Feedback: Festering Skies and Legacy of the Ancients

Prior to Festering Skies, I’ve played through a few times on different difficulty levels. Here is my, hopefully constructive, feedback:

In general, I really like the game and find the combat/aiming system rather unique and, despite some growing pains in the beginning, quite fun. Long story short, I’m a fan of the game. I will be mostly focusing on areas of improvement in the post:

Overwatch Changes
I like the more narrow overwatch cone angles. It makes gameplay a little more realistic, especially when considering a sniper looking through a scope.

These things are just stupid powerful. Don’t get me wrong, I like a little extra challenge but it’s really hard to defend against these. They pop out of nowhere, have nearly unlimited flight paths (hard to overwatch), small hitboxes, and can completely disable my troops in one hit. They are also more durable than mindfraggers so even if I happen to get lucky and get an overwatch shot off, they still reach me and disable my arms. These things need some sort of weakness or we need some easier ways to repair limbs early game.

Legacy of the Ancients
Perhaps I’m playing it wrong but the risk/reward tradeoff just isn’t here. It takes an enormous amount of time and manpower to get these going. We have blueprint missions, then we have to research, then we have to build a couple labs (one is too slow), then we need to send out probes, then a 72 hour wait per site, then we have to visit the sites and deal with the residents, then we have to park a manned aircraft to slowly harvest resources, then we have to defend them. Great, now I have enough resources to build one piece of equipment. But wait, now I need to find the forge I can make it in. Although it’s a fun little diversion, if my goal is to save the planet, I find my time/resources are best spent elsewhere, especially now that I need a couple aircraft on the ready to intercept behemoth missions. My suggestion is to remove the need to park an aircraft there to harvest the resources and give some rewards that help us cover more ground or slow the pandoran progression. Perhaps the sites can have mist repeller like effects.

Festering Skies
I find the introduction of aerial elements a nice addition. It requires a little fine-tuning but I think it can work.

  • The first “Gift” mission is unbalanced. I had a full team (lucky for early game) go in and had to fight through around 40 enemies to get to the manticore. The way the map is set, you have to fight your way through and there is a bottleneck that makes the “Get to tha choppa!” rush strategy infeasible unless you’re willing to sacrifice a few soldiers.
  • Maintaining an airforce is resource, research and manpower intensive. The rewards for successfully intercepting an enemy aircraft is rather paltry. I would increase the rewards.
  • Aircraft slots (3) are very low compared to the needs. Enemy aircraft have a wide variety of attacks (even early game) and Phoenix aircraft have one utility slot, which can be used for defense against one attack type or increased hull or resting your troops. The point is, there are way more weapons and utility items than slots to put them in. What’s worse is that I don’t know what weapon systems the enemy has until I intercept it, which means I can’t swap out fire suppression for boosters before going into battle. I suggest creating some way to either increase slots or have non-countermeasure add-ons not consume a slot (perhaps you can load them up but it makes the aircraft a little slower and add a research item to speed up all aircraft).
  • With the addition of more things to research and manufacture, as well as the need for more aircraft, can we increase the output of research labs and manufacturing or decrease the cost of bringing new bases online? Or, have allied faction bases increase research and/or manufacturing output of nearby Phoenix bases.
  • I like the new recapture a base mission. It adds a new element to the game and makes slow starts a little more reversible.
  • I’m wondering if the manpower required to guard my skies is worth it. I need to have two aircraft nearby behemoths to successfully intercept enemy aircraft. I’m on the verge of ignoring them because two aircraft is quite the commitment.
  • Please let us intercept mid-flight and over a haven we haven’t discovered
  • Please let us survey the battle before engaging. I have, twice, accidentally attacked a defending haven aircraft when I thought I was intercepting a pandoran craft.

That’s all for now.


Interesting, as most of the council thinks that rewards are too high. You have only initial high cost of starting air warfare, but after that you collect resources and reputation on a scale which surpasses that initial cost… Interesting what other player thinks.

Here are the ongoing costs I’ve incurred:

  • Opportunity cost of the use of my aircraft. This includes the time spent hanging close by the behemoth, intercepting the behemoth and repairing my aircraft. Note that I use two aircraft because with manticores, I might not take the enemy down in one shot and I might need an extra one while repairing the first.
  • Cost of weapon upgrades: research time, materials cost and manufacturing time making the components
  • Cost of bringing hangars online. To be honest, I never really bothered to spend the resources to repair hangars of my new bases previously because I didn’t use vehicles in combat much. My main squad usually consists of hybrids representing at least 3 heavies, at least 2 snipers, 1 technician, and always a few melee and assault, with at least half of my squad having assault. But I digress. Not exactly ongoing but a cost nonetheless.

A successful intercept yields me like 20 tech or 100 materials or a couple hundred food. If I instead wandered around to havens and traded all day, I believe I would yield more resources.


Maybe, but you mostly pay with time. In research section it is not so relevant, as research projects are fast, and still for some time you don’t have anything to research on, so putting there air research is not hurting a lot.

With trade you need to trade something for. And still flying around Behemoth you still can trade. Only real downside of maintaining aircrafts near Behemoth is that you don’t expand with exploration (unless you have another spare aircraft), thus you don’t get new resources from events.

You can get 400 materials + rep + weapon/module. It depends on the flyer/mission, I think.

Agree on all of it. I lost the starting Heavy on the gift mission.

LOTA does give nice rewards. The schematica missions give quite a bit of experience (reward + mission) and there is the mission loot as well. I don’t do the Guardian missions till very late, but the rewards from the rest of it still makes it worthwhile.

FS is an amazing change! It is quite honestly the first time I’ve worried about population. The Behemoth and pals have laid waste to Antarctica, N America, S America, and Australia so far. Populations is 43%. Another first is building a Tiamat. It is cheaper than the other ships and has the same hard points as they do, but has way more HP. The location of the Pirate King base actually matters now, and unfortunately is in Brazil and was bombed into nothing already. The first wave of probes are scanning ATM, so we’ll see what new difficulty that brings. I have the squads to take the sites, but defending them will certainly be more difficult than before as it takes 3-4 ships (of 7) to stop the 1500 HP flyer. Last time they took out the nearby generator before the ships could be recalled, so the repair/reload took much longer, but not too long as one of them was shot down.

Also, I appreciate the clouds during the missions now.

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We need short time reward, like Ancients it adds over complexity with rewards on long stick. It can exhaust or debunk player of playing DLC.

At last, its survival word and we often depend on short term rewards.

After having played longer through it, I’ve found the rewards scale with the difficulty of the flyer (although 0 rewards for intercepting a flyer at your own base). The rewards for the medium sized flyer are much higher than the small flyer. Therefore, I amend my suggestion to increasing the reward for the small flyer, decreasing for the medium flyer and adding something (at least a component drop) for the base flyer defense.

Regarding the tactic of ignoring content, I now see that ignoring the behemoth and associated minions is a bad idea. Not only do they destroy havens but they also damage all of my base buildings which are costly to repair. I also found the commitment to dedicated air defense less in some ways (behemoth active only some of the time) and more in other ways (sometimes takes 3-4 attacks to take down the bigger flyers). Bottom line: I won’t be ignoring the Behemoth. I also like the variety of weaponry and defenses, as well as the conditions that affect play. I stick with my suggestion of having either a way to scout the enemy craft weaponry or a way to gain another utility slot. I still think Festering Skies has a lot of promise and other opportunities to expand gameplay.

Regarding LotA, I will be turning this module off on my next play through. I have uncovered 8 sites but can still only produce the crossbow because I lack two of the manufacturing sites. Note: I have surveyed almost all land mass within range of my two archealogy labs. Something I forgot to mention is that defending sites against attacks yields no rewards besides xp, so I’ve burned through ammo and time.

Note that probes have to be deployed within range of your aircraft, archeology labs have no range. Typically you will want 4 Archology labs to reduce costs of probes and excavations, and use probes to scan the whole geoscape.

Ahhh, good to know. I assumed it was my labs because I’ve only been able to survey all of asia and europe and the top half of africa, and I don’t have any labs in the Americas.

I am loving LotA, the fact that you can buy Guardians and burn Pandas with his crazy ass lasers ROCKS and it gains xp and levels, a little OP but I love it.
It sounds like you were very unlucky with your sites, I only needed to clear 7 sites before I could build everything. But then again I sacrificed my first born to RNGesus so… maybe you should try that?

LOL, maybe I’ll give it another shot next playthrough. I really wanted one of the melee weapons because vengeance torso + dash + rapid clearance has saved my arse more than a few times. Sniper rifle looked nice too.

Personally, I am tired of redoing the same playthrough considering there is no new things added in the tactical (other than the pesky flying insect)…

I bought Festering Skies solely for the air-air combat mini game.

FS and LotA are best DLCs for the game, but few things are missing.
LotA is grindy AF, but not in a good way. On legend I can spend 2-3h slowly progressing trough mission as those ancient bastards will nuke my squad in one go and trigger all pads on map. Nuking is basically RNG, they have low accuracy and one shot, but that shot kills, so you only can break LOS, but then again, bastards move. Maps are too big, clunky and with tedious strategy of fighting one pad at the time, looks more like X-COM where worst part of X-COM meets worst part of PP. Rewards from finishing LotA are great, I dislike “no ammunition” role as it lets you play as crazy rich man and makes everything else obsolete by comparison. There is also no viable end game pandoran that to use your weapon on, it is now pretty much burning trough existing ones, which you could do with T3 weapons anyway. Some very late game new pandorans could have been introduced as part of DLC. Also, why there is no new armor? :smiley:
Skies I find very funny as it adds additional layer to manage, it is fast paced minigame with decent rewards, but I find Bethemoth RNG a bit frustrating, why would it destroy once and damage another time? Why not make it more dangerous as you kill his minions, so there are greater chances to destroy havens as you are closer to chase him underwater. So when it comes to decision to save some random haven from pandoras or chase nearby aircrafts more decision heavy.

  • Gift missions is to take vehicle and run for it
  • Rewards are good, but make some flyers appear even without Bethemoth so your aircrafts just don’t sit idle. Who on his right mind sends same aircraft with personnel to shot down Bethemoth?!
  • Additional utility slots are needed for aircrafts, now best strategy is railguns and speed module on helios. Shoot 2 times, retreat. Repeat until Abbadon is dead in 3-4h without any damage. There is really no any deeper strategy after some point, biowepons and acid is too powerful and PP forces weapons die too easy for anything else.
  • Intercept midflight would be nice.

Imho, nice fix would be to use same modules for personnel for weapons, not separated ones. Then you can have fat tiamat or fast helios, except for HP there is no difference in aircrafts, and HP is useless when weapons have 250 hp only :smiley:

Most of your feedback is spot on.

  • Myrmydons, the flying bugs, are just ridiculously unbalanced and need to be toned down big time. The Acid Myrmidon is way more dangerous than the Scylla. Like three or four times more dangerous. … And aren’t Scylla supposed t be the toughest enemy in the game?

  • When I see more than three myrmidons on a map, I instantly click “restart mission.” That’s how bad–or not fun–fighing myrmidons happens to be.

  • Umbras suck almost as much as myrmidons. I recently played a campaign with Legacy if the Ancients disabled. It was a much better experience. Really enjoyed not having Umbras in the game.

  • The “Gift” mission is just, ugh! Tedious, monotonous, boring. On legend difficulty when the infinite reinforcements combine with the special wave of enemies, it creates this super-bullshit moment that just sucks all the fun out of the game.

  • The air combat mini-game needs some work. The pandora’ns evolve to become incredibly lethal with the ability to one-shot a player’s weapons. And the only way to effectively deal with them is to fly in with a small fleet to snipe at an enemy weapon, disengage as soon as a big “void chamber” hit comes in or a mere whiff of damage over time (fire, poison, purple goo) touches the aircraft. Rinse and repeat with a second aircraft. And a third. Maybe take it out with the fourth aircraft.

  • There are a lot of options for the player to use when it comes to air combat and defence of modules. But most are trash tier. And only a few are actually good or usable. This creates an illusion of choice. And a balance issue. And it will waste a lot of the players’ time trying to figure out what is worthwhile an what is rubbish. To save the community members a lot of their time and lessen their frustration playing this game, here is a list of what is good: The Sleep Module and Cruise Control module are good on non-combat aircraft. For air combat, there are only two defence modules that are worth the time and resources to build; they are the bonus armour module from New Jericho and the bonus armour and fire suppression module from Synedrion. Everything else is rubbish. As for weapons, anything that isn’t max range is trash-tier. That means the only weapons worth using are the Synedrion laser, the New Jericho Rail Gun, and–occassionally, if the enemy has more than 80 armour–the Nomad missile. (Sure, other missile systems can be okay, but they cost a lot of tech to build, and that’s a rare resources and a lot to invest in something you’ll usually keep in inventory and only swap in occasionally.

what about counter-measures? What about Thunderbolt an Hand of Tyr weapons?

I assume that you play on Legendary difficulty… You know it is the last one? It can be ridiculously unbalanced. And both Myrmidons and Umbra have their role to fulfill.

The main problem with the Thunderbolt and the Hand of Tyr is that players may actually end up defeating the Behemoth long before unlocking those weapons. Yes, they are powerful and are only available once some top tier technology has been unlocked. That part–their place in the research tree–has been very well thought out by the development team. But … the player also has a huge incentive to eliminate the haven-stomping behemoth, and in most of my campaigns, the Behemoth is long gone before I even unlock those weapons.

Now because I usually play on legend, research times are much longer, and that could also be the reason why I unlock the research projects to build those fancy weapons at a point well past the time in a campaign when they could have been useful.

But if some pandoran flyers stuck around and, say, Citadels had the ability to occasionally spawn them, I might have an incentive to follow that research path and actually build and use those weapons.

As for counter measures in air combat, all of them are trash. The only truly viable defence module is armour, the New Jericho module that adds 50 points of armour or the fire suppression module that also adds 20 armour.

The real problem here is the lack of balance in the air combat mini game. The Pandora’s flyers evolve to become ridiculously lethal with so many different weapons systems that equipping one specific countermeasure is just pointless, a waste of time and resources to research and then build.

Every countermeasure is a trash-tier module (unless it has armour) because the player can only install one countermeasure while the pandorans can equip four or six different weapon systems. So the player can counter one type of weapon system. Great! What about the other five weapons on the Pandoran flyer? No counter. Armour, on the other hand, is a universal countermeasure since it reduces damage from every Pandoran weapon and keeps the player’s aircraft in the fight a few seconds longer, which then gives the player a chance to disable one or two weapons on the pandoran flyer before having to disengage. Armour, by reducing incoming damage, also reduces the downtime for repairs between air combat sorties.

So there isn’t really much of a choice among all the countermeasure in the air combat mini game. Install more armour is the best choice, the only choice.

It’s either the more expensive New Jericho 50 points of armour plating or the cheaper, 20 points of armour (with a fire suppression countermeasure that may occasionally be useful). You get what you pay for, but sometimes resources are scarce, and the fire suppression armour module is good value for its resource cost. And then just ignore all the other trash-tier countermeasures.

As for legend difficulty being ridiculously unbalanced, yes, I’m well aware of how deeply flawed that difficulty level happens to be. Unfortunately, I find veteran and hero difficulty to be way too easy and legend difficulty to be such an utter mess that it borders on being unplayable. Two things legend difficulty isn’t are … fun and enjoyable.

The things that work on Legend difficulty are the extra enemies on missions, scarcer resources, increased recruitment costs, and the need to manufacture weapons and gear for troops, which adds time and manufacturing capacity into the mix in a way that just doesn’t happen on lower difficulties. Reducing the Skill Points earned in combat also has a significant impact on the game since it is very difficult for a player, on legend, to go into the final mission with one squad of fully levelled-up troops, and that, in turn, makes any decisions about what skills to pick up and what stats to boost much more meaningful throughout an entire campaign. Those things alone are enough to make Legend difficulty challenging and engaging.

But legend difficulty goes off the rails because that difficulty setting significantly speeds up pandoran evolution. And then the infinite reinforcements are ramped up too. Those two massive missteps transform legend difficulty into an unbalanced and almost unplayable mess. Speeding up pandora evolution creates a situation where the player has early game soldiers fighting late-game enemies, and that turns a lot of the battles into tedious, grinding slogs. And infinite reinforcements on steroids just makes so many missions on legend difficulty completely unenjoyable, so unenjoyable that I’ll just stop playing Phoenix Point in the middle of one of these slog-fest missions and put the game down for weeks and months at a time. That’s how bad legend difficulty happens to be at the moment.

All the focus on making Legend difficulty challenging seems to have been on trying to present a player with a late-game squad an appropriate challenge. But that has come at a cost. The mid game–ussually the heart and soul of a campaign–has been gutted by those design choices.

As for Umbras and Myrmidons, I’m not sure if you’re aware of the role the actually fulfill. They tend to make players hate the game, abandon their campaigns, and inspire them to get on Reddit and shitpost about the huge problems this game has.

Umbras and myrmidons also have another important role: get lots of bad reviews for the game and lower Phoenix Point’s overall metacritic score.

The hard truth is that Phoenix Point has the potential to be a really great game. But it isn’t. (Yet.) Phoenix Point is so frustratingly close to greatness, which is probably the reason why many players will spend a considerable amount of their time submitting feedback.

Afterburner counters 3 out of 6 different weapons. Virtually adds invulnerability for all these weapons for 50 seconds.

EMC Jammer on the other hand counters only Void Chamber, but as you mentioned it is one-shot weapon which destroys many of player weapons in a matter of few seconds.

For me right approach is to first attack with EMC to kill Void Chamber and maybe someting else. Then with second aircraft with Afterburner finish the enemy.

Armor plates - yes they add a lot of armor, but you can see that most weapons have more damage than you can get by installing these armor plates. It let you fight some more seconds, but it buys only some time, while giving invulnerability only to Spikes, which is the weakest of enemy weapons.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that if you will meet Pandoran Flyer with Acid Spit that armor from armor plates is fast gone, so this module give really low protection in that case.