3.0 Final’s Chamber Analysis
NGE Members Join Date: 2003-11-10 Member: 22443Posts: 1,007
edited March 2005 in NS General Discussion
Root of NS's Current Imbalances3.0 Final’s Chamber Analysis
Root of NS's Current Imbalances
n. pl. a·nal·y·ses
1. The separation of an intellectual or material whole into its constituent parts for individual study.
2. The study of such constituent parts and their interrelationships in making up a whole.
3. A spoken or written presentation of such study: published an analysis of poetic meter.
Just so people don't yell at me for claiming I'm "jumping to conclusions", one week is more than enough time. In the real world, you can't sit on an in-progress project for more than a week without starting to plan where to go next. For those who say I'm not looking at the big picture, reread the definition of what an analysis is (look up) and reread my title.
Okay, hopefully I just prevented the most two annoying and least helpful responses someone could get on this forum.
This analysis does not speak in concrete terms; it makes sweeping generalizations to best describe what happens in a typical game of NS. If things happen differently between clan games and pub games, I make the distinction. So please, PLEASE do not make a post saying “Omgz that example isn’t true, I’ve seen x player do something COMPLETELY oppisite SEVERAL TIMES!!111” because almost guaranteed, you are in the minority and your example isn’t an archetypal game of NS.
Also, for "casual" forum readers who don't feel like reading the whole thing; I encourage to read the parts of this that you think have major issues, and feel free to reply separately on just an individual part. I believe this thread will prove insightful to whoever reads it. Realize, some parts might be obvious to you, but not to everyone. I'm just including everything to be thorough.
Finally, this is a long thread, so don’t post saying it’s a long thread. That sort of post is just stupid. This is 17 pages long.
With that said...
Chambers and their Abilities
The traits of the DC are healing 10 hp every two seconds, and having the most hp out of all the chambers. These properties are fine and add to the game on many levels, as being a passive regenerator for the hive, or an out of the hive area regen station. DCs have been a staple part of NS since version 1.0. However, 10 hp per two seconds is too little for larger lifeforms on the battlefield, but fine for just about everything else. The problem is that to be really effective for the fade and onos, the alien team needs large quantities of the DCs, a costly investment that also is impractical in clanplay and most public games where resources are tight.
The same problem was had with the gorge, which healed 17 hp a spray in previous versions, but later changed to a constant amount plus a percentage. (14 + 3% max target's hp) The same was done for hives. The logical last step would be to do the same for the DC, except the DC's heal rate should still be heavily reliant on the amount of DCs in an area.
Proposed Solution: The formula best used would on the DC would be 9hp + 2% max target's hp. This would be 10 hp per tick for the skulk, and something close to 30 hp per tick for the onos. A reasonable change that would definitely alleviate the slow heal rate on larger creatures with DCs.
Passive regen in no way eliminates the usefulness and all around potency of regen. However, because passive regen exists, the upgrade regen offers a trade-off; you are noisy as you regen, versus your silent passive regen. Still this is a minimal trade-off for the most well rounded ability in the game.
The only problem with regen is that it loses it's value for the skulk as it has too little hp to began with and generally is just a cannon fodder suicide unit. Obviously the term regen implies you will live to regenerate; therefore it's meant for hit and run creatures.
Carapace is a viable alternative to regen for all lifeforms, with the exception of the skulk, which mentioned as above will always be shafted for regen, as the skulk isn't too much of a hit and run unit. But it's not a big deal and does not detract from the game. It makes sense to have tools (upgrades) that are more useful for certain classes (creatures).
Just as much as a mathematician would find more useful the calculator over the power drill in his job, the carpenter would beg to differ. Still, both love a pencil for taking notes. The skulk having a more logical choice in carapace over regen is not an issue.
For the gorge, lerk, and fade, carapace means another shotgun shot or a few seconds for LMG fire, or almost another second of HMG fire. This is extremely significant. Carapace also gives aliens a huge advantage; it allows them to overpower marines in a firefight. The game revolves around the fact that aliens are weak and fast; enabling them to perform hit and runs, meanwhile marines are powerful, slow, and expend their firepower relatively quickly; promoting a mentality to destroy a target as fast as possible. This is easily seen in game, where if a fight goes on too long, aliens almost always win. Marines generally need to flatten the aliens as fast as possible else they are risking it. Carapace allows aliens to beat marines at their own game, which can cripple marine offensives if say a marine who normally would have only suffered one or two hits, now takes three hits and dies, as this fade had carapace and could take three shotgun shots without risk of dying. Such are the common cases with carapace.
Before someone claims that aliens cannot do hit and run at the start therefore invalidating my previous statement of aliens being attrition units, realize that aliens still make hit and runs at the start of the game, except it is done by utilizing the skulks expendability, and attacking marines early on at the start of the game while marines are further away from the hive, and on some maps aliens have enough time to launch nearly 3 unsuccessful attacks before they are being spawn camped. This is hit and run, just a much slower hit and run to say what a lerk or fade can provide. It does makes sense that the stronger the alien unit is, the more it exacerbates the natural qualities of hit and run, and this is because it was the intent of the original developer to do so.
The onos with carapace seems to be unused, but the onos is generally underused due to problems of his own, such as difficulty maneuvering him in maps or judging a battle accurately before he engages, however this is for another discussion. As far as carapace goes on the onos, it works well as hive defense as all carapace aliens do, but due to the extreme amount of health the onos has, and the small increments aliens can be healed outside of the hive, speed is the biggest factor for the carapace onos. Perhaps a battering ram for cracking open marine base? If so this means the carapace onos will see extremely little use, as today’s game of Natural Selection rarely ends with the marines stalemating base. On hive defense, the carapace onos rules, but defensive carapace onos are stuck in the hive room preventing marines from entering it, but they are not cost effective, which the task of hive defense can be easily accomplished with other cheaper alternatives, such as OCs, skulks who guard entrance, or the fade who can cover several places at once. The biggest downside to the carapace onos is that after one attack, whether it be weak or small, the carapace onos finds itself in need of a heal, which generally equates to another trip back to the hive in pub play, or in clan play means gorges or many DCs nearby, which only serves to increase the huge investment already placed in using the onos. Such is the boring life of the carapace onos, yet unappreciated is its potential strategically value.
Players commonly ignore redemption as they increase in skill, as they come to realize that the fewer the factors outside of their control, the better. In addition to this, redemption can be slow and tedious to be pulled out of fights time and time again. The downtime for a redemption alien is less than carapace, but much more than regen, except when there is an external source of healing outside of the hive, such as a gorge. In which case there is an external source of healing, if the alien had carapace, they will be at a higher max hp, or a regen alien will regen that much faster. Meaning, the redemption alien has precisely that combat advantage over the other upgrades: none. The redemption alien may as well as not have the upgrade if there are external sources of healing, as it is easier, safer, and faster to run away than it is to wait for the upgrade to activate.
The destructive value of regen and carapace outweigh redemption by an enormous amount. The empirical evidence shows; it is used sparingly by pub players, and rarely used on the gorge by clan players. In over 5 seasons of watching CAL-NS, it can be counted on two hands the amount of times redemption has been used, and every time was by a gorge. Players need dependability in themselves and their upgrades.
For the skulk, it dies so fast redemption almost never works. The gorge actually benefits from redemption, however again it is luck, making it a risky choice over something like carapace that gives the gorge time to take some abuse before being saved, or bhopping away to safety. The lerk dies too fast for redempt to kick in half the time, and the fade increases it's downtime way too much with no increased combat effectiveness. And the onos with redemption is a gamble of 75, which isn’t worth it.
Proposed Solution: Redemption must lose it's luck factor in order to be useful and still remain unique. A fixed redemption is an upgrade based on kills and a timer.
It would work as follows:
- An automatic redemption at 10% of the aliens max hp. As soon as this value is hit, the alien is pulled back to a random hive with invulnerability activated on it. No luck, it just works.
- After being pulled back to the hive for the first time, a small timer appears. This timer reads 30 seconds, and until the time has run out, redemption will not work again. This way, redemption will not make the alien invincible.
- After each kill, the max limit on the timer is lowered by a set amount, which depends on the amount of DCs the alien team has.
1 DC: 3 seconds taken off the max timer.
2 DC: 4 seconds taken off the max timer.
3 DC: 5 seconds taken off the max timer.
- Each time the alien redeems, 6 seconds is added onto the max timer.
- Minimum time of 20 seconds.
This means that after the alien's timer is activated, and reads 30 seconds, then and only then can this timer be altered. Kills acquired before the first redemption do not do anything.
In game example: Alien redeems. Must wait 30 seconds before he can redeem again. (Avg time to heal at hive = 8 secs btw) Alien waits the necessary 30 seconds. Alien runs out, tries to kill some marines but fails, and redeems. His new timer is 36 seconds. He waits for the timer to tick away, and attacks again, this time killing 2 marines and redeeming. The alien team has 3 DCs, and so that's 10 seconds removed from the max timer, however his previous timer of 36 + 6 (for redeeming) = 42 seconds - 10 seconds (for the kills) = 32 seconds.
This system would be useful (guaranteed life, no more luck) and skill dependant on the user (more kills, less wait, less kills, and the wait will go to the point of being unbearable). Furthermore, this system finally allows redemption to be useful for aliens, while at the same time not be frustrating for marines, for if they are successful in keeping a redempting alien from making any kills his redemption upgrade will eventually become tiresome after 3-4 redeems.
More importantly than any of this, it would work. Numbers are open to tweaking, but the process is what counts here; no more luck, the factors are completely within the player’s control. Finally, before someone claims that this system is unintuitive for a newcomer, here's all you have to put in the manual:
- "Redemption. By linking a copy of the alien's DNA directly with the hives, it allows for the alien to be instantly reincarnated upon death. The alien with this upgrade who kills marines actually feeds off the energy of the marine to speed up the replication process, but after each use the hives need to take the time to replicate another copy of the alien. If the alien is unable to acquire more energy for the replication process, then the hives must spend some of their own energy in creating a replica, resulting in a longer clone time."
3 sentences. Compared with the manual's description of carapace:
CARAPACE :: A damage-soaking lattice of cartilage grows into the skin.
Skulk armor bonus: 20 hp/level
Gorge armor bonus: 50 hp/level
Lerk armor bonus: 30 hp/level
Fade armor bonus: 100 hp/level
Onos armor bonus: 150 hp/level
I fail to see how this system would be unintuitive in comparison with carapace. One can see this description leaves much to be desired for the newbie: "What is a level?" "Which one is the lerk?" "HP? I thought it was armor???"
Or from Niteowl's version of the manual, even a bigger headache for a newcomer:
Increases total armor for an alien. Each extra hive increases the absorption of the armor by 10%. Any armor that an alien has counts for 2 health points, and takes up 70% of damage taken. For example, if 10 damage was applied to an alien, 7 of those points would deduct from armor (3.5 armor points), and 3 from health.
Level 1: Skulk:
Level 2: Skulk:
Level 3: Skulk:
Doesn't copy too well into the forums, but the point is made.
Movement chambers have shaped up nicely. Now possessing a decent range to the adren regen feature of the movement chamber, and being the only chamber with an active ability to it (in that you must physically use it), the movement chamber has sharpen up into an extremely versatile chamber with plenty of early and mid game benefits, and once more hives roll around, it becomes essential to hive defense and map control.
The only problem thinkable with the movement chamber is that in pub play, when a hive is going up, the only way to teleport to it is for a marine to attack it. A smart marine will never do so of course, until they have a full force of marines and a phasegate in the area to make sure it goes down fast. However, in clan play, this can be avoided as friendly fire is on, so aliens can just attack the hive and bring in reinforcements. Being able to defend up and coming hives is what makes the movement chamber so versatile, but this feature is lacking in public play.
Proposed Solution: Allow aliens in public play to teleport to a hive that is building, even if no one attacks it. This would make it more functional for public play. In clan play, it's better if players must attack the hive, as clan play is supposed to stress coordination, and so if there are no aliens there to call in others, it should be a punishment for the alien team on clan play. Pub play lacks this coordination, and should be favored by allowing aliens to teleport to hives in progress.
Awesome upgrade for energy intensive classes such as the lerk and gorge, and depending on the users playstyle, can also be used effectively with the two-hive skulk, fade, and onos. For the one hive skulk, it's only marginally effective in saving some seconds in munching down nodes for the impatient. Otherwise adrenaline is a supremely useful upgrade for all creatures. Adrenaline is the only upgrade that has never been changed from version 1.00, which shows how superbly this upgrade was implemented.
Celerity was changed a few builds back into something that give different speed bonuses based on what class the alien is, and it works fantastically. The speed boosts make all creatures terribly more effective in killing marines, and every single class benefits from celerity no matter the circumstance, no matter the hive level, and adapts quickly to any playstyle. Celerity is also an enjoyable upgrade to have, and brings a power rush to the user from the increased acceleration.
Arguably the best upgrade in the game for the skulk. A skulk who can ambush without any fear of being detected is scoring a free kill. Other classes are unable to use the upgrade effectively as the skulk. In addition, silence generally can't offer the same advantages because being silent means ambushing. The only reason to be completely silent is to remain undetected. But how can an onos hide? Why does a lerk need to be unknown, compared to sitting in a vent all day long sporing with adrenaline, or grabbing celerity and running circles around marines? A gorge who grabs silence can't hide anywhere high, and being stuck to the ground usually means taking celerity to just stay far away from danger, or taking adrenaline to be a healing machine. A fade with silence can be done, but is generally so difficult and seemingly unrewarding to use, that generally the other two upgrades are taken.
Silence is a highly specialized tool, and when used properly is almost overpowering, yet due to the demanding playstyle it requires and hard counter available to battle silence, the only conclusion reachable is that silence is not broken in any form. It goes back to the analogy of tools being more useful to certain professions than others.
Sensory chambers must be a headache for the developers. While sounding great in theory, paraphrased here is the design of SCs, “Instead of using brute force, it allows for calculated ambushes and superior intelligence before the battle happens allowing for a quick win in a fight,” SCs have never been implemented quite right in any version. Back in 1.0 this was attempted in a severely flawed attempt, in which the developers easily recognized. But they have been ever diligent in trying to find new ways to make the sensory chamber more powerful, without deviating from the original design intended for SCs. Still, due to the enormous problems inherent with sensory chambers in regards to playability, it’s fun factor, and of course, balance, SCs have received more changes than any other aspect of NS gameplay.
To start, the advantages of sensory chambers are multifold, unlike the other chambers. Whereas going with silence on movement chambers means you will miss on the celerity upgrade, and the ability to regenerate energy super fast only at chambers themselves, or going with carapace equates to excessive downtime that is negated by regen, sensory chambers in 3.0 final lack these problems. A skulk who has focus, and stays within the range of a sensory chamber has all three upgrades. He is cloaked at all times, knows exactly where marines are, and deals twice as much damage per bite. One would think from this description alone,
“He is cloaked at all times, knows exactly where marines are, and deals twice as much damage per bite,” that the player is in combat, and has all three upgrades. But the reality is now marines face these same types of skulks in classic as well. I suppose the intent was that by giving free cloaking and scent of fear, sensory chambers would be more useful. The intent was solid, but the implementation was rather shoddy. Because of the advantages given by sensory chambers now, all aliens need to do is throw a sensory chamber down at each choke point in a map, and look at the advantages they have:
- No tactical coordination. Aliens are cloaked, and can ambush wherever they want. They don’t need to use hiding spots to ambush.
- No need for teamwork communication, as long as sensory chambers are placed at chokepoints then marines will never go undetected.
- The only area to focus on is winning the fight at hand, which is made incredibly simple due to the lack of the aforementioned problems aliens normally must deal with at all times.
No other chamber in the current version can provide such benefits. As such, is it a surprise when players exclaim that the new sensory chambers are overpowered to the point where the best teams of each country cannot pull off just one marine win? Sensory chambers, previously held at having some of the most disadvantages out of all the chambers, suddenly went to a chamber with the least disadvantages in one version change. Even when marines engage aliens in an SC field and use the ping of an observatory, they are still aliens with at least scent of fear, and plenty of aliens with focus and scent of fear.
Before, in previous versions the disadvantages of sensory chambers were matched by the disadvantages the marine team had to put up with, such as acquiring an early observatory and wasting resources that normally would have gone to upgrading the battle prowess of the marines. Marines who fought against sensory chambers had to invest in the several hard counters offered against sensory chambers, and also build in the field observatories to uncloak alien structures and creatures.
One is sure by now to exclaim that sensory chambers were never used in previous versions as much as other chambers because they were underpowered. In actuality, this is a falsehood spawned by players who could not understand how to correctly use the sensory chambers. The problem with sensory chambers was its exclusive nature it had when in fights. Ever since the advent of 2.0’s cloaking field, aliens with the sensory chambers needed to fight within the range of the sensory chamber in order to win their fights. The normal upgrades provided by the sensory chamber then did nothing to boost larger lifeforms, who became more and more about brute force, so aliens needed to use the sensory chambers to prevent expansion of marines until the second hive rolled around, which almost always marks the turning point of alien players asking for some offensive upgrades, so larger lifeforms could compete with marines as well as allow for some kind of reclamation of lost ground.
Thus focus is born, offering twice the attack power at less than half the attack speed of the normal attack. Quite obviously this is a huge advantage, resulting in one or two hit kills, but most importantly, it exuberated the natural ability of aliens to perform hit and run. Focus meant that aliens who naturally rely on hit and run, because of the reasons said earlier,
|The game revolves around the fact that aliens are weak and fast; enabling them to perform hit and runs, meanwhile marines are powerful, slow, and expend their firepower relatively quickly; promoting a mentality to destroy a target as fast as possible. This is easily seen in game, where if a fight goes on too long, aliens almost always win.|
which means that a basic alien would normally allow for an alien to only hit once or perhaps twice is now able to hit two times in the span of one attack. In addition, because focus counts as two hits as one attack, this also nullifies medspam, a key feature of marine grunt-commander teamwork. Focus essentially takes the commander out of the fight, forcing marines to rely on each other for welding and marines who miss are punished much more harshly.
Even with focus in, players still were still using defense chambers first, and players reported difficulties in using the sensory chamber. A few actually reported that the sensory chamber was not fun to play against or with due to its overpowering nature in fights with cloaking. Still, the producers saw how sensory chambers were overall unused and therefore boosted them again, by boosting the power of the cloak upgrade and giving sensory chambers scent of fear. But did this really fix anything wrong with the sensory chamber? The sensory chamber now has the least disadvantages of all the chambers. Perhaps the problems with the sensory chamber of the previous version were incorrectly analyzed.
The time tested and rather strange method of determining who is winning at any given point in a clan game follows this general pattern since 2.0: If aliens hold their nodes in a 3 to 4 ratio they are out teching the marines, and if they have equal or more kills than the marine team then they are beating them in battle. Say the marines have 4 nodes, and aliens have 4. Aliens are out pacing the marines tech a much faster rate, marines would still be behind at 5 nodes, and 6 nodes would out tech them. (remember this is a clan match with only 6 aliens) Aliens tech much faster than marines do, but conversely it is much harder for aliens to construct nodes so it is balanced out in this regard. Imagine the marines had 4 nodes and 20 kills, and the aliens only have 2 nodes but have 30 kills. Even though the marines are out teching the aliens, the marines also must kill the aliens. At this point in the game it is fairly even, but if aliens take advantage of their kill difference they can use it to take down the nodes to keep the marine tech in line with theirs. These are general terms when it comes to winning, so next is intra-specific terms of losing and winning with chambers.
Providing that the other two conditions are met, to see where a strength lies in a chamber, all one must do is look at how the chamber wins a match. For example, DCs win with use of fades and usually a regen lerk, pushing back the marines long enough for the second hive to go up. MCs wins generally happen through the use of an early lerk, upgraded skulks, and a fade (or two, varies from strat to strat), and involve a rigorous system of MCs to quickly warp to a building hive to defend it. For SCs, the win occurs by denying marines access through a SC zone.
Losing with DCs and MCs are noticeable by a few factors. A DCs first team who are losing is usually marked when the fades are killed or due to the early weak game DCs provide, aliens had their nodes taken down so fast fades are unaffordable and are never sent out to do some damage. The loss of MCs first take places when early game aliens are denied from ever putting up a second hive with the use of static defenses, or the chambers are wiped off the map early on. When MCs are taken down then the advantage of being able to warp around to new hives is abolished, and this problem doesn’t exist as much with DCs as they are generally placed somewhere very safe, usually close to the hive (you can no longer build DCs on top of the hive ). MCs need to be in the field for early use, such as warping back to the starting hive for quick healing, and even when placed in vents they are still extremely vulnerable. The specific losing point for SCs is only one factor; marines manage to get through a SC’s zone to breach the rest of the map, and lockdown the map. The only losing condition was for marines to break through the trench lines setup by the SCs, and once breached there is no turnaround. Since all combat advantages are located within the field of the SC, once marines get past the SCs in any force SC first aliens are woefully outmatched against their opponents, and are at an extreme disadvantage. The developers response to this, however, is even more perplexing; they simply boost the abilities within the field of a SC, bringing it to the point where marines get destroyed so quickly in these zones that they can no longer hope to get through these death traps. Naturally this is overpowered. In pub games, you have players who can use SCs with a high rate of success, and in clan games so far to my knowledge not one skilled team has lost going with SC first unless for some untimely error. For the alien team to win so consistently with SC first, there is something wrong because it is a statistical impossibility if it is assumed there is a 50-50-win ratio between teams.
Because SCs specific requirement for losing is now nigh impossible to meet, it is no surprise that players are reporting an imbalance within the SC.
Remember the general terms for measuring the success of an alien or marine team; because the SC basically sets up an impassible wall for marines, this means the marines are being killed way beyond their allowed death rate, and if marines are dead then they aren’t killing the aliens nodes nor are they capping their own. The problem with SCs is that their zones have turned into something too unfair for early game marines to compete with.
Proposed Solution: The zone of the SC should be deadly and give advantages, but it should not be invincible. Furthermore the basic upgrades of the SC should be good enough on their own, and be boosted by the SC itself, but not reliant on the SC nor should it be overpowered by the SC.
| - No tactical coordination. Aliens are cloaked, and can ambush wherever they want. They don’t need to use hiding spots to ambush.|
- No need for teamwork communication, as long as sensory chambers are placed at chokepoints then marines will never go undetected.
Part of what makes the SC so strong is that it gives both of these advantages at once. Obviously this can’t be the case; else you get a force field of claws and teeth for the marine team.
The best way to handle SCs is to spilt up the upgrades it offers. For example, unless an alien has scent of fear, he will be unable to take advantage of the scent of fear radius provided by the SC. And unless the alien has cloaking, he will not receive cloaking from the SC either. An alien who has focus has just that, focus.
In example, under the proposed system, imagine a skulk spawns in. His team has 3 SC’s setup around the map. He quickly upgrades scent of fear. He immediately sees one marine outside of the hive, from his own personal lv. 3 scent of fear upgrade, and also sees 2 other marines at the local double node, as there is a SC there and after he acquired the upgrade he got scent of fear bonuses from all SC’s on the map. The alien proceeds to tell the rest of his team about the marines’ location, and runs out of the hive to parasite the lone marine who is camping a hallway outside of the hiveroom. Meanwhile, two other skulks are close by double and run over after learning about the presence of these marines. Skulk A has cloaking and Skulk B has focus. Skulk A knows that since the marine is in range of an SC, he will be fully cloaked even while moving at full speed. Skulk B has no cloaking, and waits until Skulk A has started to engage the marines, upon which he jumps into battle as Skulk A draws fire.
The proposed system fixes the huge advantages currently present with the SC’s, also boosts the effectiveness of scent of fear, makes cloaking more unique, and slightly nerfs focus so that the upgrade is exclusive on the SC line. Why focus does not receive any benefits is because focus is the best upgrade in the game, but more on that later. In addition to everything else, SCs would truly be unique from other chambers, as the passive ability given by the chamber itself changes depending on what upgrade the alien chooses. This helps to make them all viable, by allowing them to have something over the other upgrade.
SCs would still cloak itself, cloak other structures, and also reveal enemy structures. But it would not cloak players unless they have the cloaking upgrade, and will not show locations of marines unless the alien has scent of fear.
The best upgrade in the game. Focus composes two aliens into one. While generally the entire alien team will not take focus, they could and it would still be a good choice. Focus negates medspam with one hit kills, takes two hits to kill marines on average, provides an excellent early game advantage, forces marines to upgrade armor 1 as soon as possible, forces marines to carry welders on the field to repair armor after each fight in fear of the one hit kill, and compliments the hit and run nature of aliens. It turns the most effective playstyles into even more effective playstyles. It allows easy killings on upgraded marines, such as jetpacks and heavy armor. The only disadvantage to focus is that it slower at deconstruction than normal bites, because its actual attack speed decrease is more than 50%. However, this isn’t much of a disadvantage, because the real problem to killing structures is when marines protect them. Therefore, the best way to kill a structure is to kill the marines protecting them, which is exactly what focus does.
A skulk normally has a difficult time getting in more than one bite on a marine, but with focus he is gets a two for one special, and since he is a free unit with a one way ticket, the skulk with focus finds his role much easier to play. At two hives, a focus leaping skulk is a nightmare for marines. The gorge, sadly, is the only creature that does not receive a big benefit from focus, but this is due to the nature of the gorge, he is a builder, not a fighter. The lerk with focus is able to make dangerous fly-bys, and if the only upgrade with the fragile lerk is focus, he is playing a bit of a risk for 30 resources as this upgrade implies he will take part of combat. A lerk with focus or other focus aliens nearby are extremely lethal, as once spores wears down the marine’s armor he’s focus food. An onos with focus isn’t a bad choice, but since the onos is primarily the aliens siege unit, focus can place a detriment in leveling structures. Finally there is the focus fade, quite possibly the best upgrade in the game for the fade. The fade being the best hit and run unit logically benefits from the upgrade that deals the most up-front damage.
Because focus is an upgrade with awesome power, it did not get any boosts from the sensory chamber in my proposed solution above.
Scent of Fear
Scent of fear in the current build got quite the major nerf. Previously scent of fear a unique upgrade and very useful in locating marines, but not as useful as other upgrades. Even though scent of fear was sub-par in comparison with other upgrades, for some reason scent of fear was reduced in effectiveness when it was a given as a freebie on SC’s. Not only does this make the SC zone even more deadly, but also it makes scent of fear as a normal upgrade redundant. Even still, scent of fear is still useful for the lerk, gorge, and onos. For the fade, focus is the obvious choice, and for the skulk cloaking or focus is more desirable in the job of killing marines. The onos can take scent of fear because focus lowers his building smashing power, and cloaking on the onos is useless. Finally the gorge is most concerned with hiding and living to build, so focus isn’t very useful there, and cloaking can hide the gorge, but seeing them coming can be preferable to those who like to be the non-confrontational type of gorge.
Scent of fear would be a much more powerful and unique upgrade to the aliens if it were linked to the SCs on the field, and also would serve as a dissimilar counter to motion tracking.
The most frustrating upgrade to play against, it is also the most specialized upgrade, with entire buildings, tactics, and upgrades built around countering this one ability. Until marines acquire the hard counters necessary to overcome cloaking, cloaking is practically unbeatable by any normal means from a player, such as outmaneuvering the alien, or having such superior aim the alien is unable to kill the marine in time. Even medspam is difficult to time, as generally cloaked ambushes are not expected, and unless the commander has his eyes on a marine who is suddenly attacked, he will not be able to respond in time.
Cloaking is indeed a specialized tool, with only real benefits to the skulk and gorge. Since cloaking is lost with any attack, a lerk who is always sporing or using umbra, the fade who always must blink sees no use in cloak, and the onos is just too big to hide. The lerk also has much to gain from scent of fear or focus, boosting its placement of spores or battle ability, and fades gain so much from focus its doubtful to ever see another upgrade preferred for a sensory fade. Skulks are most effective when ambushing, and so cloaking is a natural choice. Gorges who prefer to hide from marines and act as support for skulks who need it by safely remaining cloaked until skulks need him also see use in cloaking.
It would be interesting to see if cloaking could be made more useful for all classes by allowing them to use slot 2 attacks and not lose their cloak. This means cloaking-blinking fades, or spores that do not reveal the lerk. It probably would not boost cloaking in any significant fashion, but until a test is done, which is unlikely, there is no real way to tell.
As it currently stands, cloaking fits into the game, but places much more emphasis on strategy and less on tactics. NS being a hybrid of RTS-FPS, those who favor the FPS will naturally hate cloaking, and those who favor the RTS will love it. Still, regardless of any opinion, cloaking has to stay because it matches the developer’s intent with SCs.
Cost of Upgrades
The cost of these upgrades is very important. Just from b5 to 3.0 final, one can notice how movement chambers are used first so much more in both clan and public games, yet no change was made to either the movement chamber’s abilities, or its upgrades that it provides. However, after the upgrades were made to evolve quicker and for free, movement chambers became more viable. How is this so? As mentioned before,
|MCs wins generally occur through the use of an early lerk, upgraded skulks, and a fade (or two, varies from strat to strat), and involve a rigorous system of MCs to quickly warp to a building hive to defend it.|
Now that upgrades are free, the early game properties of movement chambers are able to be used to their full potential, and can easily compete with early game marines, protecting a steady resflow early on and securing a second hive spot. Amazing how such seemingly small boost to the aliens makes an entire chamber better over another. MCs are now seen as a better choice for the first over DCs. In fact, with all upgrades free DCs are the third best choice for the first hive. This is because in prior versions having an upgrade as skulk meant delayed nodes, lifeforms, or hives, which generally was not seen as worth it. But with having upgrades at all times with no risk, it completely changes strategy of being able for aliens to focus on their early game in entirety.
Nevertheless, free upgrades come at a cost gameplay wise. This hidden cost is a loss of strategic value. No longer is there is trade back of having an upgrade, the only decision to make for aliens today is what upgrade they want. No longer does there exist the question of whether or not the alien should even get an upgrade and save his resources, he simply picks what he feels will benefit him most in some future battle.
Admittedly, it benefits to pub play, but it is overpowered and bad for clanplay. Clan play revolves around teamwork. Teamwork done through combined attacks, through increased communication, and a plan before the game even starts marks the efficiency of an alien team in clan play. Aliens in clan play are more powerful than they are in pub play due to the demanding requirements of teamwork. The same goes for marines, but aliens profit far more from good teamwork than marines ever could. Furthermore, marines benefit from skill far more than aliens do, as aliens are mostly simple movement patterns to learn, whereas marines rely heavily on aim, a skill that is never perfected. Therefore marines in pubs do not suffer as much from bad teamwork as aliens do, which is why aliens increase in effectiveness more than marines with proper teamwork.
While it is possible for aliens to have good teamwork in pubs, generally this is due to excessive sever regulars or just a fluke. Even still, all alien pub games lack a pre-game plan, cohesiveness of players, or the increased communication between players found in clan games, which is generally marked through the use of third party communication programs such as ventrilo.
Aliens in clan games operate in a much different manner than those of pub games. Aliens in pubs generally move about until they meet a marine, upon which sometimes they parasite, but almost always without fail, and shortly after the discovery of a marine, aliens will then engage the marine. In clan games, discovery of a marine sets off a process thought by all clan players:
- What do I need to kill this (these) marine(s)?
- Do I have the available manpower to take on this (these) marine(s)?
- If I must engage the marine, where should I engage the marine?
The nature of aliens in clan games is that they almost always use overpowering force as often as possible. Often this organization process is extremely quick and often becomes natural for teams who have been playing together for a long time. This is pretty much the only way to beat skilled marines. As such these alien attacks, while certainly not unbeatable in clan games, are much more effective than that of pub games. For those who have been playing for a long time in clan games, everything said so far goes without saying. However, it is important to recognize that since alien attacks are so much more effective in clan games, free upgrades make these calculated ambushes in clan games too much.
Aliens already could win in b5, but now with upgrades that come at now cost, plus in the extra resources earned from killing marines, aliens now tech faster than before. However in pub games free upgrades fit nicely, they add forgiveness to an already unforgiving side, and allow aliens to practice and experiment with less risk. Pub games really are all about practice, and so free upgrades fit nicely here. But in clan games, it serves to imbalance certain chambers over each other, tech aliens too quickly from increased earnings in kills, and free upgrades just aren’t necessary for clan players to win alien rounds.
Proposed Solution: In clan games, upgrades cost different amounts for each class. Aliens shouldn’t have as much leeway as free upgrades currently provide. However, as seen in earlier versions, 2 resources an upgrade is too much for a skulk, and basically an insignificant cost for creatures such as the onos and fade. Therefore, to upgrade as a skulk, it would only cost 1 resource, to upgrade as a gorge or lerk, it would cost 2 resources, and to upgrade as a fade or onos it would cost 3 resources.
For pub games, upgrades are free. Normally having a difference between clan games and pub games is not recommended or accepted, but the issue here is one of forgiveness and preserving integrity. Just as FF is left off for casual players to make the game more forgiving for less teamwork, so should upgrade costs in public games, because of the increased teamwork inherent and necessary in clan games FF. After witnessing the results of no upgrades, these are the apparent conclusions.
The chambers in 3.0 final and their upgrades are more fun to use and play with. They offer more possibilities and break the old DMS order for good. Yet, the chambers are not balanced. This may come as frustration to those who have spent months trying to improve the game, and do everything on a free basis. But once the issues above are addressed, then the most fun and balanced version of NS to be played will be produced, and those who play the game will remember 3.0 as an important stepping stone on the road.
Post Mortem Discussion:
Honestly, not as an insult, clanners are not that quick to adapt. They find a strat that works, and practice it. Almost to the exclusion of all else, honing it until their 'competative' edge will strike through another team. That's possibly the driving concept behind competative play. Finding the quirks and using them to your advantage. Adaptation means generalization, and reverting from one specialized tactic to an entirely different mindset takes time and frustration (for some).:// Honestly, not as an insult, clanne...ion (for some).:// Honestly, not as an insult, clanne...ion (for some).:// Honestly, not as an insult, clanne...ion (for some).
I am tired of arguments such as these. They are as weak as a strand of silk. Like silk, it looks and feels good to those who enjoy its qualities. However, in reality silk is very fragile, and once touched upon it breaks. Why is the argument like this cloth? A few pokes reveal its breaking points:
The argument does not understand what adapt means.
v. a·dapt·ed, a·dapt·ing, a·dapts
To make suitable to or fit for a specific use or situation.
To adapt, one must first understand what he is adapting to. Much like a skilled hunter adapts to the climate where he is hunting; he puts on clothes to match his environment in order to blend in, and changes his weapon and ammunition type to match the animal he pursues. The novice hunter would simply try things without knowing which works best, until he accidentally stumbles across the best combination of clothes, weapon, and ammunition type. Therefore it follows when the skilled hunter is presented with a new situation, he will not find something that works, he will intrinsically understand what will work best. Whereas, the novice hunter will continue with his guesswork. The skilled hunter is skilled because he adapts faster, this is what separates the wheat from the chaff. The argument prefers to mix logic however,
|Honestly, not as an insult, clanners are not that quick to adapt. They find a strat that works, and practice it.|
this argument fails to realize that the very reason clanners are clanners, and are skilled at what they do is because they adapt the fastest. They do not find a strategy that works; they find the strategy with the most destructive and overpowering value possible, and perfect it.
|That's possibly the driving concept behind competative play. Finding the quirks and using them to your advantage.|
From MUSE (Modeling for Understanding in Science Education)
Darwin's Model of Natural Selection:
· Populations are made up of individual organisms whose traits (structural, behavioral, biochemical) exhibit variation from one individual to the next
· Many trait variations are inherited
· Some trait variations may be advantageous while others may not
· Whether or not a variation is advantageous depends on the environment within which a population lives
· The frequency of particular trait variations in a population may change over time due to differential survival and reproduction
· Evolutionary changes occur in populations or species, not individuals
· Offspring are not exactly like their parents-they also vary, but the variations of their traits are likely to be similar to those of their parents
· Variability in a population can be represented graphically
· Organisms produce more offspring than can survive
· There is competition between organisms for resources
Darwin’s model explains why animals are the way they are, being the most efficient and driving other animals to extinction. If we used the argument’s logic then we would claim these animals survive because they found their quirks and used them to their advantage. In layman’s terms, this is simply trying to downplay an amazing process. Now let us apply this to the game of Natural Selection:
· Teams are made up of individual players whose playstyles (movement and aiming ability, teamwork cohesiveness, ability to process information) exhibit variation from one individual to the next
· Many playstyle variations are inherited
· Some playstyle variations may be advantageous while others may not
· Whether or not a playstyle is advantageous depends on the environment within which a population plays
· The frequency of particular playstyle variations in a team may change over time due to differential win rates and ease of use
· Playstyle changes occur in teams or servers, not players
· Players are not exactly like their teachers-they also vary, but the variations of their playstyles are likely to be similar to those of their teachers
· Variability in a team can be represented graphically
· Players produce more playstyles than can survive
· There is competition between players for wins
Darwin’s model explains why players play the way they do, using the most efficient playstyles and driving other playstyles into extinction. You can call it finding quirks all you want, but the fact is clanplay accelerates evolution of the best playstyles.
Clan play of natural selection indeed follows Darwin’s model, strategies best suited to win survive, whereas ones that do not win, fade out of existence. What strategies have faded out of existence? Those who agree with such linear logic as the above argument displays will never know, because they lack the intrinsic values which make skilled players skilled; the ability to adapt quickly. However, one can ask any clanplayer about failed strategies he has used in the past, he will be able to name countless strategies that made them lose horribly. (Note this is no bash on Talesin, but rather an attack on the argument he and others make.)
Please, listen carefully -- did you hear that? That is the sound of a silk strand snapping. Do not clutter this thread with “adapt or lose” type arguments because they do not make any sense.
Post edited by Unknown User on
Smart thing of the moment:
-since NS came out. Since the summer of 04- - "A Veteran Player"
-since NS came out. Since the summer of 04- - "A Veteran Player"