[ZS] ZS has some serious core problems - an analysis and some suggestions



  • Background
    So I’m a longtime zs player who stopped playing about a year ago and just recently decided to come back to nox. While trying to get back into zs I noticed some serious problems - not just with the gamemode itself - but also with the mentality governing its future plans. This wall of text is my attempt to identify what I believe are key problems of zs as we play it right now and also to give some suggestions that could push it back into the right direction.

    I know this clashes with the format intended for this forum section, but I decided a large thread is the only way to group individual issues and paint a precise big picture.

    First of all
    I’d like to say that the sigil update may arguably be the single greatest update in ZS history since the introduction of the barricade system. It has finally brought ZS close to what it was trying to be ever since 2.0. This thread has nothing to do with sigils, it also has mostly nothing to do with the XP system too. The problems I’m about to name have existed for a very long time now.

    ZS is far from being broken, it is looking better than ever, I’m not claiming apocalypse is upon us.

    The underlying issue
    Like all gamemodes, ZS is slowly running out of steam. The questions are raised: how do we make the gamemode interesting in the long term? How do we make rounds feel different, and not just the same thing over and over again?
    These questions have been mostly answered by jetboom in the following way: I’ll add more content. This is the key problem.

    Zs is now a gamemode packed with content: zombie classes, weapons, items, maps, mechanics… The problem is that the bulk of this content is in fact useless. Most of it never sees any use, and when it does it only serves to confuse newcomers.

    Key examples:

    Zombie classes:
    The shadow zombie is a perfect example. It’s literally useless. Its only purpose is to increase the number of zombie classes. Sure, in theory it has some advantages, but in practice it is a pointless choice. And its not the only one. Bloated zombie is only there to fill a gap. Chems? Seriously? Even with the fancy charge mechanic we didn’t need those back. Flesh creepers are,again, a nice idea but HORRIBLE in reality. They are only useful for trapping humans at sigil teleport destinations with nests and other kinds of misuse. In my opinion, the old spawn system worked best.

    Zombie bosses:
    Oh come on, this is just the perfect example. Of the numerous classes added, only a couple are useful, and even fewer see actual use. Again, useful in theory, in practice only clutter the menu. Bonemesh is a joke, so is shade. Willowisp? In about 20 played rounds seen it used only once. Same for giga child. Both useless. Ass kicker is a nice concept, seen it in action only once. My point is: the classes make sense, but in 95% of situations nightmare or butcher are the only choice. The other 5% amounts to tickle monster.

    Firearms:
    The “one gun of every ammo type in each slot” logic backfired severely. It created a pile of weapons that see no use whatsoever. And this isnt a recent problem. Ever since starting worth was introduced jet failed to solve the problem of the legacy starting pistols: owens, pea and battleaxe. Those literally only take up place in the menu. The same goes for melee weapons BTW. Crowbar is the only exception, while most other weapons never see any use.

    Tools
    I understood turrets, but damn drones? Why? They make a good laugh or two, but nothing more. Time spent implementing those was wasted time. I’m sure they don’t do any favors to performance either. Lamps? If they are useful for something other than “one millisecond vent cades” I have yet to discover it - and I try, believe me. Medkits - great. Med guns - horrible. Rocks?? Molotovs?? Why?

    Maps
    The maplist is a mess. Like one third of it is unnecesary huge maps that end up as 6 wave spawncamps or tiny house maps with only 1 viable cade spot. Those need to go.

    Conclusion:

    In a attempt to make zs more interesting in the long term it has been packed full with useless content that only serves to distract players (ESPECIALLY kleiners) from key mechanics. And those key mechanics (barricading, killing zombies, never knowing what can go wrong) were supposed to be the source of fun in the first place. ZS as I know it was fun because it was unpredictable. It was unpredictable not because you had so many stuff to choose from, but because you were giving a limited, yet interesting arsenal and you had to make creative use of it in order to win.

    Suggestions:

    So how would I solve this problem? Its not a easy task. I can only give a couple of guidelines, but if the community agrees with me we all have to work together on solving this mess.

    First and most important - identify useless content and get rid of it ASAP. There is lots to choose from.

    Reintroduce uncertainty:

    People mostly stick to their narrow comfort zone of weapons. This is because ZS is a game that natively discourages experimenting, due to its long rounds and no-respawn mechanic when it comes to humans. In my opinion we need random per-tier firearms back. How would this work? The same as it does now, we could only replace the weapons in the shop with “Buy random tier 2 weapon” buttons, followed by images of weapons in question.

    This would in no way apply to tools such as medkits or hammers. Only firearms would be randomized, on a per-tier basis. I strongly believe this could be a nice start.

    Boss locks

    Specialized zombie bosses should be locked by default and unlocked via the skill tree (maybe at “corrupted” nodes near the edges). This would force newbies to spawn as useful boss classes, and it could show how many people actually take interest in individual boss classes.

    …?

    Phew, that IS a lot of text. I’m sorry if I come across as rude or stupidly conservative. Again, I welcome the sigil update and the XP system. I have nothing against the gamemode evolving. To finish off, I will just copy paste the key sentence from this thread:

    **TLDR;
    In a attempt to make zs more interesting in the long term it has been packed full with useless content that only serves to distract players (ESPECIALLY kleiners) from key mechanics. And those key mechanics were supposed to be the long term source of fun in the first place.
    **



  • Background
    So I’m a longtime zs player who stopped playing about a year ago and just recently decided to come back to nox. While trying to get back into zs I noticed some serious problems - not just with the gamemode itself - but also with the mentality governing its future plans. This wall of text is my attempt to identify what I believe are key problems of zs as we play it right now and also to give some suggestions that could push it back into the right direction.

    I know this clashes with the format intended for this forum section, but I decided a large thread is the only way to group individual issues and paint a precise big picture.

    First of all
    I’d like to say that the sigil update may arguably be the single greatest update in ZS history since the introduction of the barricade system. It has finally brought ZS close to what it was trying to be ever since 2.0. This thread has nothing to do with sigils, it also has mostly nothing to do with the XP system too. The problems I’m about to name have existed for a very long time now.

    ZS is far from being broken, it is looking better than ever, I’m not claiming apocalypse is upon us.

    The underlying issue
    Like all gamemodes, ZS is slowly running out of steam. The questions are raised: how do we make the gamemode interesting in the long term? How do we make rounds feel different, and not just the same thing over and over again?
    These questions have been mostly answered by jetboom in the following way: I’ll add more content. This is the key problem.

    Zs is now a gamemode packed with content: zombie classes, weapons, items, maps, mechanics… The problem is that the bulk of this content is in fact useless. Most of it never sees any use, and when it does it only serves to confuse newcomers.

    Key examples:

    Zombie classes:
    The shadow zombie is a perfect example. It’s literally useless. Its only purpose is to increase the number of zombie classes. Sure, in theory it has some advantages, but in practice it is a pointless choice. And its not the only one. Bloated zombie is only there to fill a gap. Chems? Seriously? Even with the fancy charge mechanic we didn’t need those back. Flesh creepers are,again, a nice idea but HORRIBLE in reality. They are only useful for trapping humans at sigil teleport destinations with nests and other kinds of misuse. In my opinion, the old spawn system worked best.

    Zombie bosses:
    Oh come on, this is just the perfect example. Of the numerous classes added, only a couple are useful, and even fewer see actual use. Again, useful in theory, in practice only clutter the menu. Bonemesh is a joke, so is shade. Willowisp? In about 20 played rounds seen it used only once. Same for giga child. Both useless. Ass kicker is a nice concept, seen it in action only once. My point is: the classes make sense, but in 95% of situations nightmare or butcher are the only choice. The other 5% amounts to tickle monster.

    Firearms:
    The “one gun of every ammo type in each slot” logic backfired severely. It created a pile of weapons that see no use whatsoever. And this isnt a recent problem. Ever since starting worth was introduced jet failed to solve the problem of the legacy starting pistols: owens, pea and battleaxe. Those literally only take up place in the menu. The same goes for melee weapons BTW. Crowbar is the only exception, while most other weapons never see any use.

    Tools
    I understood turrets, but damn drones? Why? They make a good laugh or two, but nothing more. Time spent implementing those was wasted time. I’m sure they don’t do any favors to performance either. Lamps? If they are useful for something other than “one millisecond vent cades” I have yet to discover it - and I try, believe me. Medkits - great. Med guns - horrible. Rocks?? Molotovs?? Why?

    Maps
    The maplist is a mess. Like one third of it is unnecesary huge maps that end up as 6 wave spawncamps or tiny house maps with only 1 viable cade spot. Those need to go.

    Conclusion:

    In a attempt to make zs more interesting in the long term it has been packed full with useless content that only serves to distract players (ESPECIALLY kleiners) from key mechanics. And those key mechanics (barricading, killing zombies, never knowing what can go wrong) were supposed to be the source of fun in the first place. ZS as I know it was fun because it was unpredictable. It was unpredictable not because you had so many stuff to choose from, but because you were giving a limited, yet interesting arsenal and you had to make creative use of it in order to win.

    Suggestions:

    So how would I solve this problem? Its not a easy task. I can only give a couple of guidelines, but if the community agrees with me we all have to work together on solving this mess.

    First and most important - identify useless content and get rid of it ASAP. There is lots to choose from.

    Reintroduce uncertainty:

    People mostly stick to their narrow comfort zone of weapons. This is because ZS is a game that natively discourages experimenting, due to its long rounds and no-respawn mechanic when it comes to humans. In my opinion we need random per-tier firearms back. How would this work? The same as it does now, we could only replace the weapons in the shop with “Buy random tier 2 weapon” buttons, followed by images of weapons in question.

    This would in no way apply to tools such as medkits or hammers. Only firearms would be randomized, on a per-tier basis. I strongly believe this could be a nice start.

    Boss locks

    Specialized zombie bosses should be locked by default and unlocked via the skill tree (maybe at “corrupted” nodes near the edges). This would force newbies to spawn as useful boss classes, and it could show how many people actually take interest in individual boss classes.

    …?

    Phew, that IS a lot of text. I’m sorry if I come across as rude or stupidly conservative. Again, I welcome the sigil update and the XP system. I have nothing against the gamemode evolving. To finish off, I will just copy paste the key sentence from this thread:

    **TLDR;
    In a attempt to make zs more interesting in the long term it has been packed full with useless content that only serves to distract players (ESPECIALLY kleiners) from key mechanics. And those key mechanics were supposed to be the long term source of fun in the first place.
    **



  • Did somebody say… KLEINERS?!?!?!



  • The shadow zombie is a perfect example. It’s literally useless.

    Except it is singlehandedly the most effective class for destroying poorly designed barricades

    Bonemesh is a joke, so is shade.

    They are incredibly efficient when used properly, I’ve turned a round around with a shade multiple times

    Same for giga child. Both useless

    Maybe true with the introduction with shadow lurker, Doom crab’s pointless

    This would force newbies to spawn as useful boss classes

    With emphasis added, would be true if the system to pick the boss zombie didn’t pick the most efficient player in the team

    Ever since starting worth was introduced jet failed to solve the problem of the legacy starting pistols: owens, pea and battleaxe
    Crowbar is the only exception, while most other weapons never see any use.

    You’re just wrong

    But most importantly this:

    ZS is slowly running out of steam



  • Obviously this is a controversial topic, but:

    You yourself prove my point when you claim that the shadow lurker is effective at destroying barricades. That isn’t its intended purpose, is it?
    I’ll tell you whats most effective at destroying poor barricades - any zombie class if used in hordes. Especially default zombie or poison zombie - the key zombie classes.

    If bonemesh and shade are so efficient, then why doesn’t anyone use them? Seriously - if only we had some statistics.
    Then again, I might be wrong about shade specifically, I admit that.

    Yes, bosses are picked from most effective zombie players. But you should be aware that often at wave 1 or 2 there are no experienced zombie players, especially with sub 25 players on the server. In those situations newbies often end up as shitty bosses simply because they don’t really know their way around the gamemode.

    @Samuel:

    You’re just wrong

    No, you are.

    Ps. You know very well that player numbers are (very slowly, naturally) declining. Mostly because Gmod is old and so are the gamemodes. Just the other day nox zs was empty 24 hours. And your graph only proves it - the server rarely fills up for longer periods of time.

    I’m not looking for a fight. I’m just trying to make a point.


  • Administrators

    Yeah a gmod gamemode has more players at any given time than a typical multiplayer-only game on steam but it’s running out of steam.

    First and most important - identify useless content and get rid of it ASAP. There is lots to choose from.

    Never go in to game design.

    In my opinion we need random per-tier firearms back. How would this work? The same as it does now, we could only replace the weapons in the shop with “Buy random tier 2 weapon” buttons, followed by images of weapons in question.

    Opinion discarded.

    Kleiners

    Opinion put in a wood chipper.



  • ZS as I know it was fun because it was unpredictable. It was unpredictable not because you had so many stuff to choose from, but because you were giving a limited, yet interesting arsenal and you had to make creative use of it in order to win.

    ZS is slowly running out of steam.

    How are you even coming to this conclusion aside from your opinion?


  • Administrators

    holy zinco!



  • @Raox:

    How are you even coming to this conclusion aside from your opinion?

    Its not a opinion… Its fact - compare player numbers from a couple of years ago to today. As time goes on there will be less players. Its not only based on fact, its even logical. No one is saying that gmod will suddenly die out in a year or two, but its an ongoing process.

    Also, this thread has little to do with its “suggestions” part. If you guys wont acknowledge there has been an increase of useless additions lately, then I can’t really make a point.

    @JetBoom:

    Never go in to game design.

    Well if you want to keep going in this direction there’s little I can do to stop you. It just feels as if you are trying to make a game packed with content just for the sake of making a game, rather than making a fun gamemode that revolves around a interesting core mechanic.


  • Banned

    He was crying about sigils and xp ruining zs the other day. You should leave again leon.

    And nothing of value was lost

    Sounds like zinco who wants old zs back and doesnt like change



  • @Nastyhouse:

    He wad crying about sigils and xp ruining zs the other day. You should leave again leon.

    And nothing of value was lost

    Sounds like zinco who wants old zs back and doesnt like change

    So you are saying I cried about sigils and xp on the server only to come to the forum to say they are nice additions?
    Also I want old zs back so I complain about an issue that has been present far longer than both xp or sigils, yet I compliment xp and sigils?
    Logic is what?


  • Banned

    @leon.ladisic:

    Ps. You know very well that player numbers are (very slowly, naturally) declining. Mostly because Gmod is old and so are the gamemodes. Just the other day nox zs was empty 24 hours. And your graph only proves it - the server rarely fills up for longer periods of time.

    I’m not looking for a fight. I’m just trying to make a point.

    NOT LIKE ANYONE HAS JOBS OR SCHOOL ROFLMAO



  • Jobs and school didn’t exist 4 years ago when the server was literally never empty?
    Time zones do exist you know.



  • @leon.ladisic:

    If you guys wont acknowledge there has been an increase of useless additions lately, then I can’t really make a point.

    “we should just remove it from the game instead of rebalancing it”

    good idea retard



  • useless =/= lacking balance



  • @leon.ladisic:

    useless =/= lacking balance

    You’re either inferring something is underpowered or it doesn’t have a niche so why don’t you rectify those problems instead of just shoving them aside by removing it. Awful solution.


  • Banned

    Guys bring back 2.0 i have 42k brains eaten i know everything about zs even though it was buggy garbage and had way more problems than current zs!!!



  • @Raox:

    You’re either inferring something is underpowered or it doesn’t have a niche so why don’t you rectify those problems instead of just shoving them aside by removing it. Awful solution.

    But I’m not. I’m saying some of the content lacks any meaning whatsoever. Its existence is its only (practical) purpose. You are asking that one wastes time making up uses for something that has no real purpose. Then we aren’t adding content to fill roles but making up roles just so we can add more content. That isn’t really smart.

    @Nastyhouse:

    Guys bring back 2.0 i have 42k brains eaten i know everything about zs even though it was buggy garbage and had way more problems than current zs!!!

    Only this is not what I’m saying at all.


  • Administrators

    All the ZS developers are available 16 hours a day @ mumble.noxiousnet.com so please come discuss your ideas with us if you want them implemented faster.


  • Game Admins

    leon, i think you should try exploring the inside of a woodchipper


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