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Can we discuss the emagged maint drone nerf?

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1 hour ago, Dinarzad said:

I did attack their idea, repeatedly, several times in the PR that brought the changes to begin with. There was never any real rebuttal to those arguments.
I also gave alternative suggestions, I didn't just say "Idea's shit lol" and carry on, I provided thought out suggestions.
Calling someone salty and saying they're letting it make them irrational is not a personal attack, it is absolutely calling into question the motives for WHY they're making their suggestions and motivations can be important to know. It's literally the entire reason that "i ded pls nerf" github tag even exists.
If you disagree withsomeone, attack their idea, don't try to dismiss it out of hand because it was delivered in a way you don't like.

I'm talking about 'attack' here in the context of debate.  Questioning the motives of one making an argument rather than the argument itself is the literal definition of an Ad Homiem attack, which literally translates to "To the person."

The motives of someone making an argument are entirely irrelevant. Either their arguments have merit or they do not.  If they do not, you should be able to logically explain why they do not.  And if they do, then the argument should be respected for it's merit, regardless of the motivations of the one making it.  This is the very basic bedrock of debate and discussion.

Bringing up the intentions of the other party doesn't mean you're neccessarily wrong, but it is beside the point and a distraction from the actual debate. 

Anyway, sorry for the tangent. Let's actually discuss the issue. 

The crux of your rebuttal as I understand it is trying to compare borgs to drones by stating both could act to be intentionally subverted, and thus since emagging of borgs is okay, it follows that emagging of drones is also okay. If I have misunderstood your position, I apologize. 

It's true that conversion is a major aspect of Space Station 13.  It goes even beyond Borgs.  A player could want to be mindslaved into an antag, converted into a shadowling  thrall, infected by xenos to become a larva... conversion is a major theme, and in all of these cases a player may attempt to intentionally by converted.  I will need to demonstrate what makes drones unique in that they should not be convertible while other roles should be.  I argue that it comes down to two major differences inherent to drones.

1. Drones are an unlimited resource that can spawn into the round at any time without any action by someone already in the round.

If a Borg is destroyed, they must wait to re-enter the round until repaired.  Emagged borgs that are detonated usually have their posibrain destroyed in the process and so are out of the round until someone builds a new borg.  If the crew wants to stop building borgs, because they are constantly being subverted or the AI is malf or for whatever reason, they can do that.  Borgs are more akin to golems than they are to drones in that they can only enter the round when a player already in the round allows them to.  This makes drones unique in that they are the only convertible thing that can be endlessly spawned at will by players with no input from the player already in the round or from the triggering of a specific event.  

To give an example of this in fact, it used to be possible to convert simple mobs into cults.  There is a well known story of the cultist mouse which occurred when a mouse happened to be on a convert rune and was converted into the cult.  While it was a funny event, the result was that a PR was quickly put through to make converting of simple mobs impossible.  Despite this, golems were not changed in the same way, and can still be converted into a cult. One could argue it was simply a matter of realism as a golem possesses the necessary intelligence to be converted while a mice does not.  However, there is also a strong mechanical reason for the distinction here.  Mice can be infinitely spawned without any input from players, whereas golems require a player to create them.

I think it's basic design philosophy that there simply should not be a convertible role that can spawn infinitely without any impact from the players already in the round. 

2. It is much harder to establish a pattern of behavior for attempting to be converted with drones than for other roles.

Your assertion that drones have the same level of oversight as a Borg is patently false. You pointed out exactly it's false why when you explained how the drone console works and how it doesn't detect emagged drones or allow remote termination like the Robotics console does. This is beside the point, however.

The argument was not related to player oversight in an ingame sense, but rather the the ability to detect players who are intentionally attempting to be emagged. Drones spawn whenever they want, usually in an isolated or low traffic area.  They have generic names with only a number identifier and that number changes every time a drone dies and respawns.  A borg, by comparison, has to be created by a player, usually robotics.  The AI gets a notification whenever a new borg is created.  Borgs have unique names, a selection of module and a selection of sprite. Borgs can interact with the crew, whereas drones are isolated.  In short, borgs are distinctive and drones are generic. 

Additionally, borgs have specific jobs based on their model that determine where they should be and what they should be doing. Borgs have a boss, the AI, who should be monitoring them and even gets an info panel to help do so. Drones do not, the AI can't even talk to them beyond pinging certain area for repair with the fabricator console.  If a borg is doing weird things and not their job the AI is far more likely to notice, as compared to a drone which it might not even be aware exists until it happens to see it on cams. 

Even in a situation where a drone's behavior has been recognized as suspicious, it's much harder to prove anything.  If a crew member runs into maintenance as soon as people shout cult or shadowlings, it's pretty noticeable.  Borgs, like crew, have specific jobs and specific places they should and shouldn't be.  Drones not only don't have anywhere specific to be or not be, one could argue that since their laws say not to take a interest in the affairs of any being other than drones that they are required not to consider danger when deciding where to go or not go. Drones have a lot more deniability which makes it easier for them to get away with trying to be emagged, far moreso than borgs.

These things make drones unique among convertible roles, and provides a very real distinction between drones and borgs. 

Edited by EvadableMoxie
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1 hour ago, EvadableMoxie said:

1. Drones are an unlimited resource that can spawn into the round at any time without any action by someone already in the round.

I think it's basic design philosophy that there simply should not be a convertible role that can spawn infinitely without any impact from the players already in the round. 

Golems are a literally infinitely respawnable role, can be converted by cult and slings. I've seen far more golems used in this manner then I've ever seen emagged drones. And unlike the drone, the golem can't even try to evade the conversion if they aren't antag fishing. Drones on the other hand are rather obvious if they are antag fishing since the tator has to be at the fabber or the drone must track down someone they know to have an emag.

I'm just constantly astonished people act like hack drones are a round ending event, I rarely see them, in 5 years of playing this game across multiple servers I can count maybe 20 instances of emagged drones and at least one group of those was a metacomm group that got banned years ago.

Quote

The motives of someone making an argument are entirely irrelevant. Either their arguments have merit or they do not.  If they do not, you should be able to logically explain why they do not.  And if they do, then the argument should be respected for it's merit, regardless of the motivations of the one making it.  This is the very basic bedrock of debate and discussion.

 

I have to disagree strongly with this assertion. Tay's intention was to nerf hacked drones into the ground not because they upset the balance, but a because a few rare cases in which a hacked drone was able to damage the station in a manner nearly any emagged borg could. There is no sensible reason to throw multiple game changing nerfs onto a role, ignore almost all criticism in the PR, promise that only 1 or 2 of them is going to take affect and then just apply all of them. This is literally the same behavior that has seen tg borgs get nerfed into obsucrity. Not because they had some aspect of the role that was over powered, but because a few select players are so good at the role or game in general that they can reliable dunk less robust regulars with their knowledge of how the game works. Despite said roles having numerous hamstrings, limitations and hard-coded weaknesses that their opponents never bothered to get ahold because we can't have antags having unique flavors that bring different elements to the game ensuring that no single strategy, weapon or item is the end all be all for any valid hunting crew.

In the end, Tay gave no reason for the nerf to begin with, saying 'they are too powerful and annoying' without citing any examples. Changelings and Vampires are too powerful and annoying to deal with, I don't see their powers nerfed into obscurity, do you? 

 

TL;DR the entire PR was salt i ded nerf plz without any consideration for what lead to it.

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Golems require a player in game to do something to create them.  Drones do not. 

I think you are correct about the intentions of the people who made the nerf.  But it doesn't matter, because it's irrelevant. The entire PR could be, as you put it 'i ded plz nerf' and still be the right call. That's why we don't bring in motivations. Because they don't matter.

If you are saying the PR is necessarily wrong due to the motivations of the person who made it, then you're making an Ad Hominem attack and not addressing the subject matter.

If you aren't saying the PR is necessarily wrong due to the motivations of the person who made it, then the motivations don't matter anyway.

There is no reason to bring them up or discuss them.  Discuss the merits of the nerf.

Edited by EvadableMoxie

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i ded plz nerf Is a very good summarization of the process where people are making changes to the overall balance of the game without first considering all the balance that is in place. You don't nerf d-esword because it can deflect most projectiles fired at it, because members of security are upset their tasers aren't working.  You point out that there was still plenty of options that COULD have worked if the salty player didn't just want to hit every problem on the head with their preferred tool and call it a day.

Drones have a number of weaknesses from their pitiful low health, blatant EMP/Flashbang rendering them immobile for a long period of time to their reliance on the piping network to get around. Tay's first suggestion was to remove vent crawling all together. Then they wanted to make them pAI with door access. Then we got the crap fest that is in the current build.

I was the one who suggested the timer On the understanding that the other nerfs would be removed from the PR. Spoiler, they weren't. Which leads us here today, where people who supported the nerfs are still dancing around the question as to why they were necessary to begin with. If you're going to argue 'you just don't like the PR so you're argument is invalid' you could at least come up with some half ass excuse to why any of this was necessary from the get go.

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56 minutes ago, davidchan said:

 If you're going to argue 'you just don't like the PR so you're argument is invalid' you could at least come up with some half ass excuse to why any of this was necessary from the get go.

So... we should ignore motivations and focus on the merits? I've said that twice already, I'm glad we agree now.  My half-assed excuses are in my previous posts, if you want to discuss them, feel free to scroll up and read them.

Regarding your points, as I said the main issue is mostly about a ghost role that can infinitely respawn itself without any intervention from anyone alive in the round being convertible. Discussing power in SS13 is a really difficult call because it's a game where combat can be decided by a bar of soap. Anything being overpowered or underpowered will be highly subjective. 

What I hope we can both agree on is that they were effective in combat.  And that's really all that matters to me. I don't think an infinitely respawnable ghost role that can spawn itself without any intervention from a player in the round should have the potential to be converted into an effective combat tool.

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They do require human intervention. An emag doesn't find and slap the drone by its lonesome or automatically. It's far easier to create and convert a golem than it is to track down a drone to emag it. 

Edited by davidchan

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If a cultist makes and converts a golem, they worked for that opportunity. They had to do Xenobio, or break into it, and get the extract and use it.  It's something they did, and it's something the crew could have stopped from happening.

If a drone pops out of the vents next to an traitor, that's just a gift.  The traitor didn't do anything to make it happen, it just did, and there is no counterplay the crew could have done to stop it from happening. I mean, technically they could blow all drones and destroy all fabricators every round with traitors in it, but that really isn't a realistic strategy like simply monitoring Xenobio on a cultist round is. 

That's the important distinction here.  Cult golems are a strategy cultists employ, which requires action and can be countered.  Emagged drones just sorta happen. Sure, the traitor has to emag them but getting the opportunity to do so is entirely beyond control of both of the traitor and crew.  You can't even really say buying the emag was the strategy since traitors buy emags for so many different reasons completely unrelated to drones.

Edited by EvadableMoxie

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1 hour ago, EvadableMoxie said:

If a cultist makes and converts a golem, they worked for that opportunity. They had to do Xenobio, or break into it, and get the extract and use it.  It's something they did, and it's something the crew could have stopped from happening.

Xeno-bio comes down to "How lucky are you?" when it comes to getting the color of slimes you want.
That's not "Work" that's RNGsus, that's rolling dice to see how fast you get adamantine slimes.
And since most xeno-biologists make Adamantine slimes fairly regularly, monitoring xenobiology does absolutely nothing to counter anything. That's like seeing and stopping an engineer form doing the solars because he COULD be trying to overload the power system.

All you do is pop the golem rune in maintenance or in the cult lair instead of in the camera filled lab and congrats, free cultists. And 1 adamantine slime can easily pop out 9 cores, when Science does upgrades to the machines as they almost always do, again with no work on the part of that cultist.   That's about as much work as buying an Emag and rolling the dice that a drone joins into the game and that you happen to run into it early on enough to be a help. And emagging a drone makes it VERY obvious something is amiss, given it gives drones literally evil red eyes, so it also, more often then not, gives up a portion of your element of surprise.

If all you're looking for was "Counterplay" then these nerfs do absolutely nothing to achieve the goal you're laying out. It does nothing to prevent how "easy" it is to do, it just makes the act of doing it at all a noob trap to the antag, and a giant pain in the ass for the drone player. All you need for counterplay is to put emagged drones on the drone console, same as an emagged cyborg, so that if it becomes clear it is emagged, you remotely blow it. THAT is counterplay. It also subtly encourages certain playre behaviours without being an active misery, because it encourages "Sabotage bot" playstyles, which was, according to the PR, the goal if the entire thing.  A stealthy saboteur is less likely to be caught and blown, a murder-bot is going to get got reeeeeeeeal fast.

What we got was a sledgehammer to the entire concept because "I personally don't like it so it should go away". And THAT is faulty design work when far better or less invasive alternatives were presented, and not even my own suggests, LOTS of people weighed in with solutiosn that were far more palatable then this.

Edited by Dinarzad
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Making golems requires 30-60 minutes of work depending on the luck and skill of the xenobiologist and can really only be effectively done in one specific area of the station, by one specific role. This means it's easy to stop, monitor, or control.

To spawn a drone, a ghost presses a button.

To say producing a golem is the same amount of effort as spawning as a drone is just completely ridiculous.

Edited by EvadableMoxie

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2 minutes ago, EvadableMoxie said:

Making golems requires 30-60 minutes of work depending on the luck and skill of the xenobiologist and can really only be effectively done in one specific area of the station, by one specific role. This means it's easy to stop, monitor, or control.

To spawn a drone, a ghost presses a button.

To say producing a golem is the same amount of effort as spawning as a drone is just completely ridiculous.

I've gotten Golem slimes done in sub-30 minutes, you go from grey to metal, to gold to admantine, each slime takes 2 monkeys, 1 to have it hit adult and 1 to split. If luck is on your side, you have adamantine slimes before you even need a single monkey cube refill, just using starter equipment.

Both boils down to a waiting game and random chance, golems can take longer if luck isn;t on your side, Drones might never appear, both of them involve a bare minimum of effort put in by the antagonist.
To say they're leagues apart is just completely ridiculous.
It's pretty easy to make ANYTHING sound silly when you play the spin game.

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Empirically, drones are an incredibly difficult role because they were designed to be hands off fun little things for ghosts to do but the reality was much different. In fact, tg just removed drones entirely cause they were too much of a mess for admins to handle. Drones even had a static overlay where they couldn't see who crew members were and tg STILL removed them. In the words of one of their admins, drones are "infinite all access ghosts that require admin micromanagement because they're only allowed to build and ignore people in a multiplayer game and they get in trouble when their buildings impact those other people in a multiplayer game"

That's just drones on their own without being emagable. It's already extremely difficult to avoid interfering with the round as a drone, and now you decry the removal of the temptation to throw off those chains and become an agent if chaos that requires the attention of half the station to catch and destroy?

My intention with the drone nerfs initially was to move them into a support role. I presented a bunch of nerfs that would work towards accomplishing that goal and also took some ideas from the PR discussion. Staff wanted to move the emagged drone into more of a targeted sabotage role, which I thought was pretty cool too. And I think you maybe right that five minutes may be too short to accomplish some forms of sabotage.

However I'm tired of arguments that drones are just like any other convertible role. They are not. And no amount of theorycrafting is going to change the fact that this is empirically false, which can be attested to both by our staff and the staff of other servers, none of whom have antag drones and one of whom have removed maint drones entirely.

 

Edited by Tayswift
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3 hours ago, Tayswift said:

Empirically, drones are an incredibly difficult role because they were designed to be hands off fun little things for ghosts to do but the reality was much different. In fact, tg just removed drones entirely cause they were too much of a mess for admins to handle. Drones even had a static overlay where they couldn't see who crew members were and tg STILL removed them. In the words of one of their admins, drones are "infinite all access ghosts that require admin micromanagement because they're only allowed to build and ignore people in a multiplayer game and they get in trouble when their buildings impact those other people in a multiplayer game"

That's just drones on their own without being emagable. It's already extremely difficult to avoid interfering with the round as a drone, and now you decry the removal of the temptation to throw off those chains and become an agent if chaos that requires the attention of half the station to catch and destroy?

My intention with the drone nerfs initially was to move them into a support role. I presented a bunch of nerfs that would work towards accomplishing that goal and also took some ideas from the PR discussion. Staff wanted to move the emagged drone into more of a targeted sabotage role, which I thought was pretty cool too. And I think you maybe right that five minutes may be too short to accomplish some forms of sabotage.

However I'm tired of arguments that drones are just like any other convertible role. They are not. And no amount of theorycrafting is going to change the fact that this is empirically false, which can be attested to both by our staff and the staff of other servers, none of whom have antag drones and one of whom have removed maint drones entirely.

 

You're also comparing TG style drones to our more Bay-style drones, those are RADICALLY different systems.
for one, Drone shells had to be built by crew, and secondly TG style drones DID NOT have a "Drone management console" like our more Bay-style does. They were, essentially, spiderbots with hands. 
Anyone who has ever made a spider-bot can tell you all the ways that can fucking go wrong.
TG-style drones also had no inbuilt tools at all, they had storage, and everything else they had they had to go pick up around the station, which is also WAY easier to "Interfere" with, when you are looting engineering/science of it's resources.
This is a comparison of apples to oranges. Just because they share the name "Drone" and had the same goal, the functions they took to get there were wildly different.
And, as has been pointed out a lot over the years, we're not TG. We have a very different player base with a very different mentality, with a very different stance taken from administrators.
These things do not compare beyond a superficial manner of comparison.

So, yes. I decry the removal of game systems when the opportunity to improve them and work them into a more healthy state with minimal effort was right there, and I wasn't the only one decrying it.

The temptation to do 'bad things' is all over SS13 as a base game, let alone in Paradise's serverbase. If we're going to start coding things out because "People might be tempted" then you better gear up for a whole lot of coding because boy-howdy there's a LOT of systems in this game that give you the chance to be an asshole that kinda just works on the honor system that people won't abuse it, or face the pain train of a banhammer. But you don't go around doing that because that is usually an objectively terrible idea that NEVER works out for the better.

You cannot empirically prove a single thing, because the very nature of what you are saying is subjective. In your own argument, and in that PR it says as much that what was "Interfering" to one admin, was kosher with another, that's very damned definition of 'Subjective' so don't try and make it out like your opinion is an objective fact, because it is just that. It is not some scientifically proven fact, don't pretend otherwise.
 The 'Observation' you're trying to pass off as evidence isn't really applicable when the huge variation of settings exists.

Edited by Dinarzad
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3 hours ago, Dinarzad said:

So, yes. I decry the removal of game systems when the opportunity to improve them and work them into a more healthy state with minimal effort was right there, and I wasn't the only one decrying it.

I agree completely that improving systems is generally better than removing them.  But you are stating this as if there was a mutually exclusive decision to make between improving it and nerfing it, and nerfing was picked. That isn't the case.  There was no improvement PR made and uploaded that could have used as an alternative.  If anyone does ever offer such a PR in the future, having drones nerfed now won't prevent the change from being considered. 

There are a ton of ways drones could be changed so that emagging them would make sense.  But until someone offers a PR up, that really isn't relevant. 

Edited by EvadableMoxie

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On 6/9/2018 at 7:54 PM, EvadableMoxie said:

There are a ton of ways drones could be changed so that emagging them would make sense.  But until someone offers a PR up, that really isn't relevant. 

I am respectfully disagreeing with you here. I believe that the entire point of discussions like this one is deciding on what, exactly, changes community wants. Making ideas, refining various concepts, carefully considering balancing, all while looking at the problem from many different viewpoints. After the community comes to a reasonable consensus, a coder then can pick up from here and makes a PR incorporating the said changes into the game. Sure, it's not necessary in case of bugfixes and many minor issues, but we are talking about a rather controversial, balance-altering topic. I don't think many people would want to pour their time and effort into coding one of the possible solutions to this problem, only for them to be rejected (or stalled indefinitely) later. And, well... Even if they are accepted - here we are, dealing with the consequences of a single person implementing such changes without being aware of the negative impact it would cause.

On 6/6/2018 at 9:03 PM, Machofish said:

I believe one of the other regulars recommended this to me, but I may suggest that instead of emagging maint drones, traitors get the ability to order a specially-designed Syndicate maint drone for a TC cost, a "Suspicious Maintenance Drone" if you will, with all the mixed combat and utility abilities that emagged drones previously had at their disposal (minus the ability to interfere with station systems while hiding in the vent systems and minus the ability to attack people while hiding). This way, players would only be playing as a hacked maint drone because they had signed up with the intention of being in an antag-assisting role, such as with holoparasites. Ultimately, I think it could be a much more predictably reliable asset for a traitor while sparing the headache for players who just wanted to play as regular drones without being Shanghaied into a temporary antagonist role that they may not be willing or creative enough to carry out.

I'd like to bring up the concept of a purchasable "Suspicious/Syndicate Drone" (I'll be referring to it as "SD") that @Machofish suggested. I admit, I was skeptical about this idea at first, but after giving it some thought I began to take quite a shining to it. The concept of emagged drones as of now has serious issues with or without taking the nerfs in consideration.

Spoiler

The sharp difference between the ways of playing (calm, responsibility-free tone of being a normal drone versus hasted, risky, time-limited of being an emagged one), the issue of some drones trying to get emagged on purpose... As for the latter, by the way. As @Tayswift said: "The "emag = death" thing is helpful in that it incentivizes drones to run away from being emagged. Before the changes, drones would run toward antags to get emagged all the time." This might sound like a nice idea on first thought, but it is actually broken on both sides. For people who didn't want to get emagged in the first place, as it was well explained before, it is completely unfair to punish them 15 minutes of interrupted gameplay. For the players who did want to get e-magged, however, this doesn't deter them from doing so at least some of the time - 5 minutes of intensive, round-impacting action, followed by 10 minutes of relaxed observing of its consequences (and other things) - was it even supposed to be a punishment? (I can speak for myself on this one - never got to be e-magged myself, but I'd really like to try. :3)

There is the suggestion to remove the e-magged drones altogether - while it technically solves the problems associated with them, it is met with some understandable hesitation, too. The @Machofish's concept takes the best from the both worlds, separating the "normal" maintenance drones and the antagonist ones (which feels right, considering how differently they are played), as well as removing the wild luck factor associated with finding a drone on chance, the balance issue associated with doing so and the meta-gaming issue of players deliberately trying to get their drones emagged. As the icing on the cupcake, it fits so well lorewise: a helpful autonomous contraption that was designed to improve and repair the station, remade and twisted to be another helpful tool for the agents with a high accent on stealth and sabotage - yet another NT product stolen and altered by the Syndicate to serve its shady means.

There is a specific issue about it, however, that I'd like to discuss. Let's look at some pros and cons of the e-magged drone in the current implementation.

  • Full cyborg-like access - a very obvious one. Order a SD, put it in your backpack and stride right into the Captain's office as the bolted airlocks hospitably open before you while close and electrify after the chasing security. Send it to the AI satellite, and it will have its doors bolted open, as well as defenses and APC disabled before even realising what's happening.
  • Ventcrawling - spying and stealthy accessing most areas. I don't mind this one, but thought it's still worth mentioning. For some reason. >_>
  • Fragility - maintenance drones have a significantly low health and speed. Once a SD is spotted by a crewmember, it's basically doomed. It can't run away, it can't fight back and it would be smashed into tiny robopieces before it has enough time to crawl into a vent. Its only hope is quickly hiding behind a bolted door or throwing itself into space... which, understandably, isn't always available and doesn't even always work.
  • Energy - everyone who played a drone knows that a 10K powercell doesn't last long, not to mention the resource stacks that need to be refilled. It doesn't matter that much when a drone can pop into Robotics or Engineering from time to time in order to charge up, but if a SD was to attempt such a thing, it would be swiftly spotted (and consequently killed, see the previous point).
  • 5 Minute Death Timer - an obvious one, already discussed a lot.

Eessentially, it is a "glass cannon" - both very powerful and very vulnerable. It also makes it difficult to put a fair price tag on it. Here are my suggestions about what can be done about it.

  • Full cyborg-like access => No remote access : basically, the idea is to completely take away all the cyborg-like access priveleges from the SDs, forbidding them from accessing the doors, APCs and other similar devices as a cyborg or AI could. I realise how controversial it might sound, but hear me out on this one. The drones start with the full set of engineering tools, including an equivalent of a fully stocked toolbelt - as any Greytide worth his toolbox can testify, opening most airlocks is a matter of seconds once you have the tools and know the wires. A maintenance drone without the access will still be able to get into most protected areas, hack the APCs and the like, but it would take a bit more time, cannot be done unnoticed and would require some knowledge about hacking. It goes well with the concept of a foreign sabotaging device imported straight from Syndicate - it's completely autonomous and not synced with the station's network, why would it have the means to directly interface with most digital devices, like AI does? It doesn't hamper at all with the SD's ability to do, well, sabotage - the thing it's designed for in the first place - while preventing it from being a pocket all-access remote.
  • Ventcrawling - leave as it is. Maybe even make it a bit faster? Maybe.
  • Fragility => Survivability - give the drone a bit more health and speed, and, perphaps, just a bit of armor. Not nearly enough to engage in a direct combat, but sufficient to be able escape safely when accidentally bumping into a minor (such as a random crewmember) or a moderate (security member with laser gun and a baton) threat.
  • Energy => Energy - Being aware of how difficult it would be for their modified drones to get maintained themselves - compared to their original, legal counterparts, which could simply use any public charging station - the Syndicate provided their drones with the interesting alternative. A SD can "tap" any powered wire, parasitically sucking off the station's powernet while charging their powercells rapidly; in addition, their nanobot-based maintenance module will repair their hulls and replenish their supplies when activated at the hefty cost of energy. Combine the two simultaneously to effectively simulate a charging station!
  • 5 Minute Death Timer => No death timer - well, duh. :3

As for the TC cost, I would price the SDs somewhere along the holoparasites. 10, 12 TCs? That's just a wild guess, though.

I have some more thoughts to share about it, but I've already been up all night, is currently very sleepy and meh. It's probably the best if I just wait for the feedback and other opinions than try to throw in everything at once. :3

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On 6/11/2018 at 12:26 AM, Vissy said:

I am respectfully disagreeing with you here. I believe that the entire point of discussions like this one is deciding on what, exactly, changes community wants

You took what I said out of context, I was responding specifically to the argument that drones should not have been nerfed because improving them would have been better.  Obviously it makes sense to discuss future changes, it's just not an argument for what we should have done in the past, because it wasn't an option at that time. 

 

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1 hour ago, EvadableMoxie said:

You took what I said out of context, I was responding specifically to the argument that drones should not have been nerfed because improving them would have been better.  Obviously it makes sense to discuss future changes, it's just not an argument for what we should have done in the past, because it wasn't an option at that time. 

 

It was always an option, there were a ton of suggestions when that PR was active and relevant. Most of those suggestions were not taken and the one that WAS taken, the 5 minute lifetime, ignored the critical second half of that suggestion, that the 5 minute duration would be enacted to the exclusion of the other nerfs.
Instead it was rolled into the other existing ones, and followed up with a PR that made E-magged drones very very obvious, by giving them red eyes. So, another nerf on top of already game-changing nerfs before they had even settled.  (Red-eye PR may actually have preceded the nerf PR, I cannot recall which came first.)

Going back in time to change it is not an option. Acknowledging it was handled horribly during the affair so that it can be avoided going forward, is, however, very much an option.

The key problem here is how many nerfs were made, massive balance changes, done in so short an order with little to no time for consideration or seeing what was necessary. It would not have killed people to take it slow, nor would it kill them going forward. Baby steps are better then yanking out 4 things at one time, because then if things go south, you have no idea which one of those things was the problem and which one was the vital component that made it all work.

To draw a parallel, Fox recently added the Gloves of the North Star, letting them work with Hulk. He did this because he was already working on refactoring our Hulk code to be generally better all around, and when that refactor was done, the gloves would no longer work with Hulk.  The consequence: This meant for a while Hulk + North Star was broken. You could kill people from 100 to dead in sub 3 seconds. It was timed.
This was objectively broken more then Emagged drones ever could be. But it was a process that had time taken on it, because the end result was healthier for the game.

What happened here was instead of each nerf being it's own PR, or each step taken bit by bit to get things done properly, overtime. Instead of asking people to live with it a little bit (They'd been just fine with it up to then, it wouldn't kill them to take it at a slower, deliberate pace), it was all lumped into one PR and jammed out of the gate as fast as possible, to the dismissal of everyone that was arguing it was going too far.
This is the core problem. Not that it was nerfed, that it was nerfed too much and done so faster then any other PR, most other PR's get chided and finger wagged at for trying to jam through multiple major changes with that kind of speed, this one should have been no different but for some reason was.

Edited by Dinarzad
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Suggestions are not options...

Let's say you have a feature, we'll call it Y.  You have a PR to change that feature to Z.  You also have a suggestion to change it to X.

What are you options?

Well, you're options are:

1. Do nothing and leave it Y

2. Apply the PR and change it to Z.

And that's it. Those are your two options. Changing it to X isn't an option here. You could decide you think X is better and maybe that decision leads you to not applying the PR to change it to Y, but that's still picking option 1. 

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3 hours ago, EvadableMoxie said:

Suggestions are not options...

Let's say you have a feature, we'll call it Y.  You have a PR to change that feature to Z.  You also have a suggestion to change it to X.

What are you options?

Well, you're options are:

1. Do nothing and leave it Y

2. Apply the PR and change it to Z.

And that's it. Those are your two options. Changing it to X isn't an option here. You could decide you think X is better and maybe that decision leads you to not applying the PR to change it to Y, but that's still picking option 1. 

...
What?
What.... does this even mean?

You realize the PR was to apply a general nerf to emagged drones, right? Like thE PR was literally called a "Menu of Drone Nerfs", like a menu to pick from. As in... it wasn't to specifically do any one thing. It's not a binary state of "Everything" or "Nothing". It is... it is entirely possible to do ONE thing and not the other thens based on feedback given from other people looking at your PR. You can order just ONE item from a menu, you don;t need to order the entire thing.
It's not like adding a feature, where you either add it or do not add it.
This is a balance change. There's a LOT of numbers to tweak. You could add the 5 minute timer in isolation, or do one of the other nerfs first an then see how that effects balance before proceeding further with further changes if it proves necessary.

A Suggestion can be options. They are suggested alternatives to what is being proposed in the present state. This entire suggestions sub-forum is to suggest options and ideas for code-savvy people to jump if they so choose.

I... I don't understand where this binary thinking of "You either leave it alone or do five different changes in one PR" thinking is coming from, man, I need help here.  

Edited by Dinarzad
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Let's say you're at a crossroads, specifically a T intersection. Your destination is straight ahead, but there's no road straight ahead. The only roads that exist will require you to turn left or right here, go a bit past, and then double back.

If someone turns left in this situation, you can say "You know, it would be great if we built a road here that went straight so we could get to where we are going faster." And you'd be absolutely right.  It certainly would be, and there's no harm in discussing it.

What you cannot do is say "The driver was wrong to turn left, because it would have been faster to go straight if someone had built a road there."  Yes, it's true that it would have been, but going straight was not an option at the time.

Going back to the PR.  This idea of improving drones and how they work with emags rather than nerfing them into the ground? It's a good idea.  It's much like building that road.  We'd all prefer it. But also like the road, at that given point in time, it was not an option.  Until someone actually did that, it wasn't an option, so saying that it should have been done instead is an invalid argument.  It couldn't have been done instead.  It still can't, until someone makes a PR.  

But, I feel like I have to keep trying to steer you back to the actual conversation.  You want to talk about the way the PR was handled and the motivations of the people making the PR.  But I haven't actually seen you talk about what was actually changed and how that made the server a worse place.  That's what we should be discussing and I feel like you just aren't willing to do that and this is becoming a waste of time as we argue about everything but anything with actual substance. 

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Do you mean like the way I said it was a painful experience to play as, said that it did nothing to stop the actual problem but punished the people playing regularly, that it turned it into a noob trap for new antags to screw themselves over with? That the restrictions put on were horrifying? You mean THAT discussion of what was changed and how it made the server a worse place?
Because
I am pretty sure I did all that. So. No, I'm pretty sure you're looking for a reason to shut down my argument without ever having to address it. Moving goalposts isn't necessary here.

Your comparison is flawed. You liken it to driving to a T intersection where you can only pick the pre-existing paths, but that's not what happens when a PR is made, is it? A PR is about CHANGING something, you are adding, removing or tweaking something.
To work off your analogy, it is more similar to BUILDING that road, or in this case going back to a road already built and discussing with people how it should be changed.  So again this binary logic does not work and I am still not sure where and how you are getting there.
This was not a paid commission of code, this was not a set in stone truth of the universe, it was a PR providing a smorgasbord of options to do a thing, in this case to nerf Emagged maintenance drones.  At no point, is someone obligated to push their PR EXACTLY as initially submitted, it can be changed. If you don't believe me, you can go read through older closed PRs and see how many of them were changed and tweaked from their initial submissions.
So no, at no point did ALL OF THOSE things need to happen at the same time.

And while you might not like this line of debate, you might deem it "of no substance" and irrelevant. It is actually, really really important we acknowledge this flaw, and acknowledge why it was bad, so that going forward we can, perhaps, not repeat the mistakes of the past. Something something not knowing history and being doomed to repeat it?
Because this PR has already come and gone, it's a done deal. The least we can do is learn why it was a shit storm, so that we avoid future shit storms of that nature, going forward.
And in the process we all learn the problems that shit storm has caused, but since you seem to think I didn't address this already, I'll indulge you with playing the broken record and repeating myself.

The changes harm the server, because it's no good to the player base. It punishes the drone player for doing nothing wrong.
It seeks to prevent people from intentionally being converted, and to make the drone far far less impactful when it IS emagged.
In the former, it doesn't do a single thing. Someone who will intentionally be converted, will still do that, for a chance at a 5 minute murder/antag spree, no fuss, no muss.
The latter was done so intensely that it has been left in a worthless/nigh worthless state. 5 minutes is not enough time to coordinate a plan from the traitor who emagged you, it is barely enough time to travel the station and begin your sabotage, it is all but impossible to do this quietly as you are painted with a giant "I AM EVIL" sign, and it is a clear giveaway that someone has an emag and is fucking with synths. So, stealthy sabotage bot is not quite in the cards, but their combat ability was also tanked as well on top.  You cannot sneak. You cannot survive an attack. So what GOOD are you?
This all, in addition. puts people on high alert REAL fast, so it actively strips some of your element of surprise away. It is a Noob Trap. Looks good on paper, but in actuality is inefficent and terrible, serving only to make people more guarded then if you had just left the Drone alone and just emagged into some location to do the sabotage manually.
Drones may or may not have needed A nerf, but they did not need ALL the nerfs.

TL;DR: It doesn't punish the people it is specifically trying to punish, instead it punishes the average joe who played the way they are supposed to. There is, after all, no way to know someone is holding an emag until he is emagging you, and running away is not an option, given you are slower and vent crawling takes time.
In addition to punishing players with a shitty experience it punishes the traitor for doing it, by instead screwing him over, in the IDEAL case of the drone listening to his master, you get some minor sabotage at best, and your job made harder.  In the case of someone just fucking off into the blue, you get nothing, and your job made harder.

Edited by Dinarzad
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I don't see how the nerfs hurt normal drone players in any way.  I assume you're talking about people who don't want to be emagged.  Well, why would someone who doesn't want to be emagged be upset about a time limit on how long they'll be emagged for before they explode and can just respawn? How will providing antags with less incentive to emag drones in the first place, and thus reducing the number of emagged drones hurt players who don't want to be emagged?  

It seems pretty clear to me that nerfing emagged drone gameplay is going to hurt people who want to play emagged drones. People who don't want to play emagged drones will either not particular care, or be relieved that the 5 minute time limit will let them get back to the type of gameplay they want.

I don't see how emagging drones is a newbie trap at all, but okay, let's assume it is.  So what? This is a server that wouldn't remove suicide pills from the nukie kit but we shouldn't nerf drones because antags might make a decision to emag them and that decision might hurt them? So, we'll let antags (and everyone else) hurt themselves in 100s of ways, but this specific thing, emagging drones, this crosses some kind of line?  I don't follow. 

I agree with you that in the current state emagged drones are nearly useless. And I think that's a good thing, because they shouldn't exist at all.  Saying they are useless now is only an argument against the nerfs if we both agree they shouldn't be useless, and we don't. 

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Because there's a big difference between removing a suicide pill, an item only designed to kill you to avoid capture, a pill that is very clearly labeled (It even has a skull an crossbones on it now). It is working as it is intended, it is SUPPOSED to kill you so that you won't be captured, or you can feed it to someone else if you so choose.
And a device that has all the appearances of being a helpful tool for your agenda, that not only does nothing, but is an active detriment.


It's the difference of me selling you something, the first one is a product I tell you flat out "This bottle is full of poison, so be careful with it."
The next one is me telling you, it's a bottle of shampoo that will make your hair fabulous, and then it turns out to be Nair.

You don't see where that just might be a little bit of an issue?
 

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10 hours ago, EvadableMoxie said:

I don't see how the nerfs hurt normal drone players in any way. [...]

People who don't want to play emagged drones will either not particular care, or be relieved that the 5 minute time limit will let them get back to the type of gameplay they want.

It has been said here before, so I hope you don't mind me repeating. The thing is, it's not just 5 minutes of unwanted gameplay style. Let's consider just this particular part of the problem.

First, it is not 5 minutes. It is 15 minutes, respawn delay included. When you die as a drone, you cannot just go on to respawn in a new one, you have to wait 10 additional minutes before being able to do so. Were working on that beautiful pipe atmosia, reworking the bar or gathering resources for making a Vox-box bar in space? Well, too bad, because that another civilian you just passed by happened to be a traitor, and now you have to drop everything you wanted to do and rig the Toxins to explode or something. You'll most likely fail to accomplish anything significant in these 5 minutes, your project might be rendered undoable by the time you are able to continue it (the work already done might be undone as well), and no, you can't just bail out and ignore them (as it would be going against the laws you now have and would even be ahelpable) - but hey, at least they will have their free unwilling saboteur for this meager span of time.

Second, as it was already pointed out, sighting of an e-magged drone might be followed with exploding of all the drones and disabling the fabricators, especially on the red alert in the presence of significant threats, when worrying about the drones too might be too much of a headache to the already overwhelmed Security.

Third, it's not just another type of gameplay, it's... a sharply different type of gameplay. Unlike literally any other role, maintenance drones have no real responsibilities and minimum interactions while actually being able to contribute to the round in a significant way. As long as you are not harming anyone, you have free reign to do things that can be loosely classified as maintaining, improving or repairing the station, which is... well, a lot. Even if you decide to make some nice wire-art in the escape hall, for example, it still falls under this classification (as it positively contributes to the aesthetics of the station). Cyborgs might be forbidden from doing their pet projects, recalled to do other things or be locked down because AI ROUGE, Station Engineers are entangled in a web of social interactions ("Urist McCreative, you are to stop doing whatever you were doing and come back to the station at once, because cult activity and everyone in space might be evil traitors and we have your fingerprints on the Teleporter's door so you are to report to the brig and what do you mean space bar, there are breaches that need to be fixed and we are on Code Red!!1"), but drones are essentially given a free reign to do anything non-harmful, while being largely ignored by the crew. It's a relaxing, calm activity over an extended period of time, when you can do some repairings at your leisure or something nice for other people to enjoy or simply for your own amusement. By contrast, being an e-magged drone (in their current state) is a deep reversal of this. The rush, the death clock, full obedience to the master, sabotage and harming, strict stealth... For some players suddenly switching between the two gamestyles would be easy, but for others it could be a rather stressful experience, especially when taking in consideration the first two factors. Being an introvert myself, I can confirm how uncomfortable it might feel to be suddenly ripped out of the cozy, relaxing stream of normal drone activities and being unwillingly thrown into someone else's plans and problems that the drone's player had no desire of dealing with. Of course, this happens all the time with the other roles, and there already exists a lot of conversion antagonists, but the difference with the drones is that how distant they are from politics and other players' activities to begin with. I'm not saying that drones should not be able to be "converted" into antagonists just because they are drones, but it just... feels wrong, compared to their gameplay style in general. Sorry if that sounds silly or confusing; I hope I managed to communicate what I wanted to say.

As it is, current state of things ironically hurts everyone but the intended audience of the nerf. Traitors can't really accomplish much in just the five minutes they are given (most of the time), and the stealth aspect will most likely be ruined too as the e-magged drone is very likely to be eventually spotted. Players that want to play the normal, good drones lose 5 minutes having to go through a sharp shift in gamestyle and then 10 minutes waiting until their timer ticks down. And then, the players that are actually willing to be e-magged to the extent of intentionally seeking an encounter with a traitor would get their 5 minutes of legal antagonizing, followed by 10 minutes of observing the sweet consequences.

As for solutions, I mainly support the separation of e-magged drones to a specialized, purchasable object for traitors to buy (as described in mine and @Machofish' posts above). As an alternative - some un-nerfing, according to what community actually decided they wanted in that original PR (that is, to choose the nerfs carefully, implement them slowly and see how it goes, not hastily slap everything at once). That being said, if neither of these or other viable solutions are available for some reasons, I would prefer having e-magged drones removed entirely over leaving things as they are. It's just appears to be too much of a headache for the drone players who didn't want to be e-magged to begin with. What do you think?

Edited by Vissy
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57 minutes ago, Vissy said:

That being said, if neither of these or other viable solutions are available for some reasons, I would prefer having e-magged drones removed entirely over leaving things as they are. It's just appears to be too much of a headache for the drone players who didn't want to be e-magged to begin with. What do you think?

Just to put this out there, since most people didn;t read that PR in question by all accounts...

My original argument (And still my current stance) is that if drones are going to be nerfed this hard and it;s the ONLY state that current staff will allow Emagged drones to be in, then yes
I'd rather have them removed utterly.

Better to remove them, then leave them as this broken, mess that is more of an active impediment and misery that they are in now.
This was, is and will continue to be, my stance.

Either tune it back, or just remove the option altogether, better that then to unintentionally fuck with people's heads.

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I'm sorry but your argument doesn't make any sense.  Yea, everything you said about getting emagged and having it be a jarring change of playstyle is true, but it was true both before and after the nerf.  If anything, it's a good argument for not having emagged drones in the first place. 

If the point is that it sucks to get emagged how can you say applying a timer that limits how long you are emagged be a bad change?  How can giving traitors less incentive to emag drones and thus having less emagged drones be a bad change? 

What you're saying is it sucks to be emagged but then saying changes that reduce the frequency and duration of how often drones get emagged are bad.  It makes no logical sense.

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