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What's the hook?

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  • What's the hook?

    So I finally got around to downloading and testing this game out today (I know I'm a million years late). I had been holding off on it because I was still playing the other UTs and I didn't feel like it was time to "move on" yet, but at the same time I wanted to try this while it was still in development so I could give my feedback.

    Broadly speaking, the general gameplay is fine. The bot AI feels very inconsistent and the performance is not great, but it's alpha so presumably that will get better. It still feels like UT for the most part.

    The biggest issue that occurred to me after I played for a while is I found myself asking "why am I playing this and not UT2k4?". UT2k4 has way better performance, better bot AI, way more maps, modes, and content, and the physics also feel a bit better tuned.

    Now obviously this is not a totally fair comparison because UT2k4 has had years to amass content and also is a fully finished and polished game. However, I do feel like right now, UT4 lacks any kind of significant hook to draw in players. Usually, when a new version of a game comes out, it has some shiny new feature that gets fans excited. For example, compared to the original, UT2k4 added adrenaline powers, vehicles, a bunch of new game modes, and vastly improved Assault mode and some other general aspects of the interface. UT3 adds a more fleshed out campaign mode that you can also play co-operatively, and also looks vastly better (though IMO, neither of these changes are that significant, which is probably why a lot of people don't like UT3). If we want to look to other franchises, Quake Champions adds the titular Champions to shake up the gameplay.

    What does UT4 change from the previous games? Community content creation? It's something I guess, but the previous UT games already had tons of mod support, so it doesn't seem to significantly change the gameplay experience. That being said, I feel like it needs some other shiny new feature. I can come up with some silly examples that would obviously be gamebreaking ("you can now unlock weapon mods and customize the performance of your weapons!"), or it could even be as simple as a shiny new co-op enabled campaign mode (if so, I'd hope it would be in UT99 style). It just needs to do something to convince me to play this one and not its predecessors.
    Last edited by Terotrous; 09-13-2017, 07:13 PM.

  • #2
    MY first post here but this seemed like as good an area as any to kick of my contributions to the forum. What's the hook for me?

    I go back to the early days of FPS (Wolfenstein etc) and UT was one of the first online MP games I played (along with Quake, RTCW, and several others) and I have for many years yearned to get back to those experiences. I have tried to get back into UT2004 but for some reason it didn't grab my attention like it used to....I don't know if the graphics have been upgraded etc for example. I may well have missed many things about upgrades. BUT, this new UT seems to keep dragging me back even though it's in (what seems to be an eternal) alpha version. Maybe it's the dire mp experience that games like CoD now provide that make UT look even better?. The arena seems much more of a level playing field, simpler and certainly faster...it seems more about skill than spawn luck, camping, and poor hit marking, lag etc. Like many, I hope this new version will pick up the expansion of the map base...open it up to let a real community develop...allow ports of classic UT maps etc. I have no complaints about the game as is...I just want more and more maps. At the moment I always feel like every game is a practice session and some point soon that WILL stop me from playing, but for now the hook is a slick game that's fun with usually someone online to play. Even the bots seem pretty good!

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    • #3
      One of the more subtle things Epic has always tried to update with each iteration is balance. Content has it's place, but ultimately doesn't make or break the game like the core game play.

      The online environment is constantly changing. Internet connections are getting better, ping compensation has become somewhat of a "juggernaut,", and these things change that balance significantly. Playing the original UT with a 100 ping was a blast. The weapons were tuned for it, game play itself was challenging, regardless of your competition. Kills were satisfying. Then, broad band connections started to become more prevalent, pings game down, and weapons that were tuned for lower pings became easier to use. Now, the game is utterly dominated by sniper/mini. The same thing basically came of 2kx. After UTComp introduced newnet, and natural pings were as low as they had ever been, the game was dominated by sniper/shocktape. Essentially, a changing online environment broke the balance, never mind the effect of advancing hardware.

      Historically certain weapons have always gotten weaker, and others stronger, and mostly due to how their efficacy is effected by the online environment. For hardcore, franchise fans, these thing are more important than frills, gimmicks, and game types, which just mostly serve to attract new players, which is also important, but does very little for retention, compared to core aspects of the game, like movement, and weapons, especially when weapons are the same across game types.

      UT4 is unique, as it lacks a full team, a publisher, deadlines, and the normal AAA video game development recipe. They've spent a lot of time developing Blitz, and some on Showdown, which are attempts at new flag ship game types to spice things up, but ultimately seem to be struggling with the core game play at the moment. I would say, currently, there is no "hook." They need to establish a good live well first, especially if they don't plan on charging up front for the game. The hook becomes far less important, then.
      Originally posted by Mysterial
      An instant hit, accurate, instant kill weapon is overpowered. There's no skill ceiling. It's limited only by the shooter's accuracy. It also severely impairs the defensive side of the game - ignoring ping, it is nearly irrelevant what your opponent does - click the right pixel and you win. Even non-instant kill instant hit weapons are often problematic - the Shock Rifle example is obvious before even getting to other games.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Eye|db View Post
        ... I hope this new version will pick up the expansion of the map base...open it up to let a real community develop...allow ports of classic UT maps etc. I have no complaints about the game as is...I just want more and more maps. At the moment I always feel like every game is a practice session and some point soon that WILL stop me from playing, but for now the hook is a slick game that's fun with usually someone online to play. Even the bots seem pretty good!
        Welcome.
        Certainly do come to some other than "Epic" servers. I can talk of Europe only really but for example PHX server has loads of DM maps including many ports, same with CTF on this or other Unreal Pugs servers.

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        • #5
          To me UT2k4 was/is a near perfect game. The game we got after UT2k4 was heavily influenced by Gears of War. Gears of war was prioritized and it bled into UT3's design. I don't think the hook is the problem with all past UT games. The problem is long term support. For UT to have stay power, it needs to be supported in the way that Team Fortress 2 is supported. With a proper dedicated Dev team, with regular updates and content, and a market place. That is your hook.
          I also think if possible, the game should be able to bridge its self to the latest engine. This is something TF2 does not do. I only use Team Fortress 2 as an example.
          Last edited by s2ta; 12-02-2017, 01:45 PM.

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          • #6
            The hook is play the older UT games until the devs figure out how to replicate them successfully in an updated version, or play other games period and forget about UT. That’s not much of a hook but it’s true!

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            • #7
              Well it's hard for an unfinished game to hook the players. Just because so much essential features and contents are missing. Imagine they set up the matchmaking for all game modes and get the marketing rolling so we have a big enough player base. People would start playing ranked matches and try to get better. Most of them will also have a progression because they'll reach a higher rank sooner or later. That would be something that hooks the players.

              But as I said in it's current state the game can't deliver that. It would require Epic Games to commit a lot of resources. At the moment the developers most likely won't do that, because they already committed to Paragon and Fortnite. So either you're a hardcore UT fan or you'll have to wait some time until the development of the game continues.
              inUnreal.de - german Unreal Tournament Fansite

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