I posted this over at the official Chromehounds forum.
I've logged about 85 hours in Chromehounds and enjoy it a lot. But, a lot of the game design choices seem odd to me, and I'm not all that surprised that the game isn't well known or very popular. So here are some of my ideas on what I think would make Chromehounds better. Please post your ideas, too
I've tried to keep my ideas fairly modest. I understand that programming a video game isn't simple work (I've been a QA tester at EA games for 5 different projects), so simple game changes are much more easy to adopt than massive ones.
1. Let players join Neroimus War missions regardless of squad affiliation.
When creating a mission in the Neroimus War, players should be able to toggle whether or not they want the mission to be "Squad-only" or "Open" to all pilots of the nation. In my opinion, forcing the War into a "squad-only" system was a critical mistake of this game, and really sank the game's multiplayer appeal.
Just let players open up a mission to all players in the nation, and you'll see a lot more 6 v 6 matches.
2. Text communication through USB keyboards and the upcoming 360 "chatpad" accessory.
For those not aware, you can hook up a USB keyboard to your 360 and can type messages on it. And soon Microsoft will release a "chatpad" accessory for the 360's controller. It's basically a keyboard you peck on with your thumbs.
Text chat is simply a "good thing" and the game will benefit from it's addition.
Plus, it would be GREAT if we could at least text chat with the enemy team during the Briefing Room portion of the Neroimus War. Find out what's taking so freaking long for them to launch, for example I understand that this game is a "simulation" and is trying to simulate real war, but I think some liberties can be taken and people wouldn't mind.
3. Fix or remove the monetary system of the game.
Money has no value whatsoever in this game, and the Sell button in the Shop has no purpose, either. The money system is extremely broken, and what's worse, this has severe consequences on the combat balance of the game, too. Either fix the money, or get rid of it entirely and balance the game appropriately.
It appears the game designers intended money to be something that discouraged you and encouraged you to use certain Hound builds, certain weapons, certain ammo, and even attack certain areas of the map. But even below average players like me have insane amounts of money. I can always buy the most expensive parts and ammo, and mission rewards and costs are totally irrelevant.
So, please give me a reason to care about money, what I do with it. Give me a reason to use that Sell option in the Shop.
4. Get rid of those "_____ has made a Massive Donation" messages. 'Nuff said.
5. Add Weapon Restriction options for the Free Battles.
It is very common to see people request that people not use certain weapons, and I think the game should give these people a real way to enforce these desires. Rainbow Six Vegas, a very popular Xbox Live game, has this option.
6. When a player is destroyed in a War battle, let them observe the game through the viewpoints of their teammates's Hounds.
It's boring walking around as an infantry man, waiting for the game to end. Give us something to watch, at least!
7. Take away ALL my stuff at the end of each war.
I saved this idea for last as it's my most extreme one. At the end of each war, I think every player's inventory should be stripped. Let the players keep their Assembly Data, but take away all their parts.
Why do this? To give players a reason to fight, to make money, and a desire to buy goodies again. A reason to use that Trade option. In the real world, people make money so they can buy more stuff, to trade with people, and so forth. But in Chromehounds, you have everything in the game. There's nothing to buy, because you have everything already.
And if the money system is fixed (idea #3), this would also force players to make their buying and selling decisions wisely. And with the addition of a text chatroom (idea #2), players could easily buy/sell things to other players within their nation if they prefer that over the Shop's deals.
Give players one Hound of each roletype at the beginning of each War, though. Or at least enough parts that they can play different roles right from the start. Don't want to punish people too severely..
I think this idea also works well in the context of the game's story. If the war has restarted because we've gone back in time, we shouldn't keep all our stuff.