Shooters and Instant Death

This is something I’ve been having trouble with for a while, but I need to go outside my own head on it.

I used to play a lot of shooters online, and was one of the people who nearly lost a year of college to Quake II. Now I play them here and there, usually for review purposes, and it seems like the player’s character is a great deal more fragile than he or she used to be.

Granted, in Quake II or Unreal Tournament, there were weapons that could one-shot you if you were hit cleanly, but they had attached downsides. Even then, it wasn’t uncommon for you to be able to limp away at low health to heal up, or to find power-ups that gave you vastly improved armor.

When I play something like Halo 3, or recently, when I tried the new Transformers game, it seems like regardless of what my character’s actual stats are, I have the lifespan of a snowball in a cyclotron. Playing as the character with the most life in Transformers, I get routinely aced in seconds, by somebody I never saw coming.

Granted, I’m lousy at returning fire, so my follow-up complaint - why can I empty an entire clip into this other guy, and then he turns around and blows my face off with one hit - is probably more down to a lack of practice than anything else. I still find it ridiculous that it’s so easy to die in online games these days, and I’m wondering if anyone else has noticed it.

I think the practice really became popular in Action Quake / Action Half-Life, where the lethality levels were pretty high. Counterstrike then introduced an even quicker Time To Death.

‘Realistic’ games like CS, Modern Warfare, etc all strike me as being hugely unforgiving, and I say that as a Quakeworld veteran.

Back in the day, this was one of the main reasons I preferred playing the Descent games over the Quake games. You had a lot more health, and could usually never be killed instantly, and battles were drawn out chase scenes a lot of times, instead of very very brief battles.

I’m not sure how it’s evolved these days. I don’t remember having this problem with Halo or Modern Warfare or Bad Company 2. Usually I know who is shooting me, and if I have a chance to return fire at the same time, I can usually be on the winning side if I’m aware of the situation or if I have some help from teammates. The days of the long drawn out chase scene in Descent are gone, yes. Unless someone can correct me. I don’t think there’s any games these days where you live as long as in Descent’s deathmatch games, are there?

I don’t find Halo to be that way, you will get sniped sometimes but usually fights seem to come down to headshots / melee timing, not always who saw who first (though total ambushes do happen.) COD on the other hand is a series where it really does come down to knowing the map, knowing where to look and what approaches people take. It’s a different style certainly, but I like them both.

Counterstrike became popular, at least partially helping, if not causing, realistic modern day shooter to become an annoyingly popular fad. Gaming moving mostly to target consoles also helped push the move to this type of game.

We will just have to wait until people get tired of playing medal of honor 25.

If you think Halo 3 is bad you should try playing MW2, et al. Your dude in Halo 3 feels basically invincible in comparison to these games.

It really is just a different style of play and it took me a while to get used to but now I actually prefer the quicker death style (though with health regen if you don’t actually die), I think.

When I used to play Quake/Q2/Q3, I’d play like a rabid attack dog and would win a lot more often than I would lose (regardless of the tactical situation) based on ability to strafe well and shoot well, simultanously. In MW2 I find I have to be a lot more tactically-minded, like I have to ask myself “Do I realistically have a shot at killing that enemy I see without him killing me as well?” and if not I’ll call him out to my teammates and then not engage, which goes completely against the way I would play old timey shooters.

In a lot of ways in these types of shooters your goal is less to KILL THE OTHER GUY than it is to NOT DIE. Different, for sure, but as to whether it is more or less fun, I suppose that’s totally subjective. I suspect though that the enjoyment you will derive from these games depends a lot on whether or not you play them with friends online. If you play them lone wolf they probably aren’t very fun at all, but if you play them with a team of friends who are all pretty good it can be loads of fun.

The thing about Quakeworld is that it was an insanely fast game, but there was some sense to each weapon. The only “hitscan” weapons were either very weak with spread (shotguns) or very short range and lacking ammo (lightning gun). Yes, the rocket launcher was lethal, but at range it’s easier to dodge the rocket.

Quake 2 introduced the railgun, which I still loathe to this day (and I’m pretty good with the Q3 version). An infinite range hitscan weapon with near-100% accuracy and extremely high damage? Go away.

And now you have most of today’s shooters, where you can be instantly killed by a lucky bullet. Yay.

The only online shooter I play anymore is TF2. Somethings can instant-kill you there (sniper headshot, blown up by sticky bombs, point blank scattergun shot, spy stab in the back, etc.) but usually it takes a little to bring you down. I guess it also helps to play on servers with VAC and people looking for suspicious signs of aim bots, etc.

One thing in TF2 that improves my survival chances is not running out into the action alone. I find at least one other guy and follow him/ them out into the action. You live longer and get more kills that way (unless I am playing spy).

I do like ArmA 2, and the military sims like it (OFP, ArmA - its predecessors), where you will die almost always if shot, or else be incapacitated (and killed on the next shot). I like this, but the flow of the game is totally different than the unrealistic movement and fast pace of most shooters. You move realistically, and fight usually over longer distances, 100+ meters. Different style of play, but I like the realistic setting.

I’d argue the lightning gun is accurate up to medium range but other than that I could not agree more. You managed to summarize why Quakeworld remains my favorite pure DM game to date better than I could have. I still play it a couple times a year with my brother-in-law (Ultraviolence and dm4, baby).

"I get routinely aced in seconds, by somebody I never saw coming.

Different tastes I know but this is what I like in my shooters. I always prefer hardcore mode or instant death mode. I just dont like the fee;l of having to pump 3 or 4 pistol shots into someone to have to bring them down. Just feels wrong to me.

I also like a time delay betwene deaths which slows the game down nicely. My fave shooters are slow & lethal.

Oh, the LG is supremely accurate - it’s just the shortest range weapon in the game (ignoring the axe and the SSG’s spread).

I am terrible at QW now, but every now and then I’ll jump on a FFA server just for a laugh, or download a couple of recent 4v4 demos. If I’m feeling really brave I’ll fight a frogbot on aerowalk and laugh as it hands me my arse.

Surprisingly I’m still damned good. I’m shocked at how well I do every time I load up Quake Live because I’m terrible at most modern shooters. While I enjoy tactical shooters I’m not nearly as good at them… uh, what does that say about me?

Oh man, I have this argument like once a week at work.
I’m a Quake/UT vet, and every game seems ultra lethal for ‘realism’ and slow. I miss 60mph with 99 rockets in my backpack and actual circle strafe battles of death, and owning the spawn/items on a map. No more healthpacks completely removed part of map domination. Quad? What is that?
The Modern rocket launcher shoots like once a week compared to the Quake/II ones…which if you were around back then, people thought were too slow after Doom’s.
Railgun…the beginning of the end. The creation of the camper. The creation of the sniper. Now, I work with people that think that sniping is ‘awesome’. No. You suck. You sucked back in Quake II. And you suck now in Halo and MW2. Snipers always suck, and always will.
And you know what? We break out a classic, and I still wipe the floor with them. Kids these days are real good at finding cover and creeping along, but can’t have a ballet of rocket fights on DM6, or even circle strafe.

I can’t help but wonder if it is partially due to the focus in regenerating health. Since you can recover health more quickly, overall durability is less necessary. Instead of health and defense being measured power-up to power-up, they’re measured fight-to-fight. A bit of this attitude seems to exist even in games without regenerating health, where the focus has gone towards short-term action. Transformers doesn’t have regenerating health, but it seems like Energon Cubes are far more common then I remember any other health regenerating items being.

There’s also a greater focus on support and assistance in games, which make characters less of a one man army. Transformers, for example, really feels like it is made to be team-only. It does have a traditional Deathmatch mode, but most of the powers and abilities seem geared around team play, and there seems to be a focus in trying to get you to work together with other players. You’re less durable on your own, but at lot deadlier with other people around for reasons beyond the fact that there are two guns instead of one.

I don’t think I would include Transformers in the list of games that have death come too fast.

I’m moving along as a Soldier, minding my own business, and suddenly I’m dead. I’m a giant robot with eighteen hundred tons of tank armor; you’d think I could take a hit or two.

I guess i miss those moments in UT CTF, when you are mega healthed, with shields, a redeemer in your pocket, and a full rocket launcher…knowing you are about to be the harbinger of doom to the other team for at least the next 90 seconds.

Another thing with death…the g’damn invention of the respawn countdown…ARGH. Downtime in gaming pisses me off. I’d rather deal with spawn campers…which never really bothered me that much anyway.

I hate these too. You wait 3 minutes to be able to play and then you die from a stray bullet in someone else’s firefight. Back to the queue!

It isn’t like there aren’t ways to encourage people not to die that are also fun Either. Game companies have just become lazy when it comes to fps these days because they have seen that remaking the same generic modern shooter over and over sells.

My favorite respawn mechanic was in jailbreak, one of my favorite mods for quake 2.

Just play Section 8 for the anti-instant death shooter. You have a shield bar + health bar which makes it nigh impossible to die from a single hit. On the contrary you have to saturated with weapon fire in order to succumb to death. Also respawns are allowed anywhere on the map although enemy AA guns can deny specified areas.

The problem is not that Medal of Honor remakes sell, the problem is that the alternatives do not sell. The customers are to blame here. Game developers in general (and many publisher types I’ve met over time) are fundamentally not lazy and really want to make great games.