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General thread on why changelings suck


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Starting notes: This post is going to be covering why the current implementation is such a mess, and won't really be offering solutions. I'll probably make a forum post later explaining some possible routes for them.


Why evopoints fail as a meaningful resource system:
- You get too many compared to the cost of abilities, 10 evopoints will get you everything you want and then some. Every ability cost 1-2 evo. This is made even worse due to their options being pretty boring and bad

- They don't actually interact with the other abilities you have access to, meaning that it's only used for one thing

- Reroll is totally sidelined due to the above, and really won't be used even though it's a cool concept


Why chemicals don't work as a resource system:
- Cannot be increased in any way, meaning that changelings on higher populations are gonna get screwed due to the sheer amount of people playing. This also means that players won't feel like they're making progress.

- They have a high cap and low recharge rate. Encouraging people to sit in a locker for a minute or more is terrible for everyone involved, and so heavily encourages "cheese tactics". The idea of chemicals is to make a changeling wait for an opening, go in with full chemicals, and get out after using them to win the encounter. This does not work in practice, because 90 people play here, not 15 (Lowpop cling is fun as fuck btw it's actually amazing and was designed specifically for that setting).

- Forces abilities to directly compete against each other, stuff like speed legs VS epiOD is way more stupid with chemicals taken into account rather than just looking at something like a cooldown.

- Forces abilities to have a low power level. Allowing this stuff to be spammed super heavily means that the stuff you get needs to be kind of shit.


The whole "Absorb"/DNA/Transformation mechanic is underdeveloped

-Absorbing someone? Cool. Does less than it really should. Absorbing someone doesn't feel satisfying, it feels tedious.

- DNA sting kind of trivalizes absorb type mechanics, making the ever present action button only used if absolutely required.

-Transformation is kind of ass, you don't get their clothes, their ID, or useable information about them. As many people don't use the notes feature, you're normally left in the dark. Plus this is highpop so good luck impersonating anyone with an actual character because you probably don't know them (I feel bad for the clings that get me).

- It's a bit clunky to use, being forced to stop is weird (God I love TG radical menus)

 

Abilities:

- A few of them are total griefing tools. Hallu sting, spiders, and resonant shriek are really only used for purposes of griefing, rather than doing anything fun. These also aren't very good.

-Some of them are just bad in almost every situation. Organic space suit is really, really bad and is worse than taking fleshmend and doing a spacewalk. Digital chamo is a sick joke against anyone that takes it. Last resort is awful but really funny.

-Some of them are really good but really boring. Fleshmend does what it says on the tin, which is really, really boring. Augmented eyesight is great, but nobody is all that happy to take it. Armblade is a fireaxe that puts a KOS label on you. The sting that mutes you sure does that. It's this most bog standard vanilla icecream shit that makes you think "Man I wish I rolled tot".

- A lot of them encourage low interaction gameplay. Mute sting stops someone from trying to call for help, and removes an option they have. Blind sting removes an option they have for escaping. Removing options causes frustration, and using your options effectively, also known as skillfully playing, is taken less into account.

-Most of them instantly out you for being a changeling. You can't blend in if the use of your own abilities make you stand out.

-I didn't have another place to mention it, but changeling claims to be "versatile", which is complete bullshit. Abunch of bad options does not make for a good varied kit.

 

Regeneration:

- Serves the purpose of making cling KOS 100% of the time, that's good? Kind of, but it does kind of suck they have an awful ability that pretends to be good.

- This is used to get rid of robotic limbs startshift, nothing else

- If you were seriously hurt due to a firefight, reviving is still a bad idea. In those 40 seconds they are going to probably find you, cuff you, and then strip everything you have. 


Hivemind:

- ":g am the HOP come for AA" is an example of the kind of things you're going to hear, it encourages people to do objectives for the other changelings without any real gain.

- The risk of actually finding a buddy is removed. Put bluntly "working together" as a cling isn't common because you actively looked for each other, and when it goes happen it's like 3 people just murderboning.


- Hivemind link isn't an ability that is ever used, nor is it used for anything good when it is. Pretty much just used to fuck up other clings. Dunno why this exists when you can simply... talk to them.

Actual changeling lore stuff:

- The "Oh yeah they're actually just some random alien" absolutely ruins roleplay potental, giving people 0 reason to even attempt to roleplay with a changeling at all. 

- Changelings not being crew, but rather someone who replaced crew, is a nightmare. Letting silicons straight up murderize changelings sounds funny on paper, but it ends up just creating extreme "technically not validing" situations. God forbid someone accidentally kills a changeling and now everyone is scratching their head on what to do next.

- It's underdeveloped so people just throw whatever they want to into it and say it's how it should be. Most people have a notion of what changeling should be... informed by themselves and nobody else. Changeling doesn't have an identity, and complaining something isn't "changeling like" is a silly argument.

 

Well, there you go, if you yourself have issues that I didn't mention, throw them below. Remember to keep cling off at all times.

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While it's generally agreed upon that changelings aren't particularly great in many aspects at the moment, it's good that you've highlighted why these things are issues.

The chemical system is awkward and restrictive in what you can do with it, and only gives you so much control when creating an ability. Any change to the chemical system has a direct impact on all abilities which makes it a pain from a design perspective. Adding cooldowns to this could maybe somehow help with that design flaw but that would also just be a nerf without any other changes which is the opposite of what we need right now.

I could go through and agree or disagree with you on certain points but the consensus seems to be that they're just very dated. I also believe that while they have decent stealth capability, it's very hard to pull off and you're generally just better going loud which is a shame when so much of their kit is designed around being stealthy. I do think that our station is a lot more densely populated these days and that is partly why it's so hard to pull off stealth.

The question is what to do. Would we want to touch up some of their abilities? Rework the chemical system? Would this even be enough? We can just say rework them, but somebody ultimately has to code that which is a huge task with its own caveats.

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2 hours ago, CornMyCob said:

Adding cooldowns to this could maybe somehow help with that design flaw but that would also just be a nerf without any other changes which is the opposite of what we need right now.

Wasn't trying to suggest we should add more cooldowns. Rather move to a cooldown system instead of chemicals, but that's not the main point of this comment.

The point of this post was to get everyone on the same page to some extent with the issues that changeling has, and to see if people had further issues I may have glossed over. Rather not have any more breaks in communication, which is a big damage to any project.

Also, any chance you could relay what design team is looking for @necaladun based off our chat in DMs? Just wanna keep people on the same level.

3 hours ago, CornMyCob said:

The question is what to do. Would we want to touch up some of their abilities? Rework the chemical system? Would this even be enough? We can just say rework them, but somebody ultimately has to code that which is a huge task with its own caveats.

In all honestly a full rework is needed here, changeling doesn't do much of anything outside of do its objectives really hard. In terms of options, I do actually have a couple of documents that I'm currently revising to be posted later after everyone is on the same page with what they want. For coding we'll get to it when we get to it, but it's probably going to fall on to me by default. 

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I’m terrible at putting my thoughts into words, doubly so on a public forum, so please don’t put me on the cross: but what if we moved changeling from being its own game mode to instead being a traitor upload bundle much like how the contractor bundle is? 

 

20 TC changeling bundle: You receive a chameleon jumpsuit and dormant dehydrated head slug. The slug is inside an implanter that can only be used by the one who purchased it, and upon use, makes you a changeling as the head slug merges with your conscious. Optionally have the PDA uplink self terminate so you can’t rob other tots for crystals?/relive the changeling with a desword combo from days of old. 
 

This makes playing as a changeling optional so you’re not having to deal with 130 players in highpop and the headache that it usually is, while also being granted a chameleon jumpsuit to better utilize the ‘blending in’ and ‘hiding in plain sight’ appeal of the transformation and identity theft abilities of the changeling. 
 

Im not sure if a full chameleon kit would be too overpowered hence just the jumpsuit, but I’m sure someone has a better idea on how that could be implemented. 
 

this doesn’t outright fix changelings of course, but instead makes it more of an opt in side grade like the contractor. 

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