Ever since the patch that added in the new “doom counter” where you have to protect the human population the game has made it mandatory to protect every single haven across the globe.
I can critique why i like and dislike this new mechanics but for now lets leave that right there.
The thing i want to address here is that by late-game you are doing a TON of haven defense missions with multiple teams ALL THE TIME.
It gets very repetitive after a while. Something that can help alleviate this issue would be an auto-resolve function.
If you have ever played age of wonders: planetfall then you get where im going with this…
So, when you land on a haven for the defense and after you click to start loading the mission there would now be a ui button enabled to auto-resolve the combat. The game would calculate a win or loss for your squad and kill off/wound members.
If you are not satisfied with the result you get a second chance to manually do the combat like normal.
If this cannot be done then i think we need more variety in the defense missions since it is now becoming the most played mission types.
No it didnt, but you have time to end game before they are gone too low.
Problem is about the end third of game Pandorans get way to aggressive and heavens too defensless on their own (since attacks include Chrons and Sirens) so pressure increses. A bit slower pace would help players breathe.
Doom counter here or in XCom is nice idea, whereby in Xcom was tied to responding to defense in some areas (which was possible). Here its more frustating with no direct exponation that alligning with fractions to the full will lead to having last mission (and going with PP line of sites to the end too).
“No it didnt, but you have time to end game before they are gone too low.”
Well, correct me if im wrong but the overall human population is directly related to losing the game.
And that means protecting every single haven is essential in prolonging the length of the game and ensuring you dont lose. Correct?
So protecting ALL havens is critical if you want to be efficient AND be able to make stories for your soldiers triumphs and loses, overall having a good gameplay experience and not just rushing through the campaign.
Where im at right now im doing 4 haven defense missions at the same time pretty much all the time.
I have the entire globe protected… But it just isnt exactly that fun doing all of this is what im getting at.
Well, it is critical if you want to play a real long game, but it is not critical to win before the population is to low.
Two different ways to win the game:
Defend as much heavens as you can to get the time you need for all the things you want to do. This ends in what you describe, very busy by defending the factions and spending your resources that are maybe better invested to bring you to the real goal, defeating the enemy.
Just to clarify, I also try almost to go this way. It is hard but doable, some lost heavens are inevitable.
Only defend them where it is necessary or when it is important to get closer to the goal and concentrate on anything what brings you ahead to win before it is too late. Probably more opportunistic but also more effective. I think, that’s the way @Voland plays. It is faster, more effective and so less repetitive, maybe also less boring.
Its two slightly separate outcomes that need to happen to appease both crowds though.
The rushers need more campaign content to burn through… Certainly not making the timer harder in order to force them to stop rushing and turn their attention to havens… That would only increase the problem im having and it would even spill out more onto the way the rushers play… Grinding haven defense is not fun.
But how to please the slow paced players? Well, auto resolve i think is a good option… Anything else other then more defense variety?
Making overall less haven defense missions occur would help slow paced players grind less… But it would make rushing through the game even easier and unbalanced since they would be able to just ignore it. unless there was some other gates in place to stunt rushers playstyle.
Yes, but its kind of artificial limit as it per se does not bring you closer to winning. Its not well explained within the game, but winning is another route of discovering the alien source and beating them that way. As game is built so you cant possibly protect the all (since early moment you get all heavens fractions heaven map - THAT should be delayed further and at least some science given first?). Its more tool of frustrating and testing players ability then win requirement.
When I say research, not all as later, but one or two.
Put it as balance change proposal
Those who played original Xcom 1 remember the same frustrating factor in country members leaving Xcom financing (in this survival scenario that is dropped). But nice side of that mechanism was that country that leaves Xcom gives up to aliens and is most likely to harbor alien bases that you needed to scout and advance winning goal - here its replaced by Myst spreading the globe, more horrorfying element. When most of members leave, aliens have conquered!
Similarly, you can loose here if humanity is lost, or if you lose Palace mission (Alien God conquers the earth!)
Of course, auto resolve would be maybe not a bad idea. I had a similar idea, but also pretty different and never written down. We could have access to two different types of recruits, the ones we have now for our main squads and very cheap ones that we can only send to heavens that were attacked to simply reinforce them (raise their defence number). Then you can harden the defenders but you can’t fight manually. If you want to fight manually then you have to send a main squad of your normal soldiers.
But anyway, in my last campaign far over 20 heavens were lost (Edit: somewhat up to the mid game, around end February, early March) because I had no more fun to defend them all and ever. Especially after the faction wars arise and they destroy one heaven after another by themself, more than Pandorans do in this time frame. I only defend some Synedrion heavens against NJ, because they were already very low on heavens and had no chance against them.
As soon as I had researched the Pandoran Citadel that shows all Pandoran bases I simply destroy all of them one after another and don’t do any heaven defence in between, another 4 or 5 heavens gone. After these bases are downed the attacks are mostly stopped. Only one per weak or so, seldom more and then easy to defend. The population meter was on something around 50% but it doesn’t go down further that fast. I also build mist repellers in all of my bases to minimize the decrease of popularity in mists. Then I had the time to get all the ancient stuff with all 12 sites done and researched all what is in the game. Finally I finished it after a long journey. Edit: If I remember correctly the population was down to 30-40% at the end of the campaign.
That said, even if you want to play a long game it is not necessary to defend all heavens because when you do the right things at the right moment then you can stall the population meter pretty nicely even when it is down under 50%.
I think putting it as rushers vs slow players is not entirely accurate. I’m not rushing the game - I do all the quests, research, LOTA, etc. It’s more about the attitude/feelings the player has towards the havens.
I don’t see my role as the caretaker of the havens. For me the objective is to defeat the Pandoravirus, not save humanity one haven at a time. And tbh, I think that’s what the devs intented. They didn’t expect players would get emotionally attached to the idea that all havens have to be saved. There is even a tutorial panel that says exactly that: you have to to defeat the Pandoravirus, you can’t save every haven.
Sometimes I think that it would be best if the player’s involvement in the haven defense had no impact on the outcome of the battle at all, or very marginal, like knocking off a few attack pts (which makes sense because if the faction security forces in their hundreds if not 1000s can’t stop the Pandorans, how can you?) and the purpose of the mission would be only to find the source of the attack. If the haven survives, they give you some help (resources, recruits or weapons) to destroy the base. If the base is destroyed, nearby havens within the operating range of the Pandoran structure give you some reward.
@MadSkunky’s explanation is a little too black & white, but it does outline the key decisions you have to make.
As @VOLAND says, you don’t have the troops & resources to protect every Haven, so just like the rest of this game, you have to assess the strategic situation and pick your battles.
In this case, that means protecting the Havens that are going to cause the biggest hit to the HPI - the ones with pop in the high thousands - while you ramp up your Research infrastructure to get to the final Endgame as fast as you can. Trying to protect everything is both boringly tedious and ultimately leads to a death of a thousand cuts.
TBH, it gives you more hints than it used to, but I think PP still does a very poor job of getting this concept across to players. I think there should be quite an explicit tooltip - or even a note from Symes - which says: “There are too many Havens to defend and the enemy won’t stop coming. The only way to win this is by Researching a solution.” Something which stops people from automatically falling into the trap of trying to defend everything and not investing enough in Research (which was the mistake I made in my first ever playthough).
That doesn’t mean that an ‘auto-defend’ option isn’t a good idea - it’s a very good idea and you should propose it on Canny - but it won’t solve the specific problem that you outlined in your OP.
@MichaelIgnotus here firaxcoms / chimera squad have solutions for the player: you must choose between missions using a game mechanic that removes the other options. For a major audience, this type of forced choice works best… whatever PP does to get the concept to players, a lot of them still won’t get it (specially first-timers) or will want to try and tackle everything nonetheless just because the game allows. I guess the ‘auto-defend’ would be a good compromise, however player forces would’ve to become more vast and expendable. This would change the game a lot.
So, I still don’t see a good choice here. This whole situation translates into another one of the “should PP be a niche game or an all-audiences game?” type. Firaxcoms went the all-audiences way and was very successful for that. PP went for a middle ground but that is much harder to achieve.
Even if the game timed missions in a way that made it impossible for any player in any situation do more than one at the same time, players would be pissed about it because it would feel forced since the base mechanics are based on freedom. It’s best to just present two or more options and force the player to make a choice, like we have with the synedrion alliance or firaxcoms.
That however cannot be applied to PP because it would change the game too much and it’s too late for that, but it could be taken into account for PP2 (which I hope will exist). I myself prefer the freedom of PP, but if the game is to reach major audiences, I don’t think freedom + explanation is the way to go. For now, in PP, I agree with you that this should be told repeatedly somehow, and if PP had more canon characters it would be easier.
Edit: just after responding this I read your suggestion for the wiki in another topic
See, it’s a great thing as you described since it leaves much more of the strategy in the player’s hands. But you tried to explain it and took 2 big paragraphs with it. It almost seems as more text than the entirety of the tips PP gives to players. And that would need to be repeated. It’s difficult to do it in-game, and I wish we had “Central” to pass this kind of help to the players.
You’re right, but I do think that at times PP does a bad job of explaining things to players.
They’re getting better at it, partly because I and other members of the CC call them out any time we think things aren’t being made clear enough - the pop-up tooltips were the devs’ (very good) response to that.
And actually, the Tutorial took my suggestion and tells everyone right up front that they won’t be able to do everything and will need to invest in Research Labs. But as many players ignore that as listen to it.