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Dr.Nick
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« on: June 29, 2019, 05:22:11 PM »

Pathfinders

Skip down to “New Designs” if you want to go straight to my rework ideas.

Pathfinders are a unit unique to OMG mod in the American Airborne doctrine. They were one of the first new units envisioned for the mod when it was first in development but have never been properly fleshed out from their original idea. In the past I have spoken about my interest in Pathfinders and desire to see them as a core unit to Airborne doctrine and that still stands today. In this post I will be detailing my ideas behind how I think the unit can be changed and improved upon and I hope the development team will take my suggestions into consideration.

From wikipedia:
“During World War II, the pathfinders were a group of volunteers selected within the Airborne units who were specially trained to operate navigation aids to guide the main airborne body to the drop zones. The pathfinder teams (sticks) were made up of a group of eight to twelve pathfinders and a group of six bodyguards whose job was to defend the pathfinders while they set up their equipment. The pathfinder teams dropped approximately thirty minutes before the main body in order to locate designated drop zones and provide radio and visual guides for the main force in order to improve the accuracy of the jump. These navigational aids included compass beacons, colored panels, Eureka radar sets, and colored smoke.[9] When they jumped, the pathfinders many times would encounter less resistance than the follow-up waves of paratroopers, simply because they had the element of surprise on their side.[9] Once the main body jumped, the pathfinders then joined their original units and fought as standard airborne infantry.”

Pathfinders played a very important role during WW2 for the allies and I believe we design a fun and balanced unit around that history.

Old design:
In the past Pathfinders were planned to be a relatively weak scouting unit that would deploy beacons on the map which would lower the call-in timer for other Airborne platoons.
Problem: We were never able to figure out how to make the beacons work with everything or how to balance it.

Current design:
4 men
Airborne Armor
HP
Carbines
Grenades/Satchel Charges
55 LoS . 18/0 detection (jeep stats)
Cloak in cover

Problem: Pathfinders serve well as scouting units but how no extra utility beyond that and none is currently planned. This makes them pretty boring beyond the occasional ambush which they aren’t even good at.

New designs.

Historically Pathfinders deployed in advance of other Airborne soldiers to help make deployment more accurate. They secured LZs and went on to fight with the rest of their battalion. I believe we should give Pathfinders in OMG abilities and upgrades that reflect their real world usage with the intent of making Airborne play more diverse and dynamic.

Core Mechanic of Pathfinders:
Fast Deployment. To reflect Pathfinders being the first troops on the ground I suggest we make all Pathfinder call-ins instant. No call-in timer.

Construction. This will allow Pathfinders to prepare and defend the LZs that they mark and allow them to function as Airborne engineers to a degree.

Cloak OR the disabling/quieting of the Airborne deployment sound effect (the loud plane sound).
This will reflect how Pathfinders generally didn’t have to fight to secure an LZ and lets them be sneaky in their deployments since LZs were almost always behind enemy lines.


Deployment Beacons. Instead of reducing Airborne deployment times I suggest that Pathfinders be given the ability to place beacons that will buff Airborne troops that land around them for a set duration. This will encourage Airborne squads to land in these zones and then go fight with some light/moderate bonuses for a short time. It will also give enemies a target to focus on since there will only be a limited number of beacons in a game.

Beacon stats:
-Buffs on landing for troops within 40m:
Received suppression .9
Cooldown .7
Reload .7
Sprint for 7 seconds
-Triangulation device armor and stealth but with 50% more HP
-Gives off Green Smoke even in fog of war
-Has 30 LoS
-Construction Time 20 seconds. This makes Pathfinders vulnerable while its setting up.

Pathfinders A : Elite Vanguard
Low unit pool/Resupply
0 Call-in timer
4 Men
Ranger Armor / 260 HP
3 Garands, 1 Carbine
35 LoS,  7/0 detection

Abilities:
-Cloak in Cover
+5 LoS while cloaked
Alternatively..
-Crawl Cloak with no bonus LoS
-Construction Engineering;
Barbed Wire, Sandbags, Triage Center, Medic Tent, MG Nest
Comes with LZ beacons by default.


Upgrades:
-2 Thompsons
-1 RR (or sticky bombs)
-Grenades
-Stun Grenades (These would be a much more useful grenade for cloaked Pathfinders to ambush with)
-MG Nest
-Triage Center
-Medic tent

This design variant aims to make Pathfinders a small but elite squad capable of dropping ahead of larger airborne squads and preparing an LZ with defenses and fortifications.
I chose Ranger armor over Airborne armor as it allows them to fight more effectively from cover or as a stationary unit but they can still support regular airborne squads in further assaults.
I think the squad should have light AT options to fight off light vehicles but not a tank.

I will be posting more variants here later today.

« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 05:37:40 PM by Dr.Nick » Logged

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Tommy952
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2019, 10:11:18 AM »

Hi Nick, thanks for taking the time to write this up.

Full disclosure; Airborne is the next doctrine in the line up for a facelift and as it currently stands, Pathfinders are on the chopping block for removal. The rationale being that they serve no real purpose (besides gimmick bunker busting with satchel charges) and are unnecessarily padding the roster. Making them relevant would require more than minor touch ups (like we did with Mech Inf) and probably a full on redesign of the types you are proposing, and therefore outside the scope of a monthly patch.

As to your suggestions, a lot of these are already being planned for implementation, albeit not attached to Pathfinders. Stealth deployments for example have been suggested as a replacement for Prepared LZ - not going to be in place for the next patch but is tabled for feasibility testing.

Again with beacons buffing recently dropped troops, this has been offered up as a potential doctrinal unlock which provides blanket combat buffs to Airborne drops for a limited period of time. Making it only work on a radius around a beacon is conceptually a nice idea, but may be tricky to implement.

Our general thinking is that conceptually it sounds cool to have these abilities tied to Pathfinders in a way that makes them relevant, but in the interest of feasibility and user-friendliness, it might be simpler to have them as uncomplicated doctrinal unlocks rather than attached to a unit which, outside of those abilities, would probably still be struggling to find a niche.
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Dr.Nick
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2019, 07:58:12 PM »

Hi Tommy and thanks for the response!
Ill start by addressing your post.

Quote
Pathfinders are on the chopping block for removal. The rationale being that they serve no real purpose (besides gimmick bunker busting with satchel charges) and are unnecessarily padding the roster.
Agreed there pretty much. Pathfinders right now are just an extremely good spotting unit but otherwise feel very out of place in the Airborne roster. Its been that way for a long time so I wanted to write something up for formally since I always wanted Pathfinders to have a good role in the mod. I think they have a lot of potential as a new unit.

Quote
aking them relevant would require more than minor touch ups (like we did with Mech Inf) and probably a full on redesign of the types you are proposing, and therefore outside the scope of a monthly patch.

Sure. Personally I think they need a full redesign if they are going to have a place in OMG.

Quote
As to your suggestions, a lot of these are already being planned for implementation, albeit not attached to Pathfinders. Stealth deployments for example have been suggested as a replacement for Prepared LZ - not going to be in place for the next patch but is tabled for feasibility testing.

Yeah I know. Stealth deployments is currently slated as a T3 in the old Airborne doctrine and something I pitched to Gamery Andy waaaay back in the day. Anyways my point is that I am fully up for rearranging the and restructuring the Airborne doctrine to make it better. Personally I wish doctrines were a bit less strong, especially T2s, but if the dev team winds are blowing the opposite direction then it only makes sense to changes Airborne instead of Axis doctrines. Airborne doctrine could use some changes even if power creep is reigned in.

Quote
Again with beacons buffing recently dropped troops, this has been offered up as a potential doctrinal unlock which provides blanket combat buffs to Airborne drops for a limited period of time. Making it only work on a radius around a beacon is conceptually a nice idea, but may be tricky to implement.

Yeah I had originally wanted to add an ability in for Airborne deployment buffs in the higher tiers but I thought it would apply quite well to the beacons if we cannot get the deployment time modifier to work.

Quote
Our general thinking is that conceptually it sounds cool to have these abilities tied to Pathfinders in a way that makes them relevant, but in the interest of feasibility and user-friendliness, it might be simpler to have them as uncomplicated doctrinal unlocks rather than attached to a unit which, outside of those abilities, would probably still be struggling to find a niche.
[/b]

I think what you brought up here is very important so I have put in in bold and hope we can discuss it more below. I think this is the crux of the issue. Perhaps I should have made LZ beacons a separate post but too late now so we may as well discuss it here.

To me the whole point of Pathfinders is based of their historical purpose; to allow bigger Airborne deployments to land accurately and safely.

Now I think it would make Airborne more interesting as a doctrine to make the LZ beacons a core part of the Airborne doctrine, as in something you get from the start just like Wehr defense gets different kinds of bunkers or Armor gets Mechanized Infantry.

You could make Pathfinders some kind of super infantry squad without the beacons capable of clearing an LZ by themselves but if they were that strong I doubt players would use them the same way and they would be a nightmare to balance.

You could use regular Airborne to deploy beacons but think making a separate unit that has its own limitations on upgrades and abilities makes more sense instead of giving every Airborne squad the ability to be a pathfinder. Pathfinders did have their own special training historically.

In the end I just feel it would make Airborne gameplay, both from the AB players perspective and from an enemys counter-play perspective much more interesting to have a Pathfinder unit in the game equation. Having to worry about advanced AB drops or AB LZ strongpoints gives the Axis players interesting choices. Giving AB players the option of deploying AB around the map or in a more consolidated area gives them an interesting choice.
I would admit that AB already have that choice now but theres not much weight to it. Deploying around the map in areas that arent firmly in your control is almost always a bad idea. Pathfinders would enable the player to set up a defensive position behind enemy lines to conduct more daring AB operations. If you think the same thing would still occur perhaps it would be a good idea to enable the drop buffs only in enemy territory?

Those are my main thoughts for now. I think that AB could still be made interesting without Pathfinders as a unit but I feel that they would lend AB doctrine a new and unique core mechanic along with a fun unit that has its own unique strengths and weaknesses and historical flavor.
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Then again there is that truck from Stuart, that might presumably NOT have food in it, although I doubt it."
-Lisek

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Sir we're surrounded!
Excellent! Now we can attack in any direction we want!

..maybe some day they'll see..
A hero is just a man who knows he's free
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2019, 01:23:38 PM »

All the airborne units (pe included) would work better if they could capture territory behind enemy lines and cut off territory and if holding territory had any real meaning in omg
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