Ideas for the future of NS2
I have some general ideas for possible areas of expansion and change as a result of my, so far, short experience with NS2 (although I played NS1 like a fanatic,
I was 12 years old when it came out and simply loved it to bits).
Personally I am finding myself not enjoying the current weapon system for Marines. Late game, shotguns and grenade launchers often become essential for killing
higher lifeforms and taking out defences. As a result of weapons costing p.res, people often seem reluctant to 'take the risk' and get in there when it comes
to attacking as marines. This period of daudling seems to be frequently deadly or at least causes an attack to falter and die away.
As someone who frequently tries to take that risk and distract the defending, or attacking, aliens allowing my team to sweep up, I die quite alot. I enjoy this
generally, as often I get to axe the hive a bit or get a few lucky shotgun kills in before getting cut down in a frenzy of adrenaline and chomping. While fun,
this is usually short lived, as I find my p.res is totally nuked after just a couple of deaths. I believe different playstyles could be much better catered to
if marines were more dynamic in their gameplay.
And so I suggest that marines, instead of buying individual guns from the armoury, buy a class. Each class would come with a variable p.res cost and have various
advantages and disadvantages. For example:
- Slightly increased run speed
- Slightly increased build speed
- Has welder instead of pistol
- Wields shotgun
- Slightly increased armour
- Wields Assault Rifle, can be upgraded at p.res cost to Grenade launcher
- Provides slight damage boost to nearby teammates
- Perhaps increased axe damage
- Pyro (or whatever)
- Wields flamethrower
- Slightly increased pistol damage
- Perhaps increased axe damage instead of soldier
All very basic so far, but you get the idea. One thing fundemental to this model is that when you die, you respawn as the same class! This reduces the p.res sink
when taking heavy casualties (like when aliens have 3 onoses and 5 fades) and allows marines to use p.res to respond more dynamically to need and fulfill desired
gameplay roles. I know this seems too similar to the alien lifeform model, but to be honest I enjoy that model by far the most. Getting to literally pick what
im going to be as an alien is very fun, something which marines simply don't experience. When playing marines I find I feel the same the entire game, even when you
have a jetpack you are just the bog-standard marine.
It would be refreshing to see some kind of benefit to being the guy who likes to stay in base and build everything the comm drops or the guy who likes to run in
ahead of everyone and die valiantly to buy your team some more time to build that armoury. All of this is more at a base gameplay feel rather than score, feeling
useful is one thing I enjoy alot in this game, having a system that brings players closer to the role they play as is, in my opinion, the right direction to take.
Anyway, on to my next suggestion (although this one is a bit more far future).
As it stands now, I do not think NS2 is a marketable product. I bought it because I love natural selection and wanted to once again experience it's glories but think
about how it stands up to games generally at retail release and so far it is one gameplay mode with four maps. Not much to offer if they want to charge 20 - 25 pounds,
nearly full retail price. And so I have suggestions for more game modes to cater to different audiences.
Firstly: Derelict Space Station (last man standing)
This mode is to bring things back to the slow creeping fear of the unknown when playing natural selection. The mode will consist of a large non-linear area much like
maps already made, populated by infrequent arms labs and armouries. A team of some amount of marines (4-8 or something) will enter together and must scout the area.
Sticking together will be key as the stations population has mysteriously disappeared. Enter the alien team (1-3 perhaps at the beginning). It is the aliens job, of
course, to kill the marine team.
Each marine that dies will join the alien team in their relentless pursuit. The marines are weak at first making them vulnerable but slowly gain in strength as they
find arms labs (which provide a particular upgrade) and armouries (which allow for weapon selection). This provides the incentive of either sticking together and being
safer or spreading out a bit to gain upgrades faster. Having an armoury or lab provide a specific upgrade also allows map makers to tailor their map to how they want
a team to progress.
I don't think an onos has any place in this game mode but having the aliens gain in strength as they kill the marine team allowing for new lifeforms might work.
Although there would have to be some mitigating factor to prevent the alien team from all going fade as soon as that 3rd marine dies. Perhaps have it so the aliens have
p.res that slowly increases but their upgrades cost p.res. This way an alien can either wait for higher lifeforms and die more frequently or upgrade and have to wait
longer. This also prevents the first fade from being unbeatable as it will be unupgraded against a marine team that is likely at least partially upgraded. The gameplay
becomes more frantic and exciting as the marines die off as the remaining marines run about desperate to survive and find those last upgrades that may save them. I
think having the upgrade system be in slower increments to that of the normal game would prevent the marine team from simply holing up in the most defensible position
they can find.
At any rate, the numbers would have to be vastly different to that of the regular game to provide balance (stronger marines, weaker aliens, etc). Ultimately the goal
of this mode is to provide the excitment of creeping about as an alien, setting up ambushes and whatnot, to the lingering fear of the unknown when playing as a marine.
Hopefully this mode could be made to feel slow burning and more about teamwork in each fight than tactical play on a large scale.
Second: Infested colony (destroy the hive!)
This gameplay mode would be there to cater to the adrenaline junkies, it is a race against time to destroy the alien hive before the marines are over-whelmed. The
marines start in a well defended position (AI marines and turrets and whatnot, all for show, the area is functionally invincible). They then move down a hall-way like
map (with various side hallways and vents) towards the increasingly infested area at the other end. It is their job to overcome the alien defenses and destroy their
The alien team start at the other end and have a lot of mobility. They have vents above and below to get behind the marines. It is the alien's job to harry the marines
for as long as possible until the timer runs out. As the game progresses the aliens gain access to higher lifeforms making the game more frantic and difficult for the
marine side as they push closer to the hive and start to encounter static alien defenses. There could be some kind of Left 4 Dead style 'downed' mechanic on the marine
side to prevent a whole team being wiped out in one stroke, killed marines respawn at the beginning, meaning the marines either pull back to provide safe passage to
respawning members or hold fast and hope aliens bypassing them dont take the out.
Im not sure how the different weapons could be implemented into this game mode, perhaps have a class based system like suggested above.
I know these ideas are very 'in the long run, maybe', but I believe this kind of varying gameplay is what will be needed if Natural Selection 2 is to be marketed and
sold as a full product. Also having these options means people who would usually never play NS2 will have something to play, attracting a wider audience.
Also these are things I would love to play myself ^^