It has the potential to revitalise the competitive community. It is an opportunity to revitalise FPS. It is TDM.
So the upcoming DLC/expansion/whatever you want to call it has a new gametype, called scavenger. The basic premise is simple, and to the older audience will be familiar. Players spawn with minimal gear. A knife, a single M67 hand grenade and a pistol with no ammo.
From here players “scavenge” gear from the map. Since scavenger was only announced a few hours ago details are rather light, however DICE seem to have a record of doing things “the wrong way” so some speculation is required. Lets look at how it could work, how it should work and how DICE will probably botch it completely.
First up some old school TDM education for any younger players out there or those that played but did not understand what the goal in team deathmatch in quake or unreal boiled down to.
Control via Items was the goals, not killing the enemy. “Getting the most points” posted as the BF3 TDM goal quite often on whirlpool. Much the same way point control (thus bleeding tickets and forcing the other team to attack rather than defend) is the goal in Battlefield 3 Conquest, not “getting the other team to zero first”.
So how would this work? In older games, teamwork and coordination played a large part. Again on whirlpool many posters call out quakes and unreals as “twitch shooters”, yet they have more depth than cod or bf.. For instance in quakeworld TDM the goal was to try to get rocket launchers for your team mates (ie not pick up the weapon, TDM was played with weapon stay off), save/camp armour for team mates if you already had it, group together after being killed and secure parts of the map. For the majority of a game the goal would be to secure the red armour area as the “leading team” and the yellow armour area as the “down” team. Area control, much like in conquest. However simply controlling the area is not how you win. You win by using the resources your team has locked down to kill the opposing team. However this all goes out the window every few minutes when the quad spawns. When the quad is spawning your team needs to move on the spawn area and try to secure that without giving up whatever you were previously controlling. You can offset times of items in order to disallow quad being used to take your rocket launcher area for instance.. This does not exist in BF3 conquest. You have three flags to the enemies two – you can dig in and try to defend them, and most teams will do just that.
An example of a spot to secure in unreal tournament (ut99) is the portal from the bottom of deck16][ to above the lifts. Locking this down by either controlling the teleport entrance near the slime – or hanging around in the rafters near redeemer at the lift end would acheive this. Why would you do it? To cut the opponents options for attacking. Doing this does nothing to the points in the game but restricts the enemy movement and options. I think the lower port is the better play: easy to escape, good view of anyone from the other team dropping down, view of the belt and boots.
Another example is on DM2 in Quakeworld. This map is very light on weapons (one rocket launcher) and the aim is to get as many of your team rocket launchers as possible. When you get your RL you should be guarding the red armour. However on DM2 the best way to do this is not in the RA room, or anywhere near it really. It is outside at ring (invisibility). From here you can cover the RA room, the megahealth below ring which is also a corridor of travel from one side of the map to the other and you can cover the quad platform opposite. Getting a player to ring with a rocket launcher is quite important when you have RA control, or to take RA control.
But the real goal was items – the big important ones. Armours were camped and defended, but the goal was to get a stacked player on a quad and then retake shorter spawn item (armours/weapons) from the enemy team.
In quakeworld the weapon your entire team needed was rocket launchers – thus the goal was to go for these as well as armour. As time went by the “tiered” weapon balance disappeared. In Quake2 there were tiers, but to a lesser extent as there were many tier 1 items that were worth using.. In Quake 3 there were really no tiers as all weapons were quite good in specific circumstances. Unreal tournament had tiers but it was 2 crap ones (besides the spawn weapon) and about 8 decent weapons. This led to everyone having a decent gun compared to Quakeworlds rocket launcher scenario that took at minimum 2 minutes to get a full four rocket launchers. This is fine and just different. UT failed for TDM in other ways but for now that is enough.
Item driven gametypes, if done correctly, are much better. The items are the goal because they allow better killing and less dying. Simply locking down an area but not killing anything does little for your team. Items force conflict in a better way than flags and items are dynamic and give more options: Rocket launchers, Red armour, Quad… what to pick right now?
Maybe your team decides to secure armour next, or weapons, or quad is soon and you should abandon that plan and go for it? Or maybe ignore quad and try to get other items while the other team takes quad.
This is especially true for pub gaming where players generally play for kills and KDR. If the goal is to not die and kill lots of bad guys then getting armour and denying the quad is quite important, both to the overall game from a team point of view as well as the individual stats. I think TDM done well would be the best pub game possible because once everyone understands the goals, which improve KDR, everyone will be PTFO.
So yes, the overall idea was to kill the most but the goal was to secure resources and control areas that allowed this to happen. Few people really understood this (in 2000) and TDM between teams just below the best was quite often simply a free for all with two groups. I don’t think any teams I ever played against understood why we camped the bottom teleport on deck.
Lack of items is why TDM in COD and BF is so fail. Where is the reason to head out from your camp setup. There isn’t one. Competitive TDM in battlefield 3 would be a joke.
I think it is sad that TDM has gone the way of the dodo and instead we have conquest, bombs and flags as objectives. These games are pushed as having objective based gameplay but it has always been there – right from Quakeworld. Objectives have always existed and they were way more dynamic and interesting that conquest points.