Now hold on. Hold on! Down I say! Put your torches, pitchforks, and presumably smashed keyboards away. At least hear me out before you call for my head. I don’t mean to overhaul the status quo or change the landscape of competitive gaming as we know it. I’m just an average gamer who loves playing video games, and has been playing them competitively since Resistance back in 2006, with an opinion. Notice that the title reflects that fact. This is all opinion and should in no way be taken as gospel.
Are we calm enough to continue? Alright. So as I mentioned I’ve played multiplayer shooters competitively since 2006. This includes titles like Resistance, MAG, Homefront, Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Crysis 2, Battlefield 4, Overwatch, and Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. That last one was a joke by the way. Great game though. Any who this isn’t coming from someone who is just looking to whine or complain. I’ve had my fair share of wins, losses, 1st place finishes, and have been around the scene for some time. Minus the toxicity of some players, the one thing that irks me the most are shotguns.
The majority of the time developers are looking to make their multiplayer experiences as balanced as possible. Their goal from the onset is to rarely make one thing overpowered. So everyone who plays has an equal chance to win and get better with a weapon/loadout of their choosing. Are you an expert marksman with great aim and situational awareness? Pick up a sniper. Are you good at anticipating recoil and have the thumbs to back it up? Go ahead and use that light machine gun. Do you have a hairpin twitch and the hand/eye coordination to match? Why don’t you try this here assault rifle. Do you have difficulty with recoil but can handle a fast rate of fire? This sub-machine gun looks awfully nice. Can you do none of those things and just want to push RT/R2? Fine. Here’s a shotgun.
A shotgun is the only weapon where you have to simply have someone in your sights and press the fire button. Of course your target should be extremely close for this to work but that isn’t always the case. Which brings up my next point. I understand when something happens that’s utterly ludicrous people will yell “But that’s not realistic!” I’m going to be as polite as possible while being blunt at the same time. Unless you’re going for a walking simulator, video games and realism shouldn’t necessarily be hand and hand. So in the essence of fairness, a close range only weapon shouldn’t fire 30+ feet and kill with one shot in the multiplayer realm.
What is fairness you ask? Well it’s giving every person who enters a server a fair chance to win. Now obviously those who are more experienced or have played longer are going to have a natural advantage. That’s ok. That is part of getting better and learning the ropes. What’s not ok is someone picking up a weapon, regardless of skill level, and one (maybe even two) shotting everything that moves. Not only is the inevitable blindside that is death ridiculous but it hardly gives the victim a fighting chance.
If you’re facing a sniper who headshots you, you probably deserve that death. Why are you out in the open or not using trench tactics to combat the marksman? If a sub-machine gun’s rate of fire is bothering you then take out a higher damage per bullet weapon. Is a spray and pray LMG user suppressing you to hell? Back up and take out a ranged weapon like a sniper or a single shot rifle. These are by no means the only way to combat my scenarios but that’s the point. There are options baby! But with an overpowered shotgun your only real saving grace is to pull out a long ranged weapon and hope the other opponents don’t bum rush you.
Which flows into my next point. Whether developers are trying to make their game too realistic or are coding shotguns improperly, shotguns are notoriously overpowered. Anyone else remember the akimbo nightmares of MW2? Or even the USAS-12 in general for Call of Duty. What about the cheap jump and blast shotgun trick from Uncharted 2? Most recently Doom’s super shotgun was an absolute beast when the game was first released. The grand daddy of them all though probably belongs to Battlefield 3’s USAS. To understand the extent to which I’m talking about feel free to view the video below.
Trust me I know there have been a lot of other weapons that were momentarily overpowered as well. But when it comes right down to it a shotgun is suppose to be close range, one or two shot gun. That hardly seems fair when it’s counterpart, a sniper, actually takes patience and aim to use. A shotgun just requires someone being in front of you. Let me put it like this. Imagine you are using an assault rifle and someone starts shooting at your back from mid range with the same type of gun. You have seconds to respond and hopefully not be the one killed. Sure you’re at a disadvantage but if you’re skilled and lucky enough there is an equally good chance that you’ll turn the tables. If you did that same thing with a shotgun you wouldn’t have been able to even turn around and yell “But that’s not realistic!”
A game that did the weapon justice was Overwatch. Although it’s not your typical standard shooter, I know. But if we’re going to have shotguns in the multiplayer world then at least make them like Blizzard did. A few characters have them and they’re all incredibly close range. (Hey you! Yes, you the Ryan who’s reading this right now. Only you and no one else can see this. Just between you and me I have been killed by Reaper’s shotguns a lot farther than I’d like to think they can reach but it isn’t a huge problem. It only happens once in a while instead of every flipping match!) They can’t reach as far as D.Va’s mech attacks and take three to five shots to kill most of the other characters. Unless you’re weakened and Roadhog pulls you in with his chain attack. Godammit Roadhog!!!!
Another game that did justice to the shotgun was Resistance 2. (Although I’ll be fair and say that the Wraith should never have been in its multiplayer component.) It took at least two, on-target shots to kill and you had to be right next to the hopeless victim. Any further than a few feet and you wouldn’t deal out much damage. Any further than a few yards and you can forget about it. If you’re talented enough in the respect to get close to someone, with a shotgun, then by all means relish your kill. Except it has to be exactly that. CLOSE.
I’m not saying get rid of shotguns entirely as some single player experiences are made great with a shotgun. It’s just that when they’re taken over into the online experience things get very messy. It’s one thing to mow down hordes of A.I enemies with little issue but another thing entirely to absolutely annihilate an actual person who didn’t even have the chance to blink. Does anyone agree with me? Or do you want to see my head on a platter? Let me know!
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