AI + WP issues are adding to the OP problem

So, I had an encounter this morning where I found myself faced by something like 15 grenade & MG-toting Crabbies, backed up by a handful of 'Fraggers in a Defend the Resource Crates situation where the crates I needed were split in 2 places across the map.

The best that I could hope for was to split my squad, with 2 Squaddies going left and 2 going right to defend the crates, and my 2 Snipers taking up firing positions in the centre to support whichever side needed most help. But no matter what I did, no matter how much I abused Dash or Repeat Fire (or whatever it’s called), I reckoned there were still gonna be about 5 grenade-lobbing Crabbies & 4 Fraggers coming for me when their turn came around.

And you know what? I was pleased. I felt excited for the first in a long time playing this Build. This was going to be a challenge, and while I didn’t expect to lose, I did expect to get my butt handed to me big time. For once, I was going to come out of this with injured Squaddies and a big repair job on my grenade-damaged kit.

I wish…

Forget the fact that Repeat Fire lets you kill 4 or 5 Crabbies in a row. Forget the fact that my 2 GL-toting Squaddies could neutralise 6 Crabbies in 1 turn. Forget the overlapping Overwatch cones creating a massive kill zone that ensured at least 3 of the hapless things didn’t even get in range before they were taken down. What REALLY killed the Crabbies was just how idiotic they are!

Of the 5 still standing, 2 ran in the opposite direction and hid. Only one of the other 3 got through the killzone into grenade-lobbing range of my GL guy & gal - and instead of taking them out, he turned around and attacked a nearby crate!

In the end, the only casualty I sustained was a stupid friendly fire incident, where I misjudged the firing angle on a Fragger and shot my other Sniper in the back instead. This left the Fragger free to do its thing, and I had to shoot it off the Sniper’s head.

To say this was deeply unsatisfying is an understatement.

Now, I’m going to preface all that comes next by saying that I trust Julian Gollup and his team. I am on record in multiple posts as believing that BB5 is not in the least bit representative of the final balance of this game. This is a laboratory in which JG & the Ds are testing out stuff like how OP Dash & RF might be, and just how many Sniper Rifles you can give to a Trident team before a Lvl 7 Squad gets overwhelmed. If Dash etc & Squad progression are anything like as OP on Dec 3rd, I’ll eat my hat (and I have many :smirk:) - and I doubt you’ll encounter a Sniper team until your Squad’s at least past Lvl4. JG invented this genre, he knows how to balance these things, and he knows how to introduce gradated monster challenges in line with Squad progression. There’s a reason you don’t encounter Mutons in your first X-COM encounter, and it’s not random. So chill out people and trust that he knows what he’s doing.

That said, the encounter I just described highlights some systemic problems with the current AI + Will build as it stands that I think are worth discussing.


  1. Crabbies are stupid. We know that, but no, they’re REALLY stupid! There should be a line in their code that says IF a Squaddie is in range, THEN the Crabbie targets the Squaddie, NOT the crate. I have no objection to Crabbies lobbing grenades at crates on the other side of the map right from the word go - sacrifices have to be made and I never expect to gather every resource from a mission (or at least I never used to); but when they’re faced with a choice between keeping themselves alive by shooting at a Squaddie or reducing the amount of apples I get to eat by a couple of handfuls, TAKE OUT THE SQUADDIE!

  2. There is a serious feedback problem with WP as it currently works. When you kill a Crabbie, 2 things happen: a) all Crabbies lose 1 or 2 WP and invariably panic, b) all Squaddies gain 2WP. So you end up with a negative/positive feedback loop in which the Crabbies lack the Will to do anything useful and the Squaddies gain so much Will that they don’t have to think twice about blowing 7 WP per turn on Quick Shot + Repeat Fire and taking down another 5 Crabbies in 1 turn, which only reinforces the loop further. Most of my Squaddies spend most of the game hyped up on 20+ WP, while the Crabbies are cowering in a corner trying to Recover.

There seems to me a couple of very easy fixes to this:

  • The only Squaddie who should get a WP bonus is the one who made the kill.
  • Crabbies should only lose WP if they are within a certain radius/LoS of the Crabbie that was killed.

I could go on, but I’ll stop here. That’s enough for one post.


Oh how I envy you that you have time to play on the morning. :slight_smile: Never have thought that having kids changes so much your available free time. :wink: And it would be like that for at least next 10 years.

btw don’t you think that fraggers should be send on the missions where objective is to kill or capture human opponents? So more like on haven defence missions with civilians, ambush and phoenix base defence?

Only squaddie that is killing gets WP unless you have Inspire which gives +1 WP to all for a kill. :wink: Here is quote from my feedback:

  • Change willpower balance implementing 3 things. First one - decrease penalty for deaths. At least for aliens. Right now keeping them in permanent state of panic is really easy. Maybe it is linked to the ease of dispatching next soft aliens, or maybe aliens are durable enough but skills are overpowered, but nevertheless when you start killing them, fight becomes really easy, so please decrease effect of constant panic somehow.
  • Second thing - this will probably link to the above point. Decrease effect how much WP our soldiers acquire. Maybe it should be linked to soldier level? If it is higher after dividing by 2 (I refer here to my number of levels, see Strategic/Personnel) than WP granted for enemy then that WP should not be given? So soldiers on level 6+ would not get WP for Arthrons, on level 8+ for Tritons, on level 10+ for Sentinels, on level 12+ for Sirens and Chirons and on level 20(?)+ for a Scylla. It would indicate that they don’t get excited and invigorated by such kills. Because right now they gather WP like some magical superpower. We use some skill by spending WP, then we usually kill an enemy, thus regain WP and we can do again such trick, even if not in the same turn then in the next.
  • Third thing – Decrease number of skills which generate Will Points. There can be one such Recover which penalize you by taking out all your Action Point, but other should be removed or in other way debuffed. Right now I can’t actually remember when the last time I have used Recover ability. I think it was in BB2 or BB3. This is partly to above point with WP rewards for kills, but there are also other skills. I suppose that WP should be limited resource like it was in BB1 or BB2 where you have struggled to maintain WP, because of Overwatch cost just to not panic, and were holding some grenades to have them to use at last resort (arrival of queen). That was intense. Now I bump WP as some Street Fighter or Mortal Combat booster and then I start making Combos and Fatalities. I suppose this game was supposed to not be like that.

I suppose it would work fine with limiting who gets WP after kill. And above numbers are for my idea of increase level cap so with current BB5 values it should be that soldiers on level:

  • 3+ would not get WP for Arthrons,
  • 4+ for Tritons,
  • 5+ for Sentinels,
  • 6+ for Sirens and Chirons,
  • all get for Scylla.

Yea, I usually get up between 5 & 6 in the morning, and not having kids that time is my own.
The downside is, I rarely have time to play at any other time, because my work and other projects are so all-consuming. So all of my feedback is based upon the 1 or 2 hours I can snatch in the morning before going to work, and the occasional morning’s play I can steal over a weekend.

So I haven’t had the time (or the inclination) to explore this game as thoroughly as some of you. This feedback is based on one fairly long playthrough, where I’ve barely got off Asia yet, and 2 shorter playthroughs that were aborted by crashes or other considerations.

FRAGGERS: My take on them is that they’re scavengers. I have an image of the Pandorans seeding Fraggers all over the world and we only encounter them when we’re on a mission. So they can pop up almost anywhere at any time - and that’s how it should be. In this current build, the only real threat I have to take seriously is the possibility of being ambushed by a rogue Fragger if I don’t enter a building carefully enough.

I have those 2 hours just before the night. But often they go for other stuff than games.

Given that the current XP sitch means all of my Squaddies are maxed out on Skills, I reckon that most have Inspire. I’m hoping that will hit more sensible levels when they balance the Skill Tree properly for Dec 3rd.

From my point of view, Squaddies should only be getting enough XP per mission to choose between 1 Skill on the Tree, or boosting a stat. The current sitch where you can hoover up all the Skills on the level you’ve just gained AND increase your stats by a couple of points is ridiculous - but as I’ve said before, I’m sure that’s done for testing purposes.

You sure do pack a lot into them then :wink:
Admittedly, I couldn’t even start thinking about BB5 until I got my last film out the door in October, but you’ve definitely put a lot more time and effort into this than most of us.

I don’t think so. Many players definitely put a lot of work in providing feedback on this forum. They just create many threads. :smiley: I also like your input as it is quite valuable, definitely ballanced in between points of view and makes sense.

Like you, I just want to make this the game we’re all dreaming of :alien:

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I have lots of time comparing to you but I am not inclined to even play a game which feels so badly balanced. I’d rather die a lot than having it easy. I paid for PP already as I like to support developers who produce tactical games like xcom but I hope that they will reduce number of dimensions this game can go wrong so it is easier to balance it. I also hope that community willing to iron this game help them devs a lot.

And I like to know all the numbers standing behind the game. :slight_smile:

Yes, some people are good at crunching numbers :slight_smile: