While the other two races clash in the open, the Observers dwell in shadow. They are not overtly offensive in nature, instead relying on subtle manipulations to achieve their objectives. Your time is spent engaged in guerrilla warfare, spying, sabotaging, and constructing secret underground bases around the world.
Replacing Starcraft's Vespene Geysers, these vortexes are invisible focal points of a unique energy source the Observers utilize. Any preplaced vortexes on a map are removed at the start of a game, and new ones are dispersed randomly across the map. The total amount of vortexes will depend on the map size and how many Observer players are in a game.
Observers must construct a Leyline on a vortex to process its energy. This refined energy is required to run a Reactor, the core of an Observer base.
Observer bases are concealed underground, and built within the power matrix of a central Reactor. In order to maintain a Reactor, a special supply type is required, provided only by Plasma Vortices through Leylines. Therefore, your number of bases depends on how many Leylines you’ve established, and how many total Vortices exist on a map (naturally, larger maps mean more bases).
Aside from the Leyline, Reactor, and Mothership, all other Observer buildings require the power matrix of a Reactor. Because only so many Reactors can be built, the number of structures is subsequently limited by how much room is available around each Reactor. Unit producers, supply buildings, spellcasting support structures, defenses, and tech buildings all require space, and exist at varying sizes and shapes with only so much room to go around. It is up to the player to determine the ideal layout, Tetris-style, given their needs and strategy.
Primary Resource: Data
Observers are strictly forbidden from deploying any building or unit without sufficient data on the region and populace. The future is of utmost importance to them, and so they are meticulous with their maneuvers.
Data is harvested in three ways. A basic stream is provided by the very vision you have over the map. Spreading units out and assigning patrol paths can help maximize this revenue. The second method is accomplished by way of implantation. Espial crafts can seed enemy units and critters with a Data-gathering nanochip. Not only does this provide additional vision, but each implant out in the field collects more thorough Data on its subject and surroundings than simple observation. The final tactic is abduction, performed by Espials. An Examination Chamber is required before abductions can be carried out. When available, the Espial will hover above the selected target and teleport it to the Chamber for study and dissection. As a result, a large lump sum of Data is gained. Both implantations and abductions are limited by an Espial's energy reserves.
Secondary Resource: Experience
Observer Grays are special hero-like caster units. Experience is necessary for leveling up Grays, upgrading them, and unlocking their multitude of spells. Experience is earned when a Gray casts a spell, and is equal to the amount of energy expired.
Observers have numerous abilities to choose from, many tailored around affecting the outcome of battle. As such, an Observer player is ideally suited in team games, where their abilities can enhance their more offensive partners. However, Observers are still capable of standing on their own, wielding a strong standard force complimented with high-end offensive abilities and a unique sabotage system.
Permanently cloaked and lightning fast, these UFOs are responsible for all base-building and acquisition of your primary resource. They make excellent scouts, but are not cheap to produce. Due to their cost, losing even one is a hard blow, so be careful. Enemies looking to starve you out will target your Espials, but you have the advantage in speed and stealth.
Role: Worker, scout, spy
- Implant: Seeds a sophisticated chip into a target, granting vision of the unit along with a steady stream of Data.
- Abduct: Requires an Examination Chamber. The Espial must hover above the target. The subject is removed for study, bestowing a lump sum of Data dependent on what is abducted.
- Build: Constructs all basic, advanced, and spell complexes.
The signature unit of the Observers, the Gray is a flying caster who wields a wide range of skills that can affect the outcome of battle. Each ability used adds to the Experience pool, which can then be applied toward leveling up the Gray to higher plateaus of power.
Gray abilities are not researched. Instead, they either become available when the Gray levels up, or a required support building must be made to unlock the ability. Unlike researched powers, should these structures be lost the associated spell will no longer be usable. An opponent fed up with your Grays may decide to search and destroy your bases in order to shut the Grays down.
- Ally: Purge, Lens, Psi Projection, Slipstream, Nanite Swarm, Force Field, Kinetic Dampener
- Foe: Pulse, Phase Shift, Inhibit, Temporal Unweaving, Orbital Bombardment
- Self: Cloak, Use Energy Satchel, Level Up
Apparently human, it looks like a defenseless Human civilian; that is, until the arm unfolds on itself to reveal a powerful handcannon. These remotely-controlled android bodies serve as essential defenders for your bases. They may be used as a rudimentary strikeforce for more conventional engagements, but their unspecialized strength cannot stand toe-to-toe with more advanced armies.
Favoring guerrilla tactics, Locum deal moderately high damage, but are not particularly fast or tough. The projectile from their handcannon is designed to build momentum as it travels, increasing its lethality with greater distance. Thus, at maximum range Locum deal the most damage, while doing less as the enemy approaches. Keeping an enemy at max range is therefore ideal.
Role: Core fighter
- Phase: Shifts the Locum out of the visible spectrum, concealing it from normal sight. However, the Locum is unable to move or attack in this state.
A robotic sphere able to endure enormous punishment. Though structurally unimpressive, its primary function is the generation of a forcefield capable of nullifying high-damage attacks. However, the Blunderball's defenses can be overwhelmed by rapid successive attacks. The unit features no offensive technology, but the shield does inflict light burns on targets at melee range. While not directly combative, Blunderballs can be deployed en-masse to surround and contain enemy forces in a lasso manuever, preventing movement and leaving the enemy vulnerable to other attacks and spells.
Role: Impediment, distraction, meatshield
- Phase: Shifts the Blunderball out of the visible spectrum, concealing it from normal sight. However, the Blunderball is unable to move or attack in this state.
Flying and strafing in unexpected and disturbing ways, this self-piloting hyper-dimensional air-to-air missile is programmed with a primitive artificial intelligence to act as its guidance system through four dimensions. Upon impact with a target, the detonation isn’t so much an explosion as it is a twisting and inversion of the victim’s internal structure at a molecular level. A localized warping tears apart anything in the immediate vicinity for a few seconds, weakening the atomic structure of all those affected.
- Flux: Representing quantum fatigue, it is a condition continually applied to any nearby air units during detonation, increasing the damage they take from all sources.
- Phase: Shifts the Tesseract out of the visible spectrum, concealing it from normal sight. However, the Tesseract is unable to move or attack in this state.
A Locum is plugged into a mechanized superstructure, originally designed for rapid locomotive transportation but has since been augmented for war. The most powerful direct-damage unit in the Observer’s arsenal, the Avatar’s larger frame is able to support a powerful, long-range thermal lance. As the beam focuses on a target, its heat builds exponentially, increasing the damage dealt the longer it remains focused on the same target.
Comprising billions of self-replicating nanobots, Grey Goo is programmed to eliminate the most severe of threats. Due to the risks involved by releasing such a plague into any environment, Grey Goo is only activated during times of dire need. Thus, they are only accessible at the end of the tech tree.
Lurching over obstacles like a silvery ooze, Grey Goo is slow and must engage in melee to engulf its prey. Doing so allows its nanites to convert the base material of the target into more nanites. A new colony of nanobots is then born. As a safety precaution against uncontrollable replication, such offspring are allotted a limited lifespan, hardcoded into every nanite’s root functions.
The composite nature of Grey Goo makes it highly resistant to weaker attacks. An enemy could soon find their entire army converted into a sea of metallic liquid, now advancing on their undefended base. Opponents are advised to keep their distance, taking advantage of the Goo's slow crawl, and engage with staggered fire, but a swarm of Blunderballs might make that difficult.
Role: Anti-melee, anti-mass
- Replicate: Chance on hit that target will be converted into a gooling.
Support System units
I think I'll remain silent on what this and the Sabotage system do. Need to have at least some surprises. =o)
Sabotage System units
At least, you can garner a hint based off the given names, and see how many each System offers. I will likely change the structure names of both Systems when I can think up something better.
1. Viral Outbreak
The Observer's initial invisibility advantage affords a reprieve from early rushes, giving time to plot out your bases. However, location is key to remaining completely hidden. Due to doodads, the most remote locations might require a sacrifice in room.
There are a plethora of Observer buildings to choose from, twenty-five in all, and each varies in size and shape. With space around a Reactor at a premium, you will need to specialize to unlock everything in one or two aspects of the Observers. Do you choose a diverse army, or a large army? Do you unlock all Gray spells, or instead focus on the Sabotage or Support Systems? What of base defenses or support complexes? The choices are yours to make.
Your most precious possession, your king in a chess game. Should you lose this vital ship, you lose the game. This is to offset the fact that all your bases are completely hidden. Thus, enemies need only hunt for your vulnerable Mothership. The Mothership herself is cloaked and moveable, though extremely slow. It can perform several basic functions.
Role: Chess King, unit producer
- Build: Espial
- Slipstream: Teleports units to the Mothership's location.
- Lift-off: Enables the Mothership to move and relocate herself. While in transit, she cannot train or use Slipstream.
Only buildable on Plasma Vortices, these crucial structures give a special supply required by Reactors. Like Plasma Vortices, Leylines are hidden from normal view.
Role: Base supply (limiting amount of bases)
- Slipstream: Allows units to be teleported to the Leyline's location. Lends the Observer army a high degree of mobility, though limited by energy cost.
Core structure for all bases, no other complex can be built or exist outside its energy matrix (Leyline and Mothership aside). The Reactor requires supply, provided only by Leylines, limiting the total number of bases by map size. If a Reactor is destroyed, all buildings outside the Reactor's power field will slowly lose health over time, and cannot perform any functions.
- Conceal: Passively cloaks all nearby structures and most units. Locum and Avatars are not cloaked.
- Self-Destruct: After a delay, overloads the Reactor and destroys the entire surrounding base, partially refunding each building's cost. Ideal when a location has been compromised.
Communication and coordination are crucial for a force comprised mainly of robotic automotons. Each Node expands unit supply, used by all traditional units.
Role: Army supply
Gives supply used for all Sabotage and Support units.
Role: Special supply
Contains living Observers held in suspended animation. Grays are awakened Observers, while Locum and Avatars are robotic shells controlled remotely by the Observers still in stasis.
Role: Core unit producer
Constructs Espials and robotic drones like Blunderballs, Tesseracts, and Grey Goo.
Role: Support unit producer
Creates special units used to support allies or your own army, such as the resource-transfering Caravan.
Role: Powerup unit producer
Produces the dreaded sabotage units, who can wreak havoc on an opponent's entire army.
Role: Covert unit producer
Locum can hide away inside a Cache and fire out from it.
Role: Defensive bunker
Anti-air attack and detection. Unlocks the Gray's Lens spell.
Role: Anti-air defense, static detector, spell requirement
Allows units to teleport to the base, either in its defense or simply for quick transportation.
- Slipstream: Allows units to teleport to the Slipgate's location.
- Incursion: Teleports a Locum anywhere on the map. Incursion requires a Vinculum to use.
Restores shields and energy.
Role: Recovery and caster support
- Recharge Shields: Rapidly replenishes the shielding of a unit.
- Energy Satchel: Produces a special satchel that can be used by Grays to restore their energy. Can use Slipstream or a transport to carry and move satchels.
Required for Locum.
Required for Blunderballs. Unlocks the Gray's Force Field spell.
Required for Tesseracts. Unlocks the Gray's Psi Projection spell.
Required for Avatars.
Required for Grey Goo.
Unlocks the Espial's Abduct spell.
Unlocks the Gray's Slipstream spell and the Slipgate's Incursion ability.
Unlocks the Gray's Kinetic Dampener spell.
Unlocks the Gray's Inhibit spell.
Unlocks the Gray's Phase Shift spell.
Unlocks the Gray's Temporal Unweaving spell.
Orbital Mass Driver Uplink
Can command an Orbital Mass Driver (OMD) to load a Meteor for the Gray's Orbital Bombardment ability.
- Ready Meteor