Archive for July, 2017

50% Armor absorption : Is belt or armor better?

As of writing the Unreal Tournament 4 armor system has been 50% absorption for about a year. This has some interesting and potentially unintended flow on effects that are worth looking at.  These are not specifically bad or good and this is not an attempt to paint the system in a bad light (that is reserved for another post) however the consequences of 50% absorption are worth looking at.

50% causes health to be sought out more often and raises its value. This is because any time a player has even health to armor ratio and damage occurs they will seek out health as it the only thing (besides belt) that increases their effective health pool. Health is the easier to get because is more abundant on maps and is on a shorter respawn than armor. With 50% absorbtion any armor above your health will not be used before you die.

If you have 100h 100a and take 100 damage you will be at 50h 50a. In order to raise your effective health you must take health packs, mega, vials or the belt. Of these health is the primary method as it has the shortest respawn and maps usually have a decent amount scattered throughout. This is not too different to higher absorption, 66% or 75% as players want to heal up with this armor as well, however there are other options. With 66% when a player at 100h100a takes 100 damage they will have 66/33 – allowing them to take armor in order to stack up as well as health. Historically the player with 100/100 is usually in control.

*something about health being ooc players resource in higher %s as the in control player can get armor to “stack”.

The flow on from here is interesting in macro duel dynamics. 50% weakens in control as the player has to spend time getting health when in the past they could potentially get by with armor only. This pushes players to health more often which has some flow on to look at shortly.

However before that we will go back and compare 50% and 66% absorption and while we are at it lets look at belt from earlier ut4/ut99 perspective with 150 points of 100% absorption armor.

Is armor or belt better historically?

Been wanting to write this for a while.

Belt offers 100% absorption for 150 points of armor. Armor offers less than 100% in smaller amounts. In arena fps games popular absorption numbers are 66% or 75% – probably because these translate to 2:1 and 3:1 damage to armor:health. When ut4 development started there were massive misconceptions involving armor. Players believed that belt was significantly stronger purely because of its 100% absorption. Some of the math posted early on was cringeworthy, to be completely honest up until overwatch release players still did not have an understanding of how health/armor interacted.

For a single pickup and time spend the belt is better, it nets the player more resources than the 100a or 50a. Belt is superior to armor is when player health is very low and picks it up – it instantly translates to remaining health (lets say sub 20 to be super low) plus 150. Quite the effective health boost to 170. This scenario was a main gripe from the “nerf belt” camp. Going back to the hilarious math one common-ish suggestion for belt was to “lower the absorption a little bit below 100%”. If we lower absorption to 95% players need around 5 health to service 100 points of belt. This manages to do nothing to address the perceived problem as the low health player can still use a decent amount of the belt.

Low health pickups of belt did not happen frequently, however it could easily be considered “annoying” as it would occur when the out of control player takes the pickup from the in control player. This annoyance and skewed perception of the problem is due to cognitive bias. Players losing control to sheer luck of not getting off quite enough damage then their opponent resetting their health with a belt grab.

However for most other situations armor is better. We will use the current armorware settings (66% absorption) vs belt (150@100%) as the example here as it is the simplest to demonstrate with. For this example players will take 100 points of damage. Comparing a player with 100h/150a(66%) vs 100h/150b(100%)

After 100 damage the armor player (100h150a) will be left on 67h84a. This player can take health – a readily available pickup, that is included on maps quite freely on a 20s respawn. By taking two health packs they are back to 100h84a – 184 effective health. They are also able to stack on armor which the game has them contesting anyway.

The belt player (100h150b) will be left on 100h50b, the same total as the armor player. In order to increase their effective health they need to take armor or belt. They are unable to heal with health packs as they have taken no health damage. This means that if an armor is coming up soon they are forced to contest with 150 effective health. This is a disadvantage.

Health packs spawn faster and there are usually more of them on a map than armor. Likewise players are not fighting over health packs in the same way as belt/100a and armor is rarely left up like health. In a “normal” duel where players are contesting the belt/100a the previously mentioned damage has a good chance to have occurred during a fight over one of these two items. This actually segues into an interesting subject – when is the best time to damage a player who is taking a pickup? Before or after pickup? Consider it.

This is where armor becomes better than belt for the same amounts, and this scenario of backing off before dying and healing occurs frequently in high level play. This is why armor is generally superior to belt for most situations. If the above scenario played out ten times over the course of a duel the player with armor who consistently heals ends up with a ~350hp benefit over their opponent. 350 additional damage needed to be dealt out by their enemy. This is not to say that players have a great deal of control over how this occurs, or that players would leave the belt up because they think armor is better, but in some ways belt is more limiting for the in control player.

This is one of the side benefits from lower absorption armor. If you take a fight at 100h100a, suffer 100 damage you are now on 50h50a. Healing with health packs to 100h50a give you an effective health pool of 150hp. If armor is 66% you will have  100/34a. In some ways this benefits the player in control by making armor last longer than it would otherwise, while also making the in control player need to use health at a faster rate than higher absorption values. It also skews things towards the in control play by virtue of them having more armor. If you are 100h/50a@50% and take 100 damage you end up with no armor. If you are 100/50a@25% and take 100 damage you have 25h/25a. This is a potential benefit of lower absorption on the thighpads in ut99.

Back to 50%, how does this affect the overall macro of duel

Because 50% causes health to be sought out more often players will gravitate towards health packs more than in the past. This allows players to setup ambushes on health. Health ambushes have always been an option and a clever way to convert kills, however with the higher importance of health they occur much more frequently at 50%. This is because health, not armor, becomes the go to, even for the in control player.

This is where problems arise. The game in its current state is skewed more towards setting up fights on health packs than in the past. This in and of itself is not a problem, however maps are designed to have fights around the belt or the 100a. Most maps are not designed to have fights at their health pickups. Health packs are shuffled off in corners, generally not setup in interesting ways.

So mappers could make ut maps more interesting, but currently they are not. This is the biggest problem from the current armor system.

Also overall macro game flow of healing for large item spawns, contesting and fighting is lessened, instead replaced with scrappy fights over +25 bubbles by injured players. But these fights are not assured as players can simply go their own way and heal up from different health locations. In non-serious games this might be more fun, but when winning is important taking the risk to pursue a low health opponent when you are also on low health is rolling the dice. In general better to go and heal. The difference with other, larger, more important pickups (100a/belt in ut and mega/ra in ql) is that skipping them is only an option at times when they clash – and in comparison both lots of health being up is likely.

In older titles with higher absorption the more stacked player could continue going for armors while their weaker opponent restacked on health. Splitting of resources in a manner of speaking. With 50% both players require it at roughly the same rate and this could be considered a nerf to out of controls ability to stay alive as the in control player also wants health as a primary resource. 

Weapon Denial with 20s Respawns

Can I deny weapons in ut4 duel with 20 second respawn?

Yes you can. With 30 second respawns players simply needed to remember the order they picked up weapons.

For this explanation we are going to concentrate on denying a single weapon – either because one’s opponent is particularly adept at using it perhaps the sniper or because it is a good jack of all trades that opens up more options for good players shock.

This was written because of comments made by a US player while commenting on fjarus DM-Echo ( After wiring this the whole video feedback is potentially a troll, however the “how to time” part is still relevant.

“Actually with the weapon timers being 20 seconds it is a lot more accessible to both players to get shock. It isn’t really a viable strategy in competitive duel to really lock down weapons because it is really hard to lock down weapons.”

It is not viable to lock down weapons because it is hard to do this. Not that it is ineffective or weak, but because it is difficult. Is it? In the past players were quite keen to hype up longer respawns and denial as a semi-unique feature of ut duel that adds depth and nothing has changed in this regard with 20 second respawn.

With 30 second weapon respawn players simply remembered the pickup order. Taking the 100a then they went shock, then flak, then sniper, etc. The only point of timing needed here was the spawn time of the 100a – which is not 100% required. Adding in a pause before each weapon pickup gave some leeway in travel time and spread out whatever weapons you were denying. This was very simple, easy and quite “strong” in relation to what it offered the player doing it. It also took very little thought, you had things to do, places to see and along the way grab a few weapons. Just remember the order.

This is no longer possible with 20 second respawn weapons. Or rather chaining off the armor pickup is possible but because the respawn is shorter the weapons will repop before the armor does, leaving them up for the opponent to take.

So then, how does one run belt + 100a and at least one weapon?

This is surprisingly straight forward and not “hard” provided one actually wants to do it and not just say “oh, well, I can’t do it anymore because the spawn time is different”. You need to be able to time and you need to be able to time two pickups on different spawn times that can clash. Just like quake armor+mega.

The basic version is this : When you pick up the shock you note the time +20 and now know when to return. It is identical to timing the armors. You now have to remember two or three pickup times if you time the belt and 100a separately. It takes more effort for sure.

The problem arises when because the 20 second weapon spawn can pop when you are off doing something else – like picking up the belt or the 100a, which we will assume are more important to you. There are situations where these pickups do not matter, for example if you know your opponent has close to max armor, denying the 100a becomes less important. Likewise the belt, if for some reason your opponent has taken, no damage has been dealt and you have been denying the shock for their entire current life you might opt to not even challenge for belt and instead continue denying shock.

However you can work around this by delaying pickup of the weapon. For example if the 100a is spawning at :34 picking up the shock at :55 is going to cause these two items to clash for the next pickup. Rather than taking the shock straight away, hanging around for 5-10 seconds will allow you to deny the shock then move onto the 100a.

One thing in your favor if deciding to do this is the general obsession with the belt+100a at expense of everything else, so if the shock is clashing there is a good chance there will be a little leeway as your opponents focus will be on the larger item. Keep in mind on a map like ASDF this might not work as the enemy player may be at the shock when it spawns around the same time as the 100a. However in the ut4 map discussed above the 100a is not close to the shock. This can be helped further by trying to position yourself in a way to take the 100a and then move to the shock, preferably without your opponent between.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so here it is – this is how to deny a singular weapon in duel while keeping the 100a and the belt locked down for three minutes. Good luck.

Weapon timing and denial in ut4 duel

Is this viable or a good strategy? Not sure. Is it difficult to deny a weapon for a long time? Sure it is, it would take practice. Is it possible to deny for an entire game? Probably, but again quite difficult. Is denying a weapon for 2-3 minutes good? If denial is good then partial denial is still good.


ut4 map feedback counter feedback dm-echo

KmKz; Map feedback for DM-Echo! [url][/url]

The point on the 50a = dangerous area seems good since the smaller armors should be for the out of control player so you don’t want it to be too challenging for them. However the danger also applies to the in control player as well wanting to deny it. If the in control player decides they don’t want to risk belt or 100stack for the 50a denial then that seems like a choice they can make – if the area is as dangerous as you say then it should be taken into account rather than blindly jumping in. If the 50a is left up the out of control player you can time your pickup when your opponent is on the other side of the ut4 map getting belt or 100a. If the in control player decides they can take the 50a they are putting themself in the same risky secnario the out of control player would be putting themselves in and leaving themself open to heavy destacking.

Could it be said that leaving it dangerous leads to less denial, or more time spend leading up to denial by the in control player (checking corners and the general area instead of just going in) which in turn frees up the out of control players time? The alternative to not checking in this manner is taking unnecessary damage and losing control. Having to weigh things up before committing is not a bad thing.. if anything it is a great thing.

Why move the shock? That area is quite strong for ooc – quick shock + 50a (albeit dangerous), chokey fast approach from mid/belt (narrow door above lift). Defensible spot high near the health pack. On top of this because shock is quite stonk and out of the way of belt/100a/other weapons the player in control will need more time spend in order to travel to obtain it (once), to deny (more than once) or for fast ammo (more than once). By putting it in the box in the middle of the map you take away a deal of strength from what out of control can exert in what is essentially “their” part of the map – in fact it denudes that whole side of the map of strong weapons – rock, flak, shock, sniper are in a line down the center/other side of the map.

Your primary argument against the current shock location seems to be that the shock can be picked up and then used on the player going for 50a – this seems like a very small “problem” that is solved by picking it up prior to heading to 50a. None of the reasons given for the shock being in a “bad” location were overly compelling.

It makes sense to try to get players through that middle room more because you correctly point out that it is a dead zone, while also pulling the in control player away from the top pipes, which do indeed seem over the top for visuals/access. Moving the vials does not solve this top pipe strength problem as players can take them before belt so they are gone when leaving the area, or simply not take them at all and give no audio queue. Rather than moving shock how about putting double shock ammo (if there are two packs elsewhere on the map) in the center – and possibly pulling the nearby exterior health pack(s) inside as well. This way the in control player wants to travel through there to get ammo or wants to get health – quite strong need for this with 50% absorption. 

I agree with changing acid -> water, simply because the player who falls down ends up in a rather bad position. However if you remove the damage you open up a few unsavory gameplay options that are probably best left alone, at least imo. The player that falls down can hug the wall and make the “inside” player come to them. They can simply stay in the water, hidden down the drop and make the inside player chase them. Obv they are in a bad location but they don’t need to get out straight away – they don’t have to take the ramp or the bounce pad as both are more dangerous than just sitting. They can whittle down time in what would be a boring cat and mouse scenario. Secondly this can be extrapolated out to a player wanting to waste time towards the end of a game and run down the clock – making the hunting player “check” all the way around the edge for a player hiding is bland and uninteresting. You could stay down near the 50a, hidden while waiting for it to spawn.

I am all for making players spend time doing things (previously mentioned checking before taking 50a) but in a reasonable way, not by putting a hidey spot like the water would create. The damage stops this occurring.

If it was my map I would add the railings you guys requested, add some more pipes/stuff to block players and then make the acid gib players that fall outside.

Unreal Tournament 4 Maps – UT4 Maps

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OSP and competitive mods in quake and ut

Gnalvl; Take CPMA in the Quake community for example… When Quake 3 hit, many diehards felt that it’d been too casualized and that too many key aspects of QW and Q2 had been discarded, so a group of them developed a consensus on how to improve Q3 and executed those changes as a mod.

Granted, CPMA did start out as a small subsection of the larger Q3 community, but at least it was there for the people who wanted those changes,

OSP borrowed CPMA’s ruleset wholesale and popularized a ton of its changes. UTComp’s key ideas like brightskins and hitsounds came straight from CPMA.

If OSP borrowed anything it was interface/quality of life changes from CPMA. None of the movement, armor  or weapon changes were adopted by base OSP. None of the actual features you would consider the “game” of CPMA was taken for OSP – or if movement/weapon/armor/etc changes were taken as a voteable option in OSP, they took a back seat to brightskins, improved HUD options, stats, voting, ready up, minor visual/clutter options, spawn algo(?), netcode(?), etc for duel or tdm – these were the real reasons people used OSP in vq3. If the game changes were included in OSP it could almost be said that this was an attempt to expose CPMA movement/weapons/etc on a wider player base via integration of the base CPMA game in OSP. Which was clever as OSP had a much larger uptake. So players+severs that had OSP also had the core CPMA gameplay but no additional content – maps primarily?

The casualised q3 aspect was primarily related to speed and perhaps some of the movement options in q2. Not brightskins, ability to vote or the options that OSP was used for in vq3 for duel or TDM.

OSP was used up to ESWC 2004 and CPMA was used in at ESWC in 2005, however it was not for CPMA gameplay, rather the aforementioned “extras” that improved the game while not really changing the game overly much from the “casualised” perspective. Why was it used here? Was OSP ever updated at this point while CPMA had people working on it still? Was it purely lack of support from the OSP camp or ease of use that finally got CPMA onto servers for vq3? By the time CPMA was replacing OSP (even as just a competitive mod) it was too late, the game was essentially dead. It could be said that similar things happened in ut99 with newnet and faster weapon switch.

The bold options were available in the two older quake titles, either via competitive mods or some recolouring skins that were not cheat protected at the time. The only thing off the cuff I can think of that these mods bought that had not been done previously was hitsounds. Saying that these are features of CPMA is ignoring 3+ years of competitive/server control mods that came before it in the older quake games.

If CPMA created a divide it was not a minor one, as some of the better later day q3 duelers were original CPMA players. Daler and Fox come to mind. Did people play CPMA? Sure, some. A small community. I bet more than ut4.

​​​​​​​[QUOTE=’Gnalvl;n391398′] which is more than we can say for a lot of the requested changes in the UT community which either never got implemented at all or if they did, never made it on any servers.[/QUOTE]

I agree with your general sentiment about ut players and not accepting anything non-epic. The base ut99 maps had problems but could have been “fixed”, more easily than the q3 maps as we could edit them. They were never addressed. For example curse had issues in duel because belt vs pads yet it was never addressed and while it was somewhat popular early on one of the reasons it lost popularity was surely because of the perceived “imbalance” between control/out of control. Map authors were even aware of this as the 1on1 maps were much better setup in this regard, they were received by the community as better and a big part of that was the item balance. Yet they were still not played.

You are being disingenuous pitching CPMA as the savior and an example of mass uptake – when its use was not due to the gameplay changes in CPMA but its ability to be a competitive mod for quake 3. This would be akin to utcomp implementing large movement changes alongside its base options, then saying that uptake on the movement changes was good because utcomp uptake was good – while ignoring the fact that noone really used the movement changes and just used it for voting/brightskins/hitsounds/etc.

Unreal Tournament duel and armor after a year

-AEnubis- Maybe he’d like to chime in on this hijack, or reference another thread already on the subject.

There are two aspects to armor. Well more than two, but two I find interesting about. The first is the resource dynamic between in/out of control and how it plays out, I covered this heavily in that “post” about quake/ut. It is semi related to the second point.


The other aspect, which I am more interested after coming back from overwatch is how armor drives players to fight in duel – this is even more lacking in ut compare to quake. This is a mixture of stack self vs deny opponent and relative item sizes determining if pickups are worth contesting.


The current system “caps out” players needing to interact very quickly (yet not quickly enough), leading to situations where one player has 1xx/100a and the other has 1xx/150a. If scores are close the question I ask at that point is 1) does the out of control player need the extra 50 from the belt, enough to contest and potentially “waste” the time they spent building to 100a, 2) If the in control player is ahead do they need to pressure the out of control player knowing they have 1xx/100a? The stack difference is close, they have little to gain if they are already ahead, would they not be better off biding their time and resources and not wasting them?

To illustrate this the fight right here did not need to occur – Fjaru obv made a mistake and did not realise his opponent had not taken the 100a already, however his opponent already had 100a (capped out) meaning he had no benefit to taking the armor and does not need to be there at all. He has not damage fjaru since he took the belt. In this situation the next big ticket item that is coming up is the belt, denial for fjaru and stacking for his opponent (provided no damage is take in the interim). This is the only large item both players can stack on.


This secnario occurred in the old system as well – if the out of control player obtained the 100a the requirement to fight for it was gone until either player took damage. The in control player could swap attention to the 50a as this is the only source of stacking for the previously out of control player. This may sound nit picky, but the armor that drives players to fight stops making players fight very quickly in ut. You can still try to kill your opponent “for fun”, but the resource requirement is no longer there. Players are not going to fight for the small spattering of vials around the map, nor will they be predictable enough to setup for fights on these vials. This is where the single, large, pickup that is the mega comes in. The belt is attempting to replace it by being the only armor “overheal” available but by itself it is too small and not significant enough to risk stack for.


The current system is an improvement from the perspective of “lets play some ut for fun” or for out the out of control player. Players can stack more and players can contest more. At a lower level it is fine, but when you need to toss up the consequence of committing to a fight (ignoring the current abomination that is in fight movement), weapon damage and stack difference being ~50 it really begs the question of why you should commit. This leads to more defensive play in an attempt to conserve resources that have taken time to accumulate.


To be honest it has been interesting to test but needs to be put to bed. Armorware is not the solution either, but it might be an improvement over the current epic setup.

At this point you might be thinking “well ut has seemingly worked well in the past” to which I would straight up say it has not worked from this perspective of players needing to fight. Watching competitive games players contest the 100a at :30, die, then go on to contest the belt at :00 without stacking at all – this is just poor play and giving away points. This was very common – yet players could trade off the belt for the 100a and be on a more even footing. HOWEVER the next point of conflict is still the next belt spawn. 30-60 seconds away. I believe part of the problem is the small community ithat continues to push memes like “must always contest belt” and similar things. Must always run belt+100a ad infinium regadless of if I or my opponent need it, potentially taking damage for no reason. If UT were large this would fall to the way side and the problems with the armor would become more readily apparent.  edit: After posting realised that the older titles with belt+100a dynamic and control is why this did not occur as much in the past.

I use quake as a comparison only because it is convenient. This could be reworded as “ut does not foster an environment that causes players to fight”. Or something. I don’t want ut to become quake and I don’t think transplanting ql armor into ut has worked.


This forum and the ut community in general seems obsessed with tweaking a few values (usually in terms of limiting in control players stack while also keeping them buff enough to warrant getting items ), thinking it will “fix” armor. Ut armor is flawed from the perspective of out of control play as well why players fight. The fix is actually reasonably simple – maps need more resources players care about. In the old system the 50a was not super important to deny because alone it could never amount to more than +50.


The important variables – the spawn times, the number of items and the number of resources that cause fights (armor in ut vs armor/mega in quake) are what need to be tweaked. This does not specifically mean a mega needs to be added.


One final aspect that needs to be put to bed is armor decay. This does not drive conflict – the in control player in quake will cap out their armor at 200 and need +25 every 25 seconds in order to keep this high. Armor decay is more time limiting to the out of control player stacking on a single 50a. In this scenario they can stack to 150a in three spawns with no penalty, however if they want to go to 200 they need to spend the next two spawns 150-25, 125+50, 175+50 to obtain it.

The flip side is that decay for mega makes a degree of sense. It is a single item on a longer spawn.

Gnalvl Yeah a lot of Quake maps have 2 YA because during their initial design in Q3 there was no GA, and then when GA was eventually added in CPMA and QL, no one bothered to change the maps. It’s sorta lazy but in worked out for the better in many cases.

Overall newer, quake 3/live duel maps have more resources available than older q3 maps. If you compare t4 (2*YA, 2min mega, a few +5 bubbles, long spawn rail), t2 (2*YA.. no mega.  I believe the only ql duel map missing it), dm6 (1*RA 1*YA 35s mega, +25 shards).

Of course there were older, more heavily stacked maps (dm13, ztn, even areo in the closing years of q3) but recognising this simply lends weight to the case that the earlier, lighter loaded maps were not that great. Both were played, tested and one fell away.

The popularity of dm6 took much longer to wane and there were many discussions on esr about how to “fix” the map. iD revamped it in 2013 with an intel branded sponsor version for qcon – which essentially ignored most of the feedback beyond “add another armor”. A green was added to the main atrium, not really aiding the ooc player in a meaningful way because it was in a “dangerous” location.

Sinister, cure, toxicity, aero, battleforged, hektik all sport significantly much more resources than the old maps. They also have a varying array of pickups – different numbers of YA/GA/shards/+5hp. At most the difference between ut maps is omitting a pickup but until the 20s weapon respawn you could not even leave out a weapon because maps needed seven pickups otherwise full scale denial became too easy.

So.. how would I fix ut duel?

1. Roll back to the “old” setup with slotted items, no self stacking. Pads, vest, belt. Maybe helmet.

  1. Max at 150 of “whatever”.
  2. Change vest to 75a and pads to 75a.
  3. Change belt spawn to 40s.
  4. Remove delayed spawns, this is problematic old school solution that causes more control problems.

Changing both items to 75a means the in control player needs to run all three pickups for full denial. It also means they need to be aware of their opponents stack and specifically which items they have taken in order to know what has been denied. It gives more options to out of control play, it ties up much more time for the in control player and buffs a single pickup (75a vs 50a), making things potentially slightly easier for them.

This is a unique aspect of ut armor, the least talked about aspect, and probably the most interesting from the perspective of ut dna in the game. It should be looked at and used to create something interesting.

The short version :

In reality this rarely, if ever occurred because the in control player just continued playing like an automaton, picking up belt+100a even after the 100a has been taken (and no damage dealt) by the out of control player.

For me this is the starting place to build something. Perhaps a mega could be added. Perhaps +50 mega, meaning two pickups are required. Perhaps something is done with ammo. 

One thing is for sure, the current setup is lacking for duel.

Could Unreal Tournament Duel work with weaponstay on?

Allow me to preface this with a note – I am very pro weaponstay off and think it is a defining feature of ut duel. However watching some Quakeworld duel last week got me thinking about weaponstay on in duel because, well.. Quakeworld duel is played with weaponstay on.

It got me wondering, could those ut2k4 1on1 maps work with weaponstay on? It is highly unlikely I am the first person to have this thought – they were simply too small to work with weaponstay off so the logical first place to go would be weaponstay on. Unless you liked strings of spawn frags that is. The downside of turning weaponstay on is the removal of a large part of controls power and almost completely reducing the pickups on the map.

Let us think think through and see how weaponstay off could potentially affect duel.

Firstly why did Quakeworld get me thinking? Because it is played with weaponstay on players need to rely on ammo pickups rather than weapon pickups to fuel their guns. This adds a different layer of resource management. This is an aspect that I feel ut lacks – it is very “two item” centric in duel. 150/100 at the expense of other pickups. Historically it is also skewed towards the in control player.

Quakeworld has an interesting drop system. Players drop backpacks, which contain their currently equipped weapon as well as all ammo they have for all weapons. In duel this means that there is an abundance of ammo, if your opponent is picking up weapons and ammo and you are killing them and picking up their backpack you have a steady resupply. In this way ammo plays less of a role than it could. One aspect that is interesting is the lightning gun. Some maps have very sparse ammo, and over the course of a game the “strength” of the LG goes up as players accumulate ammo and drop it. Initially not super strong due to lack of ammo which becomes more abundant over time. Not particularly interesting in this example but just another quirky aspect of a game.

Dropping the equipped weapon is important in TDM* but not so important in duel. There are two main weapons and if you are killing your opponent you likely have at least one of them already, plus the maps are quite small and the time spend to obtain the weapons is not great. At least on maps like aero and dm4 – perhaps dm2, dm6 or ztn are a different story.

*Important to the point players use binds to autoswitch to/off rocketlauncher when shooting to avoid dropping it on death.

Unreal Tournanemt 4 duel is played with weaponstay off

Weaponstay off allows players to deny weapons and stack their ammo all at the same time. The weapons are typically the largest ammo supply available on the map unless it contains ammo double stacks. In this way it is usually a better time spend for the in control player to deny weapons and stack their ammo using the largest available ammo source – the weapons themselves.

Ut99 and 2k4 duel were also played with weapon stay off and it was rarely suitable to play them with weaponstay on. The primary detractor for ws on from an “end game” perspective is the drop weapon.. bug both games featured. Players who drop their weapon before running out of ammo are able to pick it up again for a free refill. Unlimited ammo.

To me this is a larger problem than removing the strategy/tactics via denial that weaponstay on presents. It leads to less weapon variation due to ammo consumption and creates the opposite of denying your opponents favorite weapon – it allows them to use it at all times, with little fear of ammo running out.

So weaponstay on for the 2k4 1on1 maps made no sense because it heavily “flattens” player requirements. Sure there is still a benefit from being able to use other weapons but if you can just use the one you are most comfortable with the majority of the time it leads to blander, less interesting games.

If dropweapon was fixed to not allow unlimited ammo what would occur? As a respawning player weapons would be much more readily available. This would speed up the game in many ways, allowing players to +forward almost as soon as they spawn if they choose to. The in control player would need to either collect ammo or the weapons they have not picked up yet – initially the weapons probably provide a better time spend for both the additional slots and double ammo pickup.

As in control time progresses we would find that the in control player needs to spend more time collecting ammo as well as controlling belt/100a – assuming that armors stay the same. This pushes them away from weapons as they can no longer ammo up or deny this resource.

Up to this point things have not been super interesting, just slightly different to what exists in the game now, possibly with more +forward potential for the out of control player.

However when you consider that the out of control player could potentially control ammo and to a degree the effectiveness of the in control player, things suddenly interesting. Maps may need to be revisited for this to work decently, but if the out of control player could sweep up the shock ammo on the map, effectively neutering their opponent, the down player is given a way back into the game that is not damage or stacking themselves, it is almost inverse weapon denial to the player who is at a disadvantage.

Depending on how ammo is placed on the map it can either provide a large time spend with 2-3 ammo locations per weapon, making the in control player move around more or provide a potential conflict point if there is only one spot on the map the in control player can ammo up.

Many vs few pickup locations provides focus

A big part of why ut weapons do not drive interaction and fights is the sheer number of them, combined with additional ammo on the map means that players do not really need to fight for them. They are a resource but they are not an interaction driver in the way armor and health are. Risking stack (scarce) for an item that is very available, especially so after the 20s spawn change is not a good choice. You can almost always go elsewhere and get ammo.

If weaponstay was turned on and ammo was limited to one place on the map per weapon (double stacks for most weapons) players, particularly the in control player when getting kills, would become much more predictable while also changing how important the pickup itself is. This would lead to 1-2 locations for a weapon vs the current 2 (assuming one ammo pack somewhere on the map) to 4(three packs). And two locations are only present for the initial pickup, after that the only option player have is the single ammo location, which can be controlled and fought over due to much more limited options. If you forgo picking up ammo or fighting for it you lose access for the next 30s.

Ammo becomes a resource to fight over.

This would also boost the importance of dropped weapons, which could potentially give players a closer “top up” option than the ammo packs themselves.

In control can still deny weapons by camping them but does so at the expense of being able to do other things, get armor, heal or get ammo. Denying a particular weapon becomes a larger time spend than simply picking up the weapon and leaving the area, often on the way to something else. This could also provide a point of conflict as a player who wants the weapon may choose to fight to get it in this situation.

One of each weapon was required on a ut4 duel map in the past because without seven pickups control becomes far too easy with a 30s respawn. If a map only had three weapons you could completely choke out your opponent with little effort. With weapon stay on mappers could potentially create levels with more variety. A map could have three weapons and still be viable. Ammo locations may need to be spread out more in this example as you would run into the same “easy to deny” problem with weapon stay off and three weapons.

The current ut4 weaponstay would also need to be changed so the player cannot pick it up again after 20seconds.

Would it be better than weaponstay on for ut duel?

It would be different and I think it has as much potential for interest as the current setup does. Ideally you would want authors to specify the preferred weaponstay mode for their map.

It would surely add some flavour.