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View Full Version : Spy vs. Merc - Mixed teams



Epicurus_13
05-27-2005, 01:57 PM
I came across a neat little idea while I was skimming through the PT boards, under the "Spy vs. Spy" thread, in which the poster advocated an alternate SvM mode where spies fight other spies as in single player. While I think that that idea is a little iffy, there was an interesting idea posted later on in the boards (don't recall by whom) about spy/merc mixed teams. Picture how cool it would be to have two teams, each of them with one spy and one merc - and each team simultaneously defending a set of objectives while trying to attack the objectives of the other team. Obviously it would require all-new maps and some Anti-spy attacks for spies, but I think this mode has the potential to be a legitimate addition to the SC multiplayer lineup - but not without some balance changes.

Just to be 100% clear, I'm not suggesting that a new mode replace classic SvM, which I love to death, but rather an entirely new mode which is similar ot SvM, but uses a whole bunch of new mechanics, including mixed spy/merc teams and even a new "class" - read on.

Anyone agree that this idea could have potential if properly implemented, or have speculations on what features would make good additions to this mode/ why it might not work?

Personally, I think that it would offer a well of geat possiblities for new coop-moves like the merc giving the spy a boost and basic stuff like that, but also cool additions, like the merc having some sort of rocket-guided projectile that normally fires in a straight line, but can be set to follow the laser pointer of the spy ally, effectively allowing the spy to "paint" the enemy spy or merc with his laser in order to guide a rocket around corners, etc. Also, a spy weapon that covers the target with electrical chaff for a time, making them visible in EMV mode for their merc ally, objectives that require a both a spy and a merc to neutralize, or objectives that can only be neutralized by spies and others that can only be neutralized by mercs, maybe arranging the levels so that the merc objectives can be made easier to reach by a hack only available to spies and vice-versa. There is potential to beef up the hand-to-hand comabt as well, since now spies will be able to duel with spies and mercs with mercs. Spies attacking other spies would have to rely less on chokes (since spies can turn instantly) and more on surprise/support, while mercs fighting mercs would be in trouble without a spy ally to distract their foe. In order to make sure that stealth is still the best choice for spies, spies might need to have different vision modes in mixed teams, since thermal and even NV can spot other spies pretty much instantly. A good solution might be to give spies Motion tracking vision rather than thermal, and leave NV in with the range toned down a bit.

A merc grenade or trap that reduced the target's turn speed for a time (think some kind of poison or goo) would be good for teamwork with a spy partner, allowing their teammate to grab the enemy spy, and make it easier to grab the enemy merc. A "reverse" spy bullet for spies that stuck to an enemy and generated noise every few seconds for half a minute or so would be useful to stick on enemy spies to make the merc better able to find them.

In close combat, the teamwork between a spy and a merc could have lots of interesting possibilites. Changing the move effects a bit is a must. For example, the merc charge and berserk would stun enemies rather than knock them down, reducing their power a bit, but if a spy attacks an enemy who is stunned, they perform some sort of spinning kick or brutal attack that is an instant kill or at least a knockdown. Likewise, a merc who pressed 'a' while next to someone who has just been elbowed automatically grabs them and can then snap their spine over his knee or taunt them until they choke to death (or something cool like that). A move where the merc swings the spy forward like the tomoe-nage would be cool, especially if it were made so that it could cross certain otherwise inacessible gaps, had a combat use, or allowed for a cool maneuver if the spy was thrown toward a wall (such as a wall run followed by an extra-high flip off of the wall). A merc attack that creates a wall of Electromagnetic chaff or tiny moving particles to fool EMV and MT visions, respectively, could allow them to give cover to their allied spy against enemy mercs, and similar spy attacks that created thermal fields or defeated night vision could give cover to their merc ally or themselves vs. spies. It would be cool if the spy could manually install stationary cameras (bigger than sticky cams) that added themselves to the merc's camnet network.

As for gameplay, it would be cool to have a large map full of objectives and security devices that will detect any spy and can be disarmed by either team. Once captured by one team, the objective becomes a target for the other team to try and capture, but the security will now detect the enemy spies, and will be more intense than before. All the cameras surrounding that objective are added to the camnet of the merc on the team that captured it, and the first team to capture a majority of the objectives on one map wins (say there are five objectives, the first team to simultaneously control three of them wins) with a captured objective being possible to "steal" from an enemy, although the disarm time of the objective increases slightly each time it switches hands, making the objectives increasingly stable. Keeping mercs and spies out of the spawn points of their equivalent on the other team could bet tricky, but not impossible for some crafty level designers. This mode would even support more than two teams in conflict, or allow for 3 vs. 3 or 4. vs 4 or more, with one team having a different proportion of spies to mercs in a 3 on 3 (so one team could be 2 spies, 1 merc, or 2 mercs, 1 spy, or whatever they like, and the other could be different.)

The key is to make cooperation between spies and mercs on the same team important to victory, to avoid "all mercs" or "all spies" games - make teamwork part of every abiltiy and gadget.

The multiplayer in SC already showcases the fun of two teams with very different strengths and weaknesses fighting each other, the mercs using their strength, the spies using their stealth. A natural evolution is to make each team a require a combination of different skills to win - spies and mercs on the same team, covering each other's backs from a similarly deadly enemy team - a combination of Vs. Mode and Coop.

In fact, if this mode existed, it wouldn't be necessary to limit the teams to spies and mercs - new "classes" could easily find a niche as well. How about a "Techie" or "Hacker", who has very little mobility or hand to hand abiltity (comparable to a civilian from SP, perhaps with a pistol to defend himself), but with the ability to hack objectives with insane speed, and use computer terminals to control and hack security devices and turn them against their owners for a time, close or open doors, operate gun turrets (placed by the spy and merc allies) remotely, view a 3d map of intrustions, hack into the enemy's communications, lockdown obejctives, hack the lights, fans, etc. , monitor a camera on the back of the allied merc's helmet to warn him of enemies behind, control various security robots (as in MGS, the flying camera drones) that must be captured or deployed by his allies, have access to cameras on the spy and merc so that he can see what they are seeing (like lambert sees Fisher in SP).

Then it could be a three-on-three battle, with a spy-tech-merc team battling another such team, the spies heading for the objectives, placing the occasional Spy Cam for the techie to watch their back, trying to find and assassinate the enemy tech, defeating enemy mercs and spies hand-to-hand with the help of the merc, securing objectives that turn the nearby security into the tools of their team.

the techie hacking into a computer console in a relatively safe spot, unlocking doors for the spy and merc, shutting down the lights where the spy passes, turning them on where the merc does, watching the backs of his teammates and gunning down unlucky enemy mercs and spies who walk into the range of the autoguns that the allied merc laid down earlier, battling the enemy tech to gain control of more terminals and security, playing God.

the merc patrolling the captured objectives, watching to make sure that the hacker isn't attacked while he's busy at the terminal, setting autoguns for the tech to use against the enemy, taking down enemy spies and mercs with brutal combos with the help of the spy, keeping captured targets secure, knowing that all the nearby security will serve only him, creating deathtraps and holding the only serious gun on the map, sniping enemy spies when they are detected by the hacker, boosting the allied spy into the enemy's strongholds, popping the enemy tech in the head, bulldozing the enemy security and escorting the spy to the last target.


At this point, I may have suggested a bit more than will be implemented anytime soon (read: ever) but hopefully there are some good ideas in there that might have potential in future incarnations of SC.

Many of the ideas above can be adapted to fit into the current "2 spies, 2 mercs" vs. mode, for instance the laser-guided rocket becomes a laser guided spy bullet, spy cam, chaff grenade, or some other gadget, where one spy fires and the other guides with the laser. The "tomoe nage" can obviously be made a reality very easily by allowing one spy to throw the other. The abilites of the tech role can be split amongst the spies and mercs, for instance, creating hacking panels that allow spies to disable security, unlock doors, modify lights, etc. dynamically instead of just being "on/off" swtiches, but more like camnets, with an interface resembling a real computer. Hand-to-hand combat could be deepened by allowing "combo" attacks, where a spy who strikes a merc who is already stunned performs a more powerful attack (although, I suppose you can already just grab them anyway http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

Mercs already have the camnet, but being able to place stationary cameras and guns would be a welcome feature also. Perhaps the gun requires both mercs to perform a "coop move" to deploy it, taking several seconds. Once set up, the gun might operate like those in SP, (including being susceptible to having the IFF turned off!) and also be manually controllable by mercs using a camnet-like device. Other merc 'coop' moves might include assembling security bots and "combo" moves in hand-to hand.

Anyway, that's quite a lot of heroin fantasy for you to absorb for today, but please, post any comments, thoughts, suggestions (new roles, new coop moves, whatever), or (coherent) criticisms below. SC multiplayer is a world of limitless possiblity - the new coop mode shows the flexibility of Xbox live and other online services to provide all kinds of gameplay modes - now let's see how they can be expanded!

Epicurus_13
05-27-2005, 01:57 PM
I came across a neat little idea while I was skimming through the PT boards, under the "Spy vs. Spy" thread, in which the poster advocated an alternate SvM mode where spies fight other spies as in single player. While I think that that idea is a little iffy, there was an interesting idea posted later on in the boards (don't recall by whom) about spy/merc mixed teams. Picture how cool it would be to have two teams, each of them with one spy and one merc - and each team simultaneously defending a set of objectives while trying to attack the objectives of the other team. Obviously it would require all-new maps and some Anti-spy attacks for spies, but I think this mode has the potential to be a legitimate addition to the SC multiplayer lineup - but not without some balance changes.

Just to be 100% clear, I'm not suggesting that a new mode replace classic SvM, which I love to death, but rather an entirely new mode which is similar ot SvM, but uses a whole bunch of new mechanics, including mixed spy/merc teams and even a new "class" - read on.

Anyone agree that this idea could have potential if properly implemented, or have speculations on what features would make good additions to this mode/ why it might not work?

Personally, I think that it would offer a well of geat possiblities for new coop-moves like the merc giving the spy a boost and basic stuff like that, but also cool additions, like the merc having some sort of rocket-guided projectile that normally fires in a straight line, but can be set to follow the laser pointer of the spy ally, effectively allowing the spy to "paint" the enemy spy or merc with his laser in order to guide a rocket around corners, etc. Also, a spy weapon that covers the target with electrical chaff for a time, making them visible in EMV mode for their merc ally, objectives that require a both a spy and a merc to neutralize, or objectives that can only be neutralized by spies and others that can only be neutralized by mercs, maybe arranging the levels so that the merc objectives can be made easier to reach by a hack only available to spies and vice-versa. There is potential to beef up the hand-to-hand comabt as well, since now spies will be able to duel with spies and mercs with mercs. Spies attacking other spies would have to rely less on chokes (since spies can turn instantly) and more on surprise/support, while mercs fighting mercs would be in trouble without a spy ally to distract their foe. In order to make sure that stealth is still the best choice for spies, spies might need to have different vision modes in mixed teams, since thermal and even NV can spot other spies pretty much instantly. A good solution might be to give spies Motion tracking vision rather than thermal, and leave NV in with the range toned down a bit.

A merc grenade or trap that reduced the target's turn speed for a time (think some kind of poison or goo) would be good for teamwork with a spy partner, allowing their teammate to grab the enemy spy, and make it easier to grab the enemy merc. A "reverse" spy bullet for spies that stuck to an enemy and generated noise every few seconds for half a minute or so would be useful to stick on enemy spies to make the merc better able to find them.

In close combat, the teamwork between a spy and a merc could have lots of interesting possibilites. Changing the move effects a bit is a must. For example, the merc charge and berserk would stun enemies rather than knock them down, reducing their power a bit, but if a spy attacks an enemy who is stunned, they perform some sort of spinning kick or brutal attack that is an instant kill or at least a knockdown. Likewise, a merc who pressed 'a' while next to someone who has just been elbowed automatically grabs them and can then snap their spine over his knee or taunt them until they choke to death (or something cool like that). A move where the merc swings the spy forward like the tomoe-nage would be cool, especially if it were made so that it could cross certain otherwise inacessible gaps, had a combat use, or allowed for a cool maneuver if the spy was thrown toward a wall (such as a wall run followed by an extra-high flip off of the wall). A merc attack that creates a wall of Electromagnetic chaff or tiny moving particles to fool EMV and MT visions, respectively, could allow them to give cover to their allied spy against enemy mercs, and similar spy attacks that created thermal fields or defeated night vision could give cover to their merc ally or themselves vs. spies. It would be cool if the spy could manually install stationary cameras (bigger than sticky cams) that added themselves to the merc's camnet network.

As for gameplay, it would be cool to have a large map full of objectives and security devices that will detect any spy and can be disarmed by either team. Once captured by one team, the objective becomes a target for the other team to try and capture, but the security will now detect the enemy spies, and will be more intense than before. All the cameras surrounding that objective are added to the camnet of the merc on the team that captured it, and the first team to capture a majority of the objectives on one map wins (say there are five objectives, the first team to simultaneously control three of them wins) with a captured objective being possible to "steal" from an enemy, although the disarm time of the objective increases slightly each time it switches hands, making the objectives increasingly stable. Keeping mercs and spies out of the spawn points of their equivalent on the other team could bet tricky, but not impossible for some crafty level designers. This mode would even support more than two teams in conflict, or allow for 3 vs. 3 or 4. vs 4 or more, with one team having a different proportion of spies to mercs in a 3 on 3 (so one team could be 2 spies, 1 merc, or 2 mercs, 1 spy, or whatever they like, and the other could be different.)

The key is to make cooperation between spies and mercs on the same team important to victory, to avoid "all mercs" or "all spies" games - make teamwork part of every abiltiy and gadget.

The multiplayer in SC already showcases the fun of two teams with very different strengths and weaknesses fighting each other, the mercs using their strength, the spies using their stealth. A natural evolution is to make each team a require a combination of different skills to win - spies and mercs on the same team, covering each other's backs from a similarly deadly enemy team - a combination of Vs. Mode and Coop.

In fact, if this mode existed, it wouldn't be necessary to limit the teams to spies and mercs - new "classes" could easily find a niche as well. How about a "Techie" or "Hacker", who has very little mobility or hand to hand abiltity (comparable to a civilian from SP, perhaps with a pistol to defend himself), but with the ability to hack objectives with insane speed, and use computer terminals to control and hack security devices and turn them against their owners for a time, close or open doors, operate gun turrets (placed by the spy and merc allies) remotely, view a 3d map of intrustions, hack into the enemy's communications, lockdown obejctives, hack the lights, fans, etc. , monitor a camera on the back of the allied merc's helmet to warn him of enemies behind, control various security robots (as in MGS, the flying camera drones) that must be captured or deployed by his allies, have access to cameras on the spy and merc so that he can see what they are seeing (like lambert sees Fisher in SP).

Then it could be a three-on-three battle, with a spy-tech-merc team battling another such team, the spies heading for the objectives, placing the occasional Spy Cam for the techie to watch their back, trying to find and assassinate the enemy tech, defeating enemy mercs and spies hand-to-hand with the help of the merc, securing objectives that turn the nearby security into the tools of their team.

the techie hacking into a computer console in a relatively safe spot, unlocking doors for the spy and merc, shutting down the lights where the spy passes, turning them on where the merc does, watching the backs of his teammates and gunning down unlucky enemy mercs and spies who walk into the range of the autoguns that the allied merc laid down earlier, battling the enemy tech to gain control of more terminals and security, playing God.

the merc patrolling the captured objectives, watching to make sure that the hacker isn't attacked while he's busy at the terminal, setting autoguns for the tech to use against the enemy, taking down enemy spies and mercs with brutal combos with the help of the spy, keeping captured targets secure, knowing that all the nearby security will serve only him, creating deathtraps and holding the only serious gun on the map, sniping enemy spies when they are detected by the hacker, boosting the allied spy into the enemy's strongholds, popping the enemy tech in the head, bulldozing the enemy security and escorting the spy to the last target.


At this point, I may have suggested a bit more than will be implemented anytime soon (read: ever) but hopefully there are some good ideas in there that might have potential in future incarnations of SC.

Many of the ideas above can be adapted to fit into the current "2 spies, 2 mercs" vs. mode, for instance the laser-guided rocket becomes a laser guided spy bullet, spy cam, chaff grenade, or some other gadget, where one spy fires and the other guides with the laser. The "tomoe nage" can obviously be made a reality very easily by allowing one spy to throw the other. The abilites of the tech role can be split amongst the spies and mercs, for instance, creating hacking panels that allow spies to disable security, unlock doors, modify lights, etc. dynamically instead of just being "on/off" swtiches, but more like camnets, with an interface resembling a real computer. Hand-to-hand combat could be deepened by allowing "combo" attacks, where a spy who strikes a merc who is already stunned performs a more powerful attack (although, I suppose you can already just grab them anyway http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

Mercs already have the camnet, but being able to place stationary cameras and guns would be a welcome feature also. Perhaps the gun requires both mercs to perform a "coop move" to deploy it, taking several seconds. Once set up, the gun might operate like those in SP, (including being susceptible to having the IFF turned off!) and also be manually controllable by mercs using a camnet-like device. Other merc 'coop' moves might include assembling security bots and "combo" moves in hand-to hand.

Anyway, that's quite a lot of heroin fantasy for you to absorb for today, but please, post any comments, thoughts, suggestions (new roles, new coop moves, whatever), or (coherent) criticisms below. SC multiplayer is a world of limitless possiblity - the new coop mode shows the flexibility of Xbox live and other online services to provide all kinds of gameplay modes - now let's see how they can be expanded!

Lord_Kruton
05-27-2005, 02:19 PM
Your idea has potential, but it think it's flawed in a few key areas.

First off, putting a merc against another merc would make the game more like Counter-Strike or Halo than anything. I know because there have been times where my merc teammate got angry at me and wanted to kill me, and I was forced to fire back. It wasn't that much fun, even though I succeeded in killing the little bastard as he tried to snipe me... http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/icon_twisted.gif

The reason for this is simple: mercs are too slow, and their guns are too powerful. If they wanted to have a good, original merc vs. merc mode, they would have to completely change the gameplay style of the mercenary.

The spy vs. spy concept is a little more plausible, and I think with some alterations it could work pretty well. Most everybody who's played SC versus for a while has screwed around with other spies, trying to shoot them with sticky shockers and whatnot, and that can be fun sometimes. But like I said, if you put one merc against another, it stops being Splinter Cell and starts becoming Halo, Counter-Strike, or one of the other hundreds of super-boring, cookie-cutter first person shooters out there. The fantasy objective situations you talk about would be useless, as the mercs would just keep getting into shootouts with little or no concern for the objectives. And, once again, even if they did go for the objectives, it wouldn't be any different from Halo or Counter-Strike - simply the same thing with some spies trying to interfere.

As I said before, I think a spy vs. spy mode has a legitimate chance as a new mode in the SC franchise. First spies battled mercenaries together (versus), then spies battled the AI together (coop), so spies battling other spies seems like the next logical step. Maybe have something like disk hunt, only the spies have to compete to get the disks instead of cooperating with each other, and add some of the anti-spy moves you mentioned earlier. But I think the mercenaries battling each other isn't a very original idea, as it has been done in countless games before.

rikakiah
05-27-2005, 02:57 PM
It's not a bad concept, but I think it would probably fall apart in the long run for a few reasons.

First, maps would tend to be uninspired. They might be great maps, but due to each team being similar, they'd almost have to be almost a mirrored capture the flag style map. While it would "work", SC is all about trying to develop realism (even in the vs mode it maintains many elements) and this would be an entirely unbelievable scenario.

Second, while initially it may seem the best tactic is for a merc to defend and the spy to go on offense, that wouldn't really happen. You'd have the mercs going after mercs and spies going after spies, simply because that's the easiest target for them. Then again, if the mercs DID just defend and the spies went for their intended objectives, why not just play the normal game on more realistic maps, against more realistic opponents (2 instead of 1) and you get a partner to help you, too? Keeping your entire team together would be the best way to eliminate the opposition (spy's eyes, merc's firepower, etc), but would leave your base/objectives completely undefended.

In short, I agree with Kruton. However, I think even a spy vs spy mode wouldn't really be that enjoyable. Neither side has a distinct advantage/disadvantage--it'd just be like all the other games out there, but with a slightly different twist. Not a bad twist, to be sure, but not enough to justify the game...