Remove/Rework Marine Ground Comms

Proposed Problem: Groundside communications is a feature where Marines must repair a comms tower on the ground/operations zone in order to be able to use their comms.

The issue thus is this feature is an extreme penalty towards the Marines, and is difficult to work around. The problems are as follows.

  • The towers are usually located in isolated or far away zones, long past the reach of any FOB and usually very far out of the way of regular Marine travel paths.
  • Defending comms is an extremely unattractive job that demands the attention of multiple people, requiring them to defend a location for over an hour, even up to three, just to maintain a basic necessity. Thus its difficult to get people to do this defensive job.
  • Its extreme isolations makes it very easy for Xenos to cut comms. A token or non-exsistant defence means a modest force of xenos can overrun and destroy the comms, derailing the Marines and causing a major setback.

Furthermore, all of these issues are massivly exacerbated as the server population decreases. On low pop the Marines simply do not have the man power to repair and fortify comms when their Marine force of <40 people is also split between the other realities of the game.

It becomes unfortunately common that Marines are forced to make do without ground comms, which further penalizes the Marines.

Frankly, I think its a terrible feature.

Proposed Solution: Either remove the Marine requirement to need ground side comms, or make the comms tower spawn INSIDE the primary landing zone, so its loss will only occur when the Marines are being overrun.

I WOULD ARGUE: That making the comms spawn inside the FOB would make balance out the feature to be comparable to the Xenos. Xenos lose comms when the Queen dies, which usually occurs when the Xenos are losing or are careless. As such the Marines losing comms should only occur either when they are losing or are careless.

I have talked with countless people and I have yet to see anyone express anything but opposition to this feature, I think I can genuinely claim the feature is simply disliked by a absolute majority of the playerbase, and I don’t see a reason why its a needed feature. I feel its removal would be a net positive for the game.

I may also be influenced by me playing low pop a lot and thus feeling the negative brunt of this feature.

Thank you.


The old system of ground comms was REQ would have a portable tower which we would bring to the FOB on the dropship and then setup. No matter how simple that sounds, comms still went down (I don’t really know why).

Perhaps Xenomorph hivemind should only work when the Queen is on ovulation?

However, marines still have many tools to continue coordination when comms are down. Overwatch terminals can give orders to both a whole squad or the squad leader, we have phonepacks distributed among all squads, and we have the command announcements.

Additionally, tacmap links from command are also very helpful.

(Edited this to get around the slow mode, why must I wait 44 minutes to post a reply?)


At least in those scenarios it was truly the Marines fault for comms being offline.

I’d argue its less the case when comms is half way on the other side of the colony, outside the FOB or the Marines genuinely lack the numbers to repair comms.

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As someone who actually does like the current groundside comms I don’t think that the system really needs to be done away with and I would also be willing to say its a benefit to the game.

  • First is more responsibility for Marines and comtechs on the ground. While it may seem to suck if you get Comms duty much like FOB it is an important job to handle and can help add to the narrative of the round. “The Comms team watching through the darkness ever vigilant, listening on in disbelief as they hear how the once proud Almayer Marines are being pushed back from the caves… After a moment of thought a loud ping on the motion tracker comes, Movement? Away from the front? It must be our turn, they have come here to take away from our comrades, we have to hold.” Exaggerated? Sure but stories like this do happen when Marines have to watch a comms tower and it can add to the tension of a round too, and the game isn’t meant to always be convenient anyways.

  • Second it makes the Radio Packs and those who carry them very valuable. If Comms were to be reverted back to the last system we had where we could just deploy them right next to the Alamo or Normandy I think the radio packs will stop being used almost entirely, While not impossible for Comms to go down its extremely unlikely they will until the FOB is breached and if thats the case Marines don’t need the Comms anyways, in a way having other means of communication is pointless almost if the portable towers come back.

  • Third the Xenos need their Hivemind much more than Marines need Comms. While it may make sense to make humans have Comms that work similar to the Queen’s hivemind Marines frankly have so many communication choices to work with they dont need them always. Radio packs, Handheld radios, CO announcements and even Objective updates on the Hud can all be used to communicate. Xenos have two methods of communications, Talking together and the hivemind. For the equivalent you mentioned of Marines only losing Comms when the FOB is breached it takes away more risk reward for Marines than benefits.

  • And lastly it helps slow down the pace of the game and gives people time to do things besides their jobs. I know people don’t like when rounds go past the three hour mark anymore but people also don’t seem to like it when they are short too, without Comms that can be cut on the ground rounds will inevitably shorten most rounds when all communication is basically permanent and Marines don’t have to worry as much about their ability to communicate, you would effectively have an entire squad on Comms rather than a handful of players.

To address some of your criticisms of the current system.

  • Most LZ’s have a Comms relay either close by or near an important objective or path, think Engineering on LZ-624 or Marshals on Solaris ridge. While there are obviously worse Comms locations the CO and XO can factor these things into their plans when picking an LZ.

  • While its true defending Comms isn’t always the most enticing job having it be a job so is FOB duty, we see it fit to assign an Entire Squad to defending the FOB even though it may never see action or be used at all. A job or role being boring doesn’t mean it isn’t important to do.

  • Most of the Comms towers are not as Isolated as you may think and many of them can be made into very hard to take positions if there is a good handful of Marines, While its true than a modest Xeno force can overrun Comms its not a sure thing and losing Comms is not the worst thing in the world either and can help add to the tension of the round.

  • Server population may be a good reason to give Marines a little helping hand during rounds without manpower but I also don’t think that means removing Groundside Comms, while its obviously more of an issue with less Marines I don’t think that warrants its removal but rather needs a workaround for these scenarios. Maybe adding in a relay that can be purchased with Intel points could solve the issue for lowpop but on higher pops it will just be a buy it and forget comms thing so it has issues. Honestly its hard to consider balance things when trying to weight them on population alone.

We had a Comms system for a while just like you mentioned and I think a good chunk of people were not content with it either, I don’t think there is a perfect solution and for lower pop rounds I get the frustrations of a lack of manpower to handle defending Comms. I think if the feature was as hated as you think we would have seen a lot more people complaining about it like we do on other issues, maybe moving Comms a little closer to fobs would help alleviate the issues you have but most of the time Comms are fairly close anyways.



Objective based gameplay good.
Simplification bad.


If escaping from nests was removed because “it was boring to watch over the marines escaping” then ground comms should also be reworked for the same reason.
Maegami, you bring up roleplay but alien nests also generated roleplay when the marines made it out of the nests and it was a very powerful show of force having escaped from the wretched hive of the aliens, yet it was still removed.

I see you bring up command announcements, overwatch messages, however these are one-way messages from Command to the squad, only someone with an RTO backpack could talk back to command or other squads or distant squad members.

Steelpoint mentions lowpop and in my opinion it must be changed for lowpop because there’s a very high chance of having zero or overworked command staff which makes communications impossible once the comms tower goes down, leading to a marine defeat.

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I agree removing Marines being able to free themselves remove some RP and story telling from the game and especially so when they also gave nested people the ability to just ghost when nested. It does get rid of impressive stories like the random Sergeant escaping the nest by the skin of his teeth or the last stand of a private who blew himself up with a good chunk of the hive, its why on principal even when I get capped I dont just ghost and I will sit there in the hive talking to myself if needed but I am not here defending the removal of that, if anything I would rather roll that back to at least forcing marines to stay in body if possible and making it so fully healthy marines have a chance to escape.

True Command announcments and Overwatch messages are a way for one way communications however TL’s are now not the only people who can have Radio packs, you can get one if you want it from the vendors or from Req and I sometimes take them as a medic for the versatility it has to let me contact a Pilot for Medevac and working as a team. And as a final counterpoint you should be sticking with your SL or TL anyways and following the orders given to you by command.

I also never disagreed there was a problem for lowpop either but I gave an idea that could be used as a workaround for these rounds. Even if it comes down to an admin spawning in the old portable relay if its still in the code for rounds with lowpop is a better solution than just axing ground comms. My only contention was that just because its an issue on lowpop doesn’t mean you have to remove the system or rework it entirely, there are changes that can be made without getting rid of it for everyone.

This is a victim of the rest of the META.

LZ and FOB and Comms detail is so damn boring because - if every round is murderballing the hive - there’s little incentive to play ambush castes and for aliens to form hunting packs on stragglers, isolated targets, and the FOB.

I’ll also add that if you spent more time RPing with your squaddies - Just talking, getting the CC involved, cards, UNO, etc - the time would fly.

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Rp have nothing to do with the new comms, When us marines could choose where to place the comms, the engieers meta the shit out of it. We all know unbreakable walls that is not mention here. Usually bravo abused this ooc information and place it down and make one wall that xenos could break down if they was in dropship area. That is heavy OOC knownlegde and static comms arrived. “Supriced pica chu face” You reap what you sow.

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Marine comms is not some side objective that is convenient to have, the Marines live and die by being able to talk with each other. If comms is dead, then the Marines will die in the dark.

If we go by the standards of the movies, the Marine never had any issues communicating with each other over long distances even as they were utterly overrun, they only needed a transmitter to allow their Synthetic to remote pilot a dropship.

But putting that meaningless thought aside, I will admit my experiences are heavily coloured by the fact I tend to play a lot on low pop rounds, and in these circumstances the restrictions of Marine ground comm repairs becomes too much for the Marines to handle. I reguarly go on these rounds without comms simply because it becomes impractical to defend it outside of the rare circumstance where the comms spawns inside the FOB.

I simply believe that comms is too important to be some “side objective” that is hidden on the other side of the map. It should be inside the Landing Zone and comms should only go down due to either the Marines losing or being incompetent (which is most of the time to be fair).

@Maegami Comms does not extend the round, comms shortens the round when the Marines all die alone and their main LV gets overrun and the only notice is when the single SO happens to glance at the helmet of the single dead Bravo ComTech, so by the time the XO announces what is going on the Marines are already being flanked and are dead.

Marines need comms just as much as Xenos. The fact is Marines need comms more than Xenos as the Marines are hyper relient on a far higher level of coordination than the Aliens need, in-between FOBs, JTAC, Medivac, Medical, Requisitions, Intel, ComTech frontlining and frontline forces.

Marines are a bunch of incompetent people playing ARMA while the Aliens are playing a team-death match server.

I’d accept the radio pack argument if the developers didn’t gut the concept of the Radio Operator and just made the packs some random item no one takes. You can’t bet the game against everyone being hyper competent and taking the right stuff or else the Xenos would lose every match.

While not impossible for Comms to go down its extremely unlikely they will until the FOB is breached

Try playing low pop. Comms never goes online, or goes offline instantly because two people die to five lurkers, and the FOB dies to a flank force.

I have never had found there to be any enjoyable roleplay experience with comms being dead due to bad positioning.

First I never said there is no issue for lowpop I only said we need a workaround that doesn’t get rid of the entire system, I will admit that the timeframes I can play CM on are lined up pretty well to a decent or high pop hours but that’s just how life is and I have sympathy for your issues even if I disagree with a lot of what you said.

Comms is not a side objective hidden away usually on most maps comms is easily within reach of the fob or on an important route you follow anyways, some maps are clearly worse than others but this issue like you said is more to do with population rather than the actual system. Again for the lowpop rounds give the marines the portable comms because highpop rounds can make do without them. As for the incompetent part I could make the argument that by improperly garrisoning troops at comms is a mistake and being incompetent, you know how vital it is if you don’t protect it that’s a mistake and one that happens all the time on highpop too, leaving only two or three people there is a bad idea just exacerbated by a lower population.

When I said Comms extends the rounds I meant by the existence of groundside comms causing Marines to split focus and divide forces it does lengthen rounds, before this change it was not uncommon for marines to just steamroll the entire map because they just had the manpower to do so. Hour long rounds were much more common during this time and it was a bit unsatisfying and like a poster above mentioned the reason for the change was likely Marines abusing the system making it impossible to get comms down without fob being vacated.

I will admit I probably worded it wrong when I was mentioning the Hivemind, Marines clearly do need comms but Xenos have no workarounds and marines do but even the systems like JTAC and Medevac work without comms. All the dropships have telephones in them that work regardless of comms and you are never truly cutoff from them, every department has a phone too so you are not cutoff from them either.

And I’m sorry but even when they gutted the RTO and made it the TL I still think that there is very little reason to not to just take the Pack regardless, this is not a system issue but a player one here and I don’t place any stock in people being competent at all. I would say play on highpop to see how incompetent marines generally are like when CAS decides to blow up the front every round, your medics are bald and can’t remember what the medicines do or even follow the scanners advice, your engineers can’t repair an APC or build a functioning cadeline or your Pilots go silent on comms when you have them and don’t respond to anything other than firemissions. But I also think you are just wrong on the ARMA comparison as well, Marines are playing TDM too with the Xenos just doing it blatantly and the marines having to pretend they care about anything beyond getting kills.

Again I have sympathy for the issue being low population making it very hard to have comms and the lurkers thing is around in high pop and sometimes worse when we have flanking ravs at Comms, however I think the way Comms are now with exceptions for your situation are fine as is. I have had plenty of good roleplay without comms because to me the action and shit is not the most important thing, I don’t care if my team wins or not and I am not concerned with that just enjoying myself and if you need comms to enjoy the game then thats fine but thats not everyone and making a change that will affect everyone should be done carefully if its going to happen.

A possible solution is to make radio packs that RTOs carry the node for comms, if all of the RTOs die no comms.

I believe it has been mentioned this is too difficult or impossible a task coding wise.

if every round is murderballing the hive - there’s little incentive to play ambush castes and for aliens to form hunting packs on stragglers, isolated targets, and the FOB.

Are we playing the same game?
I see what you mentioned nearly every single round I play as a marine or a xeno, murderball or not.

Rework: both Tcoms spawn at the nearest map-based location to Primary LZ when it’s selected

*Objs are important
*Allows flexibility for defense
*2 active coms makes it more likely to stay up until a full siege (IE backliners have to fully cooperate if Xenos want coms off)

Would it be possible to kinda do a hybrid between static comms and the old deployable comms kit?

  • Let marines pick their static comm location kinda like before with additional restrictions.

  • Make it so the comm array cannot be set up in the LZ area.

  • Create a minimum clear radius around the comms relay thus restricting it’s deployable location. Maybe one or two tiles in all direction must be clear or it can’t be placed.

  • The array cannot be set up in the water, even partially.

  • Comm Techs still have to create an APC wherever the set up the comms array.
    ** Admittedly I’m not really sure how power across maps actually functions.

  • You can even leave in the current comm arrays just in case the marines want to try and set up a back up with Echo or something. If the current comm arrays are left in, make it so their is a minimum distance that the packaged array must be in order to set it up.

This might help the marines feel a bit more agency in the round at least when concerning comms. It would also make the round a bit more interesting for the xeno as they would have to seek out the new comm location and figure out how to attack it.

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Tinker. It may be possible but coding may be the problem.

I think the fact this mechanic means low pop marines usually end up with no comms is sufficient justification to state the mechanic needs revision.

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Lowpop further suffers from reduced phone backpacks and lack of CiC members. I’d like to see a radio channel for everyone with the backpack that works without repaired comms. This would reinforce their leader role while requiring more squad cohesion.

What about a portable communication tower that is battery powered only. We could make it use special cells so it’s limited, and if you really needed more juice you’d need req to buy more cells. You’d need to get the colony communication towers up, but before that happens, or if there is a short outage you could boot the portable com tower up. It would require an engineer to keep an eye on the power level, and you wouldn’t be able to wall it off easily because it would need the cells changed.

Of course values would need to be decided on for how long it would stay active and how much new cells would cost, but marines would have an inefficient source of coms. I really hate how marines don’t have coms when they first land because it really breaks down cohesion when all the marines scatter upon landing.