Hello! I play Marines a lot. Playing as Marines is a lot of fun if you like a tactical FPS style and/or the Sci-fi Marine style ala Aliens! As great as the mechanics are, it's the atmosphere I adore, and for this reason I really love NS2 and look forward to playing it a lot. Unfortunately, there is a feeling of negativity and unfairness that permeates most of my playtime as a Marine and I'd like to ask what Unknown Worlds were/are intending in their design in regards to the following points.
1. Do you feel the player is given effective feedback on how much they're hitting their target?
2. Are there other ways you could balance the Marines that avoid making them feel very purposefully crippled?
3. Do you acknowledge the problems with the Fade and how are you planning to bring it in line?
4. Are Marines supposed to be so open to harass?
Bonus: Would you kindly add a walk key for Marines?
1. It's difficult to tell just how effectively you are hitting aliens with the Rifle due to how fast they move and how quickly you fire.
It felt like it took about 30 bullets to kill a Skulk when I first started playing, but after a little offline testing I discovered with suprise it was only 10 and concluded my aim was insufficient. I believe NS2 needs to be telling new players how well they're aiming more effectively in-game through its hit detection presentation, either in common measures like stronger flesh-hit noises, more distinguishable blood-spray-esque visuals, or some other genius system. I believe this because if you don't realise you're actually just missing a lot, the Aliens seem unfairly tough to kill - Skulks, let alone Lerks and Fades which are even faster and harder to hit.
2. The Marines feel like they've been unintuitively handicapped in a lot of ways, which begs frustration from the player.
You can't run backwards - sure, this is to help Aliens be more killy at close range, I get it, but there has to be a better way to balance that, because it feels horrible. You get an alien in close quarters with you, your impulse is to dodge him biting your ass off and you remember "Oh right, I'm actually just snail-speed piece of meat". Every time I press S in this game I feel like I'm getting punched in the groin. Cue throwing hands up in the air and saying "I can't do jack". I'm not suggesting you make Aliens worse at close-range combat - in my mind if they're in range of biting me, they've won the movement battle and they should have a really good chance of killing me. What I am suggesting is balance it in a way so the Marine doesn't feel like there's nothing they can do - even if running at full speed backwards doesn't actually help, it would FEEL more like we had a chance.
There are other things like this that readily come to mind. The Grenade Launcher is nearly impossible to hit any moving target with, but then it doesn't do any more damage per second to structures than the other weapons. You see it and go "oh man, this'll be cool!' and then as soon as you use it you can physically feel how its been nerfed into the ground. You see the flamethrower and go "oh man I can't wait to burn out some infestation" and then you do and the structures you set on fire laugh as they get gently tickled. You spend the money to set up a bunch of sentries to protect your flanks from harrassment and then a Fade blinks behind them and kills them all because they have a limited arc and do as much damage as an assault Rifle anyway.
Then you look at the Alien counterparts. You watch Aliens 3 hit your sentries with Bile Bombs while your GL is worth butt, you get stuck for ages having to clear Hydras and whips no matter what equipment you have while Lerks and Fades ignore your sentries like it's cool.
I'm constantly forced into the train of thought that everything Marine balance related gets handled with the kiddy gloves. Whether or not this is actually true, it feels like this, because the way Marines have been balanced makes me aware of how I've been handicapped, and it feels very unintuitive.
3. The Fade is straight-up broken.
This is where I go from "feels unfair" to "is actually unfair". I'm not sure if there is a Player vs. Player game concept wherein a class with invisibility, invulnerability, teleportation/flight, the second-highest health and armor in the game, the highest DPS in the game, regeneration and heat vision would be balanced, but I am sure that an FPS is as unsuitable as it gets. The Aliens feel very powerful, but in most cases you can see how the developers have balanced their strengths and weaknesses, or at least intended them to be balanced - Skulks hurt but are fragile, Lerks are impossible hit but are (meant to) be more harassers than killers, Onos is beefy but really easy to hit. The Fade does not have strengths or weaknesses, it has everything. It kills you when you're on your own. It kills you when you're with 5 other people. It flies into your base and kills you in the middle of your entire team. This would already be frustrating, but then an even worse thing happens - it leaves. Unless your mouse does not have a right click, you cannot die as a Fade unless you make a catastrophic error and get too greedy - most of the time a sentence like that is an emotional balance whine, but here it's just a fact.
So - is it part of the design intent for the Fade to be able to solo half-a-dozen Marines? Is it a trickle-down where the Fade is meant to be balanced for top-tier players and non-competitive Marines are getting stuck with the short stick? What are your thoughts on this/design intent for the Fade and how do you plan to change the Fade in the future, if at all?
4. GET OFF MY RESOURCE TOWER SKULK
Lone Skulks can harass Marine Extractors with impunity. There's no way to stop a Skulk from going where it likes on the map due to vents and shortcuts and so many paths to choose from - if you say Sentries watching the RT, then you need to invest in at least 2 or 3 and the money's wasted as soon as anything not a single Skulk comes along - and the Marines have no comparable options (running alone into infested territory to axe Harvesters not reccomended). I think it's a good and legit tactic for splitting the Marine team up, but I feel it's just too easy right now for a Skulk and too frustrating to constantly be run ragged by it as the Marines without any real way to deal with it beyond constantly running to shoot the little buggers off.
The above are the most pressing things that have come to mind. Thanks for any response and keep on truckin', I really look forward to getting to play a lot more NS2, you've got a great game here.
Bonus: Please add a walk key for Marines! Currently the only way to move silently is to crouch, which is not always ideal. Walking would be useful for silent movement, listening out for enemies, and for cautious advances, particularly into dangerous rooms.