What type of progression do you like in online shooters?

What type of progression do you like in online shooters?

  • Weapons, gear, upgrades

    Votes: 7 46.7%
  • I like Ranks (Bronze, Silver)

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • I want Ranks but with cosmetic rewards tied to them

    Votes: 3 20.0%
  • Cosmetic items

    Votes: 1 6.7%
  • I don't care

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other.

    Votes: 3 20.0%

  • Total voters


Dec 6, 2013
On aspect of a lot of modern shooters I've never quite liked is their tendency of having a progression system based on unlocking new weapons and abilities.
I really like the idea of everyone starting a match on even ground, and so the concept of giving better (or at least more experienced) players better gear has never made sense to me. Being new to a game and facing players that know the maps and are more experienced with the gameplay is already a big (but fair) disadvantage, so I don't think we also need to give them better (or more) weapons, skills and abilities.

I played a ton of Halo back in the day and one thing I always like about those games (but it's in no way exclusive to them) and that I feel has been lost in several shooters is the concept of everyone spawning with the same weapons, skills and damage output. Stronger weapons spawned on the map and so obviously more experienced players knew where to go get them which gave them an advantage, but even during my first game I also had a chance to go get the same rocket launcher or shotgun and , maybe more importantly, once I got a weapon it worked the same as for more experienced players. Their shotgun didn't have a higher fire rate and their missile launcher didn't have a larger blast radius.

Now, I've mentioned this to some friends and also online and people always tell me that it all comes down to progression. That modern games need this "carrot on stick" type of design to keep player engaged.
Another argument I've seen a lot is that you are often just unlocking different weapons, not really better ones. But I think that depending on the game having different weapons is also an advantage, in Battlefield I tend to change my loadout depending on the map, so I might use one weapon in maps that have a lot of close quarter encounters and another in maps with wide open spaces.

Are you really going to tell me that someone who has all of those weapons with all of their attachments doesn't have an advantage over someone who has 2?

I guess it's probably true that games need their "carrot on a stick", but does it need to be weapons and skills?

I look at some of the most popular multiplayer games out there and one thing I tend to notice is that a lot of them actually have an even ground.
-Dota and LOL are all about starting every game at lv 1 and powering up your character with items which are available to everyone
-Cars in Rocket legue have different hitboxes but you can't upgrade their features (outside of cosmetics). My car after 200 hours is the same as the one of someone who just got the game (provided he is using the same model)
-The new Battle Royale genre seems to also be all about dropping everyone naked into a big battleground. With the weapons and gear you get based on luck and skill and not simply something you have unlocked for having been playing a long time.

It seems to me that there are plenty of ways to have a "carrot on a stick" without locking away all weapons behind hours of grind.
- Having Ranked Games, with clear ranking tiers and seasons which reset the ranks and reward you for your position is one. I'm still playing Rocket Legue because on one side It's really fun and on the other I someday want to go beyond gold rank (I'm just not very good lol)
- Cosmetics. Correct me if I'm wrong since I haven't played the game but it was to my understanding that in Fortnight you can collect a sort of in game currency to unlock skins and a variety of cosmetic items. I was just listening to a Easy Allies podcast the other day where one of them was saying how he liked that system and felt like losing or winning he he was always working towards something

So. What do you say GAF.
Do you like weapons, gear and upgrades being tied to progression? Do you think that, for example, you'd enjoy the next Battlefield less if you had all weapons from the start?
Do you prefer Cosmetics or like the idea of ranks? Or do you have some other idea you'd like to see implemented in more games?
Apr 11, 2018
In my opinion, unlocking weapons through leveling is fine. Most shooters I've played the starting weapons are usually one of if not the best weapons. The unlocked weapons are usually, to me, more like options. It gives you something to look forward to, it gives a little encouragement. Without making it to where you HAVE to use the final unlocked weapon to be competitive. I enjoy knowing I have a weapon unlock coming up in a couple levels, and getting to try it out.

Ranks is another thing I think is necessary because when you get matched up against people of certain ranks you have a general idea of the time they have put in and can expect a certain level of skill from them, as opposed to someone new. Ranks are a cool way of displaying levels, I actually like the tired old Military ranks, with the "prestige" ranks being those crazy dragons and hydras and stuff. It feels good earning those.

Cosmetics are an absolute must. I can't stand everyone looking the exact same, but the way CoD WW2 did it, with completely locking cosmetics behind the crates, is just terrible. I like getting cosmetics based on level/performing certain actions (100 headshots, 200 knife kills), but rather then whole outfits I'd like to see a piece by piece change out options. What I would like to see done is for shooters to add in some sort of customization to armors/camos where we get to do some of the design. Like a paint system, or applying stickers to our body. With the level unlocks being more of shapes/styles you can play with. (Kind of how The black ops games did with emblems, but applied to armor.) I also really like what black ops 3 did with the pseudo "class" system, but didn't like that the skills for each one was locked to the model. The ability to pick from a model you do like, and customize from there, would be great.
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Likes: Zannegan
Jun 14, 2014
Weapon progression doesn't bother me too much if the game is balanced well, especially if they make the really solid good weapons unlocked from the start. What does bother me is games that don't reward skill in terms of cosmetics or things like dogtags. BF1 does a poor job of having dogtags that show off your skill. BF4 did a much better job, like for instance I was proud of the MVP dogtag that showed I got MVP (most points in a game) over 600 times. Also, I like choosing what dogtags I am working towards. The randomized dogtag system in BF1 is awful, I feel little incentive to try to achieve them.
Likes: Zannegan
Feb 20, 2018
I like leveling up to unlock weapons and skills, combined with the ability to prestige/reset and start over again. You can call it carrot/stick, but I think it adds a nice balance and flow to online games, and gives me a chance to experiment and learn the ropes early on, while also providing a convenient excuse for sucking while I'm doing it. Lol.

It would be one thing if all the higher level guns were objectively better than the starters in every way, but since they tend to be a blend of specializations and tradeoffs, I don't feel like I'm at a disadvantage with early weapons, so much as that I'm restricted to certain playstyles until my weapon/lethal/perk of choice becomes available again. It inspires me to try weapons and combinations I wouldn't otherwise have put together and gameplay approaches I might never have seen if they dumped everything on me at once.

Now, if you're the kind of gamer who starts up an online game guide-in-hand, sets out trying to unlock the "best" weapon and class combos, and approaches every match with the same essential strategy, then, yeah, I can see how having to wade through levels to unlock the stuff you want would seem like a waste of time. For me though, trying new things is the game, so it's nice to have my options doled out in a steady stream. I don't need to top the lists, so long as I can positively contribute while also playing my way--whatever that way happens to be at the moment. To put it another way, if you're purely about player v. player in online games then having any unbalance built into the game's progression is terrible. If you're about player v. systems v. players though, gradually introducing new mechanics and elements (even with some unbalance) is an advantage, because you encounter the system gradually and learn its quirks and combinations naturally as you go. Or maybe that's just my after-the-fact justification for a system I like because I am an ass and must chase that carrot. *shrug*

Conversely, I hate lootboxes. I don't mind randomizing access to cosmetics, because those do nothing for me, but when the developer screws up that nice drip feed of new weapons and abilities for the sake of wringing a few more dollars out of the susceptible, I get real salty real fast.

EDIT: for similar reasons, I'm also one of those crazy people who likes unlocking fighters in Smash Bros.
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Oct 26, 2017
I was insanely addicted to Destiny 1, which had a light (power) level progression system but the real draw for me was the weapons with random rolls. Not only would they up your light level but you could conceivably get a god roll or a roll that perfectly suited your play style and made each weapon or chance at getting a weapon (ie the grind) feel unique and rewarding.


Jun 5, 2013
None whatsoever. You're missing that option. Fully unlocked content from the get go is the way to go, personally. No visible ranks or any of that crap either... they're fine and a welcome addition if secret, but I want a completely leveled playing field from the very first second, be it cosmetically or with regards to your arsenal. Hate that CoD made these systems a staple, despite not harboring any negative feelings towards CoD itself as a game.
Dec 22, 2007
Back in my day a game gave you all of the content from the get-go. The idea that I have to play with a bunch of crappy gear to unlock the good stuff is so frustrating in modern games.

If a game absolutely must include some type of unlocking feature, I prefer Counterstrike's method, where it resets between each match and everybody starts on the same footing.
Likes: ilfait
Jan 15, 2018
I enjoy unlocking weapons and accessories. But weapons should be sidegrades. Or promote different playstyles.
Starting weapons should always be viable.
Dec 28, 2016
I prefer cosmetics and personally hate loot boxes.

Really like when a games character ages and would like to see shooters try this maybe allowing beards to grow the more matches you have or your gear just looks more worn out after a lot of matches.


Darkness no more
Mar 5, 2009
I played a lot of the original Team Fortress back in the day. You joined a match, played and saw a scoreboard with your kill amount at the end. Then the next match started and everything began fresh again. No fancy level up systems, skins, lootboxes, etc. I liked that. It was just fun to play.
Likes: OH-MyCar
Aug 13, 2015
Depends on the game for me, sometimes i want a ton of customization and progression, and other times i want absolutely none, then sometimes i want a little of both, i enjoy a lot of shooters good and bad, variety is essential for me, otherwise i'd get bored...

  • Looter shooters i want to progress through the game and the end game should allow me to obtain the best weapons and gear, side bosses, hidden stuff, that sort of thing, there needs to be depth, maybe if its perks or stats, elements, grants character enhancements, loot needs to create depth and customization.
  • If its just a pvp shooter like cod or battlefield i would be okay with just having everything unlocked to start without any custom attachments unlocked (is fine with me) this way i can try all the gear but use and upgrade what i want in the end, gives me a reason to play other than to just go in and kill people which for me eventually gets boring if the game has very static game play mechanics.
  • TPS/FPS single player action/adventure games should have me unlocking weapons as i progress in the story but for a reasonable reason and encounter, and then allow me to find it during game play, grant me a scope and silencer if need be and thats it, a good example is bioshock infinite, start with a pistol, as you progress you find stronger or more situational weapons.
  • Personally i prefer a game like halo (mainly 2 and 3) where everyone starts a match with the same gear (so technically 0 progression and no custom skills and loadouts like 4 has) and you need to obtain gear on the map, adds a nice balance of casual play and a skill gap to the game if the game is made well, add some custom skins, cosmetics and the sorts and i'm okay with that too, allows me to be a bit more unique even though everyone has the same gear.
  • I used to play a lot of combat arms (was Nexon, now i don't think it is) was kind of pay to win but by playing you earned money and ranks and through that you could purchase gear for a day or more, or loot bodies you killed that had the paid weapons. This type of shooter i'm okay with, but it obviously has many flaws for non paying users, although it was still really fun with some friends over the years.
  • Major turn offs are loot boxes even if they are just cosmetic, pay to win obviously a gigantic turn off if there aren't non paying options for better gear, and paid cosmetics (unless this is some crazy koreon mmo or something that also happens to be a shooter) since looking cool is mostly all there is too it. I'd much rather earn gear through achievements with the weapons, grenades, character skins, rankings, etc...
Oct 1, 2014
I'm not sure about multiplayer needing progression. If you're that amazing tournament organizers separate from the game, to avoid conflict of interest, will discover you.

In my opinion for online shooters anybody should have the ability to host a server on their own home PC (dedicated if they don't want to play while hosting), accessible to all from a master server list.
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Oct 28, 2010
Unlocking new weapons and attachments like in CoD or Battlefield is the worst.

Purely cosmetic stuff is fine unless its hideous looking. I hated what Gears of War became with all the goofy shit looking pink skins.

Cs:Go is probably my favourite where you don't unlock anything other than a new medal when you prestige. I also love how there is no progression in PUBG. A good game doesn't need carrot on a stick mechanics to keep you playing.
Likes: ilfait