Six Things More Online Shooters Should Do

I play lots of online shooters — from esoteric indie ones like Waiting For Horus to popular ones like like Call of Duty. This means I have (possibly crackpot) ideas on how online shooters could improve. While it's important that different franchises retain what makes them special, there are some things that I think nearly every shooter could benefit from adopting.

Here is my personal list of six things more online shooters should do.

1. Give Me A Mode Where Everything Is Unlocked

Putting your time in and 'earning' your guns, perks and skills can be gratifying and all, but lord, I can't be the only one that's getting tired of having to do it in nearly everything I play. I'm not saying get rid of unlocks entirely (though I wouldn't miss 'em if they absolutely went away), but at least give me a mode where everything is unlocked from the get-go — like Black Ops II does with League Play.

Sometimes I don't have the time or inclination to grind out earn the 'privilege' of playing how I want to play — and there is nothing wrong with that. Really, there isn't. More importantly, high level play doesn't start until I can mess around with everything at my disposal. Hence, when everything is available to me, I can start considering the finer details of how I should put a bullet between someone's eyes.

2. Let Me Tag The Enemy Or Points Of Interest

I love it when games like Battlefield or Gears of War let me spot an enemy.

Typically, this is a mechanic where I can mark a visible enemy, allowing everyone to 'see' that enemy. I can, for a brief time, vaguely tell where someone is, and so can my team mates (if I have any.) That's beneficial. And, spotting adds a layer of nuance to a game. What's not to like?

3. Let Me Play Dress Up

Choosing between different characters or classes is not enough. Every last one of us is a special snowflake, and our murder vehicles should reflect that, goddammit. I know we like to act tough and make fun of Team Fortress 2 for the hats, but straight up: customising cosmetic stuff is rad as hell. I like letting everyone know that my character is mine.

The sense of attachment cosmetic customisation brings is great. I felt a little closer to my mech in Hawken when picking out its paint job. Even stupid stuff like choosing a mobile phone charm for my gun in the Blacklight games feels personal and touching in ways I can't explain. And I was saddened when Black Ops II took away the ability to put face paint on my dude. That was the best part! How am I supposed to look like The Joker or KISS now?

So: give me more hats. All the hats. And lets not forget tops, pants, helmets, armour, guns, charms, decals, paint jobs, and, and...!

4. Let Me Trade

Yes, trading items and unlocks with friends is useful and creates an economy of sorts. But on a smaller scale, it's nice to be able to switch a weapon with a buddy, if not trade ammo.

If I can hold it, I should be able to give it away if I want to.

5. Give Me Incentives To Target or Beat Scoreboard Leaders

A game should do everything in its power to create a balanced match. This means creating situations where one can threaten a comfortable lead.

Special modes like Regicide in Halo 4 tell you to target the best player in a match for extra points. Similarly, Homefront did something interesting in its Battle Commander gametype, where actions would give you a certain level of threat that would then result in X number of people being 'assigned' to kill you. The better a player you were, the more people you had nipping at your heels.

I'm more of a fan of what Uncharted 3 did in its normal multiplayer: power plays. I didn't have to play in a special mode or anything. But what it did was, when it recognised that a match was being won by a wide margin, special conditions would activate where a losing team could close the gap. A winning team, meanwhile, had an incentive to keep the lead for extra money.

Power plays could be stuff like double damage or being able to see where an enemy was — these examples are no laughing matter, but they only last for about a minute. But what deliciously tense, hectic minutes those were.

Giving you incentive to go after good/better players can be done in a small scale, too. Gears 3 for instance gives you a medal for getting revenge on someone that's killed you a lot (i.e., your 'rival,' as far as the game is concerned.)

I want more games to experiment with ways to keep a match close — not to mention more interesting for the people in the lead. And I don't want to go into a special mode to experience it.

6. Let Me Bro Fist. Or At Least Buttslap.

I need to show my bro some love, man. Like I said last time, being a bro is all about bravura and veneer of cool, with an earnest lifestyle that puts camaraderie and love above all. And I need games to give me avenues to express my brotherly love for my bro.

Really, in a way, what I'm asking for is more light-hearted taunts involving my teammates — this is another thing Uncharted 3 did well. I'm saddened that none of the options in Uncharted 3 are "buttslap your buddy," but I guess that would get out of hand quick. Alas!

And that's my personal list of things more online shooters should do. Perhaps you think these are silly; perhaps you have your own ideas. What do you think more online shooters should do?


    Unlocks are the reason I've stopped playing all multiplayer FPSes other than DayZ. I don't want to have to grind for hours and hours and hours to be ALLOWED to use a weapon.

      Was that a joke? The part about DayZ not being a grind to be allowed to use a weapon?

        Not even a little bit. DayZ is a grind to FIND a weapon sometimes, sure, but at least I can use it if I find it. I don't have to "level up" to have access to decent weapons, I just have to find them. Unlocks, skill systems and levels have no place in shooters.

    Brofisting is definitely a must have feature. Portal 2 and Army of Two are probably the only games that come to mind that have something along those lines.

      TF2 has a high five taunt you can add to your "action slot". Just trigger it near a team-mate and if they taunt back a neat little hi-5 animation is triggered.

      Last edited 11/01/13 11:52 am

        Not to mention the quick-dialog options like cheers, jeers, thanks, and other such things. I have a great deal of fun with the Demoman's dialogue; especially his incoherent threats of violence whenever you hit 'battle cry' whilst looking at an enemy.

    make them colourblind friendly!!!!

    From the moment I saw it in the trailer, I prayed that the Lillith + Maya fistbump would be in Borderlands 2. It would have made the game infinitely better.

    The weirdest thing about the Gears of War 3 tagging system though was that you couldn't tag places to build, or already constructed defenses in Horde mode. Say you needed something repaired or wanted a barricade built in a specific spot, and weren't using voice chat, you had no real way to let your team know. Seems weird to not include it considering you could tag enemies so easily and it would arguably be even more useful than that option.

    Those multiplayer unlocks sure make local multiplayer tough... I own the machine, game, and play online, but my friends don't? Tough shit, you can't play local multiplayer with them in most games. See: Halo 4.

      I tried Black Ops II offline with a friend and everything is unlocked for you.

    100% absolutely agree with them all.

    2) Planetside 2 I look towards where the enemies are and spam the spotting button. Its not uncommon to get 6+ targets appear. Then, funnily enough, our team starts shooting.

    3) Dress ups, yes!

    4) Trades, yes, but only for the duration of your life. When you die you lose what you were given.

    6) In game, you hit a button to make your self open for brofist. Another player can see that (icon over your characters head?) and when near you can brofist back. The characters then do the brofist animation.
    This would stop people running around the map maddly doing the brofist animation, waiting for someone to reciprocate, or just being a dick.

    But, think of this. . .
    Remove the brofist animation and you have a on-the-fly squad system.
    People join squads in games, BF3 as an example, but for a lot of the time youre still running around solo with other randoms. Imagine youre about to charge down a hill into chaos. You could hit a button that makes you available to join. Other randoms see this, run up, hit their button and on your screen you see "Random 1 is with you", "Random 2 is with you", creating a squad on the fly.
    You can charge down the hill knowing youve got a couple of randoms working with you.
    When they die they drop out of the squad. Or they can hit a button again to leave the squad.
    If I die then I drop out of the squad, but the squad continues on with the others.

      Yeah Planetside 2 tagging is pretty awesome, in a real life fight you can be much more emotive about where things are, even with a mic its still pretty touch and go giving directions. Now if they could cut back on the grinding THAT would be cool.

      I'm like your idea of on-the-fly squads too that would be such awesomeness!

    No sniper game modes! Overpowerd one hit in the pinky toe kill snipers are the bane of FPS'. I get a lot of (shit) people like them so game developers cant not include them or their game wont sell as well but there's soooooo many people who absolutely loath them as well, look after us too!

    #7 Region Select so I have a decent Ping. I'm looking at you Halo 4.

      Gotta agree with this. Sick to death of lag and drop-outs in halo 4. Wish they would have dedicated servers like BF3.

        I'd be happy with the good connection only option that Reach had.

        Unlocks and Leveling up... it doesn't feel like Halo, admittedly once your about L20 you got the points to buy everything, but I still don't like it.

    I love spotting in Battlefield and Gears, every MP game where they arent distinctive colours should include it.

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