The Quest To Find an Online First Person Shooter

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Gundato

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On and off for the past weeks (months? Significant chunk of lockdown? Time has no meaning) I've been on the quest to find a new first person shooter to play online. Part of it is because I very clearly have time but part of it is also an attempt to force myself to exit my comfort zone of silently shooting half the enemy team by myself (which these days usually amounts to Leroy Jenkins'ing and dying a lot) and actually engage in team games with voice comms.

Here are my adventures. And if folk have any other suggestions during the Steam sale that would be dandy

Escape From Tarkov

Okay, yeah. This is not at all what I just said. It is very much silently killing half the enemy team. Or, more pointedly, getting mowed down by people with a lot more patience than me who are rocking body armor that is nigh impenetrable for me. Still, I love the aesthetics of Stalker and that is some Stalker-ass eastern european manshooting.

For those unaware, the basic premise of Escape from Tarkov is that you buy or loot guns, go on missions, and repeat until you die. When you die, you lose everything you were carrying (except for what is in your secret stash and what you have insurance on and blah blah blah). So it is basically an instanced mission version of the old DayZ/Rust style proto-Battle Royales in that it is about balancing progress versus risk versus reward. And, like all those proto-BRs, it is almost never worth not assuming everyone is going to kill you. And I definitely had a few awesome runs of just going in with a pistol and a backpack and leaving with a nice rifle and even some body armor. Repeat a few times and it is awesome.

Until you try to progress and start getting funneled. I need to come back to this in a few weeks/months when the game is stabilized but doing this a few days after a wipe (all progress gets reset for everyone) was a real bad idea as it just seemed like a bunch of Streamer Ass Names had grinded all night and were mugging it up for streams by hanging out where the newbies would be (quest wise) in full body armor and good ARs. Funny the first few times but, after a while, it just feels like I am playing to be someone's content and not for myself.

Still, the concept is awesome and I love just unloading half a mag at someone as they rush through a door. And Tarkov has some of the best gun feel of any "realistic" shooter and I REALLY wish Nikita (lead(?) dev) were a bit less of an a-hole about a lot of things (some of you may remember their stance on female player models...) and just made a mode that lets that gunplay thrive.

Still, will probably go back to it eventually

Squad

The game that came from that "realistic" Battlefield 2 mod. Movement feels really good. Gunplay feels... adequate. LOVE the tutorial and the idea of communicating with my squad sounds fun. I am the guy who played the hell out of medic in TF2 and Overwatch. I don't need the kills and am perfectly happy to help cover other people.

So yeah... fuck other people. Checked out three of the newbie friendly servers. LOTS of outright racist squad names (which I guess are player names?) and a few disturbingly jingoistic. And if you connect you get voice chatter that makes full second iraq war era Cartman sound eloquent and kind. I hear that getting on the clan servers is the way to go but... I am not going to subject myself to constant racism and abuse to MAYBE like a game.

Insurgency Sandstorm

Alright. Let's check this out. I remember really liking botmatches in Insurgency and it was kind of cool to learn that full color night vision is a thing while I was doing research for this

And... its fun. Suffers from "I am going to tell everybody about every part of my day like when I walked outside and there was a tree and then now I am going to make dinner after this and I am going to eat chicken because I like chicken and this bit is getting annoying but I don't know how to stop because it really was this level of frigging motormouth that I haven't experienced since people had the ps4 camera plugged in and didn't know they were on voice chat" but that is more one of those situations where you think <please shut the fuck up> rather than feel the need to actually say it.

And its fun and the community seems surprisingly okay with accidental teamkills (reminds me of Chivalry back in the day). But the gameplay loop just feels weak. PvP is CS with really long respawns and PvE tends to be all about organizing the camping of a point and then having long respawns anyway. Another "maybe I'll come back to it" games

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: The Current Version

When absolutely nobody seems to be able to answer what a game does for anti-cheat it does not fill me with confidence. I am "fine" with kernel level models if they are from semi-established companies and they actually do something. This being proprietary and secret and confusing leans more toward the Valorant scenario and I trust;/tolerate Activision... a hell of a lot more than Riot. But it is one of those things where that is more about how many problems I have with Riot than Activision not being a bad company as well

Battlefield 5

Wait, are those seriously nazi war criminal prestige skins? God fucking damn it

Battlefield 4

Thanks to the discord for folk pointing out people still play this. Popped in to a match or two and it was still really fun. Probably my favorite non Bad Company 2 battlefield and it is still a great game. But... I played these maps a LOT back in the day and there doesn't seem to be a huge crowd for the DLCs. And it is still me silently murdering everything (and I actually still am somewhat decent) and not actually using teamwork

Post Scriptum

The World War 2 version of Squad. There is no way this ends badly, right? Right?

So yeah. Checked it out the evening of the steam sale and there were two and a half servers worth of players. First match was mostly people being silent except for one guy who would not shut up about his tank commander not talking to him. When someone says "tank supported by infantry across the field. Coming toward us on the bridge to the south" the response is not "my commander hasn't given me orders". it is "Oh fuck, get ready". And you gotta love when people feel the need to bring some of that Islamophobic racism and supplement it with a lot of "sieg heils" during the post match screen.

But, glutton for punishment that I am, I moved on since at least they were just shitheads when they were celebrating. Next match was fine until people started getting frustrated that the self proclaimed first time squad leader (who was asking for help and offering the role) was having trouble and we were losing previously captured points while probably stomping an incredibly unbalanced team. And after getting cursed out for holding the line in the building south of the current point (managed to get six kills) I have decided that is not the game for me

Closing Thoughts and What is Next

So... fuck Gamers. It REALLY is frustrating that there doesn't really seem to be a way to play a team oriented game without having a dedicated crew to play with. And that is fine for a lot of folk but I am just not consistent enough to really grab one of those.

Still considering checking out Rising Storm but not really feeling that this point. Between the world, the verbal abuse, and the unrelenting reminder of how racist and toxic the video gaming community tends to be... I don't think I want to play with other people.

Still, I guess the main takeaway is that to play a communication and teamwork oriented team with other people... you need to engage with other people. And other people suck.

Tarkov was fun though. And unless Dice REALLY screws it up (which is not outside of the realm of possibility) I am probably grabbing BF6 at launch, whatever the setting.

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csl316

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Battlefield 4 at its peak was an incredible time, and I loved Halo 5. But it's been awhile since an online FPS grabbed me. I tried Destiny 2 again this month, but it just feels dull without a group.

I'd love to help you, but I might be done with online til Halo: Infinite arrives. Sounds like Titanfall 2 got a fresh wave of new players so maybe check that out?

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Brackstone

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Made this suggestion in another, similar thread, check out Hunt: Showdown. Kinda similar to Tarkov but much more streamlined and set in the spooky haunted old west. You go in with a kit of your choosing and try to take out a boss monster and take his trophy/bounty home for the money, and of course other players try to do the same and will try to kill you in the process. PVE against AI exists entirely to force players to make some noise, ai enemies are really just sound traps, it's very much a pvp game at its core.

Much, much less inventory management than Tarkov, but you can still do the thing where you go in with crappy gear and come out with high level stuff. It's all old timey guns, so lethality is high (2 shots to kill with most guns, headshots always kill) but time to kill can also be fairly high since you can't really spray and pray with old timey guns that usually hold between 1 and 6 bullets before a reload. Even melee can be viable because of that. Also, it has perfect, and I mean perfect, audio design. The footstep audio here is the gold standard, nothing does it better.

Matches are either teams of 2 or 3, but you can choose to go in undermanned if you want, going into a duos match as a solo, or into a trios match as a duo or solo. With how the game works, it's a disadvantage for sure but not a huge one, definitely doable. A lot of fights between equal sized teams quickly turn into 2v3s, 1v2s and 1v3s anyway, just because of how lethal the guns are. It's still a game that benefits from having a regular crew, but that regular crew can just be one dude to get duos going, so it's not as bad. There is a solo mode that's fun in its own right but it's not the focus of the game, and it plays quite differently.

It's on sale on steam right now. I play on PS4 and I think it's also on sale there, but I'm not sure. They just pushed a big update on pc that adds dual wielding pistols for all your dumb yee haw cowboy needs.

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CreepingDeath0

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Rising Storm 1 and 2 have fuck all in the way of a playerbase (something like 300 people at peak daily for 2) which is what I find to be the biggest barrier to finding a new online shooter these days. If you aren't CoD or Battlefield then your playerbase doesn't seem to last more than a few months after release.

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navster15

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Master Chief Collection is now on PC, and is still a blast to play. Population numbers are def going strong.

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e30bmw

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It's a little different than the games you tried, but I still think CS:GO is worth checking out.

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Justin258

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If you're looking for a first person shooter with a community approaching decent.... I don't know what to tell you. There don't seem to be any. I wouldn't touch one without a group of friends along for the ride.

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Ry_Ry

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It's hard to recommend a competitive FPS game. Rainbow 6 Siege, CS:GO, Apex Legends, etc all look like fun but I don't do voice chat. Supposedly Apex has a good system to get around that, but it's not worth it for me. I stick with Destiny 2 with everyone on mute always.

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Crommi

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Planetside 2.

It's teambased and f2p, kinda like space-Battlefield on a huge map.

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SuperKMx

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#10  Edited By SuperKMx

@justin258 said:

If you're looking for a first person shooter with a community approaching decent.... I don't know what to tell you. There don't seem to be any. I wouldn't touch one without a group of friends along for the ride.

Seconded. Most of my real-world friends stick with a game for about five minutes before playing something else, so really getting into an online FPS with a group of them is borderline impossible. Tried playing with randoms a bunch across dozens of different titles, and there's always at least ONE total asshat who ruins it for everyone else.

About the most fun I had was with Titanfall 2, as there aren't that many ways that your teammates can screw you up in that game. Though the flipside to that is that there's not often a great deal of teamwork required, either.

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ThePanzini

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Any popular shooter then teamwork gets thrown out the window and any game with a small community has no patience with new players, its some sort of unspoken rule that no one has been able to crack.

I tried Apex but I just not for me, it feels like your either have long stretches of nothing or instand death and load screen watching.

The only mp I play are Battlefield/Battlefront the former has no teamwork to be found and V being quite poor, BF2 while fun is deeply flawed it has the worst map I've ever seen in a game and terrible progression. I'm just waiting for the next Battlefield hoping its not awful.

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SuperKMx

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#12  Edited By SuperKMx
@thepanzini said:

I tried Apex but I just not for me, it feels like your either have long stretches of nothing or instand death and load screen watching.

THANK YOU. I thought I was insane. Everybody I know is constantly rambling on about how great it is. I've gave it plenty of time at launch and I just don't feel it. I roam about for 10 minutes, then BANG...dead. Then wait for ages to go through the process again. I never seem to get a chance to improve as I've barely got a millisecond to locate the opponent and take aim, let alone fire off any shots.

At least with other shooters, I can start out by being terrible and then slowly get to the point of being average-ish. Even if I go 0-40 in a round, I might then go 1-36, then 2-31 and so on until I feel like I'm holding my own, and I'm actively playing the game the entire time. Clearly folks like Apex - and more power to them if they're having fun - but I just don't see it.

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Justin258

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@superkmx said:
@thepanzini said:

I tried Apex but I just not for me, it feels like your either have long stretches of nothing or instand death and load screen watching.

THANK YOU. I thought I was insane. Everybody I know is constantly rambling on about how great it is. I've gave it plenty of time at launch and I just don't feel it. I roam about for 10 minutes, then BANG...dead. Then wait for ages to go through the process again. I never seem to get a chance to improve as I've barely got a millisecond to locate the opponent and take aim, let alone fire off any shots.

At least with other shooters, I can start out by being terrible and then slowly get to the point of being average-ish. Even if I go 0-40 in a round, I might then go 1-36, then 2-31 and so on until I feel like I'm holding my own, and I'm actively playing the game the entire time. Clearly folks like Apex - and more power to them if they're having fun - but I just don't see it.

I had this issue with Hunt: Showdown, which a few friends roped me into buying a few days ago. We played two games, and both went spectacularly sour rather quickly. I understand that with time and patience, the game's good parts would reveal themselves - but I don't feel like spending dozens of hours losing before I "get good" (read: start having fun). The training convinced me that a single player story-driven version could be one of the best stealth-action games ever, but sadly I don't think we'll ever see that happen.

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cikame

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@creepingdeath0: Rising Storm 2 peaks at 2,000 players daily.

The only time i ever talk to people in online shooters is with friends, so if you don't have that i'm not sure if there's anything i can recommend you.
Squad seems like the best bet for taking/giving orders with strangers, without joining an Arma community or something, but that's less of a shooter and more a life sim.
Are you sure you want to talk to strangers? Because it kind of seems like people sour your experience instantly, some of my fondest stranger chat moments were in CS 1.5, people were less offended back then :P.

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SuperKMx

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@superkmx said:
@thepanzini said:

I tried Apex but I just not for me, it feels like your either have long stretches of nothing or instand death and load screen watching.

THANK YOU. I thought I was insane. Everybody I know is constantly rambling on about how great it is. I've gave it plenty of time at launch and I just don't feel it. I roam about for 10 minutes, then BANG...dead. Then wait for ages to go through the process again. I never seem to get a chance to improve as I've barely got a millisecond to locate the opponent and take aim, let alone fire off any shots.

At least with other shooters, I can start out by being terrible and then slowly get to the point of being average-ish. Even if I go 0-40 in a round, I might then go 1-36, then 2-31 and so on until I feel like I'm holding my own, and I'm actively playing the game the entire time. Clearly folks like Apex - and more power to them if they're having fun - but I just don't see it.

I had this issue with Hunt: Showdown, which a few friends roped me into buying a few days ago. We played two games, and both went spectacularly sour rather quickly. I understand that with time and patience, the game's good parts would reveal themselves - but I don't feel like spending dozens of hours losing before I "get good" (read: start having fun). The training convinced me that a single player story-driven version could be one of the best stealth-action games ever, but sadly I don't think we'll ever see that happen.

I was given a copy of Hunt: Showdown last week and haven't gotten round to firing it up, yet. I didn't know it was a similar thing, so you've saved me some time there. :D Thanks!

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Gundato

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@superkmx said:
@thepanzini said:

I tried Apex but I just not for me, it feels like your either have long stretches of nothing or instand death and load screen watching.

THANK YOU. I thought I was insane. Everybody I know is constantly rambling on about how great it is. I've gave it plenty of time at launch and I just don't feel it. I roam about for 10 minutes, then BANG...dead. Then wait for ages to go through the process again. I never seem to get a chance to improve as I've barely got a millisecond to locate the opponent and take aim, let alone fire off any shots.

At least with other shooters, I can start out by being terrible and then slowly get to the point of being average-ish. Even if I go 0-40 in a round, I might then go 1-36, then 2-31 and so on until I feel like I'm holding my own, and I'm actively playing the game the entire time. Clearly folks like Apex - and more power to them if they're having fun - but I just don't see it.

No idea if anyone is still playing it but for a week or so after launch the CSGO battle royale was kind of really good for that

Started around the time that most games are on their final circle (and I want to say 16 players?). You can see which sectors of the map have activity and most guns have very little ammo so it is a mix of scavenging and ordering your drone to bring you ammo. Results in a BR where you get the very accelerated "loot and hunt" gameplay with very little downtime and the endgame is almost always an actual active shootout and chase rather than camping and waiting as you pretty much know where the enemies are.