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Why the revivability changes are counterproductive (and how to fix it) (#clickbait)

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I'd usually make a PR with my changes but with the flood of revivability PRs, the maints decided not to accept any further PRs about the topic, so instead I'll just write down my thoughts. I decided to make this its own thread instead of putting it in the crit discussion since it extends beyond the changes of the crit rework and touches on other things as well. Let me first define what I consider interesting and boring gameplay in medbay.

The Issues

First, interesting gameplay is when a doctor manually fixes a patient, using their knowledge of the game mechanics, chems, the patient's medical state and so on. What counts here is that he is making decisions and is actively engaged. The prime example of this is surgery, as the probably most involved medical procedure. But also things like brain and other organ transplants, etc.

Secondly, boring gameplay is when a doctor puts a patient in a machine, turns it on and then walks away, or otherwise takes a single action and then leaves, especially if there is no or very little decision making involved in this. For example, deciding which chems to give someone in a sleeper is still somewhat more involved than pushing them in the cloner. The cloner is the single most boring and uninteractive machine in medbay. It fixes a patient regardless of their body's state and proceeds totally automatically. Most often the poor clonee even has to go poke a doctor for a mannitol pill for his brain damage. You can grab a greytider with no medical knowledge whatsoever, give him a one minute crash course and he can clone. Once cloners are upgraded, even that part is moot.

 

The current main issue of medbay is that cloning is easier than fixing people in other ways. We've seen a PR that reduced defib time from 5 to 2 minutes, an attempt to increase cloning time and an attempt to make SR not work on non-clonable races. And now, the big crit rework will completely remove the revive function of defibs. Raising defib times was an attempt to, in the words of the author: "Push[ing] more individuals to use cloning". The now closed 'Revivability Update' attempted to double clone times as if it fixes anything besides doubling the time you can fuck off before checking on the cloner before putting the next body in it.

The crit rework being test-merged has the same issues. By removing defibs as a revival method, you incentivise cloner use, pushing people into the least interesting 'mechanic' of medbay. Now, in the crit rework's credit it also attempts to make you survive longer in crit and give medbay lots of chances to stabilize and pull you out of crit, which is definitely interesting gameplay, but the issue persists that players can avoid that (and often do) simply by letting the patient die and putting them in the cloner.

 

So, to summarize the current issues:

1. Involved, many-step processes that benefit from player knowledge and experience are interesting. IE surgery.

2. One-click solutions that fix all issues with a patient are boring. IE Cloning, Cryotubes to a lesser extent.

Solutions

Now, how do we fix this issue? Clearly, we should push people towards 1 and not 2. I've thought about a number of approaches:

  1. Make cloning take longer. This is a solution that's already been attempted, unsuccessfully. Faced with waiting 4 minutes for a patient to clone instead of 2 doesn't actually make doctors chose the more involved procedure, since they aren't the ones waiting as a ghost to rejoin the round. You could raise the time to ridiculous levels before this actually starts having an effect. This solution is clearly unworkable. Rejected.
  2. Make cloning consume meaningful resources. Biomass is easy to make in raw amounts, and besides that all a cloner needs is some power. You could make it necessary for cloners to be fed with some hard to get or valuable ingredient to work, but it would be hard to think of something lorewise fitting, imo (maybe something cargo has to order in an expensive crate?). At least, of something that doesn't just tax the chemist even more. Other servers have cloning cost money I think, but money has no meaning in our economy. Rather bad, imo.
  3. Make cloning come with not easily removed downsides. Having cloning cause some permanent downside or disability that isn't instantly removed by a pill of mannitol or clean SE could potentially work. For example, you could give cloned people a chance of getting a 'cloning trauma', which gives them a mental issue that they then have to play out (maybe even give them a little 'objective' like abductor victims get?). (Bonus: Give the psych something to do). Potentially interesting idea. Less RP-intense alternatives might just be stuff like unremovable disabilities, but I can already see players REEing about that. Workable, maybe?
  4. Make cloning no longer the default/lowest tier revival method. The most 'radical' method. Cloning is used because it is easy and available from roundstart. We could simply...change that. Remove the roundstart cloning setup and lock cloning behind decent research levels. You'd have to undo the nerfs to alternative revival methods while doing that (IE give the CMO omnizine in his hypospray again, raise defib timer, make defibs not insta-kill slimes again because brain damage multiplier lol). This would mean medbay has to carefully preserve their SR pills, patch people up, rush in with their defibs to save on SR, perform surgery to fix internal bleeding, broken bones, etc each time someone dies. Radical, but IMO the best idea so far.
  5. Something that can go hand in hand with 4., make more people reach medbay alive. The crit rework, as far as I can tell, somewhat intends this already. Have the paramedic bring in less dead people and more crit people, so medbay can patch them up, work under time pressure to stabilize, etc. To do so, we could introduce some more tools to stabilize patients, like stasis bags, or simple tweak the crit numbers to make dying slower. Nice but not enough on its own, imo.

 

So, what do you all think? Do you agree or disagree with my analysis of medbay's issues and what makes good gameplay? And what do you think of the possible solutions I talk about?

 

 

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I'd like to add on to your beginning point regarding interesting mechanics and boring mechanics, that for the dead or injured person, it doesn't matter whether the mechanic is good or bad, it's still boring, so doing things that increase the time it take to heal a patient, negatively impacts the people actually getting healed in med bay by making it take longer before they can get back to actually playing the game. So generally any change that increases the amount of time anyone person spends in the med bay is going to be perceived negative by most of the community. 

This is why increasing cloning time is bad. Doctor doesn't give a shit, doesnt affect them. The person who's dead now has to wait longer to get back in the game though. It intended to make doctors use more fun mechanics but the doctor is not at all pushed to do anything but clone, they just fuck off and do something else while they wait on the cloner as they have always done. If anything, it pushes doctors to just build more cloners to increase their efficiency. 

For the same reason, cryo nerfs are also bad. For the most part, cryo only healed external damage, and didn't really do anything to organs unless you included mito in the mix, but if the chemist has mito in the mix they probably have it in the fridge too, so that doesn't really matter. By making this worse, everyone who goes into medbay just to get external damage treated now goes from being able to just fix themself in the cryo really quickly, to now occupying doctors time and making medbay an inefficient mess because  there's 6 people waiting for their 20 burn damage from hacking a door healed but still the same amount of critical patients who need immediate medical attention or else they're doing to die.

Edited by SkeletalElite
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I mean sure, as far as non-medical players are concerned, the ideal medical system would be an instant-cloner that revives you the moment you die no matter what, but there's good reasons we don't do that. There's a reason we don't let people instantly revive when they die.

 

Though maybe option 3 would work for people very concerned with how long they are dead? Getting to come back but with some kind of condition to play out should be interesting, right?

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I am fully in favor of option 4. Makes doctors feel good, cloning becomes something earned, no more pointless (IMO) nerfs to medical, death becomes more meaningful due to the possibility of science f***ing off with slime-powered mechs-

OK, that last one was a joke, but still. 

Also, I think if this happens, then geneticists should merge completely into science. Not that they helped with cloning anyway-

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Alright my god can I just add as a medical powerhouse and enthusiast myself, every single doctor I come across, either as patient or CMO, has absolutely no idea what in gods name they're doing and immediately and I mean immediately go for cloning regardless of how available a simple SR and quick surgery is. It absolutely disgusts me the extent at which bunk ass doctors either A. just walk away from a patient with damage they don't recognize B. only fix external damage and leave moving bones to simply move around in people's bodies, or C. clone their totally uninjured ass. I make it my personal goal to become so efficient that almost no patient can be healed faster by cloning, which after some serious powergaming can be done with borderline every single patient that comes in either dead or hardcrit. This kind of attitude is extremely scarce in the medical community, often removing ingenuity and practice out of the equation entirely with cryo tubes and the endless supply of that god damn cloning machine.

As an RD, I can also give educated knowledge on the aspect of researchable cloning. For starters, it has been referenced before that RnD has been almost removed from the station entirely, with the new sleeper update (sleepers being the #1 thing to upgrade as RnD) giving RnD almost no reason to exist. When I run RnD as RD, I get er done nice and quick, upgrade sleepers, and print 2 IMSs and upgrade the rest when we get diamonds. That's not a lot, and basically after you do that your done (excluding all of the nonsense you can do like my friend and I's Lazarus project or telescience Blyatsky on top of the Captain). I would absolutely love having incentive to build cloners in medbay, as I only do so when there is a gargantuan crisis with bodies lining up and the classic "What's Strange Reagent?" reeking from malpractice bay's line of bodies.

 

In short, making cloning researchable will both give doctors incentive to sharpen their skill and give RnD something else to do. This new outlook on doctor training might give new doctors something better to do then this. (Also I would like to add I do know how to code so if this form post gets enough feedback I will add this).
qvx4gOveSs.gif

 

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On 2/26/2019 at 9:15 PM, Jazz said:

Alright my god can I just add as a medical powerhouse and enthusiast myself, every single doctor I come across, either as patient or CMO, has absolutely no idea what in gods name they're doing and immediately and I mean immediately go for cloning regardless of how available a simple SR and quick surgery is. It absolutely disgusts me the extent at which bunk ass doctors either A. just walk away from a patient with damage they don't recognize B. only fix external damage and leave moving bones to simply move around in people's bodies, or C. clone their totally uninjured ass. I make it my personal goal to become so efficient that almost no patient can be healed faster by cloning, which after some serious powergaming can be done with borderline every single patient that comes in either dead or hardcrit. This kind of attitude is extremely scarce in the medical community, often removing ingenuity and practice out of the equation entirely with cryo tubes and the endless supply of that god damn cloning machine.

As an RD, I can also give educated knowledge on the aspect of researchable cloning. For starters, it has been referenced before that RnD has been almost removed from the station entirely, with the new sleeper update (sleepers being the #1 thing to upgrade as RnD) giving RnD almost no reason to exist. When I run RnD as RD, I get er done nice and quick, upgrade sleepers, and print 2 IMSs and upgrade the rest when we get diamonds. That's not a lot, and basically after you do that your done (excluding all of the nonsense you can do like my friend and I's Lazarus project or telescience Blyatsky on top of the Captain). I would absolutely love having incentive to build cloners in medbay, as I only do so when there is a gargantuan crisis with bodies lining up and the classic "What's Strange Reagent?" reeking from malpractice bay's line of bodies.

 

In short, making cloning researchable will both give doctors incentive to sharpen their skill and give RnD something else to do. This new outlook on doctor training might give new doctors something better to do then this. (Also I would like to add I do know how to code so if this form post gets enough feedback I will add this).
qvx4gOveSs.gif

 

You underestimate the incompetence of malpractice bay. Removing cloners from round start would result in a VERY full morgue until the cloners are built.

Not to mention lots of very unhappy dead people.

It would be antag paradise too, since the chances of security actually being revived after you kill them would become very slim.

Edited by SkeletalElite

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What you COULD do to make medbay more involved, is nerf/remove mannitol for example, and make brain damage only fixable with surgery. Furthermore, another idea would be to force doctors to perform surgery or other extensive steps to restore brute/burn damage above a certain treshold. Then again, that would also just make doctors throw certain people in the cloner entirely, so it would also require a cloning change. 

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5 hours ago, SkeletalElite said:

You underestimate the incompetence of malpractice bay. Removing cloners from round start would result in a VERY full morgue until the cloners are built.

Not to mention lots of very unhappy dead people.

 

That's why you should buff other revival methods while removing roundstart cloning.

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I've been morgued for no reason even when still defibbable and cloneable, simply because the doctor receiving my corpse couldn't find a defib and didn't know how the cloner worked. Removing the cloner would absolutely end with more people in the morgue. 

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3 hours ago, TDS said:

That's why you should buff other revival methods while removing roundstart cloning.

That changes absolutely nothing.
Okay. cool. SR is easy to get and defibs have more time to work with. Neat. That does nothing to impact how utterly trashed a body can be an the time needed to restore it.
The other thing a LOT of people keep missing is, traitor isn't the only game mode. You won't have time in a lot of circumstances to do the things you're asking medical to do, I will openly DARE medical players to, on Blob/Wiz/Nukie rounds, don't use the cloner a single time. Not once. Do it all manually, and let me fucking know how much of a corpse pile up you have backing up. You'll have doctors not even bothering with revival as they're too focused on dealing with the influx of people fighting the blob or will have to focus entirely on reviving tons of corpses manually that healing the living will be pushed to the wayside.  This isn't a good thing. I know a lot of people want death more impactful, but in Blob style rounds getting the entire crew involved in the fight is the ideal and expected strategy, it's not like valid hunting a changeling in maintenance where they just shouldn't have been involved.

Everyone likes to say how brain-dead easy and quick the cloner is, but in the gif in this very thread, look at that corpse pile up. That shit isn't gonna go any better if you remove cloning, if anything it'll get worse. Cloning is "Fast and easy" according to people, so how well do you imagine it'll go when you have to SR an Defib every single corpse, blood transfusion a LOT of them from internal bleeding left unchecked, repair any broken bones (Potentially all of them if the body is trashed enough or was spaced long enough.) and all done on a single corpse before moving on to the next body.
And that assumes Surgery isn't having to tend to LIVING patients in the mean time and can focus solely on those dead/newly revived people to fix up.
It'll be a complete fucking nightmare the moment anything even slightly resembling a crisis rears it's head.

The "Delete cloner/make it not roundstart" idea continues to be one of the worst possible suggests to ever grace this forum. It accounts for NONE of the reasons it exists and calls for removal of a core system without any thought for the literal years of development that has gone on around that system. What you're asking for is the equivalent of "Just rework Atmos." So much game design has gone on with the idea of cloning existing you're asking for an effective rework and re-balance of basically the entire game. Every traitor item, wizard spell and more were all balanced with the idea of cloning existing, of death being relatively quick and simple to reverse.  This is beyond just changing medical this can, will and MUST change **EVERYTHING** or else it'll be half assed and more broken then anything.

Baystation removed cloning and it still split the server down the middle, and this is a high RP server, full of people with the mindset of making death spooky scary and a big dramatic RP moment.  Paradise is NOT High RP, we're full of people who want to play a 'game' as much as we have people who want some lighter forms of roleplay.

This idea is dead in it's cradle, it solves nothing, breaks everything and is in general woefully unaware of it's own glaring flaws given I have never once seen them properly addressed

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Not to get off topic or beat a dead horse, but on the topic of reviving methods and what is broken and what is not, it never ceases to amaze me how people claim IPCs not reliant on the cloner is too strong of perk and they need to be nerfed farther, then you turn around and people say the cloner is too powerful and needs to removed out right because it's too good and requires no work to run it.

So which is it? Because it can't be both.

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11 hours ago, SkeletalElite said:

You underestimate the incompetence of malpractice bay. Removing cloners from round start would result in a VERY full morgue until the cloners are built.

Not to mention lots of very unhappy dead people.

It would be antag paradise too, since the chances of security actually being revived after you kill them would become very slim.

I absolutely agree with you in the short term, and while it still is incentive to practice other revival methods it will still cause a lot more morgueing. In the long term, I imagine new doctors morgueing people, just like your predicting, but at the same time the coroner noticing a green light (yes ik they never see it)  and handing the body over to experienced doctors, who in turn either teach the new doctor how to revive (doubt) or the new doctor might notice what they're doing. It is sharp to remove cloning round start, and will ultimately lead to more harm than good with respect to bodies being dead for longer, but (not that I agree with all the crappy PRs) wouldn't that make death "more impactful?" Also, would like to point out antagging is hard enough for new or even experienced players. Not to mention making cloning pods are pre-materials for science, however I do understand RnD is usually even worse then malpractice bay.

Edited by Jazz

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2 hours ago, davidchan said:

So which is it? Because it can't be both.

Different people with different opinions

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11 hours ago, Dinarzad said:

Baystation removed cloning and it still split the server down the middle, and this is a high RP server, full of people with the mindset of making death spooky scary and a big dramatic RP moment.  Paradise is NOT High RP, we're full of people who want to play a 'game' as much as we have people who want some lighter forms of roleplay.

This comparison is fundamentally flawed. Baystation removed any way at all of reviving the dead. That's it. Once you're dead, you're dead forever. Removing roundstart cloning while leaving in and improving other revival options is just fundamentally different and trying to equate them is an intellectually dishonest argument. Nobody is perma-killed with roundstart cloning removed that wasn't perma-killed before, the only thing keeping people dead is medbay being overworked or doctors being too lazy to fix people.

TBH, I really wonder if we are talking about different servers. How many times do you die in a round? Because I definitely average less than one death per round (more when playing sec of course). It's not like I die 5 times every shift and would not get to play if revival takes 5 or 10 minutes. Now, I grant you that wiz/nukies/etc do generate a lot of corpses but...those rounds end before more than one or two people can even be cloned, generally, even with old cloner times. 1 or 2 crew members rejoining the fight before the wizard inevitably gets beaten to death with a toolbox on a server pop of 80 is completely insignificant.

 

Terror spiders, blob and xenos also generate a lot of bodies, though spiders and xenos also make sure the corpses can't be retrieved for cloning easily. The only mode that's really impacted is blob. Far from the impending catastrophe you seem to conjure up. ANd yes, if blob suddenly ends up too powerful it can certainly be adjusted, but that's no reason to shut down all changes.

 

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1 hour ago, TDS said:

Terror spiders, blob and xenos also generate a lot of bodies, though spiders and xenos also make sure the corpses can't be retrieved for cloning easily. The only mode that's really impacted is blob. Far from the impending catastrophe you seem to conjure up. ANd yes, if blob suddenly ends up too powerful it can certainly be adjusted, but that's no reason to shut down all changes.

 

That is very highly dependent on the competence of the antags. A good wizard would rule the station without round start cloning. The reason things like cluwne spell and disintergrate are good spells is they are almost always a guranteed removal, excluding brain transplants on disintegrate. Without cloning, I'd argue that rod form is actually even stronger than disintegrate. It's an instant kill with movement ability and the potential to get more than one kill, especially in maint tunnels. With xenos, they gib so whatever. On terror spiders without cloning, even an infestation that gets shut down relatively quickly is going to slow medbay to a halt. If the terror spiders are successful, med bay is going to get slaughtered pretty early on so that doesn't really matter that much.

 I think it impacts good changelings and traitors the most, if I'm honest. Right now, it is extremely powerful to just rush objectives, murder all that try and stop you with a powerful weapon or item and this only makes that worse, since the more security that the person kills the easier their job gets. The time investment required to revive someone without cloning is so significant, that any antag using murder rushing objectives as their strategy, will have their objectives long done before medbay can even start to catch up with their corpses, especially a good hijacker, since the corpse pile isn't limited to just those that tried to stop the antag.

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10 hours ago, Jazz said:

I absolutely agree with you in the short term, and while it still is incentive to practice other revival methods it will still cause a lot more morgueing. In the long term, I imagine new doctors morgueing people, just like your predicting, but at the same time the coroner noticing a green light (yes ik they never see it)  and handing the body over to experienced doctors, who in turn either teach the new doctor how to revive (doubt) or the new doctor might notice what they're doing. It is sharp to remove cloning round start, and will ultimately lead to more harm than good with respect to bodies being dead for longer, but (not that I agree with all the crappy PRs) wouldn't that make death "more impactful?" Also, would like to point out antagging is hard enough for new or even experienced players. Not to mention making cloning pods are pre-materials for science, however I do understand RnD is usually even worse then malpractice bay.

Take it from a person who's primary character is a vox

Without cloning, if you die, you're dead for good MOST of the time, even when they get your corpse back to medbay.

Additionally, everyone who says to remove cloning does not consider the balance impact for antags. Without cloning, medbay is simply not equipped to deal with a crisis. 

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I think cryotubes would be more interesting if they weren't just plug and play, like they had more of a process, and had maintenance.

examples would be the process of draining the cryo tube loop, inserting patient, filling tube, making sure a filter part is in working order, checking your tube's source material (beaker), and that it isn't being contaminated by incorrect handling, even requiring cleaning the tube inbetween patients.

sure, some might find it annoying for it to be a process, but if it required input and thought, rather than an optimal beaker mix and just slap patient in, wait, pop them out.

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I think the maintenance thing isn't that bad of a concept

Making cloner require maintenance could help too. Won't really negatively impact balance but makes the cloner a more interesting mechanic. A badly maintained cloner would be less effective while a well maintained cloner could perhaps get a bonus to its clone speeds.

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