Nerf everything

Seriously, the whole game feels like it is suffering from power creep. Both on the player side, and the AI’s side, everything is too powerful, too dangerous, and combined with small map sizes this leads to missions where everyone is on top of each other and the most viable tactic available to the player is to alpha strike your opponent on the 1st couple of turns.

There are separate threads appearing for some of the main culprits; rage burst, dash, mind control, and acid, but it’s not just those; the whole system needs scaling back a couple of notches.

On canny - https://phoenixpoint.canny.io/feedback/p/nerf-everything

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Personally I think that the whole nerf this and make that more powerful, is how we got what we now have, a tangled mare’s nest. At times I think the devs have been so anxious to quell the mad clamor to nerf this and make things like acid more powerful, that they have lost the handle on the attempt to make the game more balanced.

I actually feel that they have done a decent job with the last patch in “trying” to balance the game. However, when it comes to acid, I am of the mind that the enemy got the better end of the deal, as my acid isn’t as powerful as theirs. Give them some time to fine tune a bit more. I know it’s kinda funky that I’m a paying beta tester, but there are so many things to love in the game, it’s almost worth it.

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After so many discussions, I think that this could be a good solution …

An addition:
If larger maps are not technically feasible, one could reduce the mobility and weapon range (of course for both sides).

This potentially great tactical game should finally become more tactical!

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I still have the opinion, that apart from acid, the last balance patch did a great job.

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We’re heading in the Dragon Ball battle scale direction. Few DLCs more and we’ll have to unleash the power capable of destroing moon just to kill not-so-uncommon monster capable of surviving such attack. Because if we won’t, the monster will nuke every single cell of our poor bastards.

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Look at this topic and answer: Your way with "extreme" mission?

Don’t get me wrong @Wenlock . I don’t criticize you or your gameplay but a game design that makes both sides extremaly OP and turns tactical battle into turnbased League of Legends team fight.

Of course it requires hell of preparation and isn’t easy to achive, so I’m not going to talk about balancing it one way or another here. It just, hmm, doesn’t sound like a tactical approach. It is very close to collectible card game, like Magic: the Gathering. You’ve collected set of tools and options and you try to setup situation where you can execute them in particular order to achieve great combo effect. Next turn reshuffle discard deck, rinse and repeat.

And not because player side is OP and therefore should be nerfed. It’s because extreme mission can be so unbalanced. It is alpha strike unleash hell or be swarmed, bombarded, mind-controlled and die.

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Guess I’m the main culprit for asking acid to be better.
However, it was really not worth it with enemies you can’t keep alive for more than 1 turn around you.

It was the wrong approach. The problem with acid wasn’t that it was not potent enough but that the rest was much more potent. However, if you make weapons less powerful you’ll have odd situations where you melee an opponent and it takes 4 rounds of fire on each side to kill the other (kind of like RPGs).

I’m currently thinking that 4AP per turn is too much and that 1 or 2 would be nice (need to think more about it).
If 1AP per round, to shoot with an AR you would need to prepare the shot on first turn and shoot only on second one. For sniper rifles you prepare for 2 turns. I haven’t thought this through so there may be problems with this approach though.

I think PP is a “quick” game by design, to avoid “tactical routines” (a situation where though you have many choices you end up playing according to the same pattern). The players have to make strategic decisions on the first turn, not move a little bit, go overwatch, see what happens. I don’t want to stir the conversation off topic to whether this is good design (though personally, I like it very much and I will be happy to explain why in another thread, if anybody wants me to), or not, I’m just saying that this is why there is this “on top of each other” feeling. (that this is by design I think is clear from last Q&A, when Hristo answers the supersoldiers question).

Having said that, IMO it’s a case of “too much” - and the devs also realize this, Hristo referring specifically to too much mobility.

This. Mobility and weapon range (or accuracy, or accuracy after moving) needs to be reduced (yes, for both sides of course). Basically alpha striking should not be possible. Mobility and accuracy have to be notched back until initiating contact on the first turn is possible and so is, for example, occupying a defensive position, but where killing or crippling most of the opponents is not.

Extreme mobility is, I think, a pretty obvious problem. But there is also extreme accuracy, because you can easily make a hel cannon almost as accurate as a SR, and because accuracy scales inversely with range. So both issues are related. I think there should be a penalty to accuracy for firing after moving with a sniper rifle, or a heavy weapon, and perhaps the accuracy of the heavy weapon should somehow relate to the strength attribute.

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Please do so, it would be good to gather all the opinions to see bigger picture. Not sure if there’s a way to reach middle ground, but we definitely won’t be able to find one without defining both sides.

OK, thank you, I will. I’m currently working on a guide of sorts, so I will do it after I post the guide.

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@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 ?

isn’t the accuracy and mobility problem a problem caused by the fact that armor rating is far less useful then stat-stick boosts from armor?

I generally change the armor of my heavy to get a net 0% increase or decrease to weapon accuracy…and the hellcannon is a totally fine weapon at that rating. and definitely not a cross map laser pointer. same with weapons like the assault rifles.

mobility wise I think this is mostly because of frenzy, +spd gear and dash…hopping around with a jetpack is fine and dash is also fine as long as you don’t chain spam it.

missing because you have a circle the size of the screen or because your trooper can only crawl forwards would be terrible…but there should be significant drawbacks to min maxing mobility or accuracy…at the moment +accuracy boosting stuff at the cost of armor that is rarely if ever attacked is just too feasable. especially since it combines well with the myriad of +dmg% random skills and multiplier skills like quick aim and rage burst

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I think it’s a chicken and egg thing. I have played alpha striking for a while, and of course there armor rating is absolutely pointless. But when I play to actually enjoy the game (no alpha striking, skill spamming, etc), I find armor rating very useful, particularly for heavies (who I often use as a dedicated jet bashers).

Also, when combined with electric reinforcement from technicians, the heavy armor is arguably another OP hole…

You are right. The problem - as usual - is stacking buffs that add 50, 70, 100%+ to accuracy.

I agree. Dashing once with 25 speed without frenzy or spd buffs (18 tiles), is borderline OK. (though doing this to fire a deceptor at close range using quickaim and recouping the AP cost via rapid clearance is another story…)

Agreed.

Also agreed, but what could be a solution? I have suggested to put a cap on buffs, but that wasn’t received with much enthusiasm, to say the least. Maybe give the buffs diminishing returns? Or just reduce them a lot?

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Before, I reply, I just want to say that in all sincerity I thought that you made a really excellent post a few places above. It was one of the most well expressed arguments that I’ve read for anything related to PP since the forum opened. :slight_smile:

To which, on that note, sorry (and I’m sure you’ve guessed it), there is a ‘but’

It’s funny, I was actually thinking before that it feels like Into the Breach has had some influence on PP.

And if PP had been advertised as a tactical puzzle game, I would agree that it was meeting its intended gameplay, or rather its advertised gameplay. A tactical puzzle, may well have been what the devs had in mind from the get go, but that wasn’t how the game was or is being advertised.

This from the fig campaign:

Phoenix Point is the new strategy game from the creator of the original X-COM series. It features turn based tactics and world based strategy in a fight against a terrifying, alien menace.

Whilst Into the Breach is in its own right an excellent game, that isn’t what we were being asked to back and/or purchase, nor was Slay the Spire, nor was Tactical Breach Wizards, (I don’t feel that PP is so close to either those examples, but I can also see what you mean about that ‘deck of options’).
What was being advertised was a game which would have turn based tactics, and the alluding to X-COM implied that it would have its influences rooted there. And certainly games can have changes of direction; moving from a strategic game with ‘turn based tactics’ to a tactical puzzle game such as Into the Breach is certainly an extreme one, however it wouldn’t be the first time.

Yet even now on Epic:

Keeping the core ethos of X-COM while updating the visuals, technology, and systems to modern standards has made Phoenix Point best-in-class.

To which, for me, the whole advertising pitch for PP since it was first announced, up until now where it is released (albeit still in development), is that the game would/will play like X-COM.

Even then, it’s X-COM, the original spelling, not XCOM the Firaxis spelling, though I could have reconciled with XCOM style features and mechanics playing a part - that game’s fans being a second slice of PP’s likely target audience.

But if it’s playing more like a tactical puzzle game such as Into the Breach, then PP isn’t even in keeping with the style of the modern XCOMs, and it’s definitely not keeping the core ethos of the original X-COMs.

We may well have many options and alternative ways of playing the game, however they all boil down to resolving tactical puzzles with our deck of options. - If I wanted to play a game with a style of tactical puzzles I’d be playing Into the Breach, and if I wanted a game based around a deck of options I’d be playing Slay the Spire. But I wouldn’t go looking for either of those things when purchasing a game that has the core ethos of X-COM.

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I understand you are litteraly presenting yourself as all @SpiteAndMalice, but sine you were actually fair enough to praise my prose when you liked it, you may admit it’s a little unfair to ctriticize PP as being a “tactical puzzler” when it’s not, and without aknowledging that I stated so repetedly ( it’s only a possible way to play it).
For instance :
« 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”. »

Later on, I even explain how the necessary use of save-scumming to learn how to play PP as a tactical puzzler « points to it not really being what PP’s devs had in mind : they only allowed it. »

I don’t mind debating my statement at all, but I can only do that if at least the spririt of said statement is aknowledge. :wink:

Now, however I like to play PP or XCOM, neither of them is an actual puzzler for the simple reason that they escape the “perfect information” requisite : an actual puzzler requires for the player to be sure his combination won’t be fumbled by some pesky RNG. You may allow input randomness, but the minute you implement outcome randomness into a game, you take a step back from the puzzler and closer to tactics. because, if nothing else, tactics is about trying to manage chaos : no chaos, no tactics.

I have generally been rather harsh when it comes to multipliers in this game, so this would generally be too much of a nerf for most forumites that I have read.

armor wise:
-remove accuracy buff or penalty
-spd only affected negatively base 0 (light), -1 (assault), -2 (heavy) factions can affect them slightly differently, but armor does no longer boost speed.
-stealth and perception can be effected positively or negatively.

skills:
RB becomes a double tap…its still a multiplier but a lot less potent.
all skills have a minimum of 1 AP expended, even pistol shots meaning that QA these has little impact.
very few skills can be spammed, quick aim, dash…go to 1/turn.
rally goes to 1/turn/team.
electric reinforcement becomes a unstackable buff like frenzy is now.
adrenaline rush no longer affects recover.
adrenaline rush disables all other skill buffs when activated (including rapid clearance)
some passive skills only trigger once per enemy (the now non-functional sneak attack being one of them)

random skills:
remove most +% dmg benifits, remove cautious -% dmg penalty. accuracy bonuses are granted by skills and can be stacked but the +40-60% boost you can get from this would be relatively minor compared to what we have now. gaining additional proficiencies also remains. skills that only grant +% dmg boosts get a acc, spd or str boost instead (example strongman could grant a minor +acc and a str boost rather then its current +30% dmg)
-reckless being the only +dmg boost random skill remaining at +20% dmg/-20% acc.
-melee damage boosters grant + spd instead of damage.

enemy interaction.
-less explosive focused enemies.
-enemies with psychic attacks don’t auto-overrun player will, not using abilities to maintain high willpower is to be rewarded.
-melee vs armed: melee grants counterattack options against adj enemies, and locks down ranged fire…both for player and pandoran. as well as an AoO function for actors trying to run past or attack in melee. allowing melee to block passages that their range can cover. bash does NOT grant these benifits, but can still be used when engaged. this makes melee far more brutal, as units engaged in melee have to either outright kill, get assistance or take damage from what they engage. this makes rectal examing a chiron or scylla a far less favorable option, and also makes locking down crabs or tritons more fun. and…it gives a reason for the relatively high AP cost of melee.
-replace armor break in the berserker line with charge, a WP using melee only skill that allows for 1/2 spd total tiles of movement and a single armor shredding attack at the cost of 4WP/2AP. single use per turn.

and many many more changes but this post would become way too long

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I’m quite fluffy really :wink:

Apologies if you feel that I mis-represented you.

I think we disagree on definition there, I’d say that a game can be a puzzle even without perfect information, but that would be a whole other discussion.

I really don’t, I was being playfull. :wink:
And I agree this topic may not be the place to debate the definiton of either tactics or puzzle.

Yes to all, except not sure if remove all accuracy buffs and penalties to armor. Perhaps I would tone them down.

Yes to all, except RB. I would make it auto weapons only and add a swipe. If most damage and accuracy buffs are removed, I don’t think that it would be OP anymore.

As to limiting skills to one use per turn, I play like that and I like it very much, but I don’t think it’s for everyone, especially for players who are learning/playing casual. I would make it an optional difficulty setting.

This is the one I’m not sure about. On the one hand, stacking damage buffs are wrecking havoc with balance, on the other these random skills (and particularly the damage buffs they carry) play a large role in making the soldiers distinct and give reasons to experiment with different builds. Perhaps the main problem is that the weapon with the highest damage output - the deceptor - has the biggest damage buff (strongman, 30%) and can be further buffed by reckless (another 30%).

So I would change strongman to give a +20% damage (and perhaps some accuracy buff, depending on what happens with armor accuracy buffs) and remove reckless and cautious, to avoid buff stacking.

Yes to all, in principle. Not sure about psychic attacks. By the way, does anyone know how the damage to the weapon from bash works? Because lately (as of last hotfix) I have noticed that each bash damages my heavy’s hellcannon by 40. If bashing always damaged the weapon in an amount proportionate to the damage inflicted by bashing, it might be good enough to make melee weapons more attractive vs bashing.

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