Static comms is boring and radio backpacks do not serve enough of a role in marine gameplay. Anyone assigned to comms knows it is often staring at a wall playing Uno if and when the time arrives for a xeno siege, or a burrower pops in a stomp/slashes before disappearing again. The biggest problem is it in no way encourages squad cohesion and team work. XO tells a squad to set up comms, they go down and dick around, assigned a handful of unlucky bastards to sit there, and oop maybe they defend it, maybe they wander off.
I propose we make FTL and the Radio Backpack core to comms by reworking the radio backpack to be an AoE comms relay. This would eliminate loathed static comms, and encourage marines to work more cohesively. Currently nearly anyone can grab a radio telephone. It’s clunky and offers little advantage besides being able to spam call CiC. Instead the radio telephone would be limited to select few, essential roles such as SL, FTL, and IOs. The radio telephone pack would act like a bubble with falloff for headset radio relay. Within X tiles of the functioning pack you have comms, while straying from that you enter a falloff with comms breaking up, acting like getting whispers nearby where you can’t hear the full message. This lets the player know they’re straying too far from their SL or FTL. Once outside the operational bubble you lose comms completely.
This change would mean marines have to stick with their leaders if they want communication, and encourages them to keep their radioman safe. For the realism nerds this is also quite realistic to how squads would operate. This also means if you lose your FTLs and SLs or wander off you are punished (besides just dying to shadow money lurker gang). It also makes FTLs and sticking to fire teams all the more important. While this could work out to be a buff in some ways, if marines act more cohesively as a result, it is also more punishing than static comms if FTLs and SLs unga off and die in the first few minutes by trying to act like the main character (an issue already ahelp-able as well concerning SLs).
The biggest issue with this for marines would be xenos potentially targeting FTLs or anyone with a radio telephone for capping/permaing, which just incentivises squads sticking together and protecting them more or losing their comms. Xenos no longer have to try to assault a mini FOB (if marines bothered to fortify it) to remove comms, and isolated marines will be all the more vulnerable to them. In the end this would relegate the comms relays to points needed to be held for the Nuclear endgame option for marines, but not essential to communications, and nobody is stuck there playing Uno.