Clever title ain’t it? My oh my did I mean to make this topic ages ago. In reality this will mostly be about Specials and their interaction with the other three topics but I wouldn’t want to be faulted for not covering the majority of the faults that I’ve at least dealt with. This is going to be a tiny bit of a heartfelt post mixed in with a few frustrations and topped off with a hopeful end. Let’s get started.
Sights, Sounds, Spawns, and Specials
Right now the interaction between visual, audio queues, environmental hazards, and specials is jacked up beyond all belief. To understand why this is an actual big problem we’ll have to analyze a few things by themselves and take into consideration how some of these things were made worse when you throw specials into the mix.
As a foreword, a lot of these problems may not register as such in isolation. For the sake of clarity, on top of mentioning how they apply to their specific specials I will do so again to an extent at the end of this post.
A globadier comes out and throws it’s noxious gas. You have to move now, you can tell you have to move from the green screen. For careers with a skill that alters their vision, it’s hard to even see that you’re in Gloabdier smoke. For maps with certain lightning effects such as hunger in the dark, AY, and some parts of convocation of decay, it’s especially distressing to take damage from such an act.
Another problem are AoE particle effects from Allies. I can think of very few people that will be able to see through a waystalkers hagbane smoke cloud. Or see through a fireball staffs explosion. Or be able to see ANYTHING getting flamethrown. Dragon’s Crown has an option that disables/reduces effects coming from allies or from yourself. It sure would be swell if we had that hear so that it became possible to even know when something like a hookrat is chasing that wave with it’s inability to be staggered.
On the topic of sight, blightstormers haven’t been “as” bad about this recently but Gutter Runners time to pounce from entering their pounce radius (which we will talk about at length) and your ability to react in time have been thrown out of whack. I’m not sure where this was changed, I’ve noticed it quite some time ago but with the increase in disabler frequency we’ll have words about this.
On ANOTHER topic of sight a Pack Master chasing a horde and hooking something through it is a mess. To begin with, smashing T whenever a horde starts in case of a packmaster is not a good feeling. But if you’re playing something as Slayer or if the sound effects don’t give enough of a forewarning (another topic that will be talked about at length) forewarning and twitch reflexes are all that can protect you from being hooked into a near guaranteed large amounts of damage. This isn’t the same as a smoker or a jockey chasing zombies. These things (well one of them at least) have ENORMOUS audio tells and defensible positions allow you to force them to you. On top of that they don’t take a larger than necessary amount of effort to kill or dislodge.
Rattling Gunners would be right but there’s one feature that’s so wrong with them that they and it has it’s own elongated section
And never ever should a Gutter Runner be able to jump through the obscuring bulk of a Chaos Warrior.
Needless to say some of these issues should come off as issues that can be dealt with through other means. Which is exactly why this next section exists
My oh my it took quite a bit of rewriting to even condense this segment. In relation to sound there’s so much that goes wrong that coincides with spawns that I considered redoing the entire topic theme and just leaving the “summary” specials section intact
Other Allies is going to be first. I can think of very few people who wouldn’t appreciate Saltz F having a sound play when he pulls it out so you know he’s about to let loose lead death on everything between him and that Chaos Warrior. Certain Career skills (iron breaker in particular) don’t have the audio effect that other specials have, and so it’s hard to know when he’s using his career skill based on sound alone. There are others but they are minor. With that out of the way.
Second is arguably most important. Your OWN sounds have too much of an effect in reducing your ability to defend yourself. The deafening sounds Critical hits reduce your ability to hear anything coming 3 feet away from you and beyond. Career Skills with consistent sound such as a Zealots chimes or a Slayers leap create an entire issue that reduces your ability to even hear specials and the ability to tell when a horde starts or a boss spawns. And don’t get me started with the lack of directional reverberation that Pinging should have. Follow this up with the deafening sound of splaying three rats with melee impact noise and we have a problem that wouldn’t be a problem if sounds were tweaked better.
This section may have a lot of highlighted segments. But it’s because the career skills, crits, pings, and weapon sounds contribute so much to white noise that it needed to be stated. As it is now, playing the game normally induces a higher difficulty than what should be as opposed to actual fair challenge and makes all of these later issues actual issues.
A gutter runner who announces that he has spawned should have an audio sound reverberate from the direction he will be approaching in. This is only important because of later problems that will be covered at length. That this master ventriloquist Eshin warrior even feels the need to announce its presence but lacks the ability to mask it’s sneaking is a bit odd. On the topic of it’s chittering, the sound is too low, easily drowned out by the horde sound even WITH music reduced, and does not do a good enough job at indicating the direction you’re going to be leaped at. Again, even THIS wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the next segment.
Hookrats have so much going on wrong with their sound effect that it’s hard to even start. The clacking sound is not consistent. I’ve seen a hookrat continue moving and the sound itself become muted. It’s not present when their leaping or dropping. It’s masked out by other sounds such as hordes, the sound of your own gunfire (or leap). And heavens save you if you get a crit when one drops down. The next you’ll know you’ll get about a single shake before the darn thing scoops in.
Globadiers have their sound obscure by even basic sounds depending on conditions. It’s possible for a leaping slayer to not even hear a toss until it blows up into a green ocean that he himself can’t even see.
The chaos side is relatively tame. Though they aren’t exempt from their own problems. Blightstormers and Lifeleechers don’t lack in sound.
The level of problems with spawning is such that I can’t even do it justice. And yet for the sake of making an extremely informing post that outlines all of the problems this can produce when combined with gameplay and specials I have no choice but to try.
Bosses are fine in my eyes. What is not fine are allies being spawned outside of boss barriers. Many of the mid map bosses are without a doubt FAR harder than finale bosses due to your horde and 6 special gauntlet you’ll be slaying your way through. And yet if things go wrong and everybody dies. Not only are you punished with the loss of all your items, but you’re further messed over by the fact that you might not even be able to kill the damn thing before you get another horde (which WILL kill you) on top of not being able to even pick up your allies for a last stand once those ambients you were evading catch up.
Gutter Runners can spawn within pounce position directly behind you and get that pounce off before you even turn around. Two gutter runners can spawn so close to each other that they obscure their own bodies preventing you from even being able to see how many of the damn things are after you. And what’s worse, you can now get pounced on in current build before it announcing it’s presence even plays out.
Solo survivors should never ever get two sets of 3 disablers. This game is arguably harder than L4D2 and even at it’s worse you didn’t get mauled on by a charger, a smoker, a jockey, and a hunter all at the same time.
Blight Stormers warping outside of tag range putting down a max size storm is bad and should never happen.
And while coordinated special attacks are great and I love them. Coordinated DISABLE attempts on ONE person is not. A gutter runner shouldn’t be poised to leap on you the second you dodge a packmaster. Two leechers shouldn’t spawn parallel and make drain attempts on the same target. Any situation where playing well and dodging correctly shouldn’t be “rewarded” with getting disabled anyways because of the lack of ability to make a staggered timing for attacks.
Hordes can spawn right on top of you, with all of the problems that brings.
Rattling Gunners can spawn directly ON you poised to fire which WILL end your life.
And while this isn’t a big of an issue a Sack Rats spook radius is much too large.
Ambients spawn in locations outside of reach or aim but take sometimes up to 10 seconds to finish their stationary animation and become an issue. And this is on TOP of draw radius for ambients being too damn long. Anybody who’s played against the grain know what I mean when you’re drowning elites from the path beyond the first tome when you’re nowhere close to that side, inside the house defending yourself from the horde.
Lastly I like how much easier patrols are to deal with in terms of evasion. What’s not cool is that there are still patrol locations that pat in two different routes with no way of telling which “safe” zone is actually safe. I’m actually kind of okay with this. But I figured I should mention this.
A mouthful right? A pretty big post right? I think I really should have split this up into 4 topics. But it’s far too late now. Let’s keep going.
Just think of this segment as a mini summary. I will be touching on a few things that I missed before but will be applying everything at once
In the current build:
- Blight Stormers can still spawn at max range and drop down max size clouds.
Gutter Runners can spawn in pouncing distance before their audio queue plays, has an an announcement sound effect that does not help track approach, can pivot after a failed pounce attempt instead of (like the packmaster) retreating, and can smoke cloud out of vision making dealing with them more challenging than it should be.
As a disclaimer. I think that Gutter Runners, if they’re to maintain their ability to pounce as many times as necessary to land on their target or die. Should either lose the darn smoke cloud given that they already have eratic movement and thus are difficult to shoot or failing that, should have their pounce land them closer to what they jumped at so they can be meleed.
- Life Leechers tendency to target the same person when coordinating and their tendency to appear way outside of counter range makes killing them without firearms now a pain in the rear.
- Rattling Gunners can outright spawn on top of you, not making any noise and then lightning you up at point blank range, thus killing you.
- Hook rats Have their audio cues drowned by all manners of noises in the game, have their visual recognition (as audio cues are not dependable) obscured by the ability to pass through hordes while having boss armor (and thus boss stagger resistance)
- Globadiers only fault is that visual conditions (such as Slayer career skill) makes telling when you’re in their darn smoke really hard. Thus they’re the closest to begin fine as the only problem they have are career skills and not the special itself.
- and Warpfire Throwers are actually fine. They announce their presence, have an easily distinguishable sound even through a Slayers leap heartbeat, possess a giant glowing green visual identifier so they can’t be obscured inside of a horde, And have attacks with an identifiable range and effect while also having the opportunity for counterplay (aim does not increase when getting burned)
And there you have it. A post so long that I’ll be blessed if anybody at fatshark even skims over it, but which contain my honest thoughts on some of the problems with the game in relation to audio cues. Outside of my statements regarding the gutter runner, I believe that many specials are in the right place. And I believe that if they can fix at LEAST the issues involving audio and visual cues, we’ll be in a better spot to have a game that more greatly provides ways to react to difficult situations and a game that appropriately rewards high levels of skill with things that can be responded to under reasonable circumstances.
P.S. thanks for listening and making the Great Axe better, fatshark