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Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 283
This post is primarily aimed towards our hard working Community Managers, as an entreaty for them to pass this along to the relevant Developers for consideration.

Fair warning, since this is a Design Document with Commentary ... WALL OF TEXT CRITS YOU!!!

M.A.C.O. Ground Set is the "Starfleet" Anti-Borg Ground Set. It features Polyalloy Weave Armor, a (team) PBAoE Stun retribution Shield, and a Phaser Sniper Rifle. Set bonuses are a Shield Capacitor and Tactical Readiness Network, plus the obligatory Integral Frequency Modulation.

Klingon Honor Guard Set is the "KDF" Anti-Borg Ground Set. It features Physical Augmentation Armor, a Revenge retribution Shield, and a unique Disruptor Pulsewave Rifle/Photon Grenade combination weapon. Set bonuses are Adrenal Booster and Blood of the Warrior, plus the obligatory Integral Frequency Modulation.

Omega Force Ground Set is the "Combined Forces" Anti-Borg Set. It features Energy Harness Armor, an Expose proccing Shield, and a "souped up" Anti-proton Compression Pistol that isn't really a pistol anymore and is now more of a "carbine" weapon that fires quick bursts instead of single shots. Set bonuses are what amounts to a Stealth Module and the Team Ambush Field, plus the obligatory Integral Frequency Modulation.

Jem'Hadar Armor Shroud Ground Set is NOT an anti-Borg Set, but I'm including it here for completeness since it lacks an environment suit (which all the Nukara Ground Sets include). It features Polyalloy Weave Armor, an Energy Damage Absorbing Shield, and a Polaron Full Auto Rifle. Set bonuses include what amounts to a Stealth Module and the Combat Triage Subroutine.

So ... if the Romulans were to fabricate their own Anti-Borg Ground Set ... what should it look like? What would they put in it? What ought to be in it? How much of "what has been done before" should be replicated into it (ie. no need to reinvent the wheel from scratch)? And most importantly of all, at least from the Artistic Perspective ... what "Direction" should the visual art for the set take?

First and foremost, NONE of the previously mentioned Ground Sets features a weapon that does Plasma Damage. Considering that Romulans have a Trait that enhances Plasma Damage, you'd really think that any Anti-Borg Ground Set that the Romulans would come up with would (Duh!) have to be a Plasma based one. Looking around, I've personally been rather impressed by the performance of the Romulan Vendor Only supplied Plasma Repeater Pistol and the corresponding Plasma Piercing Beam Rifle which for some reason can only be obtained from a single NPC Vendor in the Romulan Command Center on New Romulus. To add insult to injury, these Common Only weapons only extend their Mk # up through IX. There are no Mk X, XI or Mk XII versions of these uniquely ROMULAN weapons (or if there are, I haven't found them yet).

Needless to say, I recommend that situation needs to change.

Now I wouldn't want to "lift" the Plasma Piercing Beam Rifle, the most suitable weapon for the purpose here, unmodified in its entirety from the Common version of the weapon for use in an Anti-Borg Ground Set. Instead, I recommend giving the weapon a "hybridizing" treatment akin to the Honor Guard Pulse Rifle ... except making the 2nd attack option a Plasma Grenade instead of a Photon Grenade. Working off the existing in-game text, you'd wind up with something like this:

Plasma Piercing Intrusion Rifle
Mk X (Very Rare) requires Romulan Reputation Tier I
Mk XI (Very Rare) requires Romulan Reputation Tier III
Mk XII (Very Rare) requires Romulan Reputation Tier V
Bind on Pickup (can only equip 1)
Vice Admiral / Lieutenant General

Piercing Beam Rifles have a primary weapon fire that can be maintained by holding down the primary attack key. While maintaining the Incendiary Beam Barrage you have an escalating chance of causing a Plasma Damage over time effect on the target.

The secondary fire mode launches a Plasma Grenade at the target, which explodes on impact, leaving a burning plasma fire that lingers in the explosion area.

Incendiary Beam Barrage
Incendiary Beam Barrage rapidly fires beams of energy at the target that continue as you hold down the attack key or mouse button. The attack deals more damage the longer you maintain it on a target and has a high chance of igniting the target with plasma fire, causing additional plasma damage over time.
Target Foe; Affects Foe
30 meter range (increased from 25 meters use in the base Common weapon)
0.35 sec activate
{X} plasma damage (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
{X} kinetic damage to Borg (Ignores Shields) (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
Increasing chance (5-15%) while maintained to cause: {X} plasma damage per second (Ignores Shields) (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
Increasing chance (5-15%) while maintained to cause: {X} kinetic damage per second to Borg (Ignores Shields) (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
5% chance: {X} plasma damage per second (Ignores Shields) (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
5% chance: {X} kinetic damage per second to Borg (Ignores Shields) (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
40% chance: chance for +2.5 critical chance when attacking
+10% critical severity

Plasma Grenade
Throws a Plasma Grenade at the target. The grenade explodes on contact, dealing area of effect kinetic damage. It is possible for the target to move away from the blast radius while the grenade is in transit. A burning plasma fire lingers in the explosion area, damaging anyone who enters. Damage from the initial explosion and plasma fire partially ignores shields.
Targets Foe
30 meter range
1.25 sec activate
30 sec recharge
{X} kinetic damage (50% shield penetration; damage reduces from epicenter) (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
{X} kinetic damage per second to Borg (50% shield penetration; damage reduces from epicenter) (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
Creates an 8' plasma fire patch for 15 seconds that deals:
{X} plasma damage per second (50% Shield Penetration) (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
{X} kinetic damage per second (50% Shield Penetration) (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)

Rifle Butt
Expose Attack
Rifle Butt delivers various strikes with your rifle to the enemy, with a primary focus of causing knock back.
Affects Foe (1 max)
2.44 meter range; 90 degree cone
0.75 sec activate
{X} physical damage per second (50% Shield Penetration) (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
{X}% chance: Expose target for {X} sec (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
15% chance: Knockback +0.66 meters

So that would be the weapon ... a "Romulan-ized" version of a Klingon Honor Guard Pulse Rifle dealing Plasma damage instead of Disruptor damage, with a secondary fire mode that launches Plasma Grenades instead of Photon Grenades.

What should the Armor be based on then?

Well, looking at everything that's already been done (M.A.C.O., KHG, Omega, Jem'Hadar) the options of Polyalloy Weave, Physical Augmentation and Energy Harness have already been "used" for the Base Armor type. So why not go with something different? Particularly, why not go with something that meshes well with the weapon type already proposed above?

In this case, I'd want to see the Base Armor Type be either Integrated Targeting (for even more +Critical Hit chance) or Recoil Compensating (to add +Critical Severity), in part because neither of these options has been used yet for making a Ground Combat Set. In terms of putting a "special" effect on the armor *itself*, I'm honestly thinking that porting over the "specials" of the Omega Force Armor makes the best fit ... adding +Critical Hit chance, +Critical Severity ... except doing all those things on a Base Armor Type of either Integrated Targeting or Recoil Compensating, instead of Energy Harness (so it isn't a "complete rip-off" of the Omega Force Armor). Personally, I'm leaning towards going with an Integrated Targeting Armor as the Base Armor Type so as to leverage the increased Critical Hit chance on the armor itself, the Romulan Reputation Trait that offers +3% chance to Critically Hit and then synergize those advantages with the "special" modifier on the Personal Shield detailed further down.

One interesting side note here is that the Omega Force Armor has an Energy Bleed proc which basically "doubles" the value of the base Energy Harness modifier (+5% All Energy Damage) for 6 seconds. I'm thinking it would be ... interesting ... to take that precedent and simply convert it into being instead a "doubler" of the value of the base Integrated Targeting modifier (+5% Critical Chance) for 6 seconds.

Romulan Intrusion Armor
Mk X (Very Rare) requires Romulan Reputation Tier I
Mk XI (Very Rare) requires Romulan Reputation Tier III
Mk XII (Very Rare) requires Romulan Reputation Tier V
Bind on Pickup
Vice Admiral / Lieutenant General

+5% Critical Chance
+{X} Physical Damage Resistance Rating (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
+{X} Kinetic Damage Resistance Rating (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
+{X} All Energy Damage Resistance Rating (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
+2.5% Critical Chance
+20% Critical Severity
When receiving All Damage, 10% chance of applying Target Analysis
  • +5% Critical Chance for 6 sec

That then leaves the question of what to do about the Shield?

In this case, the Omega Force Shield makes for the best "template" to start from, but in point of fact, NONE of the existing sets offers a "shield special" that exactly matches what I'd want to be looking for on a Romulan Ground Set. Why? Well because Romulans are all about being "sneaky green blooded bahstids" with exceptional Cloaking technology that keeps everyone else on edge. So what I'd be looking for in a Romulan Intruder Set would look more like this:

Romulan Intruder Personal Shield
Mk X (Very Rare) requires Romulan Reputation Tier I
Mk XI (Very Rare) requires Romulan Reputation Tier III
Mk XII (Very Rare) requires Romulan Reputation Tier V
Vice Admiral / Lieutenant General

+{X}% Dodge chance (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
+{X} Root Resistance (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
+{X} Knockback Resistance (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
{X} Maximum Shield Capacity (scaled by Mk # and Rarity)
Fully regenerates after not taking damage for 3 secs.
When you Critically Hit apply Ambush Cloak
  • Targets Self Only
  • +100% All Energy Damage for 5 sec (expires on next attack)
  • +245 Stealth for 5 sec (expires on next attack)

That then takes care of the Base Items for Weapon, Armor and Shield. Next step ... Set Bonuses.

Set 2: Cloaking Module
Cloaking Module masks you from sight, but enemies can detect you at close range. While cloaked, your abilities that affect others (including attacks) are disabled.
Immediately after leaving stealth you will have a short duration damage bonus. This ability may be toggled on and off.
Targets Self
0.5 sec activate
20 sec recharge
+475 stealth

Skills that affect this ability:
Special Forces

Set 3: Team Ambush Field
Affects Friend and Self
+14.5 Dodge to self and allies
+2.5% Critical Chance
+2.5% Critical Severity

Set 3: Integral Frequency Modulator
Targets Self
0.5 sec activate
10 sec recharge
Overcomes Borg adaptation. Instantly applies new frequencies.

The Cloaking Module is a "direct copy" of the Stealth Module found on Tactical Operative Kits for Tactical Captains without changes or alterations. It just feels most appropriate for a Romulan Ground Set to include a Stealth Toggle rather than a Stealth Click (like Omega Force Set 2) or a Stealth Reflex (like Jem'Hadar Set 2). The Team Ambush Field is likewise a "direct copy" of the Set 3 bonus found on the Omega Force Ground Set.

The net result of all this "hybridizing" is that you ultimately wind up with a Plasma Damage based Piercing Beam Rifle/Plasma Grenade combo that has its closest counterpart in the Klingon Honor Guard Ground Set's weapon (with a touch of Omega Force Carbine precedent on range thrown in for good measure). You get a (relatively) unique Integrated Targeting Armor that is substantially a repurposed version of the Omega Force Energy Harness Armor, except that now the buffing is being added to Critical Chance instead of All Energy Damage. You also get a Personal Shield that automatically engages a brief Ambush Cloak while attacking that not only causes you to "flicker" in and out of Cloak but also applies an Ambush damage spike buff to your next attack. Finally, the entire Set is designed to leverage its damage increases through increased Critical Chance, which can have some other interesting effects on gameplay since it turns the Set into less of a "pressure" build like Omega Force and into more of a "surprise spiker" sort of philosophy.

And so, at long last, having laid out what I think would make the best/most coherent "Romulan" Anti-Borg Ground Set given the precedents we have to work within, the last question that would need to be addressed is ... APPEARANCE.

Basically, what sort of Art Direction should be given to the Art Department if (or better yet, when) they get tasked with actually making something for this?

A friend of mine who builds sonars for the US Navy once made a comment to me about the visual design of submarines in a Heavy Gear sourcebook for the world of Atlantis in that setting. The submarine had all kinds of doors and ports and niches along its hull, making it visually rather "complex" in appearance. My friend, who knows a good bit about what you *DON'T WANT* as an engineer in a world where the name of the game is to Stay Quiet, made an observation that sticks with to this day:

Visually Interesting is Acoustically Noisy

I'm thinking that for a Romulan Ground Set, where the "focus" of the Set is on Stealth and Cloaking, that this particular point is something that ought to be stressed in the Art Design. With just about every single 3-piece Ground Set we've got, everything about them is "Visually Interesting" ... or to put it another way, "busy" ... from an Art standpoint. The Omega Force Armor is festooned with grenades and SWAT radio gear, covered in segmented metal plates and just really ... noisy ... visually. The Honor Guard Armor has its fur collar and I Think Your Cape Is FAAAAABULOUS!!!! The M.A.C.O. Armor is probably the best of these, in terms of precedents, simply because the M.A.C.O. Armor is more of a form fitting "sleek" look, albeit one that seems to be more about "padding" than it is about "armor" per se.

So with that in mind, what I'd really recommend to the Art Department is to go for something akin to, but not exactly like the M.A.C.O Armor in that the objective is to go for a "Sleek Chic" sort of look that has more in common with a "melted jellybean" kind of graceful sweeping curves, flowing lines and smooth textures, so as to visually "speak to" the notion that Romulans make their armor in such a way as to "facilitate" their cloaking technology, rather than work against it. "Und dher shpaikee bitzs" everywhere falls under the heading of "Visually Interesting is Acoustically Noisy" and consequently makes it harder to take seriously the notion that this ensemble ought to be something that can "disappear from sight and sensors" (and stay that way!).

As far as materials and texturing would go ... I'd recommend making the armor look like it is made out of ceramics, rather than metals or padded spandex, worn "plate mail style" over a body suit. Coloration of the ceramic armor parts would follow the Romulan tradition of being "green" but since the armor is supposed to be a "stealthy" one for covert intrusion operations, the actual color of green would be more of a Midnight Green (ie. dark) instead of a more Forest Green color. The body suit under the ceramic "plate mail" outer armor would use the 22nd Century Romulan Costume texture that looks like a metallic mail. The net effect would be a "ceramics on metal mail" kind of look, where the ceramics would all be smooth surfaces and be substantially form fitting (for males and females), although not necessarily form emphasizing (just to be clear). As far as the Helmet goes, once again M.A.C.O. would set a better precedent here than Omega Force.

For the weapon, you could use the already existing Plasma Piercing Rifle art in the game, potentially without modification ... although I would recommend appending a "barrel drum" system to the underside of it reminiscent of the Klingon Honor Guard Pulse Rifle (but minus the "unnecessary cutlery" aspects that are uniquely Klingon). In other words, it ought to be acceptable to "borrow" the necessary parts and pieces from already existing in-game assets in order to cobble together a "new" weapon model.

And for anyone who has actually READ everything I just wrote ... thank you for actually reading all the way through that.

Last edited by autumnturning; 10-17-2013 at 02:32 PM.

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