On Time To Kill: A More Nuanced Approach

I know that a dozen or more TTK posts have been on this forum since the devs started it from for the open beta, but I felt that I could:

  • shed light on both the issue

  • decrease some of the toxicity that's arisen due to honest misunderstandings on both sides.

Low VS High in TTK, and why both sides feel the others are either outright wrong or 'casual':

I think there's a fundamental confusion at play here, none of the people I've seen wanting a higher TTK are asking for a 'casual' experience, they want a 'realistic' and hard-core one. IRL, body armor at level 3 or above will save you from several rifle caliber shots, with bruising only for the first few.

On the other hand, the TTK should be lowered people are pursuing what they consider to be realism but seem to believe that a rifle bullet can one hit a person in heavy armor (at least in the non-exposed areas) which is incredibly unrealistic in a modern scenario and would only make sense as a 'hardcore' experience if it was a WW2 or Vietnam Era game without any body armor whatsoever. Even one 9mm or .45 to the torso of an unarmored opponent isn't guaranteed to incapacitate, that's why IRL, police are trained to double tap armed suspects..

The game with the closest depiction of real body armor is Escape from Tarkov, which might be a little too much for my tastes, especially as we're playing as relatively poorly equipped forces. But if we had to shift the game, that's the direction it needs to shift from source insurgency.

I think the biggest reasons for a perceived too high TTK is the lack of reaction to getting shot, ideally a hit should cause massive aimpunch and sway to simulate the nasty bruise a stopped rifle shot will still produce. That will stop people from calmly turning around and headshotting you in turn, and make positioning and tactics all the more important!

For balance reasons, I can see why heavy armor could always be made a point more expensive, and slow users more, that isn't an issue of realism or hardcoreness at all, seeing as there all kinds of IRL body armors.

Also, now there's a use for proper sniper rifles for sniping as opposed to scoped ARs, as they're much more likely to guarantee a one hit kill at range.

There's a good reason that if given the choice, most soldiers in real life prefer body armor for engagements, as well as why militaries that can afford to gladly buy it for their men. The increase in survivability and increased combat effectiveness from the knowledge that you're unlikely to be one shot by an unlucky round is absolutely worth the money.

On a slight tangent, I think 5.56 and 7.62 could be meaningfully differentiated on the basis that 5.56 has better armor penetration than 7. 62x51, so 5.56 could say take one fewer shot to kill, but 7.62 would slow and inhibit the armored target more. Also, the higher caliber rounds should be better at penetration buildings, so wall banging becomes a more viable playstyle. They might cause greater suppression effects too for near misses.

On an even greater tangent, the game sorely needs not speed, but momentum. Right now, just bumping up the TTK makes running in zigzags like a DayZ mod era character a viable rush strategy. Not only should getting hit severely slow you down, but being able to spin like a dervish and instant acceleration need to be removed. For people who feel that this would decrease the skill ceiling and prevent quick aim in slower, indoor encounters, I would point out the game already features guns that go misaligned with the centre of the screen on small motions, this could be more prominent for heavily armored characters, depicting the soldier preferring to angle his gun in the direction of the target rather than trying to complete turn around. Knowledge of how that works would be a great compensating factor without letting someone 180 while scoped and under heavy fire.

I think I've addressed the realism and hardcoreness aspects of the debate, but it's always possible to disagree just on personal taste. I only request that if that's the case then it be said aloud!

Let me know what you guys think 😅

last edited by AlphaAndOmega

I do not care for ultra realism, I care for good gunplay above everything else.
High lethality 1 shot 1 kill to the head, chest and stomach is what Insurgency2014 is and it is excellent.

On the other hand, the TTK should be lowered people are pursuing what they consider to be realism but seem to believe that a rifle bullet can one hit a person in heavy armor

And this is why AP ammo ("armor piercing ammunition") should be brought into the game to counter armor.

I understand your preference, even if I don't agree with it. It's as subjective as a favorite ice cream flavor, it's gonna take a while to make believe that vanilla is better than chocolate haha.

On the topic of AP rounds, they were removed mainly because of redundancy, as the devs say all almost everyone used them at almost all the time, making armor moot to a great degree. I am neutral on the topic of their reintroduction, but I'd like them to be more expensive, seeing as AP rounds are rarer than the armor they counter.

@alphaandomega Well, I obviously don't want the EFT route, but the points you make are pretty solid.

Basically, I don't want this game to have too much realism or too much "casualness" to it. It's supposed to be a balance between both, and at the end of the day it's still just a game.

I think 5.56 should be weaker than 7.62X39 personally because that would give AKs a balance factor vs ARs. The movement speeds definitely need to be addressed. Alex said on the newest stream that there's been a lot of tweaks in the back-end to armor, damage, character behaviors, movement mechanics, etc so hopefully NWI fixes these problems with the update.

@alphaandomega I completely agree with your observations and arguments. I feel like realism in Sandstorm will make it more fun and also lead to relative balance in the gunplay. I see no way how instagibbing everything makes gunplay balanced.


Hmm... I'm very far from a weapons expert, so I have no strong feelings regarding AKs VS ARs, though I think with AK-74s having 5.45 rounds the differences between the platforms can be very dependent on the model itself. Truly speaking, insurgents are almost restricted to AKs, so even if they performed identically I don't think people would mind!

I see a lot of people wanting more weapons in the game, and I'm all for that. There will be considerable similarities/redundancy because real guns don't differ as much as most games depict them, at least in the same calibers. Just having different models, with the associated high quality animations and sounds that Focus is known for would scratch the gun-nut itches I have, even if they were functionally identical.

Let's see where the final product lands on the realism VS concessions to game play spectrum, I can hope the question is moot should it be as moddable as the devs want. Look at Arma, that game is 10% a platform and 90% mod content, the older Insurgency was quite restrictive in that it had either weapon remodeling or full on conversions like DOI, if they have support for new weapons and game play adjustments, I think we'll find that everyone can find a happy balance for themselves ❀

@alphaandomega The only thing I disagree with is adding aim punch. While I understand it's realistic that you'd flinch pretty hard if a lump of lead flying at supersonic speeds impacted your body, I feel like it'd lead to a Call of Duty 4 situation where the player who gets the first shot wins the fight 99% of the time because the player they're shooting at is now looking at the ceiling completely against his will. In that game, bullets aim punched you so hard that even if you reacted fast enough to return fire, it didn't matter, because your shots would fly right over the enemy's head.

I'd say all they need to do is add a tagging system similar to Counter-Strike, where players slow down when taking hits. More powerful guns tag more than less powerful ones, and holding certain weapons - like pistols - will cause you to tag less than when holding other weapons (Kinda makes sense, since a lightweight pistol wouldn't be as cumbersome to carry as a rifle).

@quadsword Yeah, aim punch is a terrible balancing mechanic IMO. You should always be at least given a chance to fight back against an enemy who jumped you.

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