Finishing Alpha

Discussion in 'Archive' started by Kith, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Kith
    • Development Team
    • Designer

    Kith NOTD Staff: Anti-Fun Wizard Skeleton

    Finishing Alpha: Making Choices Matter
    I'm not your father

    You know what’s always bugged me about Alpha? Both routes end in exactly the same way. The only difference is if you break the Compliance Nexuses or if you dump antivenom into the vents, and then the same shit happens. To me (and a lot of others, which is why I pushed this to the forefront of my workload), this makes Alpha scream “unfinished” so I did that thing that I do and now we’ve got a thread.

    Unleashing Hell: Breaking the Compliance Nexuses
    Show Spoiler
    tl;dr version: Breaking the CNs makes the Colonists remember that they have weapons at the Armory that they can use and they decide to run there to arm themselves.

    After choosing the route and deciding to destroy the Compliance Nexuses, Alpha Company receives a transmission from Priyanka informing them of the colonists’ presence south of the Armory. Another colonist (we’ll call him Charles) chimes in, saying that there are a ton of weapons at the armory that were confiscated upon the miners’ arrival to Apollo. While mostly just personal defense weapons (home shotguns and handguns with maybe a few hunting rifles), they are still weapons, and the colonists want them. Upon the marines arrival to the houses, all of the colonists pile out (more colonists than there are in Route A, the zombies that attack upon rescuing the colonists are non-infested, so increase each colonist group by about 5) and make a run for the Armory. All colonists are computer-controlled.

    Gearing Up and Bunkering Down
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    tl;dr version: Colonists loot the Armory and a huge group of hostiles is sighted, so the few that found weapons get on the armory walls to defend while the rest stock a truck with items to take to the colony ship. The players defend the armory with the colonists, and the CN failsafe activates: a non-attacking but very disable heavy boss, which the players will have to deal with during the hordes.

    The colonists find the confiscated weapons and assign them to their previous owners (roughly 14 handguns, 6 hunting rifles, 2 shotguns, and 2 SMGs). General Koller contacts the players, saying that the Compliance Nexuses were keeping a large (previously unseen) horde of zombies docile in addition to the colonists, and now that they are active, they have started to amass and move rapidly in the direction of the players. The armed colonists take up positions on the walls of the Armory to defend it while the rest stock a truck with ammo and supplies. The horde that attacks the players comes from either side of the Fort, with a Titan spawning for every living player in addition to a huge amount of Immortals, Hulks, and Seekers. About the time that the horde reaches the players, Corvus spawns in the middle of Apollo and begins making its way towards the Armory.

    Corvus, the Messenger of Peace
    Show Spoiler
    Base Hitpoints: 40,000
    Armor: 8
    Movespeed: 2.5 (flying)
    Unit type: Mechanical, Heroic, Massive, Armored
    Model: Black-tinted Battlecruiser

    The Corvus is a large armored transport that houses droves of “Beesting” Anti-Riot Drones. It is the proverbial “eye in the sky”, dispatched to handle riots and civil unrest in a nonlethal fashion. Most major cities have four or five on hand, and one was installed in Apollo as a failsafe for if the Compliance Nexuses ever went offline or were damaged and a riot broke out amongst the colonists. The colonists gathering weapons from the armory triggered its activation, and it could not have come at a worse time with the now enraged hordes bearing down upon Alpha Company.


    Pacifier: Corvus is not actually equipped for battle, and therefore is not a direct threat. It is, however, equipped to subdue riots.

    Togetherness: Corvus will periodically dispense Gravity Grenades.

    Roughly a 15 second cooldown on this, aimed at the highest concentration of units.

    Wretched Hive: Corvus unleashes BARDs in swarms to disable potential rioters.

    Roughly every 10 seconds, Corvus spawns 5 (8 on Nightmare) BARDs. Upon death, it releases 20.

    Hitpoints: 50
    Armor: 0
    Movespeed: 4
    Unit Type: Mechanical, Light

    Attack: Sting
    Damage: 2
    Attack speed: 3
    Range: 2
    Unique: Stuns non-heroic enemies for 2 seconds.
    Slows heroic enemy’s movement and attack speed by 50% for 2 seconds.

    Getting the hell out
    Show Spoiler
    tl;dr version: The players beat the hordes (and Corvus). The players begin the escort to the colonist transport ship. If the colonists and the truck are destroyed, there is no escort necessary, and the next event will trigger when the enemies from the horde are defeated.

    After defeating the horde of enraged Infested and dealing with Corvus (trigger-wise, killing all of the Titan spawns and Corvus), the colonists begin the trek to the ship. Because all of the infested ran to the armory (and got killed), the ambient spawns are relatively low, and therefore the escort is fairly easy (to give the players a bit of a break after the difficult horde/boss situation). The armed colonists are the last ones to enter the ship, and the truck full of supplies counts as four colonists. If the players failed to defend the armory and all of the colonists are killed, then they lose 5 Karma and are required to kill the trigger-specific enemies before the next event happens.

    In which Alpha is attacked by living goop
    Show Spoiler
    tl;dr version: Dome B explodes, unleashing Charon, the “final boss”. The players must kill it before it reaches the colonist transport. If they don’t, then many difficult enemies spawn and the players are required to fight a very dangerous boss.

    Shortly after the last colonist enters the transport ship (or after the last trigger-specific enemy is killed), General Koller contacts the players warning them that something is happening at Dome B. After about a minute’s delay after the warning, Dome B explodes and Charon emerges with a cabal of Seekers, heading for the colonist transport ship. If the players do not kill Charon in time, then it enters the colonist transport, rapidly infesting it and all of the occupants within. The ship then breaks apart, unleashing a large amount of Infested Marines, Immortals, Hulks, and Charon transformed into his full form: Nyx. Killing either Charon or Nyx ends the campaign, with Black Ops arriving and extracting Alpha Company (different from the Route A ending, Black Ops actively fights the infested upon arrival and a transport arrives).

    Charon, the Ferryman
    Show Spoiler
    Model: Changeling
    Base hitpoints: 75,000
    Regen rate: -5/sec
    Armor: 15
    Movespeed: 0.62, unaffected by creep
    Unit type: Biological, Massive, Heroic, Light

    Trail of Infestation: Charon spreads creep wherever it goes.

    Same stuff that Overlords do, just always on. Radius of 5.

    Amorphous Body: Charon is mostly living goop. Piercing weapons are no good, but it’s deteriorating rapidly.

    Explanation of the negative regen rate.

    Primordial Soup: Charon’s dropped chunks turn into random enemies. Be ready for anything!

    Every time Charon takes damage, it has a 10% chance to spawn a random enemy: a Hulk, a Seeker, a Zombie, an Infested Marine, or two Larva. This ability has a 3 second cooldown.

    Unstoppable Tide of Flesh: Charon cannot be slowed.

    Unfinished: Charon’s body is only half complete, and it’s going to consume the colonists to finish the job. Don’t let that happen!

    If Charon makes it to the Colonist Transport, he morphs into Nyx (using the standard morph effect, so the hitpoint count transitions).

    Nyx, Hatred and Madness made flesh
    Show Spoiler
    Model: Aberration (tinted black, team color of black)
    Base hitpoints: 75,000
    Armor: 20
    Movespeed: 1.5, affected by creep
    Unit type: Biological, Massive, Heroic, Armored, Psionic

    Attack: Eviscerate
    Damage: 150
    Armor Reduction: 15
    Attack speed: 1
    Range: 2 (Melee)


    Hateful Gaze: The eyes…

    Nyx lowers the armor of all units in a frontal cone by 2.

    Shred: The shrapnel of the transport ship has augmented Nyx’s claws, making them extremely sharp.

    100% chance to apply Open Wound on attack.

    Night Shade: Nyx can bend darkness to its will, and will use it to its advantage.

    Every 20 seconds, players are afflicted with Blind. I hope you brought flares!

    Carrion Call: Nearby Infested deal additional damage and regenerate more rapidly near Nyx.

    +15% damage, +1 hp/sec.
  2. Ghost
    • Warden

    Ghost Warden

    Nyx = Erebos on crack huh

    I think the ms on Charon is too high if it should be killable before it reaches the transport and spreads creep like hell (which makes it move faster presumably) and 10% chance of spawning shit on hit.

    I think the idea up until and including Corvus is great though adjust the number of titans to number of players alive, but after that, Dome B exploding wouldn't make sense for EC which follows AC. Also, the revised route B sounds like it would take considerably longer than Route A, which in turn would make players not choose it unless the reward compensates for loss of speed bonus and the tougher bosses and spawns.

    Some suggested revisions:
    MS 0.62, unaffected by creep - to compensate for immunity to slow and stun - note assault with 2.2 ms takes a few seconds to make the trek, this will take 3x as long but is still very fast
    1.5% chance of spawning shit on hit. Because otherwise using laser/smg will fill the screen extremely quickly, and those happen to be the best weapons against it (with/without rec). Also consider there's still other spawns to deal with and everything is chock full of creep.

    That should make it at least possible with massive dps but limited tanking to kill it before it gets to the ship. The distance is quite small as you know.

    Presumably the players already took losses or are near energy depleted by the time Nys appears as they have failed to kill Charon. That is something that needs to be kept in mind. So unless the players decided to not attack Charon at all, having an even tougher Nyx is going to result in wipes all of the time.

    What can be done to ensure players had to attack Charon or at least face the spawns? Maybe make it trigger only if all players are inside the airlock and for the duration of the Charon, lock the airlock.

    As for Nyx, it will need to be rather slow and have lower hp. Maybe make its base hp (and as a result the adjusted hp) be based on how much hp Charon had when entering the colonist ship. That would encourage hitting it hard. It will have some 190k hp on nm anyhow with its 15 armor, so presuming it has say 80k on entering the colonist ship, make Nyx have only the amount of hp Charon had + maybe 10-15k tops, again, encouraging players to deal as much damage to Charon as they can and saving themselves some time (for speed or whatever).

    Revision for Nyx stats:
    Base MS: 1.5, affected by creep - note the airlock is full of creep after Charon
    HP - amount Charon had left + 10-15k depending on difficulty
    Make it Psionic as well given its abilities
  3. Thermidor

    Thermidor Well-Known Member

    I like these ideas. Hopefully, some people on EU might actually choose route B more now. I've only ever seen route B done once so far.

  4. Ghost
    • Warden

    Ghost Warden

    We do route B all the time these days because it allows us to fit in Comm Tower (2 xp) and its easier on the DSM. Also faster than A to some extent as you can keep mobile
  5. Thermidor

    Thermidor Well-Known Member

    Huh? Since when?

    I need to find time to get back on...
  6. Kith
    • Development Team
    • Designer

    Kith NOTD Staff: Anti-Fun Wizard Skeleton

    Yessir. Don't let him eat the civilians.

    It's the final boss and Alpha has no lack of available firepower. I will put a cooldown on the spawn, though. Also, he's not intended to gain any bonus ms from the creep, so I'll mention that too.

    The Titans adjusting thing sounds good. Also, it's intended to take a little bit longer than Route A. Incidentally, yes, Route B will be non-canon, just like how Route A Sec is non-canon.

    It is the final boss, but yes, I'll lower the MS. Also, putting a cooldown on the spawn.

    I actually fucked up and kept the pre-revision movespeed. Nyx is only supposed to have a movespeed of 2. Technically, an easier fight than Charon, but you can at least kite him. Also, Nyx has the same amount of hitpoints as Charon does when Charon transforms so Nyx's arrival is not the end of everything.

    Nyx has the same amount of hitpoints as Charon did (as the boss transition is actually a morph effect), so dumping DPS into Charon means you have the potential to kill him, and if you don't, then you're dealing with a wounded Nyx.

    Yeah, I already addressed this stuff. Sorry for not being clearer/missing stuff to update/revise.

    Actually, I like this MS better than the flat 2. Also, Nyx isn't getting a heal. He's already dropping the degeneration, gaining armor, gaining a VERY powerful attack, and getting several other unit identifiers.

    Goooooooooooooooooo fuckyourself.
  7. Ghost
    • Warden

    Ghost Warden

    Another thing about the Corvus fight. Sounds like noething there is a detector.
    Also, 2 weapons for 52+5*4 civs? What do the rest do? Can they take guns that players drop? Do they take guns from if another civ dies?

    On if Charon reaches the ship, your tldr version says something about Super Infestors which I cannot see further mention of
  8. Kith
    • Development Team
    • Designer

    Kith NOTD Staff: Anti-Fun Wizard Skeleton

    The rest mill about the armory stocking the truck or cowering in fear in the back. Also, it's 24 guns, not two. Probably just a typo, but double-checking. Anyways, all bosses detect, which I assumed was a given, but I'll update that as well.

    The Super Infestor concept was something that I scrapped and forgot to edit out. The original plan was two Menos-type bosses that sent waves of enemies rather than worms at the team, but in testing this was dumb and stupid and took way too long and was incredibly frustrating, so Nyx happened.
    (Ugh, phoneposting) also if a gun-toting civ dies, then they're dead and their weappon is gone. Being combatants, they're much more likely to die, which is why there are extra civs that spawn with them. Also, AI for giving civs weapons can get messy and stupid fast, so I avoided the concept in favor of keeping it simple.
  9. Ghost
    • Warden

    Ghost Warden

    Yea meant 24 guns, typo. So you can't equip em either and stuff?

    What's the penalty for truck not making it?
  10. MSluiter

    MSluiter Member

    At this point in the game, I honestly don't see the point in making these kinds of changes. Good ideas to save for a squeal/expansion or something, but this game is done. Development effort would be much better spent fixing the bugs and cleaning up existing gameplay.

    There is already a massive backlog of bugs to fix and other crap to do like class reworks, the stat stuff, etc. I just don’t see this as adding much to the game to justify the time and effort it will take to implement, test, and fix, especially given Ability’s apparent time limitations for notd support.
  11. Ghost
    • Warden

    Ghost Warden

    There are some really major issues that need to be fixed yes, but a lot of the others can be worked around or have no material impact on gameplay. Buglist just happens to list everything.

    I do think having Alpha A and B separate like Sec would be of benefit for the longer lifespan of NOTD and replay value.

    Kith himself stated that some of the stat rework likely won't happen or isn't a priority, and I agree. The storyline rework on the other hand is somethingthat's been bugging a number of people.
  12. Kith
    • Development Team
    • Designer

    Kith NOTD Staff: Anti-Fun Wizard Skeleton

    Nope. Civs only. Do you really want to have to sift through 14 Gauss Pistols when the Civs get destroyed? Also, they're supposedly non-military, so this way we can regulate their damage/dps if the vanilla versions turn out to be too powerful.

    I don't have anything specific lined up beyond the truck being worth four civs.

    It's not done. It's close, but it's not quite there yet. Besides, this is what I was hired to do, and I can't exactly fix bugs. I'm a design guy. My job is to design the easiest changes to make while maintaining a large gameplay impact, and that's what I've done. Ability can make the call on if this gets implemented or not based on how difficult/time consuming it is to implement.

    Everything is actually designed to be relatively easy to put in. It's all very basic: Spawning enemies, things going from point A to point B, bosses being fairly simple with the most complicated thing being spawning enemies and/or abilities that are edited from SCII basics (for instance, Charon's creep spread). It won't be easy to deal with, but it's not super complicated.

    Correct. Even if the changes are small, it will go a long way towards polishing NOTD because right now, Alpha is just kinda... rough. It's always been rough, honestly. It kind of got shoved into the corner once the difficulty got ironed out, because it used to be borderline unplayable because there were roughly a hundred Agrons that spawned right on top of you, immediately, and then you fought Demeter five minutes in. Once it finally became doable, people were more thankful that it was playable at all, and then attentions were turned to other, shinier things (most of which were my fault).

    Traits, specifically. Traits are kinda... not necessary. They're shiny bells and pretty whistles, but they are in no way actually needed, and therefore unimportant because time is short. I'm preparing a public "To Do List" because my contract is up, and (as of now) it basically goes "Finish FO, Finish Delta, Do the Rifleman (I STILL get questions as to why Weapons Prof is on Survival), Finish Alpha, touch up bosses, fix bugs". Those six things are actually necessary, and not just derpy feature requests.
  13. Ghost
    • Warden

    Ghost Warden

    I meant not you taking civ guns but civ taking guns you drop in a certain area
  14. Kith
    • Development Team
    • Designer

    Kith NOTD Staff: Anti-Fun Wizard Skeleton

    Again, that could lead to some stupid AI stuff that I'd prefer to avoid, and could end up being way more complicated than we want it to be.
  15. Jercy

    Jercy Well-Known Member

    I just think that the start of Alpha needs an overwhelming force of immortals like it use to have because being pushed back by hordes of zombies is what makes Alpha fun in my eyes and to many of the old time vets that I played with and play with often.
  16. Ghost
    • Warden

    Ghost Warden

    The start of Alpha is fine considering there's a chane for Heph to pop up.
    Depending on your team composition and whether people found a decent gun to start with, it can be fairly tough.
    Also keep it mind that with lots of high xp players, you all tend to have more stats and mods which makes things easier, but if you play with all under 10k guys with high rating and no purchased or found guns, you are in for quite the fight.
  17. Kith
    • Development Team
    • Designer

    Kith NOTD Staff: Anti-Fun Wizard Skeleton

    Alpha's early game challenge rating is just fine, in my opinion. Teams that don't focus fire tend to get completely rolled, especially in NM. The first encounter may not be as challenging as most because of the presence of Sheng's Boys, but still adequate.
  18. ArcanePariah
    • Development Team
    • Map Developer

    ArcanePariah Miracle Worker

    The problem with using Immortals specifically is that they, via their resurrection, especially in Nightmare, will easily push forward and wipe out the mini's. Also the usual skill plays of using certain skill to permakill them simply are not available. You have no good weapons (you only get 1 Flamer and 2 snipers, another on MM, and a 2nd flamer on the Flamer), and Sheng's Boys do meh damage against 5 armor immortals. Although it made it fun, the story is balanced around having Sheng's boys, if you lose too many (namely the entire starting squad), the next waves will be hard on normal, and borderline impossible on Nightmare. Also lab invariably becomes a crapshoot.
  19. Lyanden

    Lyanden Well-Known Member

  20. Kith
    • Development Team
    • Designer

    Kith NOTD Staff: Anti-Fun Wizard Skeleton

    If we REALLY want to beef up the opening of Alpha, toss in some Hulks, maybe some Agrons, maybe some Stalkers. Immortals are overkill.

    But that's all besides the point. This isn't an Alpha Balance Thread, this is about finishing Alpha and giving Route B a proper alternate ending. I'd like to keep discussion based on that.

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