[Suggestion] Recruits

There is nothing I like more from these turnbased level-up games than reaping the rewards of the time and effort I spend on “training” soldiers to be the best they can be.

However, it can be most frustrating when you’re best troops die, especially when the stats/skills may be unique or hard to acquire.

I was recently thinking how games are no longer short enough for you to “give up” and start again from scratch, like the old Mario’s or Battletoads,. Which relied just as much on memory as skill to complete.

It then occured to me how little I have replayed the Xcom games, until a significant amount of time has passed. I will hold my hands up and admit to save scumming when a favourite dies or I’m overwhelmed. It feels like I’ve put too much time and effort into the team, only to start again. I play for the story as well as the challenge.

So how could a developer get me to care enough about a game, that when I wipeout, I will happily start a new game?


When our favourite Soldiers pass away, why do they have to be gone forever? Why can they not appear in the next game as recruitable soliers, with the same stats/abilities?

When I load up a new game, I won’t sigh at the xp grinding I have to do, but rather see it as a chance to improve on my previous playthrough, making different decisions, or not as I see fit.

Any thoughts?

1 Like

I think in XCOM 2 you could put your favorite soldiers into the “soldier pool” after they died so they would show up in subsequent playthroughs, though not with their maximum stats.

1 Like

Yeah, I think it was just Name and appearance only though. It would have been nice if their skill tree roll was identical for WOTC.

The whole point of perma-death is having your soldier gone forever. All that time you spent improving his skills are gone. That feeling of loss is part of the experience of this type of games. In firaxis XCOM games it was way too punishing if you ask me, though. Hopefully PP will find a way to still make training soldiers important, but losing them, while hurting your roster, won’t make it an end game situation. The team seems pretty focused in finding that balance.


Yes and No.

Losing soldiers in FiraXcoms is only punishing if you don’t plan for losses. If you force yourself to deploy less experienced troops on a regular basis instead of always using your A-team and the odd replacement when you get a wounded trooper, you can easily absorb losses.

The actual “flaw” lies in the fact that the game doesn’t really tell you to do that or even nudge you in that direction (WotC introduced some fatigue but it’s hardly enough). If you have experience with this kind of games and are used to build broad rosters instead of deep ones, you’ll know how to cope with soldier death.

However, The ever present FiraXcom plague that is the reverse difficulty curve means losses can and will hurt you at a one point in the game, and it has to be early game. Taking too many losses in the two first months IS crippling, because you haven’t had time to specialize your rookies or pad your roster a bit. I’d rather lose a few colonels in late game than a squaddie in the first month.

1 Like

Well reading all of this I remembered something I saw once in a game.

You are all probably gonna laugh at me though : the two games I’ll refer to aren’t good ones and the fact I know about the mechanics I’m gonna talk about means I know too much to be a saint haha…


I once played a game called Game Dev Tycoon (sitcom laughs) and to recruit new devs you had to put an add either on the internet, in a magazine, on the moon, etc… and depending of the means put into that you would end up with a bigger and bigger list of candidates whose qualifications went up with the price of the chose mean of advertisement.

In our case, let’s say that we have 4 choices when looking for recruits for the PP :

  • Asking around (“Anyone wants to join… Please ?”) : 1 or 2 guys rise their hands hesitantly and you have no clue wether they have any experience at all or not.
  • Classic advertisement (Posters, Flyers, Speeches…) : 4/5 people think about it and decide to show up at the training camp to be tested.
  • Sending agents to test and recruit in a 300km radius : long process but you got a 90% chances to end up with decent recruits… May be even an experienced soldier might decide to join.
  • Investing loads of ressources to convince experienced staff from other factions to join.

This way you got more control over your recruitment.

Now I’m gonna talk about a sorting of recruit by tier as you can see it in many games those days (Summoner’s War, even FIFA lmao… ).

Every recruit gets a rank (let’s say 1 to 5) and this ranks determines the ability and likeness of a new soldier to have a special disposition like getting exprience faster, having a unique perk… I don’t know but you get the point.

Does that make any sense ?

Thank you for reading, greatings from France friends.


But that’s a good game… okay, maybe not a great one, but it’s good… ~.~

And the recruitment design in it made some sense, the more you spend on searching, the bigger pool you will get to choose from (and they are usually more qualified), there is a reason companies employ “head-hunters” instead of just posting about the open-positions on their website when it’s necessary, even if it costs more.

About PP: Some kind of “Prestige” system could work too, the more “awesome” things you did (saved that haven, killed this miniboss, etc.), the easier it is to find people accepting your offer, and they may even be trained to some degree (could/should be somewhat different “skill-set” compared to in-house trained soldiers, but you don’t have to spend money/time on them… and the different skills can even be desirable, just like when you “recruit” from another major faction), so mid/late-game recruiting is better/easier compared to early-game, somewhat balancing the higher needs (both quantity and quality, fielding 10+ “veteran” soldiers shouldn’t be trivial if you lose them regularly due to “poor playing”).

(Of course the “usual” reverse-difficulty-curve is here too, so balance is needed.)

1 Like

So can I ask in all seriousness. . . Do you enjoy this type of play style, or is it just a method of succeeding? Do you feel any attachment to individuals in a large team?

I like to build heroes. Even UFO had its heroes that I could rely on to take a snap shot and hit, when the rest of the team missed.

@haxone I really like your recruitment idea.

@madxav I agree that permadeath brings real stakes to the table, but I also find the idea of running into soldiers from a previous game interesting. Like bumping into an old friend.

In a way, every time you fail to beat the game, the world resets back to default. . . Why not allow the email to remain with the experience they gained in a playthough. These are hardened soldiers that have survived for years with the mist. It’s not unreasonable to assume they have developed skills to survive.

1 Like

TBH Game Dev Tycoon (Mobile Version) was decent but I personaly think it can be reduced to a dice rolling simulator once you’ve gone through a couple runs haha. Not really ashamed of thise one, you got me !

Offers his left cheek

I agree with the prestige thing though. A reputation system like World of Warcraft does ? Simple and efficient.

It makes total sense but those higher needs could also be one of the options to balance the unloved dificuty curve that crashes down late game don’t you think ?

I was about to delete that last statement when I saw the last line you wrote but I think you deserve to know that you answer my questions before I ask them :sweat_smile:.

@Evolutionman Thanks fam’ ! :slight_smile:
To be fair I also like the idea to run into one of your former soldiers in a different run but :

  • This kind of thing happening should be rare
  • There is no way you can bump into that soldier on 08/20/2047 if he died on 07/18/2047 in your former gameplay

Never played WoW (I was a Guild Wars player, no subscription fee made it a gazillion times better for me :stuck_out_tongue: ), but it can be anything which includes your stance with the havens (major faction havens, independent havens), and as we already have a “diplomacy-thingy” planned for interacting with them (you can be hostile/allied/etc. to havens) that could double as “Prestige with the populace of Haven X”.

It could be made more complicated, general populace may not always know about your achievements depending on the mission you did and/or the haven-“type” (f.e. DoA followers may know a lot less about you than Syn, simply due to the nature of their organization), but I’m not sure that would add “fun” to the game.

The most I could see as “fun decision” is missions and/or objectives during a mission which gives extra “prestige”, such as defending a haven from mutants gives you more prestige than a similarly dangerous “recover loot from over there” mission for the same haven, but that’s more reward-balancing than “a new thing” imo.

(Played GW2 as well and it is… different. Can’t tell which is better !)

A CIV like system could work as well. IMHO your idea could work with a fame spreading system :
You help a faction and the people you helped are grateful, then their neighbors/alies and then their HQ and thus the whole faction. In other words, your fame goes from “local” to “worldwide” with time.

It would prevent scenaris were you decide to help a faction just because you know they’re about to blow your ass up. I like that.

What I would like to see would be missions where you’ve got to make a choice (defending the haven or securing a vehicle for instance) without knowing precisely what are the pros and cons of those choices.

For example, if you decide to rescue an attacked haven you don’t know if they’re going to reward you or not but you know that you wil lose the vehicle… I like taking risks !

That’s a fair question and yes, I enjoy large rosters. When you play Long War for EU/EW, you,re likely to need a roster of around 80 soldiers (four full teams and spares for exhuasted/wounded/psionic training/genemodding/limb chopping) and I like managing that.

I also know that this is one of the reasons a lot of my friends who enjoyed Vanilla XCOM won’t get near LW with a ten foot pole. There has to be a middle ground between manage a one man team roster and a full barracks.

That said, you don’t need that kind of roster to run a successful FiraXcom campaign. You can mostly achieve it by asking yourself, before every mission “if I wipe and nobody comes back, I am comfortable tackling the next mission with whoever’s left?”.

The other “issue” comes from savescumming. Although there is no shame in it and you should play the way you like, it creates a weird loop that encourages you to build an uber team (yeah, they can’t really die after all), but when they die and you feel the need to reload, it leaves you with the unsatisfying feeling that you did something shameful because you couldn’t win without it.

If “you play for the story as well as the challenge”, think about how protagonists’ death enhance most movies. Character deaths are defining moments in many books and movies.

1 Like

My problem with that is that communication is kind of broken, independent factions probably not believing what others say “without proof”, “fame spreading” could most likely only work for major factions, but I believe they have a working hierarchy, at the very least working enough to not have “noticeable time difference” for interacting with different havens of the same major faction (so if I help Haven A, same-faction Haven B should know about that by the time I can contact B).

What I could see as reasonable is some kind of “danger-meter”, if you are “known” as someone destroying independent havens left and right, other human settlements would probably be cautious when interacting with you and vice versa if you help “humans” a lot. But I’m not sure if that would be a decent simulation for the Geoscape, feels… game-y to me.

I was writing about the first one, which is similar in release date to WoW, 2005 for both in EU, and I like it more than the second… but this is so off topic now I’m stopping.

Yikes! I can see why it’s called long war. It would take a long time to build some useful synergies with a roster that big.

I supposed all previous Xcom games have the benefit of recruits for pay. With humans on the back foot, and dwindling numbers, I wonder if limited troops will effect gameplay in PP

This statement hits the nail on the head. I can’t remember the last time I aborted a mission to save the remaining troops, but perhaps rationing troops will be a fundamental part of the game.

My original idea was to try and avoid the “grind” of starting a new game. In order for you to recruit soldiers from a previous game, you will already have had to played through to raise the soldier profile. Progress on the project would be reset, but it might make the transition from new game to new game, less like a chore, whilst not requiring a change of difficulty.

I imagine meeting Joe blogs at a haven and remembering that he had a unique double tap sniper ability, then going out of my way to recruit him to my new squad.