Lack of basic 1on1 features - the review by an old competitive player

(Fws) #1

First, the most basic and important thing

The 1on1 games are not just about running around and fragging, they are all about map control. For example in Quake 3/4/L you need to time Armours every 25 seconds and Megahealth every 35 seconds, additionaly you can control weapons by zoning enemy out of them. In Unreal Tournament you time Armours every 27.5 seconds, Shield Belt every 55 seconds, and weapons every 27.5 as well. Players fight for those advantages, it is main force behind them moving around the map and their tactics.

Well, there is one bit of map control, health pickups. However in other 1on1 games the health pickups can only be taken if your health isnt full. While this was originally because single player worked that way, it was kept in later multiplayer only games to stop players who are in control from starving their enemy. This meant that if player who was in control, stacked with health and armour, wanted to deny enemy from regaining health, the only resource player out of control have, would have to shoot himself which would reduce his armour as well. Basically a tactical trade off that some players may want to take at certain times.

In Project 1vs1 health pickups may be taken at any time, every 30 seconds, so the only possible tactic is to control them after dealing damage to the enemy. That is whole map control and tactical possibility that Project 1vs1 has.

Now, for the rest of the feedback

For competitive fpp player the defining feature of hero shooters are not heroes, but the limitations they come with. That is limitations of available weapons and abilities, as well as starting with them all. From that point of view, the only difference in Project 1vs1 is that instead of just taking loadouts predefined by game designers, we are able to create loadouts ourselves. This is not a complain, but a small warning. Not a one hero shooter managed to become played in 1on1, neither did any fpp shooter with such limitations.

I know that this is the very beginning of creating the game, but everything about it feels very plastic. You should be knowledgeable about importance of weapon feedback that is created by animation and sound. The problem is the whole game feels like that, weight of moving around, jumping, everything seem disconnected from the player. A lot of low budged fpp games are like that. This is very hard to define, but I think you probably know that and are working on it.

You are aiming for as wide audience as possible, but you are also coming to kind of oldschool and hardcore territory. A territory full of dinosaurs who need their specific settings and hardware. Even if you work hard on that, there still will be a lot of complains from people who cant get something to work as they like. So let me start with mine. The launcher where you manage your whole game is too big and cannot be scrolled or scaled down. It doesnt fit the 1024 width, and while you can just move the window around, you cant move it when there is a message window like when you get the loot. When I got the loot window, the only thing I was able to do was to click on 2 pixel sized edge of unknown yellow button on far right side that didnt fit the screen.

There will be more people who are using lower resolutions in Project 1vs1 than in the games you worked on before. There will be more people using 4:3 screens, there will be more people with CRT screens that dont display LCD fonts well, there will be more people using some outdated or unusual settings and hardware. You are entering a real PC territory where players are spending many hours just to work on their config files.

This is probably something that you already have heard from other players, but 1on1 games tend to have movement methods. Currently you have those in form of abilities like Air Jump and Railgun walking, but for now that is very little and when you create more you should try things that feel analogue, not just hit the button to activate a move. You can probably make a good game even without any advanced movement, but you really need to make your design idea work.

Well, for now the game is just boring. It is just very simplistic.

Two examples of failed games you should look at as a warning
LawBreakers - tried to find a niche that didnt exist, hero shooter limitations and too much hitscan alienated oldschool arena shooters players, while the game wasnt good enough hero shooter to get players from those
Shootmania Storm - a game that tried to limit itself and base around simplicity of insta gib mode that was always played a lot as a side dish in arena shooters, however it was just too simple and became boring right away

(Atvseth) #2

I agree. It’s a little bland. I only played for about an hour but felt like there wasn’t too much. It feels like Gearbox is trying to go towards a Paladins/Overwatch competitor. Maaaayyybbbbeeee they can pull it off. But they would have to bring a Gearbox feel to it. Borderlands is an incredibly loved game. MAYBE if they put in a loot generator for when you score kills it pops out loot at the player’s death location. You can pick it up for your collection, but pick up takes 5secs or something to make it hard to grab. Gives a risk/reward feel. Borderlands has a fan base that plays for HOURS just for the RNG. Bring that and Gearbox scores something that no one else has. Just a thought.

EDIT: I wanted to add on that I really support what Gearbox is doing. They’re staying competitive. As long as this doesn’t detract from BL3 being a great game (seriously, delay that a year or so if you have to. Just release a great product on a massive customer base of die hard fans).

Lastly, I support what you GearBoxers are doing. I love your spirit and cheeky quips anytime I’m logging in. (Mr Torgue’s emails make me laugh too). I love your team and community. You guys have a lot of fun with what you’re doing and there’s a guy/gal out there who has poured a lot of time and thought into p1v1 and I want to commend them. I can’t code worth ■■■■ (and when I do it takes months for simple crap) so I totally support you guys. I’ll try to log more hours with each release and flow in the direction y’all are going.

(Qmzn) #3

I also thought this at first, but now, I’m not so sure.

I’ve played against players that aggressively focus on control of the health pickups, as well as those that blatantly camp the most defensible health spawns. However, two things regularly defeat this strategy - the Railgun’s alt-fire and the mobility-based skill cards.

The Railgun grapple allows for such rapid, unpredictable vectors of movement across the map, the only thing that can reliably stop an advancing player from reaching close-quarters is another hitscan weapon, or a phenomenal aerial direct hit with a rocket.

Then there’s skill cards like Human Flame. I’ve seen players activate them right at spawn, beeline for the health pack area, and net an instant kill on a camping player. That player would have had to immediately shift position in some way to avoid, or burned another skill to counter.

Another good skill that pressures health campers is Recall. Since it can be placed midair, and one can Recall immediately after spawn and fire immediately out of a Recall, it forces an opponent to guess whether the attack will come from a vector they are watching, or from the Recall marker, which can often be above and behind their camping position.

Taking a cue from the Portal series, one can grind a Railgun shot, release, Recall, and then be flung out of the marker in the direction it has been placed. Alternatively, one can fire on a camping player to dislodge them, then immediately Recall elsewhere, and listen for their footfalls to give away their shift in position.

The most successful players I’ve seen memorize the spawns, and since they know the game respawns a player as far from their opponent as possible, that becomes the primary mechanic for advanced map control. They put themselves in a strong map position right after killing a player, then time their ambush so that they come up on a respawning opponent just as the invulnerability shield drops, and press the offensive. Under such relentless pressure and counter-pressure, the best either player can do with the health spawns is grab them in a drive-by.

The mapmakers have been very shrewd, by placing health spawns in areas that severely restrict mobility options. I think it is also important that one can grab a health kit when at full health, unlike other games. This isn’t just so a player with match advantage can perform denial, but so a player at the disadvantage can put them under pressure.

For example, if I get fragged, and the opponent has 100 health, and I spawn near a health kit, I will immediately grab it. Even if I get fragged again, if I weakened my opponent in the process, then I’ve either restricted or removed his healing options. Thus, I can typically kill him right after I spawn, by quickly advancing while leveraging my invulnerability, and make it 2-1.

In this way, the game can become a lot like 1v1 in SSB: Melee. Not that I enjoy playing SSBM 1v1, but using respawn invulnerability to set up a post-spawn pressure routine is a known element of that mode of play.

In short, what I find refreshing about P1V1 is actually the lack of comprehensive pickup control. It’s one of the major factors that separates it from the Quake and Unreal games. Don’t get me wrong, there’s fun to be had in Mario Karting around a map to grab pickups right as their spawn timers kick, and maintain a statistical advantage on an opponent, but I’d rather see the P1V1 devs work to refine a different concept than try to emulate another franchise’s tried-and-true approach.

I’d actually be interested to see how P1V1 plays with no health pickups at all.


@fws Regarding launcher scaling and personalised settings: gearbox wrote an actual love letter to pc users over BL2. This is an early build. I think it’s appropriate to expect GB to implement a lot more customisation at a later date.

(Fws) #5

It is a bit hard to test everything out since the game either has no specified regions or no european servers, but I think that running away after fragging first may be a bigger problem than camping.

Currently Air Jump is a must, if enemy has it and you dont, you cant chase him. Human Flame seems like a good idea to catch the enemy, but enemy can use it as well to run away, and I think I had it cancelled by splash damage from a grenade. If indeed it can be cancelled by splash damage, then once players get used to its speed, Human Flame will be useless for attacking. Also would like to know what will happen if you place a turret or a mine in its way.

In games with map control constantly running away results in enemy having such control advantage that once he get you, it may cause losing several frags. While, as you wrote, you can get enemies after respawns in Project 1vs1, there certainly is less danger for a player who just decides to run away once he has frag advantage.

The way to counter that could be Vampiric to get yourself that stack advantage needed to attack or Adrenaline for speed or healing if it last long enough, but Im not sold it would be useful against good players.

Certainly it all can work well with right cards, not necessarily the ones we currently have. Im not against the idea, I would like to see it working, however I think that current game is no good yet. Right now it really reminds me of Shootmania Storm, too simplified, not enough variety, not challenging enough. I would play Project 1vs1 if it was mod for Quake, a few hours of it as a something different, and then go back to a proper game. I cant see myself investing time or money in it.

(Fws) #6

Well, I will just add a small idea. Place shards on a map and use those shards to activate cards. Shards would be also gained slowly with time so players out of control could use some cheaper cards from time to time. Instead of some cards having limited charges like now, they could be made just expensive to activate. You could even add some weapons that use shards, healing cards, armour cards.

(Qmzn) #7

This, I wholeheartedly agree with. Right now, the current “X-copy meta”, if you will, revolves around Tesla/Rocket and Tesla/Shotgun, and forcing opponents at a frag disadvantage to engage at long range in an open space. The defending player doesn’t even need to watch the health pickups, because the position and damage advantage is so extreme.

Some of that will be reduced if/when Tesla gets dialed back (my vote’s for the soft tracking be drastically reduced), but as you say, there isn’t a very good counter to Tesla and Rocket zoning. You take far too much damage in the approach.

The only thing I’ve been able to get to work (besides joining the top-tier-Tesla cheese festival), is Railgun/Recall. If I tag them for 60, then immediately Recall to a central location, sometimes I can regain map control. However, I often have to ride the Rail to set up the ambush, which means my second shot doesn’t have time to charge, so I’m left with 30-40 damage instead. If I miss that initial Rail shot entirely, well, I’m pretty much screwed.

I think AR needs to last longer and guarantee the heal and speed, but both buffs should be reduced, so it can be used in the manner you describe.

Right now, it’s a really annoying skill, because it’s primarily being used to maintain that runaway frag advantage. I’m getting really sick of advancing on a player in the lead, only for them to dance around with RJ, Rail, or bunny hop to trigger AR, then roll Health Regen like it was a sure-freaking-thing. I end up having to run like hell, because engaging a player with AR health active is suicide.

Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping will take place as work on P1V1 continues. I’ve heard players wish for passive cards, conditional-activation cards, cards that interact with other cards, and more. I have heard the devs say that the current cards are just a slice of what’s planned, so hopefully there’s some fun stuff in there that mixes up the system, and provides more creative opportunities to turn the tables on a defensive opponent.

I am hoping for stuff like a passive card that gives you 50% reduced healing from all sources, but poisons health packs whenever you run over them with full health, so that they deal ten damage to the next player who grabs them. Or perhaps a skill that creates a translucent wall for 30 seconds that blocks movement and all weapon fire, that’s large enough to block off the average corridor. Y’know, not specifically these bad ideas, but better ideas in the same spirit, that allow for more creative map control.

Your Battleborn is showing, heh.

But it’s a valid game mechanic, to be sure. I don’t like the idea of cluttering up the maps, though. Considering how much P1V1 is like a fighting game, perhaps it would be better to have a “Skill Gauge”? It would naturally charge slowly, but the more you fire your weapon and take damage, the faster it charges. It’s roughly the same concept, just rewarding for player actions rather than map traversal for pickups.

The gauge would have a max capacity, and skill cards would drain the gauge to deploy, so you’d have to choose between dropping that turret, laying a mine, or holding enough super bar to make two consecutive air jumps. Passive cards could increase the charge rate, or even decrease it in favor of other buffs, for players that want to focus on weapon play over skills.

I’m really entering a rather academic realm, though. As much as I’d love to see P1V1 become a sort of twitch-FPS + 1v1 fighting game hybrid, changing from charges and timers to some sort of special attack meter would be a major, major change to the game’s approach, which would naturally require a ton of work to implement.

Ultimately, it’s the devs vision that should drive the game. Otherwise, they wouldn’t want to work on the thing, right?

I’m sure they’ve all had their fill of players trying to drive from the backseat. :slight_smile: