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View Full Version : Big 5 discussion 4. DEFCON & Objectives.



awan
05-18-2019, 01:15 AM
As intelligent as intelligence officers may be, even us burrower/IO mains on the dev team can't seem to figure DEFCON out. Not say its broken, but we do think it is, at this moment, obtuse and not that interesting to engage with. We are actively working on approaching objectives, and intend to experiment with tying DEFCON points to map objectives, rather than a mindless egghunt. As well as ties to potential research expansions with xeno corpse retrieval. This Big Five item asks a lot, and probably requires a lot of work, and such, is only in the planning phase, with maintenance directed to the current system in place. It will be updated to a best fit stable position before a full rework is properly considered, if ever deemed totally necessary.

When you want to discuss this big 5 item. Do it in here!

Bad_Apple
05-18-2019, 01:46 AM
Personally I have three suggestions


Easier Defcon
Even the longest rounds really grind down when the marines try to get Defcon. Nuke seems to be extremely rare. Maybe more points for dead aliens as that discourages a lot of meta-ish strategies (and insta-gibbing runners with RPGs)
Bigger purchasing pool
More things to purchase, and points to purchase more. I think if the CO could choose more options for their operation in the begining and as it goes further. Points for marines, TC, PO, RO, new crew members are there but you pretty much get to choose one for each defcon. I think if the marines and reqs starting points were optional, so a CO could go with a big tank gun and grumpy marines for an operation start would add more variety. Or go without any support to try and get a nuke earlier. Basically more points to use, and things to use them for (even if it locks currently 'free' things behind defcon purchases) for round variety and command strategies.
Also Spec kits would be a nice option, gives a way of replacing specs in longer rounds at reasonable expense.
Corporate liason
Should get a play in the intel game. As I suggested elsewhere, a 'Prisoners Dilema' mechanic between him and the MPs would be best - benefits for working together, but you can get more if you screw over the other side, and if both are working against each each other, that's a bad time for everyone.
CL could get order cool guns, PMCs, maybe some killer drones that are good against xenos but also target marines.
Little bit of Fluff
I don't know where we are with copyright, but some of the intel to have some fluff to what they are, eg: protien polysaccharide exoskeletons, molecular acid bodily fluids, tele-neural linkages. Just a bitta flavor, helps IO and CLs RP

Foolosopher
05-18-2019, 03:01 AM
I have a problem with how DEFCON works around maps

You see, the maps weren't designed for DEFCON. They're full of flanks and useless buildings that make it impossible for either a small group to roam around to collect intel or the whole force to explore the map without being flanked from behind or giving xenos more area to claim.

This leads to the issue with IOs: sure, they might be fun, the thrill of exploring the map risking being attacked by xenos; but outside of LV, they won't be able to do shit (and that's because LV has both the fog and 90% of intel in a small area).

Personally, I think DEFCON would work out better if maps were more linear: as in, marines try to make progress into the colony, and as they reach each room, they can get intel. Kinda like how xenos progress through WO from the gate to the garrison. Also, by linearity I don't mean the maps should be room after room, but rather be structured in a way that makes sure that areas inbetween the LZs and the frontline are safe for collecting intel and building defenses.

WinterClould
05-18-2019, 06:09 AM
I despise any idea by anyone that the CL should be involved in any way that could put them in any potential conflict with the USCM. Only if the CL's role is completely beneficial to the USCM and not even mandatory would I accept any CL/WY involvement in defcon. Last thing we need is the CL becoming some grief role or meta griefed because players think they might be mechanically fucking with the marines. We know people already play CLs who want to fuck the uscm and we know our MPs are lore then happy to grief someone so let's just not fuck over the CL role by adding actual mechanical ways for them to fuck each other over.

Luckly I know the devs are smart enough cookies to see the problems like I do so they won't do that.


Also not a fan of total easier defcon after they've made is easier and easier every other update. Defcon 1 should stay rare for those really hellish rounds. But maybe it would actually be a good idea to have earlier states of defcon come fairly quickly. Defcon 2 should still take effort but we should probably get it every round the IOs actually do their job.

Would like defcon to give rewards that you actually might have to think about which you choose tho. Right now it's easy smart shit to get req points first thing in the morning, then respawns for dchat half way in. Ez obvious choices youd be dumb not to go with. More points would prolly help with this so people can afford to actually sperg on things like the tank or whatever.

Bad_Apple
05-18-2019, 09:35 AM
I despise any idea by anyone that the CL should be involved in any way that could put them in any potential conflict with the USCM. Only if the CL's role is completely beneficial to the USCM and not even mandatory would I accept any CL/WY involvement in defcon. Last thing we need is the CL becoming some grief role or meta griefed because players think they might be mechanically fucking with the marines. We know people already play CLs who want to fuck the uscm and we know our MPs are lore then happy to grief someone so let's just not fuck over the CL role by adding actual mechanical ways for them to fuck each other over.

Luckly I know the devs are smart enough cookies to see the problems like I do so they won't do that.


Also not a fan of total easier defcon after they've made is easier and easier every other update. Defcon 1 should stay rare for those really hellish rounds. But maybe it would actually be a good idea to have earlier states of defcon come fairly quickly. Defcon 2 should still take effort but we should probably get it every round the IOs actually do their job.

Would like defcon to give rewards that you actually might have to think about which you choose tho. Right now it's easy smart shit to get req points first thing in the morning, then respawns for dchat half way in. Ez obvious choices youd be dumb not to go with. More points would prolly help with this so people can afford to actually sperg on things like the tank or whatever.

The way I'd do it with the Prisoner Dilemma angle is probably give the CL some intel straight up. If he shares it with the IOs, they both get some benefit, but the CL would also be getting some graces. A CO wouldn't want the MPs arresting a potential source of intel. Then the CL can either help the marines win the op, or maybe go his own and screw the USMC (or rather command, cause marines mostly like just winning) if things go south.

Basically they have a choice, and working together with the corp and actually physically helping the IOs would buy them many good graces with command and MPs - but I don't think we should remove the slimey path for them either.

Ideally maximum co-operation has maximum benefit to the operation, but the CL could feel free to get more for their-self if command is eating crayons cause why give them more points to buy FF OBs

Steelpoint
05-18-2019, 10:05 AM
Maybe I'm dumb, but what is the objective of the DEFCON system?

I've heard some devs/people claim its to end stalemates (then people started arguing over what kind of stalemate), but I've rarely seen DEFCON put a end to a stalemate as usually what occurs is the IO's (assuming competence) scour the Marine held territory for all the intel they can find, get stuck around DEFCON 3 to 2, and never reach DEFCON 1.

The only time I've seen a Nuke deployed, not even detonated, was from admin intervention to put a end to an extreme stalemate. The round in question ended prior to the detonation since the threat of the nuke finally forced the xenos to commit to an assault, which they died in trying to accomplish.

So, my question stands, what is the full objective of the DEFCON system?

Madventurer
05-18-2019, 04:53 PM
IMO DEFCON should have a ticker that slowly but surely gives marines extra points. Perhaps enough to get 10-20% total in one hour. That number should probably not be final.

This would allow marines to make a stand when DEFCON is getting higher, but would not allow marines to just sit it out, since nobody wants to wait 5h purely to nuke the place.
Meanwhile xenos would be under some pressure to finish off the marines so they can't just delay all day in the caves.

awan
05-19-2019, 09:10 AM
I think that you are getting something wrong in this topic.
Imo/afaik Defcon was put in to prevent xeno delaying.
Now here is the thing. It should not be a system to encourage marine delaying.
There is a huge difference between the 2. The nuke is not intended to end a marine fob stalemate.
It is there to stop xeno's who delay. So if the Marines are playing well and the aliens are just delaying it is an alternative to get them out.
But if you are at the fob stuck it should not be a system giving you a win.
Because then you start to encourage marine delaying. And that is something I at least do not want.

Steelpoint
05-19-2019, 11:33 AM
Even in that case I've seen many rounds where the Xenos are down to single digits and they succeed in delaying the round for 30 mins to over a hour and the DEFCON system never even reaches DEFCON 2 let alone 1.

Furthermore I was in reference to stalemates. The fact stalemates involve Marines hunkering inside FoBs is a consequence of the game forcing Marines to stay inside FoBs.

The only time I've seen Marines reach DEFCON 1 was when the Marines intentionally delayed the round so they could reach DEFCON 1, I've yet to see Marines naturally reach DEFCON 1 in normal gameplay conditions, even in rare hyper-extended rounds lasting 5 hours, winning or losing aside.

If the objective of the DEFCON system was to stop xeno delaying, it has failed to do that in my opinion. Trijent has done more to stop delaying with its Xeno Sensor Tower than DEFCON ever has, and Trijent is a Xeno's paradise.

awan
05-19-2019, 12:28 PM
Even in that case I've seen many rounds where the Xenos are down to single digits and they succeed in delaying the round for 30 mins to over a hour and the DEFCON system never even reaches DEFCON 2 let alone 1.

Furthermore I was in reference to stalemates. The fact stalemates involve Marines hunkering inside FoBs is a consequence of the game forcing Marines to stay inside FoBs.

The only time I've seen Marines reach DEFCON 1 was when the Marines intentionally delayed the round so they could reach DEFCON 1, I've yet to see Marines naturally reach DEFCON 1 in normal gameplay conditions, even in rare hyper-extended rounds lasting 5 hours, winning or losing aside.

If the objective of the DEFCON system was to stop xeno delaying, it has failed to do that in my opinion. Trijent has done more to stop delaying with its Xeno Sensor Tower than DEFCON ever has, and Trijent is a Xeno's paradise.

I can agree that at this time it is not working like how I want it to work. But in general its a wip hence its part of the big 5. And we are adjusting stuff for defcon. We just wanna make sure we do it the right way.

Steelpoint
05-19-2019, 12:30 PM
Fair enough. Keep up the good work.

reuben owen
05-20-2019, 03:49 PM
Defcon 1 right now just forces a timed version of the Xenos pushing the LZ fob fight, something that happens most rounds and it doesn't directly benefit those who assist in gathering intel

I'd rather that defcon 1 sent in a (marine friendly) death squad (echo squad, whatever you wanna call them, just make them strong as death squad) of 5-10 people to take care of remaining xenos,
and at the same time when it activates it changes the end of round conditions for victory for both sides to planetside elimination only

ex)
-defcon 1 activates
-shuttle is auto called up from LZ in 1 minute
-deathsquad spawns on almayer and boards LZ, along with anyone else on almayer that wants to
-after few minutes shuttle goes back down, once it goes down it is on lockdown the rest of the game/usuable
-end of round changes so that the last side remaining *on the planet* wins

those who have given more points towards defcon are priority selected for the deathsquad position, regardless if they're still alive or dead, so the more they looked the more likely they'll get to have a fun reward for their efforts and also prevents clueless people from getting to do it

really I don't find attacking the nuke fun, it's just a super FOB which can happen even in normal rounds
I'd rather fight souped up marines

xeno main so I don't know how easy it is to gather defcon/how much it can be cheesed, or if it even tracks who gets credit for getting intel but still

Swagile
05-20-2019, 07:36 PM
The biggest problem I see with DEFCON is, as stated before, a lack of options.

And on top of that, stupid options on that.

For example, DEFCON 2. Outside of LV, you will get DEFCON when you are in a prolonged game and either:

- Have already won
- Have already lost

There is no inbetween. Because of how DEFCON works, it is based on map control. If you already control 80% of the map that is needed to get DEFCON 2, you no longer need DEFCON 2; so tank LTB is fucking useless outside of LV where you can get DEFCON 2 before the fog even drops.

On top of this, the pure lack of options. You can't save up your points and try something like double emergency troop reinforcements so you can get two specs and SL's to replace your losses, you can't get spec kits instead of Req points to replace Specs with living PFC's so you can push out of FOB, you can't order 3-4 cryo marine reinforcements if you hit DEFCON 3-2 instead of Troop reinforcements so you can actually stay in the game and push out.

Its always the same braindead choices which don't care about the actual battlefield situation; you could be winning or losing and need certain things but all you can pick is:

DEFCON 5 - Req points
DEFCON 4 - Cryo reinforcements
DEFCON 3 - Troop reinforcements
DEFCON 2 - Tank parts, 1 req points OR all Req points

Choosing anything else would be wasting your DEFCON points and would be actively throwing the round at that point unless it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, such as if your RO orders 3 sentry guns which forces you to get more req points instead of reinforcements because they are retarded (this has happened to me).

reuben owen
05-20-2019, 11:14 PM
atm DEFCON does not spice the round at all and doesn't incentive the player directly for working toward it instead of towards a xeno corpse

Kael
05-22-2019, 01:57 PM
As someone who plays IO all the rounds i will like to give you guys some feedback about DEFCON and IOs in general:

-Even when you can gather all the intel (papers, disks, folders, terminals, etc..) you are not able to even hit DEFCON 3 sometimes due to a large number of dead marines and lizards.
-We ALWAYS, even in rounds where I manage to gather all the intel in the map (LV), have disks without passwords.
-The IOs are never assigned to any squad and when they are is really hard to gather intel so you are most of the time doing your job alone.
-IOs equipment right now is just bad no matter from where you see it and here is why:
1-IOs armor sucks ANY alien can send me to crit with 1 hit, I actually remove it from me and pick up the heavy armor plate/SL armor if possible. The small nerf in speed means nothing when you can take more than 1 hit without been in crit.
2-The binoculars are a joke and I don't know why they have it at all, is dark you can't see shit and even in the late game is worthless, I always drop it and pick up the one who can laze from a radio kit so at least I'm useful in late game if we are in the FOB trapped.
3-We are 80% of the time in the dark so we, again, need something from the radio kit, the flare gun.
4-Even with the flaregun (Who right now is bugged so each time I fire a flare I have to turn off and on the light of my armor in order to make it work again) motion detector is a MUST HAVE to know if there is any alien close to me.
5-My ID can't actually open -any- APC so I always need to take a screwdriver, multitool, and wire cutter to hack the APC and allow me to change the battery.
6-We have 0 medical knowledge so we can't use pills while we are alone in the dark, so each scratch is lethal and we have to take with us a medikit.
7-Doctors are most of the time busy and we don't have access to the morgue or the alien container to place the dead lizards/marines.

In resume, they have little to no space to take everything they need to survive/Do their job and even if they survive they can't place the dead marines/Xenos where they should be to gain the points and the game values WAY more corpse over papers, disks, folders, terminals and items.

kroack
05-23-2019, 02:50 PM
Good discussion.

I've always sorted wanted like a marine special ops reinforcement wave either from cryo or a shuttle. Basically like halo spartans or navy SEALs. Maybe as a defcon asset.

Madventurer
05-24-2019, 06:17 PM
I still stand by having a ticking score for DEFCON, just slow enough to strongly deter marine delay.

LittleBlast
05-26-2019, 02:02 PM
One thing I would enjoy is Defcon levels adding additional options for the ASRS retrieval to automatically give, such as returning explosives to the pool, and one of the options for defcon 2/1 being the ability to purchase spec kits for like 100/120 points but idk.

WinterClould
06-01-2019, 02:49 AM
Defcon giving a series of passive non-combat related benefits outside of purely point based ones could be a dandy idea.

Think a series of small buffs just as it goes up. Faster Elevator speed in cargo, Shorter delay between annoncements for command by a few seconds every level, Speed up the dropships travel time. Speed up for the tank maybe(very small)? Reduced breakdowns for the ships engines so engis dont need to worry about it so much once rounds get long in the teeth. Faster auto doc speed to compensate for potential doctors going SSD?

Just very very small buffs to these things that maybe you couldnt tell the difference between each step between, but compairing the first and last you'd actually see a nice sized buff. These would happen automatically and not be something you have to buy so you can just get the benefits without having to worry if its worth it at all.


Another idea I'd like to see tested would be if EVERY level of defcon gave you most of the things you could spend points on. Like, if you got the cargo points, the dropship, the tank points, mayyyyyybe the renforcements and whatever else EVERY level of defcon (maybe scaled down). Just to see how it would effect things really. To see if this would even have any kind of impact at all on the balance of things. Could show the weight of weather or not some of these things are ANY kind of worth it or if youre just throwing points.

juliansl
06-01-2019, 03:18 PM
Defcon unlocking Requisition equipment sounds like a great idea!

Survivor
06-01-2019, 11:14 PM
Through the round, there should be a gradual change to lower the amount of points you need to get the nuke. Sometimes, the DEFCON percentage stays at a stalemate up and down for a long ass time. This would help stop that.

Casada_Radio
06-14-2019, 01:53 PM
Read/skimmed this forum and I agree with what Swagile said in respect of how Defcon 2 outside of LV maps will only happen either xenos or marines are winning, which sees little development in real Defcon games.

From my view, and how I think Defcon can be better, is a better form of centralisation of intel points where it makes sense. Also fixing of some bugs.

Intel Centralisation

First ask ourselves: Why is it that LV is the one and only map that is the most successful Defcon map?

The answer is simple, centralisation. Intel is conveniently placed.

Look at LV, 80% of the intel are placed in the Colony itself which safely occupies (what?) 20% of the map. The other 20% are found in the more xeno controlled areas that is not within the Hive itself.

So 80%, given time, allows you to get Defcon 3. It is not to say it is easy since IOs still do get harassed. But because it is so convenient and its close distance to LZ1 and how marines can quickly gain control of the colony, IO decap/death does not tend to happen as much. ALTHOUGH, they do get harassed. In short, IOs have decent chance to get intel as long as the marines work with them.

Another 20%, if marines want to commit to Defcon 2, are found in Tfort, Containers(East Barrens), Sand Temple, and West Barrens. These are xeno controlled territories if they bother to guard. This is a decent chance for marines to take and xenos to defend, and time varies depending on the fight itself. So there is no guarantee that marines can bombrush to Defcon 2 so quickly unless they are so well coordinated, the fog drops, or xenos are bald. Defcon 2 tend to happen, if well executed, at 13:10 ish.(This does not happen all the time).

Despite that, due to of course bugs where not all the paper documents show all of the discs passwords, Defcon 1 cannot be reached and it is difficult to reach. But it is reachable, there was a round where Cheng almost got to Defcon 1 in a very long 3 hour game. Had the researcher not screwed us by ignoring our xeno bodies for defcon, we would've gotten it. But we were close to it with 100% intel snatched planetside with 30 xeno bodies and good housekeeping of marine bodies groundside generating 1% a minute.

THAT is LV.

Now we ask the second question: Why then does Solaris Ridge(Big Red) & Prison not have the same effect?

Simple, the intel spread is ridiculous.

Let's start with Big Red, you have intel all over the map, safe to say 70-75% of the map has intel. You even have intel in Canteen which...quite frankly makes no sense to me RP wise, same thing about finding intel in Bar. What kind of an irresponsible colonist would put intel in such a place? But that is pure story telling, main point is the spread is too far.

Same problem with Prison, intel is spread like 90% of the map. The spread is sillier than Big Red and due to the nature of the map, Xenos have easier map control than Big Red. You may argue that marines if they play well can counter this. This is true, and can be counter argued. But let's say we have normal or baldie or incoherent units, which is 60% of the time marines are facing this situation, can they obtain map control like this? And let's not talk about the spread and RP logic in this. Why would you place intel in the Canteen and areas where prisoners would likely take them? But that is RP

This problem creates draggy time, IOs cant get intel fast enough due to travel distance. This also creates security issues, due to the mobility of xenos, IOs are at a large disadvantage and are easily harassed. Given time IOs would be wiped OR IOs would be weared down till they are forced to evac, hence delaying. Further delays would hinder any real Defcon development as by then the turn and tide of the battle would've been decided.

That is problem no 1.

Problem no 2, Intel are also in Hive Spots: Research and Lambda. We can count Viro if devs decide to put that as hive spawn again. Literally a hive will defend what is probably 35% of Big Red's Intel. And since these are quite common spawns, how are you going to expect an IO to sneak into the hive and nab intel when marines are pushing?

Prison is worse, 40% of the intel are in Civ Residences which are essentially Hive Spawns 90% of the time. Unlike Big Red where you may get a hive in the caves, here you will very likely get a hive in any intel spot, especially Civ Residences. This is the second hindrance to any real Defcon development, so it forces marines to metarush hives in these two maps to obtain intel quickly before Xenos can redeploy, consolidate, and fortify intel positions. By the time marines do a successful rush, most likely there will be high casualty on either sides, which would tend to decide the turn of the battle.

This is the second problem.

So, how do we solve them? Simple, centralise the intel in areas where it make sense. And I dont mean putting them in areas where marines can snatch them so quickly in 25 minutes before xenos could react. Rather we place them in places where it makes sense.

So for Big Red, my proposal is to centralise intel in the following areas:

Easy to get:
Administration
Filtration
Engineering
EVA
Office Complex
Virology
Hydroponics

Within Xeno's area of contention:
Either Lambda or Research (Pick one instead of having two)

I think the stretch is fair in this aspect. Now choosing the xeno area of contention is tricky in this aspect due to the nature of the map where hive is very vulnerable to steam rolling. Hive defences have to be made in caves/lambda/research. We cant have two at the same place, dividing marines to this extent forces them. We should have them in the either or circumstances. For example, if the hive spawns in Lambda or anywhere not in Research, then research should be the intel spot. Same thing vice versa. You may say marines can meta this knowledge for hive location. I would argue that the xenos can also abuse this so balance is not an issue AND xenos can also spawn in caves, which is essential. But I think a more creative way of dealing with this is possible.

For Prison, I have a more solid suggestion:

Easy to Get:
Yard
Warden's office
Research Department
Infirmary
*Classified*
Security Department

Xeno Contentions:
VIP Cellblocks
Library

This may be odd and I know VIP makes no sense RP wise but this is the more solid idea. VIP is not a hive position. HOWEVER, it is close enough to hive to contend like how Tfort, Sand Temple and Containers are close to LV's hive for contention. Having a Library is good xeno contention as it is very far away from the northern sector of the prison. In this map, marines dividing into two forces means defeat due to xeno mobility. Central control is possible to make contention easy but this can be countered by xenos if they play well. Library and VIP will protect xenos from LZ2 rush for intel too. Alternatively you can swap Library for Crashed Ship or just add Crashed ship as another location.

Centralising like this shouldn't make things tooooo easy for marines, even in LV marines can fail in Defcon, so I doubt for bigger colonies like these two would fare better. So better centralisation off the section list is also nice.

Bugs

This is pretty straight forward. I know it is better fixed but recently when I played IO there are still Discs with no passwords and 2 papers pointing to the same discs. I recall the match with CO Cheng I mentioned earlier that I had 2 unreadable manuals, 6-7 discs not yet cracked, and about 2(?) Terminals not yet uploaded. We did this and got to Defcon 2. Pretty neat. This is in consideration that:

-We cleared planetside intel
-Research screwed us by not placing xeno bodies in Containment, 30ish bodies not inside the containment itself

I hope this gives a good figure. I believe if all intel are mopped up with enough marine and xeno bodies secured, Defcon 1 is a reality just by ground sweeping.

Effect in Gameplay

If this actually works, and Defcon becomes a lot more viable, then I foresee a shift in gameplay if players adapt to it:

-Steamrolling issue will be solved. Xenos and marines have to play more solid map control tactics now. If xeno oopsies their map control and leaves a big doorway to Hive, well they cant complain of marine metarush now can they? (This has to come with a supplement made in another point about xeno buffs below)

-Defcon becomes more like insurance, just in case Marines mess up groundside. Meaning they are more important now.

-Xenos cant delay, and if marines do good map control, the queen cant' run all over Big Red and avoid ungas. Although Ice has a different story, it forces xenos to come out of hiding and attack marines in key areas.

-Certain Mutators may be added back to buff xenos a lil to fight defcon assets. Xenos rely on mobility to escape ungas, like kiting marines and running around in circles. If you force them to fight for map control so that they dont get nuke and LTB tank, then they require some more solid buffs. Buffs that allows certain map controls.(Not like they can build everywhere with debris and unweedable areas.)

-Req is going to be a lot more important. You will need more mats to make checkpoints to block things like Ravager pounce and Crusher charge while IOs do their job, as the fight is now focused on Intel instead of Queen now.

-Map control, Map control, Map control. How you deploy and plan differs. Players are forced to innovate ways to get intel. In that sense, we will be needing wider range of Defcon asset selections that helps marines.

But all these are pure speculation.

This is my take on the current and future of Defcon.

CryoDrake
08-10-2019, 08:40 PM
For defcon pool i would say that you should add at defcon 2 if the tank is FUBAR 2 unique ob ammo to be unlocked:blue fire ob and green fire ob.
The blue should have a smaller range as the blue can stay more while green a big one.

Another idea would be for defcon 3 emergency troop to spawn 1 or 2 tcs if both dead on in cryo as this would work a lot better for marines when the tcs are in cryo and you still got to wait or killed somehow and tank still working.

Another one that is unlocked for defcon 5 which is awakening ship staff which would awake doctors,mts,ce,mps.cmo,SOs,etc... if they got killed because xeno on alamayer got most of them quick.

UnwaveringGrey
10-05-2019, 01:33 AM
Imo/afaik Defcon was put in to prevent xeno delaying.
If that is the reason that Defcon exists then it seems to me that there is a conflict of purpose in the Defcon system. Defcon exists now as a bunch of reward tiers for the marines, and the final reward tier is that they don't have to deal with xeno delay tactics. I don't think that not dealing with xeno delay tactics should be a reward for having good IOs. A lot of the other posts in this thread highlight the fact that Defcon only really works to stop alien delay if the IOs are competent and at least a little lucky. Even then, the nuke needs to be taken down to the FOB, secured, and guarded until detonation. If setup takes about five minutes and the nuke has a ten (or twenty?) minute timer, that means the round will go for another fifteen to twenty five minutes after Defcon 1 is achieved. In that fifteen to twenty five minute period it's likely that the marines could just hunt down the remaining xenos anyway. From an RP perspective Defcon kinda makes sense, with a system of escalation of response as the seriousness of the threat is realized. From a game design perspective the nuke is an exceedingly difficult to earn solution to a problem with more easily accessible (though often bloodier) solutions.

Consider though the new RP playstyle test, and it's possible impact on Defcon. The USCM knows that colonies and stations have been going dark, and that these "xenomorphs" are responsible. They understand the serious nature of the threat and aren't afraid to scorch some earth to contain it. The marines know that they're going up against bugs, they know some of the details about their enemy, and they go in with a mission. Three objectives. First, secure any survivors. Second, recover the colony blackbox/research core/ AI board/mcguffin. Third, contain the threat, no matter the cost. Ultimately, the colony and the colonists are expendable, so long as the data is brought back and the threat is contained. Unfortunately, the mcguffin is right in the location of the main hive (or otherwise deep in xeno territory). It has a release sequence that takes a few minutes but can be initiated by anyone with at least [trained] in engineering, and stopped by any xeno slash. If it is recovered, brought back, and verified by the AI though then a special OB round spawns in req. A nuclear OB. It can be loaded and fired like a normal OB.The CO can order it fired as soon as humanly possible for the ultimate FF, or order the marines to fallback and let them quickly evac. Either way, this ends the round about ten minutes after the main hive is utterly smashed.

From an RP standpoint this is cool. The marines can lose the ground war and end up desperately fighting for their lives on the Almayer. The marines can utterly smash the hive and hunt down all of the surviving xenos, securing the colony with blood and lead. The marines can smash their way into the hive, scatter the xenos, and fallback shipside before nuking them from orbit (It is the only way to be sure). Some marines and a canny commander could pull off some spec ops shit and yoink the mcguffin out from the center of the hive. Lots of good stories here.

From a game design standpoint it also makes it more of a reliable counter to the delayliens that we all know and love/hate. You aren't reliant upon robust IOs to deal with four aliens running around prison or ice and just dragging things out. Marines just need to have a single PFC with an engineering support kit left alive to secure the victory. It also allows for lots of interesting things to be done with the existing Defcon system. Defcon rewards and difficulty can be adjusted without it effecting the nuclear option endgame. Defcon 1 could be made easier, or could contain truly crazy rewards without it effecting the game too much. Defcon can simply focus on the IOs earning rewards for the marines. Continue using the existing system but flavor it as the IOs securing additional intelligence for military intelligence as a secondary objective given to them.

Rather than consolidating the intelligence so that it's easier to earn Defcon on more spread out maps, the devs could instead spread out the Defcon spawns to make it more difficult to get high Defcon on maps like LV. The flow of the game could be altered to not be as reliant upon Defcon, there is no incentive for either side to slow play, and Defcon can exist simply to spawn rewards for squads of marines that properly guard their IOs or crazy robust IOs that can operate solo.

EDIT: Sorry for the slight thread necro, but that's my 2

Twoscythe
11-17-2019, 09:28 AM
Arise Thread Sottoth! I too must give my two cents.

*ahem*

There are a few things about the defcon system that are janky, broken or wierd, but overall, I think it's pretty salvageable. My main gripes, complete with suggested fixes (or what even is the point?) in rough order or priority:

1. Almost nobody in the USCM knows what the mission objectives are, and the briefing is typically an LRP vaudeville show, instead of an honest attempt to help with this. The closest I have ever seen to a briefing addressing defcon, was an IO handing out a scavenger hunt list to SLs, asking for documents and xeno corpses, while the acting CO stood at the podium and told racist jokes. That's not even an exaggeration.

MY fixes:

A. Anyone running a briefing, that 100 people have to attend, needs to know that they'll be held accountable for LRP BS. These are currently 20 minutes of torture.

B. Print them some speech notes on a little card, and spawn it next to all the maps.

It just needs to be a rough list of things to work into the speech.

Your Speech Notes, Sir:

Colony [map name here] has sent a distress signal.
We believe the attackers are these "xenomorphs."
Their larva is a parasite, that gestates inside a living host. (Maybe lose the movie reference? I'll let the lawyers decide.)
Rescue and debrief the surviving civilians.
Exterminate or repel the alien invaders.
(Once high command realize how vile the threat is/how much this will hurt their WY shares, they'll consider the nuke to exterminate/cover up all traces of the hive.)
Gather any intel you can on this new threat for high command. Alien bodies, medical records, anything that might have some data the locals collected on these things.
Try to restore the local utilities enough that we can use them.
Seriously, don't die. (It'd reflect badly on my service record.)
Recover your dead and wounded! The USCM never leaves a man behind! Hoo-Rah!



2. The xenos often think time is on their side, even after it has turned against them. This happens especially when they are down, but not out, because skirmishing, nursing captures, evolving and maturing all take time. This often leads to xenos stalling for time and getting slowly picked of in grueling cave fighting, when they should be waging proper guerrilla warfare.

My fix: It'd be nice if the USCM had a few highly visible ways of reminding the xenos that time is nobody's friend. At each defcon level, give the marines some slightly better toys to play with, that are only a little better than the stock weapons but increasingly flashy, with noticeable changes to the visual or audio effects, to clue in the xenos that the USCM is also evolving.

e.g. Smartguns shooting brightly colored bullets, flamers/CAS/OB/Tank now make a new color of fire (What haven't we used yet? purple?), rifles fitted with new barrel chargers that make a distinctly different noise, shotgun shells that stun only slightly longer than slugs, but have a visual sparking or arcing effect when they hit you (Nemo-Tesla slugs?).

Say that Command has authorized the release of some prototype weapons from the research department, and have researchers deliver them to either supply or the hanger, depending on whether supply has cryoed. Gives them something new to do. Also unlock the ability to order that level's toys at supply, in case there's no researchers, but I expect that researchers will be more likely to stick out long rounds if it means they get to play flamer fuel santa claus, every time the defcon level rises.



3. Defcon is a score for the USCM faction as a whole, not just the IOs. This is a good thing, but it's janky how the IOs are at the center of the process, and often have no opportunity to give feedback to most of the crew. Outside of their (often not given, because of idiot COs) body guard squads. If the marines fight smart and take fewer casualties, that helps defcon. If the marines are bald, and die or burst, that hurts the credibility of your operation. Apparently, nobody wants to be the politician that supported a ground war that got a bunch of marines killed. You can offset that partially by collecting the corpses that result, but I'll see good intel teams hard pressed to raise defcon faster than their marines can lose it by dying. Conversely, no matter how good your marines are, they'll get nothing for gathering intel and (human or alien) corpses, if nobody is on the ship processing them.

My fix: Assign an IO to each squad, and give them access to squad comms. That way each squad has a liason with the IO team who can keep them appraised of the situation, and remind them not to do stupid stuff. A little bit of cajoling to stick together, watch out for counter attacks, and cover your wounded works wonders, in getting marines to play like real soldiers who don't just respawn in the next round. Overwatch and SL should be enough, but they aren't, so increasing the odds of someone with basic leadership skills being involved in a squad is really for the best. This also makes it much easier for IOs, whether travelling as a group or singly, to recruit the medics and marines they need for their expeditions into the dark. At the very least, the marines will have a rough idea how many of the IOs are still alive.

Honestly, this is an MRP solution, where the HRP solution would be to insist that COs, XOs and Overwatch officers do a better job of relaying information to the marines, but it's better than the current situation, even if it is an ugly hack and I don't like it.



4. Cryo refinforcements are a curse for an IO, not a blessing. These are the same chumps who just wandered off into a dark cave and got themselves capped and bursted. There's no reason to think that they won't do it again. They are as much reinforcements for the hive as for the Almayer. I've seen hives shattered and run down to just a handful, but then rebuilt to victorious levels by sheer dint of all the free meals that come spilling out of those cryo tubes. Cryo reinforcements are critical to the round, and we should keep them, but they are for the benefit of the ghosts, not the IOs. We need to shake the illusion that this is rewarding the IOs, and not just making their job harder, now that they've advanced to the next level.

My Fix:

Defcon 3 should also give them something nice. Some OB rounds, to kill a few of those human zerglings before the xenos get to them, seems fair.



5. The distribution of different intel types is too random.

My fix: It would seem a lot more natural if the smaller documents were scattered all over the station, but folders and discs should be concentrated primarily in places that make sense, much as data terminals are. Basically if a named map area has a data terminal, stick some of the good findables in that region, before you just sprinkle the last few around. It might also be nice to occasionally put discs, folders and notes in the pockets of the dead, ghostless colonists, so they can be a little more interesting.


6. Marines that try to help the IO, by taking the document pouch, often just end up delivering a pouch of intel to the alien hive, or the morgue. While picking over the bodies in a routed alien hive, or getting someone to open the morgue drawers for you can overcome these obstacles, it's annoying to think that people are unwittingly hurting their team.

My fix: Document pouches could be toggled, with an option to have them act normally, or just spill their contents all over the ground, any time the wearer is stunned or knocked down. You could say it's a WT feature, in case their agents are about to be kidnapped, or that you're just leaving it unbuttoned so that things can spill out. Whenever I spawn as an unarmed survivor with a document pouch, I feel like I need to metagame not putting any of my valuable work documents in it, just to not be a jerk, but though *even* an MRP standard seems to beg me to take my work with me, when I try to flee to safety. If my pouch was unbuttoned, I could stuff it full of the evidence of my heinous crimes, with a clean conscience.



7,8,9. Three problems, one solution:
A: Defcon often stalls out around 90% unless the hive is already, truly broken and just obviously stalling for time.
B. Defcon fails to take into account RP or event circumstances. Especially when admins are running events to change round flow up, defcon can get wierd.
C. MRP is a standard we all aspire to, but we often fall short, and that includes our IC leadership. We do have some good eggs, but we don't have good tools for rewarding and displaying those positive examples. We need some carrots to go with the ban stick.

My Fix: Give admins mods limited power to grant some extra points towards defcon for faxes to command. An impassioned plea over the humanitarian threat these creatures represent. Good news about the diplomatic envoy from the Preds? If it's in character, and well written, show it to all the ghosts (I know they get faxes already, but really push the link out there and say "This is the right way to do this.") and award some points. It shows the server as a whole that good RP is rewarded, and it helps the RP game on the ship matter to the shooty game on the ground, which can seem a little disconnected.

If any fax contains memes, send a deathsquad.