New Enemy(s): Striker Breaker

I just saw the YouTube video about the “Striker” (Berserker > Assault with Heavy or Shotgun proficiency) Phoenix soldier build. I was playing with a similar strategy before my DLC-awaiting break, but I never perfected the tactic like that–it truly is a game-breaking build.

This got me thinking about how to come up with new enemies. My Pandoran Botfly suggestion was just a new type of flying and squishy enemy, something maybe for the Skies DLC, and I came to specifics based on how “cool” it would be. It would be more effective to come up with enemies that plug holes in the Pandoran attack/defense strategy or that specifically address OP Phoenix soldier builds. A Striker Breaker is just one new enemy type that is needed.

Enemies that hide and explode could work–living proximity mines. You’d hesitate to dash around the map if one misstep could cost you a leg. (Exploding worms could just be given an automatic Overwatch, explode on proximity.)

Extreme Overwatch could work. Such enemies should possess weaknesses to balance out their OP overwatch capability. Although, as the YouTube video shows, return fire doesn’t help much when there’s a Tech giving armor boosts. Maybe this is both a new enemy and a new weapon: a short range SMG with armor-piercing bullets, maybe a “needle gun” that fires (explosive, poison, or acid) armor piercing flechettes. It wouldn’t be an extremely dangerous enemy, but you’d want to be careful around it.

What other Phoenix soldier builds are OP enough to warrant new enemy or weapon types? We could build quite a list, I’m sure!

One idea I like, but apparently nobody else does, as I have tried peddling it quite a few times with 0 success, is some sort of protective shield (insert right-sounding sciency term here) that activates when the damage to be received by the target exceeds a certain threshold, effectively stopping it (kind of like shields in Dune stop ballistic weapons). This would turn on its head the meta damage buff stacking.

Another is some active defense system that shoots down incoming grenades and rockets…


What do you mean? Like Advent Priest’s “sustain” that doesn’t allow them to die in that turn, or some kind of limit on how much damage an enemy can take in one shot? Eitherway, that could only apply a support enemy (like priest in XCOM2). Having an enemy like Chiron who can decimate half of you team in one lucky shot and be forbidden from deing with him would be crappy.

Eitherway, if we keep escalating power in order to balance the game we will end up with a nuclear wasteland. Nerf-hammer is a way to go.

Good idea, and it fits with the way I have always felt Panda Evolution should go.

If we invest in 'Zerker/Assaults, the Pandas should evolve to neutralise 'Zerker/Assault tactics.
If we invest in RAge-Bursting Snipers, the Pandas should evolve better shields to counter long-range fire.
If we invest in Explosives, the Pandas should evolve Ablative Armour that nerfs Explosive damage.

Etc. Then the game would get really interesting.


And if you play long enough than Panda evolved to counter all tactics and you can’t do anything to them. Game over )))

More like a threshold. If you do more damage, it is reduced to, e.g. 1/4, though subsequent attacks can be more effective, e.g. do 1/2, then 3/4, then full damage, with no support unit required.

The idea is not to make the enemy invincible, or even that much harder to kill, just add another variable to consider so that stacking buffs to damage isn’t always the optimal solution. For instance, this would make DoT weapons more interesting, without the need to buff them.

As to enemy survivability and what it means for the player… I think the game has to (and is really going) in a direction where enemies can survive to use their abilities, and where the player can survive the enemies using their abilities.

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Could this be an enemy passive skill that activates when taking damage, for example over 50%? Suicide Attack, Explosive Regeneration, Battle Cry …


So you change your tactics to deal with the new situation, and the game evolves.

This was one of the unique selling points of PP in the original Fig campaign, which has sadly not yet been realised - the idea that you couldn’t just settle on one set of tactics and then endlessly re-hash it mission after mission after mission until it went stale.

You rely on Snipers? The Pandas evolve to deal with Snipers, so you shift to Bombardiers; and the Pandas evolve to nerf Bombardiers, so you either go back to Snipers or shift to 'Zerker-Assaults, or Infiltrators, or MC Priests, or whatever works best against what they are now doing.

But the whole point should be that the battlefield constantly evolves and never gets stale. That’s what keeps a game like this interesting.


This all sound good, but in fact… It’s the first game, where taking damage by your soldiers is GOOD! Cause it makes game easier. I change a bit my play style, take few damage, but almost in every battle and don’t care much about tactics. And after that the second mission against Pure and Synedrion was the easiest I ever had: only one Aspid on the battlefield instead of 3-4 as used to be.
In my opinion, when game punishing you for playing good an praise for your mistakes is wrong

Well, the DDA is getting scrapped anyway, so I’m not going to go again into the debate that reloading the game until achieving the desired result is not “playing the game well”. :wink:

And it’s getting replaced by the ‘Pandoran Research’, so interesting mutations for the Pandorans should be on the table :blush:

This is because we know the algorithm adjusting difficulty. If someone woudn’t read that in the code and share it with us, we wouldn’t knew that and we would try to avoid damage as usual.

Cause it was announced as one of main features.

I’m not sure if you reply to me, but if so then I don’t think that annunced dynamic difficulty system was described in every detail.

However, @UnstableVoltage posted enough detail after numerous posts about how people felt the system as tilted against the player.

so he only confirmed what players have discovered by decompiling dll files

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That was the Pandoran Evolution:

The DDA was a poor replacement for that feature and it wasn’t advertised in any way. Some players were complaining about “difficulty spikes”. Other players (who didn’t save & reload) said ‘what spikes’? Eventually some players looked at the code and shared their findings. Then UV gave further explanations and clarifications.

I’m not going to rehash the same old arguments for & against ‘punishing players for playing well’.

It’s a simple fact of all warfare that the combatants end up in an arms race. One side develops armour, so the other develops armour-piercing technology, so the other develops missile deflectors, so the other develops ways of guiding the missiles past the deflectors. Doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about mail, arrows and shields or tanks, AP rounds and ablative armour, it’s ultimately all the same cycle - it’s just sped up in the modern era, is all.

One of the genuinely exciting and unique things about the original pitch for Phoenix Point was that we were going to get that in microcosm with Pandoran Evolution. It has absolutely nothing to do with punishing the player for playing well, and everything to do with inviting the player to rise to the challenge - and that, in my book, is a very good thing.

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There were also players who didn’t save & reload that were hit afoul of the initial DDA. Hence it was toned down to a more reasonable level.

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This shows why Pandoran evolution isn’t ever going to be realistic. When you get into the detail of what should happen it’s basically “give them more armour or shields” (which is a counter to everything) or “they develop counter-x tactics” without specifying what those tactics are.

The other facet is that the vast majority of players (I would imagine) are not min-maxxing a team of 8 snipers or grenade launchers that presents a more obvious avenue of evolution. They are using a “combined arms” approach of long-range, close-range, explosives etc all in the same squad. When this is the approach that most players use, it’s very difficult to focus evolution in one specific area and it just becomes a mess.

Below I tried to design an evolution algorithm without changing AI