger Watch is better then the Dead Ringer Watch in the LONG RUN. It’s more useful and promotes better spy gameplay overall as a watch.

    This is going to be the best update ever. Sniper+Spy Duel updates. Hats and new Maps. Awesome. 🙂

  20. Aldershot says:

    excellent thoughts every one, and great article jening. i wont share much of my thoughts on the new watches cause jening and friends have already expressed most of how i felt already, but i will say… wow… i didn’t see that coming, which i guess is suiting for spy updates.

    instead i’d like to talk about the update previous to the spy’s. the sniper’s “razorback”. I’m going to call shannanagans on this one. the following are reasons why:

    – Valve seems too obsessed with the “unengaged kills”.

    – Unengaged kills are not OP.

    – the previous balance to sniper is, they trade
    awareness of their surrounding for scope kills where others cannot / difficult to be aware of snipers.

    – pyros and spys was the sniper’s bane, every other class out side of scout , sniper wins at a distance.

    – the razorback will tip the previous balance of scope vs. awareness in the favor of the sniper. which could potentially make it OP.

    – only snipers who dosnt understand the balance of scope vs. awareness whine about back stabs. to further prove my point, i’ve investigated multiple “career” sniper stats, and other casual sniper stats and their max kill stats are often above most other career class players. it is NOT uncommon for a good sniper to have 20-40+ kills before a single death. with these kind of stats, snipers should have no rights to complain about back stabs.

    – if the razorback takes the place of the machine gun i would consider it more balanced than my initial judgement, as it would take away a large amount of the sniper’s ability to fight back attacking spys.

  21. zaraithe says:

    My local steamfriends are already calling this “Zaraithe’s Field Day” :> Perhaps these unlockables are just another way to learn spy, hopefully by someone willing to play properly of course, and turn these things to an advantage (I loves me my flaregun)?

  22. Aldershot says:

    i just read the razorback’s description a little closer. seems like it breaks after just one use. which i feel would make it more balanced. perhaps my initial judgment is incorrect and may not turn out to be as unbalanced as i thought. only time can tell at this point.

    but wither it to be OP or not, i feel valve still should of went with some thing else for the sniper. i still feel the razorback seems very unnecessary and that the sniper could of benefited more with some thing else.

    i can see this going the way of the natasha, or back burner. few experienced players will use it, and those who do will be bombarded with “n00b” taunts.

  23. Aldershot says:

    this is an unrelated note but apparently valve’s latest “meet the…” video has been leaked on veoh. guess who the meet the video features?

    A PYRO NAME UNTE S JENING!! (aka: spy!!) (get it… when you see a pyro with jening’s name… obvious spy… heh…)

    this is BY FAR the most epic and hilarious of all the meet the videos.

    jening, i didn’t know your lover was the scout’s mom… learn some thing every day.

  24. iSuck says:

    wow great posts all around. really enjoyed your commentary jening and I gotta say this forum is far superior in intelligent discussion than the steam forum! Another aspect im interested in is which item will these watches take up? will the revolver have three total choices of unlockables? the two new watches and a revolver/old watch combo? Only time will tell for now i suppose.

  25. GHṌST says:

    3 watches confirmed:

    Anyways, after reviewing the two new watches for quite some time now, I realize that the Dead Ringer Watch is the perfect spy watch for me. Let alone any offensive spy play style. The “Dead ringer” will encourage spies to perfect aim, while dodging and evading all forms of attack. And if you do happen to get hit you would be instantly cloaked. Letting you get in another great attack position and attack from there. Even though, I do understand it does somewhat promote bad spy gameplay ( because spies are not supposed to be seen and be too offensive) its the spy watch for me. Looking forward to the dead ringer watch assuming you can still trigger cloak at will like before.

  26. […] Read JENING’s thoughts on the Spy Update […]

  27. Your Good Friend Burner says:

    You sir, are a genius. What are you selling, cuz I am buying.

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