Feel like Sandstorm is harder this week?
You're not losing your edge... the recent patch reduced the bots zero in time.
TLDR: If the bots are too OP at release, new players will not stay around to expand the NWI community/player-base.
For example, reduced zero time would mean if you are moving to up to the next point and are crossing an open area and are forced to engage a couple of targets, if a third target heard the gunfire at the start of the firefight, you will be instantly killed by the third target just as you finish killing the first two, without even seeing where the fire came from in most cases, (especially if it took you a full 2 seconds to track and kill the first 2 targets).
Previously in the same scenario you would just start taking fire from the third after finishing the first two, and have a chance to run to cover before being killed.
You may even get a chance to see where the third is but you would take damage from the third and if you took a lot of damage from the first two targets you may not survive.
You at least saw what hit you or the direction it came from roughly (you may have even been able to fire suppression in their direction allowing you a better chance to move to cover).
If you survived and made it to cover, you will be on low health and the game intensity is increased because now your next engagement may be your last.
Some people might say this it's reasonable with the faster zero times, but I worry that if the game releases and new players can't get involved in a game without feeling like they can achieve anything (like staying alive when playing carefully and or having some fun by taking risks and maybe dying, maybe surviving), then I worry Sandstorm will just be a flop.
Keep in mind that we are in Beta and therefore the current player-base (if it is in fact us that are saying that the bots are too weak... I will come back to this at the end) is mostly a player-base that is very experienced at Insurgency (and possibly even all the more difficult modded versions of Insurgency too) and therefore much more skilled in general, than any new player will ever be, at release.
I haven't once heard anyone say the bots were too easy while playing the COOP beta, everybody was just adjusting to the faster pace of the game-play and loving the game.
I have however heard the opposite, at least in a couple of scenarios those being; 1/ the sniper rifles not being one shot kills and 2/ that if a bot is right on you (as in right near you, right around a corner or doorway/window etc.) you are dead even if you react fast enough to fire your weapon.
I can live with both of these scenarios to some extent because 1/ if you are sniping from range you are not in too much danger of being instantly killed (at least you weren't before the Sept 13th patch; haven't tested sniping yet since patch personally) and 2/ if you are right in the enemies face maybe you are out of position or should have flanked or are just doing it wrong (I know sometimes it's not always avoidable. War is a bitch), at least it's an scenario that a player will realize has a bad outcome and it's obvious how and why they died, so it's an area that a player can try to improve on.
As a huge Insurgency fan I felt a bit uncomfortable with the considerably faster pace of the game-play of Sandstorm but over time I have learned to lift my game and adjust to it for the most part.
I have heard others say they found it faster than they would have liked also, I haven't asked them if they are feeling like they are adjusting to it though as yet, but I will.
Prior to the patch I could make it through the single player game easily and rightly so.
It was fun to jump into the Sandstorm single player game and try out weapons and explore maps and warm up (or down as I saw someone else mention) before moving to COOP or PVP.
Now, since the patch, I can't even make it halfway through a single player map most times!
I have thousands of hours of Insurgency experience, most of that being on insane/angry bots servers and or ones where the bots have insane armor and each bot takes almost a full mag of 5.56 rounds to be killed so if I am finding the bots too challenging in Single mode then I really worry for the new players.
So I don't know who is saying the bots are easy.
They seemed easier in Single than COOP mode to me before the patch, yes for sure; maybe they mostly play single player mode and in that case I would agree,
(but they should be easier too to allow new players a chance to learn the ropes before COOP and PVP right?).
I hope these people who are saying the bots are too easy are not the players that like to avoid engaging any targets and run past seen enemies leaving their team-mates to deal with the alerted bots while they go and cap the point solo forcing the rest of the team to move up faster than they are comfortable with and therefore get killed trying to rush up and defend a now empty cap point (if that solo player dies trying to defend by themselves) and ultimately lose the round/match. (another valid possibility; players like this don't even care about their team-mates so why would they care if Sandstorm is a success or a flop!)
Could it be players that are just trying to big-note themselves on the forum? (it's possible right?)
Consider this; if the same players say the bots are still too weak (post patch), will NWI continue to make the bots even more OP and ultimately make the game unplayable for even more people?
It's very important to realize that way fewer players are going to publicly say they are finding the game too hard, and even harder now, and will more likely assume they just suck at the game or FPS's because they can't stay alive and are getting killed by shots they didn't even see coming most of the time.
They will think Sandstorm is for some elite FPShooter player-base and just leave before really getting into the game and probably just go and buy another yearly release of Call Of Duty :(.
This worries me because I want to see Sandstorm and NWI thrive after release.
Maybe an anonymous poll would be a better indicator of the real feeling of players but it will still need to be weighted to accommodate the fact that the beta-players are more experienced on the whole than any new players along with the other things I have mentioned in this post, including...
Lastly, I want NWI to consider it may actually be bad actors, (commercial competitors etc.) taking advantage of your policy to listen to players (clearly a good thing), saying that bots need to be more OP for the purpose of drastically reducing the fun and play-ability and ultimately the uptake of new payers and therefor the success of Sandstorm on release (clearly a bad thing)!
Regardless of whether that last point is the case or not in this instance, there is a lot to consider and NWI should not be totally naive about it.