[FEEDBACK] - Unstoppable Tracing Is Fundamentally A Mistake

Tracing being a permanently unstoppable global timer constantly ticking away with no way to stop it as long as a single hostile is still conscious on a location is a terrible mistake that needs to be corrected.

The idea of Tracing as a mechanic is to enrich Stealth Netrunning by making it more interesting, reactive and even "challenging", yet as of 2.0;
  • It's not challenging at all due to how laughably easy it is to reduce it, avoid it or entirely delete it as a feature
  • It is not reactive at all because unlike 1.6, enemies in 2.0 have absolutely zero reactions to tracing being performed
  • It is also not interesting either because of its monumentally flawed design as a permanent global timer that cannot be stopped
Which all of it brings it to the core issue of 2.0 Tracing;
  • It either permanently exists only if intentionally triggered
  • Or it permanently doesn't exist if intentionally avoided (Sonic Shock or Mind Wipe aka Tracing Feature Killers)
There is simply no middle ground, no in-between where a player can enjoy what Tracing is supposed to be and enjoy stealth Netrunning at the same time. It's one or the other... and that's why it fundamentally falls apart as a reworked mechanic since 2.0 because it should be an addition that enriches the stealth experience, but instead just meaninglessly punishes it in the most shallow way.

To prove this; here are very clear examples where Stealth Netrunning meets Tracing and everything falls apart;

*May be loud*

*Yes it triggered combat for a split second and thus ruined the gig's peaceful outcome*

Is this challenging gameplay? No. Is this interesting gameplay? Hell no. Instead of a feature that is supposed to make stealth Netrunning more interesting, reactive and challenging... to give it some fascinating cyber oomph that feels satisfying to play with and overcome, it's instead a lazily slapped-on feature which brings nothing of note to stealth, made to intentionally ruin it for no legitimate reason at all as it just keeps annoyingly ticking away, without anyone even posing a threat.

A mechanic which then forces a player to make a choice; tracing will either exist or not exist in their playthrough.

There is simply no middle-ground where a player can enjoy both Stealth Netrunning and Tracing as they could in 1.6, because in 2.0 it's fundamentally flawed as a permanently unstoppable global ticking timer with absolutely zero reactions, performed by nobody in particular.

  1. Make it better than what it was in 1.6 by dynamically rewarding or punishing the player depending on their stealth.
    • If an enemy gets hacked or becomes alerted after another enemy got hacked, they start performing a trace. If they get taken out, tracing stops but its progress remains.
    • If all enemies on a location become alerted after someone's been hacked, then everyone starts globally performing a trace that actually will persist until everyone is taken care of.
    • If there is an enemy Netrunner on site, taking them out will entirely disable tracing on site.
  2. Mind Wipe T5 - Considering that it costs 32 RAM which is more than any Ultimate quickhack in the game, why not have it also stop tracing since it already wipes the minds of enemies to pacify them.
  3. Another solution would be to have to perform certain actions on location. If tracing starts then an access point gets marked. V has to reach it and breach it to completely disable tracing by accessing the location's network security.
  4. Another simple solution would be to instead have it act as a progress bar, rather than a permanent ticking timer. A sort of representation as if V's poking around the network's security with each hack and bumping into its firewalls. An example;
    • Uploading Synapse Burnout +25% progress
    • Now the progress bar starts ticking up to 25% progress and then stops
    • Player uploads Short Circuit +30% progress
    • Now the progress bar continues ticking once again, this time to 55% and then stops
    • Allowing the player to control just how far they want to go before having to start reducing it
There are so so so many ways tracing can be done better and in much more interesting ways, one that actually complements and enriches Stealth Netrunning that's not just a shallow "KILL EVERYONE IMMEDIATELY" unstoppable punish timer that forcibly goes against the very design it's supposed to be enriching.
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I agree, and think any one of your suggested solutions would be better than the current system.

With my current character, I am doing full stealth but haven't found T3 Sonic Shock or its crafting spec yet -- so, when I can't get everyone by blowing up canisters and microwaves, performing takedowns, or nailing headshots with my pistol, tracing is unavoidable. At which point I simply run away to make the trace fail. Gets quite repetitive sometimes...
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