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Terrible Meta and Gameplay

Doctor HammerDoctor Hammer Member Posts: 23 ★★

Greetings,

I am writing to give my personal feedback on the current iteration of the game's meta. Squad when played at a competitive level is very meta focused, we have to learn and understand the meta in order to beat opponents.

Right now there are a few things that really bother me meta wise:


1) FOB Spam: The fact that a team has to build multiple FOBs in order to out spawn the opponent creating multiple angles of attacks without much penalty is very absurd. Half the time you find yourself fighting against FOBs rather than the actual objectives which makes the gameplay kind of silly, for example in the recent Doc's Office vs VAC game on Mestia, the game was played by destroying enemy FOBs around Crucible rather than playing over Crucible itself. This should signal that there is something inherently wrong with the way the game is being played. The fight should be over FLAGS not FOBs, I would suggest limiting the amount of FOBs to be placed on the map at one time by either increasing FOB range via 300 to 500 or 400 or just limiting the amount of fobs placed on a map at the same time in general, maybe the commander can have an ability to destroy a fob.


The game played much better when both teams had 2 - 3 FOBs maximum and infantry was much more focused rather than spread out and playing this "spawn management" game. This also played into SLs having to communicate with one another at the beginning of the game talking about fob placement more. Now SLs just go and place fobs wherever.


2) Mortar Spam: A personal hatred of mine, in competitive you are unable to place fobs anywhere, Teams are so astute now with mortars, if you put any FOB or HAB in the open, the opposing team will immediately mortar it. This forces you to essentially place all FOBs in buildings. Entire games are played with your screen shaking constantly and hearing BANG BANG BANG BANG in your ears ALL DAMN GAME. Something has to be done with this meta, Mortars being as strong as they are is something that can't continue to go on. They are simply too strong and limit teams ability to place FOBs in more places.


A couple of simple nerfs are this: Increase ammo cost, add over heat, decrease damage to HAB/Radio.


3) Power of Airstrike/UAV/Artillery: These things are simply really silly and overpowered, once again limiting FOB spots and causing the "counter mortar" meta. Teams CAN NOT place fobs in the open because of these abilities. Mortaring becomes a chess game of removing mortar tubes when UAV is up because of the opponent will actually counter mortar your mortars through UAV coordination. It's absolutely silly and over powered.


Suggestion: Remove Commander abilities that effect the other team through damage (add supportive abilities). Maybe add a supply drop ability. Change the way we get commander abilities rather than on a timer? the timer makes games seem very time based and kind of artificial rather than natural, the game seemed to have more integrity without commander abilities. Another suggestion would be to remove the ability for commanders to call in air strikes through UAV and require an SL to mark what he needs air struck, along with reducing the circle diameter that is generated when a call in is done on the map which would force an SL to get a very accurate mark down.


4) Heli Dominance/UAV: Helis are simply way way way too strong with fob spamming and gaining intel without much punishment, they need to be much weaker to small arms and have to have some kind of height based fob. Smart heli pilots can essentially fly without penalty and spot vehicles across map. A good example of this is on Yehorivka, if stepne is taken a good heli pilot can call out any logis that are pushing stepne on border of the map etc. making it virtually impossible to get an attack going. They need to be nerfed in some way shape or form. The exact nerf is very difficult to say to be honest.


5) Vehicle Tanky-ness/LAT spam: Vehicles need a massive balance change, What I have found is that Vehicle players are not having fun playing in them and Infantry are not having fun playing against them. you find that vehicles can do some things like sit on a hab and frag dump it while taking multiple lats, which in fact it should be that vics should not want to get any where close to an enemy spawn and instead play with their own infantry and shoot from a distance.


Suggestion: reduce the amount of LAT and HAT and increase the damage those kits do. Give vehicles Thermals and/or better optics (give them a 1x Zoom with thermal).



Conclusion: I think all these problems are very very important to be addressed in the next update and I hope to see some gameplay changes regarding these. These changes are relatively simple and I would love to see some of them tested.



Thanks for reading,

Doc

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Comments

  • Doctor HammerDoctor Hammer Member Posts: 23 ★★

    A note to add onto the "FOB Spam" section, when I mentioned the game played better with 2-3 Fobs per map, it also played better when FOBs were Stronger/Tougher harder to take down. Which allowed teams to focus on fighting for the flag rather than taking down a fob that is super easy to rip.

  • Doctor HammerDoctor Hammer Member Posts: 23 ★★

    @XXPX1 I appreciate you adding to the conversation.


    Thanks for clarifying and identifying the changes. That is something I overlooked in writing my post.

  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 25 ★★

    My perspective is going to be that of a much less competitive nature; I SL and command teams comprised primarily of blueberries(non clan/server regulars). It's probably not often that both the competitive and 'casual' communities agree on something. Which I think only serves to solidify the need for change in regards to the FOB meta. Also, sorry for the wall of text.

    The Issues

    FOBs are far too delicate now and the game direction seems to be weakening them further with the proposed changes to HAB Proximity Disable. This leads to HAB spamming which causes a whole slew of new issues; particularly for teams that are not being micromanaged by experienced clans or SLs. Chief amongst those issues are a half-dozen+ blueberries fighting on each HAB rather than pushing the point or enemy HAB and the incredible efficacy of a dedicated Mine/TOW/LAT squad of ~5 camping main supply routes effectively starving a teams resources.

    I'm sure that an important metric for you as Devs is player retention/satisfaction. Word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of advertising. Spending absurd amounts of time waiting for relevant HABs to pop up is not fun. Being inexperienced and spawning on a HAB that is up only to find out that it's 1,000+km from the relevant objectives is not fun. If you're reading the above and think the issues aren't relevant or are solved by getting good(tbf you're right), read my first statement at the top again.

    HAB defenses are more detrimental than helpful; the only real defense a HAB has now is to remain hidden. Defenses are basically throwing out a sign that says 'HABs right here, don't waste your time looking'.

    I would be a bit less concerned about HAB changes if rallies were being buffed to offset but they aren't. Rolling 60 second spawns and no ammo resupply do not make them a viable replacement for attacking or defending for any meaningful amount of time.

    Possible Solutions

    Buff HABs. Make the 'cost' of attacking HABs higher in terms of either time(stronger/harder to proxy) or tickets(better, more effective defenses/harder to proxy). Simultaneously increase the radius around FOBs to 400m or more. Doing both of these things will shift the gameplay from FOB spamming to point capping which is where I have arguably the best times. An ideal match for me is an epic back and forth over a point; win or lose. Less about running and sneaking up to proxy a HAB, more about making each other dead. HAB stability means blueberries can spawn in and actually experience combat and lowers the efficacy of a 5 man squad roaming and mining your main.

    Add a supply/logistical side to commander capabilities. Make commanders choose between using an airstrike or doing a supply drop. Choose between arty or a short period(~30 seconds or less) of reduced respawn time(a 10-15 second reduction in respawn times i.e., Reinforcements)

    Allow small arms to affect helicopters. Pilots should not be entirely immune to damage. A heli hovering over a point with 10 small arms infantry lighting it up because they know they can take the damage shouldn't happen. A heli should not be able to repeatedly scour an area at high speeds to mark enemy emplacements without any regard for the infantry shooting it. It doesn't have to be like a logi where the driver bleeds out. Make it so enough small arms fire builds a suppression effect on the pilot reducing their flight capabilities i.e. less agile forcing them to pull off and recuperate giving ground forces a chance to advance.

    Summation

    I realize some of my suggestions are radical, they were things off the top of my head that I believe, with proper implementation(i.e. LOTS of testing), could make for a much more in-depth and fun experience for everyone,

  • XXPX1XXPX1 Member Posts: 45 ★★

    I felt most strongly about the FOB meta, but I want to address the other points raised in this thread briefly.

    Let me state that I do not play the competitive side of Squad and haven't kept up with every meta within that community.

    Mortar Spam

    I think this level of mortar spam is something not seen too much outside the competitive scene. Public matches generally don't have that level of coordination for it to be that problematic.

    So I'll abstain from this point.

     Power of Airstrike/UAV/Artillery

    The Commander needs an overhaul in general. But given that these abilities will only be used a handful of times per match due to their cool downs, I'm not as concerned with this point.

    Heli Dominance/UAV

    I think most people forget that you can actually shoot down the enemy's UAV.

    The solution to the problem is to have proper countermeasures. Helicopters flying at high altitudes should be prone to MANPADs and other anti-air fire. I envision a single anti-air kit per team similar to the HAT along with a single AA vehicle.

    Of course, helicopters should have chaffs as a countermeasure as well.

    Overall the helicopter & commander system feel incredibly under baked.

    Vehicle Tanky-ness/LAT spam

    Compared to past iterations of Squad, I actually like where vehicles are now.

    • Previously, LATs would actually die just to get rearmed or would have to run back to an ammo box to obtain a new rocket (FOBs were much rarer during these times). Rifleman and vehicles providing ammo has been a great change for the AT infantry and persistent ammo removes the dying to rearm meta that once was.
    • Previously, vehicles just had hit points and couldn't be disabled. Vehicle components allows LATs to disable vehicles and coordinate with armor or other AT to finish the vehicle off. Even if the vehicle is repaired, it exposes the crew temporarily and consumes a good amount of time to get back into the fight.

    The meta of requiring two LATs in a squad is gone. A single LAT can disable a vehicle enough that infantry can maneuver around it, HAT alleviates the limited fire support roles and with more ways to resupply a LAT, a single LAT in the squad usually can have his rocket on hand.

    That said, I would support the addition of IR optics for vehicles.

  • EinenEinen Member Posts: 2 Civilian

    For the number 5) : I had made a similar suggestion one year ago, the counter argument was that will make vehicle weaker since the "multiple instashot" would be easier to pull.

    The bonus point was that it will free one more supports kits for the squad, we rarely see a grenadier right now because the meta is AR + 2 LAT.

    I'm now conflicted : I still feel that the only purpose to the LAT is to mobility kill enemy armor until an HAT come up and finish the jobs. It's balanced and put teamwork first : you are here to help the HAT not to rack kill per see. But it's make the kit a bit frustating to play, and I get why in public servers it's hard to convince people to take the 2 LAT per squad.

  • An0nym0usAn0nym0us Member Posts: 27 ★★

    "Squad when played at a competitive level is very meta focused"

    Unfortunately for you, the vast majority of squad players couldn't give a rat's tail about competitive play. The proof of that is in the pathetically low viewer counts of your comp matches.

    As for your hilariously bad balancing ideas, lol no. The only thing that I could even slightly agree with you on is FOB spam. Surrounding enemy flags or friendly flags with FOBs to attack/defend is not the bad part of FOB spam, it's a sound strategy that encourages combat on multiple angles. Rather, the bad part is that buildable fortifications are so unnecessarily expensive that FOBs are encouraged to be HAB and ammo crate only.

    As XXP said, fortifications are no longer relevant. Why would anyone waste 800 build on two tiny HESCO walls when they could build a flanking FOB on the other side of the objective with only 600 build? The simple solution would be to drastically reduce the cost of fortifications while keeping the "spawn under siege" feature currently being developed according to the Trello board.

    In regards to your balance ideas XXP, vaulting should not be nerfed. Being able to flank and move easily in urban environments greatly improves infantry gameplay. You can't excuse nerfing it into the ground with "it's silly" because it's absolutely realistic for combatants to climb and jump around as necessary, and we all know how much Squad players love realism™. If you absolutely HAD to ruin the fun for everyone, at least let unconventional forces keep the maneuverability.

    I'm ambivalent about the FOB radius, but nerfing logi player capacity would encourage infantry to travel in armored vics instead, and I'm all for that! Far more fun to be in an Infantry Fighting Vehicle than a defenseless truck.


    Here's competent game balance boiled down into a fun formula:

    Sidegrade>Buff>Nerf

    Sidegrade = Change that doesn't increase or decrease the power of a feature, rather changing how it's used/affects things.

    Buff = Change that increases the power of a feature.

    Nerf = Change that decreases the power of a feature

    To ensure that a feature is fun, follow this "fun formula" to the letter: If sidegrading a controversial feature doesn't work, try buffing other features to counter it. If buffing other features to counter the controversial feature doesn't work, then and only then should you try nerfing it. If the feature is no longer fun no matter what you do, it shouldn't exist at all.

  • XXPX1XXPX1 Member Posts: 45 ★★
    edited May 5

    You can't excuse nerfing it into the ground with "it's silly" because it's absolutely realistic for combatants to climb and jump around as necessary

    My post was long enough as is and I did not think I needed to explain why a human wearing his weight in gear couldn't scale 2 meter walls in 3 seconds.

    And let's set aside the "realism" factor and consider what Squad was like before A10. In my opinion, making a fortified location that required the engineer kit to use his ladder or C4 to breach was a more fun experience than having enemies pour over the walls. It's completely subjective, but I enjoyed having fortified locations that could stand up to the enemy's presence.

    We've seen in the last squad chat talks about changing the vaulting system and here is the trello card on the roadmap.

     The simple solution would be to drastically reduce the cost of fortifications

    It's not that simple and would not fix the issue.

    Fortifications have already been made cheaper and they are still not used.

    Fortifications were used in Squad's past, and this was despite the fact that they were more expensive and logi supplies were a lot harder to come by.

    By reducing the cost of fortifications, you end up creating a "race to the bottom" effect and not actually solving the problem. FOBs just become more disposable as the effort it takes to build them becomes less and less.

    You have to actually identify why fortifications are no longer used, and you did that in part:

    ...when they could build a flanking FOB on the other side of the objective with only 600 build

    But the fact that fortifications can be easily scaled and easily destroyed by the new assets are also a contributing factor.


    If you want a simple fix: make HABs cost more (let's say 1000 construction points). Then logi trucks would be able to drop fewer HABs per run.

    Do not make the fortifications even cheaper, we've already done that and it doesn't work.

  • An0nym0usAn0nym0us Member Posts: 27 ★★

    "Do not make the fortifications even cheaper, we've already done that and it doesn't work."

    Hardly. For example, taking HESCOs from 500 to 400 build is a joke of a decrease.

    "If you want a simple fix: make HABs cost more (let's say 1000 construction points). Then logi trucks would be able to drop fewer HABs per run."

    Making HAB creation prohibitively expensive as you've suggested just creates a different problem: Too few spawn points rather than too many. I'm not worried about having too many spawn points when people are competent enough to multi-FOB. That's the opposite of a problem.

    "But the fact that fortifications can be easily scaled and easily destroyed by the new assets are also a contributing factor."

    Exactly! FOBs can easily be destroyed, so make them easy to build too! Maneuver warfare is the warfare of the 21st-century, brother. Why make it harder to do/build badass things when you can make it easier?

    "We've seen in the last squad chat talks about changing the vaulting system and here is the Trello card on the roadmap."

    Yeah, I've seen that. I was hoping it'd be a feature allowing you to pull up the buddy who gave you a boost over the wall, just like they do IRL. It's nonspecific enough that neither of us really knows what it fully entails.


    Moving on from my reply to your reply XXP, I wholly disagree with the premise of OP, that destroying enemy spawn points is somehow "silly" and antithetical to playing the game. Destroying enemy spawns, cutting their supply lines, it's all just as vital to winning as getting on the objective itself. I've had very tight games where both teams were competent at placing defensive and attacking FOBs, it's only a problem when people who don't know how to play overwhelm those who do. Thankfully, the swarm of post-release newbs is FINALLY dying down as they either leave or learn how to play.

    If you asked me my opinion on objectives, I'd go so far as to tell you they're an outdated relic derived from the olden days of Battlefield 2. I doubt it will ever be fully included in vanilla Squad, but SquadOPs has a game mode by the name Occupation that, for all its LARPing features, has an amazing premise. Rather than having points, you have one massive point (or AO as they call it) that you build FOBs in and fight for control of. Whoever has the majority+6 within the AO is winning, and the minority team gets a ticket bleed based on how few people they have in the AO. In practice, this means that enemy FOBs are the "points" that need to be captured, while your own FOBs are the "points" to be defended.

    Territory Control is the closest vanilla game mode to Occupation, and I loved TC long before I'd ever heard of Occupation. People seem to dislike TC because they don't understand it; If I had a dollar for every time someone put a FOB outside of the territories to "flank", I'd have a hefty paycheck on my hands.

  • JulesBJulesB BelgiumMember Posts: 13

    I don't think that this game should be balanced according to the competitive scene. Most players don't follow or play it but a lot of part of the competitive meta end up coming to the public scene especially the HAB spam.


    FOBs with HAB's are too weak IMO it is way too easy to take them down with commander assets or a sneaky 5 man squad with an engineer/sapper. If we would double the HAB cost to let's say 1000 ammo. We would just end up with fewer weak FOBs or SL's would just put even more time end effort into deploying FOB's because right now the only thing that stops people from building more of them is the FOB radius. I think that we should combine the cost increase with a buff towards FOB's that include a HAB if you are going to drop 1000 build points for a HAB into a FOB if you might at least become a bit harder to destroy. My suggestions are:

    1. that the Radio wouldn't go down until the HAB is destroyed as well.
    2. giving conventional forces a new HAB model that is made out of concrete so it would just be a strong as the indirect fire bucker. this would make them indestructible by commander assets mortars or MBT's. (and again if the radio gets hit it would survive until the HAB goes down.)
    3. A cap on the amount of HAB's a conventional team can place down unconventional force should of course still be able to place more of them. I don't really want to give a number but something around 4 or 5 HAB's per conventional team and double that for unconventional teams would be it I guess.

    Now we Buffed FOB's with HAB's, nerfed Commander assets, Mortars, MBT's and the engineer/Sapper.

    I don't think that increasing the FOB radius to 400m would do anything apart from making it harder to play on urban maps where you are already unable to have a FOB on the objective plus a forward offensive FOB.

    The construction cost of heavy fortifications like Hesco Wall's and blocks should still be lowered IMO.


    LAT should deal more damage to APC's and IFV's but they should still be largely ineffective against tanks.


    Rallies should be destroyed with an E-tool instead of by proxy half of the time it just happens by accident. They are just too weak and unreliable.

  • RybecRybec CanadaMember Posts: 20 ★★

    Specifically regarding the very first sentence of your post, balancing your game around competitive play is the fastest way to get rid of "fun" parts of a game.

  • Doctor HammerDoctor Hammer Member Posts: 23 ★★

    I am not saying balance around competitive play, what I am talking about are observations made in competitive play. These things are also abused in public play, just to a less degree due to a lower level of experience. All it takes are a few competitive players to really turn the tide of a game making public play less fun for everyone.


    I don't get the immediate hate response that is received when the word "competitive" is thrown around. I was just stating observations. I don't want the game to changed to make competitive more fun or entertaining, I want the game changed to be more fun at every level of play.

  • EcchiRevengeEcchiRevenge Member Posts: 90 ★★

    Maybe only two mortar tubes allowed on map would do the trick, if people wanted to hit forward targets they will have to dig down and move mortars forward(adds more dedication to firing mortars, instead of two construction radius stacked near eachother with 4 mortars firing together, deleting everything before people can react).


    Squad is a platoon-sized game so iirc it's typically unrealistic to have more than 3 mortars.

    (nor is it realistic to have tow launchers all over the map)


    Changing fob radius would help against mortar stacking too.


    I say either remove half the mortars or remove half the commander strikes. Or both. Requiring SL mark instead of straight from UAV is great too.


    Also vehicle tankiness varies too heavily, for example BTR takes a reasonable 3 AT-4 to kill(why? who knows) but somehow Stryker takes 5 normal LAT(because nobody else has higher-damage LAT which is AT-4), bradley and warrior takes 6 (or even 8 if all shots hit warrior on addon armor, which is ****), bulldog being the worst offender(8 LATs lol).

    There is also the double-damage bug that only works at certain angles and makes no sense(a shot into crew compartment is a shot into crew comparment, there's no reason why a shot that is angled up/downward should do more/less damage, let alone double the damage).

    AT-4 also is the single AT weapon capable of one-shotting choppers(when they actually take damage).

    Maybe AT-4 just needs to be removed.


    Helicopters definitely need nerf; they should at least start hp burn when shot by any LAT or HAT from full hp.

    Also the respawn and ticket cost need to increase. 5 minutes is nothing.

  • EcchiRevengeEcchiRevenge Member Posts: 90 ★★

    Maybe only two mortar tubes allowed on map would do the trick, if people wanted to hit forward targets they will have to dig down and move mortars forward(adds more dedication to firing mortars, instead of two construction radius stacked near eachother with 4 mortars firing together, deleting everything before people can react).


    Squad is a platoon-sized game so iirc it's typically unrealistic to have more than 3 mortars.

    (nor is it realistic to have tow launchers all over the map)


    Changing fob radius would help against mortar stacking too.


    I say either remove half the mortars or remove half the commander strikes. Or both. Requiring SL mark instead of straight from UAV is great too.


    Also vehicle tankiness varies too heavily, for example BTR takes a reasonable 3 AT-4 to kill(why? who knows) but somehow Stryker takes 5 normal LAT(because nobody else has higher-damage LAT which is AT-4), bradley and warrior takes 6 (or even 8 if all shots hit warrior on addon armor, which is dumb), bulldog being the worst offender(8 LATs lol wtf).

    There is also the double-damage bug that only works at certain angles and makes no sense(a shot into crew compartment is a shot into crew comparment, there's no reason why a shot that is angled up/downward should do more/less damage, let alone double the damage).

    AT-4 also is the single AT weapon capable of one-shotting choppers(when they actually take damage).

    Maybe AT-4 just needs to be removed.


    Helicopters definitely need nerf; they should at least start hp burn when shot by any LAT or HAT from full hp.

    Also the respawn and ticket cost need to increase. 5 minutes is nothing.

  • JulesBJulesB BelgiumMember Posts: 13

    Some things translate to public games and other things require too much communication and teamwork to pull off with random blueberries. The FOB spam definitely translates to public games since it only needs one competitive-minded SL.

    Mortaring down HAB's on the other hand rarely happens in public matches it usually requires communication between multiple squads and I think that mortars are too weak against infantry right now as well. So nerfing mortars might not be the best idea so buffing up HAB's sounds like a better solution for casual players to me.

    I'm saying that we should look more at what happens in public games than in competitive matches. A balance change might sound nice in competitive but it can ruin something in casual games. No hate against competitive players intended.

  • JulesBJulesB BelgiumMember Posts: 13

    Limiting the maximum number of mortars and TOW's per team sounds like a good compromise. You usually don't see them getting spammed around in public matches so it would only hurt competitive tactics. 2 mortar teams aiming for 1 HAB definitely doesn't happen in public games.

  • RackEmUp187RackEmUp187 Member Posts: 34

    I agree mostly with what Doc has said except for the thermal for vehicles. I tried the steel division mod and thermal was really OP for the vehicles. against infantry. Would have to make sure it was balanced maybe limit the fov with it, idk.


    Going off of what JulesB said:

    A balance change might sound nice in competitive but it can ruin something in casual games. No hate against competitive players intended.

    As for the casual vs. competitive players, maybe someone could make a game mode/mod for competition in the meantime because we know casual players will complain if there are reduced fobs and they are forced to walk far. Then we can see what would work in casual play like Jules said.

  • EcchiRevengeEcchiRevenge Member Posts: 90 ★★

    That's because steel division's "thermals" are terribly-made(vehicles do not actually have hot spots near engines...etc.) and do not scale down in resolution, nor are they blurry enough.


    Casual players already complain when they lose all caps because nobody defends/build habs. What's the difference?

  • Doctor HammerDoctor Hammer Member Posts: 23 ★★

    "mortaring down habs does not happen in public play often" yeah this is completely false, I have no idea what game you are playing. It happens ALL the time. All it takes are 2 competent people on the other team who enjoy doing mortars to single handedly win a match. Fobs aren't "surprises" or "mysteries" they are usually quickly found and called out. GG.


    No offense, but it would seem your public experience is much different than mine.

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