Surefire

Is Exile a deathmatch or survival mod?

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Posted (edited)

My opinion on Exile is that I love the mod, but I hate what server owners are doing to it. So I will share my thoughts and maybe you guys as well as some of the devs can chime in about their thoughts. 

***DISCLAIMER*** Before we get started I want to say I have no experience owning, modding, or administrating a server of any kind. So some of this shit may not even be possible.

The current state of the average Arma 3 Exile server could essentially be a global cookie cutter template. They offer the same experiences with little to no variation between them, it becomes very stale knowing you can join any given high population server and not have anything new to discover or do gameplay wise. Exile can be much more than a wasteland clone as it seems right now. I haven't come across a single exile server that actually has a feeling of needing to survive. I know the mod is still fairly new and limited in the degree of survival it itself offers, however, I feel that server owners aren't taking full advantage of what Exile currently offers. I will make some points that are not necessarily what I think Exile is doing wrong but some changes that could be made server side (if possible) to make the game more survival oriented and not just a deathmatch. So let's begin.

Think about all the high-pop Exile servers that are out there right now. Now think of what they ALL guaranteed have in common:

  1. Easy Looting - High tier gear spawning all over the map.
  2. (Some servers) Unrealistic mods - Extended base building mods that literally add place-able buildings and/or car mods that add ridiculous vehicles.
  3. Easy/Plentiful spawns - Getting back to your body should not be possible in less than 5 minutes.
  4. 4 hour restarts - With 3hrs day / 1hr night or no night at all because it gets voted to day immediately.
  5. Snipers in ghillie's camping missions - When was the last time you saw someone on a PVP server that wasn't in a ghillie or trying to find a ghillie and snipe something?

1) If you can spawn in a city and come out of that city with high tier loot such as sniper rifles and many of the larger vest or backpacks in the game, that, in my opinion is boring. I understand that on high-pop PVP oriented servers (which do also have their place in the world of Exile) it can be exciting, but we're talking about what I feel Exile can be, and that is, more like the Arma II DayZ mod. In A2 DayZ mod you found very little "good" loot weapons and gear wise in the houses and buildings. I'm not saying you can't find any weapons or gear at all, I know this is still a video game and it would be pretty fucking boring not being able to find any gear or guns whatsoever. All I'm saying is you shouldn't be able to parachute down into Solichiny and find two lynx's and a cheytach in one pile and turn around and see another lynx, a vest, and a 9.3 rifle in the next pile (true story).

2) By no means am I trying to put down any mods, modding is one of my favorite and most appreciated aspects of PC gaming. (I'm not talking about weapon or uniform mods either, if a server doesn't have these I'm not interested in it.) My gripe with mods like this is that you're literally allowed to place entire new buildings and adding ridiculous vehicles that don't fit in with the theme of Exile. I get that it would be awesome if you simply want to drop a house you like and maybe a barn and then make a small compound out of that but I've seen servers where it went unregulated and there were literally people placing multiple giant green military towers on top of each other on their base and STILL building unnecessarily big bases around them out of the Exile kits. One base even placed a large construction site building right outside their front door, and about 500m away across the road there was what I have come to call an "Exile tower" because I see so many of them across multiple servers (large base with a high column of staircases leading to a square top with windows) with a goddamn lighthouse on top of it. This was just TWO of the bases on this one server that were within roughly 500-600m of each other. It's not only absurd to be able to place entire buildings but it lagged the server quite a bit as you can probably guess.

3) I've been on both sides of this coin. I've been in situations where I've killed someone and had them run right back to their body in 5 minutes or less, and I've been killed and ran back to my body in a very short span of time. It's cheap and encourages not having any sort of connection to your character. In my opinion this is the most critical gameplay aspect that is keeping Exile from becoming the survival mod it wants to be. Back in A2 DayZ mod there was a saying, "don't get attached to your gear". No matter how hard you tried not to it always felt like a HUGE setback to die because you knew you had a long journey back. Even in a vehicle it was still a long drive from the coast to the North. It was essentially a character restart. If you see someone spawn and start hauling ass in a direction there's a 99% chance they're heading right back to where they died to attempt to continue their now fallen character's story. If a server has spawns all over the map where you can and will have the ability to be right back where you died in a very short time, players will take advantage of it. Maybe if more players fear the journey they might slow down and not be so quick to deathmatch it out with other players, but "easier said than done" is an extreme understatement when it comes to that regard.

4) I get that restarts aren't always negotiable depending on server load, that's not really the issue I have. My problem is with the "3hr/1hr" rule when it comes to timescale. Most casual players seem to avoid nighttime like it's the plague. The second it gets slightly dark out you see that annoying vote script pop up in the center of your screen. Not once have I actually seen a server voted night that had that function in place. Not once. I know you "can't see shit", that's the point! What kind of server runs a survival mod like Exile and then doesn't have the most basic gameplay survival mechanic there is?  The main problem I have with day and night cycles is that it appears that three hours of daylight and one hour of nighttime has become the gold standard for Exile servers. Can anyone tell me why? I'll consider any answer that isn't in some way related to "because that's what the popular servers have". Whenever I'm on a server and I notice it getting dark there is only one thing I want to be focused on... Getting a light (wish they were better) or NVG's because "in a bit, I'm not gon' see shit". You might say an hour of night is enough, and while yes it's better than nothing, it's still not very long to plan and conduct a night raid or mission. Watching a lot of Exile streams I've seen a server restart interrupt exciting action for the streamer and the audience on more than one occasion. 

5) You might think this one can't be stopped but with a little help from custom loot tables I think it can be heavily suppressed at least. Many servers seem to think if players don't see long range rifles within 5 minutes of spawning they're going to flip their shit, and they're right. I've seen it happen, but this behavior is mostly enabled by being able to find the gear necessary to do so so readily available. As you just read I watch a fair bit of Exile streams and I don't believe I've seen one streamer or youtuber NOT try and find a ghillie and a long range rifle and then sit in a fucking bush from 500m+ somewhere and wait for players. Any given video you watch from the Exile mod subreddit there's a guy, in a ghillie, sniping. Either a sniper rifle, or an SPMG suppressed with a long scope on it, or a Navid with the same. I don't think those should even spawn. They should, but they should be so low that they're damn near impossible to find. I would like to see more M4's and MX's spawn instead of the big guns. 

Final Thoughts:

Maybe I'm dreaming but I truly believe Exile can and is more than what it's currently being presented as by server owners who are more concerned with following the crowd than doing things differently to attract different players with differing playstyles. Which ends up with what we have now which is 150 of essentially the exact same server giving players the same experience over and over that all swear they're different than the next guy. The following will go over what I believe would be a very unique and incredible experience for all players. I will approach this with examples of what I would do if I had the money or knowledge to have my own server.

The survival aspect could be drastically increased while still being fun by just a few simple server tweaks. I would have all the 'usual' mods like MAS, CUP, and Tryk, but I would also have ACE, Task Force Radio or ACRE, Advanced Sling Load (not igiload) and probably multiple other realism mods that would make sense in a survival game. I'd have the base building mods but with restriction to no more than a few buildings and basically no bases that don't look natural or make sense. The timescale would be 6 hour restarts 3 or 4 hours day,  2 or 3 hours night.

Spawning in:

You would spawn with no map at two or three maximum spawns no matter which map it was. All of them in decently lootable towns but situated far enough away from the high traffic military areas that you would be lucky to leave the city with a good vest and an M4 or MX and a few mags. (The loot tables have already proven their worth because nobody should be spawn camping the cities with a high powered rifle simply because there's such a low chance of finding one.) 

(On a PVE server there would be a lower player count to maximum 30, but there would be TONS of AI that could potentially have some good loot on them.)

Leaving the city:

Currently, most people set out from a city going one of only a handful of places, to a mission, to the next city, to a trader, to their base, to where they died, or exploring. If possible I would disable all markers letting you know where missions/invasions were. This would greatly impact gameplay because now instead of opening your map, setting a waypoint, and making a beeline for your marker you have to be more cautious and recon areas before setting out. You will be forced to explore the wilderness and seek out missions instead of cheating with map markers. This will help stop players from having so much money they don't know what to do with it within only a few hours by restricting mission grinding. It would also reward players for finding a good mission. An upside to this (to me) is you won't know what mission you're doing. So it would stop players from taking only the good missions and leaving the shitty ones for everyone else. You could essentially have a mission all to yourself. The only thing drawing other players to your found mission would be gunshots, so you'd better find a suppressor. 

Respect Gain:

The method of having to seek out missions would also slow down respect gain, which would mean small bases at first. No more grinding missions for a few hours and being able to upgrade your flag to level 6 right off the bat. The progression would be more fluid. Very little respect would be gained from killing AI or other players. If ever there are changes to make you be able to buy things with respect this would make every point worth it's weight in imaginary gold.

Traders:

I'm honestly not sure if I would have any traders. As they are now you can go to a trader and buy anything in the game. It's a bit overpowered and unrealistic. Not that finding an armored vest and a pistol on a doorstep is realistic but there have to be compromises in realism somewhere. If the traders were somehow coded to where they only stocked items that people sold to them and it was persistent over restarts or something similar that would be incredible. As they are now the "one stop shop" is not what would want on my server which would lead me to not have any. I imagine the lack of scripts running for the traders would help the server run better as well. The traders could be bypassed by missions and a small amount of roaming AI with the high quality weapons and gear as well as missions that can drop good gear. On a PVE server obviously there would be more focus on AI so there's a better chance of grabbing some good loot. All gear and loot would be found either from AI, other players, or from looting and missions. This would bring back that dread of starting over. You may have spent weeks building up your gear and it would piss you off to lose it, which should in theory make you want to play more cautiously and smarter. 

Base Building:

Currently the maximum amount of objects per player is too damn high. It should be much lower, far too many servers have GIANT bases. It can't be good for the server and I can't help but feel like the majority of them don't need to be as big as they are. With players not gaining respect as much as they do on a normal server they will have to budget their respect. I would employ the extended base building mods but limit it to no ridiculousness. 

Eating and Drinking:

Having to eat and drink every 10 minutes is a bit much. There is so much food that spawns literally everywhere there's almost no reason to keep food on you when you go out adventuring. Many players don't last that long anyway so food and drink really don't make much of a difference either way. As it is now it's pretty much irrelevant. With my implementations I would actually lower the need to eat and drink so often, and with food and drink not spawning as much you will need to pack waters and MRE's. It would be realistic so you don't essentially need to carry more than one MRE and more than a few bottles of water. 

Zeus Missions:

I would love to have a Zeus slot on the server if it's possible. They could spawn AI dynamically on players, while hopefully not being too overpowering. They could build custom randomly spawned unmarked quests and objectives for players to fight over. Maybe only give clues and the first birds to figure out the clues get the worm. They could spawn encampments and fill them with AI. 

Exile can be so much more. If server owners took a different road and didn't follow the crowd there could be great fun and experiences waiting for us players. 

That's basically the "in a nutshell" version of what the server(s) would be like but that's all I can think of for now I just spent 3 hours typing this up so I hope it get's moved and not just locked like my last topic in this section. I'm sure I've forgotten things and I'll think of something else the second my head hits the pillow when I post this but I can always add it tomorrow. 

 

TL;DR - Current servers are boring and repetitive, here's how I believe Exile could be used to it's full potential. 

 

Reminders for myself that I want to cover:

  • Respect Gain
  • Base Building
  • Eating and Drinking
  • Zues server missions and events (not sure if this is even possible)

 

 

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Edited by Surefire
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Posted (edited)

The simple answer is , those servers exist , you just haven't put in the effort to find them . And they don't usually last long , not many want to play the game that way . Remember the Majority rules in a free market , and the Majority wants what you are trying too get rid of . Hence all those full servers , that are all the same  . with the same type of players , all playing the same way . :) 

YIXnev3.gif

 

Edited by Goblin
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Sorry, I didn't read the whole post (I'm at work, tired due to a new baby, and I'm not really taking much in today), but I did pick up on this bit:

4 hours ago, Surefire said:

(On a PVE server there would be a lower player count to maximum 30, but there would be TONS of AI that could potentially have some good loot on them.)

I actually have a server just look this. We only run PVE servers in our clan. We have one public server at the moment (altis) and one server which is passworded (namalsk, waiting for the update to come out then will release it). We use A3XAI on both servers, but the Namalsk server has loads of AI - Vehicle patrols with lots of AI in them, heli patrols and foot patrols (groups of 6-8 mid-high level I think they are). I wanted to make such a server, because as fun as it is to play in a PVE environment, there aren't any other players sneaking up on you. You can do missions all day long, but they're always within a certain area so that's no fun. I made Namalsk so that wherever you go, you hit AI. I got killed the other day when I played on it, and died another 4 times trying to get back to my body again. The challenge makes it fun. And yes, you can buy armed vehicles which makes it a bit easier, but then the AI also have rockets, vehicles are armed etc.

Altis is a little easier, but still has all the same stuff on it. AI (easier than Namalsk's AI), missions etc.

We haven't changed the loot tables though. Maybe it'll get more fun in the next release when you have to be certain rep to get some of the better weapons?

Paul

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Exile being easy to mod / change for the average joe means the lowest common denominator will win. People do literally anything to fill their servers, typically, high loot, easy this, free that.. its gay. But, while exile is open source essentially, itll always be this way.

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The majority of players will always choose the easiest way.

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31 minutes ago, Snacklemore said:

The majority of players will always choose the easiest way.

This is true. I do what our members want though. Having the public enjoying it is an added extra. Doesn't put us high in the rankings, but we have fun. You always get people who moan and say it's too hard, but wheres the fun if it's not a challenge. We help people out where possible as well, team up with them to start them off when they're new, give people lifts etc, so it all works out ok

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2 hours ago, Goblin said:

The simple answer is , those servers exist , you just haven't put in the effort to find them . And they don't usually last long , not many want to play the game that way . Remember the Majority rules in a free market , and the Majority wants what you are trying too get rid of . Hence all those full servers , that are all the same  . with the same type of players , all playing the same way . :) 

YIXnev3.gif

 

I'm not trying to get rid of anything. I said in the post that PVP heavy maps also have their place in Exile. They're great fun to hop on and just "blow shit up". I would just like to see the current focus of Exile change from heavily deathmatch themed to more of a survival like I believe the devs originally wanted.

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Both...thats my answer compared to your topic description :D havent read the whole post.

 

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1 hour ago, Paul said:

Sorry, I didn't read the whole post (I'm at work, tired due to a new baby, and I'm not really taking much in today), but I did pick up on this bit:

I actually have a server just look this. We only run PVE servers in our clan. We have one public server at the moment (altis) and one server which is passworded (namalsk, waiting for the update to come out then will release it). We use A3XAI on both servers, but the Namalsk server has loads of AI - Vehicle patrols with lots of AI in them, heli patrols and foot patrols (groups of 6-8 mid-high level I think they are). I wanted to make such a server, because as fun as it is to play in a PVE environment, there aren't any other players sneaking up on you. You can do missions all day long, but they're always within a certain area so that's no fun. I made Namalsk so that wherever you go, you hit AI. I got killed the other day when I played on it, and died another 4 times trying to get back to my body again. The challenge makes it fun. And yes, you can buy armed vehicles which makes it a bit easier, but then the AI also have rockets, vehicles are armed etc.

Altis is a little easier, but still has all the same stuff on it. AI (easier than Namalsk's AI), missions etc.

We haven't changed the loot tables though. Maybe it'll get more fun in the next release when you have to be certain rep to get some of the better weapons?

Paul

That sounds pretty cool. Namalsk is a cool map but I'm not a huge fan of it. Message me the details of the server I might check it out. On a side note I just recently found out that night time has been completely removed from the current PVE server I play on and may or may not return, I'm not holding my breath. Why have a PVE server if you don't have any "E" except AI?

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