the balance mod thread is currently filled with opinions about armory armor healing. since the mod is about other things as well and this is still an important topic, i think its worth creating its own thread and to keep the other one a bit cleaner.
like any other change in the mod, this has been changed for testing and there has no final decision been made. its for evaluating its impact to the game and those are my observations so far:
As most of you maybe know, in ns1 armories didnt restore armor. I dont remember any big discussions about it back then and people simply accepted this rule. Also the commander was responsible for dropping welders and medpacks, which connected him a bit more to the troops on the ground. Most life forms, like in ns2, were designed around hit&run gameplay style (especially with focus upgrade) which made sure that you can eventually break through heavy marine turtles. There was a mod which allowed to weld yourself, but this mechanic had a completely different impact that to the game than ns2 armories.
In ns2, armories repaired armor. there was one build (not sure if it was internal only?) where armories lost this ability but I was myself playing only 2-3 rounds and couldnt really judge the impact of it on the game. Marines were also very weaker at this time (hit reg, lower performance, animation hitches for skulks and other technical problems) so we decided against this change, the timing was simply very bad.
now with release of gorgeous marines have an edge. especially in competitive play, marines are now winning (as opposed to pre gorgeous, alien wins were standard) and i think the timing is now perfect for trying out new (old) things and to also change the marine side.
The effects armory armor healing had on the game (mostly pub games):
Marines run back to their base to restore their armor (of course). they do that after every little combat where they took damage, since its a good idea to maximize your chances before every engagement. This caused the marines to be more disconnected from the commander. you wont request a medpack when you are anyway returning to the armory, which also causes that new commanders dont learn how important it is to support your troops with ammo / meds. This also causes that marines play very defensive, but in fact they should harass the alien teams economy and take down harvesters, or at least hold position and defend their own RTs. i seen this very often (and granted i played myself often like this) that any momentum marines got, simply vanished because of people being afraid playing without maxed out armor and returning to the base (no matter how far away). it also made forward armories ridiculous strong, and it made medpacks (again, public) the very weak alternative to forward armories. in organized play, this is different, so dont jump on me here
As mentioned in the other thread, it was a problem for aliens when they constantly have to face full armored marines. their play style is designed around hit&run (especially the fade), but their actions had zero effect in the end game. if you dont kill a marine, he will quickly have full armor again. By removing the armor healing, another marine would need to use a welder, which opens up a short time window for another attack since welding distracts. its a very small detail, but still important to mention. switching from welder back to your rifle / shotgun takes some time and aliens can abuse this fact. or, if there are macs on the field, those cost additional resources and the alien team has another target (only 600 dmg points for mac vs 2100 for armory) to weaken the marines position. I have seen in the games i played so far that macs were used more frequently than before as a consequence (those were usually held back until exos arrived).
in the games i played so far, there was always somebody with a welder or macs around. even in vanilla ns2, most commanders research welders first, and you see people constantly using them. also important to note, welders are not that crucial in the early game. marines start with 30 armor, those are in most cases not even worth the repair (against skulk this means one parasite would bring the marine already below a level where the can be killed with 2 bites). so, the early game is quite untouched by this change, what changes though is late game and especially situations where marines turtle in their main base.
the only negative side i observed so far is that marines lose a bit convenience.
there are for sure more things i didnt consider in my post, so feel free to correct to me!