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Designer Diary: Playstyles set1

by Audrey Jaeger on Jul 24, 2023

Designer Diary: Playstyles set1

By Mack Martin

 

Salutations, Chooms! 

Let’s skip the small talk and get right into the meat, shall we? 

Choosing the perfect faction to start off with in Cyberpunk RED: Combat Zone is a matter of personal preference and a decision each player must make for themselves. Each gang features a unique group of characters, fulfilling diverse roles, and employing a distinctive style to achieve their objectives. Today, I’d like to explore the signature characteristics of four of our factions with you.

Maelstrom

“Hit ‘em fast, hit ‘em hard!” That’s the maxim of the Maelstrom player. Characters often have armor to help them withstand attacks and challenges posed by rivals, but their real strength lies in their decisive nature. Special rules like Deadly Crits are pretty standard, giving the Maelstrom team a higher-than-average damage output potential. This means that almost any two Maelstroms will be more than a match for an opponent’s heaviest hitters.

 

However, all this fierceness comes at the cost of focus. Most of Maelstrom gangers will have exceptional Melee, Ranged, and Reflex skills, making them excellent fighters. The Medical, Technical, and Influence skills are rare among faction members, even though they’re frequently required to accomplish scenario objectives. So if you choose Maelstrom as your gang, your crew might be formidable, but it could lack the diversity needed to reliably achieve your goals, with only one or two models excelling in specific tasks.

Lawmen

Oh, Lawmen… I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your service. 

 

As a designer, I truly appreciate the combative dance between Cyberpunks and Lawmen. After all, how can Cyberpunks rebel if they don’t have “the man” to rebel against? The Lawmen fulfill that role nicely, with an abundance of gear and disruptive abilities, including bonuses for focusing fire to eliminate priority targets. If you’re a Lawman, you might be able to make a quick example of troublesome rival models, stopping their strategy cold! 

 

Most players see the Lawmen’s excessive equipment as an awesome feature. After all, without the right gear, a Lawman might find himself quickly cut off from support or watching a fallen flank topple the team’s leader. However, before you make them your faction choice, be aware that an over-dependence on gear can be a tactical weakness. You might end up with fewer models on the table and, subsequently, fewer action points. For Lawmen to succeed, it’s imperative they roll well and stick together.

 

Tyger Claws

Positioning and battlespace control is the Tyger Claws’ forte. Yes, they’re skilled combatants with blades and bullets and have cool toys like grappling hooks for getting into hard-to-reach spots; but many of their best abilities rely on the positioning of gang members on the table. Whether it’s Onee-San’s ability to walk fire against clumped enemies, or Kyodai’s ability to react to the damage of nearby friendlies to make the most of this faction, you’ll want to pay close attention to where everyone is.

 

If you choose the Tyger Claws as your gang, finding cover and attacking first can help leverage your positioning gains and compensate for your lack of resilience. However, if your rival closes with a sniper or disrupts your attack path, he can effectively trade his models for yours, so watch for those movements and back your models up with a Gonk or two to run interference. 

 

Zoners

“No man is an island.” Zoners know this and rarely work alone. They aren’t afraid to field extra Gonks or inexpensive characters, which affords a high degree of flexibility and redundancy when trying to achieve their objectives. Gonks, in particular, get a lot of use as many characters have special abilities that allow them to attack or move outside of Inspiring Your Team.

 

Having plenty of Gonks allows Zoners to experiment with different strategies, but they aren’t masters of any single tactical approach. So, if you choose to be a Zoner, you’ll have to learn your opponent's strengths and weaknesses to counter and exploit them. That can be a tall order in certain scenarios!

 

 

Ok, Chooms… That’s a quick rundown on four of our factions. More gang info will be coming soon, but I hope this helps new players understand their choices, so they can ignore everything I just wrote and play what looks coolest to them!


This is Cyberpunk, after all. Isn’t looking cool really all that matters?

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