Alien return fire mechanism

Hi, I find the return fire mechanism to be really BAD. If you base activities on available action points where every element/alien/hummie has 100% … then.

When my 4 man squad runs into a 4 man alien squad things get broken - FAST.

First assault dude fires 2 shots (50% each)
Second assault dude fires 2 shots (50% each)
Heavy dude fires cannon (75%) - then glances at his toes for another 25%.
Tech dude fires 4 shots (25% each)

NOW … aliens fire back with EVERY shot I make … meaning all 4 aliens can fire 9 return shots. Assuming that the alien machine guns are roughly the same as an assault rifle (50% per shot) that means that ALL 4 aliens get to use 450% action points … DURING MY TURN. Then they get an ADDITIONAL 100% during THEIR turn.

This return fire mechanism needs to be linked to action points from the previous turn in a similar way to overwatch. If the unit/element does not have enough action %% left then overwatch/return fire is not possible.

I find this element of the game to be VERY bad and heavily favored toward the aliens.



The game isn’t finished yet and there has been no real balancing. There are also many elements missing like the perception system which limits the line of sight for both your units and enemy units (currently line of sight is infinite). There will also be specific abilities for dealing with return fire situations.

The aliens also currently have infinite ammo, which won’t be the case in the final build.

The return fire system works both ways too. Your guys (with the appropriate weapons and skills) get to take multiple return fire shots on the enemy turn.

The idea is to position your units in cover and break line of sight so that you can’t be shot at by 9 enemies every time you fire.

I understand it’s a WIP … just saying I find the return fire mechanism needs some adjusting.

1 Like

Agreed it’s a challenge, but it’s only BAD if you go into every encounter like you were playing XCOM.

Let’s take your example and game the system as it stands: instead of firing all 4 men at the aliens (and getting shot at 9 times in return), try positioning your Heavy so that (s)he can lob a missile at the 2 most dangerous aliens from a position which is out of LoS. At the same time, position your Assaults so that they get RF on the aliens when they fire.

Boom! 2 Aliens are down to 2 or 3 life points and bleeding out, and their RF bounces off the wall your Heavy is hiding behind. Bang! Bang! One of those aliens goes down from the RF of your Assaults.

Now your Assaults get to move. If you can, position each so that they get LoS on a target that’s not going to bleed out but are screened from as many of the remaining aliens as possible. Bang! 1 hit on an alien which RFs then gets hit again by the RF from your other Assault. Assault 1 Exerts to fire again and Alien 2 goes down.

Assault 2 now Exerts to get LoS on the next target and blows all of his/her APs doing it. No Problem, you’ve got a Tech, who Rallies. Suddenly, all of your Assaults, PLUS your Heavy have their APs back.

Position Assault 1 to get RF on the next target. If you can, move the Heavy forward to engage it - (s)he’s probably too far away, so takes up a firing position where (s)he can Overwatch on any surviving Alien that moves forward.

Now your Assaults can either Fire & Exert to take out the next target then go into Overwatch, or if that’s too dangerous, put themselves in a position where they can OW/RF vs any Alien that moves forward.

End Turn. One Alien bleeds out, the next gets hit by the crossfire from 3 OWs.

The only issue you might have is if this is early in the mission and you’ve teleported into a killing ground surrounded by Crabbies with machineguns. At that point, DON’T SHOOT! Head for the best cover on ONE SIDE OF THE BATTLEFIELD and go into Overwatch, or explosive overkill on any Crabbies on the side you’ve chosen to shelter in. That way, your OW dudes get first shot at any Crabbie that moves towards you, targeting him out in the open. Your only real problem is if they’re armed with MG+GL, at which point you probably need to spread some high explosive love around and take the hits to take out the Grenade Launchers before they nerf you.

Personally, I don’t think the game is OP in favour of the Aliens right now. It’s balanced WAY in favour of the Squaddies, especially if they have multiple Firecats and Missile Launchers (to the extent that I’ve started house-ruling limits on how I’m allowed to use these).

1 Like

It ma be true that the Aliens get way more return fires than the Humans, but the Aliens still get their tails handed to them so I think it is needed for balance.

1 Like

Hmmm, good tips and discussion. I guess I’m a bit guilty of xcom-2 like behavior. Played it through many times.

1 Like

This is actually something that we witness a lot from XCOM players who are playing the backer builds. They tend to play it like XCOM using similar tactics. Most of the time this won’t work. Some people then feel that this means there’s a problem with the game rather than with their tactics.

While it is true that the game isn’t yet complete or balanced - XCOM tactics will need to be tweaked to work with the Phoenix Point mechanics.

1 Like

It feel a lot like OG xcom right now… The occasional random reaction shots that come in from Kansas city while you’re in Miami, which hit your Rookie unerringly in the skull. It’s true though, that modern xcom game play will have built up habits that are “bad” in PP. Imagine playing xcom 2 if all Advent (and some others) got free Covering Fire and (that skill that auto over watches if you double moved). And kill zone.

As always, you know my favorite line - it’s early, not all systems are even fleshed out, let alone operating with all their integrations and dependencies, etc etc.

At this point, you guys should consider a big, click to exit splash screen that details how incomplete everything is, that many weapons, attacks, and systems don’t behave properly due to not having other systems in, etc. Put flashing lights on it, too. :stuck_out_tongue:

Still wouldn’t work.

Of course not, but then you could say you’ve done everything and the kitchen sink to prepare folks. :stuck_out_tongue:

It takes a bit of getting used to. The first few missions I got my ass kicked by return fire and was all sorts of disappointed with the game. Once you get used to it it is actually quite good and provides a challenge.

Early on, only fire from good cover and restrict your position to how many aliens can return fire on you. If you can only see and fire at a single alien, only that alien can return fire at you. You can manually aim at the ‘gun arm’ of the aliens to remove guns from their side. You can also use your heavies to fire first and absorb some of the incoming fire so your weaker units do not get instantly cut down in return.

Later on when you get grenade launchers, use those soldiers first, to smash groups of aliens. Then the rest of your squad can one shot the left overs of the alien squad. One grenade in the middle of an alien squad allows very little return fire. By the time it comes to the alien turn, there is usually very little left that is not bleeding out.

The return fire needs work as you have said. Using a small gun in the open vs an alien machine gun is suicide. You will die in that exchange almost every time! But once you work out tactics it is not as bad as the first few missions.

I would just like to know how the return fire mechanics for the PP soldiers works. I’ve had them fire back when not in overwatch, but I don’t know the rhyme or reason to it.

Return fire is a skill that your Assault soldiers have (the Crabmen gunners also have it). For your assaults, it only works with an “agile” weapon - which is any weapon which takes 50% of your action points or less to fire.

If an enemy attacks one of your soldiers and one of your assaults with return fire can see the attacker, he will return fire.

1 Like

Same thing happened on the Phantom Doctrine forums when the game was released and will probably happen with any turn based tactical games that deviates from the only known reference that is XCOM (for newer players of the genre)

I don’t think this is avoidable, doesn’t mean that things have to change in order to accomodate their whims either. Hell, even I got my ass kicked by Phanton Doctrine AND Phoenix Point until I could figure out how usual tactics needed to be adjusted. Friends of mine are also reporting getting their asses kicked by Mutant Year Zero :slight_smile:

Add in the lack of balance we’ll inevitably experience as long as we operate on minimal content and things are bound to be less than ideal for a while.