An honest discussion
In this post, I'd like to discuss a game mechanism that seems overly complicated and offer a possible solution to streamline this mechanism to make gameplay simpler and more effective than the current build (208). Please post your thoughts on this below, should you have any.Resource ModelSummary
With the new emphasis on "Energy", there are now three important resources: Energy (previously mentioned), Tech Res (TRes), Personal Res (PRes). TRes effects the ability of the team to advance into their tech tree to unlock more powerful abilities / evolutions. PRes allows players to directly influence their power in the game. Energy is tied to structures, constantly replenishes as long as those structures exist, and allows the commander to activate structure-specific abilities.Problem
NS2 is a resource-driven game. You get more resources, you are rewarded, you spend them on stuff to give you an edge in defeating your opponent. UWE seems like they can't decide how the resource model should work specifically for the commander -- what resources should they spend to have an influence on the game. Currently Energy drives this, such as commanders dropping ammo/medpacks or placing cysts for infestation. The problem with Energy is that it constantly replenishes and works independently of the other resource model in the game (TRes & PRes). Non-commander players have no influence over it, so commanders can keep doing things even if there are no resource towers available for that team. Energy has no cost to the team or player, and only goes way if the structure is destroyed.
So, we need to take a step back and understand what is the purpose of Energy -- how does it function in the game. Essentially, it limits the amount of things the commander can do for a particular time. We don't want the Alien commander spamming cysts all over the map, so Energy creates a threshold (at least in the beginning of a new game) for the number of cysts, or how often you can use mist to mature structures. Likewise, we don't want the Marine commander constantly dropping ammo and medpacks to help out his team. In effect, Energy functions as a "cool down" mechanism. The commander performs an action, but must wait for more energy in order to do so subsequent times.
This begs the question, why not enact a "cool down" for commander-specific abilities?A Proposed Solution
Get rid of Energy. It's an additional "resource" that is cumbersome and initially difficult to understand. If the purpose of Energy is to put a threshold on the limit of specific actions that are commander-specific, create a "cool down" for these actions. For instance, you must wait 1 second to place an additional cyst. You must wait 1 second to drops additional medpacks. Tie PRes back to these actions because the commander is technically a player in the game, even though their role is different. Their PRes should be spent to influence the game from their role as commander. Anything that a commander "creates" is a PRes expenditure -- ARCs, MACs, heath/ammo, Drifters, cysts. Structures that have activated abilities will also have a "cool down", such as Umbra for the Crag, Scanning or Beacon for the Observatory. These will cost the commander PRes to activate so the cost isn't free (like it is with Energy), and the commander's actions are directly affected by the current resource model in the game. You get more resource towers, you are able to do more as a commander. More strategy is involved as commanders must make sacrifices on influencing the team.
Also, this encourages the building of more structures, and actually gives benefit in the creation of additional structures. If there are more multiple armories, you can place more than one medpack or ammo pack at a time. If there are multiple command stations, you can drop nanoshield or nanoconstruct on multiple objects or people at the same time. In addition, the commander cannot spam actions, like scanning everywhere on the map, dropping 10+ medpacks at the same time, or constantly cysting a marine base. A final benefit would be that commanders do not have excessive PRes (since they are now spending it for actions). I believe most players are frustrated when they attack an alien hive after deposing of the alien team only to have a Onos commander come out of the hive to thwart the attack, or having a non-commander player die as a higher lifeform and switch roles with commander (who now evolves into a higher lifeform). The game should encourage only one player to be the commander for the entire round.
Cool downs are included in many games and should be relatively easy to understand, and we now have a simpler resource model that affects the commander as well as the team.