Hello, I read the recent topics from Kovaak "We need to talk about the state of the game" and also the topic from Colossus "Widgets/Addons and what is considered cheating?".
I must say there are quite a lot of interesting ideas. While everybody agree that timing items is a laborious part of the game for new players (and even for experienced players, doing calculation is not the funniest part of the game), it is very difficult to imagine a replacement solution without altering the gameplay, at the expense of tactics.
So, I would like to propose a solution on this particular aspect (timing) which is valuable both for duel and multiplayer modes, taking inspiration from all I read recently on this forum.
Main idea : no timers but auto-timers
When -and only if- a player : see an item pickup (visible on screen) OR hear an item pickup (the sound is played on his client side) : then the corresponding timer is set accordingly automatically
The timers are displayed just like the timers in casual/spec mode
At the moment the timer is set, there is a visual effect to enhance it on the hud (example : the item's logo grows/blinks...)
In team game modes, the timers are shared among the players of a team
HUD improvements (for readability and new players) :
when a player as no information on an item timing : the corresponding timer in the hud have to express it clearly (ex. with symbol '???')
If item is up : the symbol in the hud has to be more explicit ( ex. blinking '!!UP!!' , and not just like the current one : '-')
Easier to time (no more calculations)
Make timing more explicit for new players
Give insights on the importance of having (or not) information on pickups for new players
No changes in tactical point of view, just removing tedious aspects of timing
Not a complex change in code of the game I suppose
Timing with the clock is still possible when you don't see exactly the pick up, but deduce it
No need to look at the clock, except for end-game or timing weapons precisely
Secondary improvements :
On top of the hud info, the items could be seen through walls when there are up. One could see a little circle-shaped hourglass when it is reloading at the location of the item. And see nothing when having no info.
For the team modes : experienced players use bindings commonly to communicate. Even if the item timings are shared, it is still useful to give instructions to teammates. There definitely should be built-in quick messages (such as in rocket league or dota2 for instance) to chose from a list, per-game mode (ex. carnage/RA/mh soon, regroup, flag in/out low/high/middle, gl hf, gg, whatever etc.) This is not only convenient but it is also a good way to draw attention of new players to what matters.