Analysis & Suggestions: A Look At Shotguns

Let me start off by saying that this post isn't just some rant about shotguns being too overpowered and more of an analysis of shotguns in other games that are seeking or have sought out a competitive scene within their community of players and how their decisions could be translated to Insurgency: Sandstorm.

At the current state of Insurgency: Sandstorm, there are a lot of players concerned with the overpowering performance of shotguns. It is being talked about primarily in competitive play, but with good reason: You can EASILY cross-map someone on angles that are usually used specifically with sniper rifles. It's not as apparent when playing in casual matches or playing with lower-level competitive players, but the difference is there. Pop on slug rounds (Maybe even a suppressor to add on to it) and you can beat anyone on virtually every angle as long as they're not wearing heavy armor and more than 40 meters away from you.

See, and the issue with the current state of the shotgun isn't the damage, but the effective range of the weapon and how it is translated into the game. But this isn't the only instance in the gaming community as a whole! There are many games that have had issues with shotguns' effective range vs. damage output. I can list two more recent examples:

  • Overwatch:
    There have been many concerns in the past with Reaper, a dual-wielding shotgun (Hellfire Shotguns) hero, who's main role in competitive play is shredding tanks and front-liners with his crazy close-range damage output and the 2 escapes built into his kit. The issue that was causing concern in the community was that Reaper's shotguns seemed to pull critical hits from ranges that were kind of ridiculous for shotguns.
    Blizzard combated this by coming up with an intuitive modification to reaper's shotgun's damage models. Blizzard decided to increase the spread & pellet count of every shot and decrease the effective range of his shotguns. This change, more or less, reinstated Reaper as a front-line tank shredder who gets up close and personal with the enemy front-liners. Unless he pushes straight through the other team, he can't reach back-line dps.

Another example of shotgun changes is:

  • Fortnite:
    I think everyone remembers the days of Fortnite that you'd be minding your business, see a guy running in the city next to you then get 100-0'd by a guy 30m away with a pump-action shotgun. It was terrible, many people started abusing the state of the shotguns and were able to get insane damage output from ranges that even rifles had trouble tracking. Since then, Epic Games instated a nerf very similar to the change done in Overwatch, but on a more drastic scale considering the larger impact that shotguns had in their game. Epic Games came out with a patch including dropping regular damage by 10, the damage multiplier from 2.5 to 2.0, and decreasing the effective range and the max range of the weapon.

There are many more examples of shotgun changes similar to this, from larger AAAs like Battlefield & Call of Duty, to CS:GO, PUBG, and even smaller games that attempted in the competitive fps scene like Battalion 1944, etc.

I believe that if NWI wants to truly make a balanced game fit for an competitive community, the first thing that must be looked at is the weapons, starting with the shotgun. Now, am I saying that NWI is in the wrong? NO. They have probably not seen any benefits to changing the shotgun and are keeping it the same because of that. But I challenge NWI developers to go into the game with 2 or 3 others on a private server and really test out the damage and range capabilities of the shotgun and imagine the capabilities of high-skilled players using this in a tournament for your game, and how much outrage it would cause. I would really like to see shotguns, not nerfed, but changed in a way that is more beneficial to both casual play and competitive. If the spread and pellet count of regular & flechette is increased and the range decreased, the shotgun can prove more effective room clearing and watching alleys. Whereas, degreasing the range but increasing the wall-penetration of slug rounds can make clearing difficult corners extremely easy.

I would love to see shotguns given a second look at, and some values changed to make them more balanced without losing any deserved efficiency. I'm in no way saying that the changes absolutely NEED to happen, after all, it is NWI's game and it all comes down to what the developers are happy with. Dedicated players will continue to play and support this game regardless.

I look forward to the feedback, and will try to reply to as many people as possible where there needs a reply 🙂 Have a good day!

The thing is, the other games you listed there have vastly differing TTKs. Overwatch had a balance problem with shotguns because they were one of the few abilities (at that time, RIP) that could one shot someone. In Sandstorm, that should definitely not be the case. One shotting someone from 100 meters isn't unbalanced if other rifles can do the same thing. In Source, the FAL can one shot someone from any range, even through cover in some cases. But it's not overpowered. Sure, it's a really good gun, but it doesn't overshadow others. A better solution would be buffing the other guns to match the shotguns' lethality. If you ported a slug or flechette shotgun into Source, it would be rank somewhere between the Model 10 and M1911. Why would you choose a one-hit-kill pump-action gun with 8 shots over a one-hit-kill automatic gun with 30 shots?

These posts need to stop. What is a shotgun nerf in Overwatch supposed to mean for this? Overwatch and Insurgency exist for very different reasons and attract a drastically different playerbase. People are glad to see that shotguns are useful and behave realistically in this. Making shotguns behave the same way as every other game (where they aren’t very realistic) just shows a lack of emphasis on realism and would take away from the game’s identity.

And no, shotguns are not going to constrain this game’s competitive scene. Only three players are allowed to use a shotgun on each team, and of those three, some will use an SMG or carbine. That’s because not everyone is good at using a shotgun where you will likely only be able to get off one shot at your enemy.