Proposed Additional Stances for PP Squaddies

Proposed on Canny here:

I do think people have a point that Cover doesn’t really act like Cover, and that HMGs not being able to shoot down from buildings is somewhat unrealistic. But I think the architecture is already in the game to fix these issues and provide us Players with some additional tactical stances on the battlefield.

It would be great if there was a ‘Hunker Down’ option in the Squad Menu, which makes Squaddies scrunch up into a foetal ball - like the Siren does - minimising the amount of extremities sticking out from behind Cover. Of course, if you’re Hunkered Down, your perception is zilch and you can’t RF or OW.

Also, it would be great to use the Stability Stance mechanics to enable Squaddies to go Prone &/or Mount MG on Low Cover.

Prone: Cost 1AP to enter./exit - soldier lies down and gets a Stability Stance buff to accuracy. This would also alter his profile vs enemy fire.

Mount MG: Cost 1AP to enter/exit - soldier takes up a Stability Stance with an HMG on Low Cover - this projects his starting aim point 1 tile in front of his position, effectively negating the LoS blockage of the parapet.


there should be also button to crouch. It is done automatically near low cover, but why we can’t do so on open space? Animations are there. Of course in open space it can cost 1 AP, because it is not default move which soldier is performing in such situations.


That is indeed a very good idea! Voted.

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Why do you crouch automatically behind cover but it costs 1 AP in the open? That’s just bad game design because it doesn’t make sense.

Then if you have it cost 1 AP in all situations that wouldn’t be very elegant either because the game uses AP rather than Time Units.

To provide some cost for better “cover” (lower silhuette). In the open you can assume that soldier is in the constant move so he naturally stay in standing position at the end of the turn. If he want to stay there and have better protection then this cost should be applied. Near low cover they naturally assume better fighting position. But yes, I’m also not comfortable with current design and proposed changes without TU cost.

I second that - either soldier stance is tied to cover or it is not (perhaps outside sticking to high cover and side-stepping).

PP uses time units - I don’t think changing postures need to take the whole action point (aka 25% of your movement points) - it could be tied to movement points (like moving) rather then percentages (like weapons and abilities). That way units focused on moblity could take a better advantage of it. The main dowside I see is lack of clarity of how far we can more AND crouch and still shoot.

A more time-consuming stances - like Prone or Mounting a weapon - could cost a whole 25% - both gameplay and “immersion” wise.

Yes. We would need come back of TU system and more precise UI indicating how much TU will stay after each action. But that is only for true hardcore gamers which love dulge in planning and counting each move. For all the other 4 action points system is better and preferred unfortunately.

What about a simpler mechanic - you can only change stance once per turn - so you can go from standing=>low (rooting a unit in place once it’s done), or from low=>standing (getting mobile after lowering profile, but need to way until next turn to go low again).

I’m not opposed to different stances, but I think it’s important to consider their effects in practice in Phoenix Point, because of the ballistics and the penetration systems, and perhaps also the usual armor strength distribution.

For example, consider ‘hunker down’ and crouching without cover. Would they actually make the character more, or less vulnerable in Phoenix Point? Personally, I’m not so sure.

In Firaxis XCom, ‘hunker down’ prevents critical hits. There are no critical hits in PP. In PP you have to think about accuracy (in the absence of obstacles, solely dependent on range), what body parts would be most exposed (legs?) and that projectiles go through body parts and hit the body parts behind them. What makes for better targets - standing Arthrons (big targets, but many empty spaces), or crouching Tritons (small, but compact)? I think it is open to debate.

A different issue is ‘sticky cover’ that some players miss: soldiers not hugging the walls, and not peeking, but stepping out of high cover. Mounting heavy weapons on low cover is, IMO, an example of ‘sticky cover’.

I’m pretty sure that I will be in the minority on this, but I don’t like sticky cover for Phoenix Point, because it makes cover too useful.

Just my opinion.

I think people are starting to needlessly complicate what was originally a very simple suggestion meant to address a couple of issues that have been bugging me and many others I have read on these forums:

  1. Cover doesn’t act like Cover. The only ‘Full’ Cover in PP is 1 step behind a wall, out of LoS of an enemy; but if you run up to a tree and hide behind it, you can be pretty damn sure that the bleedin’ Triton with a Sniper Rifle on the other side of the map will shoot off whatever bit of you is sticking out from behind it.
    SOLUTION: Hunker Down - take up a foetal position behind that rock or tree, which reduces your profile, so that less of you sticks out and you are harder to hit. But that’s a deliberate decision that you make and it comes at a cost, both in APs and in restrictions to your vision and reactive abilities, because you’re not peeking out from behind the tree with your weapon ready, you’re cowering as low as you can with your head in your hands.

  2. Heavy Weapons cannot shoot down from roofs at anything but a very shallow angle (which is frankly stupid, but I understand the game mechanics that cause it).
    SOLUTION: Mount MG on wall - this shifts your LoS 1 Square beyond the roof, so that you can fire at a steeper angle, but once again you are telling the program to set up the gun on the ledge and artificially shift your perspective, so it comes at an AP cost.

  3. (And this one’s a personal one) Squaddies cannot do the simple most basic thing that all soldiers are taught to do in a modern combat situation: when trouble comes shooting, Hit the Dirt!
    SOLUTION: Use the Stability Stance mechanics to enable Squaddies to Hit the Dirt and go prone. This lowers their profile to enemy weapons and enables them to steady their weapon, providing more accuracy. But it’s a deliberate decision to dive for safety, and it’s slower to get to your feet than it is to rise from a ready stance, so it comes at an AP cost.

That’s it. Simple, basic, and each has a pretty clear and obvious rationale behind it.

There’s no ‘you’re crouching out in the open so you should pay some price for doing so, but crouching doesn’t take a full AP, so we should break APs down into fractions of TUs’.

There’s no ‘this has suddenly got so complex that we should take away all player agency and only allow Squaddies to change stance once per turn’ (which runs flatly contrary to every other design decision in Phoenix Point).

And I’m afraid I disagree with you completely on this one @VOLAND. Lack of ‘sticky cover’ is an issue for a lot of players, especially those new to PP - it prompted one of the most acrimonious debates I have ever been a part of on this, the most positive and courteous forum it has ever been my pleasure to be part of. Standing Arthrons are generally better targets than crouching Tritons, except at close range - and the low profile of Tritons and Mindfraggers make them much more difficult to hit when they are hidden behind cover.

Only if you spend an AP to hug the tree, preventing yourself from seeing or reacting to anything. That’s a) not too useful and b) exactly what soldiers do in real combat situations.

The whole point of Hunker Down as originally suggested is that it goes directly to the design philosophy of PP’s ballistic system. Cover only acts like cover inasmuch as it gets in the way of a bullet that’s coming towards you on its predetermined trajectory. So the way soldiers have always protected themselves ever since firearms became accurate is by scrunching down behind that cover and making themselves as small as possible. That mechanic already exists within the design architecture of PP, because that’s what Sirens do to protect their heads (and many players have commented on their annoying, but perfectly legitimate, habit of taking cover once they’ve MC’d someone) - so why not use it for Squaddies?

That’s my thinking

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I don’t think this is a solution for those players who want sticky cover. Put simply, the (main) complaint there is about angles.

What these players want is for the soldier to stick his back to the tree to present a smaller profile to the shooters at acute angles. (@MadSkunky posted some very illustrative pics of this on the thread that turned acrimonious).

Crouching, or lying down, does not address this complaint. (I imagine that lying down/prone stance presents a host of technical issues as well - surely manageable, as was done in X-Com Apocalypse, but not trivial).

And many players also think it stupid that soldiers step to the side to shoot, exposing themselves to Overwatch/Return Fire (not going into the issues with the latter, and the discussions there), instead of peeking out to minimize exposure.

IMO, and I know that most players will not share my opinion on this, is that neither situation should be changed:

  • The behavior of heavy weapons in combination with low cover is a feature, it’s a disadvantage of these weapons by design (in the game, I’m not saying anything about real life).

  • Making HW mountable on low cover will prompt (very reasonable) questions as to why only HWs, and not other weapons can be mounted, or rest on low cover for an accuracy buff, or why there are no more instances of sticky cover in the game.

Regarding the current lack of sticky cover in the game, I don’t know how much of this is due to design choice, and how much to budgeting. However, and just for the record, I think going without sticky cover is the right choice for Phoenix Point. This is not a military sim, cover has its place in the game, but not an overbearing one, like in Firaxis XComs.

What players actually want is a way for hiding behind a tree (or rock, or whatever) to really mean something if it really has to, rather than simply being a way of stopping 50% of a Crabbie’s MG shots from hitting you. Doesn’t matter whether it’s scrunched up or backs to the wall - they just want to be able to use Cover as cover.

You’re right that acuteness of angles was brought up in the thread that got heated (for which I - partially - apologise, but I’m fed up of the lazy ‘you’re defending PP, so you must be an uncritical fanboy’ response that gets trotted out any time you try to explain how the design is intended to work); but that was more a way of bashing cover as it currently stands after Skunky & others pointed out that it works fine if you stand behind it.

Thing is, despite the rudeness (on both sides), the cover-bashers have a point. There are times in PP when you think: “Really? I’m hiding behind a tree and that Triton with a pistol has still shot my arm off.” You find ways around it, as most decent tactical sim players do, but it still rankles.

I just think that a Hunker Down mechanic would provide you with another tactical option, much as it used to in XCOM, for when you have to go up One Tree Hill and hug what cover you can because there’s no other way around.

If the trees had the width of human size opponent then yes, I would think like that. But they don’t. :slight_smile:

:grin: I remember that trees originally acted as half cover - it drove me crazy as game would indicate LoS from this position (as well as some rocks) only for soldier to hunker down and cover all his view with the cover he was hiding behind. I definitely F12 those. As it works right now is intuitive for me, though sure, trees and rocks don’t provide great cover.

Something I would mention, that if the player would have an ability to curl down, so should enemy. Which would turn all crabmen into shield crabmen, if they could hide in their shells.

Has anyone tried the energy shield which comes with one of the augmentations? I didn’t get a chance to give it a try. It might act as a nice extra protection for frontline troops.

You may not, Yokes, but as these forums constantly bear witness, many do :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Essentially, it’s half-cover. So when I tried it, my guy got his head shot off.
Possibly useful against MG-wielding enemies, but pretty useless against aimed fire.

For me its great cover. Yes head is party uncovered, but not so much.

Actually, every time I used it the enemies chose not to target that soldier. It was at medium, not close ranges, so they probably couldn’t target the head effectively.

It does make sense for the crabmen because they have the carapace and shield. And it goes with their personality :slightly_smiling_face:

But clearly they don’t, because the Siren already uses that ability (which is why I know it’s possible), and the Crabbies don’t

Think of it as a personality thing - Sirens are smart and prioritise self-preservation, Crabbies are mindlessly aggressive.

So there is no need to add another thing to the Crabbies just because we want the Squad to have a slightly better way of taking cover.

TBH, I don’t think I follow. The only time I have seen Sirens curl slightly is after being paralyzed. I will pay attention from now on to see if I can spot them doing this at other times.