[Balance] Mind Control should be 1 unit per turn limit

Right now, the big issue a lot of people have with the Siren enemy is that it can mind control multiple soldiers in a single round. This is not just powerful – it can be game-breaking when there are multiple Sirens on the field at once. I thought about having mind control cost a single AP as a way to fix it, but now I have a better idea – simply make it like Rally the Troops and Quick Aim, in that its use is limited to 1 per turn for the mind controlling unit.

This way, a Siren can never gain control of more than one unit a round. They can still control multiple units at once, but must wait a turn to get another. This same limitation would apply to Priest-class soldiers, as well, to tamp down on certain insane combos involving chain mind control of enemies damaging or killing each other (looking at you, Fireworms).

This simple change would alleviate a lot of the game-wiping terror from the Sirens, while still keeping Mind Control a free action and losing none of its potency. I suggest this balance change because having to worry about a sudden and complete wipe at any moment when multiple Sirens are present is NOT fun. Let me say it again – it’s NOT fun, and that’s important. Things that make the game hard are fun, but this kind of thing is far, far too powerful, and causes a level of grief out of step with a player’s tactical playstyle.


In fact, such changes will only increase the difficulties that players need to face in most cases, because Siren is actually an enemy that is very easy to deal with. Most of the time, they only have the opportunity to exert their ability to control the mind, and often there are situations where controlling too many people at once results in a direct loss of control.
But the mind control of Priest-class soldiers is a very useful ability for players. The final result of weakening this ability is only to increase the difficulty unilaterally.
And greatly weakening some powerful abilities, I personally think that it will limit the freedom of gameplay, which will bring too many restrictions to the player. I think it would be more reasonable to add a minimum willpower consumption to mind control.
But how to balance these things in the end has something to do with the idea that the game maker wants to convey. Whether to balance them by weakening too strong capabilities or strengthening too weak capabilities.

I think it’s more that leaving a solider on maximum WP should make it hard for the Siren to then control it.

If you have the whole squad with no WP because they’ve spent it all on special moves, then I personally think it’s fair to then have them all be mind controlled, but if you’re conserving and protecting that WP they should be a lot lot harder to crack.

It could also be that the game needs equipment/armour that protects from mind control attacks, all be it with a reduction in other areas to balance it.

I’m sorry, but in what reality does an enemy that can mind control half your squad as a free action make for an “easy enemy to deal with”? Also, mind control for Priests is useful, yes, but weakening it does not nullify the Priest’s ability to mind control an enemy and use it against other enemies at all. Do not forget that currently, mind control from player units allows the player to immediately use that enemy with a fully refreshed AP pool; on enemy Sirens, that does not happen.

My overarching point is that the game doesn’t need balance-breaking enemies that make it less fun, and it doesn’t need overpowered player combos that also make it less fun. A single Siren might not be much of a threat unless you’re low on WP, but 2 or more can cause a near-immediate wipe. How is that fun? How does that enhance the game? The fun in this game should come from wise use of tactical options, not from utterly OP cheese strategies (chain mind control, Rapid Clearance + Adrenaline Rush, etc). Making Mind Control have a 1-unit-a-turn limit doesn’t change the fact that it’s a free action mind control. It just makes it harder to cause wipes of your squad, or for a single Priest to wipe a horde of enemies with chain mind control.

I believe this is already a thing you can get sometime after mid-game and getting access to other factions’ research trees (or stealing their research).

Because it costs no AP, but it costs WP equal to the WP of the target. So if you realize there’s an enemy Siren, you can blow their head off (so they have no WP and can’t Mind Control any of your soldiers) or conserve the WP of your soldiers (don’t over-use WP abilities until after the Siren is dead). It’s a tough enemy, but it’s not broken or overpowered; just requires different tactics than the standard enemies to counter. The player has access to the Priest with the exact same ability, so it’s not even balance-breaking.
Even as-is with no limit, a Siren has only 30 WP so should only be able to Mind Control 3 soldiers on average for one turn before using up all of its WP unless you’ve been using your soldier’s abilities too much putting them all at really low WP. Two is tougher, but if two Sirens manage to get close enough to your entire squad to Mind Control all of them without you being able to do something about it then you’ve made some tactical mistakes before it got to that point.

It’s the nature of the game that at times the shit will hit the fan regardless of how well you play the map (the maps can be on the small side given the amount of bodies on it).

I’ve been jumped by three sirens mid game and had my team chew itself up with return fire (thankfully that’s been fixed) trying to kill a siren in the past.

The alien lair missions can also be a monumental pain when facing a siren, can be hard as they manage to hide really well but it’s manageable.

That’s just part of the game I guess.