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SQUAD isn't Project Reality. The story of SQUAD.

=CDN= Wehmann=CDN= Wehmann Member Posts: 2 Civilian

"This game isnt PR". Yet it attempts to copy the very concepts that PR created - The FOB - The Rally - Mumble inspired squad chat system - AAS. So making an argument that SQUAD is supposed to be something different than PR, all the while still copying all the same concepts, except implementing them in an inferior fashion, isn't a strong argument you should attempt to stand behind, because its a flimsy reason for arguing against SQUADS recent slow patching back to whats been proven to work the best with these unique concepts.

Look how many different versions of the Rally Point SQUAD has seen since the KS days as its moved back and forth through its identity crisis. As a kickstarter and constant tester during the first few phases of SQUADS life, there was an understanding that certain mechanics that were at the core of PR's soul and balanced the game so well in both pace, intensity and enjoyment (FOBS, Rally, Revives, Crates) would need to be altered to account for early development challanges, no vehicles being one of them.

The thing that drove away a lot of kickstarter backers and the overwhelming amount of players that were from PR that funded SQUAD though, was the fact that OWI began to waiver and caved to the juicy influx of money from bringing on new players. To continue to bring on more and more new players, OWI had to keep the "action" constant, and the pace fast, as this is the type of gameplay the majority of FPS gamers enjoy, not the niche offering of what PR offers. So instead of reverting/changing these mechanics to be back in step with Project Reality's implementation (and the ebb and flow thats captured so beautifully in that game)

OWI instead kept the most offensive changes to these mechanics (buddy rally, wave rally, perm rally, everyone can revive, no dead dead, forgiving FOB overrun radius/amount of people) as a band aid and fuel source to keep new players interested, and ease the onboarding of players into SQUAD that had never even heard of Project Reality. This obviously alienated the original players of SQUAD, who over the months and years left and stopped playing, which unfortunately left a gap of knowledge untapped that otherwise could have been used to steward and help onboard the new players (from the countless free weekends and sales) to a more satisfying game loop that only Project Reality, with its very careful balancing and mechanics can offer.

This is the story of SQUAD.


  • mebelmebel Member Posts: 10 Civilian

    Unfortunately PR and SQUAD were made in different spirit. PR was a non-profit project, and SQUAD has to make money somehow, as it is completely commercial product. Money usually make things worse in a system we live in. But I don't want to blame anything and anyone here.

    However, we should keep in mind that:

    • we receive a kinda solid base-game
    • developers are open for modding communities - there's no need for doing complex reverse-engineering like it was with PR
    • squad, maybe not fully, but tries to be closer to what we (like former PR players) wants then other titles are doing
    • we have a lot of assets made by developers that we can use for mods

    We have to face it - what 'vets' want is a niche, and will stay like this. It is not going to change anytime soon. But the really good news is - there is a vast number of players that are closer to the concept of slow paced PR style than ever before - thank to a Squad.

    I hope, there would be some effort put on making mod that will tweak the mechanics into direction that would be slower and non-forgiving. For now the only mods, that are kinda popular are just changing squad into something faster, more specops (and casual) or more star-wars ;] , what about making mod that would fill the gap that has been opened? The tools are just at the sight of hand. The changes would not be even this big, as Squad is still a close relative to PR.

    I would even say, that in a long turn - mods are key for bringing new players in a future. But OWI should take care how to make them a viable part of Squad.

    I don't absolve devs from making Squad faster and more CoDdy style here - because I'm against it, but I must admit that they did a really good work of bringing many players into this kinda step learning-curve style of FPP.

  • Teebird38Teebird38 Member Posts: 23 Civilian

    The thing is we tried this with several mods. Hardened by Battle, Athena, and Squad reality mod which all attempted to make squad into what long time vets had been craving. However, these efforts were stifled by the lack of modding support and the fact that both server browsers were split. Therefore to get the desired players it took a lot of hard work in announcing events and getting games organized. There was some success with Athena and Hardened by Battle but ultimately these mods were postponed. Now that the server browsers are combined they could possibly have some more success but the motivation and tempo has been beaten down due to the environmental factors that had been around for so long.

  • Teebird38Teebird38 Member Posts: 23 Civilian

    What is ironic is that we have to make a mod, for a game that is supposed to be the sequel to a mod, instead of OWI giving the fans the proper sequel that we all wanted and yearn for. Newer casuals have no idea about Project Reality or what made it so great. The fact that you could hop in and play, work as a squad, use some basic and I mean basic small unit tactics to complete objectives in a realistic manor was amazing. The ability to jump in and play and work together as a cohesive unit was and still is so refreshing which has many long time fans of PR coming back to play a 16 year old and counting game. There’s a reason it’s been around for so long.

    The gameplay mechanics facilitated this desired gameplay in a rewarding way that squad just doesn’t achieve in the same respectful light. When I join a public match in Squad it’s more or less a chaotic mess of squads split up running all over the map. A lack of teamwork and sticking together. A team building 20 fobs instead of a couple of really good fobs that can be used as support via a combat outpost with machine guns and mortars etc.

    “superfobbing” as you know is incredibly frowned upon due to the meta and how it plays. Your supposed to build 10 or 15 spawns all over the map. Where as in PR it was much more grounded. You could have a fob off of an objective raining hell down on the enemy while other squads moved up and it felt like some awesome pubby combat that you just couldn’t get with other games. I’m sort of rambling here now and reminiscing but I still play PR on the reg. I’ll play squad and the gameplay just doesn’t stack up to the point I often find myself quitting mid match and loading up the classic PR instead. It’s just not fun when no one works together and everything is so fast paced. Now I don’t want this to be like Arma but I wish things were a bit more grounded and fleshed out versus what we have now with this sort of rush play style. It feels like a hardcore BF3 with some minor mods making ballistics have more damage etc. rant over.

  • Teebird38Teebird38 Member Posts: 23 Civilian

    Not to mention PR had more content and the maps played really well. Classic maps like Muttrah, silent eagle, Ramiel, Grozny, black gold, burning sands. That’s just a few. You can take a look at all the PR maps in the map gallery. I can’t post links yet so give it a google search. I strongly recommend playing some PR just to try it out.

    A lot of them were built fantastically. Where as we have maps in squad that are average at best in design. Gorodok and Yev are the only ones that feel decent while the rest such as Belaya are bland and narrow. Chora is like this as well. Don’t even get me started on the absolute worst map, Kamdesh.

  • mebelmebel Member Posts: 10 Civilian

    Dude, I was playing PR for kinda some time. Don't have to check it out ;] I also really dont like Chora, like I didn't liked Kokan in PR.

  • Teebird38Teebird38 Member Posts: 23 Civilian

    Kokan was a masterpiece in PR :)

  • Teebird38Teebird38 Member Posts: 23 Civilian

    Also never told you specifically it was for anyone who has never played PR it is still a great game, no need to be salty.

  • RackEmUp187RackEmUp187 Member Posts: 34

    seen this post on reddit. There are two types of play styles obviously, you can only change the game so many times.

  • CR8ZCR8Z Member Posts: 22 ★★

    Long time PR player, long time Squad player.

    PR is a great game because it has been in development for 16 years. Squad is becoming a great game 5 years in. It's still evolving.

    I always thought Squad was supposed to a spiritual successor to PR, but not PR with a better engine. It was supposed to be its own thing. I think it has succeeded in that.

    Sure, there are aspects to PR that I wish had been included in PR, or at least hope that they will one day, but that doesn't make a good game bad. This is still a great game and I far prefer it to any other shooter out there.

    PR is still a great game also. I haven't played in quite some time. There is only ever one server running and not usually full, at least when I use the prspy.

    There is a ton of content in PR that I think is amazing. But all of that took time. Give Squad another ten years and let the modders get after it like they have already started to. I think there are great things to come.

  • mebelmebel Member Posts: 10 Civilian

    Okay. So since there is improvement in modding support, additionally we have some former modders that were trying to achieve desired meta - so the remaining thing would be to revive those projects, write down some goals, overall direction and try to make such a mod alive. I will try to contact modders with such a proposal. From my point of view, would be nice to combine ideas into just one mod, not splitting the players afterwards - so concepts should be polished in such a way they could fulfill the needs of specific branch of players. I think a key here would be to work out a coherent, solid vision of such a mod, making its development straight-forward.

    I really like this quote from Hardened by Battle mod:

    "An intrinsic limit of Squad is the high speed of all phases of the game: clashes, squad movements, tactical deployment. The player does not have time to think, as SL or simple soldier. Precise point-and-click shooting dominate tactical movement, the individual is more important than the squad, communication becomes chaotic due to the continuous sequence of game phases. The rule to win is to give up and respawn near, too near to flags. Defenders and attackers have very little time to organize themselves. What we have done is to slow down the spawn mechanic, as well as the movements in general. "

    What would I add is to not get too far from vanilla Squad, and achieve such goals without making it inaccessible to a typical Squad player, so they could just hop-in and don't have to learn everything from a scratch, just adjust to slightly different gameplay.

  • GeebusGeebus Member Posts: 55 ★★

    My feel for the "casualization" of Squad has been that the blame is often misdirected. Folks put too much into the changes that the developers have made over the years. Largely I think it is perceived more than anything. The real change that Squad has experienced is a change in the people playing the game. I don't think that all these players have come surging into the game because the gameplay has been "watered down", rather I think they are here because they enjoy that same core thing that snared everyone, the teamwork and communication.

    Again, the big change is in the people playing the game. If you go back to the earlier days, the Squad player base was almost entirely made up of PR players and other people around the milsim/tactical shooter crowd. They roughly knew what they were getting into and could apply what they knew from whatever other games to this new game. It was a niche community that was largely homogenous.

    As time went on, the game got gradually more and more popular. During that gradual time, there were enough of that "old" crowd around that anyone new to this type of game would quickly become integrated into the greater mass. But, once you get to the last couple of years, the game simply grew too quickly for anyone to keep up. It's when the balance shifted away from a player base largely made up of the "old" crowd to one made up of people who were completely new to this style of game.

    When you look at matches today, it is simply a matter of the lowest common denominator. Most the folks playing today never had that milsim-y background that the earlier players had to fall back on. Instead they fall back on what they do know and are comfortable with. People complain about how nobody communicates anymore, how much communication happens in a Battlefield game? People complain that nobody works together, how much coordination is in a Call of Duty match? I don't bring this up to degrade these folks like others do but rather to add a bit of perspective.

    You do what the crowd does, where before that crowd was a bunch of the milsim nerds, now that crowd is who have backgrounds from all over the place. It hasn't been the developers that have watered down the gameplay, its been the players watering it down. In a discussion about what makes Squad work, generally everyone would agree that everyone doing their little part, coordinating, communicating is what makes the game, but when you get to a discussion like this it seems that kind of reasoning is somewhat forgotten.

    Just something to think about.

  • mebelmebel Member Posts: 10 Civilian

    I disagree. Actually, there is enough of communication going on in Squad, especially on some servers. However, the problem lies here:

    "An intrinsic limit of Squad is the high speed of all phases of the game: clashes, squad movements, tactical deployment. The player does not have time to think, as SL or simple soldier. Precise point-and-click shooting dominate tactical movement, the individual is more important than the squad, communication becomes chaotic due to the continuous sequence of game phases. The rule to win is to give up and respawn near, too near to flags. Defenders and attackers have very little time to organize themselves."

    And I'd like to repeat this phrase:

    "Defenders and attackers have very little time to organize themselves."

    And this affects not the 'vets' - because they know how to organize and can adapt, but the new players mostly, who take little or no benefit from communicating, there's no time to explain stuff, because of the gameplay rush. Making an extensive coordination an obstacle at some, early point of a gameplay.

    Additionally, while being a SL in Squad (on competent server) gives you way more less time for your squad, while in PR the SL had usually more time when they can hear/talk with squad - there's really too much happening at once (so many people who know how to SL ain't doing it, because its harsh). I would not blame the players for the state of everything, because vast number of them are actually willing to cooperate, and really trying to work together (sometimes even more than in PR I would say), but once again:

    "Defenders and attackers have very little time to organize themselves."

  • tzaerutzaeru Member Posts: 27

    I'll offer my own perspective here, just because it's so different from the OP:

    Never played PR, but personally I like that Squad has a pretty fast pace. I'm totally not into milsim myself. I don't care about ranks, like I'll totally ignore the commander and everyone else if I think they're wrong, and honestly, tactics and strategy when the maps are not dynamic, when main bases are not dynamic, when you know beforehand what vehicles there are and exactly how many enemies there are, are just fluff in my opinion. The pool of available tactics and strategy for a game like Squad is quickly exhausted. That's why we have a fairly well defined meta that really isn't deviated much from.

    Once the meta is figured out, every shooter game without extremely well balanced teams degenerates into a shooting competition. If the aiming skills, reflexes and general game sense are almost exactly equal on both sides, then there's room for deviating from the meta, there's room to come up with creative solutions to in-game situations. But if the two teams are not equal - which is always the case in Squad - then it's really more about which team has the players that individually are better; which team has a squad that beats another squad in a straight firefight, which team has a vehicle duo that wins their vehicle battles, etc. Perhaps in PR the playerbase was small enough and there were enough many veteran players, that the teams could be roughly equal and small deviations in strategy could have a meaningful impact.

    But in lieu of balanced teams, and given that tactics and strategy are really a function of randomness and incomplete information, Squad is a shooting competition, not a strategical thinking competition.

    And it's not even a bad thing.

    Like, honestly, I think that the best shooter game ever made is probably CS:GO. It just does its particular thing so extremely well. Personally I can be totally into a shooter game simply because it does its own genre so well and is a pinnacle of game design given its genre constraints.

    All shooter games are really more or less the same, skill-wise. Being good in one shooter game predicts being good in every other shooter game on the planet. Aiming skill translates pretty well, and if you're able to develop a good gamesense for one game in a short amount of time, then you will be able to develop that same gamesense for another game as well.

    Squad could be slowed down. You could add like locked points or areas of the map that are opened in order, you could slow movement down, you could make spawn timers longer, you could make giving up cost more tickets, you could make rally points again burn out after 9 uses. Lots of things you could do.

    But what that would be changing is the aesthetics. The strategies and tactics would anyway be quickly figured out. The game would, regardless, become a competition of which team has the better individual players, once the new meta becomes established.

    I admit that I don't have the attention span, or even the interest, to discuss strategy and tactics in-depth with my teammates. I mean all good players anyway know what needs to be done and in what order, so it's not worth the time to discuss these things separately every time.

    It's like CS:GO. Once you're good enough, you don't anymore have to discuss two going B, three going A, at the start of the round. It just happens automatically. You don't need to call out for obvious rotations, they just happen automatically, because the players know the meta and can play it without discussing it.

    So yeah that was a long-winded way of saying that I like the way Squad is now, and the fact it's fast-paced. I'd prolly not play it anymore if it was significantly slower-paced than it already is. It's already a silly long time from launching the game to getting to the first firefight of a fresh map. Already have to wait a minute to spawn, having to wait more would have me browsing YouTube videos while waiting to spawn.

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