Class-Based Marines

NominousNominous Baltimore, MD Join Date: 2012-02-18 Member: 146518Members
I'm fairly certain this idea has been brought up in the past, but I want to bring it up again since development is focused on shaking up the game. Those of us who have read NS2's lore know that the marines we play as are clones of mankind's best soldiers. This ties in with the theme of nanotechnology, but it's awfully boring in actual game play. Adding classes to marines, such as engineers, would help liven the lore and result in more diversity. If the TSF can clone the best of the best who specialize in killing aliens, why can't they clone engineers, scientists, medics, etc. who best fulfill other roles? Perhaps they already are: they're just not deployed to the field. One can argue that things like welders, medpacks, and structures already provide marine support, but classes can help bring these roles to life while providing players with more fun, more interaction, and a stronger sense of identity/uniqueness.

I brought up engineers first because it's the simplest class to implement based on current mechanics: a support-based class that excels at building and/or repairing teammates' armor and structures. This class is aimed at players who are not great at aiming and killing lifeforms. These types of players might already tend to stay back and repair or go defend structures as opposed to pushing the front lines. In order to balance this class, they can spawn with SMGs that do less damage than LMGs. Bought weapons might have a flat percentage decrease in damage so that good aimers cannot simply go engineer and reap its benefits with no downsides. Lore-wise, it might be due to the engineer's lack of combat training or respective genes.

Initial implementation does not require unique models or skins, simply tweaked values for building, repairing, damage, etc. A new marine UI would be needed in order to choose classes, though. I think being able to switch classes as soon as you respawn would work well. If the comm needs faster repairs on his/her ARCs, he/she asks respawners to change classes. While they might repair those ARCs faster, they can't kill aliens as well. I think it's a good trade-off even if the team goes all-engineers for some reason, but it depends on how much the repair value is tweaked for a single engineer. For further balance, there could be a limit to the number of each new class on the field, such as a third of total marines.

A more daring class would have entirely new mechanics, although it can disrupt balance more than something like an engineer. Perhaps marines could have a tank of their own, but not like a traditional archetype. An enforcer class could be bulkier than normal marines, having higher base armor, a bigger hitbox, carrying a riot/nano shield, lacking a primary weapon, and carrying a stronger or long-reaching melee weapon like a baton. They might be locked out from buying primary weapons or limited to weapons like shotguns at the cost of much higher spread. Either way, this is a class that encourages new tactics and it's an option for players with less than stellar aim that still want to deal damage at close range.

Since aliens are so melee-focused and higher lifeforms like lerks and fades are so mobile, it would be pointless to design enforcers to be a shield for teammates. NS2's mechanics have always encouraged marines to spread out from each other for space to juke and to make kills harder for aliens, after all. Instead of shielding teammates like Reinhardt, enforcers could focus on inhibiting one of the main alien strengths--mobility. Perhaps running into an enforcer's shield results in a sudden speed loss back to base speed (probably higher than ground speed for lerks and fades), which would be effective against lifeforms that are adept at consecutively killing, or at least reaching, marines. It should not bring aliens to a crawl, though, since it would be too easy for the enforcer's teammates to flash a higher lifeform. Also, it should not work on onii due to how expensive they are. This would make sense from a practical standpoint since onii are so big. Versus onii, enforcers can choose to act as weaker versions of armory/robo factory blocks since they're slightly tankier than normal marines. All in all, the enforcer's use of melee weapons and his ability to reduce alien mobility keeps engagements more deathmatch-like, encouraging enforcers to run into aliens instead of standing in front of teammates. I might have went too deep into this, but this is how a class with new mechanics can shake up the game and provide more fun without (hopefully) introducing too much imbalance.


  • The_Welsh_WizardThe_Welsh_Wizard Join Date: 2013-09-10 Member: 188101Members, Reinforced - Supporter
    edited July 2016
    I think classes for marines is not a good idea for this game. Every marine on the field should be able to change its "role" and rotate if needed. With classes marine would kind of lose that ability to rotate. Having a marine only to "stay behind front lines" is just not realistic. Also every marine should and would choose the class with the greatest combat potential.

    If you want more diversity for marine equipment, add more marine equipment.
  • NominousNominous Baltimore, MD Join Date: 2012-02-18 Member: 146518Members
    @The_Welsh_Wizard Some players are just not suited to killing enemies despite their many hours and they might want to play different roles. These choices are offered to aliens through different lifeforms and abilities. Most players settle on a certain lifeform (forced to skulk if they die or they're dedicated res-biters) and comfortably stick to it until the end of time. Countless players do not know how to lerk or fade when having a good one might lead to victory. Still, aliens make do with what they have and you sometimes have to ask teammates to go a certain lifeform even if they're not good at it. Sometimes everyone plays happily in their roles or change it up if they have the pres to do so.

    Marines are much more homogeneous in the fact that they can perform all roles (killing lifeforms and structures, pinching, building, welding, etc.) at any given time, which is why I consider marines harder to master than a skulk plus a higher lifeform. You're right, the best marines are the ones that constantly juggle tasks and make the best possible decisions on the fly, all while being able to kill lifeforms. While this often leads to your rising to the top of the scoreboard and contributing more to your team's possibility of victory than someone whose actions result in a lower score, it can frankly get exhausting and even confusing trying to do everything at once.

    A marine with good aim and game sense can perform all roles effectively, but what about those who don't have the accuracy or game sense to effectively block lanes, pinch lifeforms, etc.? Yes, perhaps having a poor aimer try to block lanes or pinch is better than no one doing these things. If the player knows that he lacks the skills to perform these duties, why not have support roles where he would be more useful elsewhere, swapping his position from round start with someone who's more confident in his aim? Support-inclined players would not lose much from a decrease in primary weapon damage. Support-oriented weapons like the FT and GL could stay more or less the same damage for them. Maybe they could be able to buy and hold two hand grenades even upon death. I don't think the primary weapon damage decrease nor the faster building and welding would cause them to ignore lifeforms completely.

    The engineer's role can introduce new meta, allowing normal marines with good aim to focus less on mundane tasks. The engy might say, "I'll weld the RT. Move up, so-and-so." His teammate can spend more time killing lifeforms/structures and pushing, but it doesn't mean he can shirk duties like welding a low phase gate if an engy is on the other side of the map or even neglecting to buy a welder. Class roles can lead to easier decision-making based on strengths and weaknesses. As a marine with good aim, you might be faced with having to weld a RT at 30% in Logi, but see skulks on your map about to hit Repair. Then you see an engy in main and remember that he can weld faster than you, so you tell him to take over and you go kill the skulks, preventing them from even entering Logi. The engy might already be done welding by the time you're done killing and you're merrily on your way with your uber-welder buddy supporting you. Even better if it's mid-game and you have an exo.

    The high bar that defines an above-average marine would remain constant no matter the number of class sidegrades introduced. I think that we currently demand a lot from marine players, especially the newer ones. If a player is stuck with sub-par aim/game sense/hardware or he wants to stick with high graphics settings, I think different classes, especially support roles, would let him contribute more to his team and he wouldn't feel like dead weight.
  • _Grendel__Grendel_ Join Date: 2015-05-07 Member: 204238Members
    edited July 2016
    The combat guys had been working on a type of dynamic "class" system. Since combat got cancelled, no harm in posting a few of the docs here right? Maybe it'll spark some new ideas in ns2?
  • NordicNordic Long term camping in Kodiak Join Date: 2012-05-13 Member: 151995Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Silver, Reinforced - Shadow
    I like clarks perspective on classes in NS2.
    CLARK KENT wrote:
    I would argue that NS2 has more classes than simply just marines and aliens (commanders not included, for this point). It just isn't as apparent as something like TF2 or Overwatch. I would argue that there are roles such as offence or defense. Or even more granular such as killer, builder, scout, etc. A successful team has a mixed composition. For example, a team that has a high number of people that are "killers", but do not have people to build res towers, are more likely to lose, even though, on paper, their aggregate skill is higher than the other team. It's about counters.

    I also enjoy the asymmetrical design of it. Aliens have defined classes, marines do not. I guess it makes the game a little more inaccessible, but where do we draw the line?
  • The_Welsh_WizardThe_Welsh_Wizard Join Date: 2013-09-10 Member: 188101Members, Reinforced - Supporter
    When the Major reason for this Suggestion is to help rookies to be able to contribute more to the game it is a Bad idea. Instead help rookies to learn the game by playing it correctly, not by letting them choosing classes which are teaching them the game wrong.

    Also i have to disagree that aliens are class based. Every aliens Starts as a skulk when respawning and has to invest pres to evolve.
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