How do you like the new Scavenging Missions?

Before criticism comes a little praise for the changes in other mission types:
- Lair (significant improvement)
- Citadel (just got a little better)
- Haven Defense (Better, but clearly too easy with support)

Now I have tested the new Scavenging Missions (after the reinforcement bug) on Hero Difficulty of course with self-enforced rules and I am unfortunately disappointed.

Scavenging Missions should actually be a thrill, considering whether picking up the items is worth the risk. With the mission type “Resources”, this statement only applies to a team consisting of 4-5 soldiers. This mission usually takes place with a full team (8) in such a way that all enemies are first destroyed and then all objects are collected. It feels like a boring monotonous job because the enemy reinforcement is not a real danger. There is no risk to be weighed here, as 1-2 additional opponents can easily be cleaned or even ignored.

Canny: Vote here

1 Like

To be fair, all missions with 8 soldiers are a cakewalk for an experienced player, and that with any number of self restrictions.

What would you prefer:

  1. More enemies deployed at the start of the mission

  2. Higher level enemies

  3. More enemy reinforcements

  4. Give enemies more abilities (more mist casting, more hiding, resistances to weapon types, will draining spells… )

  5. Limit number of soldiers player can deploy to 5

Also, do you think the game should react differently to a player who typically uses larger squads? And if so, how?

3 Likes

Considering that the old Scavenging design was kicked out, and no attempt was made to fix it.
And so much time and effort (and conversations and plans) invested in creating a new design …
I would leave everything as it is, so as not to botch it even more.
(Let the Modders fix it later).
The only thing you shouldn't show it in the Tutorial.

PS

Although this is a good opportunity to come up with a mission where the squad will be divided (by 2-3 fingers) and will act in parallel.

My main problem is boring collecting / distributing raw materials while there is no real danger. As a result, I personally find the mission worse than before.
Before: Just kill all enemys.
Now: Just kill all enemys + boring picking up.

I would add another option.
6. The opponents use the material as bait or the recruits as hostages. The opponents then concentrate more on these points. Then when the player advances too slowly they begin to damage the equipment, recruits or vehicles. The mechanics already existed. Only this time they wait for the destruction because they have the player as their primary target (bait mechanics). As soon as their number drops too much, they start to destroy the bait (mechanics also already available e.g. at Steal Aircraft Mission). Everything else such as slight enemy reinforcements can be left that way.

3 Likes

I think option 6 is probably difficult to implement (everything involving changes to AI behavior apparently is very resource intensive) and also doesn’t work narratively. Pandorans have interest in gathering stuff/people, not destroying it, or taking hostages…

If I may pick a few, after playing several playthroughs after Danforth release, playing Legend.

3.More enemy reinforcements (plus better/closer deployment) and maybe
4. Give enemies more abilities

because more enemies, cluster deployment is not helping the enemies and higher level comes with less amount of others Pandorans

I don’t see the limitation as a good idea, it is not for everybody. Of course when I use a vehicle and 3-4 soldiers I enjoy those missions more, but I don’t want the game forces it

Larger squads facing more danger, sure, why not? Higher level enemies, like Acid Chiron or Sirens…

2 Likes

Yes, that’s probably the case.

If you want to turn the “existing” set screws …

No. 1 or No. 5 would make the mission a bit more risky

No. 2: I personally would rather not want it, but could live with that.

No. 3: A slight increase would also add more risk (but not too much).

No. 4: Would be enriching anyway, regardless of the mission

1 Like

I must admit, I enjoy the scavenging missions much more than before - but then I’m only deploying 6-man squads of Lvl 4-6 atmo. So they will probably get easier as my squad’s size & ability increases.

Sounds to me like the perennial problem of OP Squaddies vs not enough Pandas.

2 Likes

Yes, I do enjoy them more, and as with all the other missions I always have more fun with my B-Squad. In my last playthrough I actually mixed the squads up so that on each deployment I had someone from A, B and C teams. It also helped that I lost all of my starting guys…

BTW, slightly off-topic, @walan, @etermes how much do you save and reload if something suddenly goes wrong (if at all), if you don’t mind me asking?

Yep, indeed.

But I wonder what sort of ability the Panda could have that would work best against a larger team, and worse against a smaller one.

After the first playthrough, no more. Exceptions are bugs. Soldiers die very rarely and no longer from midgame. And even with massive self-enforced rules:

  • No Lvl. 7 skills (I know not all are OP but I have to put the red line somewhere)
  • Only soldier-related armor (first and second class) --> Also helps me to identify the class
  • No DLC armor (way too strong)
  • Edit: No “Rally the Troops”
1 Like

bad things happens, that is life, that’s the game, but sometimes is not on you, there are bugs, and you have the “right” to reload in order to fix that situation

I used to reload many times , playing Veteran, Leviathan or before I think, I wanted everything perfect, every veteran soldier until the end, nobody has to die…

But it is not necessary, I can live with casualties, even the most skilled soldiers stay “dead”.
If something really rare would happen, like a full squad killed in one turn, then I would have to reload, sure. But right now, if I am not too lazy or sloppy in the mission I don’t have almost KIA.

If we talk about Pandas , only those enemies , mist and long range bombing are the most disturbing for my strategy, also I would like disruption abilities (like Disrupor Head bionic) for more Pandas or new creatures, attacking WP is more threatening than just health, in my opinion

A Siren screaming next to your squad, hurts more than many weapons.

But I can’t say one ability/strategy good for large team, bad at the same time for small team,
maybe something related with larger group deployment

I agree. Devs have basically swapped an irritating mechanic with a boring one (and if I ever wanted to play luggage hauler, I’d choose Death Stranding). We need less mundane clicking (moving full squad into evac zone, after you wiped an ambush + reinforcements is a boring slog), but for some reason devs are adding more of it.

I’d really wish there was sort of a balance meter, that estimates PP vs Panda power. When it falls into let’s say 3:1 in PP favor game would state, that threat has temporarily diminished and you can finish the mission without unimpeded(meaning autowin) - no more meaningless running, or that boring search for the last enemy.

These are good options and by default auto scaling content seems like the right thing to do from tactical game play perspective. However from strategic layer perspective it would actually feel like AI’s cheating.

I mean player’s making a decision about how many soldiers he wants to bring in. He rightfully expect his decision to be meaningful and having impact on the game. But it turns out his choice is illusionary, because game will manipulate the odds in order to keep up with the challenge.

In my opinion viable choices are:

  1. Stress more the consequence of maintaining big squads. For example, soldiers on the higher difficulties will tire out faster, therefore player will have to manage his forces more carefully (no more throwing 8-people gangs to squash a lone mindfragger in grandma’s basement).

Second example would be to alter some of the events (not every of them obviously), by adding information that there seems to be a lot of Pandorans around and they’ll swarm if PP goes big in (this is a legit way of aggressive auto scaling, giving player choice to go with 4 and face 6 enemies or go with 8 and face 30 if they are not fast enough)

  1. Scale the content properly. If one’s allowing 8-people squads there should be more content that require them.
  2. Your point no 5. This is the easiest way and the most efficient one. We already have artificial limit (because is there any logical reason, other than artificial block, that stops us from bringing in let’s say 15 soldiers?). Therefore this artificial limit should be smarter, so that you can’t gang on the easy encounters. And all in all, that wouldn’t be so unrealistical:

For example scavenging assumes that people split up to cover more ground and find more resources, so there won’t be more than X in one encounter.

What’s more, upon ambush, even if you had 8 people on the plane, you could start with just 2 (because they went different directions looking for loot and those 2 got ambushed), with rest (or some of them) getting on the map as reinforcements that help those 2 evacuate.

4 Likes

Yes, I agree. I was thinking more of some specific abilities that would work best the more soldiers the player deploys, so rather than auto scaling to increase the challenge, it would introduce the chance of a different kind of challenge.

However, TBH I can’t think of any ability that would actually work that way.

Now, the problem with solution n5 is that it makes the game harder for all players, including those that already find it hard enough. Personally, what I’m finding out is that a big part of the problem is the pace of the game, and the fact that one player can go progress 10 times faster than another. It’s very easy to achieve escape velocity early in the game and from then on to stay way ahead of the difficulty curve, but that’s a different topic…

Also slightly off topic (sorry @walan :wink:), how do you guys feel about Pandorans evolving reactively to player’s actions, basically there being a chance (some RNG is involved) that a behavior from the player will trigger the appearance of a specific mutation.

For example, if the player on average causes 25% of all damage on the first turn, Tritons with Pain Chameleon might develop an improved version of the mutation that makes them start hidden.

Well, you are Community Councillor, you know more that the rest of us about next update in 5 days, evolution is changing, right?

Currently my actions trigger changes in armor for Tritons and better shields for Arthrons, for instance

I’m afraid they don’t :wink:. It’s just evolution, DDA and RNG - there is some response to your performance as global increase in enemy strength, but nothing as specific as etermes is mowing down poor Tritons, let’s put some armor on them.

Basically what it says on Canny - Pandorans will evolve gradually and predictably. However, it is also possible to make Pandoran evolution reactive to player’s behavior.

The question is, what can kind of reactivity?

For example, you can say “if player relies on x damage type, make Pandorans evolve to take 50% of that damage type”. Or you can say, “if player uses y tactic, make Pandorans have a mutation that introduces a complication in its use”.

I was so wrong then,

time ago, from one mission to the next or following the next, this was Derleth, I brought 6 soldiers to scavenging mission, mid game I think, and I faced like 15 Arthrons with heavy armor, HP, shields and pincer-arms ,

at that moment, I thought they are reacting to my playstyle, long range attacks, using snipers and grenades

but I don’t know a lot of things about the mechanics of the game

Shields do not protect from precise weapons (sniper can still hit Athron without any problem) and armor does not protect from high damage per shot weapons (sniper rifles). Enemy in fact did what it could to make your life easier :wink:
If they drop armor altogether and get more HP and speed instead that would be a good sniper counter.

Yes, that’s the current Pandoran evolutionary solution to everything: grow more armor and HPs… :wink:

But they came in numbers 15-20 enemies and HP was so high, I was cornered, they used poison too, not so easy when you shot them and they don’t die and more and more are closer and closer after destroying the crates

On one hand you could experiment with abilities that are parametrized by number of enemies (like Berserk: gain X Buff charges equal to number of enemies in your sight, or PSI attack that drain 1WP from each enemy in your sight, and apply some buff scaled by number of enemies drained). On the other hand they shouldn’t nulify the difference between taking 5 and 8 soldiers…because in such case, what’s the point of taking more, if it gives no benefits?

Taking more or less troops for a mission is a strategic level decision and it should have consequences on a strategic level. For example in Gears Tactics, if you assign resources (in this case let’s say an OP hero character in golden gear) to one side mission, they won’t be available in two others.
In PP the only strategic consequences of having more troops on the battlefield are:

  • Increased upkeep (can safely assume right now is no issue at all)
  • Recruit / equiping cost: from mid game not an issue. Also increasing it would be a wrong move (further discouraging loosing troops).
  • Fatigue: This can actually introduce resource scarcity (you sent troops on one mission, they might be to tired to go on the next one) if done properly. When more restrictive on higher dificulty levels (more fatigue gain through combat, introduce fatigue gain upon losing HP) it could add addtional layer of soldiers management. Though on lower levels it could cause frustration (so it should be more forgiving there).

Anyway if missions are to be balanced the safest and fastest way is to introduce troop limits. You cant expect 6-man mission to be the same level of challenge when you allow PP to bring 33% more power.
Manticore is a 6 seat craft so default max number should be 6 (more for special missions, and all missions should be balanced around max number).

For the sake of game’s replayability, that should be the case. Pandas should be more eager to research technologies that are triggered by certain player behavior. So if metrics show that player’s doing this-and-this then put more points into researching technology X.