Free Aim change

That’s exactly what I don’t like :wink:


So you say that “animation during shot - on/off” is hard to implement? Even if it was already in the game and they disabled it?

In my opinion that animation represented target in move (even if we saw him standing still - because it is our turn). That felt more natural than super precise aim that cannot miss.
And it should be still “on”, because without “repeat” animation, players would always wait and choose the best possible angle. Previously they at least had in mind that “I have chosen this exposure, but enemy still can hide”


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It takes something out of the game that added a bit of a random chance to things. Making an easier game even easier. It’s a repeating pattern and it’s completely frustrating to deal with.


That is not remotely what I said at all.

The free-aim system was originally developed with the purpose of giving the player more agency over the random 95% chance = miss that everyone complained about so much that memes were created for it.

It seems to me to be more in line with the original purpose of the system where you have more control over the aim.

If you are desperate for more randomness to make it more challenging for yourself, then use the non-free aim mode to shoot. That mechanism is already there and provides no control only randomness.

If I wanted to play an action-reaction based game, I wouldn’t be playing a turn-based strategy.

The ‘snapshot’ is not random; it always aims at centre mass of the target, while with freeaim you aim at a point in space.

During freeaim the target continues to cycle through its idle animation, which makes it sometimes more exposed and allows to take an optimal shot (a Triton lurches forward, out of cover, for example). Previously this was counterbalanced by the fact that the target might move away, so it was a risk-reward scenario. So if you wanted less risk, you could 1) not take the shot during the lurch, or 2) use snapshot, which guarantees aim at centre mass.

Now all this is meaningless. Now you should always go into freeaim and wait as the target cycles through the idle animation until you have the optimal shot.


That’s it incorrect - ballistic system does that, no matter if you use freeaim or snapshot. And there was nothing random about enemy animations - it was an interesting (although not intuitive for turn based combat) way of differentiating further single ad burst weapons. If anything it was a mechanic unique to Phoenix Point, taking advantage of its unique ballistic system. I do feel ballistic system is under explored, and this pushes it even further to “a dice roll to hit” would be easier to understand and fulfill pretty much the same function.

I am not necessarily a believer that reactions were a good idea but at least it addressed a problem I noticed way back:

It seems to me that at this moment going into snap aim I straight up redundant. I don’t think it’s a big issue as going into freeaim didn’t feel nearly as clunky a sImexpected from watching the videos, but still there is inefficiency in the design which I don’t like :slight_smile:

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I don’t see how implementation of a ballistic system in and of itself gives the player any agency at all.

Only the addition of the free-aim system where the player gets to choose where and when to shoot is any agency added.

Sorry, you’re quite correct, this was a bad choice of words.

I understand that the aim point is always centre mass on the snapshot mechanic, that means that the result is functionally no different than using random dice roll to simulating whether shots hit or miss.

The player has no agency to affect the result, it might as well be random for all intents and purposes, regardless of any complex simulation.

With the free-aim system, the player can choose when in the animation cycle to shoot, where to shoot to maximise hit chance. Agency is provided.

Agreed. What I like about the change is that, when you choose to take the shot, it happens at the point when you decide, not some x milliseconds later. ie. player agency is increased.

@Faernix, the biggest difference comes with burst weapons. With the old free aim there was a high chance that the enemy flinches (partially) out of where you free aimed and for this the normal aim was in some situations the better choice, because the aim adjusted even in the little movement while flinching. It was very useful with ARs and MGs and when the target is not partially behind obstacles. Now there is no choice left, free aim is always the best way to go even with burst weapons.

For me personally this and the fact that it makes the whole shooting easier is the wrong way to go, although I can understand why some people don’t liked the old way and like the change.

I would like to have it optional, this would please all kind of players.


The new system doesn’t provide a 100% chance of hitting the target. It just enhances the odds that one hits the targeted part.

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@MadSkunky That’s a really interesting nuance about the tracking I hadn’t appreciated.

I have treated the two fire modes as “don’t care where it hits” and “need to be specific about where it hits”.

Don’t care where it hits for instances where pure damage was enough, and free-aim was when I wanted to disable specific parts.

I see, I misunderstood what you meant the first time. Still, I don’t think any agency was added with this change. It just removed the noob trap of “I aimed at a head with a burst weapon and half of the bullets missed!” Which is good.

I suppose, my complaint would that I never had doubt which part I want to priotitise - as such I expect the change to remove thinking required (yeah, I want to hit THAT, but what will happen after the enemy moves?) to achieve what I want.

I think both systems have ups and downs, and it doesn’t fundamentally change anything. As such, I would still wish for an optional toggle, if it’s not too much to ask. I personally enjoyed the distinction and extra prediction required for an efficient play.

On a side note of aim and ballistics - I wish more interesting things would happen when hitting unintended bodyparts. I have been playing a lot of Arcane games lately, and systemic chain reactions are superbly fun in their games. In PP, as we have ballistics and bullets can hit unintended body parts and targets it would be interesting if we had unintended effects, rather then no effect (which happens when we hit heavily armored body parts). What if enemies had glands that when hit buff them (enrage?), or focus the next attack on attacking party? Body parts that spawn mist when hit? Have fire hazards! Things in the background to break, containers to puncture etc. That’s more of an idea for sequel, rather then PP1 redesign though. Still, ballistic system is super cool. Use it for more then damage calculation!


Maybe I misinterpret what you wrote, but it IS way more than just damage calculation.

  • If you hit a low HP body part with high damaging bullet, then it can hit other parts behind them or even other enemies with lower damage.
  • If you miss what you aimed for the bullets goes its way and can hit anything that is in its line of fire, obstacles, enemies …
  • If a hidden enemy (stealthy Triton) is in front of the target you aim then you will hit him with unexpected results.

But of course no secondary effects except maybe destructing cover with high damaging bullets.


You are right. To say that Snapshot did nothing extra with ballistic system is unfair and untrue. Still, it is something I wish they would explore more. And while all the things you mentioned are true, I wish there was more of it and more feedback to it.

Personally, I didn’t find myself considering what I aim at, beyond “what’s the squishiest part I can hit” or “how can I create a squishy part to hit”. And that’s a not very interesting thought process.


You are partly right. I used snap shot in two situations:

  • “I don’t care where it hits, it will probably do enough damage to kill”
  • Second case is (was) with agile enemies like Triton and Mindfragger (and would probably be with new flying enemies) where I wanted to follow their center of mass because of animations. They were (and still are) lightly armored so it still didn’t matter where hit landed, and aiming center was following their center of mass, so there was lower chance of missing than with free aim shot.

Now free aim causes enemy to freeze so I’m no longer in doubt with these enemies, if they will move away from my aiming reticle or not. So now free aim is clearly superior and snap aim is just for finishing enemies.


If you’re so desperate for control, might as well just put an “I-Win” button in the game that immediately sends you to the victory screen… because the game’s getting closer and closer to that as time goes on.

… if we’re coming up with ridiculously exaggerated recommendations. That mechanism doesn’t serve the purpose of targeting limbs which is a huge factor determining success in this game. Give me the ability to target a limb without free-aim and okay, fine, deal. Seems like more work than just putting a toggle into the game.

Snapshot keeps changing their game to appease the people who have troubles, and completely ignores us who consider the game too easy. They chose their audience, and with every change they make the game easier and more difficult to enjoy. It’s really hard to play this game at all right now, and I just don’t understand why they have to change the game AT ALL. If people have troubles, teach them or add in additional options to disable features that are maybe enabled by default.

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SECOND WAVE… we keep asking for this, stop taking things out of the game that people enjoy and start giving us options. Stop catering to one specific crowd of individuals who do nothing but senselessly complain about a non-existent difficulty, just because they have difficulties learning how to adapt to something that actually creates some sort of difficulty in this game.

Over a year ago, this game was actually difficult, but ruined mostly by bugs. Good on them for removing the bugs, bad on them for removing the difficulty. Give the troubled people adjustments to their Normal and “hard” modes, leave Legend alone completely at this point is all I’d ask Please! No more changes unless it’s going to actually fix the dozens of features that are completely broken and useless in this game. Which from my attempt at trying to tackle these problems, seems like it’s going to probably require a complete redesign of nearly the entire game. So… I guess I can see why they’re choosing to favor the individuals who don’t see the real problems, and just have their own personal problems. Easier to satisfy them with a simple and nonsense change.


I bet: even that would be celebrated by someone on Facebook. And that’s not a joke. Now I believe that this type of player really does exist.

I can understand this step and this step also makes sense. It’s a company that wants to attract new players. But: The differentiation is almost non-existent. During the release, the difficulty levels hardly differed at all. Currently a little more, but still not enough. Easy is obviously not easy enough. And difficult is rather easy +, nothing more. I mostly play strategy games myself, but always on normal or moderate. I did the same with PP. During the third and thus probably the last playthrough, I tried Legend, only to be amazed to find out that I walked through with the same self-restriction just as effortlessly. There are also players who switch from vet to easy only to find out that they still cannot survive.

I’m afraid you will wait in vain for a challenge. Rather, every new content will make the game even easier. The absurd thing is that all of the magic bunnys are usually only available as “reward” for skilled or experienced players. But it is precisely these players who usually do not want this “reward”, which turns the whole game concept upside down.

My problem with the Free Aim Change goes far beyond the “Challenge”. Through this freezing they could also have implemented a ring menu, where the individual body parts are displayed with hit chance (as others have already done). In abstract terms, it’s the same.
Now SG has made the great effort to develop Free Aim with Dynamic in order to then replace it with a cheap system. It is a shame that SG does not appreciate its own work. All the elaborately created animations during a hail of fire, where e.g. the claws were crossed in front of the face and the opponent ducked, are now superfluous.


And I am very happy with this change, as it makes game more enjoyable for me. If they would remove all the “realtimeness” (realtime overwatch, return fire) I would be delighted.

Here. I fixed that for you. What’s wrong with that?

Game has balance issues, but difficulty should never come from the need of adapting to flawed game mechanics (like enemy flinching sideways because model is facing different direction). Let me fight good AI, not bad UX.

You are joking, right? Sure it had DDA spike issues for average casual player, but it was super easy to counter with OP abilities.

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It’s ironic that you say these things. The AI used to be better. Guess what. People complained that it was difficult and they created this new deranged AI that tries harder to get itself killed. :open_mouth: I was probably one of the first to complain about that, too.

The game definitely had a lot of flawed mechanics (and STILL DOES). This free-aim/standard aim was not a flawed mechanic in my opinion. It was a design choice that gave players 2 options on how to attack an enemy that truly depended on its size, its animations, the angle of attack, and what kind of weapon you were using. It was not always the same straightforward choice, and there was always a little bit of consideration needed. Now however, all those choices and thinking are gone, and it’s always free aim. Always free aim. The FLAW in this mechanic was that it was never clear and took a lot of trial and error to figure out. People growing frustrated with that is definitely understandable. What’s the solution to that? Not sure, to be honest. Better UI maybe? Some clearcut examples inside of a tutorial, perhaps? What’s the solution they chose? “Remove the mechanic entirely, because people are struggling to figure it out and we’re struggling to figure out how to teach them.”

This kind of change, to me, kind of looks like removing every single weapon in the game and making the assault rifle the only thing needed to win (something seemingly some people also want, and we edged closer to with the shredding buffs to assault rifles). Removing all the weak points, and just letting you shoot wherever you want for the same results (something seemingly some also want as well… and is pretty much true of the current Scylla, minus its weapons).

… but lol at that fix. You’re right. People like me don’t exist. We’re all one people with the exact same interests. One world, one vision.

Their attempts to appease some people are really irking others, and it’s a repeating pattern which has made me lose my patience and concern for politeness. Choosing one over another. I’m asking to give everyone options, and actual settings to actually try and appease all. What’s wrong with that? \

There’s a number of people pleading with the devs to stop making drastic changes without considering who its affecting, and if there are enough people who both like and dislike something, to consider creating an option instead of choosing one set of people.

Now. What would initially appear arbitrary to me, I’ve began to assume is a $$ related decision. New players are likely to attract more new players, and the new player experience has been decided to be all that matters. Veteran experience be completely damned. It’s more important to spend time on just creating content, don’t worry about how it actually affects the gameplay. The average player is more impressed by big explosions than by intelligent AI.

I’m not joking. There were a few more things that made the game more difficult. Yes it was broken in a number of ways (it still is), yes it could be countered with OP abilities. Guess what. The game is still easily countered by OP abilities. So, by the looks of it, that never changed. What made this game super easy, still makes this game super easy. What made this game even remotely interesting and challenging is slowly being whittled away in every single patch to make it even easier. How can anyone defend that?

I’m glad we can agree on this though. I’ve never played on Easy personally, but if anyone’s having troubles with Easy then there’s a problem. My only recommendation to Snapshot would be to consider who’s complaining about what, and change things in the difficulty settings that apply to those people. Now the following may just be my opinion, but I think I’d be happy if there were only 3 “difficulty settings”, 1 being a baby mode, 1 being a regular mode, and 1 being a “classic” that maintains a lot of the hardcore management side of things… but, in general I’d think:

  • Easy should have the deranged suicidal AI. Legend should have the AI that tries to outsmart you.
  • Easy should have global inventory management, free armor, and boatloads of resources. Legend should have individual base/aircraft management, nearly useless armor, and desperate for resources.
  • Easy should have simple enemies throughout the entire game. Legend should have enemies that progressively grow in strength slightly (I’m not asking for more armor and more HP; this is a long and complicated discussion that would focus on enemy numbers and tactics, mission timers and unpredictable reinforcements) and begin to outnumber you, growing more diverse in strengths and weaknesses.
  • Easy should have super-soldiers, nearly invincible with the ability to wipe the floor with everything, with barely a consideration needed. Legend should have mostly cannon-fodder, and you’d be required to form cohesive teams of soldiers who compliment one another to offset their weaknesses and afford notable strengths to even stand a chance.
  • Easy should have a Free-aim mode that requires no thinking and delivers 100% expected results. Legend shouldn’t.

Probably more I could say, but not like it’d matter I don’t think.

I was never a fan of the criticism from players of New Xcoms that complained about “missing shots at point blank range”. I considered those to be shortsighted misunderstandings of games in general.

Here we go again though, with your complaint of there being something you call “realtimeness”. Its the artificial randomness that simply makes it easier for developers to create a more sophisticated game with having to do 1/10000th of the work to create it. Some genres need this to facilitate any sort of realism as a challenge, like TACTICS GAMES. Considering how difficult it is to put something sophisticated together in a meaningfully balanced way (I’m looking at you, Stellaris). I’m definitely okay with some random chances.

Do you want 100% accuracy on the weapons too? I mean, “In real life, you look down a sight and the bullet goes where you point generally, not this wild spray of bullets, blah blah blah. Why shouldn’t every game be like that too?” Because it’s a game. That random chance of a bullet missing is SIMULATING your lack of stability, your lack of focus, the sounds, fear, explosions that are affecting your ability to do things. Sure, it may not look like that, but it’d require dozens of other changes to retain the same sort of enjoyable experience (not something I’m entirely opposed to, but they went with what they went with for some reason). Just as these enemies animated themselves on your turn when you fired at them. SIMULATION.

Back to new Xcom. That chance to miss a target at point blank range is because that enemy is being SIMULATED to be constantly on the move. Ever try shooting a running rabbit? What about a rabbit that runs between your feet? Oh, is that 100% a guaranteed hit, just because it was beside you for a moment? Or is it because it’s a game that it should be 100%? I can’t understand your complaints or desires, because they don’t seem very well thought out to me.

Side note: Not that ALL tactics games need to be this way. But a choice was made somewhere that decided this game was going to be a game like that, so let’s work with that instead of trying to change it entirely or create conflicting design choices I’d say? An example of something you might like more, is a game called “Into the Breach”. Everything is 100% predictable, but you’ll notice there’s a strong lack of variety in the game because… that’s one of the flaws of that design. Believe it or not, but nothing can be perfect and concessions need to be made (It’d be nice if the concessions didn’t conflict with one another though.) Still, an excellent game in my opinion, and a good example of what you seem to like. It’s a lot more predictable, and quick, like chess. Chess is another game I like. I have even requested that they make some changes in this game to be a bit more like chess, but in the way that pawns are sacrificed, not the lack of “realtimeness”. I like both types of tactics games, but I don’t believe all tactics games need to be one or the other specifically.

Final note: Why I’m most disappointed by this change, is because it ruined all hope of a new type of enemy that may make an entrance into this game to spice things up. The flying enemy. An enemy that hovers in the air is easily exposed and easily dealt with, unless it’s LOADED WITH HP AND ARMOR (snooze). One of the easiest methods of creating a meaningful defense for an enemy like that would’ve been to give it a crazy fluttering animation. (In a game like New Xcom, they’d be given high evasion as a baseline, along with added evasion for being at a higher elevation. Remember the Archons? - these solutions aren’t remotely possible in Phoenix Point with its current structure and design changes like the ones being made to Free Aim) Try blowing the wings off an enemy that actively evades your attacks… well, clearly Free Aim would be the wrong choice most of the time, depending on your angle. These enemies would create a new variety and add an interesting dynamic into the game. Frozen Free Aim makes tearing off their wings easy and simplistic. How to balance that? Well, make their wings invulnerable? Okay so now there goes a weakness. Blah blah blah blah… we end up getting to a point where the flying enemies no longer provide an interesting dynamic or much variety. See the problems yet?


I am not that kind of person. I miss the percentage changes.

You say like current approach is the one and only viable way. My point is, you either go realtime or you don’t. Current turn-based system with realtime elements, in my opinion, is one of the shittiest approaches to resolve it and I would be glad if it was removed entirely. This has nothing to do with realism.

No, why would I? Just because I don’t like putting realtime elements into a game that is not designed to be realtime at all? Phantom Doctrine took this way, and it didn’t go well.

And that is fine. Back to PP. You have enemy model fully behind cover, you see just a tip of his knee, so you free aim and shot the knee. Nothing simulated here… but you stand still in the open and wait to be shot by return fire, because apparently it was SIMULATED that the person is not behind cover but is constantly peeking and full aware (yet you wasn’t be able to target peeking head), and somehow you standing still is explained by SIMULATING simultaneous actions.

It was never “better” AI. AI didn’t care about objective, winning or loosing, or own safety. The AI goal (strategic and tactical, the very core of DDA) was to inflict X% of damage to player, every mission, no matter what. Was the game more difficult? Sure it was. Was AI better? Nope. Comparing FXCom AI and two simple sectiods to PP would be almost unfair.

Standard fire in 99 of 100 cases was a lazy “finish-off” button. Explaining it existence just because in free-aim enemy could flinch in completely unpredictable and illogical way doesn’t make it less flawed. I don’t want to learn how to deal with enemy animations, there is nothing tactical in it; it is just dealing with game engine.

But that is the general flaw of Free Aim in a static turn based game. They have to deal with it, somehow, or don’t. If I would like to shot enemies in realtime, I would play FPS. For me Free-Aim and Realtime doesn’t fit well to the game. I get why it is there, and that makes PP unique, but it does not make, in my opinion, the game better.

As for defence solutions, I have no idea what would that be, but maybe introduce weapon sway (as far as I understand the change, it does not prevent animations during aim, only during fire sequence so crazy fluttering animation + weapon sway would still work) to free aim and make some monster terrifying and hard to look at. I do not like any of these ideas (because they introduce more FPS to the game and even more realtime), but guess we’ll see what they will introduce.

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