Some comments on Wing Commander Prophecy
For the Wing Commander 6 Team (includes scenario outlines and comments).
Stephen R. Marsh
1401 Holliday STE 316
Wichita Falls, Texas 76301
First, some scenario suggestions, allowing for clustering and more sequential use of the same craft.
I would have liked to see several deep scouting runs in the scout/fighter. (3-4 where we figure out what is up and which way we can take the ship). These could have been used to build the mood -- and make a much better application for the booster pack.
Mission 1 -- Deep Recon. One wingman. Nav 1. Nav 2. [three enemy light fighters] Nav 3 [huge swarm -- use the booster pack to go through and out-run] Nav 4 [two enemy medium fighters] home.
This does several things. First, it provides a warm-up. An empty
Nav point to start a sequence hasn't happened in a number of games (though
you may want to fill the nav point with wreckage and/or toss in a few mines).
In the scout, against three upgraded Morays with one wingman, it is
a nice warm-up fight. The Nav 3 swarm (the "deep point" of the probe)
gives the player an idea of overwhelming enemy force, and way too much to
fight. [B] and autoslide (to keep going when the booster runs out)
to get away. Nav 4, two upgraded Mantas, gives the player a chance
to meet the enemy again, just a little tougher.
Mission 2 -- Deep Recon. No wingmen. Nav 1 [enemy destroyer and light fighter escort]. Nav 2 [huge swarm -- you have to fly in, spend some time near the enemy cap ship -- perhaps launch a marker that hits it, then use booster pack to flee]. Nav 3 [meet with jump generating heavy fighter to escape intercepting enemy ships -- dogfight then follow through jump point -- timing and everything].
This is "just a tourist" mission, with the chance to mix it up a little if
the player wants to try it at Nav 1, some actual work at Nav 2 (either camera
or "paint" missile work), and at Nav 3 you get a wingman who you have to
link up with in order to jump -- while being pursued by enemy craft. Make
it 4 squid and 2 devil rays. Enough that you should jump, but some
people might be able to beat the pursuit and then jump (though you can only
jump if your wingman makes it -- he has the jump engine).
Mission 3 -- Light Fighter relief of Squad in trouble (similar to
the relief of the Black Widow Squadron scenario from the game).
Mission 4 -- No wingman. forward scouting to the jump point for Midway. Nav 1 [empty] Nav 2 [three improved stingrays -- kill them or Midway gets ambushed] Nav 3 [empty, but lots of wreckage] Nav 4 [one Devil Ray or one Ray Cluster, mines].
This is a nice mood mission, with a tough end. A scout against a Ray
Cluster is new to the game and a whole different game -- especially in a
Mission 5 -- diversion. Two wingmen. You are to go in a direction away from the Midway in order to draw the enemy's attention. You get swarmed and have to hold on until the Midway calls you home -- then booster pack it back and jump out on the Midway. [Time to use the Alt R key to get those wingmen home safely. If the game has to kill off a wingman, this is a good time for it to happen]. Nav 1 -- three Moray (need to kill them quickly, which will use up missiles -- stress this point in the ICIS briefing), Nav 2 -- the attention getter, to Nav 3 (close by -- about 15,000k or so is all) which triggers the waves of enemies you have to hold on against until the clock runs and the Midway issues a recall, then [B] back towards Nav 4/Midway.
That is five, good, solid, plot building missions in the scout.
To round it out to a full six or seven (enough for two sets), you could maybe add some light screening action. True screening with light fighters hasn't happened much in the games and it would be a different concept for play.
(oh, I hated the Hellcat in the old days ... I was looking forward to an ArrowIII or a PhantomII. The Tigershark was fun though. The missile pods were something I actually liked.)
You may want to have a couple series of "standard fighter" missions. A few more encounters with the new asteroids and with minefields. Introduce new enemy ships while in the "standard fighter" and run some planet surface missions in it.
Mission 1 -- approach to enemy base. Nav 1, threading minefield. Nav 2, probing asteroids, Nav 3, asteroids, mines and communications gear (kind of like the treasure hunt but with mines in the place of the fakes, and with 4-5 "real" jammers -- which can be destroyed). Nav 4, empty.
Mission 2-- assault asteroid base. Nav 1, melee in asteroids. Nav 2, melee in asteroids, use rocket pack against asteroid base turrets, bridge and storage units. Nav 3, melee in asteroids.
Mission 3 -- assault orbital base.
Mission 4 -- assault ground base.
Mission 5 -- rescue prisoners at ground location/escort SAR
Mission 6-- assault ground HQ
Also, the Standard Fighter could be assigned SAR work -- as the Sabre was. You could do some recovery in a series of assault missions where you get scrambled to recover pilots in various ejection states (in the middle of a fleet, out in the lone of space, near asteroids, etc.).
The standard fighter missions should be followed by three sets of strike missions where in each set you fly one of the three options (the escort/superiority fighter, the cap ship defense fighter, the light-heavy bomber).
In each set you clear out the "light" cap ship(s) attached to a carrier and then the carrier.
When you fly the point defense fighter, you win or lose based on how much damage isn't done to the Midway (each level of damage not done is done to the other ships) in a sequence of missions as you penetrate closer and closer.
Mission One, defend the Midway from a deep strike.
Mission Two, defend the Midway from a close strike.
Mission Three, defend Midway escort ship from strike.
Mission Four, defend strike ship from intercept. (i.e. that escort ship goes after the carrier launching the strikes and you [B] from the Midway to protect from an intercept when its escort is drawn off).
When you fly escort, you win or lose based on how well your bombers do in getting through.
Mission One, deep strike. Nav 1, enemy fighters (light), Nav 2, enemy fighters (standard), Nav 3, enemy fighters and target, Nav 4, enemy fighters (standard). Bombers are just expected to issue a "wake-up" call and divert the enemy's attention, not necessarily kill much. You are just to keep the two bombers alive.
Mission Two, closing strike. You are expected to kill an outlieing task force's escort and clear turrets. (no bombers this run)
Mission Three, intercept capital ship. Same Enemy cruiser on intercept to Midway, you escort bombers to kill it.
Mission Four, killing the carrier. You escort bombers intended to kill the enemy's carrier.
When you fly the bombers, the more damage you do, the less the Midway takes.
Mission One You reach out and hit carrier -- target is the launch bay. Just to get their attention and cripple their assault on an orbital defense station. Shut down scouting runs by crippling launch bay.
[wake-up call/response vs. light ship][reach out and tag light ship][reach out and hit carrier]
Mission Two. You intercept a long range diversionary strike by an enemy cruiser and kill the cruiser.
[defend against close assault][defend against light ship launched assault][defend against long range diversionary strike]
Mission Three. Get out and kill the engines on a fleet killer ship.
[get out and kill corvette in assault force][get out and kill destroyer/lt carrier][kill carrier]
That is plenty of missions and time to get familiar with each craft. WC I had a great advantage in that you flew each craft for a time and had a chance to get familiar with the nuances, etc.
These changes would all make for better gameplay experiences.
COMMENTS ON WCP MISSIONS
B1 -- nice wake-up mission. Good introduction to what it means to have extra wingmen.
B2 -- This is a hard mission. You might have considered a warm-up mission with the rocket pods first. On the other hand, it does make the game seem tough, and is a wake-up call. Switching craft so fast, so early in the game, was a jolt and kind of interferes with settling into the game.
B3 (Tigershark again. The Piranha gets used so little it might as well be a decoration in the game.
B4 in a Wasp (that is three different ships in four missions). I liked the timed nature of the mission.
C1 Another mood mission. I'd like a chance of saving more than just the Redeemer.
C2a Good place for a mission briefing or "bar scene" (remember WC1?) to talk about using missile pods.
C3a Nicely done focus on killing the right target at the right time.
[Note, the losing DL missions are training missions that route you back on the winning track no matter what happens -- well done Origin!]
D1 I like the saving between reloading. I would like to see the use of the Redeemer allow for a save game situation.
D2 It is interesting to see all the enemy aces flying the Devil Rays. I need to think about that feature.
E1 Jamming devices and mines should show up the same on scanners. Several jammers in a mine field might be a better way to execute a mission like this. I'm not sure. I thought it was a great mission myself. I've seen lots of comment on it, so I'm still thinking.
E2 I like the idea of racing against enemy ships for pilot pick-up.
E3a Good mission.
E4a I like having Kilrathi cannon fodder.
F1 I'd like to hear some bug-kilrathi specific taunts.
F2 Lampreys are a funky ship. Interesting stuff, makes me want the leech missile back <g>. I was glad to see that the leech wasn't in the game -- makes for a better game manytimes.
F3 The Shrike was an interesting ship. I'd like a chance to compare it to the Broadsword and the Morninglory.
F5 I liked being able to autopilot out without meeting the second wave if you killed the first wave fast enough.
F6a The clustering ships are neat.
G1 I liked this mission. I would like to see the Shrike's afterburners with a higher top end (and perhaps a lower "normal" speed on the Shrike to balance it out).
G2 A Stormfire would have been nice here (long range, no energy drain -- you could set up a power pattern that diverted power to the shields).
G3 I like having enemy aces enter on the second wave.
H1 The choice was a good point.
H3 Origin -- in this mission if you choose to unload your missiles (from a distance) on the Kraken, the damage ought to show up later. You can target some components and use your swarmers on the Kraken while closing on full AB before you get the "pull out" command. Otherwise this is just a fly by and play tourist mission. It is you and lots of wingmen against a small number of aliens here and there.
H4 I like making the earlier options turn into forced use. (I.e. you can't avoid flying the Devastator or the Vampire at some point).
H5 The Long Range IRs are interesting -- especially in connection with the mission scoring.
I2 Cap ship missiles can be destroyed by IR missiles -- nice touch.
I3 The worst part about this is that the guys you are rescuing can get themselves pretty chewed up *after* you've cleared off the fighter escort. If they get clobbered by the turrets, you still lose that sub-objective.
I4 Nice staging.
I5 Nice staging again.
I6 I'd like this broken into two saves (with the Redeemer and then saving the medal at the end).