Some thoughts on the current melee weapons being too powerful


#1

This was SUPPOSED to just be a quick and simple reply to another thread, but it quickly transformed itself into a hideous TLDR, straight from the ocean depths! So, I’m re-posting it, in case anyone’s interested.

I’d like to see melee be more random and quirky. I’d also like to see a LOT more of it, too, though.

(I mean, bullets are supposedly getting rare, right? We’ve seen stories, where bullets, collected for YEARS, simply ran out. Ammunition should be a coveted resource, and where ammo is low, melee can and should step in, to get the job done. We have thousands of years of human ingenuity to draw from, after all, and melee should, in my opinion, be a very CORE part of the game.)

Ok, so, my ideal for the stun rod would be if it could paralyze a portion of the enemy’s body–like, automatically paralyze whatever part of the body was struck, for between 1-3 rounds, with a high percentage (like 70% chance) towards at least 2 rounds.

With maybe a further chance to stun additional body-parts, for a single round, and with a Crit chance, to stun the enemy, completely, for between 1-3 rounds.

This could then be upgrade-able, with heavier (spiked mace/flail/morningstar-like) stun rods, and also Tazer-weapons, which may have some limited range to them, or just be built to deliver a more massive shock, without the melee-weapon component.

These could even be solar-powered, to save batteries.

The hit itself should also do some real damage, and 1 hit 1 kill strikes should be possible, but they should require training to do consistently—with a hefty bonus to the damage, and the chance for a Crit, if you’ve gained anatomical knowledge of that enemy variety.

You’d need upgrades, though (weight and spikes/heavy blades, and flail-components, and maybe even exploding “holy-water-sprinkler” type weapons), to get through the enemy’s progressively-heavier bio-armour.

Aside from stun-rods, piercing and slashing weapons would also be very welcome. These weapons have worked very well, for thousands of years, and they still have a place in close-quarters combat. Combat-knives are the most obvious—and they should be ubiquitous!—but other melee weapons should also be around, at least in high-tech form.

Maybe a big, heavy sledge-hammer, that fires shotgun-shells at whatever it hits, point-blank. Then, upgrade that to one that fires a re-useable, electrically-driven spring-loaded spike, when it hits, so that it operates like a giant, rapid-fire sewing-machine.

A weapon that both stabs and shocks the enemy, at the same time that you’re beating on it–and entirely possible to make, with today’s technology.

That could then be solar-powered, and it would also be an easy and very effective weapon to add poison to. Or, you could just make the spike out of tungsten (which would be ideal for cracking shells), and then use the electricity to heat that spike up to a several hundred degrees.

Lots of options for making a weapon that would be very hard for the enemy to ever fully adapt itself to, as long as you can get close enough, and have enough upper-body strength to use it, effectively.

For that matter: how about some powered armour, that can go toe-to-toe with the heavy melee crabmen?
That would get rid of the need for the huge muscles, while also letting you use things that need extra structural support, like a massive, electrified claw, for grabbing, holding, zapping, and cracking shells open.

Enemies should also change, and adapt, to melee strikes. Stronger armour is obvious, of course—but, not just heavier armour, on heavier units. The enemy should have the ability to start developing lighter, tougher, better armour, from the beginning of the game, on, for ALL of their units.

If you’re regularly destroying crab-men with strikes to their heads (or just sniper shots), then why shouldn’t they re-locate their brains to their heavily-armoured abdomens, if the mist-monster-collective have the ability to do that?

If you’re causing lots of BLEED damage, then the enemy may respond, by evolving self-cauterizing wounds, rapidly-coagulating blood, that kind of thing.

Maybe if you use a stun-rod a lot, then the enemy will develop a way to resist that power—and even store it up, and release it back, to stun your soldiers with your own electricity. Or, they start making their own bio-electricity, and shocking you first.

How about producing intense biological light, that blinds your soldiers? Coupled with chamelion-camoflage. If you can’t see them, you can’t hit them.

Ablative armour, that when hit, acts like an exploding mini-grenade, is another good melee-deterrant. Keep beating on crab-men with your power-hammer, or whatever, and eventually, their chitin will explode in your face! Or, hit your partner. And, that shrapnel should then quickly develop to become toxic! (IF they haven’t developed poisonous or acidic blood, already). And, the next step along the line, is to make it fracture like glass, into hundreds of tiny, razor-sharp edges.

And, why not have enemies just explode upon death? Or, upon death, turn into Mist-factories? Or, start hatching those nasty Queen-beetles from enemy corpses?

Or, turn into pools of extremely sticky acid, that clings to your soldiers’ feet, and destroys their boots? Seriously! Boots are important! There are probably a lot more people left in the world, than their are good boots. And those boots protect your soldiers’ very vulnerable feet. Anything that the Enemy can do, to force you to stretch your very limited resources, even further, is a WIN.

This enemy can adapt and evolve itself EXTREMELY quickly, and that should be telling, where melee is involved, as well as for any other factor.

Do enough punishment to the enemy, by ANY means, and maybe they’ll just start regenerating, healing and also re-growing limbs, and other organs, right in front of your eyes. Maybe by consuming the corpses of their—and your—dead.

And/or, maybe the Mist just gains the power to heal the enemy? Or even, bring the enemy dead back to life? I mean, why not?

Who knows what the ultimate limits of the enemy might or might not be?
I think, exploring that would be really very very interesting, from a tactical, strategic, and campaign perspective.

Rather than being just more of a back-ground nuisance, ultimately, finding means of quickly and effectively destroying the Mist, just might become your highest prerogative.


#2

No offense but I didn’t make it much past the first paragraph. The reason being, I simply HIGHLY disagree with you. Melee simply should not be such a core part of the game, at least not for humans who are rather frail compared to other animals in the animal kingdom; much less compared to a virus that can keep the host alive even after removing its heart. Melee is also generally extremely game-y in this type of turn-based game.

I’m not saying your ideas are bad in general, just that I don’t think such a melee-focused gameplay would be good for PP.


#3

Ehhhhh…it’s a very long article, so I can’t blame you for not finishing it.

The point though is that bullets–and the guns that fire them–are rare. Melee should be the second choice, of course, but in the world of Phoenix Point, sometimes the first choice just isn’t a sustainable one.

That’s just the world of Phoenix Point, as it has been presented to me, and as I understand it.

For that matter, with the kinds of extremely durable opponents that you’re talking about, bullets, by themselves, just may not always have what it takes, to get the job done.

Bullets are great for taking out relatively fragile human soldiers, but how many bullets would an average soldier need, to destroy a heavily-armoured Crab-Man’s heart, or brain?

Unless it’s a highly-trained sniper, from a distance, with a specialized high-powered rifle (in good shooting conditions), OR, a heavily-armoured heavy, up close, with a shotgun (maybe); then, it’s very likely to take more than one bullet. Or even more than ten, or twenty, because, well…that’s just how fire-fights tend to go.

Yes, firearms are great to have, when the World is ending—and obviously, more dakka is better dakka—but, a good knife—or a big mean woodsman’s axe—doesn’t run dry, and even if you manage to break most melee weapons, they still tend towards being better than nothing.

If melee is too gamey, in most of these games, though, then the solution to that is to find ways of fixing that. And, I’m sure those ways are out there. But, melee, I feel, absolutely SHOULD be core. It just makes too much good sense, and trying to warp things away from that, makes the whole game feel weird, and un-realistic, and un-true to the lore, and “gamey” to me.


#4

The paragraphs are numbered for my ease of responding from my phone and don’t line up with the number of your paragraphs.

  1. Bullets and what’s effective against what depends on a lot of factors. The 5.56mm (0.223 caliber, called the 5.56 as a 0.223 is a civilian version that has a slightly different cartridge shape) is specifically designed for human targets and to increase the number of rounds that one can carry. It also is designed for closer engagement ranges than other rounds. The switch happened in Vietnam from the .308 (a 7.62x54 round, not to be confused with the 7.62x39 of an AK47) as the 5.56 was lighter, one could carry more rounds, and the increased range of the 0.308 was wasted in jungle warfare.

1a. While the 5.56mm has mass proliferation and is widely known, don’t confuse it’s ballistics and performance as that of all guns. If the primary target were to change it is reasonable to assume that people would switch to a more appropriate cartridge where able, just as how in many places it’s illegal to hunt even dear with a 5.56 chambered gun. Of course EOTW means using what you have, but with how modular the AR-15 platform is people would have worked to switch over where able.

  1. Melee is too game-y because of how turn based combat works. It can work in a game like Heroes of Might and Magic because of different unit types and controlling an army. In a game like PP what happens is melee units for the player often end up either OP or a major hindrance. It also requires you to excessively put yourself out there where if you don’t kill the enemy then you most likely die.

2a. Now this stuff isn’t much of an issue for the AI who doesn’t have to worry about casualties. As such melee enemies can be used to make the player have to figure out how to deal with such enemies. But look at X2 vs the OG XCOM games to see what it takes to make melee viable. Even with things like a Heavy Thermic Lance you almost never wanted to use melee because it’s just too risky when properly balanced, while the Ranger of X2 was flat out OP with the only drawback being the risk of pulling extra bad guys (something not really a concern in PP as it doesn’t use a pod system).

2b. Now PP is in a better place than FiraXCOM in regards to melee being a viable second option. But it shouldn’t be a default primary weapon for your team (when the “primary” can’t function as the primary for whatever reason then the “secondary” needs to be large scale viable akin to the primary). Maybe a unit or two depending on the size of your squad, but again this is a secondary choice and not your primary combat.

  1. Please no to the combat knife. I mean realistically it isn’t used in combat hardly at all barring extreme exceptions. Plus now I have images of kids running around in COD using the thing because apparently it can go through body armor…

3a. Not that I’m opposed to it being in the game. After all it would be a good tool for dealing with Mind Fraggers compared to shooting a teammate in the face. But this is a backup tool and not some primary fighting tool.

  1. I think we just fundamentally disagree on what the focus of the combat should be. I’m not opposed to some melee options in theory. I am concerned that adding in such a unit/options will then lead to various things being added simply to make the unit/options viable. I don’t think that melee should take a large scale center stage. I do think it could be possible to craft a few survive/escape missions where melee is needed, but such things should be rare and would require special limits on the enemies selected.

  2. I don’t really think either of us is going to convince the other. I’m willing to still talk about such things but ultimately it’s in the hands of the devs and I wouldn’t get one’s hopes up for such a massive shift in the combat style at this point of development.

EDIT: I wasn’t expecting the forum to indent my numbered paragraphs. I’ve gone back and added things to keep linked paragraphs together and maybe next time I’m on my laptop I’ll mess around to remember how to break the formatting.


#5

Aknazer: I appreciate you responding so in-depth, and I’d like and appreciate it, if you could please try to read to the bottom of this post, because I really want to respond to what you’re saying here—in good nature, without any hostility, and with the hope that maybe we can both make better suggestions, by working together.

Ok, so my thoughts on what you’ve said in your above post:

You’re absolutely right that guns should be very effective—and specialized guns, with specialized rounds, employed using specialized tactics; even more-so.

But, if people are making brand new types of specialized rounds, for dealing with the brand new Crab-Men, etc. etc., on one hand, that’s a good thing, because people are adapting and responding to the imminent threat, but, on the other hand, that then just shrinks the amount of those special rounds that available, by an even harsher degree, than the supplies of what’s still stored, and what’s scavenge-able from the “old World’s” remaining stores.

Can old guns fire those special new rounds? If not, then we also need special new guns to fire them, and that further stretches our available resources. And, that should be reflected in the game—at least, in a background RNG-sense, if not in absolute concrete numbers.

The biggest problem is that there’s a HARD limit on resources, here. That’s just the way that the World of the game presents Itself. And, at some point, bottle-necks should be reached, where the number of guns and bullets that we have access to, just isn’t enough to deal with the numbers and types of enemies that we face.

That’s what I expect from this game. That’s how Phoenix Point has been presented to me, and, if I don’t get that, I’ll feel like I’ve really been let down by the Lore, which I took the time to read and really get into—and by the Devs, for not following through on all of the fantastic World-building that’s already been done, and that would just make for a disappointing experience.

As a fan, I don’t want that. I just expect more and better from this game, than to be lied to, and fooled, in such a mean and dumbed-down way. Do you understand what I mean, by that?

And again, that doesn’t really need to be expressed in absolutely concrete terms, in the game. Not every single bullet, or pistol, has to be accounted for, to make the game feel “right”.

Buuuuut… I feel like there should be attention paid, towards making the RNG-God act as a particularly stingy deity, when it comes to handing out certain consumable resources, and bullets in-particular. Not every game should be exactly the same, though, either, when it comes to such things, but, I’d personally feel like it would be reasonable, if I only felt like I had found an “excess” of bullets, in, say, an average of one out of every six games that I played, at most.

Of course, there should exist the means for making my own ammunition, from scratch, by way of a workshop, in my Phoenix base, and ultimately, it should be very possible to eventually churn out a healthy stream of fire-power. But, we should be talking about no more than enough guns and ammunition, armour and supplies, to equip…say, perhaps as many as a hundred soldiers? 200? 500? I’d doubt that we’d get more than a thousand, but then, maybe I want to trade and gift a lot of arms and ammo to my fellow communities.

A thousand soldiers under our direct control…Now, that seems like a heck of a lot, doesn’t it? An almost-unreasonable amount, for this type of game, and the scale involved. Our first battle involves…5 soldiers, after all.

How many American soldiers fought in Vietnam, though?

For perspective, I’d guess, from what I’ve read, that there might be as many solders left alive, in the entire World of Phoenix Point–as in, on the entirety of Planet Earth–as there were American soldiers, in Vietnam. Maybe. There might even be as many soldiers left, as there ever were on both sides.

There might be a million people total, left alive on the planet, or there might be a couple million left.
More? Who knows? Are there a billion people left? Absolutely not. A hundred million? I doubt it. 50 million? Ten million? maybe…perhaps. We’re on the way out, though.

You’re right that trained soldiers and major military powers can reasonably be expected to change their choice of arms and ammunition, as the circumstances of battle change, if it’s possible and feasable and cost-effective to do so.

We’re not playing with the resources of a major military super-power here, though. Our starting situation is in no way comparable to the U.S. military’s position, during the Vietnam war—other than the simple fact that guns and bullets may not be enough to win.

Another point I’d really like to make is that, Lore-wise, it’s already been stated, that all the guns and bullets and grenades (and tanks and jet-fighters and missles and submarines and aircraft-carriers, and soldiers in their millions) in the (old) World, and they just weren’t enough, the first time around, and there’s no reason to think that hunting rifles and submachine-guns are going to succeed, where bunker-busters and rail-guns have utterly failed.

New Jericho is trying that though, with new and better technology, and a passion for order, but, there appears to be some serious doubt as to whether they’re not just building themselves up a bigger, higher, steeper pile of fail, to topple from; IF they don’t get the support they need, from other factions that are willing to think more out-of-the-box than they are.

Moving on: Please YES to the combat knife—soldiers carry knives into combat for lots of good reasons, and they have done so, since before the time of Alexander the Great. PP isn’t Call of Duty, and there’s no reason that just because one game was ridiculous, that another game ought to follow suit—and yes, you’re right that it’d be a perfectly lovely tool for killing/removing mind-fraggers, which is enough reason, all by itself, to carry one.

I also think that a combat knife would be a good way to get to vulnerabilities in the Crab-Man armour, and those of other such beasties. So far, that stuff seems like it’s made for dealing with ranged weapons, and pretty much just ranged weapons only, basically. Get close up, and there’s tons of holes full of vulnerable, important-looking organs.

And, those big heavy claws can’t possibly be able to move all that fast, either?.. or, they might be fast, depending on what kinds of muscles are pushing them around–and admittedly, they do seem to have pretty good reflexes–but, I seriously doubt they can be both fast AND graceful.

How about letting us train our soldiers in hand-to-hand combat (hand-to-claw combat?), and train them up, to the point where they can be expected to dodge and block those big clunky claws? Extensive martial-arts training can go a long way towards evening the odds against sheer physical superiority, as has been proven, time and time again.

Does anyone here seriously think that Bruce Lee, in his prime, would have lost to an average melee Crab-Man, one-on-one, even if he were naked?

Melee-combat, combined with martial-arts training, also seems like it could easily fit hand-in-glove, with the “humanity-plus” super-mutations of the Followers of Anu. They’re certainly not all fragile.

How do you feel about all that, Aknazer? I hope you’ve read this far…I know that we may not agree on a lot of points, but I’m enjoying our conversation, and I’m really very interested in your opinion here, because you seem very knowledgeable, and I hope that you’ll continue to respond.

And even if you just don’t agree with melee being very important, are there at least ways in which you feel it could be implemented better, here, than other games have done it?

And lastly: COD is one example of a bad implementation. Can you give us some instructive examples of other bad ones? And, do you have examples of where melee did shine, that could be applied to PP?

I would say that I don’t want to see FiraXCOM’s variety of melee combat, in Phoenix Point, because it was too…reliably powerful? I always seemed to be getting Crit after Crit, and, with the powerful snipers, mid-range combat seemed to almost vanish into the background, as soon as I could specialize my troops.

I’d like to see melee-counters and melee-defenses (and also, Enemy evolutions that are designed to FOIL melee), become a part of Phoenix Point’s tactics—for my soldiers, and also for the Enemy.

I do feel that the use of speed, grace, skill, and training, ought to be able to meet, and go toe-to-toe with, the power and savagery, natural weaponry, and other advantages of the Enemy, in PP, in melee combat, even when that Enemy might be just as intelligent as our soldiers—and, that ought to be an element of the game.

I mean, how often do modern soldiers fight hand-to-hand, on modern battlegrounds, without even the recourse of their handy-dandy combat knives? but, look at all the time and training that they go through, learning how to do just that.

Whatever the Enemy has on us, they’re still a brand-new group of species, and they lack our 20,000 years of human ingenuity, that the game provides us with, and gives us credit for—more time than we typically even give ourselves. All that history—all that time that we’ve survived, with or without guns, on this harsh and beautiful planet, should be our species’ greatest strength, and I feel that we should be able to draw extensively from that, in such a terrible crisis as this.

Thank you for reading!


#6

I indeed read the whole post. As I’m currently on my phone I can’t give you a proper response but I wanted to still let you know that I read it and will respond when able from my laptop.


#7

About lore-wise side. Don’t be upset if there will be differences in game. Small indie studio will have to make some simplifications. :wink: And as far as I understand the lore:

  • Phoenix Bases are quite advanced and prepared for such occasions. I suppose they have, or almost all of them will have, designs and facilities to manufacture weapons. Only limitation will be resources, but then you have scavenge missions and barter with other factions so you should not run out of those resources.
  • New Jericho definitely have enough weapons (maybe more than people) and capabilities to manufacture additional ones, they have acquired most of advanced tech companies before the world have collapsed. I suppose that they will more likely run out of food than out of guns or ammunition.
  • Synedrion may have some problems with weapon supply, but I suppose they will have most advanced one with energy ammunition. I suppose that even if new weapons may be a problem they won’t run out of energy. :slight_smile:
  • Disciples may have most problem with guns, but on the other hand they are most common faction and they can adapt to the surroundings, so probably they have most developed scavenge capabilities. And after all they can mutate their weapons and soldiers to have some specific ranged attacks.
  • Independent havens… are screwed unless they will barter for weapons with some of the factions. :wink:

EDIT:
And as Aknazer said. Humans are fragile. Even in armours. We definitely are not designed to fight with alien threat in melee range. And martial arts won’t help here. Maybe against some crabman it could be enough, but not against Chiron, Siren or any other bigger and stronger creature. These are not simple animals which we can hunt with spear or flail.

Most important aspect is that we will probably need to keep them at bay from our soldiers, so they could not attack and infect people with the virus.

But on the other hand, some fancy melee weapons can function as some backup way to deal with alien threat, but I would not count on them in first place.


#8

Bullets shouldn’t even be that rare. It’s not like the aliens are going around melting all the ammo they see. In America alone, there ought to be tons of spare bullets, materials, etc. lying around after all their owners wandered off into the ocean. That’s the reason we go on scavenging missions.

The other thing is that your rendition of melee sounds way, way too complicated. “Stunning” individual body parts? That would be a hassle to implement. I agree with you that a more involved melee system might be nice, but let’s try to keep things simple. Some of your ideas, like the spike driver thing, sound pretty cool (indeed, a spike driver is a weapon I wanted to add to the game but I didn’t have the cashmoney for the design a weapon thing tier). Still, I’ve heard some folks saying they don’t want a Fire Emblem style game–it may be wise not to get too crazy with melee.

P.S–in reference to sticky acid, one of the Chiron morphs actually fires a bomb that makes a whole area sticky. You might like it, check it out:


#9

To start, there is a difference between bullets and cartridges. Now normally I don’t bother with this or the “clip vs magazine” issue (and might even call them bullets myself, though I try to say “ammo” instead) but an actual “bullet” is the projectile tip, while a cartridge is a fully assembled round. The reason I’m bringing this up is because bullets are easy to make and this is one of the times where proper definitions matter. Normally it’s made out of lead as lead is soft and thus causes less wear on the barrel but can be made out of pretty much any metal (for example tungsten AP rounds, which in turn have been known to use a coating like Teflon in order to help reduce wear). So even if stockpiles of ammo were scarce it wouldn’t be hard for havens to create their own bullets. I mean I know multiple people who cast their own bullets for reloading so don’t think this is something that needs highly specialized equipment to do.

Now what would trip up smaller havens would be the primers and powder for the cartridge, along with potentially needing to press their own casing (brass is most often used and can be reloaded a few times before the integrity of the casing becomes compromised, but you can make it out of other metals as well with steel being a common one on the cheap end). Even with creating their own bullets and reusing spent brass they will need to find a way to either acquire or create their own primers and powder, which is what I think would lead to a lot of havens joining a larger faction who has the resources to do this.

As for the limit on resources, it hasn’t come across to me as a HARD limit. Now I’ll admit I need to read more of the stuff that came out while I was deployed, but what I’ve gotten is that it’s more that the world collapsed, the seas were lost to us, and the mist is slowly choking off access to stuff. Yes it’s dangerous out there. Yes there’s no-go zones thanks to the mist. But there’s still very much resources out there, as seen with the New Jericho missions and their train that runs between bases (albeit as an unmanned transport so as to be able to go through mist zones). Also given how the mist operates there’s going to be places that are mostly untouched due to the elevation. Denver is over a mile up from sea level. Afghanistan, a place that has something like 1-2 TRILLION in various precious metals. And we know that altitude is the bane of the mist so they would be relatively safe to harvest from.

As for if current guns could fire new rounds, well that’s going to depend on a lot of factors. Clearly a gun chambered in 5.56 can’t shoot a 6.8mm round, but depending on the magwell you might be able to use the same lower with multiple different uppers (plus accompanying barrel). Or maybe they come up with a round that has an anti-virus vial in it which could be adapted to the current weapon (basically an Apocalypse Toxigun ammo). In the WWZ book (never saw the movie) they developed .22LR rounds that would explode, and since it was chambered in .22LR it was extremely easy to manufacture the ammo and there’s a ton of guns out there already chambered in that.

On the flip side there’s the issue that the .40cal ran into. The .40cal and the 9mm are fairly close in size (a 9mm is 0.380cal, though what people know as the “3-80” round is shorter than the 9mm parabellum even though they’re the same caliber). Several companies originally took 9mm guns, slapped a .40cal barrel in it, and then sold it that way. And while this worked for awhile, the .40cal came to be known for having reliability issues. Why? Because these guns weren’t originally designed for the extra force that comes from the round. So while the gun was technically “within tolerances” for the .40cal, they just weren’t holding up over long-term use compared to guns that had been specifically designed for their ammo.

I’m going to end this post here for “ease” of reading. My next post will will cover your expectation bit and possibly one or two other points depending on how long the post gets.


#10

So, expectations. You and I have VERY different expectations. I expect things to be tight (at least for the beginning and early middle of the game). I expect that if I play poorly I’m going to have resource problems to include ammo. I’ve never gotten the impression that I’m going to need to resort to melee due to extreme ammo shortages. NJ isn’t using standard ballistics but rather Gauss tech (basically a variation on a railgun). Syndrion has been stated to be the most technologically advanced and likely has some type of beam weapon. Only the Cult of Sirius seems to still use standard ballistics, but with their mutations I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to mutate new projectile weapons into being. This means that a good chunk of my last post only really applies to PP at the start and the independent havens scattered around the world.

And here’s the thing. This is MY expectation. But I think we need to temper such expectations. Because if I’m my blunt/tactless self (which I’m about to be) then I would say you sound melodramatic. One of us is clearly wrong in our expectations (maybe even both of us). The difference though is that I’m not going to feel lied to, fooled, etc like you are. This is why I can be hesitant to preorder games, but I accept that I can misunderstand things, I can read too much into something, that things can flat out change, etc. It could simply be how the narrative is presented, much like how I explained to someone else in a different thread how it’s possible for there to be other PP bases out there but yet for the game to say that our base is the only (known) PP base left.

So sure, IF you waste your ammo you’re likely to have resource problems. But I just don’t see this as being such a huge thing as to force the player into melee no matter what. A player might CHOOSE to go into melee options to help conserve resources, but again I don’t see it forced in the manner you’re reading into things.

Now lets go into into our expectations of survivors. Again, I could be wrong here and I fully accept that, but I feel like your thoughts on the number of survivors is excessively small. I’ve lived in the Oklahoma City metro which was relatively small and had ~1.1m people in it. I’m sorry but I have a VERY hard time thinking that all of the remaining humanity could be fit into OKC (which already isn’t a very densely populated metro compared to places like LA, SD, NYC, Japan, etc). Currently there’s 7.53B people on Earth (per Google). With how things have been presented I feel like there’s probably 2-3B left scattered across the world. The largest problem being the loss of communication followed by scaling.

Now, why is scaling a potential “issue” in this? Because it can distort one’s views on this subject. At one base I’ve been stationed at it had ~10k active duty while serving another ~15k retired, civilians, and dependents. And this wasn’t a large base. As this is a game you would be defending such a base with like…6-16 people. Even in Apocalypse you would have been capped at only 36 to defend such a base and it wasn’t a post-apocalyptic setting! (EDIT: Well I guess it technically was given what happened to Earth after TFTD, but it wasn’t apocalyptic in the manner we’re discussing here). Likewise look at how many aliens are in such missions or how many civilians one sees in such missions. I mean while 26 aliens could do relative damage, they realistically wouldn’t really make a dent in the population of a lot of major cities even if every shot killed someone (26312=1612 deaths for EU, 520 for TFTD assuming Heavy Plasma/Sonic Cannon).

IIRC the Bin Laden raid was two Blackhawks which can carry up to 11 troops (so a max of 22 total though possibly less given the stealth modifications). And that was just for a relatively small compound and one that was taken by elite forces. So it’s imperative that we keep a proper perspective here. If we look at BB1 we start with four soldiers when realistically there would have been 12-50 for such a mission, if not more. So I would say perspective in practically ALL games of this nature (to include RTS games) is skewed. After all, a single Marine in Starcraft wouldn’t actually be a single Marine.

So moving forward. I agree that guns and bullets aren’t enough to win. We need some way to counter the virus. That doesn’t mean that guns and bullets aren’t effective at stopping their shock troops. This is where we hit the saying “win the battle but lose the war” or “it’s a war of attrition” where just because we can win the individual engagements doesn’t mean we have the ability to win the overall conflict. Likewise we saw some of the stupidity playing out in the Syndrion story. I feel like it took place in Greece, but regardless it stated how the military panicked and was literally firing blindly. In Vietnam it was roughly 50k rounds for 1 death (here’s and article on why). At the start of the war with the Pandoravirus it was probably worse due to blindly firing in the mist in addition to the things in the article.

Thus as you’ve said, what we currently have isn’t enough. After all no bullet is going to stop a freaking virus that can turn you into them. We might be able to keep “them” at bay but they’re going to win the war of attrition here unless we can come up with a way to beat the virus itself.

Now, it’s late, I’ve been drinking for the past…5 hours, and I need to get to bed. I’ll get to that which I didn’t cover tomorrow when I get home from work. That said, No I don’t think Bruce Lee in his prime would have lost to a Crab-Man. Reason being, I don’t think Bruce Lee would have been foolish enough to punch a freaking armored carapace. Had Bruce Lee of been armed…well it would depend on so many factors that I can’t give you a proper answer at that point.


#11

On to the next bit, melee combat.

Humans are fragile. Even with armor this is true. It also doesn’t make for overly engaging combat in a turn-based game. The Disciples of Sirius are the most likely to be able to have a dedicated melee unit that can stand up to the aliens due to mutations, though iirc Syndrion gets an Infiltrator unit that appeared to use batons.

Now, why is melee such a bad thing? Just look at what our enemies are. Crabs in carapace armor. Tank-like monstrosities. Things that latch onto your head and take control of you. And this doesn’t even touch on the fact that they’re carrying a virus that turns you into them (I was originally avoiding this point as the virus bit is currently hard to draw the line on, for example why aren’t we all infected already, but as Yokes brought it up it is something else to consider).

Moving on, what type of combat does this provide? Honestly not great. Apocalypse is a great example of the game-yness of it. If you play in RT you very quickly learn that things like the Plasma Sword is often suicide in trying to get into melee range barring things like having a Disruptor Shield. Flip the game to TB combat and it’s a LOT easier to actually use the Plasma Sword. In RT using it against a Multiworm or Hyperworm wasn’t great since they’re attacking at the same time you are, but in TB it’s completely viable because they can’t attack back and should be dead before they get a turn.

If we look at FiraXCOM’s X2 we again see issues. By using melee you put your soldier out in the open which is stupid, but you also almost completely negate the enemy’s use of cover. So what did they do to make it viable even when you don’t wipe the pod in a single turn? They had to add in things like getting an extra move, completely negating the next attack you take, getting a free melee attack on those who move away (which the AI almost always does, and melee attacks are so strong that most enemies won’t survive two such attacks assuming they survived the first). Firaxis literally had to add in OP abilities to get the player to take the risk of melee because it was almost never worth it to go into melee range otherwise.

It is literally only because of the turn-based combat that melee combat would be viable in this setting. In real-time games where there’s melee units they generally rely on some type of “balancing” for them to be effective (having comparatively more health, shields, faster speed, etc). While yes it is a game, it’s aimed at being more true to reality while having melee take such a center stage would require a large deviation from that to let the soldiers be strong/fast/agile enough to use melee as anything other than a last last last resort.

I honestly can’t think of any game that had a blend of both ranged and melee that could be adapted for PP. My friends and I often banned the gun characters of Bushido Blade 2. I’ve already discussed both FiraXCOM and the OGs. Melee weapons work in Halo for various reasons but the primary reason is how relatively tanky you are which can’t be adapted to PP; or you’re playing on Legendary where melee weapons often aren’t viable outside of the flood. COD melee is a joke as previously discussed. “Splinter Cell” and “The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay” both use a stealth system for the melee to be viable (or in Riddick it’s also that you’re fighting other unarmed humans). In games like Heroes of Might and Magic you’re more controlling armies which is a different type of balance point than squad-based tactical.

This isn’t to say that there can’t be any melee in the game. I mean the Technician has those claw things that can be used for melee attacks. We discussed a combat knife for dealing with Mind Fraggers earlier. But I just don’t see a way to make melee a viable option without the soldiers being “more” than just human or without making the moves OP. Of course I expect some exceptions given that there’s an Infiltrator unit, but I also don’t expect such a unit to be a heavy hitter in terms of damage output from their melee weapons.

As for your question about modern soldiers learning to fight hand-to-hand, well it depends on what military and what branch of service you’re talking about. For example you have Airmen (Air Force), Soldiers (Army), Marines (…Marines), and Sailors (Navy) if we really want to break it down, at which point Airmen and Sailors as a whole are going to get next to zero training. Even amongst Soldiers and Marines it’s going to depend on their actual job for what type of training they get. I can also tell you that bayonet training has either been cut entirely or greatly reduced as the bayonet lug has been removed from various weapon designs due to the fact that if one were to try and use a bayonet you would end up bending the buffer tube and render the gun inoperable.

Also hand-to-hand still has uses. For starters it can act as a deterrence to those who would otherwise consider a physical assault if they think their target is trained in hand-to-hand. If a “civilian” decides they want to get uppity with a soldier (for example a convoy rolling through an area or maybe some people clearing a village) then that soldier needs to know how to deal with the person with a response that isn’t to simply shoot them. The training is also good physical training if one keeps doing it (I’ve done Brazilian Jujitsu and by the end I was always exhausted for example). But most in the military aren’t trained in it and even for those that are it isn’t something that most do on a regular basis.

You say that they lack our 20,000 years of human ingenuity, though they don’t. When someone joins the hive that hive then gains all of their memories and experiences. Now I would say they don’t have our creativity and ability to adapt as the hive rips out their individualism, but they very much gained their experiences up to that point.

And with this I conclude my dissertation on your post as you asked for my opinion.


#12

You’re not wrong about the idea of ammo being scarce and all… But it’s still a game, and sometimes realism has to take a backseat to game play.