CoOp. Team, Tactics, Skill... - and the reality

From NWI's Steam store page...

"Insurgency: Sandstorm is a team-based, tactical FPS based on lethal close quarters combat and objective-oriented multiplayer gameplay.
Experience the intensity of modern combat where skill is rewarded, and teamwork wins the fight."

The second sentence amuses and annoys me the most at the same time.

Actually they fail at their own claim. Sorry.

Let's have a look at the reality (public servers).

I see a bunch of individuals widely scattered between the capture points.
Often there's a group rushing while more or less unaffected by bot resistance and the ones that have to move slow because of skirmishes on their way to the next point.
Selfish behaviour at the destructible ammo crates - some players blow up themselves or use rockets and hurt team mates to prevent their participation at this event.

Why does this happen?

---it's possible by design and...
---promoted by a still underdeveloped so-called A.I. as well as...
---highlighting purely individual achievements (which is o.k. for the statistic record but not for the team spirit)

Possible solutions?

Everything that makes it plausible / rewarding for the players to act more team oriented, helps to regroup, gives a reason to develop tactical behaviour and communication, requires problem solving.

---increase capture times drastically
---increase handling times and effort at the ammo crates (also by enemy activities), let them burn much longer (30s+ instead of less than 10s now), exclude the use of rockets and artillery for their destruction - only "manually controlled / close distance" timed explosives allowed
---much more resistance at the cap points for the first ones arriving
---increase the time for grabbing the own ammo / equipment (no fast resupply)
---reduce resources slightly
---highlighting more team oriented achievements, less personal ones

I'm missing the achievement as a participant of a MVT - the Most Valuable Team.
No losses, all targets accomplished.

How does THAT sound?

A little bit more skill rewarding... tactical... team-based? 😉

As valuable as custom servers are - it should not be their task alone to correct the situation.
It's not the amount (or lack) of maps that makes this game boring after a while - it's the current style of play.

last edited by Helsing1789

And THAT is the reason why i mostly play on custom Coop servers as the communication and teamplay is much much better on them.

Many more defending bots on mission objectives and several spawning botwaves also make the game more challenging and take the speed out of it
( i mean the rushing to objectives by few individuals ).
You will only survive if you move as a team and fight as a team because bots will flank and surround you quicker than you can reaload and react on them.
If you don´t have a teammate beside you who protects you while reloading, you are dead !

last edited by GSG_9_LIGHTNING

Yeah, like Lightning said after playing good custom servers I don't really have any desire to go to official quickplay games. The fact that you stay with the same group when you go between different maps and don't have to go through queue is enough of a reason and the better server settings and balance makes it even more rewarding despite generally poorer performance caused by everything going on.

What co-op needs is just a large number of bots that are deadly and camp every single corner. You run blindly - you are guaranteed to get shot in the back. You move slowly, checking and clearing every single corner with your team - you win the game.

Bots are super bad an maneuvering - so don't make them do it. They'll just string-line walk in the open and easily get shot. Instead give them the accuracy and reflexes they deserve and place them in every spot worthy of camp-whoring. Teleport them to new positions once objective is taken or if players didn't clear all of them while going to objective make them spring up in ambush and attack players from behind. That would be such a more rewarding gameplay.

It would make snipers and MGers useless, which I honestly don't mind - the maps might be big enough but they aren't open enough for these classes to have any use anyway and snipers usually uselessly stay back, away from objectives and try to kill people AND horrendously fail at it too.

@gsg_9_lightning It'll be interesting to see how much of this mentality comes to the upcoming new hardcore co-op mode. If a slower, more careful, play style can be encouraged by an official game mode, that'd be awesome.

Custom Servers are a very good thing. I'd prefer them, too. But it's sometimes hard to find the gems within all the pebbles. In case the appropriate server is found it will not stay a secret place and it's usually full.

It shouldn't be that hard to implement some prolonged timer settings also on the official servers to reduce rushing remarkable. I'don't understand why it's not done to meet the basic claims of this game…

  1. A lobby based system would be nice, similar to what CoD and Halo has, after a match everyone is grouped in the lobby and votes for next map/gamemode, with a RANDOM option of course.

  2. They needa get rid of the Online Player Count in the game, AAA titles got rid of those for good reason, it hurts the game itself when players sees a low player count they would be more deterred to play it. Personally it doesn't deter me I love Sandstorm but I know other suckers/followers would be since I see it consistently complained about.

last edited by KahleKingzTV

I think that rather than doing another contrived "Elite" mode like the last game, which just exacerbated the worst qualities of the AI, there should be 1 or 2 officially sanctioned modified rulesets for greater challenge.

For example, the old game had bots that required more shots, disabled HUD, and made the aimbot even more extreme, which I think was the wrong tack.

I'd rather see things like bots taking cover more often, bots engaging and then breaking off to keep harassing the players, and better coordination between AI fireteams to fix and destroy teams that can't stick together.

The challenge should be a natural increase in difficulty, that exposes easy to understand mechanics that players can play around, rather than just increasing the chance of a random cross-map headshot.

Things like giving the bots more explosives, having devices planted on point that need to be disabled, using the vehicles to drop an AI fire team behind the players quickly, all could be accounted for and skills developed to deal with them.

The biggest takeaway here is that when one loses, the player should think "I could have done X" to have avoided death, rather than "oh some random number generator just decided I should die".

If the challenge comes with an attendant lesson for the player to take away so that they don't get caught by the same mistake if they learn it, it's a lot more positive for the player than just losing more arbitrarily.

Alot of valid points.
However, it was my intention to make (and collect) suggestions that could be implemented without big changes at the code base. Then there could be a chance for improvement at once or within the next patch(es). If a simple variation of timer settings could avoid 90% (just to say a number) of the rusher problem why not doing it - unless this situation it is wanted by NWI.

Well, to be honest, a lot of the groundwork for the behaviors I listed are within the capabilities of the team and codebase as far as I've seen.

The pull points are there, the complex behavior trees are there, it's certainly not a trivial change but nothing I mentioned would require bending the code into anything that shouldn't be done in the first place.

Hello all,
Thank you for your feedback. I'll forward this thread to NWI, so they can look into it!

Would be dope to see more A.I. try to take cover as I unload a mag through their walls, I think alot of people forget you can shoot through walls in Sandstorm.