Feature suggestion: Psionic powers reimagined

Hi there,
I’m not a backer, but am already in love with this game and would like to contribute a few suggestions for new mechanics and features. One topic at a time as it might be easier to digest this way :slight_smile:

This suggestion is about psionics. It should be a lot more sophisticated and impressive than it was in the original X-com, it’s 2019 after all and only our imagination should be the limit today I think!

Psionics could have 3 or more skill levels that make each separate psionic skill more powerful and complex. You could always use the lower level versions if you choose so. This would ensure that psionic development would follow technological development. Psi could be available immediately and level 1 psi attack skills would be comparable to our basic starting weapons in power. They would later scale to match the projected strength of higher tier weaponry developed later on. I’ll give examples to different levels in my suggested psionic skills list below.

Psionic power and defense could be based both on some kind of Willpower attribute. Willpower would automatically recharge when not being challenged, recharging both psi attack power and the resistance to it. There could be a separate psi attack attribute that could be improved with training, and with perks and speializations psi attack bonuses could be gained. Psi attack could work the following way: let’s say the soldier has 30 psi attack, a 10 psi attack bonus and 70 willpower and our enemy has 45 willpower that acts as psi defense. Psi attack determines the amount of willpower a psi user can channel into attacking an enemy per turn. If the enemy’s willpower drops to zero, he/she will become under the influence of that particular psi power, whether it’s telekinesis (crushing their body or throwing them against a wall violently), pyrokinesis (incinerating them, causing massive damage) or using mind-control. In this example, the psi attacker would be able to reduce the opponent’s willpower by 40/turn, making his/her opponent succumb to the psi power ussed in the 2nd turn. Psi attack bonuses could work in a way that they don’t get deducted from the attacker’s willpower. Attacking would make the psi attacker temporarily vulnerable to psi attacks too. Additionally, 2 or more psi users attacking the same target could wear down an enemy faster and lose less willpower in the process. Willpower would regenerate by 10 points per turn modified by perks and augments, like brain implants. I believe this system would be magnificent, what do you think?

My suggestions for psionic skills our soldiers could be trained in include:
-Telekinesis. The kind of telekinesis you can see in Cellfactor Revolution, at least at its maximum level towards the end of the game. For this to work there would have to be plenty of movable human-sized or smaller objects be lying around on the maps. Small crates, junk, debris, rocks, car parts, etc. Since the environment is destructible, this should be a natural thing in the game and is probably already like this. At level 1 this skill could hurl 1 object towards a selected enemy, causing them great damage, like a grenade throw. Since willpower needs to recharge, this kind of damage would be appropriate I think. At level 2, objects in the environment could be levitated around the psi user constantly, blocking projectiles and acting as offensive weapons at the same time. Levitating objects would incur a very small willpower cost per turn and this could be reduced by perks, such as the “TK Defense” perk that reduces the willpower loss per turn to 1 point per turn per item, for example. At level 3, any human-sized enemy could be crushed and killed instantly in a bloody explosion on a failed willpower resist and also multiple objects could be hurled at an opponent at once at a lower willpower cost. Or one huge object. Larger enemies would still receive massive damage from a TK crush.
-Pyrokinesis. At level 1 it could be a small damage over time effect, with increasing DOT and one-time damage at higher levels, maybe burning large areas at once, setting everything on fire.
-Mind control: Level 1 could paralyze a single enemy, level 2 could take control over an enemy temporarily and at level 3 an enemy would convert to our side until the end of the mission, when it’d die from an overwhelmed brain/nervous system.
-Levitation. Flight/levitation, temporary levitation without vertical elevation at level 1 (useful for crossing gaps, not triggering traps, or other purposes) ranging to being able to staying afloat and reaching the top layer of the map at a small willpower cost per turn while airborne. And the ability to levitate a team member.
-EMP shockwave. At level 1 it’s a touch attack targeting a single mechanical enemy that shuts down, at level 3 it’s a ranged AOE blast. If there are no robotic enemies, it could be a force explosion instead.
-And more! (insert your idea here…)

I think psi powers would give the game the kind of appeal that differentiates low-fantasy worlds from high-fantasy ones (no magic/elves vs. mythological creatures and spectacular spellcasting). Also the same with augmentation, as we already have this technology in 2019 so if the game wants to have longevity and appear futuristic, the most creative and prophetic ideas need to be implemented I think.

I look forward to hearing what you think!

I don’t like to give people bad news, but hey… someone has to do that.

Unfortunately there won’t be psionics in Phoenix Point. :wink:

PS. But don’t stop posting. Your other ideas may be great. :wink:

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That’s a bummer, and what’s the reason for that if I may ask?

P.S. Psionic powers not having been planned so far doesn’t mean these ideas are not great (but others may be). Quite the opposite I think, even if I say so myself :slight_smile:

That is not for me to judge. :wink:

There was official statement there won’t be any psionic powers. I’m not sure if exact reason was mentioned. But probably this is kind of ‘magic’ and aliens could do that… And if they could, then we humans, after proper research, also could do that. :wink: Here in Phoenix Point the opponent is kind of different I think.

It’s been ages since I read the official reason for it, but I want to say it had to do both with balance issues (they’ve never really been balanced in any of the five XCOM games to day, six if you include Interceptor) and that they just don’t really fit with the story/world of PP.

Personally I’m glad that they don’t plan to add them, no offense. They can work in some games (I would say they were most balanced in EU/EW and they felt like they reasonably fit), overall they just tend to end up being a balance nightmare that often leads to either OP or “why bother” abilities. Plus it just seems…odd. I mean I guess we could develop technology that effectively disrupts the hive-mind control, but overall this just doesn’t feel like that sort of sci-fi game as to really have psionics.

Personally, I agree. Never was a fan of them. They started to pull the games towards magic and away from the (slightly) more realistic ‘what if’ fight. But it sucks for all those that like the psionic powers though.

The psionic powers make sense in xcom. The stories have always had them. Phoenix Point they wouldnt make as much sense. Ignoring the balance issues, the aliens are using animals abilities they have found here and mutating them into creatures.

Half shark, half crab, scary beasts make sense in PP. By the sounds of it, we will have plenty mutations to keep us interested in the game. Hopefully even enough for fans of psionics!

You have put a huge amount of thought into the post though. Future Phoenix Point DLC maybe?

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I think the biggest part is handling them mechanically. Aside from that, psionics don’t really fit this lore, and there’s a slight element of it (in a grittier version) through the PV having a hive mind sort of setup. I think the Disciples faction will show a sort of handwaved “psychic” ability using that setup, such as with the mutog handler. Essentially, it’s probably going to look like psionics, quack like psionics, but be determined to be scientifically unexplainable by non pandora afflicted folks, and won’t show up as a manipulable mechanic. Just spit balling on that.

I have no issue with low profile alien psionic-ish abilities (big nasty aliens inspiring terror or madness beyond what their mere appearence suggests, hive-mind’ish abilities, ability to cloud the mind and vanish in the mist that can’t explain by mere optics, that kind of thing) and don’t mind if the lore includes stuff like pre-cognition, hallucinations and other mental shenanigans, but I don’t have a particular interest in player troops having supernatural abilities other than a sixth sense that would help them dodge bullets :slight_smile:

In any case, I think snapshot’s been pretty clear that they don’t want end game dominated by super soldiers, and psionics are a bitch to balance.

I was just thinking about this… They said there is no psionics in the game but there are those spires that specifically have the psionic attacks. Maybe there will be psionics but just much weaker, non-game changing ones?

I think it’s aimed a little more along Lovecraft Ian themes, basically. Sentinels that can cause bugs to hatch - certainly at least psionics adjacent. Terror sentinels? Think of how sanity works in Lovecraft rpgs. It IS something of a psychic assault, that paralyzes the victim with fear, or maybe causes them to go berserk. It’s basically having psionics results explained through more scientific means. Pheromones, cosmic horror, etc.

That’s why I’m thinking there’s psionics elements in the game, but not as a directed, activatable weapon. A psychic link may explain why I handler can motivate his mutog, but doesn’t mean you can head explode a crabman.

Good way to include them, without breaking the game.

Make them weak so they can only disable, panic, scare but never damage or kill.