the end of the ambush class
With NS 2 just around the corner I felt it was time to log on and to toss my thoughts about the skulk into the chaotic void that is the suggestion forum and see if they catch on.
I've been an NS player for a long time, and I remember in the days when marines had to move cautiously down hallways, checking in dark corners, watching for the slightest hint of movement, or listening for that familiar 'tick tick tick' on the ground that signaled an approaching skulk.
These were the days when clever skulks could slip around marine defenses to attack targets behind the defensive line, where skulks could set ambushes, dropping on unwary marines...
The game has since progressed away from that. With the advent of motion tracking, it became difficult to set up an ambush or sneak up on the unwary. With such a crucial feature missing, they had to implement cloaking to allow skulks to continue their role as ambushers. Suddenly skulks could ambush someone by standing in the middle of a brightly lit hallway. No amount of wariness on the part of the marines can see a skulk who is cloaked, and the cool hiding places and dark corners of the map suddenly are wasted.
There also came electricity and the beefing of static defenses, making it possible to protect equipment from rogue skulks indefinitely.
What I've seen here is a trend away from the roots of the game, abandoning the atmosphere and skill set for bright and shiny new abilities. Now, before you attack this, I realize that all these abilities have to be paid for, and there are trade offs for that; but Im suggesting that these should not have been options in the game to begin with. That motion tracking and cloaking (at least, the 100% cloaking) completely change the dynamic of the game. Any upgrade or ability that removes the feel of the oppressive, dangerous environment, and the fear of the skulk that may be lurking around the next corner, removes some of the fun that made this game so great to begin with.
After a quick read through of these forums, I see that I'm hardly the only person who thinks these abilities need to be changed in the new NS. We need to focus on altering these abilities in such as way that they add to the fun and atmosphere, instead of detracting from it. Maybe a motion tracking that only picks up larger aliens, or one that lets you know when an alien is close, but not where they are. Maybe just change cloaking back to 50% transparency, or maybe a skin color darkening when you are in shadows. I'm not saying we need to take them out entirely, but they need to be done differently than they currently are, or else the skulk will just become a boring scout class, and the game will be entirely different, and, in my opinion, much less fun.
Feel free to point out and nitpick everything I got wrong, but I hope people at least consider what merit there is in this, and I hope to see the new game picking up on this feeling for the new skulk abilities.