Originally Posted by Dispozition
I count them as straight upgrades because of those reasons, rather than saying that they have to be the same but better. They're different but much better imo :P
Exactly. There are some items you're going to use as sidegrades, though the vanilla will always be standard (i.e., the minigun and scattergun). Then there are some weapons that are absolutely necessary to the class (like the Sandvich or Equalizer, which improve survivability for little tradeoff). The purely situational stuff (such as the Phlogistinator or Scottish Resistance) is helpful, but not alway needed.