Squad Link is a bit of a bust. The short version is that it's a totally unnecessary and completely arbitrary solution to a manufactured problem. There's just no reason for it to exist in the current iteration when you can put a randomly generated Tenno "Councilor JJ" in the popup message and I would never be able to tell the difference – nor care! Squad Link and all of the technical complexity it brings is pointless unless squads are physically interacting in the same map, which is even more technically complex.
Meanwhile DE has managed to blindly stumble upon an even better version of Squad Link, that does what Squad Link is supposed to do but better and in a less complex way. I'm talking about the support consoles inside of the Scarlet Spear relay. We can call it Squad Support. You can go to the event console, see the active squads, and send support to a squad in need. The result is immediate and impactful. I get a message from the player whose name I now know thanking me, and the player gets a support package in their mission that helps them actually complete their mission – not some arbitrary token that's required for mission progression just because the game says so. Additionally, DE has found a second good idea in the event's relay chat. Yes it's spammed with garbage, but the important part is that it's accessible while you're in a mission! You can actually communicate with other squads and phone home to HQ to ask for help, and then get that help in a way that actually matters. It's really, really good. It's the best part of Scarlet Spear.
I think DE should shelve Squad Link until they have a better concept for it, and instead focus on more compelling Squad Support mechanics. Here's how it could work:
- Region Chat is renamed to System Chat.
- A new Region Chat is added to each planet/location.
- Region Chat can be used by anyone in the region, whether they're in an active mission or in a hub instance.
- Doing a mission moves you to that region's chat.
- You'll start in whatever region you last did a mission in.
- If you're in your Orbiter you can manually move to a different region, which plays a little Railjack jump animation, changes the skybox, and joins you to that region.
- Region Chat is enabled by having a hub location active in that region. Cetus/Fortuna, Relays, Maroo's Bazaar, Proxima Outposts, etc. Regions without a hub won't have region chat, or maybe the chat is art▋fic▋lly gar▋led.
- Relay/hub construction can be started on any region by anyone and requires community donation and goals – think Junction tasks but community-wide.
- Relays can now be destroyed by the periodic events like the Razorback, Fomorian, or Emissary.
- The Navigation room in the Relays are updated, allowing players in the hub to view active missions on the planet and send support. Hubs like Fortuna or Cetus get a smaller Navigation console.
- Players in a non-full mission in the region can deploy a flare to request reinforcements, which turns their squad into a mini-Alert that can be filled by players on the hub even if it isn't normally joinable.
|Mission Type||Available Support|
|Any mission||Send a supply crate with ammo/health/energy, send a squad of Specters, refresh team revives, revive a downed/dead member, answer a reinforcements request|
|Assassination||Assist with the boss fight (boss specific)|
|Capture||Lock a door in the target's escape route that the target needs to hack|
|Defection||Revive or heal the defectors, fill healing towers|
|Defense||Heal the pod, deploy turrets in the area|
|Disruption||Replace a tower debuff with a buff, kill an active/the next demolyst|
|Excavation||Heal an excavator, provide shielding to an excavator, supply power to an excavator, speed up an excavator, etc|
|Exterminate||Kill a number of the enemies, send a squad damage buff|
|Hijack||Heal the hijack target, give it a speed boost, deploy a distraction to reduce enemy spawns, etc|
|Salvage||Send a supply crate with charges, fill all the consoles|
|Interception||Take over a tower, apply a debuff to the area of a tower (like an electric proc in the area)|
|Mobile Defense||Reduce the timer of a console, heal a console|
|Rescue||Provide a buff to the rescue target, disable the kill timer|
|Sabotage||Hack the blast door?|
|Spy||Disable the alarms in a vault|
|Survival||Send a life support tower|
|Railjack||Send an allied NPC crewship or fighter wing|
Sending support costs credits, resources, or consumable items. Like the current system, supporting a team can't be done too often and either has requirements that need to be met or a cooldown. When a supported team completes their mission you get a reduced copy of their mission rewards and some standing for a new Support Faction. If I'm supported and find 1,000 Plastids, when I leave the mission I get 1,000 Plastids and maybe my support gets 100 Plastids and 200 Support Faction Standing. The Support Faction sells resources, consumable items, Forma/Potatoes/Tomatoes/Relic bundles/etc, as well as some new cosmetics.
I think something like this would do a lot to tie together existing systems and make the game world feel more alive and interconnected in a more organic and less arbitrarty way.
Source: Original link
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