(Should probably disclaim this post is very coop-oriented.)
When NWI officially stated that the non-lethal gunplay was by design, I gave up here and went to play other games. I meandered back briefly to check out the new guns and to see if the frame drops had been addressed.
What's night-and-day is when transitioning from DoI to Sandstorm, what's noticable is how much of a graphical upgrade but gameplay downgrade is present. Sandstorm is prettier to look at, but clunky, sluggish and generally unpleasant to play. After a few rounds we quit back to DoI and can't help but remark upon how smooth and crisp the aiming is and how much more satisfying the gunplay (and gameplay) is.
There's an obvious chronology from Ins2014 to DoI:
DoI is a reskin of Ins2014, but with slightly more developed gameplay and features. Checkpoint becomes Stronghold, for example. The annoying counterattacks are replaced with a regrouping AI who summons an enemy wave if you don't kill them. The AI is more developed, putting snipers, officers and machinegunners in strategic locations covering approaches. The AI in general "digs in".
Sandstorm doesn't have this chronology. Stronghold has detrimentally regressed back into Checkpoint. The irritating counterattacks are back. The AI has gone back to being bumbling idiots. It's like the lessons of Day of Infamy were not learnt. The only gameplay feature which truly succeeds DoI is the whole thing with the fire support, that's quite nicely polished up.
As somebody who loves Ins2014 and DoI and wants an actual sequel (not a casualised shooter masquerading as Insurgency for marketing purposes), I've posted a number of threads aimed at constructively regaining the direction NWI once had.
The gamemode Sandstorm should have, the chronological successor to Checkpoint/Stronghold:
Nonsense going on with point costs ensuring there's a purposeless clear meta:
Nonsense going on with demo loadouts which needs to be fixed:
...and this is without even mentioning the simple fact that the lethality is gone. The immersive suppression effects are gone. The hallmarks of this brand are gone.
Why is this? Obviously the game has been aimed at casuals. Somebody somewhere said: "Let's make Call of Duty but add some realistic elements in, all the kids will buy it because they can say they're hardcore." The problem is Sandstorm has no real identity as a result of this. This is of course compounded by the frame drops, lag and general lack of content. (Or percieved lack of content, see the gamemode suggestion thread for details.)
It seems all of this has fallen on deaf ears. Well, it appears this hasn't worked out for NWI so well.
Anyway, based on a conversation in Discord yesterday, I took 5 minutes to write down the notes of what the people who I was playing DoI with had to say on this topic.
For god's sake NWI, your company was built on the back of delivering an immersive shooter, which was predominantly played cooperatively. The maps you have designed could be cooperative masterpieces, but for some reason it appears being an e-sport, being "competitive PvP" and such are the primary concerns. It's pretty evident the "competitive" folks are not interested:
Please give us a decent cooperative gamemode and change the statistics of point costs and weapon damage. Please impliment the old suppression system. Please make a decent game.
It's been nearly a year, which has seen nothing more than the new AK, the MP5, two MG's, one map, some bugfixes and changes to weapon handling which has made most guns awful. (MG recoil for example, wtf).
Please come to your senses and create a sequel. It's a few stat changes and some work on a gamemode. You could have it done in a fortnight.