Do missions scale to the level of your team?

Now that I 110% agree on.

Which is why I constantly argue for Second Wave Options and linking Skills limitations to Difficulty Settings.

XCOM has a pretty broad fan base, of which I was one until PP came along and knocked it out of the park imho. Some have no problem with save scumming, others abhor it - so XCOM gave them a Second Wave Option to cater for those tastes. Some like random rookie stats, others hate them, so the Second Wave gave them both. Etc, etc.

And to answer the inevitable ‘but who do you balance for?’ question, in this case I’d say you balance the Pandas against those playing with Skills limitations, because playing PP with Skills limitations is much, much harder than playing PP with super-soldiers - and people who have no problem with using super-soldiers clearly have no problem with wiping out an easier enemy in a handful of turns.

2 Likes

My take on that, is that if you factor in how long 1 play through of PP will take generally. Then do you want a long play through, or a quicker one? It factors in there.

Some people want a REALLY long play through, which is perfectly valid. I’m just not one of those people. But if you look at those who LOVE the Long War mod for the first Firaxis XCOM for example. We all just want different things from all of this.

Absolutely agree. It’s why I don’t play this on Legendary - not because of the difficulty, but because I like to take my time and savour the world in these games, and Legendary gives me absolutely no time to do that.

So yes, another SWO should be Speed of Timer; another should be Recruits come Naked/Armoured/Fully Armed etc.

1 Like

I’m one of those people - though tbh I never finished LW2 because PP came along.

But that’s my point in a nutshell. Fans of this genre of game (or any game for that matter) want & like different things, and games are now sophisticated enough to let them have their cake and eat it to a pretty large extent.

I mean, I think my point on Terminators/non-Terminators is actually being proven right now in the way that people report they play on these forums. I play HonestMan with 1 Skill/turn limits and Rally restricted but not limited to 1/turn; Voland plays HM with 1SPT including Rally; mcarver2000 self-limits on Terminator skills, but allows himself to use them when he needs them; but Spagetman seems to like his Terminators as far as I can tell. We all obsessively play the same game, just in different ways - it would just be nice if the game itself could act as our referee, rather than us having to exercise sel-restraint (or not) is all.

For me, I feel that there needs to be more differences in gameplay based on difficulty level selected. At rookie it should be a substantially easier game, with less limitations. Where as on the higher ones, more restrictions (or options for restrictions) should be there.

Make the game far harder. Limit skills. Have certain abilities not in the game at all. Go for it. I’m all for it. I’ll just never support a harder game, when it comes to the easier difficulty modes.

Not necessarily, because you can (have to) balance difficulty for each difficulty level primarily by looking at the enemies’ side.

The problem right now is that you can’t balance difficulty because with First Turn Strike what you do with the enemies is irrelevant, they aren’t gonna have a chance to do anything on their turn anyway. It’s the same thing on Rookie through Legend.

True, though the same can happen to you as well. When I attempted the Antarctica mission on Veteran I got my ass handed to me in 1 turn, every time and gave up. So it goes both ways. It’s not just an issue of first strike from the Phoenix side, it’s also one from the Pandoran, where your up against such high level Pandoran enemies that your screwed over in 1 turn with no counter possible.

But that’s precisely the thing -

  • as a player with +200 hours I can do Antarctica on Legend with self imposed restrictions, without using FTS, without any problems

  • any player can do Antarctica using FTS (provided they know how to do it) on any difficulty level

  • casual or new players (I don’t dare say what % of all players, because I have no idea) probably can’t do Antarctica without FTS on any difficulty level.

The problem with super-soldiers is not that they make the game too easy for some players - they make the game unbalanced in general for every kind of player.

…because the game balances itself to cope with super-squads, so mere mortal squads don’t really get a look-in.

But yea, @icemann, to your point about Easy needing to be Easy etc, we completely agree. Problem is, atmo the game is so wildly unbalanced, even in the early pre-Lvl7 stages, that some people have problems coping with it.

But I think the devs know that, and they’re slowly working towards fixing it, so fingers crossed.

1 Like

Funnily enough I have been playing a little TFTD, the OpenXCom version, over the past couple of weeks. No, I don’t want Phoenix Point to go in that direction. I like the skills, I like how they bend the rules. What I don’t like is how far they go in this.

If you have no skills, you have no progression. That’s a problem even if you nerf the pandorans.

You can’t nerf the skills unless you implement a tangible upgrade system with the equipment.

But we’re not arguing to get rid of the skills - we like the skills.

We’re just pointing out that as things stand, unlimited skill use = Terminator Builds in the mid-late game, which creates a whole bunch of balancing issues.

To use the metric most people are familiar with: XCOM has a whole bunch of pretty OP skills - one of my favourites is that one where your sword (or Alien-Hunters Axe-) wielding maniac can go carving their way through multiple enemies in 1 turn. But it has a Cooldown, so that you can’t use it every turn, and every strike it makes as you use it is weaker than the last. Which is why it works and doesn’t break the game.

In PP atmo, it is possible to build an entire squad of Lvl 7 soldiers who can do that every turn, with no reducing scale of damage, backed-up by Rallying troopers who refuel them whenever they run out of puff. Imho, that breaks the game - reduces it to a mockery, in fact - which is why I play with self-imposed limitations.

Thing is, I know that some people like that kind of super-soldier, and some people feel the need for it because the difficulty curve in PP is so brutal (see Icemann’s post about Antarctica above). I’m ok with that - give them a Option to play with Terminators switched on and an Option for me to play with them switched off, then balance the whole thing so that the ‘switched off’ players don’t get slaughtered by super-Chirons designed to one-shot the Terminators before the Terminators one-shot them.

That way, everyone gets what they want, everyone’s happy, and the game’s not broken any more. :partying_face:

2 Likes

And XCOM 2 also has different ways of improving the player’s capabilities rather than just skills. Your “upgrade” options in PP are mainly side-grades.

If you start balancing the game for “terminators off” (whatever that is), then you will end up with a far flatter difficulty curve.

1 Like

Are you sure about that?

Why you can’t balance game for all audiences?

And many players who have expressed opinions on this forum would tell you that is a good thing.

As it stands, this game can be pretty punishing if you don’t know how to optimise its systems. Problem is, once you do know how to optimise its systems, it can become boringly easy unless you exercise some self-restraint.

As I said earlier, I think my point on Terminators/non-Terminators is being proven right now in the way that people report they play on these forums. I play HonestMan with 1 Skill/turn limits and restrictions on Rally, but not limiting it to 1/turn; Voland plays HM with a strict 1 Skill/turn limit including Rally; mcarver2000 self-limits on Terminator skills, but allows himself to use them when he feels he needs them; but Spagetman seems to like his Terminators as far as I can tell. We all obsessively play the same game, just in different ways. It would be nice if the game itself acknowledged that and acted as our referee, rather than us having to exercise self-restraint (or not) as the case may be. And it would also be nice if you didn’t have to have around 200+ hours of experience playing the game to be able to survive a non-superhero playthrough with 1 Skill/turn limits.

This will improve, eventually - though I tend to think that the ‘side-grade’ thing is a deliberate design decision. The thing people tend to forget is that XCOM2 has something like a decade of builds and DLC plus two mega-mods (which influenced later builds) to get where it is today. Compare XCOM: Enemy Unknown with WOTC or LW2 and they are light-years apart - basic architecture’s the same, but the customisation options you have now are phenomenal. But all those spiffy ammo & armour types you can research in Shen’s little experimental toolshed (whatever it’s called) are the result of literally years of gradual refinement.

This game’s had a couple of years of not enough programmers frantically building a massively overambitious project from the ground up - and then trying to fix all the bugs and balancing issues that releasing it too early inevitably entails. The fact that they’re still playing around with little more than half-a-dozen basic monster builds is indicative of how hard it is to build something like this from scratch.

Personally, I’d prefer to have AP rounds, smoke grenades and Siren Will-Sapper tranqs in my armoury instead of the Pure as a whole 'nother faction to deal with, but I suspect that kind of DLC doesn’t sell as well as ‘new enemies’. So we get what we’re given.

But give the devs (and people like you and me on these forums) time, and they’ll gradually start to implement new ideas and suggestions that will enrich the experience. Though, much as we’d like it to, stuff like that doesn’t just magically happen overnight.

2 Likes

In most cases, the Supersoldier mechanics has nothing (almost nothing) to do with the level of difficulty. Difficulties come in early game well before there is access to superheroes.

The beginners fail in early game

  • overpowering opponents who apply Mind Control to the whole team (allready nerfed).
  • Extremely heavily armored “Pure” in early game.
  • Bomb chirons also in early game.
  • Expensive replacement of soldiers.
  • High level of complexity (why can I be hit so easily when I’m under cover?)

Most of the beginners who report here do not benefit from supersoldiers. The supersoldiers are currently only helping one group, the veterans who had no difficulties in early game and who want a tactical challenge and feel completely misunderstood with the super-arcade “reward”. All in all, it leads us to a game that is tactical at the beginning but at the same time too difficult. And in the end-game it becomes super arcade until the boring “click around”.

4 Likes

I can’t comment for endgame as I’ve never reached that far in yet, but I agree on early game which that video of mine you linked corresponds with.

There shouldn’t be explosive Chiron’s that early in the game. My squad got slaughtered by that 1 enemy every time, until I moved them all undercover. I don’t benefit from the supersoldiers / Terminators thing also. If anything, once I got my first squad up to a good point, then it was ability use that allowed me to succeed.

While this definitely is the case, evacuating from the mission is also an effective solution. This option I suspect is overlooked too often.

But I imagine there are many inexperienced TBS players that are quite relieved to have these higher lvl abilities. Not everyone is going to able to put so many hours of game play in.

Additionally, this game is complicated and complex. The amount of variety in choices is huge and there isn’t much handholding going on with this game. It isn’t unreasonable to expect to be able to win the game on the first or second playthrough. Many gamers do move from game to game.

I honestly think the ‘second wave’ optional restrictions is more reasonable for the dedicated players.

1 Like