First things first, here’s the Excel with the full list of enemies and how much worth they are (on the right side you can set hive difficulty and levels of your score cards):
Surprisingly, it’s the Matriarch that’s worth the most, not the Swarmak.
Some of you probably know me already. I generally like the challenge of achieving the best possible time in any Escape hive together with my team. It puts the hives to a completely new challenge. I really like the idea of actually having to kill all the enemies to save on time. However there’s some flaws with it which I believe should be addressed and corrected, which can make the time runs sometimes quite RNG heavy if not corrected. Obviously we time runners (that’s what I’m gonna call us now) are a minority of the community, yet I’d still love to see a couple fixes to make the runs more equal, with equal chances for everyone (if they grinded enough cards).
Flaw 1: Uneven RNG enemy distribution in each chapter
Unfortunately each chapter has at least two different RNGs in every hive. Meaning whatever RNG you can get in the first act, the second act will also have a different RNG everytime you reach it. Usually Scions the ones, that are making the difference. Take The Barracks act 2 for example. You can either have a bunch of Mulcher Scions paired with Dropshot Scions or a bunch of Salvo Scions paired with Ice Scions (and a few Buzzkill Scions). When looking at the list, Ice and Salvo Scions are already worth 5 seconds more than Mulcher and Dropshot Scions. Pair that with all the modifiers and an active headshot, and you’ll have ~30 seconds difference between each one of them.
This flaw is probably the biggest pain because it can lead to countless restarts simply because you have the RNG which eventually results in a worse time.
Flaw 2: Meatshields
This is probably the second biggest flaw. For whatever reason, the meatshields count the enemy twice. Once you initiate the meatshield and once you somehow get rid of it. This can lead to very strange things like ALHM which will be explained in flaw 3 just below. In my opinion, an execution is the hardest to pull-off, therefore it should award you the most time for doing so. The meatshield does count as an execution but is bugged and counts the enemy twice. Fixing this will change the meta of running for time for quite a bunch and even out the times from the different times a lot better.
Flaw 3: ALHM (Active Longshot Headshot Meatshield)
The most broken mechanic that we discovered when we worked on Lethal Engagements. It is currently already known by a bunch of people here. Meatshielding counts twice as described above, but if you manage to pull off an active headshot on the meatshield, it actually applies the hidden x4 headshot multiple from the active bullet. So basically you killed the same enemy in two different ways. Why exactly only a Longshot works I can only somewhat describe as follows: The Longshot deals enough base damage to actually headshot-kill the meatshield rather than eliminating part of its health which is enough to shatter it (a bit tricky to understand maybe…). This trick will cause a difference of several minutes throughout the entire hive. But I believe the best way to fix this is just to simply fix the meatshield bug altogether (flaw 2).
Flaw 4: Hidden time bonuses
There isn’t many but I currently know of two. One being the active headshot and the other one being the meatshield. They are not represented in the leaderboard where you can see all the time calculated together. Those should be visible somehow in my opinion. Especially the active headshot one. The other one is just a bug by itself already (flaw 2).
Flaw 5: Some enemies not dieing the way you kill them
There is a few enemies that are somewhat weird and do not die the way you think they died and therefore not applying the corresponding time.
Poppers: You may not do a headshot on them. Also a chain-reaction of them blowing up will only have the first one count towards time. They should be fixed.
Bastions: Headshotting Bastions is kinda RNG based. They get the headshot damage and possibly die with it but do not award the headshot bonus sometimes. An Active Headshot makes a difference of 30 seconds, remember that.
Executions via Chainsaw/Bayonet Charge: Those just don’t count as executions but should count as executions in my opinion.
These are mainly the flaws I came up with which should be addressed to balance out the time runs between each individual team and make it more fair. Besides, it is still fun to run for time in my opinion. It at least makes the hives challenging.