fu*

Feedback on Squad’s Meta Game in v7.5

68 posts in this topic

Team,

After pulling 40 or so hours on a variety of servers since 7.5 was introduced, I thought I’d put together some notes on a couple trends I see in game. The goal here is not necessarily to place a value judgment on these trends, but to identify them for developers from an experienced FPS player’s perspective. I would welcome the input of others on crucial trends,which I’ve not included here. I think gameplay style affects the things one notices, and everyone’s style is unique.

   

I have 650 hours since Squad moved to steam, and have been playing since the Closed Alpha pre-Steam in summer 2015. I willingly SL in about 25 percent of my games – meaning I start a squad at the onset of the round and finish the round as SL.

     

Given greater client stability since the most recent 7.5 update, I think we’ve gotten the first stable period since vehicles were introduced to evaluate overall gameplay.

Trends:

  • -        Early round gameplay is essential to victory
  • -        Vehicle rushing to advanced, uncappable flags at round start on medium or smaller maps
  • -        Low punishment for death or giving up 
  • -        Volume of activated FOBS more important than location. 
  • -        AKS74 w/optic and M4 w/ ACOG are THE dominant weapons on the battlefield
  • -        Medics crucial to victory, but factors are stacked against medics right now.
  • -        Squadleading is essential, but draining. 

The single biggest trend on smaller or medium maps, w/ AAS and  vehicle layers enabled, is that early round gameplay becomes essential – the direction of a round’s outcome is often decided in the first two or three minutes due to vehicle rushing.
 

1. The lack of early round organization prevents one team from deploying vehicles or deploying in a distributed fashion. Whether its false squad creation, SL designation passing, failure to build a spawn network, or shortage of effective SLs this can break a team’s performance in the first moments. This is magnified by trend two, which is vehicle rushing:

 

2. The current meta in-game is for experienced players to join one squad. They then have a small team spawn at main at round start, grab an armed vehicle and logi, and drive across the map to an un-capable flag, drop a rally then a FOB, and with the objective of denying the enemy team the ability to cap the second flag in their progression in AAS. There are some benefits to this approach from the experienced player perspective:

  • -        It provides a challenge, because the advance squad may be attacked by 2+ squads in short order. If not, then the advance squad can patrol aggressively for vehicles and/or fortify. 
  • -        It takes advantage of speed and superior organization at the outset, to deploy troops on the far side of the map rapidly, in good order, and without clogging main w/ excessive untransportable troops.
  • -        There is nothing from a logistical perspective inhibiting extended deployment – i.e. jumping ahead three flags.
  • -        This strategy allows inexperienced or less aggressive squads time to cap the points and move up to the flag where the advanced squad has “set the edge.” And it doesn’t take much inter-Squad comms.
  • -         If you die/wipe, and inexperienced squad 2 is still struggling to cap the second or third point on your side- you respawn at main and drive a vehicle over to your attack flag and assist.

This style of gameplay has led to some fun and rewarding moments. The problems tend to emerge when BOTH teams employ this strategy – instead of a linked AAS fight it becomes a battle over two disparate points on the map, and the outcome at one flag determines the entire battle, as one team is often caught radically out of position. The classic case would be Logar Valley AAS, with one squad advance squad from Militia fighting on North Residence while one advance squad from U.S. fights on South Residence and there is less action in the city until late game.

 

3. For experienced, or talented players, there is little punishment for death. For an aggressive, skilled FPS player, it is almost always more effective to re-spawn rather than wait for a medic.  For example, if I flank and kill 5-6 people, and die on an enemy FOB location, far from the medic, why would I wait for two-three minutes or a possible medic (?), when I can give up, spawn in 25 seconds on a FOB, and do it again. In ten minutes, I’m 12-2, w/ a plus 10 ticket differential, and possibly one enemy FOB dug or one enemy vehicle destroyed, w/ the added intelligence relayed to the team throughout. To be clear, if there is even a 50 percent likelihood a medic can make it, I personally will wait – but often walk away from my desk due to knowledge of how long it will take. Exception is w/ SL’ing of course, then I’ll not go AFK. The point is that not every player will make that judgment, and right now there are few dis-incentives to death.

 

4. Volume of FOB placement is essential to victory. The relatively low cost of losing a FOB, makes it much more important to have multiple FOBs than one superior FOB. Changing the angle of attack in a firefight has become the dominant tactical move, and w/o FOB volume this is more difficult to achieve. Teams that place more FOBs that reach active status (blue) are more likely to win. I’d love to see some correlated data on that trend.

 

5. Currently, the AKS74 w/ optic and the M4 w/ Acog are the dominant weapon classes. The ease of spotting, follow-up shots, and decent utility in CQB make them the most sought after class, and by far the most flexible. The M4 w/ irons and foregrip (w/ 2 nades) and the Raider class w/ PPSH are also fairly strong. Most of my 30+ kill games or 10:1 k/d ratio games come using one of these four kits. I’ve seen others consistently dominate w/ a SAW or RPK w/ optic, but I don’t use the Autorifleman class very often.

 

6. Medics are critical, but its not easy. Medicing two games a day w/o binocs or additional stamina makes it a drudge. The level of bandages and smoke a medic gets is pretty low – have had numerous situations where I run out w/o recourse of an ammo crate. You always have someone baying for assistance. In addition, you tend to be more aggressive, w/ your attempted revives because otherwise players will just give up. I always try to make it a point to thank medics each time they revive me, but its tough out there for the most important class in a winning squad.

 

7. Squadleading is demanding. For any experienced SL, this is not a revelation. Between inter-squad communication, intra-squad communication, vehicle claims, logistics, and analysis you are constantly under a barrage of requests, in addition to trying to think, identify names, communicate, move, and fight. As an experienced SL, I have to hold myself back from SL’ing too often because it definitely wears on you and takes away from enjoyment of the actual combat and gameplay. That said, the new marker functions are fantastic, the 3 person vehicle claim system works very well, and for the most part the community is amenable and intelligent.               

Edited by fu*

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#3 Personally I am an avid problem #3 person. I played Insurgency competitive consistently dropping 30+ kills in the highest level of competitive 5v5 games. This is exactly how my process of thinking is. Having also played with top players such as FFO and HSG, these is not uncommon traits or habits for skilled FPS players.

I would personally find value in increase punishment of death however death and "wait screens" are frustrating in nature and end up punishing the 90% of users, I believe that other solutions solve the same issue without creating needless frustration. ( it should be said death SHOULD be increase just not byitself)

 

For me this is the ammo. With 5-6 mags I have so much ammo I can push all the way to a fob and then have enough to camp without worry. 

Decreasing the maximum "lethality" time makes me play closer to teammates as well as spending less time "out on my own fully sustainable solo".

This ammo change coupled with resupply mechanics or resupplying roles forces skilled as well as non skilled players to play in groups. After killing 4-5 targets I will need to move back to resupply either on a rally point/ squad role / or FOB, instead of instantly mashing sprint key far away from my slower teammates. Temporary "pushing" outside of the squad is still viable as is flanking but cuts off the outlier situations of sitting on the hill by yourself for half a game or Running off 180 degrees from your squads goals. The ammo change on sniper kits had the same change when its ammo got decreased.

 

Something else that I want to add to this is that the current ammo system makes me feel punished for staying alive. It takes so long to get a fob + ammo most players when low on ammo rush out to die and respawn with more ammo to stay on the front line. Players habits are already seeing dying and respawning a more viable option to resupply ammo. Why not build a kit/rally mechanic to fill this natural habit? Resupplying slowly off a rally point (+1 mag every 20 seconds or so) or off an actual kit like you see in PR forces "group centralism in movement/flow" instead of "spawning together solo forever"


#5 is complicated. I fully agree that optics are just dominant. Either you fight a squad with amazing cover to cover indirect fire and moving, or you fight a squad where you get picked at every pixel you expose to someone you can't find or your "optic" can't find. (usually I am the picker when I get this kit holy SHIT is it strong)

 

I would have thought with more optics engagements would be lengthen like you see in arma with heavy medical use. However due to the (good) limited nature of optics it just feels to be superior without good engaging counter play.

I will also add that the autorifle kits are just plain and simple strong not because of gun itself but because of the "run and gun" that is allowed to happen WITHOUT needing to reload. You can prone up and down while jumping to dodge fire (proning is way too fast in the model there is no punishment for going prone) and you can pop up and down BEFore the server shows you standing popping off prefire rounds without needing to pause and reload. Reloading is the amazing natural counter to run and gun bypassed by the autorifleman class. Proning should be defensive mechanic, not one used to facilitate heavy aggression. (ie prone skipping/dodging)

 

#6 Personally I loathe the medic role, and rarely if ever find them useful as a "fragging" player. Having tried medic a few times I fully admit that it is not my playstyle, however I dont' even value the role. I value the RPG kit, the SL kit, the grenadier kit, but the medic kit is only screamed when I've made a mistake or "ran out in the middle of nowhere" and now need one. I typically find this to be true when looking at where people die when calling for medics. At least 50% of the time they are unreachable or in position of heated combat. (leading to immediate give up and respawn mentality)

I don't know the exact solution but I do feel the role is undervalued (even if incorrectly). Changes to death mechanics or ammo changes forcing more group play automatically makes the medic more viable as players are less likely to be out "solo" or rushing into 5 entrenched targets. Although admittedly death/ammo changes will maybe only change 10-20%% of game play. A death timer + and ammo change might be enough to lengthen engagements to naturally push more "eb /supply/ and flow" engagements instead of "sprint spray and conquer" 

Apologies for my spam wall of text, Hopefully I said some good things!

 

Edited by KCIV
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10 hours ago, fu* said:

The single biggest trend on smaller or medium maps, w/ AAS and  vehicle layers enabled, is that early round gameplay becomes essential – the direction of a round’s outcome is often decided in the first two or three minutes due to vehicle rushing.

 

Yo fu. :)

 

This is in-line with my feedback to the devs. My suggestion was to delay the spawn of the faster fire support vehicles (technicals, humvees) by 3-5 mins similar to what PR did for heavy assets. Have a few more of the slower troop transport vehicles per map at round start. Now, this won't completely put a stop to early flag rushing admittedly. The Insurgents will have a speed advantage with their troop technical for instance.

 

(off topic) And as long as vehicle surfing is a thing, we'll continue to see "improvised tanks" with RPG gunners on the hood. :D 

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Good points well made, some solutions below.

 

1 and 2 (meta and vehicle rush)  can be resolved by simply providing an infantry spawn at forward flags at the start of a map. This way the vehicles can rush as normal but there will be infantry there to deal with it and to attempt to prevent them from building up before their own assets arrive. Simple to implement and easy to alter. It also allows a far quicker start to the action.

 

3. Map dependent I think, if the medic is just not going to bother coming to me due to distance of course I will give up. There is a problem that often it is better to respawn and lose tickets than to wait and lose momentum or an objective, I cant see a way to stop this without reducing FUN, FUN is most important.

 

4. I agree that FOB spamming is still a strong tactic. It is still not as good as strong teamwork and a good battle line which advances smoothly.

Perhaps limiting the FOBs per squad to 1 per 10 mins or similar (numbers can be varied of course)? Perhaps this could be reset by something like a return to main base.

 

5. Map dependant, and not just the urban maps, if there is cover a guy with optics is easy to deal with.

 

6. same as 3.

 

7. Enjoying SL role depends almost entirely on the communication of other squad leaders. If it is good it can be very satisfying even with a loss, if it sucks I usually swap servers. 

My current line to squad members is "if you wont listen to me you should join another squad" I rarely ask much more than getting spawns up and moving to a general objective but wont waste my breath asking for the same thing repeatedly.

 

 

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10 hours ago, DesmoLocke said:

 

Yo fu. :)

 

This is in-line with my feedback to the devs. My suggestion was to delay the spawn of the faster fire support vehicles (technicals, humvees) by 3-5 mins similar to what PR did for heavy assets. Have a few more of the slower troop transport vehicles per map at round start. Now, this won't completely put a stop to early flag rushing admittedly. The Insurgents will have a speed advantage with their troop technical for instance.

 

(off topic) And as long as vehicle surfing is a thing, we'll continue to see "improvised tanks" with RPG gunners on the hood. :D 

 

To me the biggest reason light vehicle rushing works so well right now is that we dont really have a supply system. A single 3 man techie can rush around at the start of the round and plop down multiple FOBs at key locations AND be at the front line when the enemy team gets there. A simple thing like making it a requirement that you have a supply truck with you before you can set a FOB would make techie rushing far less effective. (but like your suggestion it wouldnt prevent it either)

At the same time i would like to have ralleypoints nerfed (by letting them expire after 2 mins for example) because i think its way too easy to get instantly back to the action when you die. There is almost always a spawnpoint at the front line, which means respawning is faster than waiting for a medic, which encourages people to just give up. People would be more carefull with their lives if they know dying means you have to arrange transportation or walk for a while to get back.

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30 minutes ago, Gorzu said:

 

To me the biggest reason light vehicle rushing works so well right now is that we dont really have a supply system. A single 3 man techie can rush around at the start of the round and plop down multiple FOBs at key locations AND be at the front line when the enemy team gets there. A simple thing like making it a requirement that you have a supply truck with you before you can set a FOB would make techie rushing far less effective. (but like your suggestion it wouldnt prevent it either)

At the same time i would like to have ralleypoints nerfed (by letting them expire after 2 mins for example) because i think its way too easy to get instantly back to the action when you die. There is almost always a spawnpoint at the front line, which means respawning is faster than waiting for a medic, which encourages people to just give up. People would be more carefull with their lives if they know dying means you have to arrange transportation or walk for a while to get back.

If rally's worked by allowing 9 Re-spawns but only 1 re-spawn for each specific member of the Squad it would stop ticket bleeding players from constantly spawning, running out into the open and dying again. This would slow game-play down, but players without a FOB nearby would value their "life" more if they could only respawn once, they might just hesitate before spawning and try to get a medic to revive them. Another idea is to have Squad leaders only be able to place 2 rally points and they have to be "recharged" at a fobs ammo-crate or main base, I think this would help keep players going in and out of friendly fobs and fortify them properly instead of the "gamey" sneak fobs people throw down left and right.

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I agree with the OP on every point (especially the stressful SL position).

 

The current meta goes almost contrary to the stated objectives of the game developers. Small maps, fast vehicles, no logistics coupled with experienced players intent on winning a game in the first 5 minutes completely breaks the paradigm of a tactical fps. Granted, a lot of this can be "blamed" on where the game currently is in development, which is between an infantry-only game and the final stages with a more mature selection of assets and logistics system as well as larger maps with objectives that are more spread out.

 

The current state of the game is teaching some very bad habits to most of the players, especially those new to Squad and with no PR experience. Medics are an after-thought, and there is almost no punishment for death, whether that is from a continuously extending spawn timer or from a lack of available spawns close to an objective. Couple this with the smaller maps and the close proximity of the next objective, and there is no reason to wait for a medic at all.

 

FOBs need to rely on logistics to be deployed *before* a FOB can be placed, and there should still be a time penalty until the FOB becomes active for spawning, even with the logistics present. The ability of a SL to deploy a team spawn point with just 2 other friendly units nearby needs to go away, and it should rely on not only a certain amount of logistics being present but also a higher number of friendlies - perhaps 4 (that would be half of your squad)?

 

The rally point system is a good one with a limited number of spawns available, but they should be restricted to being within a certain range of an active FOB, just as they are in PR now. Sneaking behind enemy lines or jumping way ahead to the first or second objective of the enemy team should be a very risky and costly tactic where the risks would mostly outweigh any reward. If FOBs relied entirely on a supply of logistics, and the team only has 1 or 2 logistics trucks available at the start of the round, a squad taking 50% of the team's ability to create a reinforcement point to a forward position where it is highly likely it will be lost would quickly become frowned upon as a viable tactic. Additionally, with no FOB nearby to reinforce those advanced positions, a rally should not be available once it's been dropped until the SL gets within range of an active FOB to "recharge". With those few changes I think that the meta would quickly move away from these type of tactics that see the outcome of a round determined in the first 5 minutes.

 

Another factor in all of this is the size of the current maps and the proximity of the objectives to one another. The current maps are left-overs from the infantry-only version of the game, but with the introduction of vehicles most are highly unsuited to vehicles. Some maps are difficult to navigate without the risk of getting a valuable asset stuck on a wall. Most are highly suited to rushing deep into enemy territory. All suffer from having objectives right next to each other, well within walking distance for infantry. Rushing and giving up are easy choices for players right now when you are always seconds from your spawn to reaching the objective again.

 

These changes would also have another impact on game play, and that would be elevating the importance of the medic class to the team. If the ability to re-spawn and get quickly back into the action were reduced greatly, players would see waiting for a medic to revive them as a much better option than to give up and re-spawn far away from the fight.

 

I understand that the game is where it is and that these type of changes are on the development road map for the future, but the sooner they are implemented the better.

Edited by disposableHero

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35 minutes ago, disposableHero said:

-snip-

Very well said, i agree pretty much 100%. Especially the infantry focused flag layout that most maps have is something thats been bothering me. Even the new map ( Yehorivka) that was added along with the vehicles has its two central flags almost on top of each other, which means 80 % of rounds takes place almost exclusively  in and around the town. 

 

As for the stressfull SL position: I dont think its possible to fully get rid of the stress, but one relativly simply thing that could help would be to add a "second in command" in a squad. It could be an optional thing where the SL can appoint a guy who will then get some SL powers, like setting up deployables or approving vehicle claiming. The main improvement this position would bring though, is that there would be someone to share the responsibility with. Someone other than the SL to lead from the front and to micro manage the rest of the squad in a firefight. This would also be a good way for aspirering SL's to start out with a small amount of responsibility, before going all the way. (im aware this and fireteams can theoretically already be done, but i think we can all agree its practically impossible in a pub game without any hud element etc. to support it)

Edited by Gorzu

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23 minutes ago, Gorzu said:

Very well said, i agree pretty much 100%. Especially the infantry focused flag layout that most maps have is something thats been bothering me. Even the new map ( Yehorivka) that was added along with the vehicles has its two central flags almost on top of each other, which means 80 % of rounds takes place almost exclusively  in and around the town. 

 

As for the stressfull SL position: I dont think its possible to fully get rid of the stress, but one relativly simply thing that could help would be to add a "second in command" in a squad. It could be an optional thing where the SL can appoint a guy who will then get some SL powers, like setting up deployables or approving vehicle claiming. The main improvement this position would bring though, is that there would be someone to share the responsibility with. Someone other than the SL to lead from the front and to micro manage the rest of the squad in a firefight. This would also be a good way for aspirering SL's to start out with a small amount of responsibility, before going all the way. (im aware this and fireteams can theoretically already be done, but i think we can all agree its practically impossible in a pub game without any hud element etc. to support it)

 

I can usually manage 3 or 4 rounds of constant SL'ing and then I either need to play in another squad or just go do something else for a while. The sheer volume of coms is just exhausting.

 

A few simple fixes to help with that:

 

1) Players need to learn to use local except for really urgent stuff. Mindless chatter going on while rounds are flying and other SLs are talking (a miracle unto itself) just makes your head spin. Throw in the constant "SL can we get a rally?" and you've got a major migraine in the making. Devs can't do anything about this - it's up to us cat-herders to try to get people to learn that there are 2 options for coms.

 

2) SL to SL direct coms. I don't want to broadcast my request for support from Squad 2 who is within 100m of my position to all of the other SLs. We need the direct channel to another SL put into place ASAP.

 

3) Make placing markers easier without having to open your map. If you're looking through your binos, stop making the camera sway. It takes forever to get your squad marker onto a position accurately. Second to that, stop sticking the marker on the window of the building I'm in and put it where I want it :)

 

3a) Make placing team markers available in first-person view. Please?

Edited by disposableHero

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2 hours ago, disposableHero said:

 

snip

 

 

 

Some GREAT points made. Great to see discussion :)

 

for me local is pointless. I am almost never inside of local proximity range from more than 1 member of my squad..
The primary use case of local personally is inter squad communication and "come here" "medic on me" "you here for fob/rally" and "friendly entering"
I mean think about a squad of 9 players how much of a match are you able to communicate properly with 3 of those members using local? Let alone in a firefight.
Local's mechanics of realism (IE distance of audio/drop off) push itself out of viability. (of course were talking average game/squad here). 

 

Edited by KCIV

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Some fantastic points made by all. There are a lot of things that can and will be changed, and I understand the logic behind the current logistics gameplay for example, but I agree it is now ingraining bad habits to the player base who will suffer when the change over happens. It also creates a lot of misinformation among the player base, think the more casual player who is unaware of Squads calibre and what it aims to be. They will get a huge culture shock when the changes happen, and I don't doubt we will see a backlash and increase in threads bemoaning the changes/evolution. I personally think changing to the more hardcore, PR style logistics system sooner rather than later will help force players to adapt. A list of things that are a priority, but not an exhaustive list:

  • Bigger/Smarter maps - help slow the gameplay
  • PR Style Logistics - Slow the gameplay
  • SL/Commander comms channel - help to clean it up 
  • Switching kits - Will cure a lot of the medic woes
  • Smarter 3D map markers

I find the points about the medic being bad for running and gunning moot - its a medic kit, its not designed for that. As a SL in that instance you should aim to lead by example, though I do agree that the current system doesn't help...Same as the point about the scopes being dominant. Again, they are designed to be on the current maps. Wait until we get more urban, or more asymmetrical warfare with IED's etc, and the Insurgents for example will begin to hold their own. Personally, I feel the current kits are not the smartest implementation - I would give ALL kits the option of having optics or irons for the official forces, and leave the militia with few, and same with the insurgents. Again, force the adaption. Keep getting killed in the open as Insurgents vs BluFor? Adapt your tactics and movement....

 

I also believe that most of the current maps, while great for the stage they were released, have almost run their course. Once we start to see the release of a lot of the newer, shinier maps with all the lessons learned, and also the remade PR maps we will see a change as people and squads will simply be annihilated if they don't adapt. Bigger maps using better layouts of flags will help massively to prevent the tunnel vision we see with current teams, honing into flags and forgetting about the existence of 90% of the rest of the map. 

 

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In a careful reading of the above responses (thank you all!) and proposed solutions (short and long term)  I see three common themes in feature areas that are reinforcing the current meta strategy. These are areas where meaningful changes (which are definitely coming from the development team anyway) will make the most impact on the min-max, optimal strategy in the current, temporary alpha build of the game at this time. 

 

- Map size and relative flag locations

- Logistical system translating to spawn locations

- Communications

 

I. With regard to map size and flag location, this is a concise statement of the issue and the challenge facing OWI by @Jeepo

Quote

I also believe that most of the current maps, while great for the stage they were released, have almost run their course. Once we start to see the release of a lot of the newer, shinier maps with all the lessons learned, and also the remade PR maps we will see a change as people and squads will simply be annihilated if they don't adapt. Bigger maps using better layouts of flags will help massively to prevent the tunnel vision we see with current teams, honing into flags and forgetting about the existence of 90% of the rest of the map. 

 

Larger maps and greater spread among flags in AAS will have a fundamental impact on mechanized (or airborne) infantry in early game strategy and meta.  

 

II. For logistical systems translating to spawn locations and vehicle movement (either at start as @DesmoLockenoted or mid-round as @disposableHero& @Gorzunoted) and its corresponding effects on action, incentives for teamplay, and "play-style" the community will most likely face a need to shift away from some formed habits from the current build. To some extent, this could be viewed as "taking the PR medicine" to adjust systems in the short term to affect player behavior now and shape expectations in the long term. 

 

Here, the idea of shaping FOB and Rally placement based on  the ways proposed above such as individual player allocation ( @Fourkillmaster) , timers (@suds) ,  and/or recharge (either via supply, main base, or established FOB respectively) is appealing (either in the short or long term.) to curtail both giving up and vehicle rushing. From that perspective, the sooner the iteration of "near-final" spawn mechanics come into the game, the better. Most would agree that Squad should not be reduced to Battlefield-style TDM.

 

III. Since we don't have anywhere close to the final set of classes its difficult to evaluate "complete feature development cycle" meta the player/weapons class and in turn the communications portion is tough. I am favor of anything that reinforces teamplay and compelling individual squads to remain in relative proximity. In turn, raising utility of kits (while maintaining balance), like increasing the stamina for medics or returning binocs to medics would be worthwhile, as one minor example. Although to @JeepoI would point out the developers have said repeatedly they don't plan to include kit swapping - and I think they have the right idea there.

 

With respect to communications, there is no doubt that SLing will always be challenging - and that's good! Tweaks to chain of command enabling intra-squad burden-sharing via SGT or FTL that @KCIVand I (and many others) have mentioned, ways to target comms directly SL to SL, and increased awareness among the playerbase about what comms systems to use (and at what time) will all play roles here.  From a big picture perspective, the command and logistical roles will also help BIG TIME here down the line. 

 

While it is true that the nature of each map (urban/rural), the size of maps, and available in-game systems in one build, all shape the efficacy of things like optic kits, unless there are radical changes to gunplay and movement itself, I would anticipate intermediate optics will remain very strong in the hands of experienced reflex FPS players.   

 

Finding that balance throughout between fun, realism, and meaningful gameplay is no doubt the raison d'etre for OWI. Encouraging the community to evaluate and think ahead about how the meta (at one snapshot in time) plays out is a useful way to anticipate how the game's systems themselves interact and contribute to player behavior. I hope we can do this in each subsequent stable version of the game for developer reference in their implementation and tweaking of features. Welcome additional feedback on all of this. 

 

 

Edited by fu*

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I think the difference in philosophy between players who are motivated by individual accomplishment and those who are motivated by team success is critical. Any game must choose one or the other, and balance on that basis. KCIV tells us that six magazines give him too much latitude to camp a FOB and rack up kills. As an automatic rifleman, I expend six belts of ammunition routinely in an engagement. Does that mean I'm getting too many kills, and need to have my ammo capacity nerfed to bring the game into balance? No. It means I'm suppressing the enemy so my squadmates can move. Putting rounds into an empty window doesn't get me a kill, but it keeps the window empty. I can't do that with thirty rounds. Neither could riflemen whose ammo capacity was limited by the weight of 7.62x51, hence 5.56x45. A squad succeeds through maneuver. An individual succeeds through other means.

 

The question is simply this: what kind of game does Squad want to be?

 

On 9/26/2016 at 7:22 PM, KCIV said:

#3 Personally I am an avid problem #3 person. I played Insurgency competitive consistently dropping 30+ kills in the highest level of competitive 5v5 games.

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1 hour ago, |TG-1stMIP|Mannerism said:

I think the difference in philosophy between players who are motivated by individual accomplishment and those who are motivated by team success is critical. Any game must choose one or the other, and balance on that basis. KCIV tells us that six magazines give him too much latitude to camp a FOB and rack up kills. As an automatic rifleman, I expend six belts of ammunition routinely in an engagement. Does that mean I'm getting too many kills, and need to have my ammo capacity nerfed to bring the game into balance? No. It means I'm suppressing the enemy so my squadmates can move. Putting rounds into an empty window doesn't get me a kill, but it keeps the window empty. I can't do that with thirty rounds. Neither could riflemen whose ammo capacity was limited by the weight of 7.62x51, hence 5.56x45. A squad succeeds through maneuver. An individual succeeds through other means.

 

The question is simply this: what kind of game does Squad want to be?

 

 

Sort of a side note. isn't automatic rifleman kit the 249/RPK ect.? That was my understanding (although I could have used the wrong wording), In which case my usage of 6 "mags" excludes those weapons from my point. I'm talking about rifle kits like m4/m16. I think the 249/support kits have good ammo counts actually. For support kits my problem is more to do with the movement mechanics without needing to reload. 

I was speaking about rifleman kits such as the m4. I also was not suggesting that camping a fob indicates too much ammo. I stated that I can push to a fob with heavy ammo usage and then camp said fob without worry of ammo. The point is that Ammo should be something that is thought about and it isn't.

This is shown in other ways outside of "how I see it".
How often does GL/RPG kits ask for ammo for specialty kit ammo, and how often does your basic kit ask for ammo?

With high player turn over and "respawn in action" ammo is an afterthought solved by respawns. 
How many squads do you see go on the offensive run dry on ammo and pull back to a fob with ammo?
What drives players to build an ammo crate IE what reasons did players have for building it? Grenades? Rpgs? Resupplying the squad with basic ammo after a long push?
 

Ill be specific, Lowering mag count by 1 on basic kits would go a long way to introducing to players the idea of resupplying and the value of being with the team. Coupling meaningful suppression mechanics (increasing reason to spend ammo) increase in death (less ability to solve ammo via death which is current best solution) and introducing supply mechanics in a role/rally (solves the previous increased demand of ammo as well importance on team play) creates a very nice solution in my opinion.

Edited by KCIV

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Some seriously fantastic dissections of the current SQUAD meta-game here. Top notch work OP.

 

I definitely agree with almost everything. Except possibly the idea of lowering mag counts in order to reduce lonewolfing. I think there's other angles that the issue can be tackled from which don't involve reducing the effectiveness of grunts in offering suppressing fire etc. I'd rather see that issue tackled through increasing penalty on spawntime or something.

 

As someone who plays medic a lot it bugs the hell out of me how many people respawn rather than even bother waiting for medic. I don't really blame them though as they don't know any better and the current mechanics do kind of almost encourage it.

 

I definitely feel like the map layouts and sizes are lending themselves to the vehicle point rush style of gameplay mentioned in point 2. Will be really nice to hopefully see some new maps/layouts to check this in upcoming versions.

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The most efficient way to fix lone wolfing issues would be to prevent patching on yourself.

Its unrealistic to patch yourself. This change A.) keeps you always around teammates and B.) focused on staying near the medic because 1 patches get used fast. It also makes being hit FORCE the mechanic of falling back after being hit, (or at least to relative safety near a friendly)

however this change would be near impossible for the current casual player base to swallow.

Edited by KCIV

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This is some great discussion amongst folks who I think want to play Squad "the way it was meant to be played" - even if we're not sure what that means hehe.

 

A numbe rof great points here, but a couple that stand out for me:

 

Lack of penalty for death

Far too many times where people respawn early. This makes for a CoD style of play: die-respawn-die. Many different perspectives on how this makes for bad gameplay imo. 

 

Respawn Timer

I haven't played PR for a while, and my memory gets gray about where we left off with things when I stopped actively working on PR, but at one point we implemented a variable respawn timer (might still be there). While that is not the only means of addressing the penalty for death issue, it is an important one. 

 

Some things that could "penalize" a player by lengthening their respawn timer:

- how soon in the bleed out time they give up (for example the bleed out timer could be = respawn timer, so if I have a 5 minute bleed out timer, and I give up one minute into it, I could have a 4 minute respawn - that is extreme, just illustrating the possible relationship).

- how many deaths they have had (more deaths = longer respawn, for example each death adds 10s to my respawn timer)

- suicide

 

Some things that could "reward" a player by reducing their respawn timer:

- bandaging other players (for example each bandage applied to other players reduces respawn timer by 5s)

- reviving other players (so, in theory, Medics can get back in the fight faster)

- waiting out the bleed out timer

- how many kills they have (for example each kill reduces respawn timer by 5s)

- number of times they have waited out the complete bleed out timer (for example each complete bleed out timer wait reduces spawn timer by 10s)

 

Showing this to players in the UI would help. Meaning I could see "base + penalties / - bonuses" in the UI so that the player is educated on what the penalties / bonuses are in terms of time added / reduced from their respawn timer.

 

Some of these things run the risk of making the game less attractive to players. We never really had to consider that with PR - it was whether we liked it or not. While we did monitor data intensively, we didn't have a commercial requirement.

 

Scoring

Scoring can do a lot to guide play styles. I believe a major influencer on score should be zero deaths. When I play there is nothing more satisfying than a #-0 round for me (where ideally # is 4 or 5 or more). I value Zero Death Rounds more than high kills, not a kill oriented player, but I believe Squad should reinforce the value of Zero Death Rounds.

 

I could also see deaths coming with a heavier scoring penalty, where "incapacitated" may be a -1 to score, but a "give up" may be a -10 to score.

 

I believe the relationship of deaths to tickets is fine as is (I think it's -1 for incapacitated and -1 for give up).

 

Early Game Organization

Personally I think this is super critical. While other things need to reduce the impact of "opening gambits" that tend to be gamey, rush tactics, I think a huge negative on gameplay is the cluster **** from a Squad Leader who has no clue how to play the game, never mind lead a squad. Or - worse - a Squad Leader who was not aware they inherited it, don't have the kit and/or don't have a clue.

 

A more structured "o group" at the beginning of the round is important. The removal of Squad to Squad map notation has negatively impacted squad coordination. This system of SLs communicating to SLs visually on the map needs to be brought back and evolve. It would be ideal if there was a "layer" in the map that was just between SLs.

 

A clear notification to players when they have been made SL is important.

 

Some people will hate this, but I've looked at literally millions of hours of data on gamer behaviours, and a qualification system is, imo, a must have for a game like Squad. Given the military origins that is a rank and progression system. It should absolutely not be possible for a guy who has never played the game to form and lead a squad. Rank, when done correctly, can be used as an onboarding / tutorial system. That can go a LONG way to avoiding early game cluster ****s. It can also give an SL the understanding of the level of competency / experience in their squad.

 

This game will be a commercial failure if it relies on the fact that I recognize players as competent through their names. While a rank system doesn't speak to competence, it does give a quick reference of experience. It can also be used to limit players from doing things they should not (like forming a squad and having no idea how to be a Squad Leader).

 

Removal of TKing at the main base is critical. One asshole can ruin the game for an entire team by TKing at the start of a round. Something like a "no friendly fire" switch for the first 60 seconds of a round and/or within a certain distance of the initial spawns can help to alleviate this.

 

The ability to assign vehicles to squads in the proposed "o group" would help organization.

 

The ability to define a 2IC and some capabilities for that role would help in many ways, including handing them the SL role should the actual SL disconnect.

 

The ability to break squads down into fireteams would help as well. The ability to send different units to different locations at the beginning of the map can be challenging, tools to assist with organization and coordination will help with this imo.

 

While not intended to be comprehensive, I believe these types of pre-match organization tools and capabilities can help to alleviate the chaos that often causes one team to get overwhelmed by a superior team. While that won't change, putting some reinforced structure to it can help to even the playing field.

 

Will continue to read / follow the thread as there is some good stuff in this discussion.

 

egg

 

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Fantastic points in this thread so far.  As regards optics here's another consideration.  Lighting/time of day on maps.  Far too many maps seem to predominantly focus on low light scenarios.  I get it, attack at dawn, attack at dusk, moody lighting, ooh shadows, the dark hides a multitude of sins etc.  Low light scenarios should also encourage a more 'tactical approach' etc.

 

Here's the problem.  It is extremely hard to artificially enforce a culture change in players new to the more 'tactical' end of the spectrum of gaming wise simply by designing in poor visibility.  In fact I'd argue that encourages more of the 'lone wolf' garbage this game is trying to get away with.  "Woohoo, I can sneak up on people and as long as I kill 2 people, well I'm up on the deal" thinks the Lone Wolf (ignoring the glaringly obvious reality of revives and that their ego stroking solo adventures persistently leave their own squad a man short).  

 

Magnified optics provide a multitude of advantages in a low light situation.  Better visual acuity in low light for one. Greater range obviously, particularly an issue with the varying gfx/AA issues people are having. Now couple that with the fact that a low light scenario generally encourages a slower movement pace and you have more stationary targets, mana from heaven for anyone with an acog/whatever and a bit of patience.

 

This is another problem with trying to engineer playstyles through restrictions of kit.  Put simply in all but a few situations an optic in the hands of a competent player is an upgrade, a power up and confers significant advantages over those without.  I understand this maybe part of emphasising different roles within a squad but at the base rifleman level there shouldn't be this disparity in kit effectiveness.  

 

For me the way to solve it is to enable all optics on all riflemen, restrict self patching (great suggestion KCIV) and let the chips fall where they may.  It will balance out I believe (as long as you make a couple of adjustments to sight in times on optics, ie speed up red dot/iron sight acquisition vs scoped).  Yes, squads that try to run all optics will be a nuisance at distance...but they will be less of a threat if you close with them. So you actually make a tactical choice and deploy smoke, use a grenadier or perhaps don't rush into the engagement in the first place and set up your LMG to use area affect fire to stop them laying there with all the time in the world to plink at you.  Make more maps where magnified optics are an actual choice you have to weigh rather than an upgrade.  

 

Less dark maps, more maps with cover, less maps that have vast expanses of open terrain to feed 'scoped camping with no consequence'  (lets face it, most people don't care if they die after killing 6 guys trying to fire and manoeuvre who can't even see them) .  Seen it all before in PR and PR Arma. IMO It's actually a relatively easy fix if you balance in the right direction.  

 

Great thread, excellent discussion.

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Damn, really good thread.

The rush meta has been grating on me because its beginning to become reminiscent of my experience in Insurgency comp, and what I call "the efficiency grind" where there are metas that develop and prove themselves the "optimal course" and the victor now becomes wholly determined by efficient execution of known meta, RE: The Residence-rushes on Logar previously cited.

I have to ask myself if this is a problem, first off. This is a case where experience in a certain sphere lends the player statistical foreknowledge on the probable positions of players, and thus actions are taken not based on their simulatory tactical viability, but on the tactical value as they exist within a framework of a game that has been repetitvely played. Is the game designed to create a sphere wherein people are able to acquire broad meta-understanding, and then to challenge eachothers meta in a strategic sparring match? Perhaps in a competitive sphere this makes sense, or it is rather in-line with the competitive FPS experience in other games. I have to say however, that I hoped for more from Squad. Thats not to say a deliberate deviation of design was taken, or that all is lost.
 

There was at some time a reasonable discourse about the addition of randomization of objectives. Randomization of spawns. This large-map framework becomes much more lenient to this kind of implementation than the more lane-based FPS map structures seen in CS/Cod/Ins. Simple randomization of spawns, and randomization of objectives would shake the meta up to a significant degree to where approximate engagement points would be somewhat obscured.

Furthermore, what I often consider, is the possibility of only revealing the next objective for your team once it's cappable. This combined with a randomization of objectives would effectively negate the pre-cap issues that we are seeing now develop in the meta. Forward advance on the map would be done based on logistical and tactical viability to serve as a projection of power that would facilitate objective capture, instead of a rote-operation that has proven itself effective at overcoming the novice hoards.

 

The problem with the novice slaughter, is that these are the guys trying to figure out whether or not they like the game.  The game needs to offer them a chance, and against the dominant teams with developed aggressive metas, there's not one. The sour morale doesn't scream replayability, and if thats half the playerbase's experience the attrition is going to continue to be a significant problem for the playerbase. So yes, I do think that it is a problem at the design level of the game. I acknowledge its Alpha state, and look forward to changes.

Spawn-Cost: I concur whole-heartedly. The teleportation of fresh-troops and full ammo to the front is the persistent leak in the viability of "real-world-tactics" in this game. As long as there are teleports in the game, this is going to be a dance of game mechanics.

 

Rallys need to be reworked.

  •  1 sl, 9 men, 9 spawns deposited on the field for free.
  • 4 sl, 9 men, 28 spawns deposited on the field for free.

Maneuverability and spawn mobility are what win the game, there is little incentive to large squads, however, the novice teams are always stacked with jabber-jaw players stacked 9 deep tied to a single backpack, while their enemy is spawning 4-5x in 4 different places around their position. I have a curated topic here on Logistics of Personnel that touches on all of these points more thoroughly and will not repeat it here because its already been said.

Squad Locks, the planned(?) FireTeams and FTLs, Mandatory logistics, neutered rally point mechanics, and a better incentive for not respawning as has been suggested here would go a long way to bringing this game up to the ideal of gameplay that I think we are  all hoping to experience; one where teamwork is what wins, not simply having relived the same map 2000x more than your opponent.

As for eggmans' suggestion for ranking, I do think there needs to be a minimum ** hours before you can take SL. Minimum 500 rounds in Jensen's for pub-sniper kits, 200 rounds for RPG kits, 100 laps in the raceway for your drivers' license, etc would also be a welcome addition (Tying it to rounds not hours would make things more effective I suspect). I also think a rolling efficacy rating for SL's and players would be nice, where after 1 month of doing nothing, I would have no rep, but after 2-3 rounds of doing a role and kicking ass I could have a decent rep as a driver/medic/sl/RPG/etc. This would make only the most recent experience relevant giving newer players a chance to get caught up and in the action while supporting the effective roles.

Anyways, Its not like I can go back to playing Insurgency.

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One way to prevent the rush and disorganised chaos is to unlock flags to be capped at a certain time. So for example, storage site is ready to be capped 15 minutes into the game. Squads can still rush it and sit in it, but they're sitting ducks and the enemy know where they are and so they're easier to kill.

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Maybe hidden random second flag location would solve the rush

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4 hours ago, Smee said:

Maybe hidden random second flag location would solve the rush

I like this, random flag cap zones would certainly help as-well.

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The idea of objectives that are only "revealed" when they are capture-able and drawn from a randomized set of locations is interesting.

 

Could mix in a bit of the current Insurgency mode idea, where the next objective has multiple indicators of where it might be and after X amount of time securing the current objective (holding it at 100%) the actual objective location is confirmed.

 

Even just random objectives could be interesting, though that gets fairly predictable quite quickly.

 

I wonder if making all flag states require 3 people to cap - instead of just 1 when neutral - would assist in slowing down the early game rush tactics.

Edited by eggman

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Great response unfrail.

Considering the diversity in map versions I too have been wondering on the viability of "RNG" flag/objective.

Would help against "build 100 sandbags labyrinth afk minecraft on point X and no viable mechanics to destroy them"

Would be awesome to see that tested.


 

Edited by KCIV

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rank system should be a separate thread. It has been discussed and the "only allow experienced SL" idea becomes a problem when no players are allowed to become squad leader or the ones who are are not willing. There is also the PR experience which is valuable (although not as much as they tell us :) ). Yes these would go away quickly as the game matures but are unlikely to become a feature. Personally I feel it also prevents fair judgement of new players. 

 

Randomised objectives sounds fun but also may be a huge amount of work and very hard to test for balance/bleed values.

 

 

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