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Mobility and Firepower

Chiu on This
A short and regular opinion blast from Stephen Chiu

‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast

I haven’t studied game design extensively, so this is more a gut feeling than anything. I’ve come to a basic principle that firepower and mobility must be put on a sliding scale. The more mobile something is, the less firepower it should have. The reason is because extreme mobility gives initiative to that player. If that player then has comparable or greater firepower, that player with its unit or weapon will always be at an advantage. Additionally the player with mobility should always have more options on when and where to take the fight as well as better information because they will have seen more of the map.

The reason I’m bringing all of this up is because I think the UMP is breaking that rule. The firepower isn’t greater than the rifle, but at certain distances it is comparable. More importantly, it has better mobility, costs less and gives bonus kill reward. It has too many advantages for its cost, and the only reasoning I’ve found from people arguing for its current place assumes the position that all guns must be viable and that forcebuys should have a 40-50 percent win rate against a full buy. Neither of those I agree with, and I haven’t found anyone to give me a good argument as to why this must be the case beyond making Valve money.

Another way to think about it is in Starcraft. Specifically ZvT, muta vs bio/tank. The dynamic should work something like this. The mutas are highly mobile and because of that they can make surgical strikes that do slight pieces of damage that build up over time. The bio/tank is a lot harder to control, but in return when you get in a full pitched battle, your firepower should overwhelm the enemy. This asymmetrical balance of objectives is what creates dynamic and interesting gameplay. This is why I don’t buy the fact that there needed to be varied compositions in ZvT as it was the varied tactics that made it such an exciting and pivotal matchup.


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