Today was my first day of doing an Artemis booth at a sci-fi convention. While it all went relatively smooth, one non-technical problem was obvious: the Comms station.
Now, we're talking a bunch of strangers, who never saw the game, and probably don't know each other. They are all seated, explained basics of their stations, then given some time to practice on a map where they are invincible and have stuff to shoot (Attract Mode mission). All their questions are answered, and then they're given a difficulty 2 invasion mission to play.
Now, all the stations EXCEPT comms are naturally engaged in the gaming process, because you can't win without weapons or helms, and without science you don't know the heading, and engineer, even if the capt doesn't tell him what to do explicitly, can still take part in every action of the ship, allocating energy accordingly, and feel that he contributed to the whole game. Comms, on the other hand, feels useless.
What can Comms do?
1. Give orders to allied ships
2. Request allied ships's status
3. Request allied base's status
4. Order building a particular kinetic ordinance
5. Warn capitain about bases being attacked
6. Warn capitain about missions
7. Trick enemies into following you via taunt
8. Warn bases about Artemis coming in for docking
9. Save time in combat by demanding surrender
Now, what happens is:
1. Newbie capitain is not really concerned about allied ships as they're only useful for missions really or base defense, with latter not going to happen much on lower difficulty levels, and former - capitain doesn't really know about missions and how they're used properly and if they're actually useful
2. Same as 1, not really a concern of a newbie capitain.
3. Since newbie capitain doesn't really know well what ordinance does what and how many of what he will need for a mission, he's not really worrying about supply, until he docks to a base and doesn't see nukes coming, and even then he often won't notice it
4. Same as 3, newbie capitain doesn't really know what he needs so he won't request something to be built
5. If the team is doing good, they will never see station attacked. If they are struggling, they often tend to ignore the fact the base is attacked because they're dealing with another base being attacked. Either way, comms isnt involved - it either doesn't happen, or worse, Comms gets ignored by Capt.
6. In low difficuly, missions are not very important - they are mostly just not required and are a waste of time. Newbies either struggle to do any good, then capitain just doesn't have spare time for missions - he is still trying to comprehend how to kill a basic enemy ship, or the newbie team is doing well - then mission will often take them too far away for no apparent reason (they don't really need more shields or nukes or energy on lower difficulty).
7. Taunting opponents is really getting forgotten in the numerous options Artemis has - newbie capitain never even remembers he can do it
8. This is one of the two actions comms can do on its own and feel "useful" to the team, but then again, seeing how newbies waste time while docked deciding where to go next, it is obvious that increased reload speed is not really benefiting the team at all.
9. This is the second action comms can do on its own and feel "useful" to the team, however, it requires coordination with someone else to call out target names, which doesn't really happen. Plus, newbie capitains / weapons often ignore the fact that enemy surrendered and comms feels that he didn't benefit the team at all.
So, your ideas guys? Tomorrow is another day of the convention and I'm planning on stressing the fact that first enemy in the list is the closest and that surrender saves time so that comms does it on its own, and that he should warn bases of our ship incoming regardless of capitain asking for it or not, but still, I feel comms will get neglected. Can anything else be done? I'm really at a loss here...
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