Suggestion: When the server enters lowpop (I would define lowpop as between <80 to ~110-120 people) the server would reduce the amount of active squads. I would suggest the lower limit be that there are two active squads (Alpha and Bravo).
The system could be dynamic with it opening Charlie squad if the pop goes beyond a certain number, and with Delta being opened once the server is no longer considered to be in lowpop.
Reasoning: Squad split is a major issue on lowpop, some squads are simply never fleshed out with numbers, you’ll spawn in and notice two squads have all the members while two others only have a Specialist, Smartgunner and a few riflemen.
This dilution of the Marine manpower can often result in a lopsided situation where the lack of manpower, plus the concentrated manpower of the xenos, further exacerbates lowpop balance and can quickly result in a one-sided defeat for the Marines.
The counterargument that CIC should just account for this is non-viable in my opinion, as CIC is also plagued with staffing issues on lowpop, competency is inconsistent, and the game will continue to spawn people into these undermanned squads that will require constant attention. Someone who spawns into a empty squad is going to be acting sub optimally compared if they spawned into a fully fleshed out squad.
I believe concentrating lowpop Marines into two squads would give the Marines a better chance at remaining a threat to the Aliens as there will be a far greater chance the Marines remain concentrated.
Of course, this system will need to take into account the amounts of roles available, thus the remaining active squads would likely need a higher cap on Comtechs, Corpsman, Smartgunners and Specialists.
This is a pretty good call in my opinion, and solves basically my biggest issue with lowpop which is the aCO - a chief engineer or lone Staff Officer - having to balance four squads of seven people apiece for an hour, with three commtechs, two Squad Leaders, and a medic between them.
This is a good solution. The idea and coordination of a squad breaks down when there is no one in it, with lower sized squads usually being eaten by bigger squads. Keeping the same amount of smartgunners and specs but just keeping them in the same squad would be nice, help with the already awful coordination in lowpop.
would be a great help as someone who runs SL and SO on low pop sometimes, would make the game feel alot less dead too with the constant chatter on comms now that everything would be condensed
Interesting idea. I could have sworn CIC already had the ability to swap all marines into the same squad. Would that not resolve the issue?
They have, but lowpop CIC (Literally either XO or CE, with one SO if they’re lucky) is often too busy to swap all latejoins constantly to other squads.
A big problem for CIC and staff officers is that you have no effective means of relaying orders to squads once they’re all working in the same mob together.
By which I mean; who do you direct an order to when you have 2 Alpha, 1 Bravo, 3 Charlie, and 3 Delta sitting outside filtration podlocks so there’s a good number of marines in that group who know what you’re telling them to do? Suppose you’ve got overwatch of Alpha; you can’t even see what any of the other 7 marines in the group see. If you relay orders to every squad, that also includes everyone who isn’t even on the frontline and you’re limited to doing it once every few minutes; what if Delta has another 5 guys at a different cave entrance and you’re trying to get one of these groups to push and the other to hold?
For the first 15 minutes after deployment, you can sort of direct squads into specific tasks, but once the murderball develops, the ability for marines to follow orders, extract themselves from fights, or basically do anything that isn’t pure game instinct; drops to nothing.
As for combining squads on lowpop - mind that 1 squad is out because fob, and of the remainder you won’t be doing anything different than highpop anyway because every squad has to murderball in a massive group to not get annihilated in detail if they stray too far away. Simple fact is, individual squads severely lack the staying power (especially) and firepower of the murderball to make individual squad tactics effective or desirable.
If you don’t have a critical mass of about 15+ marines saturating not just the frontline but a bit back from the frontline, you will get utterly demolished with a single queen screech + T3’s attack. On lowpop you might only even have 25 marines fighting on the frontline total, on highpop it’s a little better in staying power, but not by much.
Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that no matter whether combined squads together on lowpop or not, it won’t actually change anything. The problems with squads stems primarily from individual squads being incapable of supporting themselves for any length of time against queen+t3 attacks. You murderball the squads together or you lose.
CIC can do that, however the game puts a limit to how many comtech/corpsman/specs you can put on a single squad. So you can’t transfer a whole squad without a few engis and medics being left behind.
I actually keep meaning to PR a thing that removes any limitations on squad transfers say 1 hour after the deployment. It’s there so people won’t do funny 4 SG squads and other stuff like this, but in longer rounds command often needs to reorganize their units to a system that works.
As for the topic idea, while it’s understandable, there are quite a few difficulties involved:
- First of all the server population is a very gameable thing to base upon. For example, lets say Charlie opens up at 57 population(30 squad + 15 shipside + 12 xenos). Lets say I know that fact and as a xeno player I wait until very late as to stifle marines from 1 extra spec and SG. Or I’m a marine player and I sit in the lobby to grab that latejoin as spec when it opens up. Little abuses like that.
- Squads have well set culture and few people want to end up in, say, Bravo. And you know, you’d rather have Bravo with 5 good people than Bravo with 15 who’d gonna ignore everything and rush the caves. Mind you those players may be quite fine if they were in some other squad from the start.
- This also strips marines of valuable resources, but hard and soft. Hard being the specs and SGs, soft being Squad Leaders. I’d rather have a good SL leading a squad of 4 men, just to have another workable unit and if it works you can later rebuild around it.
On a related note, whats even the proper squad size? See how may previous example used 15? 57 total pop is as lowpop as it gets, so we have to be starting at 3 squads at least. But then with the current(perpetual) low cohesion on less prestigious squads you can argue that the proper size is 25, just to have, out of those 15 rifleman, 5 that would actually follow the SL and won’t instadie\feed caps in a choke hell.