A few simple changes I think would drastically improve the issues people have on Escort/Defence missions in large teams or solo.
- Add shields to all defence and escort targets. Just standard shields that recharge normally. Base the values on the health of the defence/escort target itself so that the shield always remains relevant.
- Add more ‘upgrade’ options like the Wolf Sentry from Void’s Edge (Mission #2). These don’t need to be the same, or need to have the same activation as the Wolf Sentry, but it would allow players a bit more tactical advantage.
Shields add the capability to absorb a few stray shots without affecting your progress. Nobody can reliably stop every single bullet from hitting the sentry or defence core, so a shield serves as a buffer from those few stray attacks. Any sustained damage will still annihilate your target, so it wouldn’t make it too tanky.
As to having more upgrade options, they give players a tactical option when turrets aren’t available, as well as a bit of forgiveness room for slip ups. I’d recommend making each type of target slightly different in terms of how they are activated or how they function. For example:
Defence cores (Renegade, Saboteur etc) could have three shard-cost upgrades.
- Heals the core as well as nearby players (like the Wolf Sentry’s heal)
- Releases pulses every 2 seconds that push enemies back and stun them
- Rotating shield barrier that can be destroyed (Like ISIC’s Rotating Wards)
The Chronicle Sentry (Archive) could have three cooldown-based upgrades
- Fires focused laser beams that have a lifesteal value on the damage dealt, allowing him to heal
- Slows movement, but activates personal shield to make him invulnerable (same style as Geoff’s shield)
- Increases movement of Chronicle and all nearby players for a number of pulses
Abilities like these (these are just examples) would let players recover from mistakes and utilise more tactics to keep their targets alive. Overall, this would reduce the frustration a lot of players have when playing public matches with full groups, since it’s difficult to protect the targets if your other team members aren’t working together very well.
If you have any better ideas for abilities for escort/defence targets, or any comments on how to balance their shields, let me know with a comment below =)