@goggenator Once again, some great stuff here! Honestly, there's nothing here I disagree with. Just a few things I wanna talk about.
"The reason being, I think, that you're not really nourishing the game competitively, is because you're changing mechanics to please the less skilled or less hardcore players, by basically lowering the skill ceiling of the game, and I think that punishes you."
Absolutely. You're spot-on. You mention the changes with hipfire (which you know I already disagree with), but there's a lot more as well:
->Something I complained about ages ago was how effective crouching was at reducing recoil. Since then, it's been slightly nerfed, but holding down "Ctrl" still removes 40% of your weapon's recoil, which is insane. I made a video here talking about this.
-> The ADS time being linked to total weight is another change I think was designed to cater to Competitive players while punishing casual ones.
-> Another change I've bitched about for months was the armor nerf. When Sandstorm launched into the first Betas, the newer casual players complained and said the reason they couldn't kill anyone was because armor was too strong, but the real issue was that the hitreg was completely fucked for most players, including myself. When NWI released a patch to help fix the hitreg, they also heavily nerfed armor in the same patch. Yup. They made armor worthless while hitreg was fucked. While the CTA is under an NDA, I will say that I'm like 99% sure that no one complained about armor being too strong in the CTA.
"It feels really good in the beginning, but once you start looking past the atmosphere, once you start looking past the map design, once you start looking past everything else, you start to get good, you start to master the mechanics, and you start to really really shine in the game, there's just nothing left for you to play."
^^ This 100%. When I first starting playing back in the CTA, I logged 88 hours in an 11-day period. That averages to 8 hours a day, which is pretty insane. When Sandstorm launched into the Betas, it took me almost a month, if not longer, to get 88 hours logged onto the game:
I just recently surpassed rank 50 about a week ago or something. When I left the CTA, I had hit Rank 50:
I've now owned this game for months, and while my rank was reset in December for the game's launch, I still hadn't hit rank 50 in the Betas or the full game until recently.
One more thing, as well. I noticed that in your hodge-podge mess of words that are on your whiteboard, I see this:
Looks like it says "Pistols eyesight distance".
You might be interested by this post I made in the Beta.
Also, if you were wondering, this was what the M9 sights were in the Beta before any changes. IMO, this is when they actually looked the best: