Legendary Campaign Log - Good Guys Campaign

Is it possible to win a campaign of Phoenix Point on Legend WITHOUT murdering or stealing?

The Premise

If you go to the ‘Hints and Tips’ section of these forums or to the Steam discussions page for Phoenix Point or to the Reddit sub, the first bit of advice you see given to struggling new players is “be evil”. Steal aircraft, do sabotage, take missions to murder and assassinate, raid raid raid. Acting like a psychopathic backstabbing mercenary gives huge rewards and no meaningful penalties, making the strategic game very easy. The structure of the game rewards the player for being evil and penalises them for placing any value on human life.

But it also makes the game very unchallenging, as well as kind of unpleasant. It’s hard to feel very good about your “win” when it’s done off the back of murder and robbery.

So for this campaign, I’m going to see if it’s possible to win on Legend while acting like a good guy. Just how hard is it to successfully complete a PP campaign when you’re playing the game in the exact opposite direction to the one that the game tries to push you into?

House Rules

Rule #1: No murder.

You’re not allowed to kill any member of any of the human factions except in self-defence. Basically, if they’re wearing Anu, NJ, or Synedrion colours, you can’t shoot them.

Exceptions:

  • If they’re mind-controlled and trying to kill you, you can shoot them back.
  • You’re allowed to intervene in ‘civil war’ internal conflicts where the enemies are clearly designated as insane or criminal (e.g. the NJ and Synedrion intro missions).
  • If war breaks out, haven defences are allowed, since you’re defending civilians.

So how much does this limit your options? Turns out, a lot!

  • You can never become aligned with Anu (their 49+ diplomacy mission requires you to murder NJ)
  • You can’t do the Polyphonic Tendency branch of Synedrion (their 74+ diplomacy mission also requires you to murder NJ)
  • You can’t do the Legacy of the Ancients content at all (requires you to murder just about everyone)
  • Blood and Titanium is OK, but you can’t do the second tech mission (requires you to murder Synedrion)
  • Various other independent and faction-specific missions are also out.
  • Festering Skies is OK, since it’s the only DLC that actually focuses on fighting the Pandorans.

The NJ questline is OK, since the raid on the Synedrion haven can be done bloodlessly, as is the Terraformer branch of the Synedrion questline (the enemies are described as Synedrion but the actual in-game enemies are pirate).

I did think about disallowing killing pirate and ‘civil war’ enemies too, but quickly realised that this would rule out practically every single diplomacy mission in the game. Besides, we’re trying to be “good guys”, not pacifists.

Rule #2: No theft.

No raiding for resources, no stealing aircraft. Even if you could do it without breaking Rule #1, taking someone’s food, resources, or transportation in this kind of post-apocalyptic setting is pretty close to sentencing them to death anyway.

Copying technology is kind of a grey area. Rule #1 means we can never get Aligned with Anu, so the only way to get Anu tech is to steal it. So I’ve decided that Steal Technology missions are allowed, but since you aren’t allowed to kill anyone, you have to either be very sneaky or use paralysis weapons, which in practice probably means it isn’t worth the effort.

By the same token, the “diplomacy” missions that involve sabotaging something are out, since blowing up a Haven’s power plant or food production plant or whatever is also just another way of sentencing them to death. Seriously, what kind of psycho attacks civilian infrastructure when the world’s population is starving?

Rule #3: No total brokenness

No Rapid Clearance, no equipment switching outside of bases, etc. This is nothing to do with being a good guy, it just takes the fun out of the game.

The Challenge

And that’s it! Some posters claim that to succeed on Legendary, you need to be evil and steal/murder your way up the tech tree: others say that no, if you play correctly you don’t need to raid or pirate. Let’s see who’s right!

5 Likes

Other than as an early experiment to test the mission, I have never raided or sabotaged and in 4 runs I’ve only ever stolen 2 aircraft. I also play with a list of self-restrictions that runs to 2 pages: the first of which is ‘No Terminators’.

So yes it is perfectly possible to play (and win) this game without being a rapacious Dick.

But it’s waaay easier to play it like a psychopath.

2 Likes

What I found more amusing was just how many paths are closed off by the ‘no murder’ rule. Turns out about half the content in PP requires it.

3 Likes

I haven’t completed yet with FS but play like this, and it is a hard slow start…

1 Like

Seems a bit much, IMO. Personally, I keep the raiding to an absolute minimum, but I justify a few, limited raids because the factions are selfish as hell and only PP is really focused on protecting humanity from the Pandoran menace. I take one T-bird and one Helios for my air force because we save literally thousands of lives by disrupting the Behemoth and sending it back to the sea. If I’m absolutely desperate for resources (usually tech), I’ll do a resource raid, but I’d prefer if the game gave me other options.

1 Like

Trading? :stuck_out_tongue:

2 Likes

TBH that doesn’t concern me.

I’ve always been surprised at just how easy it is to become friends with all Factions, and I expected the Diplomatic game to include certain tests of loyalty that would effectively force you to take sides and choose one Faction over another. To me, the ridiculous part of the current situation is that you can take those loyalty tests and it has an utterly negligible effect on whether you can then Ally with the Faction you’ve just Sh!t on.

For me, the less palatable aspect of the game as it stands is that in order to gain enough aircraft or the Tech advances you need - or even to farm resources - it is less costly in terms of trust & forging alliances to murder, cheat & steal it from the Factions than it is to fight the Pandorans.

Basically, the default optimal way to play on the strategic layer is to murder, cheat and steal - and as someone with a pretty deep knowledge of the way post-apocalyptic societies worked in certain periods of our history, I can tell you that that is not only wrong but also deeply inaccurate. If you behaved like PP is encouraged to during those periods, you would not only end up with no friends, but pretty quickly the local Warlords would make sure you ended up with no life too.

And like you (I suspect), I tend to play this kind of game as the white knight riding in to save humanity. I’m the kind of guy who always had to play Paragons in Mass Effect cos every time I tried to do it the other way, I instinctively cocked it up - and I abandoned Red Dead Redemption because it required me to take deeply unsavoury instructions from an asshole I just wanted to put down with a bullet (who was, by the by, the only person the game didn’t allow me to shoot). I don’t enjoy being railroaded into being the bad guy.

Luckily, PP doesn’t force you to play like a psychotic pirate, it just makes playing like a psychotic pirate more rewarding and less challenging than playing like a hero. Equally luckily for me, the game as it currently stands isn’t challenging enough anyway, so choosing not to steal aircraft or raid Havens for easy money just levels the playing field slighlty from my POV.

6 Likes

I’d love it if the game gave me the option to pay for Tech rather than forcing me to steal it if I want it early.

2 Likes

Not always sufficient, particularly for tech.

Yeah, true, tech is hardest to trade and easiest to raid. Even only one or two packs are more worth than any other thing to steal.
Normally I don’t raid, steal aircraft or all these things but I was curios how it will work if I only go for tech and it is strange how effective that is. After destrying a pandoran base I select one haven with tech from each faction, just run for one or two packs and evac in the first turn … just stupidly easy 300-600 tech in 3 short missions.

2 Likes

How about using non-lethal weapons?
I’ve finished Anu mission against Synedrion by using paralyzing weapons and also breaking some arms here and there.

2 Likes

The diplo missions for Anu and Synderion you exclude are against NJ killer squads that terrorize the other factions. So if you already decided to help the one or the other in the faction wars then you could also do these missions, they are almost on the same morale level IMO.
The Anu killing mission against synedrion is a different cause, but it can be rejected and then you get a different one against pandorans in a Nest structure.

The rule I’m playing with is “no murder”, not “no murder unless some other faction claims that the victims deserve it”. Yes, Anu and Syn come up with excuses which the player can choose to believe if they want to, but I’m just really really sick of murdering humans at this point.

3 Likes

Yeah, I understand it, just because you wrote you will help havens in the faction wars, so you will still kill humans. But OK, you defend civilians, that is quite different, I see :slight_smile:

Edit: Maybe the paralysing way could be something, it would also be more challenging especially against the NJ rocketlauncher guys.
I personally would definitely not exclude any faction just because their diplo mission is against another faction.
In general I’m OK just with not raiding and stealing, that is fair enough for me on the strategy level. I also don’t abuse trading. You can also get a huge amount of resources by consequent trading all the time, but it is stupidly repetitive and boring.

Game Start

We start in Morocco this time. Could be better, could be worse.

Heavy has Resourceful, which is pretty nice. Weirdly, both Assaults have Sniperist, while the Sniper has Trooper. I think you picked the wrong classes, guys.

The Sniper has Thief and the Heavy has Quarterback, both at level 7, which’ll open up some interesting options in the late game if they live that long.

January 1

Based on what I learnt in the last campaign, we demolish the Access Lift and start work on a Living Quarters before flying out to explore.

First site is a NJ haven. The NJ intro mission is a little tricky for a squad of level 1s, but we take things slow and careful and manage to pull it off with only a little damage. Annoyingly, this mission still don’t grant you items on the ground at the end, so I have to reload the mission to grab the Bulldogs that the soldiers drop.

We’re two for two on POIs, as the next one is a Scavenging Site. I’d forgotten how relaxing early Scavenge missions are when the Pandas don’t have ranged weapons. After that things settle down and the rest of the day is quiet.

January 2

Second Scavenging Site is in a mist zone. We wait a couple of hours until daytime just to be safe, but it turns out to go pretty smoothly, just like the first. We’re out of Stamina so we end up spending most of the day back at base resting.

We recuit our first extra soldier, an Assault. He’s yet another Sniperist. Glad I picked up those Bulldogs.

January 3

We’ve got lots of materials but not much tech or food. I activate a Phoenix Base out in Alaska just for its undamaged Research Lab. Recruit a second Assault. Bit of a slow start, there hasn’t been much to do.

January 4

First Pandoran evolutions – ranged Tritons and poison spitter Arthrons. It was nice while it lasted.

First Haven Defence. It’s closer than I’d like and one of my Assaults only survives because I manage to kill the last enemy and end the mission before the poison on him kills him. We take out the Nest.

Subject 24 sends his message. We tell him no, we’re not murdering NJ soldiers for him.

So far we’ve found 4 NJ havens and nothing from the other factions.

January 5

Mount Egg lands.

We finally discover an Anu haven, followed by a Synedrion one. The Anu mission’s easy with 6 soldiers. The Synedrion one, sadly, is not, and we lose Assault No. 3 (RIP Hamish Omar). It’s ridiculously hard to avoid losing a soldier to that poison crossbow Infiltrator, which is bullshit anyway since the tech isn’t even supposed to have been researched yet. On the plus side, they’ve fixed the bug with gear recovery for this mission so we do at least get the soldier’s armour back. We recruit Assault No. 5 as a replacement and tell her not to worry about the blood on the chestplate.

We finally get a good event from a POI which puts us to 25 rep with NJ, and their diplomatic mission is nice and close. We head straight for it.

The second mist patch is in Panama. There’s a Phoenix Base right next to it so before it can get infested I activate it and get to work repairing the facilities. We can’t really spare the resources but we’ll need an Americas base sooner or later and better to do it now than clear out Pandorans from it later.

3 Likes

January 6

We do the Symes Retreat, followed by New Jericho’s diplomacy mission. Supportive status.

Since we’re not stealing aircraft, the only way we’re getting more is to build them, and so the first order of business is to use all the resources we just got to start a Manticore. I built an early Fabrication Plant for exactly that reason, but even so it’s going to take a full 5 days. We head back to base to rest in the meantime.

January 7

Panda evolutions. More ranged weapon Arthrons and Tritons. I liked it better when they didn’t have guns.

We get another Scavenging Mission and a good event, and invest the money into two more Fabrication Plants, as well as some Training Facilities for our Panama base. We also get an independent mission (the seeds one), and luckily it’s one of the ones that doesn’t require murdering anyone, so we can actually do it! One trip up to Greenland later, we’re all done with a nice payday.

January 8

Exploration day. POI after POI.

January 9

The Gift triggers. I have very mixed feelings about trying to do this mission – I remember the enemy count being absolutely ridiculous. I guess I’ll give it one try with a “normal” squad, then reload if it turns out to be completely impossible.

But we win it without any losses . . . just, although it takes an hour and a half and a lot of tricks (grenades to knock Myrmidons off roofs, shooting out Arthron arms, baiting in Mindfraggers and then bashing them to death). Cheesing the mission really is so much easier. We rest up in our Morocco base then do a Scavenging mission to finish off the day.

January 10

Panda evolutions. The first Triton snipers appear. We start a Satellite Uplink in our Alaska base.

We get a soldier rescue mission and I get reminded of just how wonky the balance is on these. Doing it now, on January 10, we sweep the mission easily, with one bad wound to one of the rescued soldiers but all three surviving. When I did a rescue mission in my last campaign it was January 29, and 2 out of 3 of the NPC soldiers were dead by the end of turn 1. The scaling is REALLY bad for the player. I send all three soldiers to my Panama base.

First Panda recon flight goes out and gets shot down by a NJ Thunderbird.

Thoughts

Early game has been pretty normal. We’ve been fairly lucky with finding so many Scavenging Missions, which has stopped us from running low on resources.

The main way that our ‘good guys’ restriction is making itself felt so far is that it’s making it MUCH harder to gain rep with the factions. Our diplomacy progress has stagnated – we’ve been at 33% with New Jericho for days and our rep with the other factions is in single figures. Without the ability to do Sabotage missions, you’re at the mercy of RNG for rep gain. If you don’t get the right events, and don’t get any Haven Defences, then there’s nothing you can do, you just have to wait. Whereas if you’re playing ‘evil’, you can bump up your rep any time you feel like it just by blowing up some haven’s power plant or whatever.

We’ve had to spend nearly all of our free resources on Fabrication Plants and Manticores, so we’re heavily dependent at the moment on scavenged weapons. Not sure whether we’ll have enough guns to equip a B-team.

We’re also much shorter on Phoenix Bases than would normally be the case – I’ve only got three, one of which doesn’t have an uplink. I’d like more, but it’s hard to afford them. Our research is also pretty slow since we can’t afford to spam Research Labs.

4 Likes

These are fun, thanks. This sounds a lot more like one of my games, where I’m always scrapping for resources, but even moreso, as I don’t have a 100% no-murder policy. I hope that policy doesn’t become too frustrating.

I agree about the rescue missions. There’s nothing more discouraging than missions where you literally have 0 chance of success because the pandas start right on top of the rescuees, who are all suicidally stupid.

“Look at me! I’m a sniper who’d rather stand right in front of this brute than stay safe on top of the tower!”

4 Likes

January 11

The Behemoth hits its first haven but luckily only damages it. We shoot down a recon flyer. It’s ridiculously slow going trying to stop this thing.

But then we catch a lucky break – a NJ Haven Defence and a Pandoran Nest pop right next to our Manticore, and doing them both puts our NJ rep to exactly 50. Diplomacy mission time! It’s all the way out in Central Asia, but with the NJ havens we’ve discovered, we can reach it.

Our first Manticore finishes and I have to decide where to put it. It’s tempting to put it in Panama since I’ve got six soldiers there, but they’re all level 1 and I’d rather wait a bit for them to train up before I start sending them on missions. Instead I transfer our weapons onto it and put it in our home base of Morocco. It’ll be our scout/interceptor while our A-team heads out east. We start a Scarab so that we’ll be able to field a team with it.

January 12

Our new Manticore makes itself useful and shoots down a couple of flyers. We fly it back home and load our new Scarab onto it. Scout team one is a go.

Our A-team does the NJ mission and we’re Aligned! Lots of nice tech. On the downside, we don’t have the manufacturing capacity to build any of it, but at least we can make ammo for our Bulldogs now.

The Behemoth squishes a Haven.

The third Mist Patch is growing in Australia. We activate the base there preemptively but we’re a long long way from being able to defend the area.

January 13

New evolutions, Tyrants and Footpad Alphas. I’m glad I did the NJ mission while it was still easy.

A POI gives us a few Scavenging Sites . . . trouble is, they’re off in Alaska. I think about it for a bit but decide to send my A-team. My scout team in the interceptor Manticore should be able to cover my home area while they’re gone.

Third Manticore is under construction. With 4 Fabrication Plants, it’ll take less than 3 days. I still can’t afford any weapons, though.

January 14

A-team does two Scavenging Missions one after the other. They’re out of Stamina so I send them to the Alaska base to recover. We use the resources to start a Research Lab and yet another Fabrication Plant.

Behemoth squishes a second Haven, but our second Manticore has been chipping away at the flyers and now it finally brings our kill count to 7. The Behemoth gives up on its rampage and heads for the Mediterranean.

January 15

Third Manticore finishes. We assemble our B-team in Panama to crew it, and they look . . . uh . . . well, they have two suits of armour, two of them are using handguns, and the last one’s got a melee weapon. Better hope they don’t have to do any tough fights. Actually, any fights.

We’re out of resources, so we spend the rest of the day scanning POIs.

Thoughts

Doing pretty well so far!

The main problem we’re running into is that having to dump so much of our manufacturing capacity and resources into aircraft has meant that we’ve built basically nothing else. Most of our soldiers don’t have armour and they’re using a crappy collection of scavenged weapons. This hasn’t been an issue so far because it’s our A-team doing all the combat missions, but once our B-team and scout teams have to start fighting things could get ugly.

Research is also pretty slow. We only just finished Pandoran Capture, and we don’t have enough tech to build a holding facility.

3 Likes

January 16

New evolutions. Fireworms, Acidworms, Sirens, Beriths, and Corruption Nodes. Guess this is where things start getting hard.

Yup, it is. We do a Scavenging mission with our A-team and it is NASTY. The laser rifle Tritons are a nightmare to deal with. My best sniper gets shot down to 2 HP and only lives because I upgraded her helmet to an Eidolon right before the fight. Still, we win, and the rewards are great – a Cyclops and a Deceptor as well as a bunch of materials. My B-team actually has guns now.

January 17

Another Haven Defence at last, and luckily it’s within my A-team’s range. Also, we’ve finally scraped together 25 rep with Synedrion, so we get to do their diplomacy mission as well. Both are nice and easy.

In the meantime, my interceptor/scout team finds another soldier rescue. It’s a bit dicey but soldier rescues only get harder the longer you wait, so I decide to give it a try. We rescue all three, but only because we get REALLY lucky (one of the NPC snipers gets a flukey headshot on a Siren which makes it panic, that sniper and another sniper pile into the Scarab next turn, and the last soldier somehow manages to run all the way back to the evac zone). We’re definitely going to lose soldiers the next time we do one of these.

B-team finds a Scavenging Site in a mist zone. Yeah, no. I think I’ll need a Scarab at least before I try that one.

The Behemoth will be back, and it’ll probably show up near my B-team. I start building a couple of railguns for when it does.

January 18

Well, it had to happen eventually - two haven defences in South America. We send our crappy B-team and cross our fingers, but things go a lot more smoothly than I’m expecting. The Pure are a bit of a problem since only 3/6 of my squad actually have weapons that can hurt them, but we whittle them down from a distance with sniper rifles and then our Heavy runs in to smack them with a warhammer. The Nest is way harder – several soldiers come close to death and we limp back to our Panama base to rest up and heal.

We start building a fourth Manticore. It’s kind of sad that even though I’ve got the blueprints, I’m not bothering to build any Thunderbirds. One extra space for a soldier isn’t worth the speed penalty.

The B-team goes out later in the day and does Prisoner of Ice. Pirate enemies are pretty easy by this point compared to the Pandas.

January 19

New evolutions. Mind controlling Sirens and poison bugs.

Another Haven Defence, and even with my A-team doing it, these are starting to get hard. Poison bugs jumping out of nowhere and Sirens causing trouble. Luckily you can shut down Myrmidons by disabling their torsos, and War Cry is as good as ever at locking down enemies.

January 20

Well, I kind of had the feeling that this was coming. Our B-team does a Scavenging mission against the Forsaken and our luck finally runs out. A mind control/panic spiral leads to three soldiers dying one after another. The remaining three soldiers sort of stabilise but enemy reinforcements just keep coming and eventually we have to leave the bodies and all their gear on the field and evac. From now on, we’re bringing vehicles to these.

On the other side of the world, my A-team hits a Lair and it’s almost as hard. We win, but it’s a gruelling fight that lasts for hours, due to having to fight 4 mind-controlling Sirens one after another. We run through most of our ammo before finally getting a soldier up to the Spawnery and bleeding it to death.

On the plus side, the rep boost qualifies us for the next Anu and Syn diplomacy missions, and our scout team does the last NJ diplomacy mission in the meantime. Vehicles make evac missions so much easier. Only damage is one Synedrion sniper’s gun, which we shoot out of his hands, and a few dents on our Scarab. We’re at Allied status with NJ now, which is pretty damn fast for this early in the game. Unfortunately we don’t have many Research Labs, so it’ll take a while to see much benefit from their tech.

Fourth Manticore completes. I load it up with a Scarab and send it out to reinforce our B-team for more Scavenging Missions.

Thoughts

Yeah, this is what happens when you don’t spend anything on weapons or armour. We’re trying to fight Forsaken Berserkers and laser rifle Tritons with starter gear and it isn’t going too well. My A-team can make up for the bad gear with their skills (doing stuff like using Weak Spot to knock out a body part’s armour, then sending someone in with an assault rifle to finish them off) but my B-team is another story.

But apart from that one Scavenging Mission we’re doing pretty well. We recruited a few Technicians and once we start getting turrets I think we’ll be okay. Just need to switch production away from Manticores for a bit – we’ve got four of them, which should be enough to deal with the Behemoth next time it shows up.

3 Likes

January 21

Overrun mission. Man, the Forsaken are a freaking nightmare to fight. The combination of heavy armour, regeneration, and the ability to disable your soldiers is annoying as hell. Luckily it was my A-team on the job.

Another Haven Defence pops and yet again it’s in America. Well, back on the horse. My B-team heads out and this time I send reinforcements in the form of a Scarab. It’s enough, but unfortunately, the Behemoth picks this point to show up again. It’s in America, as I’d guessed, and it squishes a Haven instantly. We have three Manticores nearby but it’s going to take a long, long time to chase the thing off.

My B-teams reach our next Scavenging Site . . . and it’s Forsaken again. FFS. Well, we’ve got a Scarab this time. We lose yet another Assault due to a lack of body armour, but the Scarab swings things in our favour and we end up grabbing all the resources with no further losses.

January 22

Advanced Triton snipers, advanced Triton virus riflers.

The Behemoth infests a New Jericho haven and our B-team and scout team beelines for it. It’s a pretty vicious fight and we lose a sniper (Citizen Eileen from the Festering Skies intro mission) when we get rushed by Myrmidons and an Armadillo, but we’re eventually able to win it. We’re running low on soldiers at this point, so my teams head back to Panama to get some new recruits.

At least that’s the plan, until the Behemoth goes and infests another Haven. Between all three of our aircraft, we’ve got 8 soldiers. We turn them around and send them in for one last fight.

January 23

Second Infested Haven mission. Luckily it’s an Anu haven this time, which means the Pandorans don’t get snipers and an Armadillo. Most of the Anu soldiers die, but none of ours do. The Behemoth stops a few hours from destroying a NJ haven, and heads back to the sea.

Our A-team does the Pirate King mission. It’s very easy compared to fighting the evolved Pandorans, and we get a free flamethrower as well as all the Synedrion tech.

B-team with Scarab backup restores stamina at Panama, then does another Scavenging Site. I’m getting the hang of these now, they’re a lot easier when you bring a vehicle with 5 soldiers. The B-team moves right on to a Haven Defence and a Nest afterwards and clears them with no trouble.

A-team does the Anu level 1 diplomacy mission and we finally don’t have to search for all those stupid Anu havens any more.

Thoughts

Feels like we’ve turned the corner. My B-team is winning battles and we’ve got plenty of teams to cover the globe.

I’m actually kind of glad I did the Infested Haven missions with my B-team, that first one was just unfair. When the first enemy move is to drive an Armadillo through terrain up next to you, followed by 3 Myrmidons jumping in out of nowhere, there is absolutely no way you aren’t losing 1 or 2 soldiers, so it’s better if they’re not from your A-team.

I’ve got a couple of Synedrion Infiltrators training up. Might use them to steal some Anu tech, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the bother.

2 Likes