The better you fight the more powerful pandas comes. Fighting well against humans count on pandas evolution? For example, if I make 5 successful raid for technology, all complete in one turn without any shot, then punishing system make pandas stronger or not?
I’m going to answer your question, and then I’m going to go off on one.
So to answer your question, yes, I do believe that if you somehow managed to pull of 5 successful tech raids in 1 turn without taking a single casualty, the DDA will adjust accordingly and, in your terms ‘punish’ you.
However, since the only way I can see that you could possibly achieve that is by spamming hi-speed Terminators, who can get to the Tech Point and back again in 1 impossible turn without giving the opposition a chance even to move, then you get what’s coming to you.
And now I’m going to go off on one …
I do think people misunderstand the Dynamic Difficulty Algorythm. Partly - to be absolutely, brutally honest - because it was initially implemented so poorly, but also because it doesn’t make any allowance for non-perfect players restarting until they get a perfect score.
The concept - in my opinion - was brilliant. Because the big problem with games like this is the Inverse Difficulty Curve. The game starts out hard, because you start out weak, and you have to survive and research and build new tech until you get stronger. But when you do that, the game gets ludicrously easy, so that by the time you get to the endgame, there isn’t a challenge any more because your squad can just power through any enemy without taking a scratch.
The way I used to deal with that in XCOM was by starting on Veteran and ramping up the Difficulty at the start of each of the key Story Missions that heralded a new chapter. So by the time I got to the Final Mission, I was doing it on Legendary. And that kept the game nicely challenging right up to the end.
The concept of the DDA was that the game would do that for me. As long as I didn’t trick it by saving and restarting every time I lost a man, the game would keep track of how well or badly I was doing and adjust the Difficulty accordingly. So in theory it was designed to ensure that you got as much of a challenge at the beginning of the game as you did at the end. Perfect.
Great. I’m all-in with that. TBH, it’s the main reason I backed this game - Pandoran Evolution.
Problem is, several things went wrong right from the off:
The DDA never anticipated that people would Save & Restart to avoid taking casualties. This is supposed to be a survival game - you’re supposed to take casualties - and the devs never anticipated that a large percentage of their player base couldn’t cope with that and would effectively fool the system to avoid it. So, if you played like a Rookie and got slaughtered, but S&R’d until you lucked out on a perfect score, the DDA was fooled into assuming that you were playing like a Legend and treated you accordingly.
The original balance was completely off. This game was designed with an ‘Old School’ sensibility from the 1990s. It was supposed to be hard. But it was brutally hard - even I hate Acid-lobbing Chirons and 300HP Arthrons with 1-shot-kill MGs. It also seems that most modern players don’t want hard - they don’t want to stagger off the battlefield feeling like they’ve beaten the odds by the bloodied and beaten skin of their teeth; they want to feel like they’ve smashed the odds to a pulp like superheroes. They don’t want to be the Dirty Half-Dozen or the Magnificent Three-and-a-half, they want to be the Avengers. Add 1) into the mix and you have a perfect storm.
Then you had the Terminators. They were the unintended consequence of the open Skills sandbox the devs had deliberately created. But they were also a way for struggling players to fight back. So you’ve tricked the system into treating you like a god - so fight back by creating demi-gods that can Dash all over the map, or pump semi-auto Sniper bursts into the Nasties on the other side of the map with pinpoint accuracy, or infinitely recycle their APs by exploiting the WP system to do so. Aaand we’re back to 1 again, because the game now thinks you’re a genius who can win a mission in 1 turn and treats you like one, when actually you’re still only a Rookie with a sandbox to play with.
All of this has combined to create a situation where some players now feel they have to have Sniper RB, Rapid Clearance and semi-permanent Electric Reinforcement to survive, and loudly denounce any attempts to rebalance the game so that such things aren’t either there or essential any more.
At the same time, another group of players - the ones who really can play like Legends and ace the system - find they get the Inverse Difficulty Curve in spades, because the Terminator Builds are so OP that you can wipe the floor with damn near anything once you’ve figured out how to abuse them.
Thing is, even as the game currently stands, you don’t need Terminators. The secret is simple: Just play the game the way it was intended to be played - as a brutal game of survival against the odds, where dying’s just a way of keeping score. Don’t Save & Restart every time you lose a man. Don’t try to ‘cheat’ the system. Don’t fight back with Terminators. Instead, roll with it and take the punches as they come. Then the DDA stops ‘punishing’ you. The number of Pandas per mission goes down from over 20 per mission to a manageable 10-15. And the number of Big Nasties like Sirens & Chirons halves or more. In my first playthrough - on the original Dec 3rd settings and with RF set to ‘all allies within 10 spaces fire back at the shooter’ rather than the ludicrous ‘only the target (who is currently cowering under a hail of bullets) fires back’ - I never had more than 3 Sirens appear on any mission, and they usually appeared in singles.
The DDA is only ‘unfair’ because people treat it unfairly. If you only feed it the stats where you’ve scored a hole-in-one, don’t be surprised when you get seeded against Tiger Woods. If you just play the game to the best of your ability without stacking the stats in your favour, it treats you how you should be treated and stops treating you like a superstar.
Of course, all of this is moot with the very welcome nerfs to Terminator skills and a proper Pandoran Evolution system just around the corner. So soon the DDA will be no more. I wonder whether people will then complain that the Pandas have just evolved to neutralise their Sniper’s Rage Burst (as they’re supposed to), or will they finally accept that one of the beauties of this game is that it never gets easy, and it’s not supposed to
Let the outraged rebuffs begin
Casualties does not have to mean death. As long as one takes enough punishment as injuries, this counts as “casualties” to offset the aggressive DDA.
You make it sound, as if it would take effort or special abuse mechanic to pull that off. Any assault will be able to reach tech point in one turn. With mission ending when all tech is stolen, it is super easy to cheese those missions.
- I hope those missions will be overhauled
- Raid rewards be better implimented. I did 3 or 4 raids looking for specific tech before I decided to let it go for now. I remember someone suggesting a choice from multiple possible rewards. I would like that.
This was the loading screen from X-com Apocalypse before a mission. With PP it’s certainly the opposite. Bring medkits and level up the strength stat as quickly as possible.
Do get Hurt!
Well, that wasn’t the case the one time I tried it - though that was a looooong time ago. I don’t like stealing stuff from the Factions, so I don’t really do it: I tried it once to see what it was like and then left it at that.
But I’m assuming that any Assault can get there through multiple uses of Dash, which is an exploit imo, and which I’m hoping will get shut down in the next big patch.
If you can exploit Skills to win the mission before the other side even gets to move then:
a) the Mission design is broken and
b) the DDA is being fooled into registering another hole-in-one (see my big rant above )
Actually it can be done with one dash and speed soft capped at 20… Sometimes with a single assault, and sometimes requiring 2 (depending on map layout/PP deployment).
Or it could be when I tested it in Derleth - I don’t know if something has changed since then.
Actually, DDA works alright when you don’t pay attention to it and don’t attempt to optimize results through saving and reloading…
You need to be consistently outperforming the benchmark over a number of missions and if you can do that, you can certainly handle the increase in challenge. And if you can’t, the difficulty will go down again. The problem is if you continue to consistently outperform the benchmark after the difficulty adjustment, and so on and so forth.
But if you want to keep the DDA in check and optimize results, the way to go is probably, as you say, do get hurt (e.g. make sure that all your soldiers on every mission get 20% off their health).
What I’m pretty sure isn’t going to work is ‘sacrificing rookies to appease the gods of DDA’ unless you sacrifice one on each mission, because DDA deals with averages and 140 pts of damage on a single mission among, say, 10, isn’t going to make any difference.
It will be great if someone from Snapshot answered about my question…
The dynamic difficulty applies to humans and Pandorans. With humans, missions currently just tend to get more enemies.
It will all be changing in a few weeks with Cthulhu anyway. There’s going to be a lot of balance changes which will make the dynamic difficulty system redundant.
Well, that’s not strictly true. I did once after experimenting with the Terminator build (I wanted to try it out and discover the consequences) find that the DDA did make the game ridiculously difficult. My solution was to launch into a haven rescue mission with a few unarmed rookies who I knew weren’t coming back. Now this was before the new apple recruits were introduced, so they were more expensive. But despite this additional cost, the DDA gods did became happy we me again. So…
I realise that you were suggesting otherwise, but my point I hope is clear if you choose to go down this path.
It might well be that losing a bunch of rookies impacted the average in your favor, or that as the difficulty got harder, your performance decreased. Or that the whole thing had a large component of RNG… We don’t really know how DDA works precisely, except that it is average based and that it only looks at the damage received and somehow (we don’t know how really) compares it to some benchmark.
So that’s why I assume that sacrificing a rookie from time to time while achieving perfect score on all other missions shouldn’t do the trick… Though who knows
From my own experience all I can say is that I never had the ‘difficulty spikes’ that other players reported.
Anyway, it’s going to be replaced soon…
Indeed, let’s wait and see. It actually fascinates me about the different versions and varieties of the gameplay we get to experience.