Putting the biggest memes to rest. WARNING: Requires reading + decent IQ.

Discussion in 'General' started by LOGOS_BOT V. 2.52, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. OP
    LOGOS_BOT V. 2.52

    LOGOS_BOT V. 2.52 Active Member

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    This is my analysis of stuns as a game mechanic in Space Station 13. This is long, but only long as necessary. I want to put the "remove stuns" and "antistun" memes to rest forever.

    Part I: Stuns in any form.

    A stun can be defined in two ways: Literal stuns, which incapacitate for any period of time, and functional stuns, which incapacitate for a meaningful period of time. In determining whether a period of time is meaningful, we can use the following criteria. So long as a person is incapacitated long enough to be restrained, rendered defenseless to the point of being able to killed, or incapacitated long enough to be escaped from, the period of time is meaningful. This number is typically around 5 real world seconds, which is what the game itself uses for most weaker stuns (1.6 * 3). I will be focusing on functional stuns, rather than the more general category of stuns which can include such things as disarms, concussions, etc.

    Stuns are generally used for a few things: Safely attacking a downed person, incapacitation for detainment, retaliatory attacks on someone who is trying to kill you, delaying someone so you can escape, and incapacitating someone so you may steal something from them. To justify the existence of stuns, I'm going to be looking at two things. First, I'm going to look at the functionality of stuns and determine whether or not that functionality is necessary for the game, and second, whether that functionality can only be fulfilled by stuns.

    The first functionality of stuns is to incapacitate someone so that you may safely attack and (presumably) crit or murder them. Is this functionality necessary? You could make a strong argument that a game is unbalanced if there exists a feature in the game that allows you to defeat another player in such an easy way, with the other player rendered defenseless. I would argue that is not as easy it seems, in that you have to aim and hit the other player, while simultaneously avoid being stunned yourself. I also think this adds tension and meaning to every skirmish, as you know all it takes is one shot and it could very well be your last. Still, I suppose that this is still a matter of preference, and so I am forced to say that no, it is not a necessary functionality. Defending stuns on these grounds is not a great argument to make. However, things aren't as simple as that. This what I'll call an emergent functionality, something that exists not because it is an intended design choice of, but as a consequence of the nature of stuns. There is no way to alter the behavior of stuns, still maintaining its core features, and removing this functionality. So long as stuns exist, then this functionality will always exist. So if stuns need to exist for other reasons (and I will argue why they do below) then, this functionality for better or worse, must stay in the game.

    The second functionality of stuns is to incapacitate for detainment. Is this functionality necessary and can it only be fulfilled by stuns? I think that the best way to answer this question is to think about who needs to detain others, and why they need to. The list that I have come up with as follows: Security Officers, Heads of Staff, Cultists (of both types), Shadowlings, Xenomorphs, and Abductors. Changelings and Traitors don't need to restrain others, but are highly incentivized to do so. Security needs to detain so that criminals can be punished and placed in the brig. Heads of Staff need to detain people who break into their department, or otherwise try to mess with them in the absence of Security. Cultists of both types and Shadowlings need to detain people so that they can convert them. Xenomorphs need to detain people so that they cannot escape and remove the larva implanted inside of them. Abductors need to detain people so that they can experiment on them. Traitors and Changelings are incentivized to detain people, as it makes their jobs a lot easier, though it is not necessary.

    So the question now becomes, does there exist a better alternative to implementing detainment than the current system that relies upon stuns? What is necessary for a person to be detained? If a person is moving, they cannot be detained, as any movement on their part cancels the act of detainment. How do you get a person to stop moving? You can convince them, crit them, kill them, or stun them. Convincing someone who you want to detain is in almost all cases not viable, the other party will almost always receive no benefit from allowing themselves to be detained, so they won't do it. Critting a person to detain them introduces the possibility of death, and starts to become an OOC issue. If for example, someone disarms you and you want to arrest them, you can hardly justify almost killing them because they disarmed you once. This means that there are a lot of situations in which the primary mode of detainment would become an OOC issue, I think that this is a bad thing. Killing, is just a more extreme form of stopping movement and has all of the problems that critting does, only intensified. Stunning, has no problems associated with it. Stunning is the ideal solution to stopping movement and allowing for detainment. If a stun can be defined as stopping movement, I would argue that stunning is necessary in all cases. Critting and killing, are just more lethal forms of stuns, but they are still stuns in that they stop movement. In summary, stuns are necessary to stop movement, which is necessary to allow detainment, which is necessary for Security Officers, Heads of Staff, Cultists (of both types), Shadowlings, Xenomorphs, and Abductors to function normally.

    Now I will detail what would happen in the absence of the ability to detain using a stun in the above situations. If Security Officers could not detain people, then those who broke the law could not be stopped or punished without using lethal force. If an assistant were for example, to break a window to a brig cell in front of you, you could not do anything but try to convince, crit, or kill to get him in jail. This would create a strong incentive for players to sign up and greytide the entire station, knowing that they could very easily get away with it. Crime would go through the roof. Critting and killing in the aforementioned situation is not justifiable under the current rule set, so in doing so you would get yourself banned. This introduces a conundrum. You want to enforce the laws, but at the same time if you try to enforce the law, you will get banned. This means that the rules would have to be changed to allow Officers to react with lethal force in many more situations than allowed now. The problem with that, is that it would justify lethal force in functionally every single situation. This would mean that people would just sign up as Security Officers so they could find people committing crime, minor or major, and validly kill them. As a more minor issue, this also means that Officers cannot non lethally deal with people who they are licensed to kill such as antagonists. All traitors,changelings, nukeops, cultists, etc would have to be killed on sight. Whether the rules were to be changed or not, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place in terms of IC behavior. The mob of the greytide versus the mob of the bloodthirsty redtide. The system that we have now, functions much bettter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  2. Dwright92

    Dwright92 Well-Known Member

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    Stuns should have ways to resist them (there are,) so there is no reason to remove them
     
  3. BlueScope

    BlueScope Active Member Ex-Admin

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    I've had thoughts on this, but I'll wait for you to finish. I'm glad someone finally made this thread. Please do contiune.
     
  4. PopNotes

    PopNotes Member Mentor

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    if stuns are a necessary evil then a way to counter them is a necessary evil
     
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  5. OP
    LOGOS_BOT V. 2.52

    LOGOS_BOT V. 2.52 Active Member

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    Well lads I typed up my first actual argument starting at the words "The second functionality of stuns is". Still probably 60 (20 or so for the necessity of stuns, 40 or so arguing against anti-stuns) more paragraphs to write but I don't feel like doing the rest right now.
     
  6. cacogen

    cacogen Member

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    i think the main issue with stuns is the time it takes to get back into the game (either by respawning or after the round ends) if you're detained or killed as a result of them. in most multiplayer games the rounds last a much shorter time and depending on the gamemode you may be able to respawn immediately.

    the other issue is the rarity of antags. if i'm a traitor and i get detained or killed by security as the result of a stun i may have to wait days to become an antag again and days or weeks to become a traitor again.

    to fix the first problem you could make rounds shorter to lower the effect that stuns have (you could argue a stun that kills or detains you lasts not only the length of the stun but for the time you're dead or detained) by making jobs faster to complete (e.g. making the dice rolls less difficult) but i'm not sure if that'd be an overall improvement to the game or not. personally i don't like the idea of shorter rounds.

    you could also allow players to respawn after a certain amount of time out of the round (and maybe this would scale based on surviving population, e.g. the less people alive the more often people can respawn) as a new latejoining crewmember so you don't have a bunch of players sitting in deadchat doing nothing for anyone.

    to the fix the second problem you could increase the amount of chances people have to become an antag in order to make it less punishing to lose as one. again, not sure whether this would improve the game or just turn it into a shitfest where people can't even do their jobs because there are so many antags trying to murderbone them.

    but basically, the way stuns work now is fairly balanced, players just don't like the severity of the consequences imposed on them by losing to them. it doesn't feel proportional.
     
  7. TheLoLKing

    TheLoLKing Active Member

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    TheLoLSwat
    respawning players would abuse meta knowledge to hell and back
     
  8. Damous

    Damous Active Member

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    Just make sure that stuns dont last as long as it does now, so people are given the chance to escape or fight back, getting stunned while having nobody at your side is certain death and unless you have a bomb or ant stuns, thres nothing you can do.
     
  9. GuyonBroadway

    GuyonBroadway Active Member Mentor

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    Ranged stuns should not last long enough to cuff, forcing officers to get in close and use the baton for apprehensions.
     
  10. QuarianCommando

    QuarianCommando Active Member

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    I've already pitched the idea of reworking tasers, and got nothing but negative feedback. The playerbase, as much as it likes to bitch about stuns, will never allow them to be touched directly.
     
  11. cacogen

    cacogen Member

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    It's possible. But how is it any different to people who are cloned or come back in post-death roles like xenobio golems?
     
  12. Roma

    Roma Member

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    Yeah respawn waves could be good if done properly. Lets say each 40 minutes or when pop gets down to 40%. ERT like squad spawns, which has to do actual ert shit instead of bumrushing antags. Some roles could be engineers/medics with dronelike lawset (make them a race who cant fire guns or something like that, you can use some current placeholder races like synths, which would make sense)? And other part of the group is security team with adequate glued and special firing pinned gear? Which has to protect the pacifistic part of the group while they will be recovering bodies? Maybe make a leader/host of the group which is controlled by admin (or someone good) with a restriction for security and maybe civilian part of the group: they get same hud pinpointer as aliens do, which leads to their queen. If host is away at particular range, they will start getting damage and wont be able to see further than 1.5 tiles till they regroup with the leader?
    If metaing info will be a problem, you could use that feature which already exits - seeing other players as different sprite, like it is done with doomguy arena shuttle or bottle of mayhem.
     
  13. TheLoLKing

    TheLoLKing Active Member

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    None of those options are as easy as typing r e s p a w n and the traitor having to deal with the 7 people they killed 5 minutes ago
     

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