HYPE: What do you want out of FESTERING SKIES

While I know it is early and we literally just got LoTA, I am already salivating for Festering Skies.

Some of my favorite missions in the original X-COM (back when I was in HS but remains true to this day) were those UFO sorties.
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While simple in design, I found the air combat mini-game exciting with the real treat being the infiltration of the crashed vessel itself. To see the remnants of the UFO with damage from the aerial battle, the tension of exploring the crashed vessel and seeing the odd alien equipment inside, and dreading what type of fight the surviving crew would put up.

These missions unnerved me more than any other in the game and my HS self would often crank Queen, Metallica or Public Enemy to get me fired up enough not to completely turtle in and venture forth into the crashed UFO. Hoping Festering Skies scratches that itch.

Hoping the following is considered. Know much of this may be unrealistic, but a boy can dream:

  • Aerial combat with all factions w/ unique ship classess [Pandorans, New Jericho, Synedrion Disciples of Anu, The Pure maybe even Ancients vessels?!]
  • Some customization [Ship patterns and colors, upgrade weapons and equipment]
  • Expansion of Aerial Combat Mini-Game [activating shields, firing projectiles of various types [guns, missiles, etc], potentially auxiliary equipment - ECM, stealth, etc]
  • Return of ship roles [interceptors to take down ships, still requiring carriers to drop crew off; etc.]
  • Time impacts enemy status [following up on above, time from crash to when your dropship arrives can impact state of enemies. Recent crashes they may have lower WP, disoriented, haven’t had a time to fortify and are mostly inside ship; waiting too long they’ve had time to prepare a defense and collect their wits]
  • Improved cover destructibility [would be a nice to have as part of this. know it is under review, but the option to [with right weapon] carve your own path through a ship w/ logical destructibility would be great]
  • Return of the Behemoths [already a thread about this, but would be awesome if they do arrive]

I have more ideas, but I’ve already exceeded my tl;dr quota for the day and will call it quits here… for now.

Be safe everyone!

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But you know they won’t have the UFO? I suppose aerial combat will be more about defending your bases, havens and drop ships from aerial creatures.

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No organic flying scylla-type you can shoot down and fight? No organic scylla-type flying enemies that could serve as “hosts” for smaller units?

That’s disappointing. You’re no fun.

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That’s really disappointing… I guess everyone including me expects flying alien carriers and fighters in the strategic layer because aircraft can be damaged and repaired. What’s the purpose of that then? There’s nothing that really destroys an aircraft atm. Vehicle battles in x-com apoc were totally chaotic but such fun… you kitted out a lot of different vehicles and could take all of them out for war… I know PP can’t have something like that but players obviously expect some type, any type, of air battles.

Besides that I’m expecting flying enemies in the tactical layer, new ones specially of course, but I would like a flying siren… I have an old ticket on canny about flying enemies and mention it, weakly or not armored but with a faster animation from flapping wings that makes it difficult to target a specific body part while airborne :slight_smile:. It could also have a slightly higher range for mind control.

It would be nice of course if our own soldiers could become airborne too, with an upgrade to jetpacks (or a new one) that let the soldier hover in the air, as well as jetpack proficiency becoming available or joined with the mounted weapons perk (I also have a ticket on canny about that :stuck_out_tongue:). Our soldiers would not flap wings so they would be more vulnerable in the air, even for specific body part targeting, which the enemies could take advantage of. It would also make HA in general more interesting for airborne soldiers, specially legs which would receive most hits depending on the angle. This would also make it interesting to be able to carry different armor parts and change them on the go if wanted (you guessed it: I have a topic here about that!).

I think I had more ideas but I can’t remember now, I’ll post it here if I do. This is the most exciting DLC yet, I hope it doesn’t disappoint… it doesn’t even need a story, just new gameplay!

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Airborne enemies which flies always or same for our people is not a good idea because this game is about cover. As the game gets slow mo when you free fire and snapshot is just locked on to the enemy torso, you can always easily shoot down any enemy and they can shoot you down too. BUT I would like to see some enemies with jumps and attacks.

I don’t think there will be some ufo type missions as we are fighting living organisms and I don’t expect them to have a ufo like interior. BUT they can have their mission as they can have some troops in them. Maybe they have carriers like our aircrafts. We can have pandoran huge flies which we can fight at tactical after shoot down at geomap. I would like to fight against a plane size creature.

I would like to have air arsenal to fight against them with my bases so my bases will have a reason then a simple radar scan.

There is very important point here. At UFO games we got so huge free time which we speed up time and wait without doing nothing. We wait ufos, shoot down and go for it and then wait. Mostly we fight against 1 or 2 dropped or landed ufo per wave. At PP… OMG… you need to do something every second. I mean your team just jump from mission to mission, maybe some hours to heal and rest and then again. I just speed up time when my aircraft is on the way. So there is nearly no free time to shoot down some air enemies. As I said at UFO, there were steps. First you dog fight, then go to mission. PP is just go to mission as there is no ufo to shoot down or you don’t need that at all.

So this will be different for sure. I am excited to see how they will design it. As this is a game aspect, they will bring air fight with a patch for everyone and DLC will add more.

Maybe the geosphere will be full of a skynet with aircrafts here and there. We already see many planes flying between bases and they do not have purpose yet. We will see :slight_smile:

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There can be some alien living carriers, but I don’t expect anything like any vessel which we shot down, breach and secure. :slight_smile: And even that we collect resources from it (maybe except mutagens) :slight_smile:

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I believe he meant “flying enemies” as in large pandoran entities capable of flight, that would require some aerial unit (an interceptor) to shoot down on the geoscape before engaging. I keep coming back to a scylla type enemy that first requires an air superiority vessel to shoot down, then once on the ground you can have your drop ship deploy infantry to engage with. Also had this idea in my head of larger pandoran enemies that can transport smaller pandoran infantry like a host - e.g.

They could swing their legs as animation during flight to limit enemy chances to hit. :smiley:

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I want huge mutated aliens as drones/fighter jets at my base to feed and play with them.

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The “living ships” expansion of No Man Sky got me to start playing again specifically for that reason. Huge Farscape fan. Big fan of living/organicc ships.

This is a legit tactic. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Sorry but it’s not a game about cover for me. It has cover as one of its mechanics. Even the AI doesn’t use cover anymore :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m joking of course, but I maintain my previous opinions. It’s not because there’s a cover mechanic that you have to use it all the time, specially as anything in the line of sight acts as cover.

In fact I was talking about both:

In the strategic layer, a giant organic being that can carry pandorans around and be shot at by our interceptors, or even huge flying pandorans with weapons to fight back your interceptors (bonus).

In the tactical layer (soldier battles), I meant indeed flying enemies, like the floater from the original x-com. Of course they’re more vulnerable when airborne, but they would be able to go to the ground as well. A flying siren would be a special thing because you would’ve to shoot her down at once instead of “neutralizing” by disabling her head. Also, she could fly up in a building, mind control one of our guys and hide from being targeted, just like we do with our heavy grenadiers. That could be just as hateful as bombing chirons :smiling_imp:

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Oh man do I want to see a lot of new things in Festering Skies :drooling_face:.

My big hope is that the new combat aircraft in Festering skies can be used in an air-to-ground attack role instead of just an air-to-air interception role. Imagine if say the drone UCAV fighter jet-like combat aircraft that we would probably get in Festering Skies, could swap out the guided missiles that they would normally use for air-to-air combat, and be armed with guided bombs instead so that the combat aircraft could be used as fighter-bombers that could provide Phoenix Project operatives with close air support when needed, when a ground-attack capable combat aircraft is present at a mission site before the mission begins.

An in-mission close air support feature would need to be balanced, of course. Limited numbers of carried munitions usable in a mission, turn delays before munitions hit their designated targets, deployment limit of one combat aircraft per mission, munitions costing significant amount of resources to be replenished etc. This feature could work in a similar way to how off-map artillery and air support works in games like Helldivers, World in Conflict or C&C3 for example. Combined with the Canny feedback page planned future update to ground vehicles/mutogs that would make them upgradable and customisable with different loadouts, then being able to use operatives, combat vehicles/mutogs and combat/transport aircraft all in unison together to complete missions would do a lot to enrich the gameplay experience of Phoenix Point. While Phoenix Project operatives should always be the core of the player’s mission force, being able to support them with a wide range of different unit types and capabilities together as part of a proper combined arms team, would make missions so much more interesting to play.

Besides, I totally want an excuse to give my operatives AC-130 style fire support from an Anu blimp Battleship decked out with acid/shredding cannons and mutated organic bombs/missiles :sunglasses:.

Another reason why combat aircraft in Festering skies should have ground-attack capabilities, would be so that they can be used to attack and destroy the ground-based air defences that faction havens and Pandoran bases are likely to have in the new DLC. Given that the Pandorans would soon catch on to the human’s reliance on aircraft to transport strike teams to attack their colonies and bases, it would make sense that they would develop biological equivalents to ground based air defences that would try to shoot down any Phoenix Project or faction aircraft that come near lairs and citadels. The Phoenix Project could counter this by sending in ground-attack configured combat aircraft to try to destroy the air defences first, hopefully without being destroyed themselves, in a special minigame. If the player is successful, the way is now clear to send in and land their transports full of operatives safely. Or the player could try to chance it and hope that their transports durability is high enough to withstand being sent into and landing in an anti-aircraft fire hot zone (high durability transports like Thunderbirds or Tiamats could be much better for this than Helios’s, it would give a good reason to use transports other than the super-fast but fragile Helios). Same deal if you try to raid faction havens or fly aircraft near faction havens that have declared war on the Phoenix Project. Also same deal if factions or Pandorans send aircraft to attack Phoenix Project bases that have air defenses (I hope we get to build ground-based air defenses at our bases in addition to combat aircraft). Could even be reasonable for enemy factions and Pandorans to benefit from close air support of their own if the player doesn’t shoot down the enemy combat aircraft at a mission site before the mission begins.

The other thing I would like to see in Festering Skies, is having enemy/friendly flying units featured in the tactical mission level, not just the Geoscape level. If the Pandorans could have gargoyle-like or floating tentacled flying enemies in tactical missions that have their own full set of different mutations, then they could serve a niche as an extremely mobile but relatively fragile enemy type that is quick to exploit any vulnerabilities in the player’s formation.

We never did get those Synedrion UAV’s and canine UGV’s that were shown in ’The Science of Synedrion’ 13 July 2019 website news update. If they are eventually ever going to be reintroduced to Phoenix Point, Festering Skies would be a great opportunity to bring them into the game. If we could deploy a variety of different mini-UAV’s from an operatives inventory in a similar way to the deployable turrets and spider-bomb drones we already have and control them in a similar way, they would be great for things like reconnaissance, support and fast-attack. The Synedrion UAV’s probably got cut out of the released game due to technical and time constraints, but they look too cool to stay left out of the game forever, I really hope the developers can make them work and bring them back for Festering Skies.


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I would not count on such things. Of course they can be considered… But imagine how would it unbalance the game. If you have them during combat, Pandorans would need to be more powerful to stand at least small chance. And what if you woud not have that aircraft with you and Pandorans would have that powerful forces? Combat lost just because of one strategic decision. Then you would need to bring such aircrafy to each combat with you. That is not a choice. Unless like you write later you would have maximum of 2 or 3 attacks with small area of effect that cost a lot per each use… Limit of aircratfs per mission is not a good in my opinion as such limit looks really artificial. But still I would not link strategic part to tactical part too much in such way.

And what if minigame is unsuccessful? You loose all operatives on-board? :slight_smile: Overall nice idea, but it would require re-thinking.

I don’t want to want to unbalance the game, and I definitely do not want a potential close air support/airstrike feature to act as a spammable ‘I win’ button. I’m just throwing ideas out there to explore the possibilities of what an air combat feature could do for Phoenix Point. I’d mainly want an in-mission ground attack capability from combat aircraft to be a way to add more flavour and variety to missions, that’s all.

In my previous post I outlined some ideas on how such a feature could be balanced, but it would take testing and experimentation to determine how to properly balance such a feature if it was ever going to be included. I would like to see it included in Festering Skies, if possible. Realistically though, I’m actually expecting that its much more likely that the air combat features we would see in Festering Skies would be strictly air-to-air in nature, maybe ground-to-air as well in some situations. We would probably still run the risk that the Pandorans or hostile factions could use their expected combat aircraft to intercept and shoot down our transport aircraft full of leveled-up operatives, so maybe there might be players who would prefer not to play Phoenix Point with the Festering Skies DLC enabled for that reason.

There will probably “escort” option. So you will add one or more attack drones with your transport. If you get attacked then your escort will fight. I think they will be fully automatic too.

I still want to fight against pandoran planes at ground combat after they downed. Then your drone will transform to ground tank to fight with you too! The second part is a joke but it would be cool as hell when you think about it.

They can make this really super cool and different. I would like to know what they planned. I hope we got some clues earlier not one day before like LoA.

Yeah, escorting your transports with UCAV interceptors/fighters will probably be standard operating procedure in Festering Skies. The Epic Games listing for Festering Skies does say that we can ‘harvest tech from downed alien vessels’ so I would expect that we’ll be sending operatives on missions to clear out Pandoran warships on the ground after they’ve been shot down and crash landed, that should be fun.

If we do get to use ground-attack configured combat aircraft to suppress or destroy Pandoran/hostile faction ground-based air defences before sending in transport aircraft, or run combat or transport aircraft past an active anti-aircraft fire hot zone, then I think it would make sense that the main penalty for losing should be having the option to retreat with a badly damaged aircraft, instead of the aircraft being outright destroyed on the first attempt.

Afterwards, players could use the existing aircraft repair options of either field repairing an aircraft for 100 materials, or sending the badly damaged aircraft back to an active Phoenix Project base to be repaired for free over time in the base’s Vehicle Bay. Having player aircraft being routinely destroyed as a loss result of air-to-air interceptions or ground-based anti-aircraft defence fire, would be too brutal on players and would be too expensive to recover from during a campaign.

Another possible justification for having an in-mission close air support capability for combat aircraft, could be that if the player’s combat aircraft do not currently have any enemy aircraft that need to be intercepted or no current need to escort transports, then the player has the option to change the loadout of their combat aircraft to a ground-attack configuration so that they can support operatives in the field if they wish, in order to give the combat aircraft something to do outside of air-to-air combat. If the combat aircraft can only carry a very limited number of munitions for airstrikes that are resource-pricey to replace, are somewhat inaccurate and require one or two turns of arrival time to hit their targets, then the combat aircraft could contribute to the fight as a reasonably balanced ‘nice to have’ capability worth using occasionally in difficult missions, instead of a spammable and gamebreakingly powerful one.

I do concede that it would take a lot of gameplay balance testing to properly implement a feature like this though, it probably won’t make it into Festering Skies.

Personally I don’t like the idea of off-map support. Yeah this type of feature sounds cool, but then you would be bringing “war game” aspects into a small-scoped (8 soldiers max per mission) tactics game. I just don’t see this pleasing everyone, it’s not the focus so it’ll always feel half-baked, will make no sense as a lot of other war game mechanics will be missing, will be unrealistic which is something that puts a lot of people off, and make the already difficult balance quite impossible. People that want to spam the I win button will be pissed because it’s too expensive to use and say:

“Why does X weapon costs 1 buck and this one 300 bucks when it does the same damage? Attacking only twice per battle does not make sense, it’s a high tech ship capable of hovering, it should bombard the entire area and I would only need to use soldiers if I wanted to or if I didn’t have more ammo!!!111!!!1!!”
And we would have a lot of pages-long discussions about all of these instead of only about heavy weapons :joy:

Festering Skies is due december, so I wouldn’t count on anything major anyway, the time-frame is just too short. I do hope though that they had another team working on it from before, so we get at least the basic expectations of flying pandorans both on the map as well as on the ground. And I surely hope it does not have any story/dialog if it’ll be in the same quality as previous DLC :stuck_out_tongue:… I’m alright with a gameplay-content-only DLC.

What I really hope is that the following DLCs can have more time to be cooked and thus have a chance to live up to our expectations :slight_smile:, and also that the first 3 DLC have a chance to be revised and made better.

I don’t think they are just making things in order. Probably game code is ready to have air battles as I said before there are already planes flying from place to place. They got 4 months from now on and it will be rdy for steam release.

They will try to hit steam good with a balanced and rich game play. As steam lovers are pissed of because of the epic deal, they need to have a good ground to win the hearts again.

This 3 dlc will finish the main game and other three will be like expansion probably.