First of all, it’s really great that Evolve has gone F2P, I think this will be a great path for the game! Congrats to Turtle Rock & 2K!
I love this game and was very intrigued by the changes made to the tracking and trapping mechanics. After a weekend of play time, my concern is that these changes have made this aspect of the game too simple. Before, skilled monsters could utilise stealth and cunning to completely elude the hunters for significant stretches of time. Now, however, the hunters get a free monster locate button that they can press every 30 seconds and a magical homing dome that will perfectly centre on the monster every time.
Personally, I really prefer the old trapping mechanics: having to skillfully stalk the monster and throw the dome emitter at the right time, and in the right place. I understand that these changes were made in order to make the game easier for new players, but I would argue that it too heavily skews the game in favour of exhausting non-stop arena battles and not enough towards actual hunting. Before, the battles under the dome served as staccato moments of fury and chaos in between tense passages of stalking and tracking. These hunting interludes gave you time to compose yourself before the next climactic battle, perhaps communicate what went wrong or right with your teammates, and it gave the game a nice rhythm. Now, you feel like you’re nipping at the monster’s heels, waiting on your dome cooldown so that you can have another drag-out, knock-down battle. It almost feels like waiting in a queue rather than being a skilled hunter. I also think that this mindless monster chasing doesn’t give the various trappers a chance to showcase their uniqueness. Everyone just spams the satellite, and why wouldn’t they? It’s clearly the best tracking method.
On the monster side of the table, it can feel pretty exhausting too, you never feel like you have any room to breathe, and while this can be exhilarating, it can also be fatiguing. I rarely play more than 2 games in a row now for this reason.
I feel like there are a few ways to alleviate these problems:
1: Revert to the old dome and tracking mechanics. Maybe just for skilled players, in a hardcore playlist.
2: Increase the cooldown on the satellite. Even a 30-second increase in cooldown time would allow for significantly more stealth options.
3: Remove the monster outline from the satellite, and/or make the directional indicator on the compass vaguer as you get closer (like in Assassin’s Creed multiplayer modes).
So, to sum up: I think the changes to the tracking and trapping have made the game duller. One of the stated goals mentioned in your dev diary was to remove the “running simulator” aspect of the game, but by making tracking so efficient, I feel that almost all notion of tracking has been entirely removed, having the opposite effect. Now you really are just running behind the monster, using the satellite every 30 seconds, waiting for that dome cooldown. To resolve this you could trial the above fixes and see how it goes.