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Should Hacking be revised?

Discussion in 'Access Guide to the Human Sphere' started by Darkvortex87, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. Darkvortex87

    Darkvortex87 Combat jump kamikaze

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    This is the hacking situation right now:

    We have:

    • 7 different hacking device + EI target ones.
    • 4 different category programs (Sword-Shield-Claw-Upgrades)
    • 37 different programs
    • an enormous group of "exceptions" being "Upgrade: something".

    It seems to me that this is a huge amount of material for a "relatively small" part of the game system.


    Why should it be revised?

    • This is an enormous amount of rules and i can understand that many new player are actually overwhelmed by it.
    • Expert player, nowdays, have already determined what's the best program to use depending on target and so all those 37 programs basically reduces to the same 4-5 used programs. (example: Redrun basically be the "the facto" program for killing hackers, basically unrivaled by other programs unless really specific situation, and even then by a small margin)
    • Lots of rules means lots of design space occupied, lots of potential FAQ and lot of design limitations for futures implementation.
    My suggestion to the issue:

    Hacking devices should be streamlined as it follows:

    • Each hacking device is now a levelled skill. (so, we will have Killer hacking device L1, Hacking device L3, Assault hacking device L2 and all possible combinations.)
    • Each hacking device should have a list of programs available to it. The list should be the same across all levels and it should be pretty different from device to device.
    • Each Hacking device type should have a tangible benefit to exalt the difference between HDs.
    • Levels are stackable and should increase linearly the effectiveness of each programs (examples below)
    • Programs should be revised to reduce the list and ensure that level progression is viable (Example: there are 7 program that targets Hackers and cause losses of W/STR. So those will be removed and substituted by a single program viable through the levels)
    So the HDs should be something like this:
    (note: levels are stackable)

    Killer hacking device

    Special ability: Negates Firewall mods
    Progression:
    KHD L1: Gain access to Brain Blast (B1 - DAM 14), Cybermask programs
    KHD L2: Shock ammo to all programs, +1B
    KHD L3: Brk ammo to all programs, -3 to opponent
    KHD L4: +3 DAM to all programs, +1B
    KHD L5: DT ammo to all programs,

    Assault hacking device
    Special Ability: Ignores Stealth from hackable targets.
    Progression:
    AHD L1: Gain access to [generic IMM-1 program], [Generic disable program], [Generic Targeted program], [Generic expel/possession program]
    AHD L2: Double duration of programs, +1B
    AHD L3: Brk ammo to all program, -3 to opponent,
    AHD L4: +3 DAM to all program,+1B
    AHD L5: DT ammo to all programs,

    Hacking device
    Special Ability: Nothing?
    Progression:
    HD L1: Gain access to [various vanilla programs]
    HD L2: + 3 WIP, +1B
    HD L3: Brk ammo to all programs, -3 to opponent
    HD L4: +3 DAM to all program,+1B
    HD L5: DT ammo to all programs,

    (note: White noise should work something like this: L1- Poor visibility for MSV, L2- Low visibility for MSV, L3+- Zero visibility for MSV/basically white noise zone)

    Defensive hacking device
    Special Ability: Gives the user Sixth Sense L1 against all Hacking attacks, Firewall mods can't be negated
    Progression:
    DHD L1: Gain access to [various defensive programs]
    DHD L2: +3 WIP, +1 B in ARO
    DHD L3: -3 to opponent, +1B
    DHD L4: +3 WIP, -3 to opponent
    DHD L5: +1B in ARO

    Support Hacking device
    Special Ability: Can start the game with a program running
    Progression:
    SHD L1: Gain access to [various support programs]
    SHD L2: +3 WIP, +1B
    SHD L3: Double duraction of programs, -3 to opponent
    SHD L4: +1B in ARO
    SHD L5: +1B

    (notes: higher burst on automatic programs mean that you can target more targets with the same program.)

    RESULTS:

    • 4 unique HD,
    • 10ish total program much more simple to remember, since they will be all vanilla ones.
    • Same program list to any hacker, yet with a very different sensation.
    • Possible mix-matching for new design niches. (an Hacker with KHD L1 and HD L3 will play differently from an hacker with KHD L3 and HD L1, even though they have the same basic programs)
    • Less FAQs.
    • Lesser Exceptions (mainly, EI will probably have a UPGRADE: [EI program] instead of having a new category of HD)

    So, what do you think of my proposal?
    Do you see some flaw?
    Should we report it to @Bostria or @Interruptor ?
    Do you want me to make some better written stuff?

    [PLEASE REMAIN ON TOPIC!!]
     
  2. Solar

    Solar Well-Known Member

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    I think hacking largely is good, and is a massive improvement over previous editions of the game.

    This is a mechanic which in 1st and 2nd edition were not very well done. The N3 hacking was welcomed as being much cleaner and smoother, and I agree. Remember, it used to be a weird system where they'd either apply a BTS penalty to your wip OR a face to face with an enemy hacker as a substitution with both your BTS penalties reducing their WIP! Pretty silly and clunky. Now the core mechanic, the way hacking works, all that stuff we agree is fine.

    The issue is basically therefore in program and device design aims. So my view would be that hacking as a system is good, hacking in terms of actual options within the system is pretty good but could do with a rework in some areas, notably

    1) making AHDs more viable vs non-hackable targets, and
    2) making Shield programs a viable way to defend your forces against infowar attacks.
     
  3. Stiopa

    Stiopa Trust The Fuckhead
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    Well, we've had this discussion some time ago...

    In my opinion it certainly could be reworked, but I'd prefer to keep the system of having multiple programs to choose from, with different devices offering a different mixes. I'd also like to keep EVO in one way or another

    Each device type should have a signature ability. White and Defensive HDs could be simply rolled together, or specialized to work in a different way.

    This!
     
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  4. Sabin76

    Sabin76 Well-Known Member

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    It seems implicit in your OP, but I would actually start even more basic than that before moving forward: what is the job of each type of hacking device?

    HD: Jack-of-all-trades, Master-of-none?
    AHD: focus on disabling the big bois?
    KHD: focus on killing hackers
    DHD: focus on defending against hacks (personal or whole army)?
    SHD: focus on support programs for buffing different aspects of the army (careful not to overlap with DHD if you decide to go the whole army route)?
     
  5. natetehaggresar

    natetehaggresar Backlogged Painter

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    Each program is essentially a different gun.

    How many guns do we have in this game? Pistol, breaker pistol, AP pistol, heavy pistol, viral pistol, stun pistol.... man this is too confusing... Let's reduce the number of guns.

    Admittedly the naming schema for guns is more intuitive. I'd welcome a change in naming convention.

    Between the KHD programs, you arguably could drop skull buster, it's super niche. Redrum is a good baseline, and on rare occasion the extra burst on Trinity is very welcome.

    Maestro, and lightning provide very useful and fluffy upgrades with trade offs versus redrum.

    AHD programs are also meaningfully different, Oblivion is high risk and high rewards, whereas Carbonite is far more reliable. You can choose your program to fit your aro strategy, ie Carbonite is delay delay delay, whereas and Oblivion is please stop.

    Ice breaker is money versus something like a Jotum.

    To be honest I don't understand why people find it confusing. It's all on your army print out, in your army app, in third party apps like the hacking helper. It literally takes 15 seconds to look up a programs stats, just like if you were to reference a gun.

    I wouldn't mind a revised hacking set of programs and devices. Arguably KHDs are too good for cost and ahds are too weak. I'd also welcome updates to dhds and shield programs, as written now they're kinda useless since you need to be targeted first to use them.
     
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  6. Smiler

    Smiler Well-Known Member

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    I'd argue it's the SWC cost as much as the points cost of AHD that means it's often a sub optimal choice. I'm not sure how'd you'd fix that without (re)introducing 0.25 increments of SWC (or something similar) or simply making it 0SWC like the KHD.

    AHD is a lot like high CC and MA levels. When it's on a unit that can really make the most of it it's usually worth the cost, otherwise it's just bloat.
     
  7. Stiopa

    Stiopa Trust The Fuckhead
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    KHD should cost 0.5 SWC like all other hacking devices, so it'd stop being a no-brainer

    AHD needs to be the go-to tool for assault support - disabling enemy comms and heavies, opening doors, targeting (Spotlight should be easier to run, btw.

    DHD should be able to actually defend. Hence my idea of it treating all other devices as Repeaters. And it should be able to run its programs without being attacked first.

    WHD is pretty much unnecessary

    HD - as was said, Jack-of-all-trades.

    EVO is in a good spot as is.
     
  8. natetehaggresar

    natetehaggresar Backlogged Painter

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    @Stiopa I don't think .5 sec for a khd accross the board is the answer.

    .5 for a hacking device of any sort gets exceeding more prohibitive the more types of devices you add. The costs i think were made for external balance when there were essentially3 types of devices, hacking (+), assult and defensive. (Though generally only 2, ahd and HD(+) appeared in lists).

    As the game developed to have many types and to an extent a different balance of power between devices that primarily interplay off each other, adding extra swc to play hacking which mostly doesn't even effect entire factions seems like a tax that is a bit overboard. (The vast majority of Tunguskas specialists are hackers or hackable paying and extra 1 or so swc for khd would be a significant kick in their pants, and I don't see a lot of Tunguska is op posts).

    I wouldn't mind a switch to paying swc for a khd and not for an AHD, but I don't think that would go over well either.
     
  9. Stiopa

    Stiopa Trust The Fuckhead
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    @natetehaggresar, the thing is that hacking devices are usually a force multiplier. Bringing more than one type opens up a lot of options, and it's a tradeoff against investing that SWC into another Spitfire or other heavy weapon. AHD gets the short end of the stick because it's relatively bland and gets no special ability. KHD on the other hand is far too cheap right now, especially since it pretty much shuts enemy hacking game down (though in my opinion the effect has more to do with player psychology than with power of the devices in question).
     
  10. natetehaggresar

    natetehaggresar Backlogged Painter

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    I totally agree that KHDs are too cheap, but I would do something like switch khd and ahds cost. I don't think that "hacking" overall is too good, I just think it's internal pricing structure is off wack.

    More devices is only really a force multiplyer if your opponent plays hacking. A fair number of opponents dont. It's not just ariadna or tohaa who omit hacking, steel frequently does as can other sectorials like hassasins to little detriment.
     
  11. Stiopa

    Stiopa Trust The Fuckhead
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    I disagree. HD/EVOs are useful on their own, especially if you field Remotes in any significant numbers. AHDs are useful against TAGs and HIs. KHD is a cheap specialist, even if you're playing against Ariadna. (also, Cybermask).
     
  12. Teslarod

    Teslarod Trebuchet Enthusiast

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    You'll never fix hacking as long as entire Armies can go lolnope and just go for pretty much optimal lists that have no vulnerability to Hacking whatsoever.

    As long as a Hacking heavy lineup can run into Ariadna or Tohaa fairly frequently you'll have a pretty big balancing problem. ITS mitigates that to some extend by providing a two list format, but that's more of a workaround than a solution.

    KHDs are fine in that regard, if your opponent didn't bring Hacking you're still a Specialist with Cybermask that unlocks REMs for 0SWC. Sound investment for 3 points.
    AHDs on the other hand become more or less useless outside of mission specific advantages.
    HD/HD+ still provides Gadget Programs/White Noise+Cybermask either way, but I'm not convinced that offsets the rather steep 8 points for the device and the opportunity cost on the guy wearing it. Then again HDs without Upgrade Programs aren't often used for offensive Hacking, but they come in handy to have multiple ARO threats for your own Repeater net or to keep Exorcism for your TAGs ready.

    WHD at least provides pseudo Sixth Sense but is again much too expensive against no or light Infowar.
    DHD is just a worse WHD so same here, much too expensive to begin with.

    Evo seems to be a platform issue for me. 17 points is no joke and the platform for it is universally awful for anyone except CA. Smaller Silhouette, Combi with the ability to buff itself and a great Upgrade Program that even works on otherwise unhackable targets in Fireteams.
    Compared to that an unarmed, massive Baggage Bot is just a so much worse choice to make.
     
    #12 Teslarod, Mar 8, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
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  13. natetehaggresar

    natetehaggresar Backlogged Painter

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    Yeah I feel like it's straining credulity to say that 1.5 swc in hacking devices is worthwhile to bring against ariadna so you can assisted fire a TR bot, and cybermask a unit with a combi/smg. Especially when many nomad KHDs also come with camo..

    (Hacking device, assault hacking device, and a theoretically .5 sec KHD).

    As for EVO they're certainly useful from a hacking perspective, but I can never bring myself to take on at the current price point and load out.

    I don't typically agree with @Teslarod , but in this case I really do.
     
  14. Stiopa

    Stiopa Trust The Fuckhead
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    I agree on AHD, which is why there should be some ways to boost it. Moving Cybermask from KHD to AHD. Making Spotlight more useful (no -3 mod, usable in ARO) - this would also make SMLs more viable option. Giving AHD a signature ability - my option is to give them +1 Burst in active turn hacking.

    And I actually use EVO pretty often, especially in REM-heavy ASA lists. Their cost is much easier to justify when you really dig into EVO-Gadgets (especially Overclock) and support abilities - Sat-Lock and AD boost, for example. And it's only 7 more points than I'd pay for a fusilier hacker (Regular hacker is even less interesting option, unless I really want that LGL). But you need to plan for using those abilities and build the list so all the gears click. Incidentally, it all makes such lists even more of a nuisance for Ariadna (wide Sensor/Sniffer coverage, Sat-Lock, easy access to shock ammo on things like Peacemakers - and its Auxbot! and Bulleteers...)
     
  15. colbrook

    colbrook Black Fryer

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    I wonder if hacking should be like Soldiers of Fortune, your first device is 1 SWC, but any additional devices don't cost any extra.
     
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  16. Teslarod

    Teslarod Trebuchet Enthusiast

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    Cybermask is situational and makes KHDs useful against anything that isn't a Hacker. If you want to give it to AHDs as well, maybe, but stripping it from KHDs isn't the right path.

    Neither is bringing back Smart Missile spam, not everything that is dead should be revived.
     
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  17. Tourniquet

    Tourniquet TJC Tech Support

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    I agree with this, as it makes the KHD useful against a lot more things given how narrow focus it has, and makes a KHD useful against non hackable armies (Tohaa or Ariadna), or armies that just opt out. AHD's can mess with a lot more things, if you want to make them more useful and interesting go take a quick look at the exile thread.
     
  18. Kiwi Steve

    Kiwi Steve Well-Known Member

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    I would prefer to see hacking programs have levels and just have one type for each effect (damage, isolate, immobilise, possession etc) with a uniform effect for level 1/2/3 regardless of program used. Then each device could just be described as having specific levels of program.

    E.g. HD has level 1 of each, killer has level 3 damage but none of the others, AHD has level 3 immobilise /isolate /possession but no damage etc.

    Just the system of banking would be easier to remember, i.e. Brainblast, redrum, skullbuster, trinity on KHD could be Brainblast L1, L2, L3, L4 and players would know L1 confers no bonus, L2 gives -3 opponent mod +2 dmg etc (with these same modifiers applying to AHDs isolate abilities etc).
     
  19. solkan

    solkan Well-Known Member

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    I just have a rant that was triggered by the suggestion of "Sixth Sense L1 against all Hacking attacks".

    Depending on what you mean, "Sixth Sense L1 against Hacking attacks" is completely useless. Because Hackers have guns, and the degenerate scenario when approaching a model with a Defensive Hacking Device is:

    - Hacker activates and declares Move in or into the ZoC of the Defensive Hacking Device owner
    - Defensive Hacking Device owner has to declare Reset or Change Facing
    - Hacker chooses the option not defended against to attack

    Outside of Spec Ops, you won't find a hacker with a holoprojector, but you can easily have a non-hacker trooper with a holoprojector disguised as a hacker.

    Of course, the other bizarre edge case is getting threatened by a repeater and a gun (either by the hacker doing that directly, or a coordinated order):
    - The Defensive Hacking Device owner is standing next to an enemy repeater.
    - Enemy hacker activates and moves into line of sight of the Defensive Hacking Device owner
    - Defensive Hacking Device owner has to declare ARO but the enemy is not in ZoC. Anti-hacking programs not valid yet because not yet attacked.
    - Hacker gets to use hacking programs vs. Reset, or just deals with the DHD owner's shooting.

    So you get the bizarre requirements of:
    - Delay ARO if the enemy model activates in ZoC
    - Delay ARO if there's an enemy repeater in ZoC *with an enemy model in line of sight*
    without having DHD reveal whether or not the active models are really the hackers/non-hackers that they appear to be. And with Repeaters that may or may not be holoechoes.

    It'd be simpler to just make Defensive Hacking Device not hackable. The point of their reactive programs is that it's supposed to be a bad idea to hack them (because they have all of the impressive skill options to use in response), but the ARO structure doesn't really work unless the reactive player can choose to "shoot" first.
     
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  20. Nuada Airgetlam

    Nuada Airgetlam Well-Known Member

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    I fixed hacking for myself - I play Ariadna and IDGAF about that whole mechanic at all :D
     
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