Last time, I told you about my (possibly crackpot) ideas on how to improve online shooters by listing what they should do more of. We're talking things like, letting me play dress up and giving me an 'everything unlocked' mode. Now I'm here to tell you my (possibly crazy) list of what I think shooters should do less. I have a feeling this list is much less agreeable than the other one.
1. Show Us Our K/D
Listen: I obsess about numbers just as much as the next person. Perhaps too much—it's easy to get discouraged if you're doing poorly mid-match, nevermind having to walk around with the constant reminder of how bad you are if you have anything less than a 1.0 kill/death ratio.
I don't think this stats obsession is always a healthy one. K/D focus is the cause of rage-quitting and bad sportsmanship, for one. And in team-oriented modes, it absolutely gets in the way of focusing on team-oriented play if you're too worried about how you, personally, are doing instead of worrying about the larger picture. In games that are traditionally rewarding of lone-wolf play, like in Call of Duty, getting someone to focus on something other than their K/D can sometimes be a nightmare.
How many times have you played a game where someone stops going for the objective and just tries to pad their ratio? Or worse, if you're losing, see someone give up and just focus on kills instead? Finally, if there's a quickplay playlist, like in Gears of War 3—what do those numbers even matter? You're not playing ranked or anything.
I know this isn't something most people would like, but I genuinely think that developers should play with not letting us see our K/D on occasion. Especially if there's some other stat that is way more important than kills—which should be the case in an objective gametype.
2. Make Me Grind
Stop. Just stop. I'm grinding just to exist in games now. At one point, I found pleasure in putting in the time and effort to 'earn' the right to play how I want to, but now I mostly think about how much time I'm wasting just to have the privilege of playing a game the way I want to. It especially infuriates me to know that the 'real game,' the metagame, doesn't open up until I have everything available to me.
I've gone on about this before, both in the previous list and in a whole article about grinding, so I'll spare you the whole rant. But it bears repeating: stop making me grind so much. If nothing else, it means that I have to be more selective of what I play because I have to dedicate so much time to it, and that might not work in a game's favor.
3. Give Players Kill Streaks (Or Scorestreaks, Killing Sprees—Whatever You Want To Call Them)
Poor Halo. You weren't like this before. Now it's not about having a good trigger finger and having a good grasp of the map thanks to ordnances, which reward you with powers or weapons for getting streak of kills.
While admittedly, ordnances feel more balanced than killstreaks, I'm not a big fan of the idea of rewarding a player that is already doing well—and more games are doing it with every new release, like the Medal of Honor reboot (though they don't always call them kill streaks—I use that term because people recognize what it means). If a player is doing well, they're... already doing well. They don't need the help. If they're going to keep doing well, let it be of their own doing.
And if you absolutely must include killstreaks—because I know that like K/D, they're not going away—don't do what Hybrid did. One kill is not a killstreak.
4. Pretend A Game Is Anything Other Than Kill-Oriented Because There Are Support Points
A game has to be built from the ground up to be team/objective-oriented for it to have the right to be called anything other than kill-based. A game is not team-oriented if it JUST gives you extra points for doing a support option, for example. Unless the mode is built in such a way that you can't progress easily unless you receive the help of others, then it's not a team-oriented game mode.
There is a stark difference between Call of Duty and Battlefield here, I feel.
Maps on Battlefield will be designed such that, say, you need to man a tank across a vast space. You need an engineer to keep that tank afloat. Once you get in close you need the assaults to lead a charge. The snipers keep the coast clear, and the medic keeps everyone alive. All are necessary components in playing efficiently, and the fact that you get bonus points for repair/heal/revive/restock is merely the cherry on top.
Black Ops II is not designed this way, so even though it now it has 'scorestreaks' that reward you for performing support actions, it remains a largely lone-wolf type game... but the fact that the community has been taught to play this way for years doesn't help.
5. Require An Online Pass If You Buy Used
More and more, games are including an 'online pass,' which is something that restricts you from accessing something in the game unless you input a code. Online passes are implemented to discourage buying games used, because whoever bought it new is likely to have used the code the game originally came packaged with. You'll need to purchase an online pass for pretty much any game with an online component nowadays—this means playing multiplayer.
I'm a big 'buy used' fan, and I don't believe anyone should be punished for not being able to afford a game at full price.