Counselors, Chaplains, and Game Mechanics
I may ramble off a bit, and stretch this idea out, but the search didn't turn up anything at all on this topic. This whole thing is based off of one comment in all the interviews and videos I saw. To paraphrase: a soldier who is critically wounded and revived will receive a hit to their Will stat. Honestly, I have no idea what will is, but it sounds a bit like Bravery in this context.
I ask, is it a permanent hit? Where is the growth and faith in human resiliency? Skip to the end to read my suggestions rather than read all of my reasoning.
When separated from friends, family, and familiar places and placed in a war zone the people you lean on first and most are your comrades, compatriots, your battle-buddies. Time off mission is spent on leisure and maintenance. Maintenance includes equipment maintenance and personal maintenance (I did a little cheer when I saw soldiers running on the treadmill in one of the video clips). Sometimes, however, using your buddy as a sound board isn't enough and professional guidance is sought after.
I could go into the history of priests and warfare, but it I'll move on. Modern US military chaplains are officers with at lease bachelor's degrees from accredited colleges, who are also clergy endorsed by an accredited body of their faith. Importantly, they also receive training in non-secular counseling.
Psychologists are hired by the military for a range of reasons. A former special forces (aka Green Beret) sniper talked to me of clinical psychologists trying to emotionally manipulate him in mental evaluations, but I digress. Many psychology degrees have at least a familiarization with counseling. How cool would it be if your shrink was also a practicing xeno-psychologist, a xeno-neurobiologist, etc?
Chaplains and psychologists would serve the entire base, but their would be special attention to the soldiers. Much of the time it would probably be quick informal sessions about stress management teams, and sometimes formal sessions to-get this- help the individual help themselves.
If you've gotten this far you are probably wondering what this has to do with XCOM. In an interview a dev said critically injured they would or could take a hit to their Will. Coming face-to-face with your own mortality is harrowing, it will take time, maybe even professional help, to process it in a healthy way. It not even just cynical but pessimistic to assume that traumatic experiences only destroy a mind; given time and perhaps some guidance a person can turn a traumatic experience into growth.
Also, the fear of failure and love, yes love, even platonic brotherly love of fellow warriors, can be stronger than fear of death and pain. Men dive in the way of bullets for brothers-in-arms, cover grenades with their bodies, and crawl to the wounded grinding their own blood into the sand.
In conclusion, what about a perk that must be earned that makes the soldiers fearless in normal circumstances? By earned I mean taken a nearly fatal hit and lived, been on so many missions where fellow squad members die. And by normal circumstances I mean with the exclusion of psychic attacks. Even then, through hard experience a soldier might develop some inoculation from the brunt of future attacks. In the end it might be possible to have acquired a team where every member would not panic even if he/she was the sole survivor and under fire, fighting efficiently to the end. The flip side would be anyone without a similar perk would be devastated by the loss of that member, taking an extra hit to moral.
Edit: also a scientist (or two) can be permanently assigned to be the base shrinks. Soldiers might slowly acquire non-combat arms skills or bonuses of a mental health nature.
Last edited by clippedwolf; 05-05-2012 at 10:20 PM.
I think its also been said that further critical injuries will continue to reduce your Will further! I agree with you that something like that might not be permanent irl, it is a game so I can let it slide - maybe you will be given the option to retire the character.
Also, it might be a bit gamey, but maybe even tough they lose some Will, perhaps they gain something else to make up for it - maybe only after taking a critical hit does it unlock a certain perk.
To paraphrase: a soldier who is critically wounded and revived will receive a hit to their Will stat. Honestly, I have no idea what will is, but it sounds a bit like Bravery in this context.
Cant remember if this was from a podcast or interview but i am remember jake soloman saying any soldier that is injured in combat and goes to the infirmary - he suffers a permanant factor against him for the whole of the campaign - this factor mainly centers on his nerves or will - so where as before where he may have been rock solid and dependable - after being injured and sent in to combat again - if he recives another hit or is put under enourmous stress from seeing freindly soldiers killed or being put under heavy fire.
He is more likley to panic - wether that be run away or hide in a corner or blindly shoot at anything that moves
I've read evidence that entering a berserk state or panicing in battle can be permanently mentally damaging.
Once experienced the lethal rage experienced in combat becomes a part of you forever, you are significantly changed-unless you are a socio or psychopath. Yet I can not imagine completely loosing control of those emotions, but it would forever change the individual and not for the better.
The idea of loosing Will from a traumatic moment is tragically realistic, but I'm sure it cannot be a one way slope in this game.
To be honest, my motivation in writing this is that RL veteran suicides are rising. God knows how many vets are struggling with depression.
The developers of XCOM have only one duty, and that is to deliver a deep, satisfying strategy game and I have complete confidence in their ability to do that. The US military talks about removing the stigma of seeking help for mental health and they have made policies, but this is also society's problem. Media has the power to influence ideas.
Firaxis using XCOM to bring attention to mental health and bringing a modicum of hope to the real issues is likely an idealistic long shot, but I thought I could at least talk about it to a hundred semi-apathetic 2K forum members.o~o
Even if all of this is ignored by the devs, for a number of reasons, I will keep my pre-order for the game. But any action would be appreciated.
You are correct, Tazong. It was a Rock, Paper Scissors interview, part 2, about halfway down. I speculate it's the same interview Clipped Wolf was referring to in the opening paragraph of his/her original post.
Originally Posted by tazong
I agree it would be nice if we could do something to improve the bravery / morale of soldiers. One of the things I have a hard time figuring out from the old game is how to level up the bravery in my soldiers. If it's written somewhere, I don't know where it is.
If Firaxis has already decided after play-testing that a permanent loss of will as a consequence of a critical wound is more fun, I'm all for it. But I definitely like the idea that a soldier's psychology is not static and can be improved with outside influence, say by chaplains / psychologists. Or I guess one could imagine that after a critical hit, a soldier wants revenge, thereby improving will. <shrug>
Maybe if I had counselled more when I was younger, I wouldn't have video gamed so much. Nah.. maybe it's my love of video games that warrant my need for counselling in the first place. Anyways, can't wait for this game!
I think it's a little too elaborate to implement at this time. I mean, basically they're wrapping it up to begin market production at this point.
No offense to the OP but its a game, the idea is to not let them get critically injured, the permamnent damage to any stat as a result is a deterant so that you wont be so cavalier with your troops. This isnt a real life war situation where the things that you say can happen.