How to make SO more engaging?

I can’t speak for people who play at the EU peak times, but during US prime time, Staff Officers are in short supply. It’s a lucky day when the CIC has more than one SO, that doesn’t immediately recryo. Even in my own experience as an SO, it can get downright boring when no one is doing anything. What can we do to make people actually want to be SO more? Here are a few of my ideas, and want to hear other people’s thoughts I’m not saying my ideas are good or bad, only that I had them:

Allow SOs to see more in a queen’s eye like system. Tie the range to squad cohesion or maybe cameras. If Urist McRifleman and his buddies are close to the SL, the SO can overwatch them, and look around a bit. This will help give SOs a better perspective than the current watch only system, where I feel its hard to tell what’s going on. I’m also not saying to remove the current system, but add something.

Give the SOs a way to directly impact the squads. If that’s through calling down a care package, marking something on the map for them, or even just allowing them to award small commendations. Currently, SO is a very hands off job.

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I’ve always wanted some kind of queen’s eye system for overwatch, or some kind of controllable drone each Staff Officer could control.

Whenever its suggested, its often decried as a bad idea.


A lot of people will SO for you if you’re a cool CO/XO. The SO job is supposed to be Gorman from the movie, and it does a very good job of letting you be him. The fun of SO is pretending what you say actually matters.

“Use the flamers for covering fire and fall back by squad. Apone!!! TALK TO ME APONE!!!”

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I think SO is very misunderstood.

You can still enjoy SO without needing any mechanical innovations. Especially a feature like Queen’s eye is very contrary to CM’s logic. I remember I have directed Medics to dying Marines via Squad Message and phone many times, bringing a marking mechanic like Queen’s eye into the game mostly lifts the need for “Communication” which is an important element while playing CIC, the fact that SO will just mark without needing to talk will eventually damages the roleplay.

Besides, many players think that playing SO is ,abcd lorem ipsum, but this is not the case. As a SO, you can handle appeals, deploy and lead the Marines, and you can man the Requisitions. The only downside to these is that you have to get permission from the XO or CO. Apart from that, I’ve even seen a SO just sit in front of the OW console, collect the mortar coordinates he heard from the JTAC, and manipulate them to guide and lead the mortar operator.

I agree that SO mostly sits in front of the OW console, getting bored while watching the grunts shooting the Xenos. But making SO fun mostly depends on the player’s imagination. At the end of the day, you choose to play SO and if you don’t find SO fun, it might not be for you to play.

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Would you be willing to make a list of things for SOs to try? Maybe we could get some RP suggestions put on the wiki

A drone would be awesome, perhaps with limitations such as a battery life, poor vision and definitely destroyable. Even with these, I feel like that would be a nice alternative to marine GoPro.

However on flip side, the drone is not needed in any way to be a great SO. Using the tacmap, marine-view, and your orders, you can create an effective harmony that can be used to direct people to the front, to downed marines, to alter others, etcetera.

Correct take.

OW drone in the Command tent?

i have personally had appeals handled by more SOs than any other rank. ive also done shit groundside work with more SOs than any other rank. SOs occupy that weird middle ground between “this fella can let me rot all round” “will help me weld cades during a siege” and “does actual squad management” where CO/XOs typically are either #1: understaffed/too inexperienced to meaningfully monitor squads, #2 too busy with shipside issues (maybe a bug or two or three got onboard or a CLF was revived), or #3 glory hogs who deploy to get capped within 5-10 minutes of kissing dirt. a good or great SO wildly impactful.

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Sorry there’s no tl;dr for this unless you just read the bolded parts

Problems with SO:

  1. You have skills for engineering/medicine but no quick access to the tools to make use of these skills;
    this is especially a problem during hijack where you have less than 5 minutes to get everything you need and even just grabbing armor and a gun can chew up all the time you have. If SO’s aren’t meant to be using these things, take the skills away. If they’re meant to use these things, make them available either during hijack in the armories or during round start prep.

How it is now, I still get all the tools and stuff, but I have to wander around half the almayer on a treasure hunt to gather it all which takes more time than I would like, and I notice the vast majority of SO players just don’t bother and as a result cannot do any of the things they have these skills for post-hijack! What’s the logic here??? There’s absolutely no reason for things to work this way. It forces your typical SO player to just be a gunga.

  1. Observing marines is incredibly clunky
    and without a second monitor you seriously lack screen real estate to make the most of the information you have available. Some very simple things could dramatically improve things, like the map opening larger (or perhaps new UI entirely and opening in your main screen?), re-opening the map to the size you scaled it to before, being easier to resize, and clicking on player icons instantly overwatching that player without having to hunt for them in the console list.

TG, years ago, implemented a system for the AI where you can wander around the station as an AI-eye and the only areas you see are areas with cameras. Anywhere without a camera wasn’t rendered. I’m not sure about performance on this, but if SO’s could look at the map but only see the vision areas around marines wearing helmets, it would be substantially better for situational awareness. Just make it like a VR headset you wear? Heck it could be an XO/CO thing.

  1. There’s just not much impact you can have as an SO
    This game gets very hectic when you’re in battle, the visual cues that you’re being talked to over comms are practically non-existent. Even with highlights that most players don’t set up. There’s no fast and easy way for an SO to ping a specific player and tell them GO THIS DIRECTION, nor can you do that with a group of players like an SL can with a pointy arrow.

The lack of good and effective communication and command systems means most of what you do as SO is just play observer++; try as you might marines don’t hear what you’re saying unless you get lucky. Even the squad commands through the console that come with noise pings are ignored half the time.

Here’s a tricky scenario:
You’re Charlie’s overwatch. Charlie has split up into 3 large groups, one in fob, one off in a fight with alpha, and another in a fight with delta in a completely different area. How do you tell the charlie marines in the alpha+whatever blob to do something, but without telling all the other charlie marines and confusing them? There’s no good, fast, easy way to do this. Nothing like “box select these guys on the map, right click move here on map, they all get temporary waypoint arrow and a ping + you can send a message only to the guys you selected”

In my eyes, the staff officers should essentially be manipulating the marine force into a sort of playdough murderball using their communication and command systems if not even being similar to an RTS, but they simply don’t have a way to do that. Imagine if SO was so good for marines that they actually wanted to stay in CIC during hijack to try and direct people?? When SO players can start directing people around the map QUICKLY and EASILY (see: SL pointing arrows) that is when you’ll start to see SO’s being played more often and being appreciated as an actual part of a squad by that squads’ players, rather than a nebulous voice that sometimes says something 5 minutes outdated already and didn’t really matter much anyway. The actionable effects of an SO on squad cohesion and direction are practically non-existent.

My ideal staff officers, from the perspective of a marine player, you would be told where to move in a very quick fashion, and be guided around potential threats, and directed towards allies if necessary. Overwatch should be a squads’ guardian angel who is actually able to see the bigger picture, not just 7-tiles around a marine, and direct individuals and groups quickly and effectively.