A Word on Breakout and Shielding

The concept behind this game type is fantastic. One life per round. Eliminate the enemy team. Sounds simple enough, but the way it’s executed is rather poor. Sadly, this playlist suffers because of one reason. The shielding mechanic in this game type is extremely confusing. When the player first enters the match, he/she will conclude from a simple examination of the HUD that he/she has no shields. However, while playing the match, it quickly becomes apparent that players do, indeed, have shielding.

I understand that shields are weakened for this game type, but that does not necessitate the removal of the shield bar from the HUD altogether. There are some potential fixes to this problem that I believe would vastly improve the player’s experience by giving him/her a more accurate representation of their health/shield status:

  1. Remove shielding altogether. This solution seems rather extreme, and would require the removal of the pistol (a precision weapon) from the initial loadout as well as changing the spawn locations for BRs/ARs on each map to avoid the feeling that Breakout is just SWAT 2.0.

  2. Incorporate full strength shields for Breakout. At first glance, this approach has some appeal. It would normalize Breakout, bringing the gameplay in line with other playlists and eliminating the need for players to adapt to a new playstyle. However, full strength shields would significantly slow the pace of play which makes Breakout so unique. In other words, Breakout would no longer be Breakout.

  3. Change the color of the shield bar to indicate that the player has a weakened shield. A red shield bar, for instance, would indicate to a player who has not played Breakout before that there is something different about their shielding that they must account for. Additionally, this shield bar would more visibly and accurately represent the player’s current status on the HUD than the current omission of a shield indicator, and would not change Breakout’s core gameplay.

What are your thoughts on Breakout and its shield mechanic? What do you think about what I’ve stated above? I’m curious and looking forward to hearing what you all have to say.