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.


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