The best outcome for coop game is completing all objectives with nobody dying anywhere in the process. Personal skill and teamwork increase those chances. Change the point reward mechanics to encourage teamwork and discourage solo-suicide rush to objectives that devolves into a run and gun, tunnel vision spray and pray, blow up everything ahead for a race to the end. It's a journey, not the destination, and the journey is made better when cooperating with people. It can be a destination for those that choose to, so somehow keep options open for rushers who like to play that way.
The points here are to give an idea of what is rewarded in a relative sense. Give all players who complete a checkpoint 100 points. A regular bot kill gives 25 pts.
Staying near a teammate for a period of time constantly gives you, for example, 75 points. Additional teammates in the vicinity gives additional 25 points. Either it gives a fixed number of points or gives a bonus percentage of points applied for a certain period of time that fades if you suddenly decide to go lone wolf or with 1 buddy. Variations of this can be percentage bonus for 3 or more players in the vicinity and loses its effect if you go back to sticking around only 1 player. Give these hints on load screens to let the player know.
Similar to Overwatch, end of game votes on positive tags like "great team player", "battle buddy", "great sniper/overwatch support", "good comms", "good commander/team leader" "good cover fire". These can only be added once on each player by each player for each match, and probably has a drop down list below each player's name and show the array list of tags. Other players who stick around at the end of match sees a player getting a tag but won't know who provided it. Make it like a badge and rank like Overwatch does.
Make it attractive for the players to stick around at the end of the match with chat enabled and see what they did to gain points (the current system sort of does that by showing you the progress gained from "time played" for example), but its current implementation is only visible to you and only shows one after the other so you'd miss it if you somehow looked away for a few seconds (working off of memory here). And again like Overwatch, adding a "stay as team" for next game would be nice.
Tab Screen Changes
Move K/D ratio to somewhere the player can see on their own when the game is over. No need to look at it during a game or flaunt it at the end of the match to your teammates. Currently, we look to see who has the most points for capping objectives and blowing up caches. You are either #1 on the team or you're not, and you were rushing the entire way, racing against your team, annoying your teammates, encouraging the same rushing play style for your team. This change should give more players satisfaction for just being in 2nd, 3rd, 4th because they added to the teamplay experience even if just a little and at least tried to keep each other alive.
These points given for teamplay should show, in a summarized format with good UI here, in the Tab screen for each player based on what they did. This continues the Tab screen's utility since players already have a sense of familiarity with this screen and know the reason for all the nice points they are getting. Hopefully, this encourages a shift from how people are currently encouraged to play by telling them why they got points. Put this in the match summary screen at the end of the game for every player (good UI and sound effects here so we can look at who did the most teamwork). The intended effect is to still find the player with the most points but being the result of a team player, not a "first!" player.
Discourage solo-suicide rush to objective
I can't really think of much without changing a lot of the capture mechanic and pacing of the game to the point where it's much better to just coordinate with your team over the mic to solve it. Something should slow down the player's pacing when getting closer to the point. Although I actually like a checkpoint's corner-camping bots in its current state, it isn't enough. A skilled player or RPG/IEDing through a window before rushing into the cap area can still work. Having another layer would help. We want to make it so even a skilled player will feel cautious for rushing in doing quick "slice pies".
If UE4 can do this: allow the map designer allocate 3 areas where random mines can be placed since those are already in the game. If there are some barbed wire setup (like R6 Seige?--don't know much about that game) that require time to dismantle and thus cause a player to be vulnerable in that moment, it would be interesting and play into the teammate-covering point reward system.
Discourage solo-suicide rush to objective (Part 2: Three Wishful future add-ons)
This is getting into the old-school Rainbow Six/SWAT series' pacing, which slows the game down a lot, and probably not in the vision of the devs since choice in tactical play is something they usually go for (one example is the inclusion of peeking through a partially opened door)--not somewhat forced as I'm about to write, but it would be amazing for those who like to play tactically in private servers. This would be add great variety, randomness, and depth to the gameplay throughout just one match.
1: Alerted cap/cache areas with bots have a chance to use toxic gas grenades on the area, and they'll already have gas masks on. The security team will make the decision to invest in the gas mask. For servers that have unlimited supply points, taking the gas mask will be a no-brainer, but simply having this different scenario and vulnerability putting on the mask changes up the gameplay. Putting it on earlier means their sounds are muffled, putting them at a disadvantage.
2: This applies to the checkpoint camping bots: Certain movement speeds/run, or firing a shot without a suppressor really close to them causes 1 or 2 bots to say "they're here!", and go investigate the perimeter or flank the player.
3: Another thing to slow down the pace (maybe too much?) is have the bots trigger a small explosive at the perimeter/entry point of the cap area when they hear loud player movement. This can only be triggered by a specific-looking bot sort of like the suicide bomber's signature white striped shirt. These events shouldn't be at every single point but randomized maybe 2 out of every 8 capture points (includes cache points). They're also randomly placed in 2 out of 4 entry points to the objective; the frequency is just an example. This means a player can take out the bot with the trigger via stealth should they choose to or communicate to their team that they've taken care of the bot with the trigger. We get awesome replayability through some map randomness.
Big rewards for those that cover teammates
I don't know UE4 so I'm not sure if UE4 can allow these hooks into the game: If bot(s) investigates a player during a flank (which happens often in Insurgency 2) but the bot is then eliminated by another teammate. Give a large 250 pts to the player covering their teammate's back. I often do this with success in Insurgency 2's counter-attacks and find the teamwork productive and rewarding. The reward from points is large because you're often looking in the opposite direction of the action or entry point. In another scenario, if a bot is targeting and firing at player A and player B kills the enemy, then give player B 125 pts, and this would be reflected under the Tab indicator: something like "Savior". To keep the Tab screen simple, maybe only show the most recent points and respective label for each player. Add partial points if player A was originally shooting at the bot; less if player A was only suppressing bot with no hits; and equal split to both players if both hit the bot, known as an assist. These functions encourage players to not all run to the corner and bunch up like rabbits to be the first one to secure the kills which is another occurrence where players are competing against each other, and we want to foster sticking together and covering each other.
I think there should always be a counter-attack for each obj or default to 80% chance if not already (adjustable by server admin just like in Insurgency 2, and I think the Insurgency 2 default is 75%). You get the most out of the map by defending in each checkpoint location and figuring out with your team the best way to handle each point.
We change how the system rewards player points; discourage those who rush to the objectives to cover out bases for those who don't care or are stuck in the rushing mentality even with these implementations in place by making the checkpoint/cache dangerous for a rusher. They simply die and miss out on the defending aspect of the counter-attack, which itself should also be rewarded in points. Maybe label these bots as counter-attack bots that provide more points than a non-counter-attacking bot. And for snipers who take out/assist/suppress these counter-attack bots, they get more points the farther they are from the kill. Though, I can still see a scenario where players who are familiar with a map will bunch up and launch an RPG or go full-auto in a specific location where the bots will come out from around the corner from their spawn point, but I'll end it here.
(Regarding coop checkpoint only) I've noticed this in both Insurgency (2014) and Sandstorm. During times with 6 players and below, the game's pace changes. Players usually slow down and work together more often.
In Sandstorm, comparing servers with 10-16 players vs 4-6 is very noticeable. I actually have my Sandstorm server limited to 6 players.
It typically takes 1 player to rush and a snowball effect occurs. Another player doesn't want to be left behind with fewer enemies to kill, so they catch up. Then the next player does it and so on.
If we're having 8 player default co-op checkpoint, having more things sound like a preferred direction given the running simulator pacing of the map design/game. A couple of mini-checkpoints that need to be unlocked in areas/buildings before the team proceeds to capture the next main (A, B C...) checkpoint to (optionally) split the teams and actually utilize the often uncharted buildings and areas might help.
Compared to Insurgency (2014), Sandstorm's map design is like asking a painter to paint a busy shot of a city on a giant canvas vs a smaller one in a specific amount of time. More attention and time and detail per square inch is given to the smaller canvas whereas the larger canvas is more thinly stretched and diluted in order to fill in the blank space. Also trying to make it multi-purpose for both co-op and PVP is going to be a bigger hurdle because of balancing each side's advantages and respawn areas.
This issue has been in every version I played since the open beta. It occurs on every map, and in nearly every location. It really hampers gameplay and adjusting the gamma in video settings don't resolve it.
Darker maps like Summit are really bad. I've experienced this in a variety of different video settings (all low/off, medium, max graphics), different Nvidia drivers--both 970 GTX and 2080 RTX graphics cards.
This eye adaptation issue is one of those things where if it's not done right, then it shouldn't be included because it really affects users' gameplay. Considering how the characters in this game aren't as easy to identify due to this game's artistic direction alongside the camouflage, it's especially a valid concern.
Some users have suggested an "ini" file edit to turn off this auto exposure off but the game looks too washed out. This is really apparent on Refinery.
Note: Based on 773 Hours in cooperative checkpoint only.
@thehappybub Thanks for the response. I was about to delete the entire part 2 section as those ideas sort of steals the focus of the overall feel of the game and makes things more complicated. I purposefully avoided improved AI as I figured good AI requires a lot of time, testing, and effort. It'd be a silver bullet outside of how we're rewarded with points now.
Definitely large radius. Cause then it's opening up for a bot to take out the entire team with an explosive. Not fun.
I would love to see better and more bot placement protecting the checkpoint/cache.
Not showing any kind of point system in coop would be great. A simple "Mission Accomplished", "Choose Next Map" is all I'd really need. An early hardcore tactical shooter like Ghost Recon 1, if I remember correctly, was all about teamwork without any kind of point system and made for a lot of fun coop experiences. It was so long ago, but did it have a system to match you with other online players for coop? I actually prefer this rather than my own suggestions in regards to the point system, but I was (and still am) so very doubtful that the developers would do this since point progression systems are already established in this series and are such a norm in games nowadays--especially shooters. And even more so taking into account that shooters have gone the direction of fast-paced, constant and instant gratification, which usually mean being rewarded with points/exp with visual and audio indicators for securing a kill, so a point system is at the very least something the players probably expect from a modern FPS.
We also have the progression system to obtain skins. Their latest Q&A talked about the option to obtain cosmetics through grinding or buy them with real money. That would also be affected by removal of a point system.
I stand for my suggestions only if they ultimately want to keep a point system. Cause if we're playing to our egos, then it might as well push towards the mentality that team-oriented play is the major payoff for earning points.
Just a side note: I ran a strict no run-and-gun, no rushing, wait-for-everyone-before-capping, notify-firing-lane-crossing server in Insurgency 2, so regardless of the point system outcome, I'll be content with just the ability to run our own private servers for Sandstorm.
I had an error after updating, too. I didn't do a "verify integrity" but instead a complete reinstall, and I got a Windows User Account Control notification every time I loaded the game. After a system restart, it disappears and everything works fine.
This happened to me a few times and a teammate as well.
I'm really anticipating some sort of theater file for us to make modifications to the Community Servers. It would address a lot of ongoing criticism across the message boards and breathe new life into the game while we wait for everything else.
Insurgency Source's theater file allowed us to change recoil values, bullet damage, coop and AI item loadout, molotov damage values (to address Intercontinental Ballistic Molotovs, which existed in the Source version, too!), add Primary/Secondary/Explosive slots, move primary SMGs to Secondary slots...