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-Respawn System
-Brief History
-Imbalance in Quake
-Increase the Balance?
-Reinvent the Spawn

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Spawn System

Imbalance in Quake ? 10 comments
What we want is a game where a player can use strategy to control the map and tactics to win points, but where their opponent also has fair chances of getting back into the game. With random spawns, good players are supposed to be able to get back into the game. The player in control is not supposed to be able to "control" every respawn point.

But increasingly, this is what is happening. In QW, the critical change is the speed and reach which a player can use to get around the map. Thanks to a combination of rocket jumping, strafe jumping, bunny hopping, speed jumping, wall hugging, and wiggling, QW maps have effectively become much smaller. This means the player in control, the player who already has all the advantages in armors and weapons, now has an even greater advantage - the advantage of being able to hunt down their respawning opponent with lightning speed and control items across the map.

There are many demos available which illustrate the imbalance which can result. Today even a small skill-gap can be magnified, to the point where a game between two skilled players becomes little more than an exhibition of spawn-raping. To be sure, the better player will win, and it may be entertaining to watch the display of "cool frags". But such games are hardly much of a "fair contest" and not much of a challenge for the player in control, whose advantages are simply too great for too much of the time.

What about Q3A? Well, I don't think that all the extra weapons, dmm3 rules and extra health in Q3A have succeeded in eliminating spawn rapes there either. Expert players are too good at guessing where their opponents respawn and have learnt to bend the Q3A physics to get around the map very quickly. I guess you can't keep a good player down. Q3A can also produce "unlucky spawns". The end result is that Q3A gameplay also revolves to a significant extent around exploiting the opportunities in spawn frags.

What about all those "balancing" features in Q3A? Weren't they designed to protect the respawning player? Yes they help to protect newbies in your typical FFA game. But at the top level players are so accurate that the extra 25 health counts for very little. While the MG enables the respawned player to hurt a stupid opponent, especially in an open map, if the player in control is running the armors and playing smart it is ineffectual.

John Carmack may have designed the Q3A physics to be more "realistic", but great players have found ways to squeeze extra speed and jump further so that Q3A maps have "shrunk" too. Just as with QW, the dmm3 rules have made the greatest contribution to fairness. But even then, the speed with which players get around the map and the ability of top players to guess where you will respawn, has meant that many respawns still leave you defenceless. Even if powerful weapons may be nearby, you are fragged before you can use them. And, of course, if you are unlucky and you spawn right in front of your opponent then you are just another random "free point".

Is the solution to all this to take even more steps to add balance? Or is it instead to look afresh at the spawn system?


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