Duel and weapon denial in ut4

As a side note someone mentioned working out an opponents preferred weapon and locking that down – this is not really how weapon control should work.

At high level all weapons are roughly equally dangerous at their effective ranges. Denying a low level player his rocket launcher (because he is useless with other guns) is well and good but at higher levels it is not really an option as your opponent will have access to flak which is roughly interchangeable at the same range. In 1999 specific denial like this was good due to players preferring one weapon, players needing one weapon because of connection and general lack of aim overall.

With the current weapon implementation denial works sort of like.. scoop up everything you can and pray. 2kx may have been different due to reliance on lg/shock hitscan, however this dynamic does not occur when all weapons are roughly equally useful. In addition there are very few demos of this occurring in game, which leads you to think that does not really happen.

In addition unless players are familiar with each other identifying “preferred” weapons is unlikely to occur. This is a chicken or egg situation – a player that is not good enough to be efficient with the entire weaponset is unlikely to realise what weapon their opponent wants – if players are at a level where they could identify weapon preference they are probably beyond the point where they “need” a weapon in order to play well. A better way to structure weapons in duel is by range. In this way players can take advantage of gaps in the other players arsenal, this is quite easy to understand. ut does not offer this due to double up on fire modes.

Think of weapon pickups like class abilities that are paper scissors rock. Long beats short/medium at long, medium beats short/long at medium and.. well you get the idea.

So rather than looking upon duel as locking out your opponents “preferred” weapon (because as player skill increases there will not be a preferred weapon, plus it is ineffective to play this way) players should instead look at locking down a specific range – in this way the player controlling the sniper/shock can leverage long range encounters to their weapon stack or the player controlling the rockets/flak can dominate in close.

In a game with a tiered weapon set (either quake2 where there are good/bad weapons or 2kx where hitscan is dominant) denial based on grab everything (everything in the “superior” niche”) works to a degree. However this also leads to face stomping as the controlling player has the better weapons.

A game where weapon respawn is shorter leads to players becoming more predictable and better drives player interaction. If I know you have rockets and mini/pulse then denying sniper or shock is a good step in the right direction – I can then utilise my advantage (long range) over my opponent. Players can also predict where their opponent will be going based on weapon.

The problem with ut4 weapons is there are simply too many for the game to work like this in duel in a reliable way. Some maps partial situations like this might occur – for instance deck. It possible to lock down mini and pulse as they were right next to each other. In general maps were not designed with the flak next to the rocket or the mini next to the pulse, resulting in the aforementioned range lock down from happening. This could be viewed as a good thing (never getting locked out of a range) except players view locking out _everything_ as a viable strategy.. so something less severe and reliable that adds another level of strategy should be embraced with open arms. A setup like this would be much more reliable than the current mess. It would also serve to drive player interaction better – as per the previous example I know you have short and medium range weapons so you are likely to seek out the long range slot in order to compete.

In many ways range based lock out is as effective as total lockout. How do you counter rockets or flak in close when you do not have either or how do you counter sniper at long range with only rockets or pulse? You can’t. You don’t. So you stay away from encounters at the range you are lacking. You play at the ranges you have access to, which you have weapons for. You are still dangerous at the ranges you have weapons for, just not the ones you lack vs being ineffective at all ranges due to no guns at all.

So since I am now off on a massive tangent – rather than simply changing respawn times I propose the following. Change respawn time to 15-20seconds and bundle weapons.

  1. Rocket + flak
  2. Pulse + mini
  3. Shock
  4. Rifle
  5. Bio+other

In this way range lockout becomes possible by concentrating on one pickup. This adds more nuanced play to the game and gets away from the “collect them all” mentality. If duel then becomes locking out specific ranges also becomes a reality compared to currently.

Decreased spawn time serves to send the player back to the weapon they want to deny more frequently, increasing predictability.

Also player interaction is increased – when my opponent has 2+4 from the above list it is worth my time to visit 1 as that is the gap in their arsenal. Improved player predictability is a benefit from these changes as well. If there are 7 weapons (rockets, flak, mini, pulse, shock, rifle) that are sought after, predicting player movement beyond shock is much harder, bordering on impossible.

Newer ut4 weaponstay discussion


Preface: I love weaponstay off*.

nuxx: This is fairly obvious stuff but I said I’d point it out and it would be some of the reasons I think changing weapon spawn times might impact the game negatively. It also ties in some of the stuff why I’m against item timers

The codex example is the argument for why weapons should be taken off the armor spawn time for ut4 duel and possibly TDM. Not necessarily shorter and the weapons are not necessarily the items that should be changed..

Having different times forces the player to consciously time/control specific weapon(s) as well as the armor. Not simply run a lap. It makes players select weapons they want to deny and further restricts in control player movement and limits available time. Limiting available player time is the goal here, the side effect is making control “harder”.

In the codex example with 20 second weapon spawns the shock would be coming up before the armor. The player has a choice – hang at the jacket for the next 10 seconds leaving weapons spawning or go collect weapons, to arrive back at the jacket in time for it to pop. Keeping in mind if they managed to pickup the same weapons you did there will be some they cannot get to before the jacket becomes available. In addition weapons would be spawning while the in control player is going for the jacket, making denial selection more important than it currently is.

20 seconds is plenty of time to control a large number of weapons – but it will be harder and the player will have to be much more deliberate. This forum is full of posts about weaponstay off adding depth but in general there are very few examples of how. Rankin in 2kx with lg/shock/50a/vials is the most commonly cited example. Out of 15 years of games if there is one example where players deliberately play differently there is something up.

Interestingly changing the jacket to 20 seconds would have a similar effect, at least for duel.

Historically there is a precedent for shorter respawns in the base game – health packs in ut99 have a 20 second spawn.

Fun side stuff.
Quakeworld TDM essentially has one weapon: the rocket launcher. It is on a 30 second respawn and one of the core maps has a single pickup (e1m2). This creates an interesting, almost class based dynamic in TDM where players without weapons become scouts or hunt in packs to kill players with weapons. Unweaponed players dying is unimportant. Avoiding weapon drops on death is important. Not to say that ut should go down this path of slow weapon stacking but it does give a different perspective on things. The armor has a 20 second respawn so there are often more armored players than there are weapons available.

*In fact I would like to see it off in some manner for all game types, not in the same way as traditional ut, but something that allows shorter term denial. eg 5 seconds in ctf so a flag runner could grab weapons on the way out of the base to neuter chasing by fresh respawned players, 3 seconds in ffa so a player can deny a weapon for the duration of a skirmish, etc.

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