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Something’s Missing: AI Allies (Criticism)

by Harmanimus, Monday, January 29, 2018, 23:10 (540 days ago) @ Ragashingo

I know this isn't a new complaint. But some of your specific examples actually rang out as very interesting notions of how Destiny falls short and where opportunities arise for the inclusion of friendly AI. So, this might get obtuse quickly, so bear with me.

I will use Halo as the jumping point as contextually it is the easiest. I think within Halo there are four main circumstances that AI friendlies interact with the player. Those are accompaniment, stationary encounter, vehicle, and fleeing. The first is most cases where you have a team with you or you are escorting one potentially foolish Officer. The second befits the events over the course of "Halo" with its defensive encounters, there is not travel. Vehicles are a mixed bag in the context of Destiny so I'll gloss over that for the most part. Last are the AI trying to get out of dodge, your New Alexandria civilians or fleeing crew members.

I'm sure you can be more or less granular, but I think those distinctions lead to the easiest consideration: two-and-a-half of those can reasonably be fit into Destiny. And other than Devrim actually taking a shot or two these wouldn't be things I would suggest to include all the time.

Framing your approach
The easiest option to fit into missions is the inclusion of frames. Some of the most memorable AI supported encounters in the Halo campaigns are those where you are joining a battle in progress. With Destiny? You're the straw to break the Cabal's back. Easily flexible to give more life to the world without making you fear (as much) for their safety or any other expectations, a small detachment of combat Frames would be a good way to bring some more Friendly AI into a situation. They can be generally stationary, easing up their integration into a story mission or adventure. Or maybe even holding the entry way to a Lost Sector or recovering in the middle of a transitional lane between map sections.

I think this would be the most obvious integration. Throw in periodic drop ships picking up damaged frames and dropping off fresh ones and for the times you're near them you can have some support. So long as they are actually able to deal some damage and takeout some of the AI they're contesting. Also let the drop ships have gunners who suppresses nearby enemies for some flash and verticality.

A day at the beach
Take ODSTs crashing in a Pelican, mix in a dash of Warsat. Bam. A new Public event with friendly AI. This continues to play on the stationary AI use for defending a zone of encroaching enemies, but gives you something more than a circle to protect. Make sure it's actual humans who are able to handle themselves reasonably on their own but not to the point where they don't get overrun w/o Guardian support. Drop in some frames as well for perimeter defense and a few gun hands you don't have to worry about protecting. Also, making them smart enough that they don't just shoot the inside of the Ward of Dawn a Sentinel is bound to drop on them. Or grenade in it.

Having non-Guardian humanity out and about mostly means it would play most to Earth. However, given that Dead Orbit and the other factions do act outside the walls of The City (but especially DO) their ships getting shot down during retrieval of Golden Age tech on Nessus or on a platform on Titan wouldn't be too far-fetched.

Convoys
This is a more complex suggestion, but moves off from the stationary encounters and drops full into a combination of fleeing and vehicle support. We know humanity has tracked loading vehicles. Some converted to tanks. And the general desire to protect those within The Last Safe City has shifted toward even protecting those in the wilds. Don't you think supply convoys or refugee convoys would be something we could encounter? Obviously this is more suited to Earth settings than anywhere else. But you treat it like a roaming band of pikes, or the Enemy Moving Against Each other. Drop in frames, have a few tracks with trailers and turrets up top. You could even make them like public events with specific rewards if you wanted to.

This could also be done where they come in from a lane that leads to another sector already being harassed and they are trying to get to a clearer zone for dust off and/or transmat. If you wanted to go really crazy let players encounter them as they're passing between zones.

Squad Tactics
I don't think friendly AI traveling with Guardians fits the tone of Destiny. We already have to babysit Ghost. And team vehicles aren't really a thing, either. They could be but as it stands they aren't. So some stationary friendly mission encounters or public events and some roaming friendlies in vehicles trying to GTFO, I feel, stylistically fits Destiny very well and I think it would be something nice to see in the future if it is possible.


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