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S10 Xenotech - general negative response and possible solutions

Discussion in 'ITS' started by paraelix, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. paraelix

    paraelix Well-Known Member

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    S10 has only just dropped, but it feels as though there has been a generally negative response to the Xenotechnologist and associated mechanics. This is a shame, given that the season is called Xenotech and the overall story should be revolving around it.

    To address a few issues;

    Civilian rules for the Xenotechnologist - this is a real bugbear. The Civilian rules preventing attacks is a real can of worms. They open up the game to a bunch of exploitation by either MSV troops or rambo troops by denying enemy AROs or creating an immunity to template weapons and mines.

    Possible solutions;
    - Change the rules such that the Xenotechnologist disconnects from the troop once the beacon has been laid, and cannot be re-synced. This creates a bit more of a dynamic around using the Xenotech as an assault piece vs completing the mission mechanic. If you go for the safe option and complete the mission, he/she cannot be exploited. If you go rambo, you run the risk of failing the mechnic or ending up desynced with the Xenotech deep in your opponent's board half.
    - Change the Xenotechnologist to a non-civilian profile. Make the Xenotechnologist more of an open G:Sync troop that can be reconnected if it's handler dies. This means you can't flaunt the Xenotech, it must be protected to achieve the mission, and makes it slightly more meaningful to be able to sync with your opponent's Xenotech if yours is killed.
    - Limit who can be synced to the Xenotech. Force the Xenotech to be attached to a Specialist or a Lieutenant. This diminishes the likelihood of MSV abuse or the rambo nature of the trooper it can be attached to.

    "The Xenotechnologist's role in missions is boring/feels tacked on" - This seems to be a common complaint. The idea that the Xenotechnologist has just been forced in to fulfil the "new concept" piece of Season 10. Mostly, I feel this is attributed to the lack of saturation. The Xenotech is only present in about 6 missions... and we have something like 20+ these days?

    Possible solutions;
    - Make the Xenotechnologist fulfill the same, or similar, role as the DataTracker. In control zone missions, give extra points for a zone being captured by a model synced to the Xenotech. The fluff piece here being that the Xenotechnologist is chasing down a piece of data, checking the area for clues, etc.
    - (If the Xenotechnologist has been changed from a Civilian) Include bonus OP or negative OP for your Xenotech living/killing your opponent's Xenotech. This forces some more thought about who it is attached to and what you do with it across the game. This would also be best tied in with a limit on who can Sync to the Xenotech, to avoid people just turtling it prone on rooftops.
    - Make an ITS mission where the Xenotechnologist is actually the central objective of the game. So far he/she is just tacked on and of minor significance to most games (something I actually appreciate, but others do not), so make them the central premise of a mission. Something like hacking consoles in the midfield whilst running your Xenotech into your opponent's DZ.
    - Run an in-season event, like Backdoor, that is widely advertised and captures (specifically) the completion of the Xenotechnologist's mechanic across games played - this would obviously need separate submission, or an upgrade to the ITS reporting. This way, completion of the Xenotechnologist's objective has a more far-reaching impact and the player feels it is more impactful in their game.
    - Revisit Unmasking. Instead of having the target be simply the "Designated Target", make it a "Xenotechnologist" profile. Include a fluff piece about it in the mission dossier. Make it relevant to the theme of the season.

    Beyond this, as general feedback to the ITS season and it's Xenotech theme... The whole premise is that there is an alien relic hidden on Paradiso. Paradiso, the Jungle Planet. Why isn't there more of an emphasis on Jungle terrain in the missions? Or as an optional tourney type like Soldiers of Fortune and Limited Insertion. If we're looking for relics on Paradiso, make us feel like we need to go to Paradiso.
     
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  2. TaHu

    TaHu Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree with you. So far Xenotech is boring and imbalanced. It allows cheating combos. In best case it is one order to gain extra VP, while in worst you can spend way more orders achieving it. There is no strategy, just luck.
    However, I am not sure that Xenotech should have similar rules to datatracker. Remove one, or merge them. Otherwise it just bloats and complicates the game.
     
  3. Tom McTrouble

    Tom McTrouble Well-Known Member

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    What am I missing here? Why would MSV specifically be able to exploit them?
     
  4. paraelix

    paraelix Well-Known Member

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    MSV inside smoke with Xenotech outside smoke prompting AROs. Forces the trooper to Dodge and nothing else. Honestly, it's probably not as big a deal as people are making it out to be - most non-REMs, non-Motorcycles are better off dodging with no penalties than trying to shoot back with min -6 mod. So the real losers are... TR REMs? In any case, it seems to be the biggest draw of hate and frustration.
     
    #4 paraelix, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  5. Spleen

    Spleen Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, also every 4+ link team ever; those aren't exactly rare.
     
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  6. paraelix

    paraelix Well-Known Member

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    Except the Civvie can't be harmed. At least a link would be putting members at risk. The only other similar case is Hsien link with the YJ Dire Foe and using MadTraps to bait AROs. But, like I said, it isn't as game ending as people are making out.
     
  7. Spleen

    Spleen Well-Known Member

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    No, I'm saying, links are the big losers, not TR bots, they would normally get to shoot back unmodified and are instead forced into a dodge.
     
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  8. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    Plus firing back with Burst 2... Imagine the worst stick: a 5 man Fireteam of Hollow Men. Dodge at 10 instead of firing back with 2 dices at 16+...
     
  9. paraelix

    paraelix Well-Known Member

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    So any commentary on the suggestions? Or other suggestions about fixes? Or do people just want to squander the aim of the post by complaining about the msv rubbish? :/
     
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  10. Mruczyslaw

    Mruczyslaw AROnaut

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    I am sure there will be ruling about this like with dismount in TAGline;)
     
  11. Thaddius

    Thaddius Well-Known Member

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    It's not MSV rubbish. If it's the intention it changes the game meta as we know it.

    Having said that your suggestions about changing it are valid. I personally don't see Xenotech adding much to missions except for Supremacy. In other missions they seem like order sink bloat and they only appear with datatracker in Acquisition which seems like a pile on labels onto a strong unit and wait till turn 3. Xenotech isn't universal in the missions they're played in and this is a good thing like datatracker. What is universal though is the application of the civilian which can have a very damaging game experience.

    Where Supremacy is different is actually in the missions design and as you've suggested Paraelix it's something that could make it more than just an order sink. Not only does supremacy reward you for keeping the Xenotech active you have the opportunity to reactivate it and you'll want to reactive it to score points (dominating a quadrant) with it. Tying in the use of the Xenotech to a round based scoring system is really quite nice and much more meaningful than safe areas end of game scoring for 1 pt. It also goes to the nature of the civilian but you are much less likely to use the Xenotech civilian to clear mines/dtws if it's not in the scoring zone. Keeping the Xenotech objective closer to your deployment zones which supremacy does internally is actually another good game experience I think.

    While it doesn't do anything about the MSV, Forcing suboptimal ARO's it does give some interesting choices in Supremacy. I think Xenotech can work in round based scoring systems and board control missions quite broadly and that's where they should be refined. I think it looses out in end of game scoring because we already have data trackers for that.
     
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  12. Sorbus

    Sorbus Member
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    Thank you @paraelix for this summary. I can only double this as in my meta there is a lot of frustration with it.

    I do hope CB will clarify this ASAP - Tournaments are already incoming...

    For my events I also have a possible solution you might want to consider: Xenotech does not use civillian rules. It's more a marker state similar to the supply box. Therefore not triggering any ARO's. Xenotech can be re-synched with a WIP roll in case the synched trooper goes to null state
     
  13. n21lv

    n21lv SymbioHate

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    I had an idea about Xenotech. Basically, forget about syncing it. Syncing a Civilian is the root cause of these issues as it is the thing that allows the MSV2+Smoke cheat, immunity vs templates etc. So, dump that part altogether.

    Next change: you don't start with a Xenotech with you in the DZ. Instead, your HVT *is* your Xenotech, and you deploy it as you would deploy your HVT. In order to deploy and set up the Multiscanner, your Xenotech HVT needs some time and protection. So, if, at the end of the 3rd Game Round, there are no enemy troops and markers in a non-Null state inside the ZoC of your Xenotech, it counts as having successfully deployed a Multiscanner. If, at the same time, you have disturbed the deployment of the enemy Multiscanner by being inside its ZoC, you get an extra 1 OP (but no more than 10 OP total).

    TL;DR: you don't start with Xenotech synced to one of your units. Instead you and your opponent both get the Secure HVT classified as an extra that gives you 1 OP, but only if your opponent didn't succeed with their Secure HVT.
     
  14. locksmith

    locksmith comlog active

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    I think it's best if CB responds to and acts on problems rather than complaints. This is what I think they do.

    Synced civilians have been around since Campaign: Paradiso, and have had no significant change in function since HSN3, so I don't buy into the hype surrounding them in the last few weeks. When I get shot through smoke, I dodge 90% of the time anyway, so it's NBD for me to be "forced" to dodge.
     
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  15. paraelix

    paraelix Well-Known Member

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    Per the existing discussion - it negates the 6th sense bonus for Fireteams who would otherwise be capable of firing back without penalty. Given the rise of Fireteams containing REMs and/or rubbish Ph (Hollowmen) it is on particular concern. And whilst the rules have been around since that time, there haven't previously been instances of your models being automatically attached to one from deployment in ITS scenarios.

    It's fine if you choose to believe it isn't a problem because it doesn't, personally, affect you or your gameplay. But that doesn't mean it isn't a problem in the game or affects other people who play different/more varied factions that you do.
     
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  16. inane.imp

    inane.imp Well-Known Member

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    Ignoring the fact it skews SSL2 links hard: which pretty much is universal to all factions.

    In the engagements where I most care about MSV+Smoke, with Sin-eaters 15% of the time I crit my opponent when -12'd vs 11% odds of Dodging and with Reaktions at -9 it's >15% vs ~6%. I'll take rolling for 1s or 3s any day of the week on those odds. Sin Eaters and TR Bots aren't exactly uncommon in Nomad lists.

    The core problem is that it went from something that was a major order sink to pull off to something you can do trivially at Deployment. So it was niche and inefficient but has become potentially common and overpowered.

    The only thing that stopped me doing it earlier in the week was DBAD and lack of smoke in my list because I was having fun trying something else.
     
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  17. Hecaton

    Hecaton EI Anger Translator

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    Honestly it makes me worried that ITS is being handled in a "blindfold and dartboard" manner. From what I understand the people in charge of ITS are big fans of missions like Hunting Party, so perhaps curating a competitive ruleset isn't their forte.
     
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  18. BingBong

    BingBong VanCity Daddio
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    Hunting party is an awesome mission. More like it please.
     
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  19. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    While I agree with you, I disagree in the details: by using the troop "classification" as determinant for certain stuff, without first ensuring all factions will be on the same bracket of possibilities, makes the mission a not very balanced experience, which discards it as a competitive mission.
    In this case, the Greek Sectorial has too much an advantage, since the basic troop (Myrmidon with chain rifle) suddenly gains a weapon with ranges like a Combi (aside from the first range, where they have the pistol anyway, and the Chain Rifle and the Nanopulser too) and turns them into, surprise, ARO machines in the midfield (burst 2 due to Fireteam, ODD, cover, BS 12...)
     
  20. Alphz

    Alphz Kuang Shi Vet. Retired.

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    If you stopped drinking hatorade for just a second and read some of the articles by "the people in charge" you might notice hunting party has rocketed to top 5 in popularity last season. If you think continuing to include a mission which is popular is stupid I don't know what to tell you.

    ITS missions including variety and the nature of how limited sectorials have been has always meant some missions didn't suit some sectorials. I think the newer sectorial designs will probably offset that now that CB acknowledge that people will just mainline a sectorial.

    I think I will need to play xenotech a few times to see how the mechanic works. It does sound like civilian rules need an update much like pilot rules did now they've reached the mainstream. Until then, I'll probably just treat ARO's to civilians as optional and not declaring an ARO does not forgo your opportunity to ARO a second short skill.