In Phoenix Point, soldiers have no rank, only level. This represents the abandonment of what we saw in the original X-Com games, where the presence of higher ranking units increased the morale (what is now sort of ‘will’) of others.
I liked this dynamic, however flawed it was. What tended to happen was, if I ended up with an accidental major or colonel, or even general (I forget - could you get to general?), I would keep them at base, and only send out privates, corporals, sergeants and lieutenants on everyday missions, reserving my big guns for terror missions and so on.
The drawback and silly problem with this was that in the end, you would end up with an entire squad of very high ranking officers on tactical missions, which seemed daft, in any scenario.
Of course, it’s too late to implement the concept of rank in PP, and I get the idea it was something that was thrown out during the early stages. But, the idea of higher level soldiers improving the will of lower level ones is still something that could work, as far as I can see. At very least, it’s something that seems remiss, and I can’t help but feel a beat has been missed somewhere.
This is not to say that level 7 solders should amp each other up - it could be diminishing returns; the presence of at least one level 7 soldier may only add 2 will points to a level 1 soldier, but some representation of this would interesting.
In BB5, probably due to balancing issues, there is apparently hardly any scope to cultivate more than one operational squad among your bases - resources just seemed too tight. As a result of this, there were hardly ever any active noobs; you could just leave them at home until they trained up. I like the idea that you don’t have to nurse the new bloods through ten or so missions with them at the back, but conversely, there is no incentive to bring them to the battle other than as a third wheel.
On the subject of diminishing returns, it would be interesting to have a mechanic whereby, upon any mission, you could deploy one of your squad as a general, or ‘coordinator’, giving the squad on the ground a small bonus to will and slightly larger bonus to perception. The higher the level, the greater the gains. The trade-off would be in the balance of this, of course. This unit would take no part in the battle, and that too would be a choice for the player to make.
EDIT: to clarify, said unit has no agency, only provides buffs. END OF EDIT
There could even be a unit sub-class of let’s say ‘Tactician’, where recruits of this class specialise in this ability, but still take up space on the Manticore.