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Let's get started: The Security Bot, as was shown in Minerva's Den, has a huge potential for development as well as customization, yet even after the DLC its potential has remained largely untapped. I addressed this already in my singleplayer version of this article, yet in a co-op setting and the new mutation system I proposed (see here) it can become an even more diverse class of enemy.
If you haven't checked my singleplayer article, here's the lowdown: the way I see it, Security Bots should be construced out of a series of modules - the main body, one of a range of weapons (here, nine), and a miniature upgrade tree unique to the weapon they're carrying - and so could spawn with a random combination of these. In addition the players could customize their Bots at will, changing them, scrapping them or building them from scratch. Coupled with my mutation system, this could create a huge number of unique Security Bot types (1170, to be exact) to fight. However, on a more technical note, hacking a Security Bot should remove any of its mutations, since compared to an Elite Security Bot any other type, even fully upgraded, wouldn't be nearly as useful. Now, onto the matter proper:
Awarded at random:
- Increased Damage Versus Security Bots
- Instant Hack Versus Security Bots (with bonus)
- Accelerated Friendly Bots (i.e. faster reflexes, speed, and firing rate)
Changes: Stage One
In the first stages of co-op mode, Security Bots could still be diverse without overwhelming the players in terms of firepower or abilities. As such, they should start with a basic selection of weapons:
- Machine Gun Bot: The Bot model from the past two BioShock games. No changes here.
- Shotgun Bot: A Bot with a Shotgun. Will use hit-and-run tactics to try and get close to the players.
- Sniper Bot: This time, it's got a Sniper rifle. Will try to stay at a distance from the players and use cover.
Each Bot type could have its own upgrade path, and the players could modify it at a U-Invent (except if the Bot was summoned through the Backup Bot iteration of Security Command, to avoid any potential exploitation).
Tier One Mutations
- Shared Health: Increases and pools the health of the Elite Security Bot with that of another nearby Bot. The health link is indicated by a green beam connecting the two.
- Death Beam: Connects the Elite Bot with another via a red beam. Anyone unfriendly to the Bots and caught in the beam will take continuous damage.
- Weapon Meld: Links the Elite Bot to another via a blue beam. Through this link both Bots share some of the characteristics of their weapons, giving each other bonuses:
- Machine Gun: Increases rate of fire.
- Shotgun: Each shot fires secondary shots in a wide spray.
- Sniper Rifle: Increases range.
- Grenade Launcher: Each shot deals its effects in a small radius upon impact.
- Chainsaw: Increases damage.
- Camera: Each attack burst momentarily blinds the target.
- Napalm: Each shot sets the target on fire.
- Liquid Nitrogen: Each shot chills the target, slowing them down and increasing their vulnerability to damage. Sustained fire freezes the target.
- Electrode: Shots occasionally electrify the target.
Evolution: Stage Two
As the players' weapon range expands, so should the Bots'. Since by this point the players should be fairly experienced with basic combat, the new Bots could have more exotic fighting styles:
- Demo Bot: A Bot which can fire grenades that explode on impact. Will try to get you with the splash damage rather than with a direct hit.
- Psycho Bot: A melee Bot that attacks you with a freaking chainsaw. Deals a fair bit of damage and jerks your aim all over the place.
- Flash Bot: Fitted with a modified Research Camera, this Bot will try to blind you with its flash.
Tier Two Mutations
- Area Augmentor: Increases the fighting capacity of every Security Device around the Elite Security Bot, increasing their damage and speed while also coordinating their AI. Sends green circular pulses around the Bot.
- Area Shield: Covers everything friendly to the Elite Bot around it with a spherical blue shield, reducing damage taken from attacks. Sends out blue circular pulses.
- Area Explosion: Upon destruction, the Elite Security Bot's explosion is multiplied fivefold, damaging and knocking back anything within. When near death, the Bot will dive-bomb the nearest player and commit explosive suicide. Sends out red circular pulses.
Evolution: Final Stage
In the final stages of the game, Security Bots should finally have access to weapons and abilities that could mimic some of your Plasmids, through a combination of Chemical Thrower-type weaponry and Thinker-like integration of ADAM-based technology:
- Flamer Bot: This Bot's got a flamethrower. While it doesn't deal too much direct damage, it deals damage over time. Not to mention being set on fire is goddamn scary.
- Freezer Bot: Armed with a reserve of liquid nitrogen, this Bot would try to pin you down. Although it'd deal minimal damage, its weapon would freeze you, slowing you down and increasing your vulnerability to damage.
- Electric Bot: Identical to the Bots of the same type in Minerva's Den, these would deal only a small amount of damage to you on dry land, but could potentially cripple you in water. In any case, their electric shocks would root you in place, turning you into a sitting duck (although you'd still be able to aim and shoot).
Tier Three Mutations
- Teleport: Allows the Elite Security Bot to teleport. Rather than vanish and reappear later in the same vein as Houdini Splicers, this type of teleport would be instant.
- Decoy: Allows the Elite Bot to spawn a decoy of itself in the middle of combat. In effect, the Bot would appear to split into two identical copies of itself with the same health. Although the decoy would attack you, it'd deal no damage.
- Security Command: Allows the Elite Bot to temporarily commandeer a nearby Security Device, including one among those friendly to you. Hacking or destroying the Elite Bot will revert the commandeered Device to its original state.
Here's the list of upgrade trees for the Security Bot. The design for your personal Security Bot is split into three levels: Level Zero is the main body, Level One is the weapon you choose to fit your Bot with, and Level Two is the upgrade tree proper, with a set of primary and secondary upgrades which are themselves specific to the former (hence the upgrade tree). For obvious reasons, you can fit your Bot with only one weapon, but also only one primary and one secondary upgrade.
Level Zero: Main Body
This is the Security Bot in its most basic form. Although incapable of harming your enemies, it can still perform typical Security Bot actions like fly in front of you to shield you from damage or go kamikaze on enemies when about to die. Though obviously these would be fairly rare in the environment, you could buy them in certain Circuses of Values or construct them at U-Invents. You could also scrap your Bot at the latter for a partial refund in U-Invent components.
Level One: Weapons
This is where it gets more interesting. Once you have your basic Bot you could fit it with a weapon of your choice, the availability of which would depend on the stage of the game you're playing. Most of the Bots you'd find would have a weapon already fitted on them, although you could change it at a U-Invent, scrapping the current one in exchange for U-Invent parts and crafting a new one out of a different set of components.
Stage One (unlocked from the start of the game):
- Machine Gun
- Sniper Rifle
Stage Two (unlocked with Stage Two Security Bots):
- Grenade Launcher
Final Stage (unlocked with Final Stage Security Bots):
- Nitogen Hose
Level Two: Upgrades
After fitting your Security Bot with a weapon, you'd unlock a set of upgrades specific to that weapon. First you'd get to choose one of three primary upgrades, which in turn unlocks three secondary upgrades, from which you could choose one more. All of these would be craftable and changeable at a U-Invent station, and each upgrade would require its own set of components.
Machine Gun Upgrades
- Antipersonnel Rounds: Bot deals increased damage against Splicers. Unlocks:
- Crowd Control Rounds: Bullets can pierce through multiple enemies. Bot will try to align multiple targets before firing.
- Focused Fire: Reduces bullet spread to zero. Bot now has perfect accuracy and can predict enemy movement.
- Metal Attractor: Bot will attract any enemy bullets in its vicinity and will also try to hover closer to you and your partner. After collecting enough bullets, it will barge into the enemy and violently discharge them all around it, damaging all nearby enemies.
- Armor-Piercing Rounds: Bot deals increased damage against machinery and armored targets. Unlocks:
- Irritant Bullets: When your Security Bot shoots a target the latter will switch attention from the players to the Bot. Your Bot will now try to dodge the enemy's fire as well.
- EMP: Upon death, the Bot will emit a violent burst of electricity, shocking anything in its vicinity.
- Razor Bullets: Bot's damage against an enemy increases the longer the former shoots at the latter.
- Ion Laser: Changes your Bot's weapon to a laser, increasing the amount of time it can fire before pausing. Unlocks:
- Phaser Beam: Bot can shoot through cover.
- Light Tether: Bot is linked to you by a beam of light. Any enemy passing through said beam will take continuous damage.
- Ion Burst: Your Bot will occasionally charge up a powerful burst of energy and blast it at the target, dealing heavy damage and momentarily blinding them. Will perform this action especially when the target is powerful and low on health.
- Blunderbuss: Increases the weapon's spread as well as the number of pellets fired. Unlocks:
- Armor Plating: Increases the Bot's health and adds a (slow) healing factor.
- Dual Shotguns: Replaces the Bot's shotgun with two smaller mini-shotguns which can target multiple enemies at once.
- Kinetic Buckshot: Enemies hit by your Bot are thrown back. The more damage they take, the father they're thrown. If hit at point-blank range they'll also be thrown to the floor.
- Clockwork Loader: Increases the Bot's rate of fire. Unlocks:
- Jet Motor: Greatly increases the Bot's speed. Bot will also dodge fire with much more efficiency.
- Empathy Module: Bot's damage output temporarily increases as you take damage.
- Solid Slugs: Replaces the Bot's ammunition with Solid Slugs, negating spread but increasing range and accuracy. In addition, each shot interrupts the target's attacks.
- Portable Repulsor: Bot will occasionally lay down a node that acts as temporary cover, blocking any enemy shots and projectiles in its radius. Unlocks:
- Reflector: All projectiles and shots blocked by the Repulsor are reflected back at the attackers.
- Jammer: Bot will try to lay down Portable Repulsors directly onto enemies as well, preventing them and any other foe around them from shooting or throwing stuff at you for the duration of its effects (or until the enemy removes and destroys the Repulsor attached to them).
- Distractor: Upon deployment the Repulsor will also release a cloud of smoke, blinding enemies inside it and preventing any foe from seeing through the cloud. If inside it or if the target is on the other side of the smoke cloud they'll be unable to see you or your partner. However, both of you can see through it. Bot will deploy this even when out of combat if there are enemies nearby, and won't attract attention when doing so.
Sniper Rifle Upgrades
- Homing Bullet: After hitting an enemy, the bullet will pass through them, change direction and hit another enemy for less damage. Can hit up to five enemies at a time this way. Unlocks:
- Mark: Targets hit by the Bot will be visible through walls and will take increased damage from the player's attacks.
- Escape Sequence: Bot will teleport away from an enemy if they get too close, stunning them in the process.
- Reactive Bullet: Every time the Bot's shot passes through an enemy it also picks up any elemental effect (fire, ice, lightning, etc.) the victim was suffering from and will inflict it upon every following target it hits. Can cumulate an indefinite number of elemental effects.
- Concussive Shots: Enemies hit by the Bot will be stunned for a short time. Unlocks:
- Anti-Missile Tracking: If not trying to hit an enemy, will attempt to shoot down any projectiles (explosives, Plasmids, flying random objects...) fired at the players.
- Trip Mines: Bot will occasionally drop small mines which jump in the air and explode into a hail of bullets if an enemy steps over them. Cannot hurt the players.
- Assassinate: Bot deals critical damage against incapacitated (i.e. stunned, frozen, shocked, etc.) enemies, except those it has stunned on its own.
- Repeater Rifle: Bot fires in salvoes of three before pausing. Unlocks:
- Termination Algorithm: Upon killing an enemy the Bot's next salvo will deal critical damage. The effect cannot repeat during this special salvo.
- Acid Trail: Each of your Bot's shots leaves a visible trail behind them which dissipates over time. If an enemy passes through the trail they take continuous damage.
- Secondary Salvo: Bot will store shots over time in a secondary magazine, allowing it to fire more shots in the next salvo without pausing. Can store up to three extra shots.
Grenade Launcher Upgrades
- Cluster Charge: Grenades explode into smaller grenades upon impact. Unlocks:
- Heat-Seeking RPGs: Turns the grenades into homing missiles, which also have a much larger blast radius.
- Flak Bomb: Fires three mini-grenades at a time instead of one, each of which explodes further into smaller bomblets.
- Suppressive Fire: Enemies hit by your Bot's grenades take extra damage from you and your partner's attacks.
- Shock Absorber: Bot is immune to self-damage from its own grenades. Unlocks:
- Plan B: Bot will produce a huge explosion upon death, dealing medium damage to any nearby enemy and throwing them into the air.
- Sucker Bomb: In addition to firing grenades, the Bot will lay small glowing charges on enemies. Shooting or otherwise hitting the charges will detonate them.
- Corpse Trap: Enemies killed by your Bot's grenades explode when another foe approaches them, damaging everything around them.
- Segmented Casing: Allows your Bot's grenades to bounce up to three times on the scenery before blowing up, causing a smaller explosion upon each bounce. Unlocks:
- Seismic Charges: Enemies damaged by your Bot's grenades are momentarily stunned proportionately to their proximity to the explosion.
- Gyromagnets: Your Bot's grenades change direction towards the nearest enemy with every bounce.
- Mass Converter: Every time your Bot's grenades produce an explosion, every nearby projectile and light physics object is sucked in towards its center, damaging any enemy they hit. The final explosion can pull in heavier objects, and from a greater distance.
- Stealth Module: Bot can turn temporarily invisible and will decloak behind enemies. Unlocks:
- Backstab: Bot deals increased damage when attacking from behind.
- Chainsaw Vampire: Bot will heal as it deals damage.
- Paralyzer: While attacking, your Bot continuously interrupts its target's attacks.
- Magnetic Shields: Bot takes less damage from bullets and any shot fired at it will rebound, dealing damage to any enemy it hits. Unlocks:
- Backup Bots: Upon death, will turn into three separate mini-bots which will attack anyone in the area for a certain amount of time before exploding.
- Wheeeeeeeee: Bot can charge at enemies at increased speed and will deal additional damage when they hit them. The longer the charge, the more damage the Bot deals when it smashes into the enemy.
- Shrapnel Bomb: If you or your partner shoot at your Bot, it will store the shot and release it explosively upon attacking an enemy. Can store multiple shots at a time.
- Grapple Hook: Bot can fire a grappling hook that'll pull non-giant enemies towards it. Giant enemies are instead rooted to the ground momentarily and will have their attacks interrupted. Won't grapple enemies you or your partner are attacking. Unlocks:
- Simulated Bloodlust: Your Bot's speed and damage output temporarily increase for every enemy it kills.
- Retractable Spike: Grappling onto an enemy will deal them damage when the Bot finishes dragging them. The longer the distance, the greater the damage.
- Tactical Carnage: Bot can grapple pieces of the scenery, even those thrown by enemies, and throw them at its target.
- Analyzer: Bot will occasionally analyze its target, assigning a random Research Camera debuff if they don't have one already. Unlocks:
- Strobe Light: Bot's Camera light will periodically and randomly shift between blue, red and green, indicating that all enemies under its sights will be more vulnerable to Plasmids, weapons or the scenery respectively.
- Disorienter: Enemies blinded by your Bot will be temporarily disoriented and will be unable to dodge, flank, take cover or use other tactics.
- Pause: The area flashed by your Bot will remain illuminated for the next few moments. During that time, all enemy shots and projectiles that enter it will be slowed down before resuming course.
- Spotlight: Researching your Bot's targets will yield better scores. Unlocks:
- Restore: If you or your partner are caught in your Bot's flash you (or your partner) will receive a small boost to your Health and EVE.
- Cover: If you or your partner are caught in your Bot's flash you (or your partner) will be granted invisibility for a few seconds, which ends prematurely upon attacking.
- Reflective Gel: Bot will occasionally fire a glob of silvery liquid at the scenery which will form a reflective pool, allowing you to see enemies around corners. In addition, you and your partner's attacks (along with your Bot's flash) ricochet off the surface.
- Mirrors: Bot flashes its Camera all around it instead of in a wide radius. Unlocks:
- Flares: Bot will occasionally fire flares into the air, distracting its target and causing the latter to momentarily switch attention to the flares and attack them.
- Slow Burn: Upon death, will shine brightly for a few seconds before exploding in a flash, blinding all enemies in the area for a few seconds.
- Prism: Bot is fitted with a glowing prism directly underneath it. If you or your partner shoot at the prism, the shot will produce three duplicates which will fire off at different angles, preferably towards other nearby enemies. After that, the prism will be ineffective for the next few seconds.
- Crippling Fire: Enemies set on fire by the Bot will have their speed reduced. Unlocks:
- Fired!: Upon death, will cover the area around it in flaming napalm, which will stay on the scenery for several seconds.
- Napalm Trail: Bot can strategically cover parts of the scenery with napalm, which stays on for several seconds.
- Human Candle: Ignited enemies leave a trail of fire behind them which stays on for several seconds.
- Friendly Fire: You and your partner heal over time proportionately to the amount of damage enemies are taking from the fire. Unlocks:
- Pressure Gauge: Increases the flamethrower's range and spread.
- Concentrated Fire: Enemies will take more damage from the flames if hit by the players.
- Pyrolysis: Fire cannot be extinguished by water.
- Wildfire: Fire can pass through enemies and hit targets behind them. Unlocks:
- Volatile Compounds: Enemies killed by the flames explode upon death, damaging and igniting all nearby foes.
- Gas Cloud: Bot will occasionally fire a cloud of flammable gas into the area. Any flame, explosion or shot will set the cloud aflame, igniting any enemy within for a prolonged duration. Cannot damage the players and anything friendly to them.
- Thermal Panels: Fire damage increases proportionnately to the amount of enemies set aflame.
Nitrogen Hose Upgrades
- Sub-Zero Core: Bot emits a chilling aura, slowing down nearby enemies and increasing their vulnerability to damage. Effect increases the closer the enemy is to the Bot. Unlocks:
- Ice Crystals: Frozen and chilled enemies are even more vulnerable to damage.
- Frozen Shock: Upon death, Bot covers the area in liquid nitrogen, freezing anything unfriendly in its radius. In addition, it emits a short-ranged shockwave which will shatter frozen non-giant enemies and severely damage giant ones.
- Flash Freeze: Bot will occasionally emit a burst of liquid nitrogen all around it, freezing all enemies in its vicinity.
- Cryogenic Preservation: Enemies frozen by your Bot drop a lockbox containing their possessions upon death, and can be picked up and thrown like physics objects. Unlocks:
- Frozen Monitor: Machinery frozen by your Bot has only one hacking stage.
- Ammonia Pool: Bot will occasionally spray a temporary sheet of ice on the floor, causing enemies standing on it to partially lose control over their movements and slowing them down. If you or your partner stand on the pool your movement speed, reload and firing rate will be increased.
- Icy Exoskeleton: When out of combat, Bot will periodically cover you and your partner in ice, allowing you to take some damage without losing health. This extra armor cannot be reapplied in the middle of a fight.
- Ice Shield: Bot creates a shield of solid ice which absorbs all frontal damage until it shatters. Shield regenerates over time but can only regenerate out of combat if shattered. Unlocks:
- Curtain of Cold: Bot will occasionally project a barrier of ice which will block all incoming enemy shots and projectiles until it shatters or melts. Enemies cannot pass through, although you and your partner can.
- Debilitating Frost: Enemies frozen by your Bot suffer from a decrease in their accuracy and attack rate for the next few seconds.
- Razor Crystals: Once your Bot's shield shatters it sprays ice shards in front of it, damaging and freezing all enemies directly in front of the Bot for a prolonged period of time.
- Chain Discharge: Electricity jumps from the main target onto the nearest enemy. Bot can shock up to three enemies simultaneously this way. Unlocks:
- Water Hose: Bot will occasionally spray the scenery and enemies with water before shocking it. Enemies in contact with the water will be shocked for longer and receive additional shock damage, as will anyone caught in the same chain lightning burst.
- Charge Alignment: Enemies shocked in the same chain lightning burst will be linked for the next few seconds: attacking one of them will cause all of them to suffer from the attack's effects, whether it be weapon- or Plasmid-based.
- Kinetic Converter: Any enemy shot or projectile that passes close to the Bot will charge it up. Once fully charged the Bot will emit a burst of electricity, shocking anyone in the vicinity. Charge decays over time.
- Deactivation Protocol: Security Devices shocked by your Bot don't take damage and are instead deactivated for much longer. Unlocks:
- Target Reversal: Machinery shocked by your Bot temporarily switches sides before deactivating.
- Power Redistributor: Bot will occasionally fire a pulse of electricity around it, augmenting the speed, reaction time and firing rate of all friendly Security Devices.
- System Shock: Upon death, Bot permanently deactivates all unfriendly machinery in the area.
- Tesla Array: The closer you and your partner are to your Bot, the more damage it deals. Unlocks:
- Galvanized Nerves: When you or your partner are close to your Bot, your melee and quick-melee attack speed will be increased and you will be resistant to all movement- and aim-impairing effects.
- Electrokinetic Dispersal: Meleeing an enemy shocked by your Bot will cause all nearby enemies to suffer a portion of the attack's damage.
- Energy Leech: Killing an enemy while in proximity to your Bot will regenerate a portion of its health and cause its next stunning shock to stun the enemy for longer.
That's it for now, folks. After one week of hardcore brainstorming, this is the end product. If you didn't read this all in one go then congratulations, you are sane. If you did, then kudos all the more. Commentaries and criticism are appreciated as always!