Hey everyone, greetings from Greece. I haven't bought this game yet, but I am certain to do so sometime down the road. I am actively playing turn based games since Defender of the Crown in 1987 with my favourites of all time being the Civ series, Total War series, Might&Magic types, many Paradox and Matrix games titles, and of course XCOM series.
If I have to scale my entertainment from the xcom series, leaving the original UFO: enemy unkwown out since its quite old now, it would be XCOM2<XCOM<LongWar for XCOM2<Longwar for XCOM. Evidently I much more prefer addons/game revamps that the original games which perhaps tells something.
Now, everytime a new game is about to start enthusiasts will say their bits about how they imagine the game to be. As I have been designing games myself, I know this ‘new features parade’ in forum and emails can be a nightmare for the game designers, but sometimes also a potential source for a good idea; assuming design/programming has not significantly progressed. After all, ideas are easy; implementation is the real and only pain.
I have seen quite a few interesting proposals in the forums so far, that I will not repeat here; it is up to designers and the resources they have available how and if they will implement any of that.
I have only one comment, that may also be ignored but I would feel better for mentioning it as early as possible.
A war on a planetary scale is a MASSIVE thing. It seriously impacts realism the fact the 5-10-15 soldiers save the world every time. Or to put it another way, I call such games “RPGs”. In all previous versions, most of the game seems to revolve around the player, instead of progressing independently (with the exception of Long War perhaps). There are others fighting in one corner of the world or another, thousands of small skirmishes, missions, raids, technological developments, trades, deaths, breakthroughs, intrigues etc; events should develop constantly and independently from player actions whether they are small victories for humanity or severe defeats. I don't have this feeling when playing XCOM series, there is very little news for events all around, even more so for events that actually impact your own game and the decisions you make on strategic/global level. So where is everyone, what is the rest of humanity doing? You might be the leading/elite force of the resistance, but sure as hell you are not the only one.
I would love a living, breathing world. One that continues along without needing activation by your actions. A world that is dying and where the fight is desperate, as it should be with such odds against you in a post-apocalyptic earth. Too many bad news, so few good ones. For some of the news you either had a part, or you had a chance to be a part of. But most things happened without you being around. You simply can’t be everywhere.
So my suggestion is more or less this:
1. Increase value of strategic play around the globe. It’s not only your elite tactical troops that you send on missions, you could also have more numerous troops holding various objectives or proceeding in various operations, that would need the support of your elites more often than not. So it should not matter that much if you lost a soldier that you “maxed out” in level if your strategic decisions are solid. And saving/reloading the action should not matter much either in the overall perspective of things. A game of this scale, should be much closer to a wargame than a role-playing game where losing a couple of maxed-out soldiers that you have been training for 20 missions now can prove a devastating blow. On the contrary, it should be the success or failures of the missions that you have *chosen* what should impact much more in your progress, than whether you have managed to create a group of "unbeatable" elites.
2. Create an alive, breathing and atmospheric world. Things can happen without you that could influence you. Or events will happen due to some previous decisions you made that impact someone else. Don’t take examples from XCOM games alone, check out other games, EU4 for example; Paradox has done a tremendously good job to make the world alive for single player. You will need assets on a strategic level to do that, not just 6 elite/maxed out/overpower soldiers that kill everything they encounter.
One last thing. Make it difficult! Long War difficult… to win, not to learn. Have an easy mode for newcomers, but normal play should be hard. And “impossible” level should be… well, impossible
Good luck and keep up the good work.