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Thread: Big 5 discussion 4. DEFCON & Objectives.

  1. #21
    Whitelisted Predator Survivor's Avatar
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    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.
    o7


    -Pierce

  2. #22
    Senior Member Casada_Radio's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by Casada_Radio; 06-14-2019 at 02:03 PM.
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  3. #23
    Moderator CryoDrake's Avatar
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    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.

  4. #24
    Member UnwaveringGrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awan View Post
    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
    Last edited by UnwaveringGrey; 10-05-2019 at 01:35 AM.
    Typically plays: Adan Perez - A Charlie marine. Otherwise playing DZ-###-Y, the runner that's running around spinning like a 6 year old on a sugar high.

  5. #25
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    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.

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