Hey guys, I'm Chocolate Pi aka Thinkaman. As of this post, I have the second highest single player Life of Crime score, and the top-rated editor level. Like all arrogant celebrities, I want to use this dubious authority to preach about an issue that is important to me.Let's have some Real Talk™ about the Hacker.CHAPTER 1: Hacker 101, with T-RexCHAPTER 2: Objectively Speaking, The Hacker Sucks
Why is the Hacker the worst character in Monaco, for every possible usage of the word worst? Let us count the ways:1) Power outlets are aesthetically lame.
The Hacker is supposed to be a wizard with computers, the guy who pulls something out of his pocket that was probably stolen from the NSA. Sticking crap in power outlets? That's not a scene from Ocean's Eleven, that's a scene from The Hangover 5.Every character in Monaco has a cool and sexy power except the Hacker, who gets to lick power outlets instead.2) Random outlets are frustrating and don't make any sense.
The guy in the back stands up and yells "Video games aren't supposed to be realistic!" Thanks for the insight bro, but that's not the problem we're talking about.
Players like it when game mechanics make sense
and consistent within their world, even if they aren't consistent with the real one. That's why Monaco guards all have short-term memory loss, but don't randomly turn into elephants and start shooting homing railguns at you.New players I surveyed expressed confusion at the fact that power outlets move, particularly because no other interact-able object behaves in this way.3) Random outlets make the Hacker the most random character.
In Monaco, loot and NPC spawn points are randomized. There are pros and cons to this; I feel the pros definitely outweigh the cons, and the developers seem to agree.
What makes it cool is how every character has unique tools that allow them to adapt to different loot and NPC conditions directly.
Except the Hacker.
So okay, the Hacker doesn't specialize in loot or NPCs, and he gets screwed over by the randomness of those things a little more than the other characters; that's not the end of the world.
The issue is that the Hacker also
has to deal with a third
source of randomness unique to him--one way bigger than loot or NPCs.The Hacker has to get a really good outlet spawn to be dubiously equal to the other characters. So... why bother?4) Having No Hacks And No Outlets Feels Like This:No other character loses access to their special advantages and becomes situationally useless. This miserable player experience is confined exclusively to the Hacker.5) Successfully Getting A Ton Of Hacks Going At Once Is Anticlimactic
Getting 4 or 5 hacks going at once feels super cool--for about 2 seconds.
"Ahaha, I am a modern warlock, a technological demigod! None shall--OH CRAP, A CIVILIAN IS COMING! How did they know my one weakness?!?
"All the other characters feel awesome when they excel at their specialy, whether it's a Cleaner taking down a half dozen guys in a a row, or a Mole who dug an epic tunnel. The Hacker feels like "Uh, now what?"6) The Hacker Is Statistically The Worst Character On The Leaderboard. By A Lot.
The only Hacker top-10 score in all of 1-player Locksmith's story is on Hotel, where he is one of the only 4 characters to select. And he even then only has 1
Across all of 1-player Pickpocket's story, Hacker is part of only 6 top-ten scores. Most of these are 10th; the only high placing one is my own Pearls Before Swine time. (Where I used him as a disposable lead.)
The Hacker is not used even once
multiplayer top-10 score, even though multiplayer scores on average use more characters!The characters should not be balanced purely around speedrun times, but the data is still a valuable indicator of an underlying problem.
I surveyed several inexperienced players after looking at this data, and found universal agreement that the Hacker was "lame", "weak", and "never better than anyone else." Two players I talked to expressed that they didn't finish the game
, because they wanted to play Hacker but he didn't seem good enough!The Hacker is statistically speaking, total garbage. As far as high scores go, he is used less than one-eighth as much as the second-least used character. (Cleaner)INTERMISSION: Happy Puppy Fun Fact Time
This is Toby:
Fun facts about Toby:
- Toby is only a few months old, but already loves to run!
- Toby is a picky eater, but will always eat anything with beef.
- One time, a butterfly landed on Toby's nose, and he sneezed!
- Toby was part of a six pup litter; all boys, and they all look almost identical!
- Every time a power outlet spawns next to ladder, an angry lumberjack throws one of Toby's brothers into a meat grinder.
Anyway, back to Monaco.CHAPTER 3: A Day In The Life Of The Hacker
Alright, so the Hacker is statistically about as useful as Nokia N-Gage. We get it.
So what?! We all know that statistics are the pawns of <ENEMY POLITICAL PARTY HERE> and should be fully ignored. Just because truth, science, and objective reasoning says the Hacker sucks, doesn't mean I can't have fun with him!
Ergo, my quest: I will make a solo Hacker run on the second half of Pickpocket's story. By doing so, I will prove
to all the haters that he is at least passably mediocre!
So I started on Hospital. The Hacker has a little trouble getting through the first floor, but there's a great place early on for him to showcase his talents:
Oh. The outlets spawned behind the door, making my character useless. Oh well, you win some, you lose some, right?
What in the name of Sam Hill's bowling pants is going on here?
Modern science has yet to invent profanity strong enough to describe the level of absolute bullcrap
we are faced with here. We will be forced to make some up:Grafnack jit-blowing barcusfart.
Next level. Wait, where are all the outlets?
Oh, there's one. Great. Fantastic. Super duper.
Oh well, maybe on the next floor there will--
You've got to be kidding me.GRAFNACK JIT-BLOWING BARCUSFART.
Well fine. Maybe I didn't want to go through that door anyway. I'll just go around the other side to the ladder and--
Whatever. The Hacker's abilities aren't the most useful in the nightclub. The diamond district, however, is his time to shine--especially in the basement.
Finally! Maybe my character will actually get to do something before PETA sends in a SWAT team.
Oh, hell no.
Zero useable outlets. Zero. At least the ground level can't be any worse.
Wait. Zero outlets? At all? How is this possible?
I stand corrected.
Time for Pearls Before Swine, the Hacker's best level! As long as he gets outlets in a semi-decent position, he can--
How can there be no outlets on this half of the palace?
...wait, there are no outlets on this
half either? Where the hell--
Oh. Fantastic. At least--
GEE IT SURE WOULD BE NICE TO GET PAST THESE LASERS SO I COULD GET TO THE OUTLETS SO I COULD GET PAST THESE LASERS.
Okay, final level for this run:
Cute. Adorable, even.
Where are my outlets?
NO SERIOUSLY WHERE ARE THEY, AHHHHHH THE DOGS--WHERE'S THAT LUMBERJACK WHEN YOU NEED HIM
Ok. I'm done. No more. I'm just done.CHAPTER 4: A Day In The Life Of The Mole
Since that was a disaster, I decided to play some Mole runs instead. The Mole is a vastly superior character to the Hacker, primarily because he doesn't have to deal with--
..........................................CHAPTER 5: The Solution
I'd like to propose something super elegant:Scrap power outlets entirely. Give the Hacker a pet hack that he always has and never dies.It solves everything.
It requires no changes to existing levels. It is built 95% on pre-existing code. It is easy and quick to prototype and QA. Make sure it doesn't die with distance, make sure it comes back after EMP/breakers, and we're good to go.It fits Monaco's existing design patterns like a glove.
Unlike the current Hacker, who sticks out like a sore thumb.It makes the Hacker sexy.
No more licking power outlets. It gives him a more clearly defined team role that is always active and never taken away
.It stops the Mole from getting screwed over.
Unlike adding more power outlets, which pees in the Mole's oatmeal and laughs at him.It makes the Hacker a lot stronger
--dangerously stronger even. But there's no way this will make him better on average than the Pickpocket, so what are we worried about? He's going to get through handprint doors easily? Redhead already does that.It lets the Hacker be a candidate for speedruns.
Instead of being a huge gamble for zero benefit, he will become an interesting option to consider.It will make the mid-game a little easier for new players, especially those who like to take it slow and have trouble with lasers.
An upgraded Hacker who doesn't have to rush will help a lot of inexperienced players make it through levels like Palace I, which is currently a steep jump in difficulty.It makes Identity speedrun options vastly less luck-based.
I had to start Identity over 50
times before I could get a starting spawn good enough to start with Cleaner/Hacker. Identity already has a ton of NPC spawn luck, no need to compound it with something else.It stops the senseless slaughter of Toby's family by that angry lumberjack.
This is just a win-win all around.The only remaining question is: What funny and endearing name will his pet hack have? This matters.CONCLUSION
Monaco rocks, the Hacker sucks, but could be awesome. Thanks for reading, and happy heisting!(Unless you are rVII, in which case stay the hell away from my scoreboard times.)