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Stage 2 Lingfixes


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It's become abundantly clear after a few months of playtesting that my original plans for lings and what I thought people would do with them was entirely misguided.  I had thought people would use the gift I gave them to be able to be a ling without murder to roleplay with their victims. 

Instead, I find out that not only are they not doing so, and instead just silently sucking DNA points from people and wandering off with little to no interaction, hiding behind people's confusion about 'the radiation damage' until they horror form at the end, but I also just learned a particular bug I left behind by accident is being exploited for extremely rapid DNA point gain.

Well, looks like I'm rolling out some new features, then.  Here's what this update will involve:

  • The 'bug' in question allows for spamming the silent absorb ability, allowing you to queue up multiple instances of the ability.  After some consideration, instead of blocking this, I have decided that instead of removing this ability, I will allow it, with the caveat that having more than one active at a time creates and exponentially increases a chance that your ling will get too greedy and careless and their active hand will become a creepy tentacle hand that telegraphs trying to burrow into the persons body to everyone nearby. This will even replace your hand organ's sprite (making it difficult to use tools with the mutated hand, but possibly will be better for fighting), and encourage them to move away from you screaming.  Don't be greedy unless you have a good reason to.
  • Changelings can no longer use prosthetic limbs to silent absorb. If your active hand is not organic, then it won't work.  If you have two prosthetic limbs, then you can only deathsucc people. If you are a snowflake with two prosthetic arms, don't worry - you can crawl off somewhere and do a fake-death regen, I'll make it drop all prosthetic you currently have and grow you new organs/limbs.
  • Aut'akh cannot be lings.  Lings cannot be aut'akh, but they can gather their DNA.  It just makes them an unathi instead, similar to how cloning works. (if this is possible.  I might just block it if it's too fucky)
  • The more DNA you have, the less subtle your stealth absorbs will be. You'll start acting creepy and emoting things at people that make you suspicious when you use the ability.  No more of this 2 hours of people standing wordlessly next to each other and walking off bullshit.  There will probably be an 'instability' variable that will slowly increase the more DNA you gather, and it will be harder to be unnoticed the higher it is.  This is not so much to punish stealth lings as acknowledge that stealth has a place early game, but late game you need to start doing actual antaggery as a ling.
Edited by Kaed
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PAPA BLESS

Mmm yes, please. While Ling rounds aren't horrendous now, most of the time they end in horrorform- crew is scared and dying, but the horrorform is either murderboning and not being theatrically scary, or they're unrobust because roleplayers forget Horrorform is the most combat-based element of Changeling. The ability to queue for Stealth Absorbs allows for you to really hurry up if you're succing someone in maint, but feel like Security is coming or an EMT is running to them because you only now set sensors.

 

Now, for the part I love the most about this:

Making it so Changelings automatically get creepier and such the more DNA they have automatically sets the atmosphere for the crew, and the Changeling can go along with it, even if they aren't all too great at the horror aesthetic. By just changing their speech patterns to the scariest thing the player can imagine, they're already fitting the round for what it can be because the way they've probably been absorbing all round is already saying "Character isn't who they seem" and the player can adapt to it, either switching to more violent and more noticable murders in maintenance, or just switch their personality and go "Yes, I am a ling, and I am stronger than I was when I was acting just a wee suspicious. I am the Villain, and you fight me. Muhahahaha!"

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Huh, we just had a super good ling round not too long ago that ended with 3 horror forms and then a station nuke. It was super fun and got lots of kudos. Regardless, I was once banned for a multi-hypno when vamp, so I'd not like to see literally the same exploit be used as a "mechanic" in the slightest.

@Alberyk Input would be nice on this, specifically the queuing exploit.

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1 hour ago, Itanimulli said:

Huh, we just had a super good ling round not too long ago that ended with 3 horror forms and then a station nuke. It was super fun and got lots of kudos. Regardless, I was once banned for a multi-hypno when vamp, so I'd not like to see literally the same exploit be used as a "mechanic" in the slightest.

@Alberyk Input would be nice on this, specifically the queuing exploit.

I think you might be misunderstanding slightly what I'm doing here.  I've already patched out the exploit itself, the PR is made and waiting to be implemented.  What I'm going to do is create a mechanic where you can choose to absorb more DNA at once from a victim at the increasingly high risk of immediately blowing your cover as a stealth ling.

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3 hours ago, Alberyk said:

Stealing an aut'akh dna and transforming into one already changes to a regular unathi, only the species restriction itself from changeling was not been added I think.

Thank you for the information, less work for me!

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This seems pretty great. I love Changeling as a concept but in practice it winds up just being meme-succ's, I enjoy the options for getting DNA points without perma-killing people, and I would hope that eventually we get more body-horror options/abilities instead of sting japes until it gets decap'd or horrors.

 

Tentacle arm is a good start. I'd also argue for a few other ideas such as detaching limbs for ghosts to control, more disgusting body horror things, detaching your head and running away. Crazy stuff like that. Think "The Thing" movie. Ideally I think Changelings should transition from being a Stealth-Antag into a Loud-Antag as they get more powerful, much like a horror movie. First people disappear, there are some strange sightings of fleshy things spitting acid, bloody piles of clothes left behind, etc.

 

But i'm getting ahead of myself, this is a really good start for the moment.

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Lings are still going to save up for horror form. It is the only thing that gets you any measure of roleplay currently. A changeling is supposed to be able to imitate and mimic other crewmembers. This is impossible to do because you need much more than just someones appearance. You need their ID and clothing and good luck getting all of that without killing them. I am simply going to take the path of least resistance. If you want lings to interact with people then you need to give them stronger tools to allow them to do so. 

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I think that's a good point, right now at the moment Changelings are built around a gameplay that rewards stealth, most abilities they have do not allow them to reasonably interact or roleplay with the crew besides horror form causing a good spook. (I really enjoy horror form, I just don't think it should be the only time you see Lings). Perhaps if Changelings had more tools available to them, ideally tools that could be spooky without perma-killing/allow it to hold its own ground might encourage more gameplay and bravery on their part?

 

What if decapitating a ling, instead of killing it, made its head turn into a headspider that could run away? Maybe a panic ability button that has them turn into a sorta monster thing with acid spit. I have other ideas but this probably isn't the place for it. I'm just saying I think Ling could do with... not exactly buffs per say, but a sorta changing of its abilities to be something a little more interactive and fun for both sides.

 

Then again maybe my ideas are contrary to Changeling as a whole, but i'm of the opinion that mimicking someones personality in a HRP server doesn't really work. It winds up with players feeling somewhat frustrated at their own character being "played wrong". But that's just me.

 

tl;dr - Changeling feels like a normal guy with some meme-stings and not a spooky monster in human skin like it should.

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This result was extremely predictable if you ask me, as giving changelings a method to avoid even going into conflict at all and simply save up DNA points for the horror form without the risk of being discovered is quite literally asking for it to be the only useful thing to be used. The thing is that changeling is a terrible gamemode for a roleplay server and even more so for this server. Changelings lack the strong offensive abilities that TG ling has or the options that goon ling has ( Which were never going to have here ).

Nope, we simply have a ling where the end goal is reaching the horor form as fast as possible, as its quite literally an ability seen as the last stage a ling will take on, its simply how the antag progresses. The remaining abilities however are completely useless, especially considering that many people instantly have their alarm bells go off whenever you try to act like one of your previous victims, hell the shapeshifting is so unreliable that its rarely if ever used. Like @Garnascus explained, mimicing is not rewarding and never will be as it takes too much effort, time and simply doesnt give you anything extra.

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I don't know what the many are, never played that game.  But I had some more ideas. Changelings are not people.  Irregardless of what they are looking like, they're only simulating for the purposes of infiltration and eating.  As such, I'm going to make some things work differently for them, such as: 

  • They don't need any of their organs.  Possibly even their brain ( like the idea of cutting off a ling's head and they just screech and scuttle away into maintenance without a head... but this also means it will be impossible to clone a ling, naturally).  Organ damage does not cause them problems to the same level as normal people.  I may even implement a way for them to pull out their own organs to use as tools, ala spying mechanics or tools/weapons.  Imagine pulling out your appendix or liver (which becomes a generic 'mysterious fleshy mass' or something), and then you can stick it under a table and view/hear out of it later.  Or amp it up to become a chemical weapon that explodes into clouds of gas.  Some people really like the idea of head spiders and shit, if I can figure out how to make ghosts occupy a simple mob of a skittering organ that might be fun to just pull out some of your organs and make a little swarm of minions.  Organs can be regained by using the fake-death regen
  •  Changelings will be rewarded for genetic diversity.  Lings who gain vaurca DNA, for instance, will become immune to k'oi infections, they will gain increased heat/cold resistance from unathi/tajarans, etc. 
  • They will not overly harmed by a lack of air, nor will space be more than inconvenient for them.  They will also be immune to diseases.
  • I'm going to remove horror form I think, at some point.  Maybe this update.  It's a bad ability, and people will have alternatives by that time.  The true horror is that you are a shapechanging, dynamic monster, not that you can turn into one.
Edited by Kaed
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20 minutes ago, Kaed said:

I don't know what the many are, never played that game.  But I had some more ideas. Changelings are not people.  Irregardless of what they are looking like, they're only simulating for the purposes of infiltration and eating.  As such, I'm going to make some things work differently for them, such as: 

  • They don't need any of their organs.  Possibly even their brain ( like the idea of cutting off a ling's head and they just screech and scuttle away into maintenance without a head... but this also means it will be impossible to clone a ling, naturally).  Organ damage does not cause them problems to the same level as normal people.  I may even implement a way for them to pull out their own organs to use as tools, ala spying mechanics or tools/weapons.  Imagine pulling out your appendix or liver (which becomes a generic 'mysterious fleshy mass' or something), and then you can stick it under a table and view/hear out of it later.  Or amp it up to become a chemical weapon that explodes into clouds of gas.  Some people really like the idea of head spiders and shit, if I can figure out how to make ghosts occupy a simple mob of a skittering organ that might be fun to just pull out some of your organs and make a little swarm of minions.  Organs can be regained by using the fake-death regen
  •  Changelings will be rewarded for genetic diversity.  Lings who gain vaurca DNA, for instance, will become immune to k'oi infections, they will gain increased heat/cold resistance from unathi/tajarans, etc. 
  • They will not overly harmed by a lack of air, nor will space be more than inconvenient for them.  They will also be immune to diseases.
  • I'm going to remove horror form I think, at some point.  Maybe this update.  It's a bad ability, and people will have alternatives by that time.  The true horror is that you are a shapechanging, dynamic monster, not that you can turn into one.

These are all amazing ideas in my opinion and I think a really good start for a Changeling rework. Changeling is a mode with a ton of potential, and I think you have an idea of how to reach it. I think I agree with horror form being removed, or at least reworked into something else. Perhaps a much less overpowered version of it that's more of a baseline ability to use when you get caught? So if somebody discovers a changeling, it turns into a fleshbeast-then again, if natural Changeling abilities fit the goal of being a horrific monster, I think that's just as good. Though I worry without horror form there would be no "end-game" goal for Changelings. Arm-blade is definitely a bit underwhelming, perhaps replace it with claws, make changelings more regeneration robust in general?

 

In my opinion, Changelings currently feel like a normal person that can turn into a monster, with a few monster moves. While it should feel like a terrible monster always, just hidden in normal skin. I think these steps are good on that. Changelings should potentially naturally just have these innate abilities that they can use, and hopefully the end result will be an antagonist that is just more interesting to interact with instead of para-sting+succ. Thinking back to "The Thing" movie, part of me humors the idea of a "Disease" or an end-game ability that lets you "Convert" people into a "Ling" as well, but that might be far too overpowered, or perhaps implanting people with your cells, think sabotaging blood or food and drinks.

 

tl;dr - I'm rambling too much, I like your ideas and think it would make the gamemode more interesting, but a few takes.

-1. Horror form should be nerfed and a base-line ability for when a Ling is discovered, instead of removed. (Changelings having more innate abilities in general is also okay, just something body-horror-y, like acid spit and stuff.)

-2. Maybe another sorta end-game ability goal for Lings to work towards? Maybe?

-3. I'm still iffy on shapeshifting in HRP, it never seems to end well. I think i'd prefer a sorta conversion but that would be OP. That's just me.

Also maybe i'll plug this really old suggestion I made on Changelings. It might give you some ideas. 

 

Edited by themaskedman2
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7 minutes ago, Kaed said:

I'm going to remove horror form I think, at some point.  Maybe this update.  It's a bad ability, and people will have alternatives by that time.  The true horror is that you are a shapechanging, dynamic monster, not that you can turn into one.

This, this is gonna be the thing that is going to make ling more unpopular as the horror form is quite literally the only interesting thing about the antag. If you remove this then you just have an antag who has an armblade and in the future looking at your updates, somewhat annoying side abilities that maybe kill you but most likely not. Why cut something in order to focus on an aspect ( The shapeshifting ) that is so rarely used and barely useful as it is?

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1 minute ago, DaTimeSmog said:

This, this is gonna be the thing that is going to make ling more unpopular as the horror form is quite literally the only interesting thing about the antag. If you remove this then you just have an antag who has an armblade and in the future looking at your updates, somewhat annoying side abilities that maybe kill you but most likely not. Why cut something in order to focus on an aspect ( The shapeshifting ) that is so rarely used and barely useful as it is?

Because I've already got plans to make shapeshifting useful, with a number of abilities that allow you to simulate stuff that would easily give you away.  For instance, the ability to get inert, organic simulacrums of clothing, IDs, and PDAs and belts.  Granted, they won't actually be useful for opening doors, but it will keep you from having to murder someone just to impersonate them.  I'm also considering some ways to make you able to cause false ling giveaways on perfectly legitimate people, so they get arrested in your stead.

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36 minutes ago, Kaed said:

Because I've already got plans to make shapeshifting useful, with a number of abilities that allow you to simulate stuff that would easily give you away.  For instance, the ability to get inert, organic simulacrums of clothing, IDs, and PDAs and belts.  Granted, they won't actually be useful for opening doors, but it will keep you from having to murder someone just to impersonate them.  I'm also considering some ways to make you able to cause false ling giveaways on perfectly legitimate people, so they get arrested in your stead.

So you're just planning to make Ling more like Vampire, a gamemode which by itself cannont carry a round and often ends up rather disapointing as it doesnt leave much of an impact and is often confused at the end as an extended round? I again dont see the point in focusing into this field when it just means that the only way a ling is ever going to be a threat or able to defend itself is either with its armblade, the ability to slowly and painfully suck people off or like you suggested, player controlled trash mobs or a gasbomb.

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14 minutes ago, DaTimeSmog said:

So you're just planning to make Ling more like Vampire, a gamemode which by itself cannont carry a round and often ends up rather disapointing as it doesnt leave much of an impact and is often confused at the end as an extended round? I again dont see the point in focusing into this field when it just means that the only way a ling is ever going to be a threat or able to defend itself is either with its armblade, the ability to slowly and painfully suck people off or like you suggested, player controlled trash mobs or a gasbomb.

You assertions here are very confusing and I don't understand how you can possibly compare anything I'm saying here to a vampire round.  All you seem to be focusing on in how the changeling can fight.  Fighting options are there but there's more to round progression and interesting mechanics than being able to murderbone and be loud. 

I think maybe you need to take a step back and read over the thread suggestions a little more closely, or perhaps spend your time thinking your responses out more.  You aren't giving anything that indicates what you want out of this update, you're just disparaging the ideas in it as if they are stupid and awful and somehow this should be self evident to me without further explanation.

Edited by Kaed
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Arguing aside, I like the ideas and I think baby steps are a good start for Changeling, of course I have probably pages of suggestions I could manage to add out, like Diseases, Horror Form, my old suggestion, etc.

As for the talk about horror form, I think there is a lot more to Changeling combat-wise than horror, or at least potential so theoretically if it was removed, it wouldn't effect that much I don't think, since in its current implementation it's more of an end-game ability.. In my dream scenario, I think more innate abilities to ling would be more interesting instead of arm-blade and sting,, but I am partial more towards re-working horror form though instead of removing it. I enjoy the idea of Horror Form being a "Panic Button" instead of an "I Win Button"

Take for example, nerfing Horror form heavily, but it's an ability a Changeling can use whenever for when they get caught. It would easily be able to solo someone, or very weak people not armed, but otherwise is more of a body horror panic button.

Think back to "The Thing" when the monster would transform, it would only transform when it was caught and had no other options, and while it was horrifying and a good horror movie spook, it was easily burned to death.

I'm especially a massive fan of "Genetic Diversity" and getting upgrades via that, it's all some really good start, and i'm curious to how it will evolve.

I like your ideas though and i'm looking forward to them. Good luck! 

tl;dr - I like horror form thematically and would rather see it reworked instead of removed.

Edited by themaskedman2
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I like ling thematically but not in current gameplay, I think these ideas are really good and I hope you can impliment them. Looking forward to it.

 

But I do agree with some other sentiments that I enjoy the Horror form sprite and the spooks it gives a lot, but I can support that horror form ability in its current state sucks and its removal might be justified. I would like to see the horror sprite still used somehow else, does that make sense? Maybe if it was activated a different way instead of something you purchase.

 

All the other ideas are great though and I have no complaints. I hope it’s the start of a more comprehensive rework. Body horror fun.

 

Do you have plans for features beyond this? Perhaps with abilities or reworking stings? I also like the idea of decapitations causing headspiders that someone above mentioned.

Edited by Kira
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