Comparisons with Day of Infamy and thoughts on how Sandstorm appears to have failed.

(Should probably disclaim this post is very coop-oriented.)

When NWI officially stated that the non-lethal gunplay was by design, I gave up here and went to play other games. I meandered back briefly to check out the new guns and to see if the frame drops had been addressed.

What's night-and-day is when transitioning from DoI to Sandstorm, what's noticable is how much of a graphical upgrade but gameplay downgrade is present. Sandstorm is prettier to look at, but clunky, sluggish and generally unpleasant to play. After a few rounds we quit back to DoI and can't help but remark upon how smooth and crisp the aiming is and how much more satisfying the gunplay (and gameplay) is.

There's an obvious chronology from Ins2014 to DoI:
DoI is a reskin of Ins2014, but with slightly more developed gameplay and features. Checkpoint becomes Stronghold, for example. The annoying counterattacks are replaced with a regrouping AI who summons an enemy wave if you don't kill them. The AI is more developed, putting snipers, officers and machinegunners in strategic locations covering approaches. The AI in general "digs in".
Sandstorm doesn't have this chronology. Stronghold has detrimentally regressed back into Checkpoint. The irritating counterattacks are back. The AI has gone back to being bumbling idiots. It's like the lessons of Day of Infamy were not learnt. The only gameplay feature which truly succeeds DoI is the whole thing with the fire support, that's quite nicely polished up.

As somebody who loves Ins2014 and DoI and wants an actual sequel (not a casualised shooter masquerading as Insurgency for marketing purposes), I've posted a number of threads aimed at constructively regaining the direction NWI once had.

The gamemode Sandstorm should have, the chronological successor to Checkpoint/Stronghold:

Nonsense going on with point costs ensuring there's a purposeless clear meta:

Nonsense going on with demo loadouts which needs to be fixed:

...and this is without even mentioning the simple fact that the lethality is gone. The immersive suppression effects are gone. The hallmarks of this brand are gone.

Why is this? Obviously the game has been aimed at casuals. Somebody somewhere said: "Let's make Call of Duty but add some realistic elements in, all the kids will buy it because they can say they're hardcore." The problem is Sandstorm has no real identity as a result of this. This is of course compounded by the frame drops, lag and general lack of content. (Or percieved lack of content, see the gamemode suggestion thread for details.)

It seems all of this has fallen on deaf ears. Well, it appears this hasn't worked out for NWI so well.

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Anyway, based on a conversation in Discord yesterday, I took 5 minutes to write down the notes of what the people who I was playing DoI with had to say on this topic.

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For god's sake NWI, your company was built on the back of delivering an immersive shooter, which was predominantly played cooperatively. The maps you have designed could be cooperative masterpieces, but for some reason it appears being an e-sport, being "competitive PvP" and such are the primary concerns. It's pretty evident the "competitive" folks are not interested:

Please give us a decent cooperative gamemode and change the statistics of point costs and weapon damage. Please impliment the old suppression system. Please make a decent game.

It's been nearly a year, which has seen nothing more than the new AK, the MP5, two MG's, one map, some bugfixes and changes to weapon handling which has made most guns awful. (MG recoil for example, wtf).

Please come to your senses and create a sequel. It's a few stat changes and some work on a gamemode. You could have it done in a fortnight.

last edited by Whitby

While I do disagree with a lot of what has been said here, especially with regard to the supposed superiority of the FAL and the necessity of a lethality meta, there a number of great ideas here, such as having the AI use beaten zones and attempt to actively suppress the player's advance.

Let's begin with the parts I disagree the most with.

  1. There isn't, to the best of my knowledge, any sort of FAL meta in the game. The gun has a good rate of fire and kills in one shot, but that's about the sum of it's virtues, since it also comes with high recoil. Compare this to the far more controllable G3, or the much more versatile G36 or M4, or even the M16 and AK variants; each gun has its own advantages and disadvantages, and not all are good for all situations.
  2. I have to disagree about the lack of lethality. Bots are a bit less laser guided killing machines, true, but I think that this is a good thing since the game isn't just catering to the ultra hardcore. At the same time, sitting out in the open is generally death sentence, since once you're spotted, the enemy tend to zero in their fire on you pretty quickly.
  3. While it is true that commander and observer are similar to the rifleman, it must also be noted that observer has to carry the weight of the radio while the commander has the unenviable task of constantly communicating with and supporting the rest of the team, especially since the supports are now much more varied and lethal. Riflemen also have access to the foregrip bipod, which allows them to lay down suppressive fire with much greater ease.

Now, let's talk about the stuff I really agree with.

  1. I agree that AI should take up covering positions and do more to suppress the players. This makes the use of teamwork, specialists and equipment a much more necessary and rewarding aspect of gameplay.
  2. I would go so far as to suggest that more technical spawns could also be added to really make the defensive points more challenging.
  3. I think that instead of replacing checkpoint, stronghold could be added in as a different mode for co-op.

All of this I think would make the game much more rewarding and put more emphasis on teamwork rather than the mad rushes that seem all too common now.

Additionally, I would like to suggest 2 more changes that can perhaps be implemented much more easily.

  1. Restricting incendiaries to demolitions, or making them ineffective against caches.
  2. Giving the reward for cache destruction objectives to the entire team instead of just the person who inflicted the damage. And in general rewarding points more on the basis of performance as a team rather than as an individual.

The reason for suggesting these changes is that a large part of the rushing is due to players seeking to earn the maximum points by using incendiaries to blow up caches, or using them as a cheap (and ineffective) substitute to actually covering a sector (instead flitting about like a mad moth, getting in everyone else's lines of fire). The overall effect of the abundance of incendiaries has been largely negative, and I think that now, with the ability to plant bombs on caches, incendiaries need not be so readily available.


The FAL hits harder, reloads faster and fires faster than the G3. In semi I cannot feel any measurable recoil difference. In full auto in CQB, both are controllable with the FAL being the only reliable option to drop an opponent before they get a round off and cut into your health bar. Both cost the same.

2-3 hit kills with AK's, M4's, G36's, M16's, etc, especially when engaging multiple targets, create a meta of recoil management. In DoI or Ins2014, you place your shots carefully onto targets and they fall. In Sandstorm you squeeze the trigger and hold the crosshairs on target as it's a quicker and more efficient way to win an engagement. If you can put a crosshair on target quickly, you are objectively better off with the FAL. In Ins2014 semi auto was practical to engage multiple targets in a large room. In Sandstorm, full auto is practical to engage multiple targets at the far end of a street.

The lack of lethality is reflected by the fact that player sprint around all over the place (this includes rushing) in a way which is just not the case in the previous titles. You acknowledge this in your following sentence - the game is catering to casual players by removing the lethality. This is why the game has lost its identity. In Call of Duty, it doesn't take a third torso shot to kill an AI with an M4. This game is demonstrably less lethal than CoD. If you enjoy this I can accept that, but I'm confident you'll also enjoy the hundred other casual-ish shooters which are better made, more polished and have more content. For Sandstorm to succeed I strongly believe NWI needs to create a sequel instead of a generic shooter with better weapon animations.

I agree with the points you've made contrasting the commander/observer/rifleman but I don't feel you've objectively refuted my point, although in retrospect I could've explained my point better. In DoI, the observer captures points faster and has the radio weight. The MG is more resistant to suppression effects. The sniper can hold his breath longer. The rifleman can optionally carry a radio, has access to guns the observer doesn't (Garand, etc) and has discounts on certain items. The support class can drop ammo for the team and has the BAR/MG34/Bren/etc which bring a lot of firepower to the team. There is a huge disparity between the two games in that the classes used to be distinct and now they feel extremely watered down.

last edited by Whitby

The difference between the G3 and the FAL comes from the fact that the G3 has a lower Rate of Fire, which makes it much more controllable in sustained fire than the FAL, whose recoil combined with the higher rate of fire makes it much harder to control during sustained fire. Otherwise, the G3 is simply the german H&K answer to the standard issue Belgian FAL. Furthermore, last I checked, the G3 is a one hit kill just like the FAL, and not a 2 hit kill as claimed.

One basic incorrect presumption that I think underlies this is the idea that modern infantry combat is about marksmanship and that good single shot aim is a paramount skill. This is patently not the case; it's the reason militaries have abandoned semi automatic rifles and battle rifles in favour of full auto and burst firing rifles chambered in intermediate calibers (such as the ubiquitous 5.56mm). That meta of recoil management is very much in keeping with the setting of the game and the principles of modern infantry combat. The idea of individual marksmanship being a deciding factor in infantry engagements died out with the advent of automatic weapons,and only really lingered (unsuccessfully, I might add) in armies like the PLA, and even there was found to be inadequate and quickly replaced by the modern doctrine of using suppression and automatic fire.

To be clear about the previous statement that I made; my point was that we no longer have inhuman laser guided aimbots for enemies, which is a good thing overall. This does not mean that the lethality is toned down, simply that it is rationalised and made more human like, something that is a new improvement to the game in my opinion.

The reason that the game has a rushing problem is because the AI fails to hunker down and take up overwatch positions using their MGs on any point. And while I think that a continuous repition of even this would be boring, it would be nice for the AI to do so every few points in order to vary up the gameplay and keep an element of surprise within the gameplay (you never know when the AI has hunkered down and when they're positioned elsewhere). The other reason for the problem is how points are allocated on the basis of individual play, especially on cache destruction points; everyone wants to get points by throwing their incendiary on the point and rushes to do so (thereby creating a perverse incentive to rush and not work as a team).

The simple solutions to this are as follows:-

  1. Making the AI actually take up overwatch positions with MGs and snipers every once in a while and actively try to suppress the players.
  2. Heavily restricting the availability of incendiaries (such as limiting them to the Demolitions class).
  3. Reworking how points are awarded to put a greater emphasis on team play over individual glorification (for example, by allocating points for cache destruction to the whole team).

If you want the G3's rate of fire with more damage, crisper sights and faster reloading, you just put the FAL in semi and click quickly. And the FAL does do more damage, I've done my own separate tests, the spreadsheet linked above is totally third party, you're welcome to verify it for yourself too.

Modern infantry combat is not a full auto spraying match. Not in places that have trained combatants at least. It's about precise suppressive fire. For example, the USMC is switching from the M249 to the M27 which is basically a heavy barreled HK416 being fed from 40 round mags. Whether you agree with that decision or not, it demonstrates that having the suppression going as close to the enemy as possible is a good thing, arguably at the cost of volume of fire. In real life the M249 fires 3-4 round bursts on targets, it doesn't dump whole belts. In part the problem here is lethality. In part the problem is the suppression effects are negligible at worst and don't effect the AI in any meaningful way. So, everyone runs around like pricks, unsupressed and able to take a round or two before needing to utilise cover.

Please don't conflate poor AI coding in the form of aimbots to be what I'm advocating for with regards to competent AI and weapon lethality. I'm advocating for a chronological successor to DoI's AI and gunplay.

There's a rushing problem because rushing is possible. What I am suggesting, while making the game far more immersive and challenging, has been demonstrated to nullify rushing as a valid strategy. I even expanded upon this with the gamemode proposition which would integrate with the other mechanics seamlessly, offering variety into each engagement. You're not wrong about the cache destruction point situation, but fixing that's definitely a band aid for the sucking chest wound of the running-around-like-a-prick problem.

I agree your numbered solutions would be improvements on the current state the game is in, but why stop there? Why not make it actually good like DoI instead of a bit better and a bit more like DoI?

last edited by Whitby

The longer times to cap objective and the radioman's ability to cap objectives faster in DoI doesn't really apply to coop but in PVP it's a great improvement and dynamic

It means the defenders get 1 try to take back the objective after respawning which makes the objective play quite competitive. There's no "aww we're gonna lose it" but a constant battle to retake and secure it. The objectives are also generally quite large too so it can take more effort.

The radioman can negate this by capping faster but that means having a vital class in danger and no fire support if the officer is not with him. I found this to be great when I played as a duo officer/radioman as we took a lot of risks to support the team's advance not just sitting back and calling in fire support - a good dynamic

In Sandstorm the objectives are bigger than Insurgency but not as big in DoI, and there's no faster radioman capping. It's a loss for class distinction and playstyles.

I think that the distinction between the FAL and the G3, especially in co-op is largely down to personal taste. While you may prefer the slightly higher rate of fire and sights of the FAL, others prefer the much more open ironsights of the G3 along with it's much more controllable fire rate. I agree that there are some inconsistencies with the damage and perhaps the FAL could stand to be brought down to a 2 shot kill or the G3 brought up to a 1 shot kill (on light armour, since they're both 2 shot kills on heavy armour IIRC; though honestly, light armour needs some buffs while unarmoured should be a 1 shot kill from absolutely any weapon) since they fire the exact same cartridge.

I think that you may be confusing the audio with the fire rate of the weapon; they are 2 different things, and the audio is not a very reliable indicator of the actual rate of fire of the weapon in question. The G3 has a rather appreciable rate of fire while also being more controllable in sustained or burst fire, making it a much more useful weapon depending on how you use it (for example, I use it to lay down short accurate bursts of fire at range instead of relying on single shots).

While modern infantry combat is definitely not a spraying match, especially between 2 well trained forces, it is also not a marksmanship competition based around accurate single shots. Single shot accuracy, except for the marksman role, isn't all that important when compared to somewhat accurate bursts and suppression from both the MG and the automatic weapons of the soldiers. This at least is accurate in the game as well, since what we generally see are bursts of automatic fire instead of lining up single shots or spraying and praying.

It should also be noted that the forces in the game aren't exactly well trained. One side are soldiers of any random country (could be conscripts, could be militia, why knows?) and the other side are insurgents. The game itself is set in and based heavily on existing middle eastern conflicts. So it's also doubtful whether either side is well trained.

While I completely agree that running unarmoured should merit a 1 shot kill from any weapon, I do not think that that should be the case for light or heavy armour; heavy armour is fine right now, but light armour is so weak as to be pointless and is really in need of buffs.

One also has to account for the fact that Sandstorm tries for a much larger appeal than DoI and thus needs to cater to a larger and more diverse playerbase. As for the idea of stronghold; I think that it might be better off as a separate optional game mode rather than as a replacement for the current objective mode (which, while definitely having scope for improvement, is certainly not a lost cause).

You're comparing a world war 2 game to a modern warfare game. Sure there are many different mechanics but a lot of the weapons are different too, doi has no body armour, sandstorm does, doi has battle rifles, sandstorm has assault rifles.

You say that sandstorm discourages aggression? Maybe you like to sit outside an objective and clear it with a nade or rpg and so do many other players as they know that objective will be full of hostiles, but myself and many others like to actually push in as the breacher class and destroy targets in the face with the mp7 and uzi, you claim the fal is the only weapon to use as it's "meta" but thats entirely your own opinion and not a fact nor a statistic.

I find the fal and the g3 extremely clunky to use and slow to reload, I personally prefer the AKM or the Uzi/Mp7, even in online matches i hardly ever see the fal used unless its by that one guy who sticks a x4 on it and sits far away thinking hes sniper elite getting 2 kills every 5 minutes he camps, it sounds like you're him, camping carl with your x4 fal thinking its the meta.

counter attacks aren't irritating they are interesting as they force you to go from being offensive to defensive which changes the pace of the game and it stops rushers from zooming across the map which ruins the match for everyone else who actually wants to get into firefights, the ai do spawn at certain points and advance from certain pathways as the navigational mesh and algorithms guide them to, but when they get near the objectives they usually fan out and attack from multiple points.

for a short duration the sandstorm ai had received a buff which made them insanely accurate they would run and gun and one tap you from 150m away with an rpk and they would snipe you with molotovs and perfectly thrown and timed frag nades but the devs adjusted this behaviour as the bots were now clearly superior and winning most matches and it left players frustrated.

Sounds to me like you wish sandstorm was a clone of doi wearing insurgencys skin, and many sandstorm fans disagree with you on many points you've made.

Sandstorm got a lot of bad press from the singleplayer fans when they announced they would cease production on the campaign to focus on the multiplayer and cooperative aspect of the game, which us Insurgency modern combat veterans praised them for as that is the core of the game for us, then due to the new engine and the performance issues a few patches ago the game got even more bad press because someone who had a solid 80fps had his performance reduced in certain situations and on the new map their fps was crippled.

Insurgency was on humblebundle going for free and for as much as £1 multiple times, plus there were quite a few free to play weekends which seen a increase in the playerbase, also the workshop integration and modding support helped keep the playerbase alive, even now Sandstorm has yet to see any modding tools or a sdk, and due to the engine now being unreal making mods is that much more difficult as they will need to be whitelisted and packaged to players as mutators to prevent material hacks in online and competitive matches, and that has displeased a lot of the fans and potential buyers as modding your games helps replayability and longevity.

Insurgency has always suffered when to came to marketing as it's not very well known at all which hurts the playerbase.

last edited by Depleted

@Whitby, debate about the details will be endless, but your essential point is right on and one I have felt often while playing Sandstorm - it simply does not match the baseline quality of game manship that DOI does. In the rare times these days that I can find people playing DOI on US servers I still have more fun with the gameplay and mechanics than I do on Sandstorm.

That said, I have hope given NWI's announcement to be more community driven in their development.

"We’re also working on a new official game mode that is a “hardcore” version of Checkpoint. This mode introduces some unique mechanics and a different pace of gameplay geared towards our hardcore audience, and it’s been really fun already in playtesting." - NWI.

Maybe they're coming to their senses?

last edited by Whitby


Think they realised they fucked up yet?

Was nice to see the questions on the latest survey about weapon damage at least. Maybe we can get back to the winning formula...