So over my time playing on the server, I’ve felt that the xenos have had a specific niche for their frontliners. Namely, specializing in killing the enemy, rather than capturing. Considering the lack of a drone Tier 3, and the possible utility having such a caste might provide, I’d like to give a suggestion for what I think might work as an evolution of the carrier. A frontlining T3 that specializes in safely capturing marines, or recovering wounded and critted xenos from dangerous areas.
I’ve prepared some basic stats and numbers for an example’s sake, but none of it needs to be as-is, it’s simply my best interpretation to keep the abilities in line with the balance of other T3 abilities.
Stats and mechanics
Name: The Devourer
Evolves from Carrier.
Slash Damage: About equal to a praetorian. ~35 per hit.
Can plant weeds/create special constructions. Cannot build normal resin structures.
Caste goal: To be a primary frontline infector unit. Specializing in rapidly capturing marines and dragging them back.
Passive: ‘Dragging Claws’ The Devourer moves 40% faster dragging humans, or xenos. Whilst dragging, it’s armor is increased by 15.
- This passive is made to hopefully line up with the Devourer’s key playstyle; set around dragging stunned marines or critted xenos back to safety. The armor value reaches around 40, which is about 10 less than a Charger Crusher. Whilst dragging, the hope is that it moves at roughly the speed of a Normal Crusher. Still quick enough to get offscreen in a few seconds, while still being vulnerable to fire, grenades, and other possible stun methods that marines have access to.
Ability 1: Leg Trap. Instantly creates a one-tile trap at the Devourer’s feet that hides under debris. Any marine that steps in it is tripped and stunned for 5 seconds. Costs 100 plasma. Cooldown of 10 seconds.
- The intent of this ability is to provide a defensive ability that the devourer can use, that’s reminiscent of it’s previous caste. While this trap cannot have acid, or a hugger placed into it, it’s cheaper, and can be produced more quickly. A possible strategy for combos could be to use Smoke Screen to run up, place several traps, and run back, forcing marines to take their pushes into areas the Devourer controls more cautiously.
Ability 2: Reflective Mucus. Click on a prone target adjacent to the Devourer (human or xeno) to apply a thick layer of resin that covers them. Gunfire that hits the target has a chance to reflect back to it’s source (same chance as a reflective wall). Whilst the mucus is applied, the target is knocked prone, and cannot stand up until the effect ends. Last 5 seconds. Costs 400 plasma. Cooldown of 5 seconds.
- A common strategy for marines to deny a capture on the frontlines is to shoot the dragged marine until they drop dead. Reflective Mucus can turn that nature into a punishment for marines, if they fail to notice the effect of the mucus and fire wildly. The Devourer itself is completely unprotected by the ability, and so they may become a primary target for focused fire, allowed other castes and xenos to capitalize on the distraction, or provide support via resinfruit or Warden abilities. The extremely short cooldown was originally intended to make it possible to use the ability twice, either on the same target, or another, provided the Devourer is both on weeds, and hasn’t spent it’s plasma on any other abilities.
Ability 3: Smoke Screen. After a short windup, produce a 5-tiled smoke screen, starting at the position of the Devourer. The smoke has a slowing effect on any marines caught in it. The smoke is transparent for xenos, allowing them to more easily spot marines stuck inside the cloud. Smoke disappates after 8 seconds, then completely disappears 4 seconds later. Cooldown of 30 seconds.
- The benefits of such an ability are a bit self-explanatory, but as someone with no real knowledge of the limitations of the server’s code, I can’t rightly say if making a transparent gas is possible, without making it transparent for both teams. Maybe if the sprite was opaque, but still blocked direct line-of-sight? Possibly, the windup can be channeled whilst moving, so the Devourer needs to use timing to create the cloud in the best possible spot, though I will say that can be a pipe dream for the moment.
I plan to create the sprite for the caste myself, though I’ve very little experience doing it in the style of what the server uses already. The visual concept I had in mind is as follows.
A frame similar to a carrier. Large bodied, greyish-brown skin. The head will be wide, with a pair of face plates surrounding softer-looking flesh between them. When the Devourer grabs a creature, the plates close down around it’s head, lowering it’s stance and giving a clear, visual sign when it’s starting to drag something. Here’s an image of roughly what the plates may look like.
It’s claws will have a unique shape; rather than the dagger-knives of the ravager, or the typical clawed hands of most other castes, the Devourer instead has hook-shaped hands, with a crescent curve. Still bright white and sharp-looking, but instead shaped to look as if they’d be used to curl around someone’s arms, to drag them back. Closer to a hand-sickle. (I’d provide sample images, but the website will only let me embed one image, sadly.)
Otherwise, it’s body will be relatively typical, save for the new colorscheme and possibly a unique pattern for it’s chitin, to make it stand out more obviously from carriers.
I’ll be happy to try to provide any answers to questions around this idea, if people have them. I know I’m certainly a bit out of my depth to suggest an entire new caste, but I’m really passionate that this might be a fun idea, and it may add a great new playstyle for people to try out, that enjoy the more strategic play of providing for the xenomorph team with captures.