and why we shouldn't care.
Recently, the developers said this on their twitter:
Working heavy armor back into the tech tree. We had been thinking about removing it for cost reasons but we keep hearing you want it.
This update caused a large reaction from the community. It was a mix of nostalgia for HA (heavy armor) and e-disgust that the developers thought of removing HA in the first place. People attributed HA to be one of the signature features of NS1 (Natural Selection) and hell, the logo for UWE (Unknown World Entertainment) is a heavy armored marine holding a flag. Those people are not wrong to hold such high regard for HA in NS1. However, what I am going to argue is that HA has no place in NS2. The gameplay environment that made HA great will not longer be there.
Heavy armor is a very boring piece of equipment. It provides three functions: increasing armor dramatically, reducing movement speed slightly and providing immunity to spores. It essentially increases survivability at a fairly hefty cost of 40 resources and research required from the prototype lab. The nostalgia we are all getting is from (in my opinion) the actual squad behavior it encourages. It makes sense for marines to stick together to maintain each others armor with welders. Normally, sending a bunch of unarmored marines with welders would often result all of them killed and the resources that were spent for welders lost. This is not the case since with HA, a marine is actually quite likely to survive an encounter and warrant welder treatment. The end result is a squad of armored marines walking through dark corridors exterminating the hives with the aliens doing their best to stop you. That was awesome and the â€œHeavy Trainâ€ made for great memories.
I said earlier that HA has no place in NS2. I stand by that and will cite three major changes that in my opinion, marginalize HA too much to warrant the real life monetary cost of implanting this piece of equipment into the game: code, art and all.Change 1:
Commander(s) no longer responsible for equipment.
QUOTE (Flayra @ Apr 11 2009, 06:43 PM) »
Fyi, Commanders don't drop weapons for players any more. â€¦ The commander is responsible for researching weapons though.
The resource model is now unified among the two factions. The commander has his own pool of resources and individual players on the ground (alien or marine) have their own personal pool to equip/evolve themselves. The commander is still responsible for technology research and the economy, but marine equips themselves by straddling over to the armory and buying what they need. The commander will need to actually convince players to save for a certain equipment loadout instead of arbitrary holding back purchasing by denying stuff to the marines until the moment is right. This essentially makes it a lot more difficult to equip a good portion of players in HA to create a Heavy Train. It would still be possible to organize one, but I donâ€™t think it will be as effective. This brings me to my second pointâ€¦Change 2:
Marines buy their own weapons.
QUOTE (Flayra @ Apr 11 2009, 06:43 PM) »
â€¦ Players on the ground buy their own weapons at an armory. â€¦
The new resource system isnâ€™t just going to make Heavy Trains less common, it is also going to make them a lot less effective. NS2 is going to be balanced very differently from NS1 because it will assume that marines on average will be better equipped. Outfitting marines no longer means the commander has to set up building resource towers or researching upgrades. There isnâ€™t going to be that economical weight and rarity associated with marine equipment anymore. It would only make sense to reduce the strength of their equipment overall. Change 2:
Squads and infantry portals.
Charlie finished basic squad spawning. You can +use the infantry portal to spawn near the last squad you were in.
This is the biggest ender to the HA for me and that is the fact that you will no longer need it to have an authentic squad experience. Marines are going to already have a very tangible benefit to moving together and that is being to be reinforced remotely. It does not matter if you live or die, but as long as at least one person lives. You no longer need a exorbitant amount of armor to survive the long walk to the hive in the game.
I believe that Heavy Armor will have no place in NS2. The already uninteresting on paper HA is going to be less effective and heavy trains are going to be less common in addition will no longer need to be â€œheavyâ€. That said, I would love of a re-imagining of the Heavy Armor because space marines in power armor is pretty awesome.