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Remove Tajaran/Unathi combat bonuses


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The claws.

This post on reddit got me to think a little about species balance. And the fact is Tajarans and Unathis get large melee bonuses for... little downside or counterplay. And I've been wondering - what exactly is the point of giving them strong melee attacks?

Like, okay. Even though humans come in all shapes and sizes, there's no mechanical difference between any of them. You can play as a 90-year old grandma or as Captain Falcon for all anybody cares, and your punches will hit for the exact same amount of damage. Is there a roleplay benefit to Tajarans/Unathis being stronger melee combatants? Cause I can't see one aside from "they're strong fighters and people should be afraid of them", and that... sorta seems like a trait most people would consider as bad if the species were a new one being proposed.

And sure, we can trust people not to abuse it, but any time someone creates a Tajaran or Unathi character with a confrontational personality, or gets into a fistfight and wins (and puts someone into crit in the process), there will be salt, and there will be people complaining. And honestly, after reflection, the whole concept kinda irks me - shouldn't everyone be given the same platform to fight on, and when asymmetrical mechanics are introduced, they see to be given some counterplay as to become something else than "they are like X except better"?

tl;dr: Tajaran/Unathi claws don't do anything good. Maybe don't keep them, as they're not terribly important or useful?

(And since they'll come up, maybe look at IPC brute reduction too, but that one kinda serves a purpose since healing damage as an IPC is kind of a pain.)

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

Stat differences are a pretty big aspects of role-playing games. Id actually like more customization and the ability to choose handicaps and buffs for individual combat stats. Like a character creation from fallout.

By thats a separate proposal. I dont like this suggestion because it strips from and takes away rather than try to add.

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I disagree with this on the basis of not wanting every race to play like a human with fur/scales/slime. As it stands, it makes sense ICly for the claws to be there, and OOCly acts as a pseudo-counterbalance for the whole not being able to use 95% of space suits/shoes. Mind you there was once a time where gloves were just a 'no thing', too.

I'd like to see /more/ mechanical variety between characters. Faster characters, stronger characters, characters with allergies, fat bastards, and so on. If you absolutely must balance it, make it realistic. The big/quick dudes need more calories to keep their energy up, and thus get hungry sooner. Maybe having jumpsuits/hardsuits in varying sizes so the midgets can't fit in the tall fella clothes. Anything more than just the four eyes toggle.

Of course, this is just a mess of pure shit to code in. But I'd rather see things added than removed.

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The counter-argument to more "stat" customization is that some people /will/ just use it to make robust characters. I'm not sure to which extent it has happened with aliens, as alien whitelists /are/ something you need to get first, but I'm wondering if the server would be better off doing away with all sorts of "robustness" imbalances.

I like other variances between species. Tajaran being able to see in the dark, species having their own hardsuits, or really whatever. But combat is one of the things people tend to get salty about the most. I think we could benefit from trying to even the playing field.

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In the whole vein people getting salty from combat, honestly, if you got fucked up by claws it's because you were letting it happen. Avoiding it isn't a difficult matter considering they aren't ranged, they don't typically stun unless RNG fucks you over, which can happen with fists too, and just about anything you can find laying around will do better. This is a game where people get salty over everything, bullets, lasers, stuns, chemicals, ZAS.

Mind you, my whole argument is coming from someone who couldn't care to touch the whitelists, and has fought with a few xenos-players hand-to-sharp hand once or twice in game. I don't particularly remember it being problematic whatsoever, because I /didn't stand still/. Now if you just stand there and let them click on you willy nilly? Congratulations, you're probably going to lose to anyone you fight and will get salty regardless.

As for 'doing away with imbalances', all I'll say is, having everything play exactly the same is fucking boring. Not all things are created equal or balanced, and many things are better off staying that way.

If you're having issues with getting fucked up by claws, the answer is to git gud reconsider the situation and take a look at how it happened. Was it really the claws? Do you constantly yell "Fuck the catbeasts race war now", was your opponent an over-aggressive furry snowflake xeno who often gets into conflict, did you get into a fist-fight with a xeno expecting to stand there, click, and win?

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Guest Marlon Phoenix

We don't even have character customization, but if we did it would not be that hard to prevent everyone from being robust... Have you recently played any RPG or stat-management game? You just make some stats cost points, and other stats cost more than others, and add points by getting deficiencies.

But this is a separate suggestion. The Unathi and Tajaran differences provide something other than reskinned human mobs to play. It would be frustrating to have zero mechanical reinforcement of their respective lores. The combat bonuses don't even matter that much; my unathi get owned hardcore if they try to stick to claws 90% of the time because the other party used stun based weapons or lasers, and didn't stand still for clickspam.

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Guest Menown

Claws do damage. They do, it's a fact many cat owners know. It's labeled as 'sharp' under the code.

Adding the option to have your claws trimmed would take out a lot of claws, since a lot of Taj players have their cats with dulled claws.

Removing something rarely used, except as a form of last resort when the enemy is gaining the upper hand is dumb. I've been outrobusted when using claws due to missing hits and the enemy having better weapons.

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Guest Menown

Only Unathis can break cuffs, Brage.

And claws cause you to bleed. You ever use a karambit? They're modeled after the claws of big cats, like Tajara are. They cut, they tear. They cause massive bleeding due to their design.

And no, I'm not making this up. I accidentally cut myself with my karambit spinning it, and I bled for a fuck-long time.

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I don't know, honestly.

If you were to remove the combat bonuses on Taj and Unathi, then you'd have trees and IPCs still being pretty overpowered.

If you were to nerf all species and give them human stats to make the game fair, then things would get somewhat boring, in terms of gameplay?

Generally speaking, SS13 has never been a game based around fair combat, yadda yadda. I'd personally like the differences to stay in, maybe code in some more disadvantages to balance things?

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People who abuse the benefits that come from playing a species are powergaming and are not exempt from whitelist stripping.

So keep that in mind whenever you see the odd Tajaran/Unathi player out of the bunch decide to jump to the occasion to pull 5-slash-crits whenever possible.

So, really, it's not a game balance issue at all. Unathi and Taj are still just as weak as humans are to stun gloves, tabling, floor-tile-disposal-unit cannons, and all sorts of equally powergamey robusting tools.

Generally speaking, it is not wise to engage anyone at all in fisticuffs. With an Unathi or a Tajaran, less so. So, rather than being subjected to a situation where you're lying down on the ground in the fetal position while generating screamlog spam and getting mauled by xeno gangbangers, why not even the odds in your favor and bring a wild card to the table?

That is a nicer way of saying, "get gud", but I will add this: There is always a solution to a problem. Nerfing everything into existence because you keep getting your ass kicked in barfights isn't really a sensible solution in my mind.

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I was once browsing the forums of a spin-off server planning to use our code. They raised into discussion the fact that IPCs can't heal themselves, and were planning on changing it. Because the work of my team was mentioned, I explained why, and was rebutted with an argument from which I took away a condensed version of: "We are a roleplay server, why does it matter that much?" I just rolled with, "Yeah, cool story broskis, do your own thing."

But the thing is, we are similar -- a roleplay server. Yeah, I did draw the line at giving more advantages to IPCs, and I will probably draw that line again if Diona buffs are ever discussed. But as it stands, the claws are something I'm fine with, even if only for the reason that, "We are a roleplay server." Am I perpetuating the lazy designwork that was originally put into the creation of the two alien races (let's be frank: they are humans-that-look-like-lizards/cats, argue as you will)? Yeah, I mean, if you want to levy this. I do intend on eventually getting around to doing something more with them, just as I am doing with the Skrell right now (perhaps secondary organs for Unathi, etcetera, etcetera), upon which time the claws can be reviewed and adapted as necessary. Instead of a hamfisted change right meow.

As for them being an outright mechanical advantage in combat? Eyup. They are. Should all combatants have a level playfield when entering an encounter? No. Heck no. Tactical considerations are what SS13 is about. And if being a specific race is one of them, I don't exactly see an issue with it, as long as it's kept within reason (which the claws sort of are).

Oh, also, "Because people get salty when they get clawed to death" is a terrible reason to ask for change. If it's improperly escalated, report it. Otherwise, chances are, you got involved, and either your ignorance or your lack of consideration and respect for an individual with higher capabilities landed you in that position. At which point, yeah. Your choice, your end, in my book.

Because I rambled a lot, here's a TL;DR: In my opinion, claws are fine for the time being. Having more intricate differences in organ structure, and other gameplay functionality would be nice, but this takes time to implement and create (also to think up). As such, I see little reason to remove the claws now, in a vain attempt to try and balance combat in a game which is built around imbalance.

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I'm going to have to say this is not the greatest idea. It's a double standard mostly, a half arsed attempt. You can't have it both ways, if you want combat to be completely balanced then everyone has to be the same, so nerf the Tajaran and Unathi bonuses would also mean nerfing the other races. But as it stands I'm in the opposite camp, I adore the differences in the stats and think there should be MORE of them. The more complex they are the better.

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Do we want realistic roleplaying game, or do we want a fair game? Life isn't fair, so why should a roleplaying game, focusing on realism be? If anything, there should be more ways to customize, like Jackboot had said. Don't just suggest to take things away because you don't like it.

Edited by Guest
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While i am all for realism, i will point out that Unathi and Taj are humans 2.0. There is not a single major disadvantage i can think of that makes them equal to humans. If we're doing this on "roleplaying stat differences" then everyone should have similar strengts and weaknesses but be different, like an orc and a halfling in D&D for example. Advantages and disadvanatges. I'm fine with Unathi and Taj as they are, i care very little about robustness in general, and everyone knows Diona are the bestest anyway, but if anything should be changed it should be more disadvantages for those races to balance them out. Maybe have a whole seperate discussion on cool mechanics that could be added there

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While i am all for realism, i will point out that Unathi and Taj are humans 2.0. There is not a single major disadvantage i can think of that makes them equal to humans. If we're doing this on "roleplaying stat differences" then everyone should have similar strengts and weaknesses but be different, like an orc and a halfling in D&D for example. Advantages and disadvanatges. I'm fine with Unathi and Taj as they are, i care very little about robustness in general, and everyone knows Diona are the bestest anyway, but if anything should be changed it should be more disadvantages for those races to balance them out. Maybe have a whole seperate discussion on cool mechanics that could be added there


I can agree with that, but the question is: should we knee-jerk and remove the claws until a much later date, when I'll actually look at those races? Or should we just keep the claws and then review them once we actually dedicate time to them?

The latter is preferable, for reasons described in my post above (they're not that big of a deal).

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Okay, lots of replies, gonna try to address some of the main points here.

Removing claws will make other species OP

The only other species that has a combat advantage atm are IPCs, and they're offset by two major weaknesses - they can't heal themselves (meh) and they get BTFO by EMPs (probably more important). This is moooostly relevant in antag situations (while claws are mostly relevant in bar brawls, though they do come in with antagging sometimes), but this is literally one other specific issue. However, with the design philosophy I'm trying to suggest here, I'm not sure if IPCs would keep their 50% brute reduction in a fight either - the counterplay is there, but it's in a completely different module of fighting.

But you can shoot Tajarans/Unathis in the face with a laser

Yeah, you can do that to pretty much anyone. It's not really relevant in most antagging situations as if you let someone punch you as an antag you probably already fucked up. I'm more concerned about bar brawls and silly fistfights in engineering and the like, where it does become a real balance issue.

Removing claws will make these species boring

What I'm suggesting is getting rid of the "is straight-up better in a melee fight" trait from Unathis and Tajarans. There's not much that's really fun about that, as there's just no specific counterplay or weakness. I've played Tajarans and interacted with a lot of Unathis and I would believe that players managed to roleplay quite a lot of extremely major differences (in culture, physiology, species mentality, backstory, etc) that do not stem from "btw we're strong melee fighters so don't fight us in melee".

If you absolutely think that species should fight differently, then at least make them fight differently. Right now these two species are literally just humans with a +1 to melee robustness.

So basically all species would only have cosmetic differences?

Not at all. There's a lot of fun traits that are already implemented in the game (or exist as projects) that provide healthy and interesting gameplay, even if some of them are minor advantages - Tajaran seeing in the dark, the lulzy Unathi cuff-breaking thing, the planned Skrell organ, IPCs not needing to breathe air, and so on. I am 100% for more of these mechanics being implemented (as well as related weaknesses, such as IPCs not healing damage), I just want combat to be balanced between species, or at least not be in a situation where you can apply for a super snowflake alien whitelist and get a more robust character as a result.

If people are salty about losing fights to Unathi/Tajarans it just means the staff needs to deal with them

Another thing that does not necessarily stand true. If people are salty it's usually a sign they're finding some problem with the game. And some concerns are outright stupid, or couldn't be addressed without some major downside (such as removing all antags, for example), but some, to the contrary, can actually be worth looking into.

The other question with admin-intervention is always "can the saltiness be stopped?" Because if people keep complaining about imbalances between races in the combat system, the easiest way to stop them (and I haven't seen a ton of complaining, but I have seen some) is to fix said imbalances.

But claws on these species is realistic

They're made up species, so not really. I also already brought up the point that the 20-year old bodybuilder and the 70-year old grandpa get the exact same combat abilities in this game, so I don't see why there's a need for aliens to be different. Much like a weak character can roleplay sucking in a fight vs a strong one, people should be capable of roleplaying the effect of claws without them dealing twice as much damage as normal punches. And don't get me wrong, interesting changes are good and welcome (but I can't really see this as one.)

But Frances, why are you even doing this?

Balance. This isn't a realism issue at all as far as I'm concerned.

When looking at the worth of a gameplay mechanic critically, there's a few things you consider. What does the mechanic set out to do? Has it been actually been successful at doing it? Are there any downsides to the mechanic's existence? Are the downsides greater than the downsides?

In this case, I can only guess that Taj/Unathi melee bonuses were implemented to make the races feel different. And yeah, they sorta do. Humans are frail but crafty and resourceful, while these aliens are strong, agile, and basically less cultured/advanced and treated like scum as an offside.

However, in practice, as much as I'd like to claim that Unathis and Tajarans can be mechanically stronger but have lore/roleplay disadvantages, this just isn't the case. Tajarans were originally supposed to be servile and cowardly, yet that didn't stop anybody from starting up fights as one. Space racism is pretty much something a vast majority of players have no interest in engaging in, and as a whole, you can't force aliens to be different from humans. Except through gameplay.

As for the downside, anybody getting into a physical altercation with an Unathi or Tajaran (and where neither party is an antag or sec) will absolutely get rekt. And that's just, uh, not good.

tl;dr: I don't think the mechanic is working as intended.

What about all the tacticool stuff Skull is suggesting?

Yes, I like that, and would actually be happy with that as a proposed suggestion - even if it takes time to implement. I'd really like Tajarans and Unathis to fight differently, if we could come up with a different mechanic for them to fight. What I don't want is species that are decidedly stronger than humans, because it creates the issue of "apply for whitelist, receive robustness". If species are much weaker then it creates a different problem (though a less important one as people should still mainly play aliens for RP), but aliens being weaker than default humans is a much more minor concern.

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I have yet to see the "Apply for whitelist, receive robustness" mentality in effect. The loudest, most confrontational and aggressive motherfuckers are still humans. At least, on our server.

EDIT: Oh, and I think the mechanic is working as intended, it's just a byproduct of lazy/overzealous/unchecked design. Which is what you get on a project where everyone has their fingers in the same pie.

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Unless you're playing to win, who cares about balance. It's a roleplaying game. It's more focused on the roleplay instead of the mechanics of the game.

Yeah, a declawed or clipped option in character creation would be a good thing, enabling the more docile and cowardly tajara to follow, but to remove it from all tajara would just be stupid, they're not humans so bringing them to the level of humans is also not good for rp.

Unathi were meant to be physically strong. To remove all their bonuses would ruin them and kill all RP. Fighting them isn't meant to be a small task, and it'd be done much easier and often if they were just as strong as humans.

I personally think the removal of these key functions to these species is an atrocious idea.

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Unless you're playing to win, who cares about balance.

There's just a little problem with that.

People will play to win. And sometimes, it'll be in ways that you can't stop, or curb, by asking them not to. Sometimes people will play to win because it's the most realistic or logical thing to do ICly (like when sniper rifles were really strong so they'd constantly get picked to own people in every fight).

Sometimes people simply don't think about the importance of creating interesting roleplay scenarios, and sometimes they simply don't care. You can try your best to be virtuous but it's impossible to make everyone follow suit. Which is why I believe balance can become an actual problem, even on HRP.

What do you think?

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Problem? Yes, eventually.

Where does the limit lie, though? I think that Taj/Unathi claws aren't that big of a deal, where as some of the more nuanced and creative bonuses actually make the balance more offset in the favour of their respective species (IPC, Diona).

Taj and Unathi are probably just the most striking, due to: the amount of filth that surrounds the playing of those species (a debate I would not wish to entertain here), and the fact that they least drawbacks (IPCs get EMP-d to death, Diona more slow). Objectively, I don't think it's the massive hill you wish to make out of it, though (and comparatively, the IPC bonuses are better, even with the drawbacks in mind).

Anyways, as said, unless there's an actual massive outcry of, "PLZ CURB THE UNEVEN!", I would prefer to wait until I actually get around to looking at these species in-depth.

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I'd like to direct you to this post where you said:

The rules. The rules will stop them.



As well as this one where you said:

It is actually the reason why I know we should be talking to people who fail at antagging and explain to them how to antag better, rather than let them run rampant and leave their victims to be cloned.

To me saying that you were headmin and knew people would break the rules.


When did this change? Whitelisted players are(should be at least) held to a higher standard than antags. Anyone can be an antag, but you need to be whitelisted to be Taj or Unathi. Instead of clipping their claws/whatever unathi have, we should explain to them how to taj/unathi better, rather than let them run rampant and leave their victims to be brought to medbay for bandaids or whatever.

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You're comparing people griefing/ganking to people winning fights as Taj/Unathi because... they've got mechanical bonuses and can't not win. Isn't that basically apples to oranges?

One of them involves clearly breaking established rules with an intent that goes against the general mentality of roleplay, while the other involves people simply making uses of bonuses given to them that might be too strong. I don't think the two are really comparable.


The problem's not really terrible from my perspective. It's just something that I think needs to eventually be changed - which is exactly what you're proposing. There's a few people in this thread that seem to be screaming that this is a "terrible, terrible change" which might contribute to making the situation look like it's being pushed with more urgency than it deserves.

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