Tea Talk: Movement Ability on Cooldowns, in FPS Games

I brewed some tea

I am starting to really, really despise that particular sort of movement abilities in FPS games.

You know, like in Overwatch, where you press one button to do a dodge roll as McCree, then walk around and wait until your 8 second cooldown expires before you get to do it again. Or the “press one button to launch into the air” as Pharah. It’s just really painful for me nowadays.

Recently, I tried PWND, which has a rather unique movement system. Pressing jump will shoot a projectile towards where your crosshair is pointing at, be it the floor or a nearby wall, and you’ll “jump” by being blasted off the ground. You can chain these jumps and build up speed, making it some sort of fusion between bunnyhopping in TFC and pogo-jumping in TF2. And I absolutely love it. Being able to fly across the arena to blow up some guy trying to kill your teammate is really, really fun. By the way, this does not cost any ammo or drain your health, so you can just keep jumping to your heart’s content, and the game even has challenge maps for you to test your movement skills.

This jump mechanic is common to all (at the point of writing) five classes, and each class has a unique movement ability that’s on a cooldown timer. Using it will kill off any accumulated momentum, so I personally only use it to either initiate my jump or to save myself in a pinch. And that makes me realize just how much I hate these movement abilities.

There is no mechanical skill involved in pulling off any of these movement abilities when all you need to do is push one button and wait for a timer to pass before doing it again. And if you say “but you need to have gamesense to know when to use it” and think that is an adequate defense you are wrong. If you rocket jump around like an idiot in TF2 you’ll die, either by losing too much health, jumping right over a Sentry nest or Sniper sightline and making yourself an easy target, or not jumping at the right time and thus not getting away in time. If you carelessly jump around in PWND you’ll expose yourself to enemy view and will get shot down. If you saunter around like a sightseeing tourist in CS:GO you’ll walk into a sightline and get shot and die. If you move walk from cover to cover without making sure that you are safe in CoD you’ll die to a sniper watching that space and waiting for you to leave that cover. My point is, any sort of movement will require gamesense, even plain ol’ walking. Saying that these movement abilities require gamesense is a nonsense statement because any movement requires gamesense.

I’m far from being competent in rocket jumping, but the fact that with practice, I can get better at it, and that there is a ludicrously high skill ceiling to it means that it adds a lot of depth to gameplay. The mechanical skill ceiling of these movement abilities is the same as their skill floor, which is the ability to press a button. At all. And the biggest problem with these movement abilities is, it just isn’t as fun! It’s like the devs are saying “now now, you can’t enjoy yourself that much and move around as you please”. Movement in these games will always feel hampered because your movement is never free. You just get these extremely short bursts of something vaguely resembling fun that lasts for a moment and disappears when the cooldown timer appears. It feels like I get one brief instant of fun before being told to stroll around for what seems like an eternity before the timer expires.

Lucio’s Wall Ride is (some might say was after this patch, but Blizzard did revert it) a great ability because it take skill to perform. And you get to do it when you feel like it as long as there’s a wall or a pillar for you to glide across. That is fun, useful, and actually requires some sort of mechanical skill to perform. Every other movement ability in Overwatch or Paladins or any other FPS that is using movement abilities just removed a whole lot of depth they can potentially have. I am not saying that they can’t add a lot of depth somewhere else, but these movement abilities just peeved me off to no end. It’s like the devs are taunting me with that brief glimpse of speed and exhilaration, then slamming the timer right into my face while laughing maniacally.

Man, I hate these movement abilities.

I finished my tea

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