What does he want with first-person shooters?
Hold up! Don’t like reading? Watch instead…
Dr Disrespect, one of gaming’s greatest streamers, is constantly making headlines.
Whether it’s his purported 70-yard throw,
(this is a warmup)
or his custom skins in games like Rogue Company or “Fortnite”,
or his recurring bouts with a conniving cast of villains — purple snakes, 4th monitors, flashbangs, dead silence, peeng, Alex, audio — you can always count on Doc to do one thing well…
But if you put on your Turtle Beach headphones real snug-like and listen very closely…
he’s actually saying a whole lot.
The Doc recently unveiled a slice of his much-anticipated entry into the first-person shooter arena, Deadrop — a “vertical extraction shooter for a new age of competitive multiplayer.” It’s being built by a brand new dev studio, Midnight Society, filled to the brim with the gaming industry’s best who are “flip[ping] the traditional game dev process on its head.“
And just like Doc, the lore of Deadrop — the story, the narrative — is vital to understanding the experience.
Deadrop takes place when “40 years into the Climate Wars, population and pollution levels skyrocket. Cities erect massive REFINER STATES – mega structures built to extract toxins from the stratosphere. These towers are self-governed “city-states” with only one export – SPACE DUST. A concentrate from the refined polluta…” blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah
No one cares about any of that. Let’s get to the point.
What the hell is The Doc looking for in an FPS? He’s constantly ragging on Warzone, Apex, and every other mainstream competitive shooter…
What does that maniac want?!
In this post, we’re going to dissect the Doc and find the answer. We’ll take a look at the primary mechanic of first-person shooters — shooting — and in other posts, we’ll explore movement, specialization, and meta.
But for now, what does Doc want the player to feel when they move their mouse and click that left button?
There’s a lot that goes into making the shooting “feel right” when developing an online competitive first-person shooter — input lag, DPI, absolute vs. relative sensitivity… all of that is too complicated, though.
Let’s just use a few games that can act as archetypes and go from there. We’ll start with what Doc doesn’t want.
Doc Doesn’t Want Doom (passive tracking)
Doom’s shooting style can be described as “passive tracking” — the opposite being “active tracking” which we’ll get to in a second.
Passive tracking requires the player to keep their crosshair on the enemy target using a combination of mouse and keyboard. That last part is the key.
Because of player movement speed and high TTK (time to kill), shooting in Doom-like games relies heavily on movement.
You can see this clearly in high-level competitive Quake III arena gameplay.
Notice the lack of mouse adjustments (flicking) to track players and, instead, keeping the reticle on enemies is accomplished by adjusting your position relative to theirs. That’s passive tracking. And Doom-like games are full of it.
Active tracking would be something like Apex Legends where there’s a better balance in the range of one-on-one encounters. In long- and mid-range firefights, relying on mouse tracking alone is what often seals the deals. Even in short-range skirmishes, because of the slower player speed, movement isn’t heavily used to track enemy players.
For 99% of one-on-one encounters in Doom and Doom-like games, it’s movement that determines the kill. The other 1% are “flick shots” with the railguns (sniper rifles). And it’s why Doc doesn’t want passive tracking in Deadrop.
Doc Doesn’t Want Counter-Strike (flick shot)
So if Doc doesn’t like movement making the kill in a first-person shooter, he should love Counter-Strike. Its shooting is all about reaction time, the flick shot, those one-shot kills that make the moment matter, right?
For Doc, there’s not enough meat to shooting in Counter-Strike.
Once you acquire your target, you or they are dead in a matter of seconds, there’s really no other way to kill — it’s why aim trainers work so well for Counter-Strike and Valorant.
Counter-Strike’s low TTK means that 99% of who comes out on top in one-on-ones boils down to who spots who first. There is little to no tracking. It’s about reaction time.
And Because of this, there’s not a whole lot to Counter-Strike’s shooting mechanics. It’s primarily a game of strategy — low kill count, high teamwork, high strat, and high on reading the enemy player’s intentions.
You could say Counter-Strike is the “chess” of competitive multiplayer first-person shooters. And that’s just a bit too boring for Doc.
Doc Doesn’t Want Tarkov (pop-shot)
Tarkov is a “realistic tactical” shooter and that means what the player feels when they move and click their mouse depends on which gun, attachments, and gear they’re carrying and have equipped at the time. Complicated stuff.
Add to that the relatively low — depending on armor and body part — time to kill and the shooting in Tarkov can feel a lot like Arma, Insurgency Sandstorm, or even Fallout.
Adding a bit more, because Tarkov is a realistic shooter, recoil plays a huge role in gunfights. The first shot is the most accurate, then the best strategy for mid-to-long-range encounters is to burst. Short-range? Light ’em up.
When you combine all of this, the shooting mechanics in Tarkov don’t make for an action-packed game of violence, speed, and momentum where the player is constantly in and out of fluid firefights. Like Counter-Strike, 99% of one-on-ones in Tarkov come down to who gets the drop on who first.
And that’s not the shooter experience Doc would prefer to play given the choice between it and the next game we’re about to get into.
Doc Wants Warzone (arcade = flick + tracking)
It’s absolutely no surprise to people who watch Dr Disrespect that he loves (and hates) Warzone. His Warzone streams get the most live viewers and it’s the shooter that satisfies his style.
Shooting in Warzone — and all Call of Duty games — can be described as, “arcade.”
In the early days of Call of Duty, that label was an insult. Now, it’s one of the largest competitive FPS franchises in the world so who cares?
Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Raven Software, and Sledgehammer may all develop different games but they all strive to hit that “Call of Duty balance” — you can call it “Arcade Realism.” Just enough casual to capture dudebros who want to smoke up and veg out, but enough technical meat to attract highly-competitive players.
And that’s the shooting mechanic Doc loves.
Warzone feels like Warzone primarily because of two things:
Firstly, how aim feels remains the same regardless of loadout or weapon type — there’s a reason CoD is known for no-scope sniper rifling. Try that with the AWP in Counter-Strike. So like any good arcade game, there’s always a satisfying sense of speed and response to mouse movements.
Secondly, the medium TTK means that 99% of one-on-one encounters are long enough to avoid the “I see you first”-syndrome, and short enough to avoid the “draining the enemy’s health bar” snoozefests like in Apex Legends or Doom.
In Warzone, there’s more back-and-forth, cat and mouse, and time to adapt and dance in firefights. And that’s what the Doc loves.
And that’s what Deadrop is going to feel like.
You couldn’t see it in the Deadrop snapshot — it was too early — but mechanically, Deadrop is going to shoot like Warzone. Hyper-responsive and no artificial handicaps.
Midnight Society is taking a novel approach to game development — NFTs giving the community say so in the development process, including shooting — and that means Deadrop’s shooting mechanics are going to mirror The Champion’s Club. And the numbers show they’re huge fans of Warzone over Valorant, Doom, or Tarkov.
Also, Deadrop is being advertised as a “Vertical Extraction Shooter” which means the mouse needs to feel very freeing if you’re going to be tackling enemies at your horizontal and above and below as well.
That’s going to be my examination into, and prediction of, Deadrop’s shooting mechanics — you could say that’s the violence. In future posts, I’m going to keep on dissecting the Doc and I’ll figure out how he’s going to bring the speed to the show.
Subscribe so you don’t miss a beat, and as always, stay cool, gentlemen.