Xeno nuke

Since the nuke is coming back, we’ve already ran into the old problem of marines being extremely passive - they lose one big push, then sit in the FOB until they can unlock the nuke.

People who are old enough can remember it happening before, in 2020, with marines just cadehugging and then ahelping for those intel points.

So I’ve been thinking how do we pressure marines into being aggressive and here’s the idea I had, that should balance the nuke.

Bring back the spawn pool into the game. Here’s what it’s going to do:

  1. After it gets enough points it gives xenos 1 extra larva.
  2. Spawn pool can only be built say 1h:30m into the round.
  3. Xenos can give spawn pool points by transferring health to it. Clicking on the spawn pool crits the xeno. Need to make sure that we prevent healer drone shenangians too.
  4. The amount of health the pool needs for 1 larva is pretty high, say I dunno 35000 health points.
  5. Maybe connect that to the marines comms systems - the spawn pool would only work if xenos control both towers.

All of this is basically to prevent marines from AFKing for the nuke and give them some incentive to be agressive.


Or we can remove the nuke and problem solved. But if nuke is to stay. This is not a bad idea.

Firstly with this new system, Marines cant just “afk” in FOB. Marines need to constantly gain tech points, which is a lot to get the nuke. Even then it takes a lot of effort after a nuke is obtained. 10 minutes ensuring the nuke gets armed AND securing three territories on the map (2 telecoms and FOB). If Xenos cant organize themselves to be aggressive themselves and defeat one of the three zones then the marine W is well earned.

My question is why should the Xeno side be rewarded for cave hugging but Marines get punished for cade hugging? This new mechanic (new for me) is a warm welcome addition and I hope it will be added.

Xeno side does not need a nuke for doing nothing unique throughout the round.


My question is why should the Xeno side be rewarded for cave hugging but Marines get punished for cade hugging? This new mechanic (new for me) is a warm welcome addition and I hope it will be added.

Ditto on this. Marines need to stay on the colony grounds to gather intel safely to get the points to buy the nuke, and then need to hold both telecoms towers which are often a fair distance apart. The threat of and desire for getting a nuke should be motivating both parties to skirmish in the colony instead of falling back to their most defensible point.

As for the spawn pool idea I would only allow it to be built in specific locations in the colony so Xenos couldn’t sit in the cave and print larva. It is a good idea to reward both sides for map control.

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The simple answer is that marines are the aggressive faction and were always the aggressive faction, while the xenos are the defensive faction and always were the defensive faction.

The rest of your post can be readdressed about marines:
Why should marines be rewarded for cade hugging and xenos be punished for cave hugging? Marine side doe not a need a nuke for doing nothing unique throughout the round.

Again, what I’ve already seen now(and seen before in 2020) is marines going uber passive with the idea of getting nuke roundstart. This is already happening. And I fear in the end it’s gonna be optimized into a simple strat. Don’t contest much ground, don’t bother pushing, wait around an hour in the FOB, push out to gather just enough intel and secure the second tcomms tower. Mind you, marines generally don’t have that hard a hard time controlling the ground(especially where the tcomms towers are), with the current unlimited CAS that keeps getting buffed and strong MGs.

So the idea here is to counteract such impulse by creating a sense of urgency for marines to actually assault the hive and don’t rely on the nuke as their first option.

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I’ve only played a single round, as a Synthetic, where the Nuke was on the table so to speak. This was on LV-624, the arguable “easiest” map for intel gathering.

From my experience it took an extreme amount of effort for us to gather the intel needed to unlock the nuke. It required command to be patient enough not to expend resources getting other assets, it required a competent group of IOs to scour the map for intel. It also demanded the Marines hold a large amount of the map in order for the IOs to secure intel in areas the Xenos typical hold.

All this, which consumed a large amount of time (I think the ground op lasted 2 hours minimum) and the Xenos were still able to win due to how much manpower the Marines expended in pulling this off.

We did manage to purchase the nuke, but by this time it was impossible for the Marines to hold both comms towers as the xenos made an active and conscious effort to attack both comms towers to ensure they were not both online.

Marines were pushed off planet shortly afterwards.

With the way its balanced I feel the nuke is only going to effect rounds where the Marines are doing better than the Aliens but the round is still in a stalemate, meaning this should only occur on those rare 3 to 4 hour rounds where the Aliens hold on but the Marines control most of the map. Even then you need a lot of people to be competent for this to work.

Just remove the nuke.

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The thing that I don’t like about this is that it might lessen incentive to go for caps to increase their numbers via the spawn pool instead. Like, imagine seeing xenos start to say things like ‘Get away from marines, go for spawn pool!’ - also since the idea of the nuke is to end a stalemate I’d prefer a xeno nuke to more directly end the stalemate. Like, if the xeno nuke goes off, a massive wave of egg plasma is released and everyone planetside gets an embryo, forcing an evac which allows for hijack.

Marines winning: Nuke pointless
Stalemate: Nuke ought to resolve it, but I haven’t seen that happen yet
Xenos winning: Nuke is impossible to arm

So far every time I’ve seen the nuke used, marines were already winning that round anyway. I’ve yet to see the nuke resolve a stalemate situation because, unsurprisingly, it’s extremely difficult for 3-6 marines to defend tcomms on the other side of the map even just against a burrower and 2 lurkers using tunnels.

I just don’t think current nuke implementation changed much of anything.

Yeah if xenos get something like this as an equivalent to nuke it should be somewhere in the middle of the map, the point should be to punish cadehugging marines by forcing them to actually fight for map control. If marines want to sit in their FOB then xenos should get some kind of reward for that, same as how marines should be rewarded if xenos want to just sit in caves.

I assume this is not a shitpost since it’s in idea-guys. Firstly, you cannot afk for nuke, you have to actively look for intel, which means you need to control (or be able to move through) most part of the map. Ahelping for techpoints is a staff issue and should not be allowed. If xenos don’t control most part of the colony and backliners don’t hunt IOs then nuke is pretty much deserved. I’d rather have xenos to fight for colony instead of immediately retreating to caves.

Secondly, well, criting yourself to get closer to xeno-nuke is an awful mechanic on its own. It’s basically afking in hive. Try to come up with something else I guess. Also you basically just reinvented larva surge. Not really cool. And 1:30 is too soon. I agree that xenos are supposed to be on the defense tho. Still it doesn’t mean they should cavehug for the whole round, you don’t want xenos to be as passive, do you? We already have rounds when Chi forbids xenos to leave caves even while they have good numbers and marines pulled back. Maybe they should get something at 3 hours mark, when it’s becomes clear marines are cadehugging or cannot advance and cannot even use the nuke.

Thirdly, yes, in 2020 nuke was cancer. But it wasn’t in 2019! Because in 2019 nuke was extremely hard to obtain. It was ultimate reward for competent IO team and required a lot of work. I mained IO a lot and managed to reach nuke only twice in 2019. In 2020 yes, it was possible to get nuke every other round. So in the end it’s a balance issue. Just make nuke really hard to obtain. Maybe add some more objectives in caves, like nuclear disks that you have to find. Or maybe nuke should be placed in caves, although it wouldn’t work on Shiva. Anyway, it’s possible to balance nuke.

I think it’s fair you need to hold two comms tower. It’s not an easy task, xenos should be able to take out at least one of the towers. If they cannot do even that, especially at 2 hours mark, then it means they are losing and merely prolonging their defeat by cavehugging. Also you don’t have to give xenos similar tools in an asymmetric game, but that’s a minor point.

Upd: I like the idea of the “pool” in the middle of the map, not in the caves, it sounds definitely better. But again there are problems. Xenos would just stale until pool is available and won’t attack FOB.

Upd2: Also failing to arm the nuke should apply some kind of big cooldown or even outright permanently disarm the nuke (maybe you should be able to reset it for techpoints). So if you failed to arm the nuke, you cannot just try again. Either evac or push out.

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LV is actually a really tough case for the nuke.

First of all, counterintuitively, LV was always one of the hardest maps to get nuke one. I don’t know if currently the intel balance changed, but before it was a real pain to get. Nuke was always either nigh impossible to get, or way too easy, where good intel team would sweep say BR in like 20 minutes. Hence when it was too hard people just ahelp for intel points, and you can’t really blame them(that hard).

Now, here’s the thing. Marines if they explicitly go for the nuke strat can sweep all the colony side intel in like 20 minutes at deployment. And xenos can’t really contest that. That’s like I dunno 80% of all intel points. Then for 10% more you really have to go into the caves, get to the lake and all. That’s the 90% intel mark. Now the question is, at which mark the marines should have it enough for the nuke? If it’s at 80% than it’s too easy. If at 90% than it’s too hard(ok, maybe the scout can sneak in or something). And there’s no middle ground.

So in long rounds depending on the balancing:

  1. Marines not getting the nuke easily and then ahelping. If ahelp denied than the round continues and the stalemate breaking mechanic didn’t work. If ahelp accepted, see 2.
  2. Marines getting the nuke and the best way to get the nuke is playing passively.

And the last thing: “command be patient enough not to expend resources getting other assets” is already the problem. There’s a choice for command, whether it should be trying to kill the hive and getting assets for that, or saving the points for nuke. I personally think that the nuke should be given to marines not as a thing to buy for points, but as a reward for spending X intel points in total. So that it’s gonna actually be stalemate breaking mechanic, and not a very boring main strategy.

Anyway, the main idea here is to give the sense of urgency for marines to push the hive, so that they wouldn’t want to go into that late late game.

Xenos being able to contest the colony, this just not gonna happen, the game is only balanced when the xenos have to pull marines in. And on maps like LV it’s pretty much impossible to contest the colony.

To prevent cave hugging marines now have a nuke. That’s the big thing looms on the horizon for xenos if they cavehug too much.

1:30 is just because the xeno stalemate breaker should come online at the same time as the marine one, or a little bit earlier, because it’s weaker.

Thinking a bit more I’ve refined the idea to this:

  • The thing is called Hunting Tunnel. It’s a special tunnel you have to go inside to get points.
  • Any xeno that gets inside is stuck in that tunnel for say 2 minutes. The key thing that people are missing here - using this makes xeno defenses weaker, it takes sisters from holding the line. So they can’t do it for free.
  • After 2 minutes the xeno returns and if the number of points on the tunnel is over the threshold it returns with a hugged nearly bursting small. Points given are asymmetric - the biggest the caste the more points are given for each hunting attempt.
  • The lore explanation that xenos are building a tunnel network elsewhere in the colony and they’re using that tunnel network to hunt smalls. At some point ARES should give notifications about a seismic scan showing increased movement through the tunnel network and say xenomorph infestation reaching critical numbers.
  • This thing does not have to be that strong in practice. It’s more about giving marines the idea that larva printer go brr, to prevent passivity on their side.
  • The points per larva required can be made dynamic - if 100 marines are not pushing against 15 xenos it’s more larva printed, if it’s 60 marines against 25 xenos less.
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So one drone can pump out larva endlessly, at zero risk and xenos can just hold a chokepoint endlessly, note the bursted can be used to exponentially expand. This sounds like a balancing nightmare.

No it can’t. Basically the way I see it, it’s gonna take say 1 drone like I dunno 3 hours to get one larva. And say maybe 1 larva per 6 minutes if you send all your T3s. Basically the way I think this should be balanced is to be more scary as an idea, than useful as the actual thing.

Plan so far is to give xenos the equivalent requirement of holding both comms towers as marines currently do for nuke. They’d get special larva that could evolve into specialized siege xenos.

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you mean get wiped by backliners?

Marines have to gather intel. What do Xenos need to do to get their special xeno?


guessing larva burst? Something like 60 larva bursts for a specal beno

If they got that many bursts we’de be fucked even without a siege Xeno.