The Skulking Disadvantage

SawhatSawhat Join Date: 2004-09-14 Member: 31711Members
<div class="IPBDescription">beta 5 observations</div> Right now in beta 5, I see 3 problems for the Khaara.
<ul><li>Melee combat</li><li>Ambushing</li><li>Alien spawning</li></ul>
<u>Melee combat-</u>
<i>Situtation:</i> As a skulk, you are waiting around the ceiling of a dark corner. Some rambo marine passes by and you make a precision drop on top of the victom. However you instantly lose sight of him after the first bite. You quickly scan left and right but cannot retarget before the jumping marine gets in 8 bullets
<i>Problem:</i> I know I'm not the best skulk player, but I constantly lose sight of my marines when I'm biting right next to them. Of course 3/4 of the marines know how to jump in random directions which means *I* have to jump (so they don't simply aim at their feet for a free kill) and usually I have to jump before I know which direction to turn.
<i>Solution?</i> I hear alot of people asking for a armor and/or speed boost. That doesn't fix this problem. Skulks need a WIDER VIEW ANGLE. Just look at the skulk- <!--emo&::skulk::--><img src='' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='skulk.gif' /><!--endemo--> It's a predator with it's eyes angled more on the sides to be more observant. But we're stuck in the same viewpoint of that like a marine, gorge, lerker, etc. And as cool as the eyes-in-mouth view for the skulk looks, biting blinds vision for critical milliseconds in close combat, further hindering the skulk.

<u>Ambushing-</u> (or the lack of)
<i>Situtation:</i> Skulk see marine. Skulk runs to marine. Skulk dies.
<i>Problem:</i> It's not so much as a balance issue, but rather skill/maprelated problem. Some maps are very long, straight, and featureless which makes it easier for a marine to scan for coming skulks. But even in the maps with rich terrain, I see alot of skulk running around looking for marines as if they carried shotguns. That's not the case! Probably it's because the majority of people who enter NS are used to playing "normal" fps games where you have a gun / ranged weapon. Not enough players realize that the distance is the skulks greatest enemy. And the bunny hoppers (with the supposed speed increase... bug) there's alot of skulks who do crazy jumping as soon as they hear the first marine. And sadly the jumping works even better against the MT-shotgun marines.
<i>Solution?</i> Filled-background-eye-catching maps without straight featureless hallways, the offical maps typical have this covered. New users need some tutorial map or experienced skulk to monkey when ambushing. And the bhopping... it's existance ruins ambushing.

<u>Alien spawning-</u>
<i>Situtation:</i> You just got shottied/HMGed/naded as a fade, lerk, etc. You wait 15 seconds and as you spawn in as a skulk, then you immidately die before walking 2 feet. You look up to see you were shottied/HMGed/naded.
<i>Problem:</i> This is more geared against the combat maps. If you die, you are a skulk again; another victom of the 1 hit shotgun provided a single marine has gotten in alien start. If gameplay was DESIGNED to make the team lose in such a case, why do the marines respawn with all of their HMGs/shotties/Gls/HA/jetpacks where the aliens get the axe? If the marine base in a NS map is attacked, 1 marine who spawns can grab a shotgun (which the comm just dropped) and jump around hitting skulks like he was playing a bonus stage. If that marine dies, typically the next spawning marine get the range to remove the remaining threat. In combat maps, you get 5 marines respawning FULLY equipment with plenty of power to elimate any alien spawncampers. Not to mention now the jetpackers simply do the SAME suicide runs to the hive that the onos did back in beta4. The hive is a sitting duck in both NS and CO maps.
<i>Solution?</i> Either force the the marines to reequip and add a timer for equipping; thus marines get to suffer the same fate. Of course that would promote spawn camping on BOTH sides, which I don't want. Rather, reduce the morphing time and/or add a small invicibility so that skulks spawning 5 feet from a shotgun don't have to wait 5 minutes for the alien team to lose.

But really, the skulk is a powerful creature. It doesn't need to be tanked or beefed up in stats, but given more of an opportunity. The majority of games I play now without that super-experienced skulk will end up with <!--emo&::asrifle::--><img src='' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='asrifle.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&::skulk::--><img src='' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='skulk.gif' /><!--endemo-->

oh, and wee: first post


  • BuggyBuggy Join Date: 2003-11-08 Member: 22400Members, Constellation
    Well, I disagree. With more experience you'll surely be able to land second, third, and maybe even 4 bites in a row. Just dont hold down mouse1, and make _sure_ your bites hit. Really, if they'd make it easier to bite marines consecutively, it would take away about 40% of the skill you need. It can be rough, especially with lower frames per second though. But keep practising.

    Ambushing is indeed more or a problem with people not being used to melee units in fps games, and I think the best way to solve that is through a good tutorial, explaining the basics of skulking.

    Apart from that, minor hp and/or speed boost <!--emo&:)--><img src='' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile-fix.gif' /><!--endemo-->
  • BlueeBluee Join Date: 2002-11-03 Member: 6286Members
    Most of Combat's problems are due the fact that servers run too high of a timelimit. Any timelimit over 15 minutes, and the aliens will undoubtedly lose under equal skill. 15 minutes and under, the aliens can usually hold out.

    Since most servers I see run 20, 25, or 30 minute Combat timelimits, I think each level needs to be harder to get, since 15 minutes is PLENTY of time to get level 10. And what happens after level 10 is achieved? Aliens lose to 100% jetpackers.
  • SaltzBadSaltzBad Join Date: 2004-02-23 Member: 26833Members
    The idea with increased viewangle is pretty nifty. But keeping track of the target is really not that hard in Melee, especially in Beta 5. What can be hard is to stay close enough once you don't have your starting momentum anymore - while marine movements are extremely predictable, done correctly they're also just a hint faster than a Skulk plainly walking. Of course, strafeturning, +movedown or a nice BHop startjump in the middle of a firefight all do the trick - but it doesn't quite match the ease of evasive effort made by the marine.

    As for the uh "ambushing" problem - thats not a problem on anything but co_ maps and a few select ****-tastic ns maps.
  • TalesinTalesin Our own little well of hate Join Date: 2002-11-08 Member: 7710NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators
    Actually, the Skulk already has a wider view angle than other units, just as the Onos has a narrower one. This was a problem back in the 1.0x days, when software rendering and D3D were still attempting to be supported glitch-free, neither of which would handle the changed angles correctly. The wider Skulk view has been implemented since 2.01, if memory serves correctly.

    Also, the teeth are a minor balancing measure. In earlier revisions, the ability to turn off that momentary blindness made for incredibly painful Skulks, who could easily deal with any Marine. The slight disorientation allows the Marine at least a slight chance in melee range. (I may disagree with giving the Marine a chance in melee, given that Skulks have such a difficult time at range, but that's just explaining why it's there.)

    Ambushing (or lack thereof) is a player problem. We can only balance the game, not the players.

    As for the spawn problem, I believe it may have been a new bug. In the previous revision, there was a cvar to enable this behaviour (called Hambone Mode) allowing Kharaa to re-select their upgrades and adapt to the Marine threat dynamically. We'll have to see what the next beta brings, in this regard.

    As for beefing the Skulk, I'd favor an increase in speed. The ability to take an extra bullet or two would be miniscule, compared to the ability to close on an enemy faster. (Still miss the old Celerity Skulk, whipping down the corridors of Eclipse)

    Welcome to the Forums, please remember to use search before posting new threads, keep your hands and arms inside the car at all times, and enjoy your stay.
  • SLizerSLizer Join Date: 2003-11-07 Member: 22363Members, Constellation
    <!--QuoteBegin-Talesin+Sep 15 2004, 06:52 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td><b>QUOTE</b> (Talesin @ Sep 15 2004, 06:52 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin-->

    Welcome to the Forums, please remember to use search before posting new threads, keep your hands and arms inside the car at all times, and enjoy your stay.

    <!--QuoteEnd--> </td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'> <!--QuoteEEnd-->

    Yup i say ho`to!

    And I also think that skulks are quite weak nowdays....
  • AhnteisAhnteis teh Bob Join Date: 2002-10-02 Member: 1405Members, NS1 Playtester, Constellation
    Skulks can't effectively ambush because:

    1) They make way, way too much noise. Silence is not usually available in NS games until hive 2.

    2) It costs too much for an expendable skulk to be getting upgrades anyway. (Including silence, sof, cloak -- the ambush upgrades.) Marines not only spawn with their base upgrades pretty much permamently, they only have to pay once.

    3) The camera is not correctly aligned with the model. Skulks are usually far more visible then they would suspect based on their view.
  • SawhatSawhat Join Date: 2004-09-14 Member: 31711Members
    My problem with ambushing is that I usually get stuck on some object. Either I'm wall climbing and this little 4 inch popout snags me and my momentum, or i'm jumping in for the kill and either a wall or ladder snags my grip. Do fades really need to grab ladders while they have blink? And how often do the rest of you get upgrades for skulks? It's too expensive for me even if I manage a 1:1 with a skulk.
  • StakhanovStakhanov Join Date: 2003-03-12 Member: 14448Members
    <!--QuoteBegin-Talesin+Sep 15 2004, 12:52 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td><b>QUOTE</b> (Talesin @ Sep 15 2004, 12:52 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteEBegin--> Also, the teeth are a minor balancing measure. In earlier revisions, the ability to turn off that momentary blindness made for incredibly painful Skulks, who could easily deal with any Marine. The slight disorientation allows the Marine at least a slight chance in melee range. (I may disagree with giving the Marine a chance in melee, given that Skulks have such a difficult time at range, but that's just explaining why it's there.)
    <!--QuoteEnd--> </td></tr></table><div class='postcolor'> <!--QuoteEEnd-->
    A <i>slight</i> chance ? Knockback is here to give them an other "slight" chance to escape the skulk as well. In the end , skilled rambo marines can survive cloaked skulks with ease (if they haven't spotted them with their high gamma) ; theses innocent looking skulk nerfs made it a pain to play as unupgraded skulks , and rendered Armor 1 overpowered. Considering an Armor 1 marine can beat a skulk with his knife and a bit of luck , I don't think the marines would be helpless all of a sudden if alien players didn't have to predict the location of their target while their jaws are closed.

    Besides , that's yet another reason people res***** in order to go Fade or Onos : theses species don't have their view blocked when attacking ! No disorientation , the marines can't evade your charges with impunity. They can't humiliate you with their knife unless you really deserve it.

    So please , do something about it. The skulks are supposed to dominate melee range , not have a slight advantage in some imaginary area between close and melee range once the stars are aligned. Either remove the knockback , the jaw viewpoint , or the overpowered knife.
  • VB_PhatVB_Phat Join Date: 2004-07-20 Member: 30009Members
    edited September 2004
    And make them faster, also the midair resupply is really lame.
  • SaltzBadSaltzBad Join Date: 2004-02-23 Member: 26833Members
    And about the disparity between Alien and Marine respawn systems, let me add this before I forget it : See that text at the bottom of your screen that says attacking/defending ? Yes, well marines are attacking - they're not supposed to be able to lose outside the timelimit unless teams are severely out of whack. Aliens on the other hand are supposed to exclusively defend the objective - not do anything beyond that, like feeding marines xp, rushing, attacking base, blablabla.
  • taboofirestaboofires Join Date: 2002-11-24 Member: 9853Members
    I would actually recommend NOT holding down the fire button, but rather only tapping it when you thing you'll actually hit.

    Other helpful tactics for keeping the attack on a marine up are to look up slightly (so their jumping doesn't throw you off) and to try to keep a little distance between you and the marine (get a feel for how long the bite range is, and avoid pressing against the marine. That causes lots of problems).
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