Impressions about Festering Skies

So, I got the new DLC just at release, but Im holding till I finish my exames to try it out.

I was wondering, what are your opinions about the new DLC? does the new game improve significantly the game? Does it have new bugs? Are overall your impressions good about the new balance changes?

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Ignorance is a blessing. You’ll see :smile:

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Well I just started the campaign and I can talk about one specific change because I don’t know if it came in the DLC/ behemoth patch or before.

Overwatch now only has narrow angles. You cannot overwatch both sides and until the end of the map anymore, it depends on the weapon. This changes the tactical game completely! It was a pain at first because I was used to the old system, but I kinda like it already. Makes the game less cheesy.

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Yes I have seen these changes, I wonder if this change affects in some way the time to fire, or makes more viable using overlapping cones of fire as a strategy. Before, the time to fire and the movement of the enemy from each soldier reaction made the strategy really not that much useful, which I always thought was an oversight.

Indeed, I’ve complained about this problem a lot in the past. I don’t know if the change solves it, a good mission to test is the pirate king.

Pirate king has a wide door near your soldier’s starting position. Usually in this mission I just stay put because enemies come in a mad frenzy. When the pirate king himself shows up, I also usually just throw a lot of overwatches there. Sometimes instead of rushing forward the AI chooses to just cross the door from one side to the other. When this happens, a lot of shots go into the walls because the first 2 or 3 take up the time of the crossing animation.

Now, with this change, imagine:
← enemy goes from right side to left side
------- … wide door … … -------
… … … \ … …\ … … / ./
… … … …\ . … \ … / ./
… … … … \ … … | ./ cone 2
… … … … . \ … … /
… … … … … . \ . /
… … … … … … | cone 1

These are 2 overwatch cones (forget about one soldier being inside the other’s cone, I don’t have much ascii drawing skills :stuck_out_tongue:). Let’s assume both will be triggered before enemy dies. If soldier 1 starts shooting first and the animation takes long enough for the enemy to go beyond cone 2, soldier 2 will fire outside of his cone.

Maybe this problem already existed but it’ll be easier to happen now. Also, the old problem would not be solved, unless other steps were taken like lowering the enemy animation speed.

I’ve gone way off-topic though, sorry about that.

Edit: damn, the forum automatically removes double spaces and more than 3 dots, so my ascii “art” is ruined :frowning:

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The new maps and missions are simply awesome, imo. The new land enemies are fun to fight.

The minigame is not something I personally like; tbh I wouldn’t have bothered with doing it in the first place. It’s not terrible, it’s just not very good.

The art and cinematics are great as usual, but the storytelling is honestly on the meh side of things.

The DLC does add a new layer to the Geoscape (or source of stress, depending on how you look at it), but I think you also have to keep your expectations within reason - this is a $10/€8 DLC, not an expansion pack. It’s not going to turn PP into X-Com, which probably many people expect. I would say the minigame is a nod or a bit of a hommage to the aerial combat in X-Com, but it’s not a serious attempt at bringing it (‘back’) to PP.

The QoL and balance changes are all good imo. I wasn’t sure about the OW cone at first, but it just feels much better now.

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Is the air combat at leass better than in XCOM1?, that one was terrible. If its in the same league as Xenonauts2 It is a win for me.

I suggested too a reduced time to fire or a total freeze time while firing a couple of times; or anything to mitigate that. Definitely Overwatch needed more atention for me. It will be nice to know if the situation is better, worse or same as before now.

After having suffered through hours of Festering Skies I can’t begin to express how horribly frustrated and disappointed I am. I have played the Xcom, Xcom TFTD, Apocalypse, the two Firaxcoms, and Xenonauts, and I have no idea what the £^£%^$&!!!@@@! these guys are thinking. Setting aside the horrible disappointment and frustration of Phoenix point before Festering Skies, I was sincerely hoping that FS would be good. And initially it seems so. You get a mission to get an armed vessel, and the ‘ufo’ attack thing looks very nice with a few improments FROM THE FIRST GOD DAMN XCOM-UFO DEFENSE. You can use a dodge module to avoid damage. Yippee. Damn glad I have Xenonauts to play when I want to have FUN instead of screaming at the god damn motherfucking screen!
Ahem, anyway. Okay, so there is this behemoth. Can’t touch it. Can’t stop it. Can only watch it devastate havens YOU CAN’T FUCKING REACH YET and hope it doesn’t randomly fuck up your game. And it sends out smaller ufos to do mission. Great! We can get those, right? NO! NOT UNTIL THEY FUCKING STOP AT A HAVEN, AND IF YOU HAVEN’T DISCOVERED THE HAVEN IT JUST HOVERS THERE BECAUSE YOU CAN’T ACTUALLY CLICK ON THE FUCKING THING TO SHOOT IT DOWN!

But there is a bonus in all this Fucking Shit. When you activate a base you get a transport! Yep! You can actually save a LOT of money and time and not have to build your own! Probably to help with the behemoth and the spawn, right? But they aren’t FUCKING ARMED! Not even with the most basic of weapons so you can at least PRETEND you have a fucking chance against the new fliers!

Now, obviously I haven’t finished a Fucking Shit game yet, but as it looks now, even on easy it’s a roll of the dice if the Behemoth is nice and don’t destroy everything, or if the game that loves kicking you in the balls rolls the worst possible RNG and just well… treats you like a skinny guy in prison.

And since I am already a breath away from screaming just thinking about this game I might as well get everything else out of my chest so I can call it done and walk away. Instead of comparing to XCOM Ufo Defense which is better in EVERY FUCKING WAY or Xenonauts which improves XCOM Ufo Defense in pretty much every way I will simply judge and curse at PP by itself. Feel free to stop reading at any point:

  1. Let’s start with something simple and reasonable. Base defense. You get a 24 hour warning before the pandys come by for tea and bisquits. Plenty of time to get back to your base unless you truly fucked up. Anyway, so you know they are coming. You know WHERE they are coming from. Why are the squad scattered in the most IDIOTIC positions? WHY aren’t they in the hallway with fucking barricades and guns loaded and trained at the fucking entry point? Who the hell thought it was a idea to NOT let us place our troops for the conflict? Are they absolutely fucking stupid? Why aren’t there defensive systems like there was in XCOM APOCALYPSE THAT’S 24 years old? Are the survivors of the mist really THAT FUCKING STUPID that they can’t imagine that hey, the pandies might want to assault our base?

  2. What’s with the fucking factions? Do they WANT the fucking pandies to win? You’d rather kill each other than fight against the pandies? Granted, you don’t have to hold fucking hands but stop hating each other, you absolute morons! Is it just me or was this game made DELIBERATELY FUCKING AWKWARD AND FRUSTRATING ON PURPOSE?

  3. Oh yeah, haven defenses. Simple calculator, pandy attack strength, defender strength. If the attackers are stronger, the haven goes down unless you rush over there to help. But what if you help when the DEFENDERS ARE STRONGER? Shouldn’t you be able to just hold position and watch the defenders slaughter the attackers? Oh, and shouldn’t the fucking defending forces actually be in some sort of engagement position with the fucking pandies? And the civs? In what country on EARTH do civs just sit there waiting for the enemy to come kill them or the friendly military come help them? They fucking RUN AWAY from sounds of violence and gunfire. They fucking did in XCOM Ufo Defense and Apocalypse TWENTY FUCKING FOUR YEARS AGO! Don’t tell me it’s too fucking difficult to program!

  4. What’s with the random haven placements? Why can’t there be havens of all three factions around the starting base? How many fucking times do I have to restart the game to get the faction/s I want to build up with near me and in range of the first fucking mist? Oh yeah, which brings me to building reputation. The main way is defending havens, right? Why on EARTH would I want to take out the Pandy lairs that send attackers to the havens? That’s like crippling BOTH REPUTATION AND RESOURCE INCOME! You know what, in Apocalypse you could grease some hands and pay corporations to have them like you more. WHY NOT HERE? An ANU haven is really short on food, I mozy over there and give them some, and I’m the good guy, right? Why can’t I help them and they share some stuff with me? Why can’t I FUCKING TRADE FOR WEAPONS AND STUFF? What fucking reality do these people live in? But no, every game is the risk of a fucking four way war with pandies, New Jericho, Synedrion and Anu! Which brings me to the next lovely point:

  5. The Blood and Steel cybernetics DLC. Which is great, because you can get a cyberhead IMMUNE TO THE GOD DAMN SIRENS who are overpowered psionic tanks. Great. Except here is another stomp to the balls. You HAVE to deal with The Pure, metal soldiers who ALL HAVE MORE ARMOR THAN YOUR FUCKING WEAPON DAMAGE. Thank you so fucking much! Oh, and get this. The ONE GREAT WEAPON IN THE GAME that could handle that is the Hel Cannon. Used to be a starter weapon, and I used it all the way to the end. Well, no more. An update promising more Phoenix Points didn’t add things on top of what you have. It REPLACED them and put the Helcannon behind research that you CANT DO UNTIL YOU ENCOUNTER A MEDIUM LATE GAME PANDY! So, instead there is the assault cannon, firing three shots at 60 dmg a piece. Which oh, yeah, doesn’t really blast the Pure like the Helcannon did! So what can you do? Throw fucking grenades at them repeatedly to shred the damn armor, or wait for research to deal with armor WELL AFTER YOU RUN INTO THEM! WHY on Earth can’t you just get the research from NJ and then NOT SHARE IT with subject 24? Fuck em! Or, they actually help you, or at least not help the pandies destroy humanity? How about that? Or maybe they just go after NJ to pay them back for the betrayal? That makes sense. And the same with the fucking mutants. Call it a religious dispute with Anu, or some other reason why they fell out, and that makes sense too. But no. Have to make the game as frustrating and irritating as possible, right? Every new ‘improvement’ has a bitter aftertaste.

  6. Oh yes. Helcannon and assault cannon, just like the first game way back when. You could get different ammunition for those. Regular, Incendiary and Explosive. Any chance of getting that for Phoenix Point? Or is that too hard to program, even though Xcom Ufo Defense came out in 1994, TWENTY SEVEN YEARS AGO? Or do they think it would make the game too easy? Too fun? Too enjoyable? With that said, what about laser sights on the Hel cannon and NJ heavy machinegun? Or even recoil dampener on the machine gun?

Phoenix point is made stupidly frustrating either on purpose or because the creators don’t know any better. Is there really ANY reason why it is necessary to kill a triton to RESEARCH SHOTGUNS when we have had shotguns for decades? Why aren’t there abandoned gear and equipment? Any reason why you can’t visit a city and say… raid a gunstore or police station?
The deal with the earlier and far more fun games was that the aliens had superior technology and we were struggling to survive and catch up. It made SENSE. You go on a mission and you get overwhelmed because there are lots of aliens and their weapons smoke you while your CURRENT DAY WEAPONS SUCH AS RIFLES, SHOTGUNS, ROCKET LAUNCHERS, NAPALM and similar aren’t up to the task. What the hell is Phoenix Point? Why do you have to kiss up to the NJ to get incendiary grenades? Did NOBODY else on earth before the fall have anything like say… napalm? The only real tech is Synedrion, everything the NJ and Anu has EXIST ALREADY! Chemical warfare such as acid? WE HAVE IT ALREADY! Why do we have to go into the hives? Can’t we just bomb the site with our fliers? WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY! It wasn’t wiped out by the mist, it was just abandoned! It’s not like the hives are made by fucking Alien Materials! Drop some regular bombs on them and collapse the entrances!

Anyway, that’s enough for now. I bought Phoenix point with the four first DLC’s when it first came into beta or whatever it’s called. I don’t see myself baying any further DLC’s, or even playing it more than occasionally until I get fucking angry because I had such great hopes for it and such a love for the earlier games.

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Some of your concerns I agree with. some others not so much.

    1. Base defense: agree, should be improved with autodefenses and letting you select where your soldiers spawn.
    1. Diplomacy is not that bad, IMHO needs more depth, havens should conquer each other and not destroy themselves. Also being able to help each other if they have good relations, with the player being able to affect diplomatic relationships and assign soldiers to increase their streght.
    1. Heaven defenses, My issues are that strenght should reflect the ammount of soldiers each faction deploys; friendly soldiers shouls be more active and civilians play a bigger role. So I somewhat agree on many of your issues here.
    1. This was not an issue for me.
    1. The Pure are not an issue for me.
    1. Ammo types would be cool.

Behemoth: the behemoth destroying havens is not an issue per se. It depends on how its been integrated. Pandorans already attacked and destroyed random bases without you being able to do anything, this is a part of the progression in the game. The balance is the posible issue here.

Air combat: Im unsure what the issue you have is. If its better than the first UFO defense certainly is much better than the first new XCOM which was a downgrade (I think they had dodge modules as well (or maybe this was a long war thing) but it was just a num modifier and you did only watch a RNG battle play out… badly… till you got upgraded your ships and could autowin all combats). But As I have not seen it, I reserve my opinion. I also dont know if crash sites or something similar exist in PP now.

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The air combat is more limited than the original Xcom Ufo Defense. You can’t adjust aggression or range, you can just disengage or not disengage, select weapons, and initially click the evasion module for a 10 second increased evasion chance. That’s it. There are no downed ufo assaults, at least not as far as I have seen.

So here is how it works. The Behemoth moves along, occasionally crushing havens that you can’t do anything about even if you are RIGHT THERE, and occasionally sends out smaller ships on various missions. You can ONLY engage these ships when they are hovering by a haven, you CANNOT intercept them midflight. I have seen several times these little bastards move to a place where there would be a haven that you haven’t discovered (not even a ? to show something is there,) and just hovering. Since you CANNOT select the alien craft itself and have to select the spot and choose intercept you CANNOT DO ANYTHING TO THE ALIEN CRAFT EVEN IF YOU ARE AT A POINT RIGHT BESIDE IT!

In order to make the behemoth withdraw you have to make 3 actions against it, otherwise it just keeps going. But with issues like these, well… As for your comment about havens being destroyed outside of our control even before FS, you have a point. However, the remote activation of bases helped with that, because you can activate bases near mist and then just skippity hoppity your way to them so you can defend the havens nearby far easier. But the behemoth? Nothing. It’s one step forward with the remote base activation change, and then another kick to the balls with the fucking behemoth. And what’s worse is you can see it happening. Before you didn’t know until you found a lot of ruined havens. A bit of a heads up that maybe you fucked up. Now you sit there and watch the behemoth just stop for a bit and then move on, and you know there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO. It’s not like it’s a mobile haven assaulter like old XCOM terror missions. It’s just boom, haven gone. Little ships zooming around laughing at you as you impotently sit there waiting for them to go to a spot you can interact with so you can play the little ‘almost as good as the original UFO Defense’ air combat thing.

To be honest Festering Skies is just another slap in the face. I hadn’t played PP for months before yesterday. I think there will be months before I deliberately frustrate myself with it again.

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From your post, I cannot say I dont share many of your concerns.

I think Im not as frustrated as you are, and I hope some of those problems are patched out. But I certainly understand where are you coming from.

Those are just the screaming rage issues. But if they are looked at and adjusted I would be very happy. I want to love the game. It has all the elements that made the first three so great. But the frustrations are just too much. At least give us back the helcannon at the start. It was basically all we had to deal with heavy armor oppossition until we got NJ armor piercing or acidic weapons. And moving up to a pandy and putting the barrel to it’s face and imagining the terror in it’s beady little eyes before pulling the trigger made every other frustration worth it. Also the skill that lets you fire five times was just orgasmic. They ruined that too, of course.

I think the biggest mistake of Phoenix Point was copying the class and skill system of XCOM. For over twenty years I have hoped for Xcomapoc 2, with the same choice of turn base or real time combat missions. I still play Xcomapoc 1 even though I have finished it more times than I can count. I just love it. Xenonauts as well. It’s Ufo Defense but modernised. I hate Phoenix Point for the promise unfulfilled. But I can’t help wanting to play it. Can’t help wanting it to somehow be worth it. But I can’t recommend it to anyone.

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You have my gratitude for your ascii drawing skills :smiley:

I could express somehting similar just without so many UPPER letters and exclamations. :wink: Festering Skies have its pros (Voland mentioned them) and it has its cons. I had to fight with thoughts, but after all, I suppose I prefer to have it enabled as a DLC to have its content. For a small price it is “so so” expansion, but it helps main game a little bit.

I said many of those again and again.
The devs didn’t wanted to listen.

At this stage of the game they will not fix any of those.

We all have hopes, just remember LotA

I haven’t played Xenonauts2, I did play Xenonauts 1.

TBH, when it comes to minigames I’m not sure what makes them better than others. I liked the one in X-Com (and, tbh, in Firaxis XCom too) because they were unobtrusive affairs that fit the theme of fighting aliens that come in flying saucers.

Anyway, I will tell you what the minigame is in FS so you can judge by yourself:

  • Existing craft gain 2 slots for weapons and 1 slot for a special module

  • There are no dedicated interceptors and once engaged all craft are the same except they have different HP

  • There are 3 different Pandoran flyers that have different number of weapons (up to 8, IIRC), but no special modules

  • There are quite a lot of weapons with different stats (damage, range, accuracy, special damage, time to recharge, etc and most importantly guidance system) for the player (via PX and faction tech) and for the Pandorans

  • There are special modules that allow you to completely evade weapons with a particular guidance type (e.g. afterburner will allow you to avoid visually guided projectiles, while flares heatseeking projectiles), others increase armor, health, speed of the aircraft on the Geoscape, etc.

  • Once the combat starts, the crafts approach each other at a set speed, that can’t be changed. You can target specific weapons/modules on the enemy ship or its hull (the difference is that damage that reduces HP of the weapon/module doesn’t reduce HP of the hull, so it is faster to destroy the hull than disarm the ship and then destroy it). If you have an active special module, you can use that (like flares to avoid an incoming heatseeking attack). You can also disengage.

  • There are different meteorological conditions that increase or reduce accuracy of weapons with a certain guidance system.

  • Panda crafts have a number of different missions and you get rewards for destroying them (normally resources and rep, sometimes also a Faction weapon or a module for you craft)

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I will add, max. number of weapons for flyers is 6 IIRC.

Some modules increase armor or Hull Points on top of countermeasures.

Some specific weather conditions only increase accuracy for flyers, like 10% inside mist, never for our “interceptors”

Flyer missions like recon or supply are pretty irrelevant (0 damage) and beyond my understanding

And I see Voland is preparing all info for Wiki :wink:

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Same - to me those mechanics were favour, rather then gameplay. Xenonauts1 for me usually ended up in me autoresolving the encounter - I just didn’t find the air combat terribly interesting.

Fair enough. And you are right the air combat per see is not terribly interesting in any XCOM like game. Air combat is there to break the pace of the game increasing variety and add a small layer of tactical depth to the geoscape (not the combat itself, but how and when to engage). The main issue the air combat has to manage is to not overestay its welcome and and not become a source of tedious. That was the big issue it had for me in the new XCOM1 and why I prefer the Xenonauts aproach.

PP air combat seems to have a spot in the middle, and I think It will all come in the end for me about if you have to use the mechanic over and over again or not.

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