Less than perfect troops

One thing that I really enjoyed in Jagged Alliance, was how certain soldiers could be pretty incompetent in different ways.

There could be some guys that would fumble their weapon, or have it jam on them… I like the idea that new recruits especially might not be the perfect all action hero.

In other cases soldiers could argue with each other, you could get guys who fall out on the battlefield reducing the effectiveness of the squad if they were paired up, others could work effectively together, but bring the risk of either one going to pieces if their buddy is killed or injured. Something like this really adds personality to the soldiers that you have to choose from.

Finally, you could have troops that are less than honest, either for their own ends, or working on behalf of other factions, it’d be nice to have the possibility that some of your own guys are working against you, and require rooting out.


very unlikely to happen. XCom has always been about gameplay and expandability, not personalization. It was the 1001 ways you’ve dealt with the aliens that created memories, not soldiers’ banter.

I’m not sure about compatibility, that could really get in the way of my good times.

But also, I hope not all soldiers are heroes at the start. Building them is part of the fun.

As for being betrayed, I’m keen on the stated version, where one of your soldiers is secretly infected like Subject 16 from the briefing vol. 3. But a human faction double cross might be a bit much. Maybe so though.

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It could be interesting in scripted moments of storyline, when one of key characters suddenly joins enemies’ ranks. But implementing betrayal to the core gameplay as random factor would make it more unpredictable and painful than mind-controlling on one of your favourite troops… :slightly_smiling_face:

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I think how memories are created is unique to the individual.

Going back to the days of Laser Squad, I was always more upset to see Private Stone or Anderson eat Las Gun rays than any others within the troops.

With the names being procedural in Xcom I had less attachment to my guys at the start of a play-through, but by the end of it I felt that I almost personally knew the originals that had been with me since mission 1. I’m getting the same again now with Xenonauts; whenever Commander Harrison Ellis is on a mission I just know that he won’t let me down, he’s as steady as a rock. Major Pavel Novikov, on the other hand, is a down right liability who’s already gone berserk twice (as a consequence he’s currently scouting solo).


!Interesting idea. Not against it as long as non-negative traits/stats are balanced by the rest of the stats being at lest serviceable. Another thing to consider, JA games always had it whole roster hand-crafted, that’s why mercs’ downsides were(mostly) manageable. Plus, you had complete control over who are you hiring and when. With XCom-like games though, not only soldiers are created randomly, you don’t have a lot of control over who is available for recruiting at any given time. So if you end up with a squad of rookies who are promising as medics and engineers but can’t hit a broad side of a barn from inside the barn, well you gonna have it tough. It can create some tense combat situations and good memories but it can also be very frustrating.

I think WotC played this card in an interesting way: its battle buddies mechanic(or whatever it was called) avoided most of the negative interactions while having nice bonuses for having same soldiers working together for a long time. It was a kinda bland however, as simply having those passive stat bonuses was a bit underwhelming and “procedural” for my tastes. Plus, it reduced the ways player could experiment with squad composition as not having the same set of soldiers together could noticeably affect the squad performance.


I get what you are saying, there is a way to handle this were it doesn’t become too fiddly and get in the way of proper strategy.

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Passives were nice, I actually liked that you could use a battle buddy to remove panic by just moving the pair together, but as far as gameplay goes, the ability to give an extra action to your buddy or take sync. shots at a target was really powerful.

I agree that it was restrictive for team composition though, but that is because FXCom uses tiny squad sizes. On a 8-10 men team, it shouldn’t be as annoying.

That said, what would you suggest that would be less mechanical and still bring meaningful advantages?

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Honestly, I’m not sure if there is any other way to do it, rather than giving passive buffs, if we are talking about meaningful gameplay changes(as opposed to JA’s mostly cosmetic approach). But in my opinion, having all the buddy boosts to the point of receiving extra active skills is a bit too much. If two soldiers used to work fight together, having a morale boost(extra WP, I suppose?) when they are in the same squad makes sense; it’s bonus player can benefit form and it matches the theme of battle comradery. But “buddy soldiers” being able to grant each other APs and make extra shots in a single turn seems rather unnatural, it’s not a bad bonus but it feels like game mechanics-centric thing.

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