Do missions scale to the level of your team?

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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While I agree with that wholeheartedly, I do think that linking super-soldiers to Difficulty Levels is a way forward. Based on conversations I’ve had with @mcarver2000, @MadSkunky and others, I get the impression that some players feel they need super-soldiers (or at least massive alpha-strike capabilities) to survive in the endgame.

Now, most of those players are perfectly happy playing on Easy and Veteran, and have little time for the harder Difficulty Levels - partly because the game is hard enough in the early stages anyway. So if Easy & Veteran kept Squad Skill use as it currently is, but Heroic and Legendary reduced the number of Skill uses per turn in stages, (almost) everyone would be happy.

Then add a set of Second Wave Options that allows players to tailour aspects of the game like how Recruits are equipped, how RF should work, or even how many Chirons (and types of Chiron) should be allowed in any mission, and the vast majority of players would then get (almost) exactly the type of game that they want and no-one would be alienated.

Couldn’t agree more, and I think the devs are coming to realise this. It’s a slow chip, chip, chip of feedback that is gradually building a picture of the difficult nature of this game. I think we’ll find that the response will be equally slow, because the devs got burned by Acid (no pun intended) and don’t intend to make that mistake again. I get the impression that they plan to run several tests and get feedback from the CC before they roll out a mega-fix, but that’s just my impression.

A very valid point. I think part of the problem, set up by the modern genre of these games, is that many players somehow feel that a strategic withdrawal = ‘losing’ and that losing is intrinsically bad. It isn’t - it’s an inevitable part of strategic warfare, and in a ‘small team against the odds’ type scenario such as PP, it is a perfectly valid and sensible thing to do.

To take an obvious historical analogy, the Allies won WW2 in part because Britain staged a strategic withdrawal from Dunkirk, and Stalin fell beck beyond the Urals in the face of overwhelming odds. Both lived to fight another day, and when both eventually struck back, the Nazis crumbled as much because Hitler consistently refused to retreat as they did due to lack of men and resources. Remember Stalingrad.

I personally am starting to believe that there should be a pop-up Objective on the Tactical Layer, triggered when the odds against the Squad hit a certain level, saying something like: “Consider a Tactical Withdrawal”, “Evacuate the Squad” or even “Marines, we are lea-ving!” If the player withdraws while that Objective is active, they get an XP reward for doing so. That would encourage players to think strategically and consider falling back, when they otherwise would not have done.

I don’t see that anywhere.
Not from @UnstableVoltage, not from any “Dev”, not on Canny, nothing …
And the topic is not really new …

It’s not about them doing it the way I, you, or anyone would like to. It is about signaling: We have recognized “it” as a problem and are considering strategies how we could solve it. But also: nothing … A simple signal would save many discussions, regardless of whether the Super Soldiers and Super Arcade (from mid-game) is “a problem” or “no problem”.

Signals never save discussions. Even when we say something is a problem and that we have a fix, there will still be discussion about how the fix needs to be changed, before it’s even implemented. Plus, we don’t want to shut down discussion. It’s a good way to get feedback, and one of the reasons why we have the Community Council.

The changes coming to Pandoran evolution will see enemies introduced to the player in a more controlled (less random) order, meaning that the more difficult enemies with the most devastating attacks will come later into the game.

There’s also a plan than as each new enemy type/mutation is introduced, it’s announced to the player to give them some warning of what to expect.

We’ve talked about this before on these forums and on our Discord server. The issue is on Canny, though it doesn’t go into all the details of the changes.

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Well, I was about to say that to be fair, UV has flagged on various threads that changes are in the pipeline, but that the devs don’t want to rush it and get it wrong.

But he beat me to it :blush:

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Xcom 2 has it as voice-over from Bradford, but I do like the mini reward idea with experience. Perhaps live to fight another day experience. Squad wipeouts are an insane approach. But players in xcom 2 steam forums made the same complaints about scaled difficulties between levels and forget to evacuate to fight another day.