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Scoundrel IEDs need changes

Hello, everybody! During the most recent Monthly Discussion, we discussed classes. One topic covered was scoundrel IEDs, and that conversation -- and a few following it -- have generated this forum post.


  • IEDs require lessons to make but not use, contrary to stated developer intent
  • Constructing IEDs requires junk, meaning marks
  • Constructing IEDs takes quite a bit of time
  • Bandoliers have problems for multiclass and occupy clothing slots
Desired Developer Response:
  • Rework the IED abilities as restrictions on whether the scoundrel can use an IED, not on whether a scoundrel can construct an IED.
  • Remove the junk element entirely.
  • Remove the time element for constructing IEDs.
  • Remove bandolier requirement.

Diving In...

The Situation

Scoundrel IEDs require a few things to make before use:

1) The requisite lesson investment for each IED and mods, if any, added thereto.
    a) The IED abilities within the Improvisation skill bestow upon the scoundrel the capability of constructing the IEDs
    b) These abilities do not affect whether the scoundrel can use the IEDs herself. There are other abilities within Improvisation required for using the skills, such as the following:
         i) Fling
        ii) Trigger
       iii) Multibomb
       iv) Hide
        v) Tripwire
    c) Some abilities interact with them once placed in the room with Hide, such as:
        i) Detonate
       ii) Facesmash
      iii) Taking cover behind the IED placed on a prop
    d) Because of b) above, a scoundrel can currently get an IED she cannot make herself from someone who can make it. This is not intended, we learned during the Monthly Discussion.

2) Junk, of the variety dropped from mobs of a suitable level while bashing. Junk has different values in marks, and each piece of junk's marks value determines how many IEDs are constructed. This results in a range of IEDs constructed, typically something like 2-25 IEDs
    a) IEDs cost marks to make.
    b) To reiterate, a scoundrel has to bash mobs that grant experience to that player to get junk.
    c) The daily junk cap, if hit, functions quite like an absolute bar to using IEDs for more bashing. This occurs far more often than before for two reasons:
        i) The daily credits cap of 20, if bashed for, means bashing a lot more mobs than needed just for junk cap.
       ii) The Talents grind incentivizes even longer bashing sessions per day than what is needed to reach the dailycredits cap.
    d) This forces scoundrels to bash in order to get resources for PVP.

3) Time. Each IED CONSTRUCT command consumes 4.5s of balance.
    a) Assuming, for the sake of argument, each IED CONSTRUCT command generates on average 10 IEDs, refilling a bandolier takes 225 seconds. This is about 3.75 minutes. (A bandolier can hold 500 of any kind of IED + mod.)
    b) IED CONSTRUCT requires being out of combat. And we all know it takes a while to get out of combat, so add that to the 225s in a).
    c) The time it takes to get enough junk to make everything depends on a number of factors, including level, bashing proficiency, equipment, and so on.
    d) No other class needs to spend minutes stocking up on supplies essential to an entire class skill.
        i) An engineer can craft a bunch of turrets, but those last for days, if undisturbed, and they're not necessary for taking advantage of the Turrets skill.
       ii) Similarly, an engineer can stock up on things like hoverboards to disassemble at a later time, but they've got abilities like Airdrop to refill in order to rekit.
      iii) More important than fixating upon similarities or differences between the scoundrel and engineer preparation cycle is this: that just because something's not really player friendly in one area of the game (engineers being incentivized to stock up on things like turrets and hoverboards) does not mean that scoundrels should have to deal with the same problem; a problem is a problem.
    e) For something like a xenohunt, taking multiple five minute timeouts just to get back to being fully operational is a recipe for failure.

4) Bandoliers, while not required for making IEDs, are required for storing them. They hold up to 500 of each type of IED, for every type of mod. (That's a lot of IEDs.
    a) These IEDs are not saved on class swap using multiclass. This is a big deterrent to using the multiclass system.
    b) The bandolier is yet another thing we have to wear. This means scoundrels all have to wear one more item of clothing, which, in conjunction with the knuckles and jetpack, have to wear more clothing and therefore have fewer clothing slots for character customization.
    c) That the bandolier can hold so many IEDS begs one important thematic question and one less important one.
        i) HOW?
       ii) And why can't we just stick a fuse in the bandolier and toss it, instead?
    d) By the way, if you carry too many bombs in inventory, you suffer a "fumble" balance penalty to your IED skills. This was a bandaid fix for people making thousands of IEDs ahead of time; that was too many items in inventories for the game to handle smoothly.

Proposed Solution
  1. Rework the IED abilities as restrictions on whether the scoundrel can use an IED, not on whether a scoundrel can construct an IED. This comports with stated developer intent.
  2. Remove the junk element entirely. This brings scoundrel in line with other classes.
  3. Remove the time element for constructing IEDs. Let the skills function like everybody else's skills: IED FLING RIPPER SHRAPNEL, plus the lesson investment, is all a scoundrel needs.
  4. Remove bandolier requirement. These changes render it superfluous and resolve the multiclass problem.

Alternative Solutions I'd Accept

  1. Turn suckerpunch into an even better haymaker so I never need to fling again
  2. Make quickload a speed buff The Flash would be proud of
  3. Reimplement magtoss

Alternative Solutions I'd Accept, Begrudgingly (AKA Bandaids)

  1. A 30s balance ability that completely fills up the bandolier
  2. IED abilities don't actually use the IED items, or the IEDs get +1 to their quantity after use

A Brief Discussion on Scoundrel Themes of Improvisation and Preparedness

One of the most interesting discussions that the Monthly Discussion generated was that of what's compelling about the scoundrel's identity. One scoundrel, in Discord, commenting on IEDs and this topic generally, said, "On one hand, Scoundrel's rugged preparedness is a part of the flavor. On the other hand, this is the future. Scarcity is an illusion. We print food." I replied, "I think scoundrel's theme of rugged preparedness comes not from making IEDs but from taking the time to do something with them. Also, I think the scoundrel's theme of improvising as things develop is even more important."

It is my opinion that scoundrel's theme becomes more focused on improvisation if IED junk reliance and creation time are removed. We retain the thematic aspect of preparation by taking time to set tripwires and hide bombs and going into vigilant stance or whatever. Placing bugs, too, requires foresight and planning. Improvised cover, to a lesser extent, can be used for preparation.

These proactive preparations available to scoundrels leave a far greater impression on the player than having to make bombs beforehand. Every scoundrel would want to have 500 of every type of bomb on hand, but for the time, marks, and general hassle involved. It's not a decision, but rather a boring necessity. Scoundrels don't have to make PIECE ammo. Why? Because it would be tedious and it adds nothing to the game.


Thanks for reading. Please change IEDs and remove bandoliers. Thanks. Also, thanks to the scoundrels who've been involved in getting these ideas together, with a special thanks to Nykara, Morgan, and Zarrach for discussing these things over the past half year or so.


  • edited April 2020
    Okay, I just wanna drop my thoughts on this for posterity/record reasons:

    Junk requirement/Bandolier requirement: Both of these are a massive limit on how IEDs function, and after the aforementioned Discord discussion, I realized both of these for what they are, and they're just two slapped on restrictions to deal with people who wanted half a billion bombs at any given moment.

    Remove junk requirement but instead of going back to the old 'I can make a random amount of bombs out of nothing' scheme, your IEDs yields scale with improvisation skill level. At low levels, you don't really need bombs, but they're nice to have so you can churn out say a flat 20 of each with a "default" balance cost, for example. At max improvisation, you churn out a full 100 at a time at a negligible balance cost. Maybe more, maybe less.

    This may also indirectly solve or soften the blow of multiclassing into Scoundrel if the only real limitation is just sinking a couple seconds of time, or just stop deleting bombs between class swaps if at all possible.

    Bandolier storage:
    This is just my own take on how storage works - this is not just for bandoliers - and this is just one method, so take it for what it is worth. I don't think objects are physically stored on your person, but virtually stored on you in some way. Yes, you can still use conventional backpacks, bags, and pouches as you would in reality but I was having my own issues with trying to come up with a way I could shove just about anything into any container item and it not change shape.

    It's all digital/virtual - whichever you like to use, I am not entirely sure there's a difference here - so the bandolier is less of a belt strap with a bunch of loops on it and more like a flexible data storage device with predefined limits on how much you can store on it. Your sim just keeps track of what you have, and how much.

    Additional thoughts:
    As powerful/useful as mindsims are, I think it'd greatly reduce the load on them (and maybe the game in the long run?) if we just had an omnibomb instead of like 10 different bombs with 3 different potential modifications. Though this massively goes against the flavor of improvisation.

    Do I like the idea of blowing up an entire bandolier of IEDs? Yes.
    Do I see other ways that would look/play out? Also yes.
    I forgot I was going to call myself Ike while in chargen, so now I'm Zarrach.
  • Update: scoundrel IEDs received changes!

    After the recent monthly discussion, we've implemented a few changes to how IEDs work in Starmourn. Maybe they're not all exactly what you were hoping for, but I believe it's a step in the right direction.
    - Switching or quitting the Scoundrel class will no longer wipe the contents of your bandolier
    - Constructing IEDs no longer requires junk
    - Constructing IEDs will yield batches of 50
    - You may now construct IEDs in combat
    - You should no longer be able to use an IED if you don't have the appropriate skill in Improvisation
    - The syntax has been slightly updated, since you can no longer specify what you need to build the IED from

    These changes adequately address the issues, IMO. =)
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