We have soldiers, lets give them tanks, huge versions that grab you and hold you in place while they pummel you! And sappers! You walk over them and they dig the floor out from underneath you, dropping you into the middle of the nest with no easy way out. The queen could have elite soldiers, faster and stronger than regular soldiers, teamed with tanks, suddenly the interior of a nest is a death trap! Acid sprayers exist in nature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYCbt0ou98E , lets make them exist in cataclysm.
This line ensures they are more aggressive when their friends are hurt or killed, and injuring them only makes them more aggressive. And when an outsider is in the nest as well. I think that’s a good simulation of pheromones, right?
Part of the problem is the lack of agression, part of it is poor senses, even if they’re angry they won’t attack if they can’t detect you, and they’re very nearly blind.
Something that might be better for pheremones is a fast-spreading (invisible) cloud that attracts and angers ants. Along with a fix to ensure that they at least attack when adjacent and angry, that would make them swarm to the freshest site of combat and start smashing things up.
Also their armor could probably use quite a buff, these things devote a LOT of their body mass to chitin armor.
Trap-jaw ants of the genus Odontomachus are equipped with mandibles called trap-jaws, which snap shut faster than any other predatory appendages within the animal kingdom. One study of Odontomachus bauri recorded peak speeds of between 126 and 230 km/h (78 and 143 mph), with the jaws closing within 130 microseconds on average. The ants were also observed to use their jaws as a catapult to eject intruders or fling themselves backward to escape a threat. - Ant brutes/hulks.
Fire ants, Solenopsis spp., are unique in having a venom sac containing piperidine alkaloids. Their stings are painful and can be dangerous to hypersensitive people. - Super painful bites, many ants have highly painful bites with mild poisonous affects.
A Malaysian species of ant in the Camponotus cylindricus group has enlarged mandibular glands that extend into their gaster. When disturbed, workers rupture the membrane of the gaster, causing a burst of secretions containing acetophenones and other chemicals that immobilise small insect attackers. The worker subsequently dies. - Suicide bomber ants.
How about ants that specifically mark intruders for attack, like boomers, but with pheromones that draw every ant in the reality bubble to you?
I also like the idea of beefing up their armor, as Kevin mentioned. Would be a bit odd to have them display properties of wildly different species of ants, but it can be explained as them being mutated. They’ve already developed enough to go from, well, ant-size to being their own notable monster faction with their own queen (literally, in game terms having a monster with the “QUEEN” flag).
I believe this topic should be reminded of the dreaded jack jumpers.
They would be utterly hostile, have much higher sight than regular ants, can leap, inflict toxic stings, and are more or less the grizzly bear-equivalent in the ant world. Except these grizzly bears are poisonous and fucking hate everything with a burning passion.
Having them be the size of a grizzly bear would also not unreasonable in-game.
This will probably sound a little dumb and reductionist… but what if we merged ants and bees? After all, they are essentially in the same superfamily of insects (Vespoida.) Perhaps these giants are simply a weird atavistic mutation, or even an incidental resemblance by extra-dimensional hive creature having castes with aspects of both groups?
Fliers: Flit about in swarms to scout out resources take down small threats with their stingers and collect lesser amounts of food.
Builders: About the size of a cat, can excrete a sticky, waxy substance to ensnare prey or wall off intruders.
Tunnelers: Easily the size of a wolf they have a weak grab and bite with a one tile acid spray, alone not very threatening but usually encountered in large teams.
Cutters: BEEEG HULK BUG! Massive jaws fit for slicing n dicing. Have a strong grab attack and can deal nasty bleeding. Usually seen carrying off chunks of larger prey from a successful hunt or within the nest’s sensitive areas moving and guarding the brood/queen.
Mono-caste ‘Wasps’ may be interesting to keep as their own separate species though. Being the more egalitarian pack-based alternative to the super-hives (each individual wasp could prey on several of the lesser hive creatures, but lack their specializations, numbers, and unity of purpose.)
An interesting suggestion. I didn’t think I’d be considering it, personally.
Currently wasps set up aggressively-placed nests in towns via wasp-infested houses, which don’t really do all that much aside from being unique and dangerous early on. They’re also rare in themselves and have no real perk other than giving zombies something to swing at other than you. The enemy of the enemy can be a friend.
Bee hives, however, are kind of…I’m not sure. They’re in a strange place. On the one hand, it’s a complex of bee hives the size of a large building, and the only source of honey in the game, even though it’s still technically non-renewable. I personally wouldn’t be terribly sad to see them go, as I’ve only ever invaded once when I was ridiculously over-prepared and couldn’t be hurt. Otherwise, no one has any reason to ever approach them.
Bee hives of a regular size wouldn’t be terribly out of place out in the woods. Those tiny, non-interactive creatures could be of use for something other than decoration: you can harvest a bee hive and get honey and honeycomb, but you get attacked by swarms of BEEEEEEES! Or maybe one giant bee. A blob-infested queen, if you like.
And when I think about it, ants and wasps DO have some pretty similar anatomies, depending on which species you look at. Wings, stingers, dangerous mandibles and bites, carnivorous in nature, maybe merge in that ability from those bugs that lay eggs under your skin…
Honestly it’d be pretty interesting to see. But I’m also thinking that simply giving the ants a facelift is not out of the question, either. It depends on what the devs think would be more appropriate.