Save scumming. What is it?

What exactly is save scumming? I save a lot typically after a successful mission or just before a move my ship (because haven attacks will happen while I’m moving in the opposite direction and I can’t get to them soon enough. ). I have restarted occasionally when I mess up a turn or it goes horribly wrong.
Does the DDA adjust depending on how many times you start a new game?

Also is there a way to reset it?

Save scumming basically refers to when you save constantly and reload anytime things go sour. So if in XCom you saved it, you miss your reload do something else, then shoot, until you hit. That sort of thing. In the case of Phoenix Point it’s mostly when you die.

No, I believe DDA adjusts based on how successful you are in completing missions.

Not according to this post First play through, some thoughts

As Hamadraith says, saving constantly and reloading anytime things go sour. In its most extreme form saving after literally every move and action.

Save scumming in my opinion should be the way games are tested in that even assuming someone save scummed their brains out and faced in the end the strongest possible enemy force it should still be beatable with the right team build and tactics. If it’s not then the design needs tweaking.

As to “resetting it” presuming you mean the DDA, just take your lumps as they come for a while, limit reloading to things like you already are, mistakes and surprise impossible situations. If you limp away from a few battles it should tone down.

I don’t agree here! I don’t let any man die, if he does I start again or load the quick save, I am just seeking the best tactics and I don’t mind if they are all near dead or wounded but I don’t do “dieing”… However, I have found now that the AI is so slow SEVERAL it takes minutes for each alien it moves it is beyond stupid now and I am only 20% in the game! It is at the point were I seriously don’t like it, it seems to now concentrate ALL the aliens on one man then just as he is near death they mind control him so I can’t heal him. And I am playing this on rookie FFS… Anyway, you should not have to lose a man if you don’t want to, to make the game any other way is well… just broken!

I savescum after every successful move.
Find this necessary in the current game state, since game stops giving me appropriate compensation for every loss I take (costs and classes).

But maybe this will change on March 4th.

No, that’s not broken - it’s just not the way you like to play games.

Broken is when you can literally end a mission on Turn 1 without actually moving a man. Broken is when a mission is literally impossible because it spawns so many enemies you are completely overwhelmed before you get a chance to do anything useful (which is subtly different to being outnumbered and deciding that a tactical withdrawal would be wise). Broken is when ‘Easy’ is actually harder and more punishing to play than ‘Legendary’. Broken is when the Base Defence keeps repeating on you and you have no time or option to find the Den that is attacking you.

So, yes, at the moment this game IS broken because all of those things can happen. But it’s not broken because it occasionally inflicts casualties on you. That’s what a game like this is supposed to do - it is a ‘survival against the odds’ game, after all. You don’t like it and you have found a way to get around it, but the game’s not broken because it finds interesting ways to kill you: that just means it’s doing what it’s designed to do.


I think we’re understanding the meaning behind that post differently

I’m taking as meaning that DDA responds to your results of missions. If you complete 100% and with 0% losses then it’s going to go up. If you fail to complete and/or take losses whilst completing missions then it’ll respond accordingly.

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It should maybe be ‘a’ way of testing, but I wouldn’t say that it should be ‘the’ way.

To me save scumming is a player playing the game in an extreme way. Game design as a whole shouldn’t be balanced around save scumming any more than it should be balanced around the opposite extreme of a player playing that same game in ironman.

So in other words, the game is designed to cheat when a player learns to out think the AI. If a player uses strategies and unit composition to successfully carry out the goal of the mission, they are punished by the game creating an impossible and unlevel playing field. If I was playing against a real person, I would call that cheating and a cheap way to punish a skillful player. Medkits shouldn’t be in the game? Weapons and armor that helps one beat the AI shouldn’t be in the game? The player shouldn’t try to win all the time, because if they do, we will cheat to keep them from doing so. We can’t build a challenging game without resorting to cheats if someone out plays it? That’s what the different levels of difficulty the player opts for should accomplish. If the player wants a more difficult and challenging game, they have the option of selecting a harder level, not have the game cheat.

An example of something I see as cheat. Early in the game where there is a minimal amount of mist (very minimal), I had an early haven mission with 2 Sirens. This took place in an area of the map that was nowhere near any mist. There was no mist with in 6000 km of the mission. So where did the Sirens come from? The game cheating because I hadn’t sacrificed any of my units. The game was out-played and responded by cheating. The designers couldn’t come up with an AI to make sure I could be beaten, so they throw in cheats to make up for this. So I would feel that the game is indeed challenging. Sorry, I feel that if this is the design, it’s a cheap way to deliver a quality product. The game says, “we don’t like to lose and we don’t want you to be able to win”. The product was sold as one with an evolving AI to challenge the player, not a cheating machine to create this illusion.

I take my lumps and limp home with severely wounded units, but I accomplished the missions. Instead of a reward for accomplishing this goal, the game opts to pushish me. This leaves a sour taste in my mouth. There is so much good in the game, why ruin it by cheating the successful player?


It’s not cheating though is it? - It’s design, the game plays within its rules.

The flip side, and something that I’ve experienced in the past in many a game, especially in this genre, is that the game will start off challenging whilst I as a player am learning that game’s systems. However over time as I get better and better at that game it starts to become too easy for me, I end up coasting through battles just waiting to get to the end of the game (if I get there, more often once I feel a lack of challenge I’ll stop playing out of boredom).

To which from my perspective, I’m glad that PP has DDA in it. It’s measuring my success as a player, and giving me a suitable level of challenge to face, which keeps me interested in facing that challenge.

The difference is, I’m not save scumming, or all that bothered if I lose a squad member or even a mission for that matter. I just consider that as being a part of the game as it’s designed to be played, and I’m therefore playing it as it’s designed to be played.


The highest strength level of opponents possible not being impossible to beat isn’t what I’d call “balancing the game around save scumming.”

But again what do you define as ‘beat’?

A perfect mission where nobody dies is not the same ‘beat’ as winning the encounter but taking some losses, or scraping through with your last guy on 1HP whilst everyone else is wasted.

Balance for me comes from the middle ground, not that extreme end where the player achieves a series of perfect victories, no more than it would be balance to always scrape through with that 1HP guy.

@SpiteAndMalice isn’t that what the different difficulty levels is supposed to accomplish? For players that find themselves in the position you describe, let them opt for extreme DDA. However, give the casual player a level playing field if they opt for a lower difficulty level. Many games allow the user to up or lower the difficulty level on the fly. Too hard, sorry about that, here lower the difficulty level and proceed. Oh, you say it’s too easy, up the difficulty and if you need it, turn on Extreme DDA. Not every player approaches the game the same way and not all players are as experienced as you appear to be. They shouldn’t be expected to experience your goals in playing a game if that isn’t their goals. The game design should allow them this opportunity.

I define “beat” as “completing the mission”. If at its strongest level the opposing force is just plain impossible to overcome no matter the build, composition, or in-game tactics employed by your squad then the design needs tweaking either by increasing the power of the player units or decreasing the power of the opforce.

I do think DDA is being tweaked for the next patch/DLC in that respect, and generally I think it would be a good option to let the player set how much of an effect DDA should have on their personal game as a separate menu option. (I always think that options are a good thing).

That’s also a good suggestion, and worth putting on canny (it’ll get lost in this thread).

It’s true that everyone approaches games in different ways, and I don’t consider any approach to be right or wrong. I agree with that.

I’m not trying to say that I’m more experienced or a better as a gamer than anyone else btw. It’s more that I’m happy to play a game for the game’s sake. I don’t feel that I have to win when I play a game, I’m often in fact a lot more motivated by losing.

This is the part that I disagree with. I don’t think that every game has to accommodate every type of player. I think it’s valid as a design choice for a game as a whole to be designed with casual gamers in mind, and for a different game to be designed with hardcore gamers in mind. I also feel that game designers should be able to choose a niche for a game design and try to hit that market. Not every game has to be designed for everyone IMHO.

And again, as someone who likes challenge in a game, I find it very very rare that games are designed to hit my niche. So I’m glad that PP is trying to.


That’s how DDA is supposed to function, upping or lowering the difficulty to match the player’s ability and provide a dynamic challenge. If you’re having a cakewalk it turns up the heat, if you’re having your butt handed to you it turns the fire down. It doesn’t however appear to work correctly and seems to be “all or nothing” hence repeated complaints of suddenly “hitting a wall”.

Among other aids or lack thereof the difficulty settings themselves should include a cap on the max level of the DDA. Having an option to turn it off completely isn’t a bad idea but is guaranteed to result in complaints by those turning it off that the game is “too easy”. Though “story modes” with no actual challenge are becoming a requested feature in many games so maybe not.

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@Vipre I for one hope they can get this fixed and soon. I know that it is promised to be addressed in the upcoming patch. The game has so much going for it that it’s a shame that their play testing prior to the release didn’t revel this glaring mistake. Then again I am of the opinion (right or wrong) that DDA is a crutch intended to make the game match the promises of an evolving enemy. They aren’t evolving (well yes in some minor ways they are). Instead it’s become a game wrecking gimmick for many players that truly want to enjoy this product.