something I've been thinking about
EDIT - Moving TLDR version here for new readers:
Tactical abilities for FPS players with cool-downs:
(can be bought with Pres if energy is available and does not consume any energy, normal usage by Comm consumes energy as currently implemented)
medpack drop, ammo drop, umbra (shorter cool-downs for FPS players)
scan, nano-shield, nano-construct, cloak (longer cool-downs for FPS players)
Comm Only energy based abilities:
beacon, nutrient mist, ink, mac and arc abilities, whip and drifter abilities, others not yet implemented
(only can be purchased with energy by the comm/khamm)
EDIT - back to the original post:
First off, there should be no reason to cycle comms/khamms unless the players want a change of class or playstyle. This means comm players should only be able to spend Pres like a FPS player (buying equipment or lifeforms for themselves or others).
Tres was created to keep the RTS economy from being distorted by different #â€™s of players. Pres scales with the player count because it is limited to FPS influence on overall gameplay.
RTS - comm/khamm using Tres and energy for RTS gameplay
FPS - players using Pres for personal items and FPS gameplay
Energy hasnâ€™t quite found such a defined role in NS2. It is divided into different structures and used for their abilities. The dev FAQ mentions a purpose of energy is for creating tension and drama due to limiting usage and creating trade-offs. Energy does achieve this to a good degree, but it doesnâ€™t scale well with player count since all structures are purchased with Tres. Some energy abilities are player-focused or tactical while others are comm-focused or strategic.
Progress tracker quote: â€œAmmo/health packs cost energy from armory (then lower starting pres) - Deliveredâ€
Currently, tactical energy abilities do not scale with player count. The area-effect abilities (umbra, scan, cloak, ink) can sometimes scale with player count if the players are grouped well. The single target abilities donâ€™t scale at all (meds, ammo, nano-shield, nano-construct).
The fix for this issue is to give players the ability to buy tactical energy abilities with Pres. None of the commâ€™s energy would be used, but the required energy would have to be available for the Pres purchase to be made, encouraging comms to manage energy carefully.
(Energy values may need to be tweaked to fit with Pres-purchased tactical energy abilities being used by FPS players as well as comms. There would certainly need to be cool-downs on Pres-purchased energy abilities. Some energy abilities would have to be restricted only to comms: beacon, nutrient mist, Crag babblers, etc.)
A marine in the field watches as a skulk go cloaked and uses Pres to buy a scan at his location. A gorge buys Umbra from a Crag while healing a hive during a shotgun rush. A skulk buys a cloak from a Shade after seeing a group of marines coming. A lone marine buys meds/ammo and nano-shield to survive long enough to kill a harvester. A marine buys nano-construct while setting up a forward outpost.
So what exactly does this accomplish?
This gives players a Pres sink that is a good trade-off or complement to equipment/lifeforms and makes them less reliant on the comm for tactical abilities. It gives players a way to personally use some structure abilities while allowing comms the option to focus more on the strategic use of energy and Tres and overall strategy. Coordination between players and comms now has even more possibilities.
Any feedback is welcome.
Edit: clarify tactical vs strategic energy uses (tactical is player focused, strategic is only available to comm).