@Nattfarinn, no offence taken and no offence meant : I just don’t think “both sides are OP” actually refers to a balance problem. It seems to me you’re rather talking about what gameplays (plural, in this case) you’d like PP to allow, support and require, which is more a question of intended play :
how do its designers want a particular game to be played.
And, really, in PP, at the moment, there are many ways to play : it is wide-open tactics. I’m not really christening a sub-genre here, just pointing out a rather specific quality of that game, that drove me to it : you can approach it in a great many ways. Not everything will work well, only one very “middle-ground” approach is actually sign-posted by the UI and players would have to experiment quite a bit to discover the other ways to play : I’m not sure it’s a drawback of its openness, since you don’t have to. You could follow the sign-posted path on middle-difficulty and really have good tactical fun. In my book, this openness to a wide range of strategic thinking and tactical play is not a problem at all : that’s my favourite feature.
That’s the main reason I like PP better than XCOM !
Now, I don’t believe my post in the “extreme threats” thread describes the intended play of PP :
it’s simply one of the ways I play, more precisely (and quite obviously) the way I tend to approach “extreme threats”.
It’s tactic as a puzzle, something that is the core (and intended) gameplay of more abstract titles, such as Into the Breach, Slay the Spire or the upcoming Tactical Breach Wizards.
In this “programing tactical game”, every situation is seen as a puzzle and gameplay largely consists of looking hard at the map, your guys’ abilities, scratching your head and trying to come up with a sequence of actions that will solve that turn’s puzzle. In a way, it’s chess with bullets spread.
Since intentions are rarely stated in video-games, you can only be sure this “programing game” is one title’s intended play when you can try out sequences with little to no consequences, either because its a short procedural run (like Slay the Spire), there’s a “simulation” phase showing you probable results of your choices or even a roll-back feature. In PP, you can mostly learn to do it via save-scumming (and once you know more about it, you can loose the scum and still “program play” with much higher stakes), which points to it not really being what PP’s devs had in mind : they only allowed it.
This is slow, heady play for those of us who like it and, yes, it’s a kind of gameplay rather reminiscing of tabletop. I do like it very much (I design such tabletop games) and it’s also extremely powerfull in any (wider) tactical game with strong enemies behaving a bit like chess-pieces, a lot of units on your side (in PP, it mostly work once you can bring 7, 8 or more units) and a wide array of abilities between them.
That’s why “Programing” allows me to fight above my team’s weight without taking much risks nor damages, it’s a good reason to spent time looking at your squad like it was a deck of playable options and those are two reasons why I recommanded it to a player tired of being slaugthered in “extreme” missions : because it’s both a possible solution to his problem and a great way to learn the nooks and cranies of your team.
But it is not the only way to approach the game at large, not even the extreme missions. Here are 5 others, and there are probably more I don’t about of or didn’t think of :
► the more “agile” and quicker tactics –simply knowing your team as a whole, reacting on the spot, crossing your fingers and being surprised every other turn– is still perfectly playable and enjoyable. It’s more likely to be efficient on the “middle” difficulties (which –crazy idea– are actual playable options : we just have to priorise our own fun over our computer-gaming Ego !)…
► and it could work on the highest difficulty, if you deport the head-scratching on timing your missions to precisely suit your strongest available team, which means really planning missions ahead : having the right team in top shape, in the right aircraft, at the right place before going in. This team is probably going to get hurt anyway but… this is war, isn’t it ?
► if you don’t care about XPs (sometimes I have other priorities, such as looting a faction’s gear for retro-ingeneering or getting the resources I lack, may it be materials or genes), you could send an all lvl 7 team and crush everything with that hammer : it’s possible, it’s sometimes very fun and, by the middle game, you’ll probably have enough of those veteran units to do it on a regular basis.
► if you exploited havens being harassed by a nearby Pandoran base for resources, trade a lot, acquire the right researches and didn’t bother with the toys you don’t need (I can go an entire campaign without support vehicles, for instance : that saves me a lot of resources and production time), you may find yourself wealthy enough to kit-out a whole team with high-power gear, mix-match a little in the Equipment tab (really optimizing every soldier’s weight, speed, accuracy, armor, etc.), exploit the hell out of every skill, go crazy with Armadillos and laser-turrets : using only “agile” tactics will still clear out extreme missions.
► exploit the DLCs’ even stronger unit-builds : put a Perceptor Head, agile legs and a jet-pack on that lvl 6 Assault-Sniper or gift your Assault-Priest a screaming head and shield with her fancy Berserker pants. Why won’t you : you can mix & match the hell out of this game, and it’s both weird and funny !
In the end, we have at least 5 alternative methods to play “extreme missions” on high-difficulty : how is that a constraint ? But if none of those are your prefered cup of tea (and you don’t want to look for more ways to play, because I’d be surprised if there weren’t), how is it the designers fault ?