Hopefully a dev can pop in and give some understanding on this. As I’ve learned from my other thread I don’t think the devs and I are on the same page when it comes to the tactical combat, but perhaps some agreement can be found when it comes to the strategic map.
While the lore for the strategic map seems quite well developed, it otherwise feels quite generic. Havens offer defense missions, resource trades, and soldiers, but that’s mostly it. Scavenging sites are a single mission and that’s it. When it comes to progression the singular goal seems to be building a team of level 7 soldiers and that’s it. Land vehicles have a small window in the early game for fleshing out undermanned squads, but beyond that serve no real purpose.
While I’m not exactly sure why the comparison is made, many people seem to believe that PP is a more a successor to x-com apocalypse rather than ufo:defense. Again I don’t really see that, but I did really like apocalypse’s strategy overview. One thing that I deeply enjoyed was the variety of vehicles, despite some of the flaws that showed up.
Phoenix Point seems to be a story of rebuilding an organization. It is retaking lost territory. Despite that overall direction, the strategic map seems to serve little purpose other than a backdrop for shuffling around the A-team. In the hopes of adding mission variety, team variety, and difficulty variety I’d like to see more mechanics introduced to the strategic map. Particularly I’d like to see the garrison problem implemented i.e. as you take territory you have to devote more and more resources to defending it. This is a major source of depth in any map game, yet there seems to be little resources invested in defending PP’s geoscape beyond maybe 2 teams and a third aircraft.
I think a good start for fleshing out the strategic overlay would be the introduction of overland trade mechanics. Allow the player to form convoys of scarabs, armadillos etc. to harvest resources from scavenging points, and trade with havens. In general they shouldn’t require that much effort beyond establishing the initial route, however they would be able to provide intel, and reduce the burden on aircraft. They’d add depth to the manufacturing screen, and could add more research topics. Constant resource flow reduces the number of extraneous scavenging sites, and havens. It also gives more opportunities to interact with factions and implement growth mechanics.
The most important thing to come from this system is mission variety however. As I see it the game suffers from deploying the same team over and over again, but that team isn’t special enough to be interesting for 50+ hours.
For general implementation I see 4 paths:
Option 1 - The trivial option.
Convoys are formed like the current aircraft system. You assign X number of PP soldiers to a vehicle and establish the route. It gives you intel, and it can be ambushed. The mission objective is to escape to the other side of the map. Benefit is that you occasionally get to fight with your C,D,E team, and you have a story reason to deploy a vehicle.
**Option 2 - The nostalgia handout **
Convoys are formed, generate intel, and can be ambushed as above; however, now they’re escorted by a number of generic soldiers without the willpower skills. Mission variety and pacing is greatly increased. Since soldiers are generic you’re not really risking anything in the missions beyond the convoy vehicles. Classic X-com fanboys are mollified with the authentic experience every now and then, and your A-team takes on a more unique feel now that you can contrast their abilities against the generic convoy guards. More interesting training mechanics and decisions can now be implemented for the A-team now that they’re no longer the only focus on the strategic map.
Option 3 - Let’s do something different
Convoys are only formed from vehicles. Since these missions are now completely ran by vehicles there is a dramatic change of pace. Skill system can be kept by the A-team, but now you can have an almost completely separate system for equipment based progression through the vehicles. Mollifies classic fanboys, and dramatically increases mission variety and pacing. A new ruleset can be implemented for large unit on large unit combat.
Option 4 - Let’s do something really different: an option 2&3 hybrid
Trade convoys are kept, and generic soldiers are kept; however, now we’re doing the occasional big battle. Panda’s occasionally launch two new attacks: haven seiges and convoy assaults. Current haven defense missions are now Panda raids that decimate the haven if not responded to, but to actually destroy a haven the Panda’s need to lay siege to it. Convoys can now suffer two types of attacks: ambushes wherein the mission occurs immediately with the vehicles and generic soldiers on hand, but they can now also suffer assaults: a large horde of 10 or so large type pandas, and 20 or so humanoids is spotted on the horizon and the convoy calls for help. Like a haven defense mission you can respond to the convoy distress call with your A-team. Both sieges and assaults would be large map battles designed for multiple teams to respond to. Over the course of the game there might only be 3-4 of these battles, but they’re a major change of pace where you get to manage 2-3 of your vehicles, your A-team, and 10-16 generic soldiers. Entirely new rulesets can be implemented such as manticore bombing runs etc.
Just wanted to throw this out there. Would love to see other people’s suggestions. I’d also love for the devs to comment on whether or not this is within the general vision of the game.