Having played a bit of detective recently, I’ve noticed that the job isn’t very well designed for following the rules. The server’s rules with how detective should be played are fine, and I don’t object to them, as I like the idea of a support officer who doesn’t do the brute force work. However, the detective as a job seems to contradict this idea in places, encouraging players to use detective rolls to validhunt instead of engaging with the forensics mechanics. I think this arises from the following issues:
Looking at the job, the detective is clearly not designed to perform arrests, but their starting set of equipment encourages players to lethal players into crit and then detain them. Both their baton and pepperspray are (intentionally) bad at arresting people, and this would be good if not for the existence of the revolver. The 38 revolver, whilst thematic to a detective, is far too effective at the wrong role. Intended as a self-defence weapon, it’s very easy to just kill people with it as a method of detention. This is amplified when we look at the detective’s technology unlocks. Incendiary rounds once again encourage validhunting and as such are a terrible unlock. Iceblock rounds are in theory a good tool for supporting arresting officers, but we rarely allow the detective to do that without getting banned. TRAC rounds are the only unlock which I believe actually encourage people to play the job as intended, being a bullet exclusively for tracking a suspect so that sec officers can arrest them.
The actual forensics part of the job is excellent, if not for one massive issue: the forensic scanner unlock. From a fairly early tech, suddenly every officer can print a scanner and do forensics just as well as the detective, rendering him essentially useless. With their role rendered pointless, all that a detective really has left to do is to validhunt with their gun.
If no bodies or breakins are found, the detective has nothing to do but either get drunk in the bar or validhunt, because their entire job depends on antagonists antagonising badly enough to leave evidence to find, but not too badly to be caught immediately. This makes greenshifts as detective horrible to play, because the only thing sec does on a greenshift is arrest petty criminals, which the detective isn’t allowed to do. When there are no serious crimes, the detective is essentially an assistant with a gun.
I’ve had some time to think about this, and I’ve come up with some ways to fix these issues.
- Change the availability of ammo for the 38. The default ammo should not be the full lethals, instead some sort of “knockdown rounds” that do very minor damage and knock the target over briefly up to a cap. This would let the gun fulfil its intended purpose of keeping the detective safe from attack without letting him easily arrest people or go full lethals validhunt. Incendiary and full lethal rounds should be kept in a lockbox in the armoury for emergencies.
- Give the detective more types of support ammo, and give him a secondary role of helping the officers track (but not arrest) suspects. For example, a shot that injects a new “identifier implant” into the target, which can be viewed in a list to see the real name/dna/fingerprints etc of a suspect hit by it. Suspect in disguise? Get the detective to tag them with one of those and see who they really are. The implants would dissolve over time for balance. This new “support” role would also give the detective something to do when there are only petty crimes.
- Move the forensic scanner waaay further down the tech tree or remove it entirely from the tree.
Am I a dumbass and completely wrong? Feel free to let me know below.