I didn't play Ambush much in Ins2, but...

I saw a thread about it recently and thought I should give it another go, since my first time trying it I was a complete idiot and brand new to Insurgency (bought it on a sale like a year or two ago). Holy crap... why isn't it the competitive game mode?

It's so much more inviting for tactical play than Firefight. It allows for tactical play on par with CS:GO, where clever use of utility and extensive map knowledge can make or break every round. If you learn set-nades (smokes for key choke points, frags for strong defensible locations, pop-flashes etc.), you can dominate a map against people who don't have as much knowledge. There are times when rushing can catch your opponents off-guard, and other times taking it slow and using your utility pays off. It makes sense to set up crossfires. It's just a tactically rounded and tactically balanced game mode (might need some minor tweaks for a true competitive mode, obviously).

Firefight, in contrast, feels like a CoD or Battlefield game mode. You sprint around trying to flick-shot everyone, or you camp in a corner and wait for the push. In the Ins2 competitive scene, it basically became team deathmatch. Everyone ignored the objectives, except to nade it if someone touched it or if a couple teammates died. Then, and ONLY then, would you complete a cap. That's literally the depth of the strategy. There's no reason for tactical setups or pushes; it's just a fragfest and teamwork is almost non-existent most of the time. There's some nuance with pre-nades and flashes etc., but that's only useful on a few maps. Almost nobody used set nades for pushing a site, because doing so was a waste of utility when a round might last through 5 or 6 captures.

I have thousands of hours in competitive shooters (even some semi-pro/sponsored time in TF2 and some other smaller shooters), so I understand competitive game balance more than the average person. I'm not pretending I'm some all-knowing authority when it comes to competitive Insurgency. Maybe I was in the wrong pugs, maybe I watched the wrong games. But every time I watch or play Firefight, it feels like TDM for almost every round and I feel like Sandstorm could be so much more than that.

P.S. Don't crucify me, please.

last edited by tedeski

Not going to crucify you, but I am going to bring up some counter-arguments because I am of the opposite opinion.
First off, I feel that Ambush is just as much of a team deathmatch as Firefight is. Let’s look at the objective of the players. The objective of the non-vip attackers is to guard the vip. The best way to do that is to kill the enemy, therefore their objective is to kill the enemy. The objective of the defenders is to kill the vip, but he has guards so you have to kill the guards, and therefore their objective is to kill the enemy. The only player whose objective isn’t inherently “kill the enemy” is the vip. In Firefight, every player has the objective kill the enemy AND capture an objective. This leads to Firefight being a little more complex in my opinion. The first objective in competitive Firefight is to gain map control, there’s no reason to capture a point if no one on your team is dead because you’ll just waste a potential respawn.
The teamwork in Firefight comes from supporting cap players and guarding flanks and suppressing enemies so they can’t hear when your teammate is pushing them from behind. There’s teamwork in the sense that you have to hold/win your lane so that one of your teammates doesn’t get stuck in a bad situation. So yeah, it can feel like tdm, but it can also be more complex than that...but hey, this is a shooter, every game mode is going to have “kill the enemy” as the objective in some sense.

5v5 ambush wouldn’t be enjoyable I think. All the attackers would attack one objective probably defended by 2 of 3 defenders. Then the attackers kill the defenders and the vip touches the objective before the other defenders even have time to rotate. It would be like CSGO if all you had to do was touch the bombsite with the bomb to win. Of course, sometimes the defenders will win the 2/3v5 but probably not often. So then what? Make it 8v8? The defenders will just camp, only dying to nades or prefires, there wouldn’t be any real firefights.

I’m not saying Firefight is a great competitive mode. It was just the mode that worked the best in Ins: source. I’m pretty sure both ambush and elimination were play tested as competitive modes and just didn’t work. The victory for attackers in those modes is just too instantaneous I think. Firefight is more balanced just because both teams have the same objectives. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see a competitive attack/defend mode in Sandstorm, I just don’t think Ambush (at least the way it currently works in source) is the right mode.

@eyeofhorus I agree with you, to a point. The TDM argument is similar, but not wholly the same for the reasons you stated. On offense, your goal is to get the VIP to the site, because if you just focus on kills, you could very well be stuck in a situation where your VIP is alone with no weapon and against a lot of opposition. Most of the rounds I've played ended because the defenders killed the VIP or the attackers made it to the objective. In Firefight, you literally don't need to attack any objectives and a vast majority of rounds end by frags, not objectives. You can just keep B open or partly captured until you need a respawn. And in a lot of respects, taking a point while at a disadvantage can be harder than while you have an advantage, meaning a lot of people just go for frags while focused on defending the objective they already have. It becomes less about strategically taking ground and more about CoD-style fragging (which is fun, btw. Loved me some competitive CoD4. It's just not as tactical, generally).

I absolutely agree with you regarding the insta-win condition for the attackers being too unforgiving for defenders. Ambush would need some balancing to bring it to a competitive level. Maybe a short timer (similar to the bomb ticking away in CS:GO). I mean, the VIP has to get picked up by a chopper or something, right? So, why not have offense be required to hold the site for 15-20 seconds or something? Obviously, open for discussion as I'm just spit-balling ideas.

As for team sizes, 5v5 on maps of similar size to the current Firefight mode wouldn't be that bad, I don't think (especially if we add a timer of some kind to the win condition for offense). If you lose a site, you have rotations to go retake it (or cut off an enemy flank etc.). To be clear, I'm not saying Ambush is a perfect game mode and should immediately replace all things Firefight. But I do feel that with some TLC from the devs, it is the more tactical, coordinated game mode.

First of all, as you can probably tell from my signature, I'm a big Ambush player. Just wanna add my take on the whole thing.

@tedeski said in I didn't play Ambush much in Ins2, but...:

I saw a thread about it recently and thought I should give it another go, since my first time trying it I was a complete idiot and brand new to Insurgency (bought it on a sale like a year or two ago). Holy crap... why isn't it the competitive game mode?

At one point back in the days Mikee actually talked about adding a Comp Ambush mode into Ins2014. I think it would be beast, personally.

It's so much more inviting for tactical play than Firefight. It allows for tactical play on par with CS:GO, where clever use of utility and extensive map knowledge can make or break every round. If you learn set-nades (smokes for key choke points, frags for strong defensible locations, pop-flashes etc.), you can dominate a map against people who don't have as much knowledge. There are times when rushing can catch your opponents off-guard, and other times taking it slow and using your utility pays off. It makes sense to set up crossfires. It's just a tactically rounded and tactically balanced game mode (might need some minor tweaks for a true competitive mode, obviously).

Yeah, this is why I pretty much only played Ambush PvP-wise. It's fucking metal.

Firefight, in contrast, feels like a CoD or Battlefield game mode. You sprint around trying to flick-shot everyone, or you camp in a corner and wait for the push. In the Ins2 competitive scene, it basically became team deathmatch. Everyone ignored the objectives, except to nade it if someone touched it or if a couple teammates died. Then, and ONLY then, would you complete a cap. That's literally the depth of the strategy. There's no reason for tactical setups or pushes; it's just a fragfest and teamwork is almost non-existent most of the time. There's some nuance with pre-nades and flashes etc., but that's only useful on a few maps. Almost nobody used set nades for pushing a site, because doing so was a waste of utility when a round might last through 5 or 6 captures.

I don't think Firefight is a bad mode, per se. I just don't think it should be a Competitve gamemode.

But every time I watch or play Firefight, it feels like TDM for almost every round and I feel like Sandstorm could be so much more than that.

Firefight is TDM with objective respawns, so in theory if you just wipe the enemy team the objectives are useless.

P.S. Don't crucify me, please.

Nah, you good lol.

@eyeofhorus said in I didn't play Ambush much in Ins2, but...:

Not going to crucify you, but I am going to bring up some counter-arguments because I am of the opposite opinion.
First off, I feel that Ambush is just as much of a team deathmatch as Firefight is. Let’s look at the objective of the players. The objective of the non-vip attackers is to guard the vip. The best way to do that is to kill the enemy, therefore their objective is to kill the enemy. The objective of the defenders is to kill the vip, but he has guards so you have to kill the guards, and therefore their objective is to kill the enemy. The only player whose objective isn’t inherently “kill the enemy” is the vip. In Firefight, every player has the objective kill the enemy AND capture an objective. This leads to Firefight being a little more complex in my opinion. The first objective in competitive Firefight is to gain map control, there’s no reason to capture a point if no one on your team is dead because you’ll just waste a potential respawn.

Ambush can be somewhat TDM-y, I'll have to admit. Once you've got teams full of pros, the meta becomes:

  1. Both teams rush for positions and tries to out-flank the enemy.
  2. VIP ideally just hides somewhere.
  3. If after 2-3 minutes both teams still have players left, the remaining players actually escort the VIP.

In many rounds, the "Escort The VIP" never actually winds up happening.

That being said, Ambush could definitely be incorporated into Sandstorm in a way where the term "Ambush" actually applies. With something like random spawning areas (possible with the VIP's defending team spawning together while the attacking team spawns spread out around the map and have to hunt the enemy team) and maybe random extraction points so every round is different (and the game ultimately isn't predictable) I think it would be a lot better.

That being said, I would argue that there's a lot more tactical decisions you can make in Ambush compared to Firefight. You could end up with the VIP as the last guy alive and he can pull a massive clutch and reach the extraction point, which still gives your team a point. Or, on the opposite end, the VIP can get gunned ten seconds in by running directly into live fire straight out of spawn. Even with map knowledge and only a few routes, matches can end up becoming really tense and unpredictable.

5v5 ambush wouldn’t be enjoyable I think. All the attackers would attack one objective probably defended by 2 of 3 defenders. Then the attackers kill the defenders and the vip touches the objective before the other defenders even have time to rotate. It would be like CSGO if all you had to do was touch the bombsite with the bomb to win. Of course, sometimes the defenders will win the 2/3v5 but probably not often. So then what? Make it 8v8? The defenders will just camp, only dying to nades or prefires, there wouldn’t be any real firefights.

I think it could work. It would just have to be set up differently than what you're suggesting.

For example, there's only one open extraction point in Ins2014 until the total player count gets to above 12 or 16 people in the server (I can't remember). With random spawns and extractions, I think it's doable, but 5v5 probably isn't enough players, honestly.

I’m not saying Firefight is a great competitive mode. It was just the mode that worked the best in Ins: source. I’m pretty sure both ambush and elimination were play tested as competitive modes and just didn’t work. The victory for attackers in those modes is just too instantaneous I think. Firefight is more balanced just because both teams have the same objectives. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see a competitive attack/defend mode in Sandstorm, I just don’t think Ambush (at least the way it currently works in source) is the right mode.

I can definitely agree that Ins2014 Ambush wouldn't work at all for competitive play lmao. I think it might work better than Firefight though, at least for now. Maybe atm it's because AKs are pretty inferior to M4s, though. I have no clue. Firefight objectives just don't seem to have a purpose in Competitve play.

This all does come from a guy who really doesn't like Firefight, though. The respawns I think are actually counter-intuitive.

@tedeski
See I thought about a timer too, but then players will learn set nades to kill the vip instead of trying to retake (much like the C nade from insurgent spawn on Station Firefight)

last edited by EyeofHorus

@eyeofhorus But that can easily be remedied by a slightly larger objective zone than in Ins2, or . Additionally, learning set nades is a critical component of competitive CS:GO (one of the largest, if not the largest, competitive shooters right now). So, I don't think set nades are necessarily a bad thing. There's even set nades in Firefight for clearing objectives without needing to approach them, so I don't think that's necessarily a counter-argument.

@tedeski Set nades will always be a thing in Competitive play IMO and I can't say that's really a bad thing.

@eyeofhorus You could pull a Hardline (EDIT: this was from Hardline right lmao) and just do like a 2-3 second cap time. That's not enough to actually nade the point.

last edited by MarksmanMax

@tedeski
I wasn’t saying set nades are bad. Loved learning the ones in Firefight. Bigger objective could work, would obviously need play testing and balancing.

@marksmanmax
Yes but then it’s also not long enough for defense to attempt retake

@eyeofhorus said in I didn't play Ambush much in Ins2, but...:

@marksmanmax
Yes but then it’s also not long enough for defense to attempt retake

I mean, if the VIP's already gotten to the extraction point I think it's too late for attackers to pull a retake to begin with lmao.

@marksmanmax
Think you might’ve missed my point. I feel the attackers win too instantaneously in ambush for it to work in a competitive setting. I compared it to CSGO, but if the bomb just had to get to the bombsite instead of being planted. If the attackers won the site from the 2 or 3 defenders at that site (if it was 5v5, though I agree it shouldn’t be), the other defenders basically don’t get to play. A timer would give them a chance to retake (similar to the bomb timer in CSGO).
It’s not a perfect solution, just an idea.

@eyeofhorus Well, having Competitve rounds that end in ten seconds would be weird (although probably wouldn't happen; I don't know, maybe it would lmao).

last edited by MarksmanMax

@marksmanmax What do you mean the round would end in 10 seconds? Frankly, I'm inclined to have the round timer be shorter for competitive (to help skip some of the wait around phase and encourage decisive action). Imagine if CS:GO had a round timer of 4 minutes lol. Those rounds can already feel long after 2 minutes!

Along those lines, the defenders do need some kind of remedy for a quick site take, in my opinion.

I really don’t care that much about competitive I just want Ambush back. Was by far my fav mode and I just want to play it with lots of people not 5vs5 just some good ol Ambush action! #AmbushFTW#VIPlivesmatter. But I would also really welcome any no respawn mode. A search and destroy would be epic as well as hostage rescue don’t really care if it’s stealing from other games I just love and tend to take one life only game modes so much more serious. Well sometime lol.. MO.. Still begging for this to happen devs.

@planetcanada I mean, I don't want NWI "stealing" from other games. Maybe "borrowing" lol.

Btw, Mikee said on the podcast that the HUD design for checking your ammo count was inspired by SWAT 4 and my faith in humanity has been restored.

@marksmanmax They need to remove the ability to see ammo count by switching weapons because I like the ammo check but it’s currently useless as just scrolling to your next available item via the mouse wheel and then back to your rifle will also show you your ammo count and it’s much faster than the actually ammo count check feature lol!

@planetcanada said in I didn't play Ambush much in Ins2, but...:

@marksmanmax They need to remove the ability to see ammo count by switching weapons because I like the ammo check but it’s currently useless as just scrolling to your next available item via the mouse wheel and then back to your rifle will also show you your ammo count and it’s much faster than the actually ammo count check feature lol!

Fuck I swear there was a post about this but I can't find it.

Currently, you can check your ammo left in your mag via switching weapons or starting a reload, then immediately canceling it. IMO, both of these features should go.

@marksmanmax @planetcanada yea I've been posting about this since the CTA. I liked ins2's ammo count display much better than the current one.

I don't think we should see exactly how many bullets are left in the mag.

last edited by thehappybub

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