Sirens might need a bit of a nerf

I have played every XCOM game from the start, including the two firaxis pale imitations. Psykers are annoying, but they are part of the game. However, I do think the Sirens are just a bit juiced up.

  1. They are very heavily armored with lots of health. I Dashed a Heavy right up to point blank range and blasted one with a Hellcannon and it didn’t go down.

  2. The Panic scream has a hideous range. My squad was scattered and it caught all of them. They panicked for three turns straight.

  3. In the past psionic control was in visual, single turn only, unless grabbed by facehuggers in Apocalypse, but you had a bit of time to get them off before your soldier was permanently lost. The queen not only keeps control until she dies, but can control multiple soldiers after leaving field of vision.

So here is what happened. I was doing my thing, having a good time when a Siren slithers into play. Not a big problem, I’ll just gang up on her and take her down, right? Well, apart from the crabby shields Sirens seem to be the toughest of the regular sized aliens, so after several shots on her that didn’t even scratch her a scream panicked everyone, she grabs my sniper and heavy AFTER he blasts her right in the face, and I ended up with three turns of having no ap at all with the aliens eating me like bacon. I know a beating is always on the table if things go wrong, but I felt like a choir boy at a priest convention. Extremely frustrating.

Some sort of reasonable range on the scream, ONE Psionic control in line of sight or one turn, and/or make them a bit more squishy instead of main tanks.

Cuz hey, the way they are now, if I was the evil hive mind of the Pandora faction I would just make sirens to roll right over everything. Take the whole team and have them kill each other or panic.


With all due respect, I think Sirens are fine as is.

To me, they’re a boss/sub boss - They should give the player a challenge.

I don’t want to be one of those people who posts you should do this, that, or the other, but it sounds like you got a proper shock when you faced it. I think that it’s good for a game to do that… I’ll bet my bottom dollar that you’re now thinking 'okay, next time I face a Siren, I need to do this instead. I think it’s good for any game to make a player need to switch things up, never mind a TBS one which should have that need to adapt at its core.

The problem with PP IMHO is that you can dash and then point blank everything else, then when you’re faced with something a bit tougher that standard strategy of dashing and point blanking suddenly doesn’t work. But it’s not that the Siren should be nerfed to keep that one strategy working, it’s the other creatures and/or perks that should be changed so that players don’t get lulled into that strategy in the first place… or well unless the AI is trying to lull them, in which case it sounds like it’s worked beautifully :wink:

Agree with spite and malice

To be honest I just learned the dashy trick yesterday from these forums. But even so, the sirens take a lot of punishment, and I can’t see any of the body parts being the mindcontrol one. Sure, if you come across her when you have mangled most of the others it’s not a problem. But a base defense when she is in the first wave, that’s not fun at all. And I have faced them before, that’s why I focused on getting her down as quick as possible with the dash Hellcannon.


Disable Head. Ability is not connected to this body part directly, but you will remove most of her Will Points, so she won’t be able to use this ability on most of your soldiers.

I’m not sure yet if Sirens need some nerf, but I definitely want them to be bigger challenge than Arthrons and Tritons. And currently Tritons can be more deadly than Sirens are. Of course it more likely mean that Tritons require nerf. :wink:

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To be frank, I wouldn’t nerf any of the Pandas, until Squad powers have been taken down a peg.

I’m with Spite & Malice on this one. Sirens are a challenge, and can be a scary one if not handled right; but with our Squaddies as powerful as they are right now, they can be pretty straightforward to take down as long as you concentrate on the head.

It depends. If there are 6 like I had twice, they definitely need to be nerfed because you can’t take them down in one turn and once one screems that’s game over.
Or the effect should depend on your soldiers level/WP or something you have control on.

I personnaly never had to suffer this because I somehow managed to have them panic before they could use their power. But seems like an all or nothing skill. If the siren manages to screem you lose … I don’t call this a strategy game anymore.

TBF, the nerf there should simply be the number that appear.

You rarely see more than 1 Sectopod or Elder in XCOM, and there’s a reason for that.

Spite’s right in that Sirens should be treated as mini-bosses.

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It isn’t, and this BB never has been. It’s a testbed. I’m only still playing because I want to help Snapshot get the balance right, so that the game we receive on Dec 3rd IS a really challenging strategy game.

I don’t understand your point here. Range is quite big, but it is single use per turn (due to AP cost) and strength of Psyhic Scream decreases with range. Formula is will_points_lost=rounddown(18*(1-range_to_target/12),0). Calculated it looks like that:
So you need to allow Siren to come at range at least 6 tiles for the skill to be effective. And it will be against 1 soldier where all other probably will be further away. So definitely one scream should not be “game over”.

It depends on your soldier will. Against Sirens you need to have a lot of it. I for example tend to have at least 12 WP with each my soldier.

  • Siren looses contol when her WP is depleted.
  • The more units she control the faster she is loosing WP.
  • She is powerful mental creature and if you have many soldiers with low willpower, I don’t see a problem of her having control over few of them. It is her only strength (with high HP pool).
  • Having visual contact with target would be stupid idea in case of psychic abilities.

I treat them like mid warriors. Like Mutons. Not like mini-bosses.

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I’m talking in terms of Misssion allocation. PP should treat them like mini-bosses: so 6 Sirens on a mission is too much, and they should be limited to 1 or 2 per mission - maybe up to 3.

I haven’t encountered more than 2 in any mission from BB5 yet, and that’s just about dealable with. It forces you to concentrate on taking them out to the exclusion of everything else, but that’s fine.

If there won’t be too many other aliens then I think there can be 6 or more Sirens in one mission.

The Sirens by themselves are one thing. But when you are in a High Threat defense mission and they are in the first ‘swarm’ so you have 4-6 regular aliens and 1-2 Sirens in threat range at the same time, it gets hairy. And it’s not like the Sirens lead the charge. In the situation that caused me to write the original post she was off to the side so I couldn’t get my full team on her without just suicide running through crabs and crawlers (the bastards with four arms who tend to use shotguns.) Maybe it was just Murphy’s law. But at the time I’m looking at my heavy and my sniper wrecking my crew, and THREE rounds of ‘Your units are out of action points. End turn?’ from EVERYBODY panicking. So I am just sitting there watching my squad getting wasted. Like a big F U from the game. One turn with half my team panicking, or one or two people being mindcontrolled, yeah, that’s a shit deal, but I can live with that.

But hey, we’re just going to wipe six of your people. Good luck getting new recruits with murderous prices and havens having all of the kind you don’t want, or not enough to replace the lost ones. Which you can’t afford to pay for anyway.

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It seems like devs will have a hard time to balance all that.

I think that there have to be 3 changes and 1 optional change:

  • First of all Sirens should not gain WP when mind controlling soldiers who have panicked. Yes! In such cases Sirens gain Will Points! I suppose it is a bug. @UnstableVoltage if you didn’t have it mentioned somewhere in bugs threads then here it is. Her cost in WP should be then just 0 not a -2 for example (so gain in WP)
  • Second of all, maintaining control cost should be scaled with maximum WP (Willpower not Will Points) of soldier. Let say that it should be cost_of_control=rounddown(soldier_willpower/4,0) per turn.
  • Next thing, Siren should not be able to use Recover ability while mind controlling or if she uses that ability then it should also work as Release ability.
  • I wonder if mind control should be instant. Maybe there should be some delay like 1 turn when controlled unit will start to act.

As I said, I’ve never left them scream so didn’t know the mechanic and reacting to the initial comment about this skill which was indicating that whole squad was panicked.
I tend to have my soldiers very much spread out so if it works the way you explained it, it’s already better. Still, in a nest, where I tend to be a bit closer due to the lack of open space, if you haven’t spotted a Siren it could be horrible once it is its turn to play and suddenly says “hi”.

In one of my missions, I had 6 appear on the Pandoran turn. Fortunately, it seems that only one of them had enough AP left to do a mind control.

IMHO that situation should be horrible. The genre is sci-fi horror, something like a Siren should be able to come along and cause havoc if you haven’t spotted it.

The root cause balance issue here for me is that PP soldiers are too expensive/irreplaceable in the first place. Make them cheaper, nerf all the magic dash like abilities, increase the squad sizes for missions, and then make it the norm that some will die due to the overwhelming strength of opposition that they’re facing.


Ye, it seems here they’ve take FXcom route, not 1995 xcom. But they forgot to add tech progression, and so things just don’t work for people -)

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After my yesterday experience I have sadly to agree to the original poster. Had a saving haven mission, where 3 sirens appeared. Since my game is bugged and my sniper can´t use that laser rifle (it don´t appear in the equiment section though manufactured), I play with standard guns.
3 Sirens to take down without getting controlled by them seems impossible in the shape they are right now. They can take same amount of damage like the huge artillery guys. Too much armor in my eyes!
They need a nerf or at least reduce the amount of them appearing in missions.
The nest missions contain at least also 3 sirens - that´s a hard fight…

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Initially I would have agreed with you, and at the start of the game, three sirens in one mission is a tough call - you might lose. In my current game the ODI is at about 27%, I have a main team of 8, and I’m aligned with Synedrion, meaning I have access to their neural sniper rifles. These make a huge difference. Two shots is enough to stun most enemies, sometimes three. Haven’t tried them on a Chiron or Scylla yet.

If you only have conventional weapons, when attacking Sirens, go for the arms - they’re the least well armoumed part. Get everyone to focus fire on one arm, and they go down like a sack of potatoes.