Feedback 20h in from a diehard XCOM player

Disclaimer: I’ve played pretty much every XCOM game ever made pretty extensively, I’ve backed Phoenix Point twice, and went into the 1.0 game with an open mind. I’ve likely not experienced even a third of the game, but have some feedback that I thought might be useful to share already.

Overall Impression

Positive. Given that we’re just day from release I have to say that the game has huge potential. One of the things I really hated in Firaxis XCOM games is the “pack pull” mechanic, which made encounters more like WoW dungeons than like XCOM. So, I like the independence of each unit here. The story so far is great and engaging, I am finding myself able to relate to some of the characters and have definite preferences for factions. I’ve played the backer builds a bit, so I knew what to expect from the graphics and that’s not disappointed. The destructibility of the environment (especially building collapses) could use improving, but the rest is great. Some more specific areas of feedback below.

  • Scarab feels broken given how early you get it. 20 hours in, it’s absolutely decimating everything. Killing or severely crippling packs of enemies across the map. Shredding armour if not killing outright. It takes three slots, but it still somehow feels too powerful. I’ve just done an “extreme threat” ambush mission without taking a scratch. Will wait to see if this falls off, but it makes the early game a cakewalk. Oh, it also splits experience between 3 soldiers, instead of 6, making those three level up very fast. I’d suggest making scarab missiles fire in a straight line, which would keep it powerful, but at least we’d have to work on positioning it. I barely move it most battles.

  • Upgrades seem weird in that I’ve not seen any actual upgrades (except for one) to my equipment, despite significant research. Nor have I gained any interesting manufacturing items. Most research provides materials (they are much needed), but no real battle improvements. Hopefully, this is further in?

  • Willpower: I like this mechanic. The only thing that isn’t obvious is the downside of spamming my willpower on every soldier when I need it. No panic happens at 0. Yes, there are abilities that will MC/panic soldiers with low willpower, but so far I’ve been wiping things out before anything happens

  • Manual fire mode - this is brilliant. What would make it better is a % hit indicator in the circles (i.e. % in inner circle, % in outer, % outside of all circles). It’s not really clear what my hit chances are when I’m aiming, which is annoying.

  • Levels: feel very small. Larger levels would be great. I understand the concept of “more action faster” but the problem is that you’re making things too predictable here, and removing most of the tension. There aren’t really any surprises possible between small map size, noise mechanic, and the scarab that can fire across the entire map.

  • Weapons: I don’t get the assault rifles as they get close to useless against certain enemies quickly, with no real upgrades around. Maybe some piercing ammo for them? :slight_smile:

  • Class system: I like it, and I especially like the random perks, they can result in some very unique characters, and replaces the “random stats” idea quite nicely.

I’ll write proper suggestion threads when I’ve gotten deeper in the game. :slight_smile:

Good feedback and well written post. However, I dislike the willpower system… so by internet law, we are now mortal enemies.

I’d love to hear your feedback on my feedback threads, which I’ve written about some of the topics you mentioned.

With vehicles, the big issue will be how stupid and aggressive the AI is. They’re used to being able to spam Return Fire out in the open to neutralize cover, and so create artificial difficulty by making most of your troops worthless. When a vehicle comes along, they get shredded in their suicide attacks.

If they were more cautious and tried to have one or two heavy weapons guys on their team, they could pose a threat to your vehicles and force you to support them with your infantry.

The Scarab is too powerful early on, it becomes near useless later on when enemies turn up in far greater numbers and a much healthier HP pool.

It takes the 3 volleys of a Scarab to down a Chiron … wait till there are 3 of those on the map and some other even tougher units.

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The game does not work with hit chances into the same sense as XCOM does. All bullets fired have their trajetory simulated. When you fire a weapon the shots are distributed inside de outer circle, with 50% of them distibuted inside the inner circle. So, you have to cover most of the circles you can with the target to have a better chance to hit. Your chance to miss is how much circle stays empty, not covering the target.

Guns that shot in bursts or shotguns have a good chance to cause some damage every time you fire them. I don’t know how weapos that shot a single bullet work exactly. I assume they have 50% chance to be shot inside the inner circle and 50% outside the inner circle, but inside the outer circle.

They could still give you a % by calculating that, honestly. They went with something more dynamic, with the coloured damage bar. It’s… interesting, easier to intuit from the circles, honestly.

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I like they way they handled it. The visual feedback makes easy to you to feel if the shot has a chance to hit or not without having to show any numbers or hit %, and aiming gives more control. Like you can cover most of the enemy with the reticule and have a better chance to hit, or you can try a more dificult shot aiming a specific body part that will leave more of the circle “uncovered with enemy”.

Another here that love the visual feedback over a %. It make it feel more like your the one shooting the gun. Also when you miss your not blaming the computer, your blaming yourself.

Yeah, I’d have to agree with the comment about the Scarab being less valuable as time goes by. It has four volleys and no reloads, which means I’ve run out of ammo too soon in some battles. Also the Pandorans have started to target the turret. In my last battle with the Scarab I only got to fire it twice before they disabled the turret which disabled the gun.

Guess I’ll wait and see. I’ve encountered the first siren and chiron, but only in small numbers so far.

I think what I’m trying to say here is I want to know the % likelihood that a bullet will be somewhere in the inner circle, and the % of it being in the outer circle, and the % of being outside of all those circles. It’s not clear to me right now. I understand the mechanic, but I don’t understand how I can estimate things in various situations, which is annoying (i.e. deciding on what’s an OK shot and what’s terrible isn’t always easy)

(Motal Kombat music begins to play)

I’ll check out your threads. I can list what exactly I like here about my current experience with willpower. As I’ve said, I am only 20h in and have had a few restarts, etc…

  • It feels “powerful” to have abilities that ignore your action points, as they allow you to bend rules

  • Good use of willpower abilities (i.e. killing enemies) rewards you with more use. You run out of willpower fast if you don’t plan things

  • Being a stat, it’s clear why you would want to boost it (i.e. more power uses before you run out, plus PSI resistance), and it’s a valid (maybe even necessary) choice on all operatives, really. However, speed, in particular, is a very appealing contender (str so far behind for me, I may not understand it well enough yet).

Another thing that’s not properly explained in-game (there’s a lot of that in this game), but explained in the Backer Builds and pre-launch info videos:

Inner circle: 50% of all shots in the burst should be inside here
Outer circle: 100% of all shots in the burst should be inside here
Outside both circles: No shots in the burst will be this far off-target

Would be nice, I suppose. Right now there are no clear-cut “upgrades” (at least as far as I’ve gotten in the game, there may be some later in the game), but researching and manufacturing the weapons and armour of other factions will generally be an upgrade (or at least provide more play-style variety) over the basic Phoenix Project gear.

Instead of relying on a single weapon type, you need to mix weapon types. Armour is applied per-bullet. So the 30x6 basic Phoenix Project rifle is essentially useless against enemies which have 30+ armour, you need to either use the New Jericho rifle (40x6) or use a different weapon type entirely with higher per-bullet damage against high-armour enemies.

It is possible you

Will look forward to any responses.

Makes you feel powerful is accurate. It gives you literal inexplicable superpowers, with no logic to them. Then it drives your soldiers mad, when you use these super powers, despite there being no reason for that logical or lore. Why is my heavy as worried about his friends dying, as he is about using his jump jets, as both cause -2 WP? Why is a Quick Shot more accurate than a standard one?

I’ve never really had any trouble with willpower, you can recover 4 points of it if you get low enough, but I’ve never had to use that. There are very gamey squares tossed around the map which give you +2 WP, but I ignore those. I don’t feel rewarded by it, and I feel it makes the poorly balanced abilities even worse.

Since I have no WP problems, I’ve only ever upgraded one or two characters WP, by two points. I put all my stat points into abilities and speed. Was going to max out the strength of my melee guys and grenade throwers, after that.

That’s my experience and thoughts on WP. If it works for you, that’s good, as there’s a good chance it’s going to stay that way, despite my protests.

I would strongly prefer if the abilities were rebalanced, and willpower became like a morale stat, as I talk about in a couple of threads. Would be interested in your thoughts.

As a note, Willpower also affects how easy your soldiers are to mind control from Sirens I believe.

I saw someone reckon it has no affect on Mind Control, with Sirens. It would make sense that it would protect you, but seemingly it doesn’t.

This might be just speculation, but it seems that when Sirens use their mind control, it costs them as much Willpower as the target’s current Willpower is … so if you’ve been using your special abilities, it’ll be easier for a Siren to control them than otherwise … someone else mentioned that it also costs a Siren Willpower to maintain their mind control … 2 per turn I believe … but with their large (over 25-30) pool and ability to regain half? their Willpower when they ‘rest’, that’s hardly a significant cost.

Those singing frogs are a pain. You have to do all sorts of unusual stuff or silly tactics to defeat them.

It’s something like that can’t MC your soldier if his WP is higher of the siren’s. But, you have much lower damage output potential by not using abilities. Choice of using or not using abilities in regards to siren danger, becomes irrelevant as by using abilities you can kill them much faster or get much better positioning on the map. Imho it’s totally fine to send couple of your guys close range to it if they can do significant damage, even if they get MC you can finish her of next turn.
I’m not trying to teach some tactics, just explainig that MC being some sort of balance to Willpower is not really the case.