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What makes a shooter tactical?


ZJJ
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Probably the difference between something like Call of Duty and [GR].

COD is a shooter but it is very scripted, linear, unrealistic, and requires a minimum amount of tactics to complete the mission. The typical "run and gun" shooter.

[GR] is less scripted and linear. To successfully complete the mission, a greater emphasis on planing and tactics is required.

Both are fun, but for different reasons.

To make it tactical:

1. One shot one kill (generally)

2. No jumping

3. Realistic ability (or rather disability) to shoot over great distances, a weakness [GR] had.

4. I'm partial to iron sights and weapon view.

5. Interaction and dependence on other units in the game (including vehicles, aircraft, other squads, etc...)

6. Maybe an inventory system/specialty spots like [GR] so that you can't just give everyone on your team M136's or machine guns.

7. Realistic AI abilities (weakness of [GR]).

Edited by Scubaman3D
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Wow, that was a good comment ^^^^. Please allow me to repeat and add a few more.

1. One hit, one kill.

2. No jumping

3. Random aiming like GRAW MP has, including NO auto aim and NO magnetic bullets

4. A stabilization time after movement and recoil, as in Ghost Recon

5. Effect to being wounded such as less accurate, move slower, screams that opponents can hear

6. Key game slow down features like NO instant grenade throws, etc.

7. All of the proper elements necessary to tactical communication...like north oriented map and compass. GRAW D-pad marker was EXCELLENT, but somewhat arcadey.

8. Objective based game types

9. truly expansive maps allowing endless possibilities for attack.

10. truly inter-dependent role types and weapon balance. Example: no one weapon in Ghost Recon is a "must have"

11. A focus on non-respawn games - this is a major factor that ramps every game into a frag fest match. This could be corrected by truly huge maps though.

12. Something to measure your performance against, even if indirectly. Like the GRAW co-op tournament I ran. It really developed into a true team effort that mattered to the participants.

13. Dis-incentive for boosting and glitching.

...and here are some real doozie comments:

Players have certain roles that they generally fill, communicator, run-and-gunner. Doesn't matter the game...if I get on a team where I try to communicate and strategize..and I am on a team of Ramo players....not a tactical game. Tactical games are as much about who you play with as what the game mechanics are.

Of course a lot of these are counter-producive to selling mass quantities of games. So not sure these factors would go anywhere.

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Was talking to someone esle and had a followup thought.

This is another principle of Ghost Recon that makes it ever so tactical.

One thing this game does really well nowadays is replicate a hard to see enemy. Granted, in Multiplayer this is more important...but in the game this is also a tactical and "immersion factor" aspect.

It took me a while to develop an eye for enemies after so many games like Halo2, Rainbow 6, and a myriad of other cartoon-contrast console and PC games. Given some time a player develops an eye for seeing enemies. But even so....a hard to see camper vs. a moving target (that the human eye is trained to identify) adds a tactical element not present in MANY games.

It is definately one of the immersion factors of the game, but more importantly, causes one to slow down and be more thorough, and therefore tactical.

Edited by Ick
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IMHO, I believe "tactical" is where the player, (or players) have CONTROL of how the missions, objectives are accomplished. A totally open, dynamic style of play.

The players choose the weapons, the path to the objectives, the order of taking objectives, etc.

Also, the need for "stealth and quiet" on a mission.

Most Spec OPs like to work quietly and without a lot of attention .

Kingkat........ :thumbsup:

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I'm with Kingkat, a tactical shooter must have the ability to let you complete missions any way you want, not leading you up to a path where you have 2 options, I want the ability to go directly to my objective and go all around the map to come up on my objective from a completely different angle, I want to choose the loadouts and how many members I need in a team, I want to be able to intuitively split that team up into as many smaller teams as I see fit, thats not asking too much is it?

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Tactical does not actually mean realistic, but that's the combination I prefer, so that's what I'll assume here.

Tactical is where only the desired outcome(s) are pre-determined--the objective(s). The rest (the execution) is up to the players. So, what determines how tactical a game is would be the players themselves using the given abilites and tools to their best advantage. Any shooter can be played run & gun, but in a tactical game, the players using sound tactics should come out on top every time vs. the runners.

Ideally, the players have plenty of options to make their own decisions and plans for equipping, moving and accomplishing the objective(s). IMO, tis requires realistic weapons, tools/gadgets, soldier abilities/movement and communication. Communication is key, that's what allows the whole thing to take place--whether before the round starts in a planning stage, as well as in-game. For instance, Chrome Hounds. After launching, there is a war room for team discussion (ready up when finished). In-game, you either bring a radio equipped Hound or capture communications towers to allow communication. A team that doesn't do either will likely lose. Often communication is what wins as much as ability. Weapon "balance" is not realistic, weapons should be presented and accessible to both teams, and usable only in a sense that they would be in real life. Everyone should not be a sniper. Everyone should not have a rocket launcher. IMO, a fire team of realistic assigned roles would be required to have a team cover the proper bases (like in America's Army).

Ideally, realism is part of the game. The fewer crutches the game offers the more focused the game is on tactics. A game dropping "shields", lose auto-healing (use a medic!), remove on-screen crosshairs (iron sites!) and offering open maps with a variety of approaches and real-life physics and human movement for the circumstances is what it would take to be truly tactical and realistic.

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Tactical means you have to think. Punishment for being hit makes you think before you round the corner.

Random spawns make you think before you run down the middle

Blooming ret or inaccuracy when moving quickly also makes you think... hmm slow down... so i can hit the guy.

Tactical maps with grids - enemy in G4, you advance through e3 and i'll go I9.... That is tactical.

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Before you can ZJJ’s question, you must first define tactical. This is one of the most oft misunderstood phrases in FPS gaming. Two words must be examined. Tactics and Tactical. Let’s look at the former.

Tactics are necessary in any FPS title if you desire to win. This is true even if it is deathmatch. Even run and gun is a tactic. Camping is a tactic. Just as suppressing fire by one element that allows a second element to flank an objective is a tactic. Neither is superior when they are applicable to the situation.

Second is the word tactical. This is sometimes used by posters to mean stealthy. In this instance such a usage is a misnomer. In normal regards it implies the use of tactical maneuvers. This is a necessity in many shooters and not just ones with pretenses towards realism. Very often I find a more thorough implementation of tactical maneuvering in a Halo 2 match than I have ever seen in modern military themed shooters. Before anyone shakes their head over this, they should swallow an objectivity pill and be honest about matters.

What is really desired is a title where tactics and tactical maneuvers that work in real world situations are the ones that work in the game. Instead of learning how the game is programmed and then beating the programming, one simply applies real world military methodologies and succeeds… or else fails because of the opponent’s use of superior, more inventive and imaginative tactics that would succeed in the real theater of war.

Matters like weapons jams and the like are important but they are window dressing in light of the larger picture of major realistic game mechanics that almost every developer overlooks either because they are trying to force an experience, they do not know what composes realism, or their lack of game making skill hobbles them. I suggest that in this topic you focus on more broad based ideas such as insertion methods, character movement, AI response, environment interaction, physics and so on and worry less about what model of weapon your character can carry.

Here is something I posted on the official GRAW boards that applies here:

Saying that 'Special Operations' is...whatever... can lead to misunderstandings. Not all Special Operations units share every role. The Ghosts were originally part of 5th Special Forces Group - which is Army Special Forces - which is incorrectly referred to as the Green Berets. We say this is incorrect because a Green Beret is a hat, not an Operator. Special Forces has become a misnomer when used generically. Army SF is the only US SOF unit that actually bears that name, Special Forces. It is best to define either directly or by context exactly to whom you are referring when you say Special Forces or Special Operations.

Army SF does have the mission to go behind the lines. We have done it throughout our history, we did it in Iraq in '91, and then again in 2003 as well as a few other places. We also carefully plan the loads which we carry in based on exacting mission analysis - part of MDMP and the mission planning cycle - and we meticulously arrange for resupplies. The Team plans. Not higher, the Team. The Team themselves plan all of this. The mission comes from higher but 99% of all the other coordinating functions are planned by the ODA.

SOF learned a very harsh lesson in '91 when two Teams - 1 US Army SF and 1 British SAS were compromised and left without mobility. You are not going to see many missions at all and except in the most remote areas where SOF does not maintain a vehicular mobility or an extraction option. The missions in GRAW were total BS for the most part and not the kind of thing where an SF Team would have operated (an urban op) with no mounted capability or standby rotary wing extraction capability. Urban operations are par for the course...just not in the incorrect, tactically deficient, and haphazard method portrayed in the game. As I stated earlier, the problem and confusion began in the title - this includes all platforms, PC through consoles - with the writing, basic game design, and level design. Ubisoft decided to cash in on the Ghost Recon name but instead of trying to maintain an air of believability, they tossed it out the window and had command intentionally sending a 4 man SF unit, dismounted, against armor. Ridiculous and far away from the bounds of realism.

One of the first things the US is going to do is establish air superiority. I am not insulting any other country as there are some great airforces out there. Tornado pilots? My hat is off to you. You guys are some of the most daring lot I have ever seen. But the US is going to do that in any country. Hell, the Brits will be right there with us, wingtip to wingtip. That means when SF guys are on the ground they are going to be able to call those airstrikes most of the time. There are rare occasions when it isn't possible due to collateral damage or the fact that a particular unit is on the ground BEFORE open action and hostilities are commited. Of course then the mission sets will be different as well with an extraction still an option even if it means moving to a point. But when the President is in danger, and all civilians have fled the city, this is no longer an issue. On those rare occasions where there is no other option against armor organic weapons systems will be employed by the team.

There seems to be an effort to rectify this 1 feature - airstrikes - in GRAW 2. The odds are it will be at very precise locations without any sense of believability. The mechanics of what really occurs in calling an airstrike in a bad situation could raise the gamer's hair. But once again this has been ignored. The proof is in the video. It looks cool to some people but you could have had that experience magified a hundred times had they tried a little realism with it. From what I seen they are apparently still writing missions that have the Ghosts being employed like they were a Fire Team from the 82nd Airborne. Perhaps they should just call it that, stop grave robbing the Ghost Recon name, and stop misleading people about SF.

They could have made a really great game with GRAW that put you on the edge of your seat, took realism to a new level, and was engrossing and fun at the same time. Somewhere, someone decided that realism meant sim, and sim meant boring. Nothing could be further from the truth. Low brow creativity and Spike TV mentality in mission design has to be pushed aside first if there is ever going to be any serious hope for such an experience in the future.

There is a good chance that you won’t have to pine for the great truly gritty and realistic title you want for much longer. Believe me you will get that ‘tactical’ game you want. Keep you fingers crossed.

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Essentially it's when a game is over a hazy line I draw between "About the aiming" and "About the thinking".

Essentially if you put Serious Sam at one end of a line and say Silent Storm at the other end then to me a tactical shooter is somewhere in the middle.

Typically being over the line involves things like having a squad to command, complicated and vaguelly realistically implemented weapons, missions that involve complicated objectives about more than just blowing everyone's face off etc. etc.

The important difference essentially is that it all requires more thought than a normal shooter. The extra degree of complexity gives the greater game depth to me.

Small unit type apparently realistical scenarios with SF type units lend themselves well to this kind of game because obviously all of the stuff they're simulating and the missions involved fulfill those objectives.

Doesn't have to be though. I'd have said "Republic Commando" nearly nudged itself onto the right side of that line and that was a sci-fi shooter.

So yeah, vague as it sounds, I define the genre by what centres of my brain it's lighting up.

Edited by spm1138
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From all the posts so far, I must say I agree with most of what has been written. (where I disagree, is a matter of my personal taste, not that their comments are wrong) I feel "realism and playability" balance each other. Too much of one overshadows the other.

I see a common thread however, and it seems to be "Player-Control"........and "thinking " your way around the map (or mission)

Having the time and place to process what and where you will move and place your soldiers is a must. I believe even the simplified style of GR1 (against the very detailed one in RS6) is crucial. :D

Then after careful planning, you execute. You try it.

If it works..................great! :lol: Success.

If not.................back to square one and try again. :wall::wall:

This I think is called.....replayability...?... :o

These are IMHO, critical elements of a truly "tactical-FPS" shooter game. GR and RS6 had them........... :D

Kingkat................... :thumbsup:

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A tactical shooter is defined as any shooter with a basic 'orders' or squad system. Even the xbox1 game Brute Force falls under the genre.

Otherwise: Awesome post, Hatchetforce. Good to see you're back.

... I think you have me on ignore, though, so... :rofl:

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Excellent post. I agree with HF's assessment of Halo2. At lower levels of play Halo 2 is all about reflexes and map knowledge. At some point it DOES become about a "battle plan" and "communiciation".

I see a different dynamic to games though. A dynamic that reveals why GRAW and Ghost Recon are more popular with older and more mature console gamers.

1. I often quantify computer games in one of two ways. Either it is a game weighted to reflexes and knowledge...or thinking and strategy. Rarely is a game ever one or the other. Furthermore, games "change" as your players "change. Furthermore, gametypes within a game demand different things too.

Reflex and Knowledge--------------------------vs.---------------------------strategy and tactics

R & K------------------------------------------------------vs.---------------------------S & T

Chess

Exclusively S & T

Rainbow Six: Vegas and Halo 2

Mostly R & K game, if R and K is equal between teams becomes an S & T game.

Battlestations: Midway

This is mostly an S & T game, although Knowledge is key here.

Gears of War

Probably more like H2 than I want to admit...

Mostly R & K game, sure if R and K is equal S & T is key..but not as much as H2 or R6V

Time splitters, and a bazillion other shooter games

Mostly R & K games, sure S & T gives you and advantage, but the team with quicker reflexes almost always wins.

GRAW and the Ghosst Recon Series

Team Sharpshooter (respawns)

Mostly R & K game, especially if one team can spawn kill. S & T can be key though.

GRAW and the Ghosst Recon Series

Siege and limited respawn matches

Mostly a S & T game, altough a high R & K team can overcome a tactical disadvantage sometimes.

That is how I see gaming. I almost always enjoy games more S & T.... although if you go to far it becomes boring.

Edited by Ick
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I want to contribute that I have no idea what servers you guys played on, but everyone I played against TVT in [GR] (pc) basically sprinted through the maps and dropped prone/rapid fired semi whenever they saw an enemy.

I went slow, and got killed a lot by faster guys.

Edit: Also, I'd like to add that my few TVT GRAW360 games were much slower paced and more 'tactical'. People would hold/defend secured positions, provide coverfire and overwatch, and sneak an awful lot more than those who I played with in gr1. More importantly, anyone who did run around would get cut down really quick.

I attribute this to the higher strafe/backpedal speeds and the OTS camera, personally, but I don't really know the exact cause.

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Some games are "shooters" and some games are "tactical shooters." What is the difference?

What are the developers doing or could be doing to favour tactics over run-and-gun?

Run and gun is a tactic. It has it's place in the real world. Such foolhardiness will usually send you home in a condition where you can be flamebroiled and adorn the family mantle or else be planted in a location and rob the community of valuable real estate that would better serve as a putting green. Anyone that knows my opinion of golf will understand what it means to be relegated to such a position because of stupidity in combat.

That said, in the worst of cases, it may be the only tactic that gets you out of such a situation. 99% of the time, tactics, a cool head, precision fire, communication, and experience will get you home. It must encompass the three basics skills of an infantryman - Shoot, Move, and Communicate - given that all three are required in a particular instance. Despite the above, the SOF community is replete with stories where only a really bold move saved lives. It is the old axiom, "A brave man may occasionally charge the gates of hell with a bucket of water and get away with it."

To answer the second question, developers must insure that realism is instituted to a degree that 99% of the time, tactics, a cool head, precision fire, communication, and experience will result in winning. Room still must be allotted that allows for the accidental miracle.

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I went slow, and got killed a lot by faster guys.

I found your problem. ;)

Best cure on the 360 is a good friends list. People who play the way you do. You can't do it alone, you'll get plowed. However, a TEAM playing methodically will come out on top of the individual running reflex guys. Unless they, as a team, play that way for a reason.

Bad things happen when you take a squad based game and play it as an individual. That's why playing with the public absolutely sucks. LOL

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To answer the second question, developers must insure that realism is instituted to a degree that 99% of the time, tactics, a cool head, precision fire, communication, and experience will result in winning. Room still must be allotted that allows for the accidental miracle.

But how is that possible? If you implement a no aiming sprint feature, you rob the player of a natural level of control humans have. If you implement an aiming sprint, it will be abused by players, since they're not actually risking their lives with their own idiocy.

If you overstate recoil to a point of absurdity, you destroy the concept of both calm and quick fire, yet if you set a low recoil (or a quick 'bink') any competent player will still land instand headshots. You give a quick strafe, your players will circle strafe/autofire to get all of their kills. You take it away, they won't be comfortable making precise movements, so they'll fall into more 'run and gun' tactics with their forward move.

The tactical shooter, the way we all want it, is almost impossible to balance. You definitely have a great idea of what would make a good game (and obviously one of what would simulate reality,) but do you have any ideas for how this could actually be executed?

... wait, you've got me on ignore, don't you? :wall:

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To answer the second question, developers must insure that realism is instituted to a degree that 99% of the time, tactics, a cool head, precision fire, communication, and experience will result in winning. Room still must be allotted that allows for the accidental miracle.

But how is that possible? If you implement a no aiming sprint feature, you rob the player of a natural level of control humans have. If you implement an aiming sprint, it will be abused by players, since they're not actually risking their lives with their own idiocy.

If you overstate recoil to a point of absurdity, you destroy the concept of both calm and quick fire, yet if you set a low recoil (or a quick 'bink') any competent player will still land instand headshots. You give a quick strafe, your players will circle strafe/autofire to get all of their kills. You take it away, they won't be comfortable making precise movements, so they'll fall into more 'run and gun' tactics with their forward move.

The tactical shooter, the way we all want it, is almost impossible to balance. You definitely have a great idea of what would make a good game (and obviously one of what would simulate reality,) but do you have any ideas for how this could actually be executed?

... wait, you've got me on ignore, don't you? :wall:

Sup, I was emailed and it was requested I answer this post. I will. You are still on ignore, a condition for which you are responsible. I do not want to start a ###### contest over this matter of my board selections. But in the past you followed me into threads where we attempted to have a decent conversation as fans of a matter and your only purpose seemed to be to cause trouble. I have no time for that. If you have mended your ways, fine if not then things can remain as they are.

You will be able to sprint and fire. You just can't aim... correctly. If you try to shoulder the weapon without slowing the site picture is going to be all over the place. If I slow to a trot it gets better, and if I slow to a walk at 50 meters I'll head shoot you every time. Often even farther. People won't sprint and fire. At least not after they die 4 or 5 times. That will stop. Hardware and software aside, realism should limit or allow a player's actions rather than misguided dev imposition.

True, no one is actually risking their lives. Let's not equate games to real war. Besides, the price of selling someone in a box with a pistol to actually kill you when you mess up in the game is too cost preventative.

You will risk your game life. If you try to do the things that would get you killed in the real world, then the vast majority of the time you will die in the game. Period. That's balance.

It is the truth some less perceptive devs can't grasp. What's their ridiculous argument? "If you let people jump they will bunny hop so we don't have jumping in our game." What sheer narrowminded thinking. The real solution is you let people jump and you give them the capabilities and vulnerabilties you would have if you were bunny hopping in a fire fight. What can a bunnyhopper hit? The sky. His foot. I have seen Iraqi insurgents try to run across a street and they sort of jumped up and down thinking it would make them hard to hit. They were lucky if they made it half way before we dropped them like a bag of dirt.

Score: Tactical Player - 1, Bunnyhopper - 0.

Same thing here in the case of the sprinting shooter.

Player that slows to a walk and fires - 1, player that sprints and tries to fire accurately - 0.

You will have the once in a while freak accident where the sprinter gets a stray round that connects. Sorry but that is real life.

When people first play a new game, some things are familiar. WASD, etc. But you still have to learn certain particulars concerning what the devs have done to make the game and what they will let the player do. In the end, you learn how to beat the game, beat the way it is programmed. You have to because in games like GRAW, realism is heavily altered.

What I am talking about that is different is when you learn how to beat a game that is correctly made, all you need to do is think quickly, intuitively, be devious, be cunning, and use real tactics and methods and you will succeed. The difference in the correctly made tactical shooter is that you learn how to beat the game and what you realize is at the same time you used real methodologies and real techniques. If you already know these TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures) then you can jump right into the game and start kicking butt. If you don't know them, the game will provide instruction initially for some of them and you will also learn the same way you do in an arcade shooter. By trial and error. But what succeeds will be real methods, not blindfiring using your superimposed mystical crosshair. Don't get me wrong, Gears of War is a blast but that isn't what we are discussing here.

Where did I post recoil would be overstated? It will be what is normal for that weapon system, with a particular ammo. Strafing in the real world is not accurate past anything over walking speed and you will probably get mowed down. I don't know what is so difficult to understand. I guess it isn't your fault and you have been fed too long a steady diet of arcade shooters. Let's see if I can be clear.

The correct shooter will not have balance. Balance is what devs institute because they think it will make the game better. All it does is screw up the experience. Go look at the R6 Vegas boards and read some of the older posts and the complaint after complaint about the weapon balance. There is nothing like a scoped MP7 that is more lethal than a sniper rifle at long distances. Assault rifles? I would rather throw tennis balls.

The correctly made shooter accurately models weapons characteristics. What? You mean you were strafing and bursting and some guy standing still on semi capped you? You deserved it. That is the real world. Trust me, one thing you won't see is a circle strafe that lasts more than a few seconds. While I am on that subject, too many games allow the player the same movement speed in any direction. The real world doesn't work like that. The game will do anything but deteriorate into run and gun. It will, by the necessity of survival and mission success reward good tactics and punish swiftly arcade techniques.

The tactical shooter we all want requires no balance and is easy to make. One part knowledge of the real world, plus one part common sense, plus one part programming. Bake until finished.

Game balance is achieved by the situation, not by weapons. By realistic mission design and scenarios. Think it's a cakewalk when we go on an operation? No, far from it. Same with the game.

Why are insurgents able to give a highly trained SOF Team hell? Situational factors. They can't shoot as well, their weapons are not up to par, but they have the area. They have social support. They command the terrain. They have C3I. They do not have to be aware of collateral damage, they are in their element, they often do not care if they die...well... not until they get hit and then they want their momma. But, I could go on and on. Balance is achieved through mimicry of real situations, not adjusting realism so you can what? Make it real? It doesn't work like that. I often wonder how much time devs waste trying achieve realism by changing real world factors when the Queen of Battle and her harsh lessons have all of the research and balance, based on real situations, completed for them.

And just so you know, all of what has been discussed here has been hashed out with qualified devs first.

Edited by Hatchetforce
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I think you made a very good post, and a fairly convincing argument, and I would really love to play the game you've proposed but in the end I genuinely do not believe it works that way. I really don't think it's possible to simulate everything you've suggested without muddying gameplay beyond measure.

I could put together a really long post and argue my point, but all it really amounts to is that I still believe all good game development demands, on some level, streamlining. With a different format than pc/console videogaming, and all the development resources in the world, what you're suggesting could be amazing. As long as we're tethered by what we've got, though, I still think traditional gameplay conventions matter most. We do need to take out jumping in order to get players not to jump, and we do need to rebalance weapons, in order to steer gameplay into the style the developers are looking for.

(I'm by no means defending Vegas' balance, though. It's not like every attempt to rebalance is a wise one. )

Edit: and, finally, it's cool if you want to have me blocked. I'm not sure whether or not I've 'mended my ways', by your standards, and if you still dislike my posting style and opinions keeping me ignored seems like a perfectly valid option. :)

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