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Villains of the Aturi Cluster?

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As I see it, there are distinct advantages to both approaches:

1) If we do "Defenders", then you have pilots that level up, aided by nameless (but also levelling) wingmen. This focuses on indivual units for players, which preserves the HotAC feeling.

2) If we do "Squadrons", then you have a more strategic element to it and the tactics are more important, but you lose the HotAC feeling.

None of those two is better than the other, but I feel we should reach a consensus about the direction at some point and start working specifics. I have a preference for option 1), and I'd argue to combine it with a mobile base that can also be upgraded (Gozanti). Totally selflessly, of course.

I've stayed out of this discussion so far but have given a lot of thought to how I would handle VotAC, and this is how I would do it:

•Everyone starts out with two TIEs, a leader and a wingman. You determine the movement/actions for all your own ships. None of this AI wingman nonsense- AI is for the enemy.

•As you progress through the campaign, you can upgrade either or both of your TIEs, the one with the highest PS is your wing leader, AND/OR you can spend XP to add another academy TIE to your squad, up to a max of 4 ships per squad. Each TIE can be upgraded individually.

• (optionally) when a ship is destroyed, rather than "ejecting" like on HotAC, the mighty Empire sends you a "replacement" pilot. Roll dice depending on where the destroyed ship was ranked in the squad. If you roll well you're replacement will match the ship and upgrades that was destroyed. If you roll poorly then the replacement will match the ship/upgrade of one of your lower ranked squad members (obviously this needs a lot of testing, which I have not yet done).

A system such as this would let each individual player answer the squad vs ace question for himself. Want an Imperial Ace? Spend all your XP on upgrading one ship and maybe put a little bit into your lone wingman. Want more of a squad feel? Spend your XP to add more TIEs to your squad and spread upgrades amongst your ships relatively evenly.

There is more to it but that's the gist of what I came up with.

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So, reading this great stuff here's my idea, taking stuff freely from you guys.

1) Each player starts with two TIE Fighters.

2) Both ships can be freely upgraded, and later on exchanged for special TIE.

3) Every player TIE also has a "Wingman", which is always a standard TIE. The player controls the Wingman, but if it moves outside Range 2, the AI takes over until Range 2 is again established.

4) Players always get two "simultaneous" missions, and they need to assign their total of four ships to them freely. This means that they can fly two vanilla TIE into one battle and two Defenders into the other. 

5) They also need to decide in which mission their Gozanti takes part.

 

What'cha think?

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The campaign should be written from the idea that the Aturi Cluster is a far removed part if the Empire, and the player squad is sent on missions to keep law and order. So the players would be fighting pirates (scum) and eventually rebels. The player missions are the squad on a patrol or special mission. After all, we see on Rebels that super important things are guarded by sometimes three gozantis and 12 TIEs.

Start in TIE ps1 with zero xp

Each hull point you survive with earns 1xp

No xp for kills, the mission is the goal. How that is accomplished is up to the players.

Missions must be written with primary, secondary, and tertiary objectives. Completing them awards more xp.

The empire is well equipped, essentially many upgrades are free, however, the best gear is assigned to the most skilled squad.

Each players pilot rating is added together. This is the squad rating. Squad rating determines what craft can be flown, which ordnance can be chosen (beyond default mission parameters).

The squad rating also determines which mission deck is used to draw a mission from. The best pilots get assigned the most dangerous missions, and therefore the potential to earn even more xp.

When equipping a squad, the player with the highest PS gets to choose first, then next highest, and so on.

As squad rating is pooled, a new pilot can thus be assigned gear above his rating by virtue of being part of the squad, which will help with survivability, and successfully accomplishing the primary mission objective.

Have to figure out the right value of squad points for each ship, regular TIEs would have a cost of zero.

Enemy AI:

This is the most difficult aspect to the campaign. The campaign must try to capture the feel of the films, with the empire being the oppressive and numerous foes with the player squad being elites. What this means is that the enemies need to be durable, and difficult foes.

- The players have to realize that pilot attrition for the empire is part and parcel with the campaign - it is how the empire works.

- It may take more than one player to take down a single enemy, this is why xp for a kill is not awarded.

- Unlike the empire, rebel and scum pilots will try to flee if things look bad for them. Some on the forums have done this ready.

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I have to dissagree.  I think going too far away from what made HotAC work will not improve the experience.  Yes, the empire is a giant faceless machine, but how fun will that be to play?  Anyone who played the old TIE Fighter game, you started out as a cog in a TIE/ln, but then moved up through the ranks as the story progressed.  Legends (X-wing Iron Fist) commented that Imperial pilots were concerned about getting the kills and building a name and reputation for themselves.  And just because attrition is how the empire fights, does not mean that imperial pilots are suicidal, not trying to survive.

 

I agree with the idea that the Aturi Cluster is a remote area, that would also explain how/why they can add more mods then normal, if you know you are less likely to get replacments, you're gonna put more effort into what you do have.  A pilot with enough of a reputation would have enough influence (exp) to get a better fighter transfered in for them.

 

I made the pilot cards with the idea that TIE/ln's will have 1 free wingman, and be able to buy 2 additional ones, Once a player moves to a differnt ship, the problem of fragile low damage ship mostly goes away.  And as you stated, I build the AI cards to have them flee once they took X amount of damage.

Edited by Salted Diamond

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I have to dissagree.  I think going too far away from what made HotAC work will not improve the experience.  Yes, the empire is a giant faceless machine, but how fun will that be to play?  Anyone who played the old TIE Fighter game, you started out as a cog in a TIE/ln, but then moved up through the ranks as the story progressed.  Legends (X-wing Iron Fist) commented that Imperial pilots were concerned about getting the kills and building a name for themselves.  And just because attrition is how the empire fights, does not mean that imperial pilots are suicidal, not trying to survive.

 

I agree with the idea that the Aturi Cluster is a remote area, that would also explain how/why they can add more mods then normal, if you know you are less likely to get replacments, you're gonna put more effort into what you do have.

 

I made the pilot cards with the idea that TIE/ln's will have 1 free wingman, and be able to buy 2 additional ones, Once a player moves to a differnt ship, the problem of fragile low damage ship mostly goes away.  And as you stated, I build the AI cards to have them flee once they took X amount of damage.

 

Agreed.

The Empire is evil, but most people in the Empire is not (uau! just like real life) and the Imperial pilots are just trying to make their best in a situation handed them by an Empire that doesn't really care for them (see the WW2 Imperial Japanese pilots). That doesn't make them less willing to survive, make a name for themselves, protect their people and rise in rank.

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@Salted Diamond: I agree.

I would also add a mechanic where the number of mods/EPTs/upgrades you can equip starts low for regular TIE/lns, but scales up as you upgrade to bigger and better ships. The Empire isn't going to invest much in their cheapo mass-produced TIE fighters, even for their hotshot Aces. Rather, they're going to promote those Aces to bigger and better ships and THEN start throwing upgrades and mods their way.

I envision something like:

1 mod slot and 1 EPT for TIE/lns

2-3 mods and 2-3 EPTs for ships in the next tier (Advanced's, Interceptors, Bombers)

3-4 mods and 3-4 EPTs for ships in the highest tier (Defenders, Phantoms, Punishers)

I would probably not make the max number of EPTs or Mods as high as the Rebels have in HotAC, because that is much more of a rebel thing than an imperial one.

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Perhaps it is different with your group, but mine, we have 6 people. Now if each of those players has 4 TIEs it becomes a nightmare 24 potential TIEs seems w bit much. While potentially fine for one player in an epic game, 6 people controlling 4 TIEs, at least with my group, means we likely wouldn't finish a single mission in a night. I have players that take forerver to decide. Then how do you balance these 24 ties that are attacking a rebel force?

Keeping the squad size small, one fighter per player, is a must.

The game has to feel different than the rebel counterpart in my opinion, that means making changes. While I believe that an individual pilot may seek the kills and glory, the officer sending you on a mission wants success, and likely won't care how you do it, so long that he doesn't have to explain to Darth Vader (or Other imperial taskmaster) why HE failed.

Now while I dont think getting experience from kills should be awarded from the imperial campaign, I DO agree that keeping track of kills is mecessary, for bragging rights at least, and a player might be able to earn some other benefits for a higher kill count. Going back to the swarm above, how fun would it be if a player cant get any kills because his two attack dice roll poorly, and another has four times as many dice? No, as a small squad (or flight, wing, whatever) that is outmatched by an often superior foe, the players will have to cooperate more to take down an enemy. Deemphasizing kills as how to get xp makes the game different. If your pilots kill count is how you earn new craft, then that could work.

The main point is the empire plays differently than the rebel or scum. That should be used as reason to try something different, rather than rehash the same thing. Having to work hard to survive in a fragile fighter while still accomplishing the mission objectives, that to me, makes it interesting.

Now, there are some things I would have to elaborate on. The empire gives their pilots (and troops) the same gear, the standard TIE pilot has to work hard to prove themselves and get oit of the coffin. So, maybe a medal system? If a pilot flies so many missions without damage, they unlock a stealth device. Perhaps surviving multiple crits earns you a shield upgrade? And so on.

I do believe that the pilot abilities and elite talents will still be a hallmark of a great pilot.

Perhaps, starting at PS 1, in a lowly TIE/ln is fine, but at ps2 you unlock your first elite ability. At pilot skill 3, you unlock the ability to fly an interceptor. PS 4 elite, PS 5 TIE Advanced and so on. I still think modifications should be earned another way than just buying them. As stated in my last post, the empire is well funded, and can afford everything. Perhaps if the squad earned different modifications as a team that can be distributed, that would make things interesting.

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Maybe scale the initial engagements to Z-95s, sycks, BTLA4s then

Firepower 2 ships, nothing that will eat a TIE too easily.

 

The Battlestar gozanti idea is a good one.

 

Once the players get out of the TIE/LN and into Interceptors, Bombers etc. Then increase the pain.

 

This way it lets them thematically go from an outer rim patrol unit to an elite squadron of the Emperor's finest.

Edited by DariusAPB

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Been reading this thread for a while and find the point of earning xp interesting.

Players will want a personal bonus for causing damage or making kills and it is a fun part of the game.

Maybe though, due to the fragile nature of basic ties/ interceptors, you could score points for surviving a mission with no damage or even gain 1 xp for each hull point you have at the end of a mission.

This would certainly help out in scoring as if it takes combined efforts to bring ships down then you want to be able to get some points towards upgrades.

Also when a player makes a kill he could receive a token which in effect makes him more of the target to the AI as he has caught their attention. Maybe when AI have multiple targets at the same range they will fire upon the player with the most kills.

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Perhaps it is different with your group, but mine, we have 6 people. Now if each of those players has 4 TIEs it becomes a nightmare 24 potential TIEs seems w bit much. While potentially fine for one player in an epic game, 6 people controlling 4 TIEs, at least with my group, means we likely wouldn't finish a single mission in a night. I have players that take forerver to decide. Then how do you balance these 24 ties that are attacking a rebel force?

 

If every player wanted to run 4 TIE/ln's then it would get crowded, but it would take quite a while to get there.  Each extra wingman would be 12pts for the PS1.  So you'd need min 24 points before getting both, that would take quite a few mission to get there.  So 6 players with 2 additional acadamy pilot wingmen at 12pts each is 6 X 24= 144 points earned.  And if you want to take away points for kills/damage, how is a group supposed  to earn that much?  IMO most players would rather go to a higher PS for more toys or get a better ship, but allowing the extra wingmen means that staying in a basic TIE/ln is still a viable option.

 

As for controling them, they copy your manuver (think how the AI squads work) and follow actions accordingly.  If they break formation due to manuver/order from you, they follow standard AI rules.

 

And in the playtesting I've done with the rebel AI cards I made, they have little problems poping TIE/ln's, 24 of them would throw blance, but as stated above, it;s going to take pretty much the entire campaign to get there, if even then.

Edited by Salted Diamond

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Perhaps it is different with your group, but mine, we have 6 people. Now if each of those players has 4 TIEs it becomes a nightmare 24 potential TIEs seems w bit much. While potentially fine for one player in an epic game, 6 people controlling 4 TIEs, at least with my group, means we likely wouldn't finish a single mission in a night. I have players that take forerver to decide. Then how do you balance these 24 ties that are attacking a rebel force?

Keeping the squad size small, one fighter per player, is a must.

The game has to feel different than the rebel counterpart in my opinion, that means making changes. While I believe that an individual pilot may seek the kills and glory, the officer sending you on a mission wants success, and likely won't care how you do it, so long that he doesn't have to explain to Darth Vader (or Other imperial taskmaster) why HE failed.

Now while I dont think getting experience from kills should be awarded from the imperial campaign, I DO agree that keeping track of kills is mecessary, for bragging rights at least, and a player might be able to earn some other benefits for a higher kill count. Going back to the swarm above, how fun would it be if a player cant get any kills because his two attack dice roll poorly, and another has four times as many dice? No, as a small squad (or flight, wing, whatever) that is outmatched by an often superior foe, the players will have to cooperate more to take down an enemy. Deemphasizing kills as how to get xp makes the game different. If your pilots kill count is how you earn new craft, then that could work.

The main point is the empire plays differently than the rebel or scum. That should be used as reason to try something different, rather than rehash the same thing. Having to work hard to survive in a fragile fighter while still accomplishing the mission objectives, that to me, makes it interesting.

Now, there are some things I would have to elaborate on. The empire gives their pilots (and troops) the same gear, the standard TIE pilot has to work hard to prove themselves and get oit of the coffin. So, maybe a medal system? If a pilot flies so many missions without damage, they unlock a stealth device. Perhaps surviving multiple crits earns you a shield upgrade? And so on.

I do believe that the pilot abilities and elite talents will still be a hallmark of a great pilot.

Perhaps, starting at PS 1, in a lowly TIE/ln is fine, but at ps2 you unlock your first elite ability. At pilot skill 3, you unlock the ability to fly an interceptor. PS 4 elite, PS 5 TIE Advanced and so on. I still think modifications should be earned another way than just buying them. As stated in my last post, the empire is well funded, and can afford everything. Perhaps if the squad earned different modifications as a team that can be distributed, that would make things interesting.

 

I think you're mostly right, but I feel you're going for a more complicated route than necessary with the XP. I'd still argue for simply pooling XP, in which case it doesn't matter squat which player actually shot down the traitorous rebel craft. The immediate upside of this, while losing some genuinely Imperial fluff, is that we don't need to playtest that part at all. There are a lot of moving cogs already, so I'd argue we stick to as much as we can for the moment to get a workabel version without the need to complicate things with alternate XP and stuff. I fully underwrite the rest of your great post, though!

 

 

Perhaps it is different with your group, but mine, we have 6 people. Now if each of those players has 4 TIEs it becomes a nightmare 24 potential TIEs seems w bit much. While potentially fine for one player in an epic game, 6 people controlling 4 TIEs, at least with my group, means we likely wouldn't finish a single mission in a night. I have players that take forerver to decide. Then how do you balance these 24 ties that are attacking a rebel force?

 

If every player wanted to run 4 TIE/ln's then it would get crowded, but it would take quite a while to get there.  Each extra wingman would be 12pts for the PS1.  So you'd need min 24 points before getting both, that would take quite a few mission to get there.  So 6 players with 2 additional acadamy pilot wingmen at 12pts each is 6 X 24= 144 points earned.  And if you want to take away points for kills/damage, how is a group supposed  to earn that much?  IMO most players would rather go to a higher PS for more toys or get a better ship, but allowing the extra wingmen means that staying in a basic TIE/ln is still a viable option.

 

As for controling them, they copy your manuver (think how the AI squads work) and follow actions accordingly.  If they break formation due to manuver/order from you, they follow standard AI rules.

 

And in the playtesting I've done with the rebel AI cards I made, they have little problems poping TIE/ln's, 24 of them would throw blance, but as stated above, it;s going to take pretty much the entire campaign to get there, if even then.

 

 

I like the idea of either flying one really good ship, two mediocre ones or three to four bad ones. That's enough stuff to set you apart, methinks.

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Well what if instead of wingman there is a support squadron that you as a team control. That way we get the feeling of attrition as we have lowly tie pilots in our squad that are nothing more than a distraction or extra guns. Maybe the team decides to use them to flank or to bait an enemy. The squad itself can scale based on how many players (e.g with your six player group maybe you only get 2 ties while in a 4 you get 4 and so on). Makes your squadron feel more full as you work as a cohesive unit building your reputation as the empires finest :P. From there you can invest your xp to help level them up and maybe by end game they are ps4 in tie interceptors?

I think that way you avoid the inflation of everyone having a load of ties but still get that feeling of numbers. The rebels will just have more aces to go against. It definitely wont be too easy

I think as far as XP goes, scoring on kills seems to still be the best way as imperial pilots are trying to build a reputation too. (Think soontir marking his ship with kills :P) but i understand the "mission is everything" mentality which i think can be captured with secondary and optional objectives that will not be easy to meet but will reap rewards if achieved. Do you go for that extra objective to earn more favour or play it safe?

Edited by Twals4

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"The campaign should be written from the idea that the Aturi Cluster is a far removed part if the Empire, and the player squad is sent on missions to keep law and order. So the players would be fighting pirates (scum) and eventually rebels. The player missions are the squad on a patrol or special mission. After all, we see on Rebels that super important things are guarded by sometimes three gozantis and 12 TIEs." - The Blasted Samophlange.

The only problem with this is that the Aturi Cluster IS NOT very far from the Empire, it is in the Mid Rim. And area that is very well guarded by the Empire. Sectors of tht area are all guarded just as well as sctors in the inner rim, and get about 20 Star Destroyers allocated to them. Its not a backwater area.

That all being said, it does have a large nebula - the Hook Nebula, that is a perfect hiding ground for Pirates and Rebels, but also is a place where the Tie Phantom factory in the HOTAC campaign is located. So its a rather busy Nebula.

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I read that the Aturi Cluster is in the outer rim territories, making it remote enough.

Remember that the rebels are a ragtag volunteer fighting force. The empire is a heavily regimented military orginization. If the mission says for you to fly a TIE bomber, you fly a TIE Bomber, not a TIE phantom. Now, an elite empire squad could have some leeway, as the campaign would allow, but it should feel like you are part of the military machine.

But, if we were to make the imperials as an elite squad, then maybe that could afford some leeway and make the campaign similar to the original. But, I still believe the empire game has to FEEL different.

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"In response to the growing unrest in the Aturi Cluster, the Quasar-Fire Cruiser Carrier PURSUANT, home of the Elite Hunter Squad is tasked with wiping out the hidden rebel and pirate strongholds in this region of space.

These are the stories of the HUNTERS OF THE ATURI CLUSTER

With a change of name, the campaign changes focus and can resemble the HEROES campaign. As an elite squad tasked with rooting out dissidents, you focus less on the standard military machine and get a bit more versatility with the campaign.

Many of the ideas I had were from the idea that you were a standard imperial pilot, and frankly, that doesn't work. I admit that. I still think that players should be relegated to a single ship, even if a standard TIE/ln, but with being part of the elite squad, the idea of modifications and upgrades can resemble the original campaign.

I still believe that the campaign should change many things up.

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Yeah, there should be changes, of course. But we have to be careful not to tinker in stuff that has little overall effect and instead concentrate on the most imporant areas.

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"In response to the growing unrest in the Aturi Cluster, the Quasar-Fire Cruiser Carrier PURSUANT, home of the Elite Hunter Squad is tasked with wiping out the hidden rebel and pirate strongholds in this region of space.

These are the stories of the HUNTERS OF THE ATURI CLUSTER

Lets see if I can channel the Tie Fighter videogame Fleet Officer here for mission intros...

 

Mission 0: FINAL EXAM

INTRO: You have been selected to join one of the Empire's elite expirmental squadrons. Before cleansing the Rebel Scum from this sector, we advise you to familiarize yourself with your chosen craft. The Commander has assembled a training simulation to hone your skills. Dont give us cause to rethink your selection.

 

VICTORY: Very good. The Commander periodically upgrades the simulation-be sure to return here to keep your fighting edge between missions. For the glory of the Empire!

-PLAY HUNTERS OF THE ATURU CLUSTER OR REPLAY "FINAL EXAM"

 

FAILURE: Your failure disgraces us all. Were it up to me you would we sent back to the academy, but the Commander has chosen leinency. Your flight status has been revoked until you can pass a simple simulation. I suggest you do better this time.

-REPLAY "FINAL EXAM"

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The hardest part IMO is replicating AI and creating AI for pirates and rebels.

Rebel AI is done (well, A,B,X,Y at least)

wouldnt the AI also be done for the Z-95, I know someone made an AI for it along with the Firspray, wouldnt rebels andpirates have a similar AI for that ship...maybe some differences on acton, or more of a retreat method on the Rebels, to preserve thier life and ship for another day, rather than a die hard merc/glitterstim junkie.

Edited by knavelead

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"In response to the growing unrest in the Aturi Cluster, the Quasar-Fire Cruiser Carrier PURSUANT, home of the Elite Hunter Squad is tasked with wiping out the hidden rebel and pirate strongholds in this region of space.

These are the stories of the HUNTERS OF THE ATURI CLUSTER

With a change of name, the campaign changes focus and can resemble the HEROES campaign. As an elite squad tasked with rooting out dissidents, you focus less on the standard military machine and get a bit more versatility with the campaign.

Many of the ideas I had were from the idea that you were a standard imperial pilot, and frankly, that doesn't work. I admit that. I still think that players should be relegated to a single ship, even if a standard TIE/ln, but with being part of the elite squad, the idea of modifications and upgrades can resemble the original campaign.

I still believe that the campaign should change many things up.

Instead of a Quasar Fire, I think a Loronar Strike Cruiser, Imperial MkII Frigate (like the Rand Ecliptic), Nebulon B Frigate or Victory SD would be more fitting.

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