Day of Defeat had a pretty large and active community in its prime, and, not being fond of one-life-per-round, I always preferred it to Counter-Strike. It was a very fun game, but it never seemed to reach the same tier of popularity that TF2 and CS did.
Upon replaying it, one of the frustrating things I noticed was how little the game rewards a team for gaining ground and capturing control points. In Team Fortress 2, your spawn moves forward as you capture control points, rewarding you with increased pressure on the enemy team, which I feel helps to prevent stalemates; one of my less warm memories of DoD is just that, constant stalemates.
If four of your injured teammates barely capture the second to last flag, they're basically heading into a fight with everyone they just killed, because their team will still spawn all the way back at the beginning. There are also no medics to replenish their health. With no time limit and no incentive to push your spawn forward, you'd often end up with marathoners camping a chokepoint as snipers and machine-gunners for an hour, mostly interested in padding their 100+ score.
I also think that high player counts dilute the importance of strategy a fair bit, mostly by padding the consequences of mistakes. Even in CS and TF2 I've always preferred balanced matches with a little bit lower than the intended player count, just to increase the significance of individual kills, especially in a game like DoD where health is so fragile that sheer numbers and (relatively) fast respawns can often save a team when it doesn't deserve it. Many of the most popular DoD servers were 32 player clusterfucks where victories were rare, and in my opinion even 24 players was a bit too much. As much as I hate to admit it, I think CS was really onto something with one-life-per-round, because it ensured a feeling of progress and finality every time you played. One of my most vivid memories of Day of Defeat is capturing the same area over and over again in stagnant matches that only progressed as players on one team got bored and left.
As a sidenote, I did play on one server that experimented with a gamemode called "realism," which was basically Counter-Strike, one life per round. While interesting, these matches would often last about 3 times longer than the average CS round, which meant lots of waiting even if you survived fairly long. I do remember that most of the ones I played were on very large maps though, and I feel like that gametype on smaller levels might have been a more satisfying version of DoD than the default.
Anyway those are the things I found myself frustrated with as I replayed the game recently, but I have many memories of matches that weren't like this. As always it probably had a lot to do with the maps I played on and the people I played with. Clan servers with lots of regulars tended to have more tactical games that avoided a lot of these issues, but I am curious to know if anyone else ever felt like DoD was just a few tweaks away from being a top tier FPS, and why? I am personally convinced it had something to do with the maps tending to be large without rewarding teams much for progress. I always preferred the faster pace of smaller maps like Flash.
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