Cover mostly useless when fighting enemies with RF ability

I’ve restarted my campaign to apply some lessons learned on the first short-lived try. Now on one of the first missions I met several human enemies - the rampaging soldiers in the first NJ haven mission. Unlike on my first try, I moved much more deliberately, encircling enemies and approaching using cover. The results were very… unsatisfactory.

Problem 1: Standing on the corner of a solid wall, I could not fire at all at an enemy that I should have a clear LoS to. When I turned towards that enemy in manual aiming mode, suddenly the sight was blocked by a solid grey object, but there was no such object.

Problem 2: I could fire at another enemy standing close to the first one. This enemy was just standing in the open. Yet when he returned fire, every single bullet hit my soldier, although he should have been leaning from behind a solid concrete wall. The wall might as well just not have been there. Although my guy was in the best possible cover, and the target without any cover, my guy took way more damage than the target, so attacking was not even worth it.

This also wasn’t a fluke. I reloaded the previous turn several times and the same thing happened every time. It looks like using full cover is actually worse than using more flimsy, half-height cover. The latter at least occasionally absorbs a bullet.

I’ll concede that it makes sense that a target returning fire has a better chance to hit an attacker, because they are firing simultaneously, so the attacker must be at least partly out of cover. But surely the cover should still have a very high chance to block bullets. Instead, a target out in the open and under fire is shooting back with perfect accuracy at the exposed body parts of the attacker as if it was a robot with no emotions and no worries about its own life. That’s not what happens in real firefights.

I think RF bursts should have a hefty accuracy penalty.


Part of the problem is that soldiers use only right arm/shoulder to fire or throw grenade. Yesterday I had situation where my assault and arthron were very close to each other, just beyond the corner. My assault can’t see arthron but I know where it is. I try to throw grenade and instead of using left hand my soldier steps up from cover to throw using right hand. Ofc arthron uses RF because after step up my soldier is visible. I was lucky that it was 35 DMG arthron so soldier survived, but barely.

Trained soldier should use both sides in combat.

EDIT: Yust added

Possible way

  • -50% accuracy for RF (AR and handgun only),
  • -25% accuracy for Overwatch


100% accuracy from the hips / autosight
+25% accuracy from shoulder / handsight (-3 WP)

A post in another thread made me realize that probably the real problem is that soldiers do not actually use cover. My guy was just standing in the middle of his square. The concrete wall was close but he was not hugging it, so it was useless. He would have been better off behind half-height cover that would at least have made him crouch.

Which is clearly a bug. Soldiers need to actually use cover by standing as close to it as possible and only expose as little as possible of their body when leaning out to shoot.

But I fear that the necessary animations for that aren’t even in the game…


And the problem is, Return Fire works like Overwatch that triggers on weapon fire (and you don’t have to set it in advance). Soldier steps aside from cover, fire, waits till everyone returns fire at him, steps back behind cover.

Return Fire should trigger after soldier steps back and punish those without cover or behind bad/low cover. Right now it punish you just for shooting and enemies gain superhuman reflexes, leaning out of cover and shooting at us full auto, while we in slow-mo are trying hard to just lean back. FFS, we stand there as crab hides his shield, shoot a burst and place shield again in front of him.


This was extensively discussed here Do you thinks this is fair?

And I still think that in this regard RF works as it should - cover is supposed to protect you when someone shoots at you, but to shoot at someone you have to expose yourself and risk getting shot at.

A different issue is that some of us believe RF should work more like it did on release.

IMO RF of teammates of the target is the one that should activate, not of the target itself.


I don’t think that this is an accurate description of what actually happens, because it is an attempt to show almost simultaneous actions in a turn based game.

Actually shooting from cover done properly you should only present a very small target to the enemy, perhaps RF should be a lot less accurate when this is the case?

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I don’t think any sane person would actually take a whole step out of cover to shoot at someone.

It would be nice if you only had your head and gun that stick out as you lean.

The same behind half cover. You don’t get up to shoot, you rest on your knee and it should even offer more accuracy.


This is something called “Overwatch”.

I know what it’s supposed to show. But this is “Return Fire” skill and not “Fire At Me When I Fire”. Firing from cover just to be shot in a face just doesn’t make any sense. These actions shouldn’t be “almost simultaneous” but synchronous, one after another.

Remove RF would require boost quite a lot the difficulty, there’s tools to manage it, but clearly it’s an element of difficulty, remove it, crabs become more or less trivial and the game would need a huge change.

For me RF has certainly some negative aspects, but it adds a layer of depth, and there’s many tools to manage it. Remove it would streamline the game and made it quite easier.

For old RF and new RF, it was easy to ignore old RF, not new RF. I read old RF was allowing serious exploit from player, but not necessarily op holes, I don’t know.

No, OW is triggered by enemy movement, so it’s an opportunity/penalty (depending on pov) for movement into an area.

RF, is an opportunity/penalty for shooting. IMO it makes more sense that someone protecting the target returns fire, not the target itself.

I hope you will agree that this is semantics… And that “Fire at me when I fire” is a terrible name for a skill :grin:

They are, what I mean is that the time that elapses between them is almost negligible. Again, this would make more sense if it wasn’t the target returning the fire but a teammate.

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Yes, or even better Pantolomin’s suggestion below:

Though this would require new animations.

My point is taking shots from cover when RF is involved should carry substantial risk. It makes sense though that it be less than shooting outside of all cover.


You define area to cover with OW as long there’s LoS. Base cost is 2 AP, needs manual setup and ends your turn. Triggers once. Target is moving so accuracy is so-so.

Covers 360 around you, as long as there’s LoS. Costs nothing, it’s passive, always on. Triggers multiple times. Target is stationary so damage is guaranteed if penetrates.

There is absolutely nothing tactical with it. it’s just “Magic Armor of Damage Reflection” (even better, as you don’t need to receive any damage to trigger) Free damage opportunity, no risk, just reward.

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Really? I mean, you have to get shot at to activate it, with the chance that you might killed or crippled and not be able to return it.

I haven’t opened a spell book in a while, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work this way. The damage doesn’t get it reflected - you get shot for 100 damage and you might return 200, 10 or 0 damage with your weapon. Or be dead.

Sorry @VOLAND , I speak from Pandoran perspective, because I hate mankind. What I’m trying to say it’s not free damage for PP, it is nightmare! Right after early game crabs turn into armored bullet sponges. You have to shot them, a lot. 320 HP and 40 Armor? With Return Fire? Oh come on. That’s some kind of bullshit.

This is not a tactical option and obstacle that comes out, and you have to deal with it this turn. This isn’t a “Oh, this guy is on overwatch so better not move out of cover” scenario. This is something you can’t mitigate and you just have to take into account you’ll damage yourself shoting a crab in a game that’s basically about shoting crabs. Because, how? “All these guys have Return Fire so maybe I won’t shot at all”? This thing is never on cooldown, it requires no Willpower to sustain, it requires no AP to setup, it triggers every time.

You’re saing this isn’t Damage Reflection? Of course it is not. Like you’ve said: you can shot a crabman for 50 or 0 damage and take 200, 100 or 0 damage in return. Or get killed. Just because. Can you outmanouver it tacticaly? Nope, because crab doesn’t care if you flank him and shot his back. He’ll turn around and shot you anyway. That’s cheap and tedious.

I wish I could deal with tactical superiority of my enemies, flanking me from both sides while few stays on overwatch keeping me pinned down. And I have to deal with a guy that stands in the open, and shots me back every time I shot him. Where’s tactic in this? Do I need to skillfest everyone down?

Edit: You’ve said in mentioned topic:

You shot a guy in a foot, because that’s all that sticks out of cover, and you get shot back without a chance of getting back into cover? Clairvoyance? I can jump around like a monkey out of cover and it won’t trigger anything, so the “you expose yourself” part just doesn’t make any sense. Want to react to me exposing myself? Set an overwatch. Or make an overwatch trigger also on fire, not move only. Not sure why it mimicks XCOM skill. Not reacting to a guy leaning out of cover, because his intention is to shot and not move make no sense as well. “Oh, this guy just moved out of cover. Hmm. He doesn’t run but points a gun at me. Better wait till he shot me so I can shot back. I could shot him now, but I’m on overwatch, not a f… killing spree.”. Yup. 100% valid thinking pf a soldier that’s supposed to react with fire to any movement . :stuck_out_tongue:

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Try telling that to the A-Team. :wink:

Some similar environmental damage modelling to PP in the early part of that scene too there.

NB - Hannibal nicely demonstrates the tricky manoeuvre of shooting from elevation at 0:50.

You mean like this?

(I agree with you btw).

Oh come on… I can’t remember the last time I got RFed by a crab, TBH. There are so many different ways of dealing with it.

True, you can’t use military tactics like pin them and flank them and all that, but PP does not pretend to be a mil simulation. I mean, you are fighting crabs with machine guns and hovercraftian horrors, not Nazis in the Ardennes…

Same goes for this:

But as I said in earlier posts I think it would be a good idea if cover did offer some protection from RF.

I understand that many players would want PP to be a different game, more mil sim, less skills. I like mil sims too, and if PP would have gone down that road perhaps I would have liked it. But ultimately PP is a board game with ballistics and a skills sandbox, and I like it very much for what it is.

The one thing it is missing IMO is a proper Panda evolution, but that’s a different topic altogether…

You can shoot at a crab and not get any RF. You can even shoot at crab and benefit of some cover, which doesn’t mean no damages. You can disable crab RF.

Some posts ignores those possibilities, this is problem, there’s a base for RF, argue out of this base makes no sense.

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It doesn’t make sense, considering there is Overwatch that’s supposed to do the very same thing: react to an action. But it works only as reaction to movement, because this is how it worked in XCOM.

None of the genre previous games was a military simulator. Original UFO: Enemy Unknown and successors (Xenonuts, Extraterrestials and few others)? Just leave some TUs and you’ll have a chance for reaction shot. Firaxis XCOM games? You could perk an OW to react to fire as well. And they were very boardgameish, XCOM even more (with how positioning and cover system worked). Yet still, tactical solution was always an option and most of the time the only option. Here, it is hardly ever an option.

How can you even use this arguement in a game where you can shot someones arm off so he can’t use a weapon? Or setup the very narrow cone for Overwatch so you target specific place. This game is much closer to military sim than any other in that regard.

The problem is, game is a mix of everything poorly stitched together. Some things are calculated realtime (like OW reaction shot hitting the cover enemy is just passing by), some are shitty turn by turn (like hitting crabman in a back and waiting for him to hide shield, turn around, shot, turn back, deploy shield). Game is so inconsistent with its own mechanics.


PP is obviously a military sim. I’ve never played a game that was more obviously a military sim than this one.

Which is why in theory I’d much prefer it over XCOM because there, tactical movement is consistently punished. Trying to flank enemies and use the terrain simply leads to activation of more pods. Instead, the best way to play is to move forward in tiny increments until one pod is activated, then not moving even one more step forward until that pod is eliminated. For all its other great qualities, I always hated this part of the game. PP does this so much better - but still has too many flaws in these mechanics.