Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vortex's First Year

It's been around a year or two since news of the Vortex line got published on the Nerf Nation Facebook page.  I still remember reading all the complaints about "why is it a disk blaster?" and horrific thoughts of the dollar store blasters most folks were familiar with.  No-one really expected these new designs, XLR Disks, or the matchup between N-Strike and Vortex.  When they first hit shelves late in the summer of 2011, I picked a bunch up and did an indoor N-Strike vs Vortex game to see how this match would actually pan out.  I'm pretty sure we were some of the first to do it, especially considering the attention that single post gained afterwards.  I expected to see others following suit, but instead I have seen more folks clinging to their dart blasters and dodging disks in mid-flight.

While we did enjoy our Vortex vs N-Strike games, the more I try to pitch it to the folks I Nerf with, the more they would rather just stick to dart blaster games.  In the same way that much of the economy revolves around gasoline, Nerf players can't seem to give up their darts.  I think one of the main problems is that although the XLR Disks in the Vortex lineup can achieve longer ranges than most dart blasters, there are other factors that outweigh this benefit.  There have been countless studies and comparisons between Darts and Disks, but regardless of the outcome of any of that, Nerf Fans still end up clinging to their darts.

There has been some progression to the Vortex line since it's original release with the Lumitron out and the Pyragon on the way.  However, if Vortex's main power lies in it's range... it's about to get axed by N-Strike Elite, which seems to be focused on beating the XLR Disk in range with a redesigned dart that ANY blaster can use.  If the Vortex Line doesn't do something to increase their performance, I fear that the trend of dart-lovers in Nerf Nation will only worsen, making the acceptance of Disks even tougher to sell.

I rather like the idea of two types of ammo pitted against eachother, as it balances games in a neat way.  It's my hope that whatever future lies ahead of Vortex that it's a path that'll ensure that the rivalry continues.


  1. I've encountered the same thing. Most of my friends that have used my Vortex blasters view them as a novelty. Almost like a side show to the N-Strike line. Anyway, great post!

  2. In the two Australian groups where I've played, it's increasingly common to have a mixed dart/disc load out - I'll run downfield with a Nitron for suppressing fire and range, then switch to a Rayven for close quarters

    Brisbane CTF games have often seen the two base defenders with a Vortex and darts combo. In a wide open field, the discs slow players down as they go Matrix to dodge, and that leaves them open to darts. The flat flight and lower fall off rate also makes the Ankle Cutter shot a personal favourite - firing under tree lines where you're thinking more about the chest high cover is a personal joy.

    Certainly when you're playing indoors, the dart/disc combo is beautiful - the discs are slower by just enough that when the rain of darts stop, people pop out from behind cover straight into the discs.

    Even the HvZ (which was dart dominated) is seeing a hybrid game - people adding the ability to curve a shot into the zombie horde behind cover is proving as effective as waiting patiently with a Raider for the charge.

    That, and I'm trying to combine two Nitrons and a pair of Rayvens into a single modular walking foam turret.

  3. If the Elite darts are accurate, I'll be replacing all my Streamlines with them. If they're just as inaccurate as Streamlines, then people will likely stick with the current darts. I personally did not like discs a whole lot until I got a Lumitron. For some reason it just seemed cooler than the Praxis. And it is that reason which has caused me to want a Pyragon.
    Either way modders will probably stick with stefans.

  4. I really enjoy using the vortex guns and like them just as much as dart blasters c'mon people give 'em a try!