Probably best I answer why I have 5000 hours, of which 3000+ were spent in B~B and ThC since 2018 and <2000 were over 8 years in SWAT and it's mostly the first point:
- The challenge difference between the two sides. Scripters and rule-makers have made being a cop insanely easy to the point that it is simply not fun beyond an hour or two. It is impossible to lose a 1v1 scenario as a cop unless you make a mistake or you suck.
The lack of a proper challenge outside of major server events like Turfs, BRs, JBs, maybe SRs and VIP drops where you meet several criminals grouped in the same location makes cop life boring because you can either AFK and wait for them to happen or you can chase people around knowing that when you manage to stop them, you will win no matter what.
(Unless you are @Sou then you manage to lose 8 v 2 streamable.com /uxo31v
- Squad politics when it comes to groups
The level of squad politics when it comes to getting groups as a cop is in a different fucking dimension compared to gangs. Crims may complain that e.g. CLO is AABBTT-sided, it does not even come close to the favouritism and politics on the police side. On the one hand - in order to become a DE member while in FOX and FBI or HLS in SWAT the only thing you need is a pulse and good relations with your HQs.
On the other hand, in order to become a DE/HLS member in MIT or SAFP (sometimes FBI) or countless of other closed squads, you literally have HQs of other squads PMing you "join us and we offer you DE." Borderline impossible to join from SAFP/MIT anyway. I am part of the 3 people who experienced both DE and CLO and I think @Fnabbe can say the same thing. It's not just the recruitment process but the ease of getting ranks.
Everyone who joined CLO when I did and the batch before that 6 months earlier is still a Soldado (that's January & Summer 2019 btw) meanwhile there are people who joined DE in 2020 and are already leading units or borderline HQ. When it's that easy you just give up as there's nothing to achieve.
- Cops/squad side complaining and report baiting/hunting
Probably the more controversial of the points but it's true and nauseating. The culture in squad side of complaining about everything like how hard it is or there's too many crims is extremely annoying to any casual player.
This includes report hunting / report baiting. The criminal side is far more forgiving when it comes to small rulebreaks and there's a different culture. Meanwhile playing as a criminal feels like you have to pray to allah and have shadowplay on 24/7 whenever you come close to cops, especially at banks.
Which isn't wrong, because from an admin POV, cops far fucking outnumber criminals in reporting people. There's 26 reports ingame right now, 11 are from cops. Cops do not make up nearly half the server. There's a general attitude of; if you can't beat them, report them.
Playing among such people is off-putting and many people who might've switched to cop side simply don't want the association with said people and the hate that very justifiably comes along with it.
youtube com/watch?v=2K96bl_rHoY - a prime example of a report baiting ""deathmatching"" report by a cop sent by the crim as a defense from the weekend. Why would the average crim want the hate that comes along with being associated with such people?
- The switching difficulty/rigidity
The server simply isn't fluid enough to make switching between crim side and cop side easy, and over time it has actually become more of a lifetime choice. There has been so many changes to the cop side over the last few years like fewer squads to choose from and the Desert Eagles ban on gangs that made it way too restrictive to bother. Because if you join the cop side and want a break or switch back, you'll undo all the progress (DE/HLS/SAI) you made.
The only counter-argument is that CLO is gang-restricted, but cop side is not in a position to make demands when it can't fill three 4-door cars at peak time, especially when opening CLO to cops would make cops even less active.
Also the disappearance of groups like SAP and the recent inactivity of OB (probably down to new jail?) has reduced crim-side groups to basically CLO only. So if you make the switch but want to play around as a criminal sometimes, your only options are drug dealer. Not that fun.
And it makes the Group Management ban on new criminal-like groups even more confusing. There's literally only one and it isn't even under GM supervision. The other is inactive and there used to be like 5 or 6. CLO & CeM & SAP & OB used to exist at the same time and it worked fine.
It's a funny irony that the most active DE HQ members (Terry and Strong) are both criminals, actually.
- Why the actual fuck are PC spawns locked?
I can't find the reason for this. They should be public spawns. Trainee itself should be eliminated as a spawn. Don't know about Dog since the hitbox is shitty, unless you restrict it to Turkish IPs since they're all dogs anyway.
- The people making the decisions are ignoring average cops
Don't really want to moan about other admins / group HQs but a major problem lies here as well. There's an illusion among people making decisions that they are helping cop side or decreasing success rates when they aren't.
An MIT squad member couldn't give a shit whether HLS are allowed to attend LV bankrobs or not. They aren't HLS and you've made it impossible for them to join anyway.
A SAFP member with 250 hours couldn't give a shit about your BR defence rules which were made to protect your house-spawn-spamming 5 seconds away from the bank because they don't have 100 mil to waste on an icon right outside.
I can't think of a single gameplay or rule change in the last year or 2 which made cop side easier for the average cop, despite so many new fucking rules and gameplay/mapping changes. Except vending machines.
The entire 10-Squad rule literally hurts the squad side a lot more than it hurts the criminal side, and the whole fact that GMs & Squad leaders don't see it the same way makes it a comedic tragedy. 2 of last 5 ThC members are taken directly from squads. Latinos who have literally nothing to do after 21:00 when bankrobs stop until 15:00 the next day.
That's not to say that you should invite every squad member to HLS or give every cop a spawn outside the bank whenever a BR is going on (then again, this is SAES, so I fully expect this to be taken onboard as a legitimate idea,) but simply think whether whatever you are doing is helping cops, or you and your friends. This goes to every squad HQ, DE/HLS/SAI HQ, GMs and developers.
TLDR Version/Fix options
Cop side is too easy & too boring alone, cop side reputation is too toxic, server is way too rigid making moving between cop and crim too difficult.
A - Reverse every gameplay and rule change in the last year or two to return to sanity because cops were more active back then anyway. Don't know about mappings, personally I feel jailbreaks have completely died since the new jail, might explain why it's 150 peak instead of 200 players now, not much to do.
B - Let crims open cop groups with the option of having a spawn and actively encourage them. Actual groups that behave like squads, just in a group format. Like SAPA in the past. It fixes up short term activity problems and long term people might move around more often because the server is more fluid and easier to switch sides.
C - Completely forget the whole idea of a squad and go down the APB:R style route. Kill-arrest across the whole map, reduce jail time to like 1 second per star and let cops turf. Basically turn cop side into a premium crim spawn. Then maybe people who like combat will join as well, instead of only people who like to rambo swing a stick.
People should have to worry less about how something they may do could cause an admin to admin jail them for it.
Jesus, this. Also might explain why money transporter is completely dead less than a month later considering it turned into an adminjail simulator on day one.