Ha! The very cheek!
I enjoy the game, I also think the art direction is beautiful, and I also somewhat agree with the OP’s critique – though “dry” isn’t the metaphor I’d use.
I think tackling the learning curve is a major issue with a game like this. If I were to take a look back to the nostalgic days, to the Quakes and the Dukes and all the other fast-paced shooty LAN things, I would say that there were so few competitive shooter games, we were willing to take the time to brute force a game’s learning curve.
For example, take the Quake 2 Lithium mod:
When I first played this game, I was just padding everyone else’s killstreaks. A year later, my feet rarely touched the ground, as I flung myself around the map with the grapple, firing rockets and rails during a mid-air ballet.
How did I learn? By watching other players, in-game. Still, it was a pain in the ass, constantly being in the deep end. There was so much to learn, from ideal map routes to get powerups, to which weapons countered others in which scenarios. But there wasn’t a full Steam library of other awesome stuff to distract me or my opponents. In today’s gaming landscape, I’m not sure I’d even be willing to grind such a brutally steep curve.
So the average modern gamer has an even shorter attention span that I do, and if you want them to stick with something that’s highly skill-based, I think you have to make school fun and rewarding, which is very tough. However, in P1V1, the only way to watch someone else fight is via spectator mode. When I lack the foundation to understand a game’s core mechanics, I find learning as a spectator very difficult. Plus, no cookies at the end.
So what the alternative? Well, if there’s ever been a recipe I’ve gravitated towards, it’s been the practice modes in modern Capcom fighting games, which I think would fit P1V1. For example:
Player chooses a tutorial from a list – in this case, “Riding the Rail”.
A dialogue box pops up: “Fire the Railgun and ride the beam by pressing (ALTFIRE_BINDING) to quickly flank the enemy sentry and get into its blind spot – then take out the defending player first, and the sentry second!”, followed by an OK/Cancel selection.
Player is dropped into a small tutorial-specific map with limited texturing, similar to VR Training in Metal Gear Solid.
The player’s starting position is at the base of a plateau. On top of the plateau is a turret, with an enemy bot doing figure-eights in front of it, that fires rockets at any player drawing sentry aggro. There is an ostentatious target marker on the ceiling, and a target marker behind the turret.
The player is expected to ride a railgun shot to the ceiling marker, release, fire at the second marker, ride the second rail behind the sentry, kill the enemy bot, then kill the sentry.
Upon first completion, player is given a pat on the back and a freebie item – ideally a small cosmetic, rather than a consumable or card upgrade.
Other tutorials might include:
- Teleporting to a mid-air Recall marker, then immediately using Cinders during the drop, then walk mode to circle behind and kill an enemy player that locks Tesla fire onto both audio and visual cues.
- Using wall-ride rocket jumps to clear a bottomless pit between two platforms in a long hallway.
- Staying the air for over 7 seconds using a combination of Air Jump, Phase Reverse, Recall, and Detonader jumps.
As in Capcom fighting games, these tutorials would showcase combos that teach you the boundaries of the game’s design. You would rarely use the techniques explicitly against a human player, but rather as as a springboard to develop your own strategies, as well a means of understanding how an opponent is getting the upper hand.
In my opinion, that’s what I’d like to see to help players get over the learning curve, to combat that stale, “dry” feeling of revolving-door Ranked matchmaking, where it feels like very little forward progress is being made. That, and a free bottle of lubricant with each DLC purchase.