Think combos are OP, don't use them

I agree in a very deep level with these quotes

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This, totally

I am one of more than 20 Community Councillors who are tasked with giving the devs our honest and considered responses to their questions.

If I was to categorise myself, it would be as an about Vet/Hero-level player who is looking for a challenging game. But I recognise - probably more than most - that there are other players on these forums who find this game harder than I do and would not enjoy the game as hard as I would like it. And I always seek to bear that in mind and incorporate it into my answers.

It is one of the main - if not the main - reason why I am constantly calling for Second Wave Options in this game. So that I get the game I want, and you get the game you want, and we are both happy.

However, I will say it seems clear to me that the devs recognise that the balance of this game is off and that they need to do something about it. Some of the ideas they float past us I don’t like. Some of them you won’t like. Neither of us will get exactly the game we want, but the game we do get will have been shaped by the honest and considered feedback of experienced players who don’t just think the way I do, but by an equal number of players who want the game you want and argue as passionately for it in the Council as I do for my point of view.


Why is this still not in the game or mention of it?

If Most play the Beginner, why is it still not taken and balanced separately?

With the Cthulhu patch, the game is finally have “accessibility” for the Beginner or a fair challenge for the Legend?
Well, at least one of two?

Let’s do a survey,
Who will say Yes, to balance the Difficulty of the Beginner first of all? Make it a model of balance before the release in Steam.

  • First of all, the balance for the Beginner
  • First of all balance for Beginner and Veteran
  • For Beginner, Veteran and Hero
  • I believe that the Devs will have time to balance before Steam

0 voters

In most cases, the Supersoldier mechanics has nothing (almost nothing) to do with the level of difficulty. Difficulties come in early game well before there is access to superheroes.

The beginners fail in early game

  1. Overpowering opponents who apply Mind Control to the whole team (allready nerfed).
  2. Extremely heavily armored “Pure” in early game.
  3. Bomb chirons also in early game.
  4. Expensive replacement of soldiers. (Edit: allready better with Base Recruitment)
  5. High level of complexity (why can I be hit so easily when I’m under cover?)

See more: Do missions scale to the level of your team?

And I have hope for that with the next update. Because then the opponents can appear in a controlled manner, with which points 2 and 3 can be processed.

The Supersoldiers or “OP” combos are a completely different beast. If you can do First Turn Strike, it doesn’t matter what is changed or balanced on the opposing side, which in my opinion makes a balance impossible.

I quote @ACbattery here: “This new system basically gives you 14+ soldiers on your turn with all the extra AP and willpower abilities, but you only have 6 soldiers when it’s the AI’s turn, so the best way to play is to deny the AI’s turn as much as possible. The game rewards you for never interacting with it basically.”

See more: Mildly dissapointed with the general direction of the game


Remove the shield icons from cover | Voters | Phoenix Point

In Tutorial, there is too much text that few people read, but in fact simply ignores it, preferring to follow the instructions on the map. Also, there is no clear and explanatory demonstration: balistic, the fragility of your covers … …
(“slap” from mindfragger Giving Phoenix Point My First Attempt!! - YouTube)

Perhaps as an excrement, it is worth making a completely linear scenario with all the details of the game (showing its beautiful side and unique mechanics).

In the current Scavenging Site mission, it is necessary to block the taking of items from the ground if there are not enough action points (no AP, no item in the inventory).

Having a second wave of toggable options would be the best solution to this topic. Have it so that say, if you put a tick under “limit ability combos”, then makes other game changes to overall balance, like say lowers enemy armor and attack strength etc. That’d work.

More options in letting players, play how they want and having the game change as a result would = a better game in my opinion. Where as less options, and more limited play styles = a worse game.

Second wave options are not exactly solution, but rather an additional option (and to stress it, a very welcomed one) to increase game longevity. It’s meant for the players who played game for a while, understand its mechanics and now they want to play it their own way.

But how would new player knew what to do in order to cater to his needs? They don’t. Their toggable options to custiomize their experience are those standard “easy/normal/hard/whatever” difficulty levels. They don’t know the game, so they trust in devs ability to balance their own product and deliver on the promise.

Game has to be balanced (independently of whether there’s a second wind option or not). There can’t be excuses like “if the skill’s OP don’t use it”. Being forced to create artificial restrictions outside of the game rules is terrible. Every time one does well during the mission, he’ll be thinking: “was it because I did well, or because I crossed the OP line ?”


Balancing OP abilities/combos means more options. You’d be pressed to come up with team compositions that work once again instead of simply breeding your usual I-win button. People like me could start using all the content again instead of avoiding what feels like cheating.


Where’s Legend? I’m more for the philosophy of balancing top-down. Bottom-up doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. You can make a difficult game that’s reasonably balanced that challenges that top 1%, then you nerf the enemies and buff the players for all the other difficulties, or chop off elements that are too cumbersome for the easy players**. It doesn’t work the other way around. You can’t just add more HP and expect the game to get more challenging for people (mostly this seems to result in a game becoming nothing other than “find the best cheese and prepare to always use it”), but you can take away HP and expect the game to get easier without breaking the game. A bottom-up approach is likely to lead into a situation where some elements may be accidentally over-tuned and be impossible without a single approach to playing the game (boring imo). Under-tuned isn’t a thing unless it becomes so easy that you can’t enjoy it, but then that’s where you should consider to bump up a difficulty.

Knowing it’s balanced at the top, you always know what your next step will be when you want more challenge if you’re playing anything other than the top difficulty.

Unless we’re to consider adding in/removing tools for higher difficulties (which sounds like more work), then I’d consider going bottom-up… but then you’re basically making 4 different games.

Most of the complaints I’ve ever read from players on lower-than-Legend difficulties (being too difficult) are that enemies had too much HP and too much armor for them to figure out how to deal with. What are they asking for? Sounds like to me “less HP, less armor” which is really easy to do top-down.

As a Legend player myself, I don’t want “more hp, more armor”, I want “better AI, more sophisticated combinations of enemies, more tools and more counters, things to prevent me from creating a super-squad or wholly relying on 1 squad the entire game, a strategy layer that challenges me to prepare and think ahead without knowing what to expect entirely” etc.

People on easy don’t want to manage an economy? It’s pretty simple then to just overload them with resources to the point where they don’t have to. If you approach the design by starting with an abundance of resources, then you’re redesigning the game for the Legend player so that there’s actually something to manage or forgetting about them entirely.

It only makes sense for me to design difficulty top-down, even if the majority of the player base is playing on Easy/Normal

**Note: It would appear the game was originally designed like this, but that not enough was done for the Easy/Normal players and the only thing that was designed bottom-up seems to be the hiring of soldiers. However I still can’t understand why abilities and stats were designed the way they are.

The capability to create super-soldiers was pretty obvious right away and the satisfaction gained from accomplishing that only lasted a few moments before you realized that the entire game then became a repetitive slog similar to just pressing an “I-win” button… except it took 15 minutes to watch the same type of events play themselves out over and over again.

Once restricting yourself from creating super-soldiers and forcing yourself to find uses for underused items (flamethrowers as an example) the game became less off “Destroy the WP of the enemy and slaughter them in a few turns” and more (which was more fun for me) “kite enemies around, take cover/break line of sight like the enemies try to do, hope for the best and watch your crazy/expensive tactics eventually pay off”.

However the game’s direction for balance since December has ruined the ability for me to enjoy the game at all. Last time I tried playing (a month ago), the AI somehow got worse and acted as target practice more than anything else, and the added shredding to ARs reduced the game’s tactics down to “point and shoot”… Somehow worse than before. Now no tactics were needed and I no longer could figure out how to enjoy the game. It would appear these changes came as a response to the Easy/Normal players requesting an easier game… except I’m playing on Legend, and it shouldn’t be like that.


I agree, I think that’s pretty much the solution to the vast majority of “too difficult” complaints.

I agree, but the change to Scylla goes exactly in the opposite direction. Bullet sponge…
For me she is only one turn longer alive without any danger, for beginners a big problem, exactly because of HP and Armor

Edit: And I do it without any Lvl7 skills. Boom Blast and Quick AIM (and Dash in and out) is just what I need.

Right now I would say: PP is hard to learn but easy to master.

Firaxis in XCOM2, created a balance for Hard by a special group.
In Gears Tactics on Hard, revival mechanics are turned off and skill branches are broken.

IMO in PP now (before release in Steam), the game can find a balance separately for the Beginner only with the support of the Community Council. Devs can throw significant resources and make a Good Tutorial. Realistically and efficiently, with a minimum of time / resources.


And on the spot a Snapshot to regain the trust of the fans,
I would choose - to be Crystal Honest:

  • On release in Steam, leave only the specially balanced Difficulty Beginner. And then, when ready, add the Veteran, Hero and Legend.

Also, I propose to introduce a special level of Difficulty for Modders. Or the option + Modding for existing now.

I must say balancing from the bottom up doesn’t make sense to me. The game should be balanced around normal/veteran, no? Find the core gameplay loop - how powerful the player should be able to get, how much margin of error should he get, how punishing the game should be. Those should provide solid challanges - normal for a new-comer, and veteran for experience players. Then you add hero for masochist you know the game really well and want to still have challenge while they know how to leverage all the mehcanics of the game to their benefit, and you add easy mode for those who don’t want/can’t learn to play the game.

How do you balance the game from the beginner? How do you balance the game around players who aren’t interesting in learning the game?

Current problem seems to be, that by making game easy you end up making it hard anyway due to automatic increase in difficulty if you do well, and with skills combinations being so powerful players who know how to leverage mechanics to their benefit create builds which roll through any content the game can throw at them. In the end no one is really happy. Create a solid balanced difficulty, and then figure out how to make then increase/decrese margin of error, make it less/more punishing when making mistakes.

Game’s basic mechanics still didn’t form complete system. You can’t balance it. I don’t know if punishing system for playing good can be adjusted for different difficulties, but it also can be big problem.

Games are most of the time balanced with the normal level in mind, as this is the standard experience with the biggest audience. Easy / Hard difficulties just get parameters variations (Like soldiers have more HP on easy, less on Hard; There will be less enemies on Easy and more on Hard).

Most of the time it’s a “good enough” solution. Not ideal…but keep in mind, that resources are limited. Would you rather have devs creating new content or hand crafting those other difficulties?

Problems arise only when devs forget to scale some part of the content (like that “pandoran evolution”, or rather “dynamic difficulty”, or rather “you think you’re good? I’ll show you”) or have bad mechanics that might be hard to get around by casual players (like: I’m still baffled on how armor escalates on even most basic enemies vs gun mechanics - It does little to snipers but shuts down AR play almost completely).

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In this game now, everywhere unfinished mechanics and curves of communication between them. Make it softer and it will be ideal conditions for “Learning the game - Beginners” and “Finding the Kernel and balance of energies for the Devs - for the Veteran.”
And further, with each new difficulty, the game will be more and more “accurate and subtle”, which will allow you to introduce an upgrade to existing mechanics.

I’m tired of imagining what a cool game will be in the future.
I want to see Model Results.

(A top-down system should be created in closed conditions, with good funding, a powerful team and a large margin of time.)

I am sorry but don’t think I understand what you are saying.

Easiest difficulty is never good for learning how the game works. By it’s very definition it’s easy - if the game doesn’t punish bad play, it can’t stop players from learning bad habits.

If you suggest that “beginner” should be balanced as “normal” difficulty then I disagree - there are people who want to make their way through the game without being punished to hard for bad play - for those there are the easiest difficulty levels. And taking this difficulty as a starting point for balance is a silly idea - by definition it is not balanced - it is scewed in favour of the player. You balance around normal difficulty and then scew the balance in favour of player or enemy on lower and higher difficulties.

Considering it’s game replayable, it make sense for me to treat “normal” as balanced 1st playthroug experience, punishing enough to communicate how the game works, but allow for a wide margin of error as people are not familiar with systems and progression, and “veteran” which assumes that players already know how things work.

We need a good example. In my opinion, all games have a Tutorial at the Beginner level.

Further it

Contradicts this

If you cannot balance your whole system, then break it down into levels of understanding and start with the lowest / simplest.