I feel like kicking a dead horse, but ey...at least it's been years:
UT2004's onslaught mode. The game featured both traditional FPS style weapons and vehicles that were much more powerfull but in a sort of rock-paper-scissors stronger/weaker than others. This gametype is played in two teams, each starting in a base (usually covered with vehicles). From there, you had to go out to positions on the open world and claim these for your team (which often spawned defense turrets and more vehicles). You could only claim or attack nodes next to ones you owned, so the game was a bit 'connect the dots'. In order to keep it from getting a complete tug of war stalemate, there were usually two routes from and to each base. You had to create a link from your base to theirs (controlling all nodes) to be able to damage and ultimately destroy their base.
It was fast, fun, strangely balanced but with depth and both interesting tactics and strategies. There were only really two problems:
1) the players. Even two years after release, just about all majority public servers were filled with people who were basically clueless. Hardly anyone could drive a vehicle and shoot at the same time (or almost equally worse: who just pew-pew-pewed their way to their destination where they parked sometimes directly on top of an enemy tank), nobody played defense (meaning: if the enemy broke YOUR nearby node when you were attacking, you suddenly found yourself on a position you could no longer attack) and nobody considered that anything but the nearest node might have, y'know...FUCKING VEHICLES TO USE!!! I won't deny it was a bit of a power trip for me, always managing to grab vehicles from all over the place, holding the fort under siege and doing all sorts of duels with people who thought I was defenseless on foot (wrong: underpowered ain't useless).
Because UT2004 also had gametypes with more traditional (non-vehicle) FPS rules, it was like all the skill went over there. But the playerbase schism was more something interesting than importance. More important was the second problem:
2) Epic own employees sucked at making maps.
This is a bit weird and probably presumptious thing to say, but I'm sorry but it's the truth. I've defended this back in the day many times and found myself defended by people with...semi-wrong arguments. They pointed out assymetricality in maps that gave a slight edge to one side. This...isn't wrong, but not the main gist. That node setup I talked about earlier is pretty much key. Have only one line, and the game becomes a boring tug of war grindfest that goes nowhere. Especially with the lemming mentality described earlier. What was needed were alternative routes. But unfortunately, most maps had a setup where the main base connected to just one node. That tended to have two or occasionally three other nearby nodes (the center), those tied back to that one node on the other side and then the enemy base. What took me all about two days to realise (meaning: before the full game was even out) was that this setup meant that the battle went on until a team destroyed the enemy's first node. If the unlucky team couldn't restore that node IMMEDIATELY, they found themselves in an impossible situation because the other team could literally take over the rest of the map. But because the base and that node are close by, actually CLAIMING that node was where the action went...for the remainder of the game. And it was by default 20 minutes before overtime (wherein the defending team lost...but just one point instead of 2). Meaning: a team with just TWO skilled players (in a 16 vs 16 match) that could outpace setting up nodes against the other team doing the same meant the actual game went on for slightly over a minute (depending on the size of the map)...and the remaining 19 minutes were just faffing about. And because matches went on until 3 points, you could look at games where things were tense only at the very start of a round.
The solution was an almost accidental solution on one map (ONS-Dawn, iirc), that just featured 2 nodes on each base. The map had a bit of an 8-shape with two nodes in the center. Because you needed to set up the node closest to the enemy while the center was also vulnerable, you pretty much HAD to play defense as well. Which gave the defenders a much fairer chance of getting back in the match. Overall, it was a much more dynamic experience, where it was often down the wire on whether a team (ANY team) could score one or two points.
Granted: one of the first map packs had two maps that downright acknowledged this flaw in design (ascendancy and aridoom...find them if you haven't yet played it)...but iirc, these were outsourced to the community instead of epic employees.
...and therein lied the flaw: the average joes just wanted pew-pew-pew with vehicles and saw no issue with a game outstaying its welcome to the extreme. There were communities (I still have VERY fond memories of titan servers) that had amateur modders and mappers that were hosted there. Large scale battles that lacked graphic detail...but even the worst ones were easily better than the stock maps. The games were epic, tight, battles happened all over and in order to win...you couldn't rely on a one man army like me anymore (for which I was glad..it's a fucking team game: it SHOULD reward team actions).
So what did epic do at the end? Years later, they released UT3. The physics on foot were changed, which was a good thing in other gametypes (erm...UT2004's best players were like bouncing pogo sticks
), but made being on foot a nightmare. The balance of vehicles was terrible. And most of all: yup. The same fucking layout. Oh, and they doubled down on the assymetry so hard I swear they did it on purpose.
I tried to give it a fair shot (at least some sort of "protection" for the node while on foot made sense on paper)...it was terrible.
I have no idea if modders saved that game (or rather: the gametype. Pure deathmatch and capture the flag were actually very good. not what I was used to, but very good nonetheless).