Infuscomus asked me couple of days ago what I would change in duel to like it again. I've been saying these things over the years, but I suppose this is the most concise version I would like to keep for future reference. It's a reply in a discussion about how QL duel lacks in game play variety and caters for too few game styles because the game play has not evolved with the personal evolution of the players, making it too aim heavy.

My general attitude to QL is that it's way too easy to hit at the top and there is too much sound information in duel.

The things I would address:

1) Weapon re-spawn and ammo.

Make weapon re-spawn longer than 5 seconds. I've switched to TDM past couple of years and in TDM weapons are treated as power ups. Weapon and ammo management is a big part of winning and it gives an extra way how to counter certain teams with certain styles. Right now in duel there is basically no weapon/ammo control apart from some extreme cases where your opponent has to take more time to get all of them. To cover a weapon in duel you need to camp there for a long time, meaning you'll just give away the rest of the map. In TDM this leads to more asynchronous fights (people having to use different weapons) because lack of other weapons (plazma, SG and even GL are legit) leads to bigger fight variety. This also means you have to be better across the whole set of weapons compared to the main 3 in duel ("dueler SG" is a term we jokingly use in TDM).

Secondly, there is too much ammo in duel at the moment, which means people can easily double stack on a weapon re-spawn and they don't have to give up positions to get ammo. This in my opinion leads to a stagnated game play because the player in control doesn't have to give room for the other player to move around by going for those ammo boxes. A Q3 ammo system where you couldn't double stack by picking up a weapon could be one solution. If the ammo system would be changed and weapon re-spawn lengthened I imagine the base amount of ammo you get from each needs to be adjusted.

So changing these two things would allow more breathing room to move around making it easier to set up traps and adds more variety into fights. Equal weapon fights have always been the most boring ones because both players essentially have to do the same thing. With different weapons people have different goals in fights (what to avoid and what to go for) and it's more about tricking your opponent into the situation that suits your current weapon(s) more. This leads to people having to pick which weapons they want to be the focus of their strategies. This also adds more goals for both players advancing the meta game of "what does he need and does he know I know he needs it".

2) Weapons are too easy to hit and they don't do enough damage.

I feel that the stack to weapon damage ratio is screwed in duel. People get high stacks too easily and this makes traps not that efficient. In TDM the average stacks of people are lower so if you trap your opponent into a situation that favors your weapons you're bound to do lots of damage relative to what his stack was. In duel the traps are hardly worth going for and the frequency of them doing major damage is relatively low. The solution for this would be to up damages, but that would lead to a more hitscan/instagib heavy game similar to CPMA VQ which was also crap. There are two possible solutions that pop into my mind: (1) add shooting delay to hitscan and slower down the projectiles and raise damages across the board or (2) make the hitboxes smaller and again raise damages and slow down projectiles, hitscan can be the same. The aim of this would be to make the weapons more situation specific, but really deadly and easy to aim at their correct situations. Currently rail and shaft can hit from all angles which loses the "best weapon for situation" concept in my eyes. Overpowered weapons are fun and making them harder to hit leads to a bigger noticeable contrast between a good situation/position and a bad one. Currently I feel that across the board all weapons at low pings work like hitscan.

In the first point I was mainly talking about making people have to be able to fight having each a different weapon, in this point the position which they use them in gets more important even when they both have the same weapon. This would also make upper and lower positions strategically more important again.

Epic adrenaline heavy rocket fights are so rare these days compared to the OSP era.

3) Problem of sound, information and enemy's attention.

QL being hitscan heavy is only one side of the "reaction heavy game style", the other is being able to base your game play around sound and just reacting to sound cues. Here I can bring another parallel with TDM, something I quickly noticed compared to duel. In TDM, there are lots of sounds that confuse and lots of things that take attention of your enemies, which leads to obvious blind spots/angles that you can abuse with your full range of weapons depending on the situation. Much more often you can do lots of damage just by reading the game and understanding how your opponents attention moves. Easiest examples would be your opponents fighting with your teammates and you rush in from behind or knowing that they are more likely to react to people shooting than footsteps so you first walk close with SG before you shoot. In duel your opponent 80% of the time has his nose towards you making it really hard to even get into the range with half the weapons or trick him reading you wrong because he can hear all of your moves. Imagine Aerowalk (which is an extreme I know, but it's similar on most of the maps), you can't really do anything out of control because he hears you and if you're quiet for too long he already starts suspecting something so he can easily predict your move.

I would love something to be done with footsteps. There are two solutions I would like to try: (1) remove footsteps when you have gauntlet out or (2) make walking faster. I personally love the first idea because you have a downside (having gauntlet out) and an obvious gain. This would allow you to trick your opponent and open his blind angles more often leading to more interesting traps and more interesting fights + the infinite possibilities to troll running after him for a while just because you can. This would also mean that the meta game would shift from what's on the monitor and in the earphones into your head because you have to calculate/predict more what he could do, and when combined with my first point, what he wants to do most likely. Currently in duel blind angles consist of some rail angles 75% of the time, which I don't really find fun or diverse.

As final words, the points I've brought up above are things that I've noticed other games and other modes do better and are obviously up for balancing. I'm not against aim or anything, just I feel there could be more variety in fights and there could be more extreme and contrasting play styles that draw out. If all of those would be implemented I can totally see myself devising different strategies, how to beat this or that player. Currently everyone plays pretty much the same and the differences between the strategies are small, not to say banal.