Tie perks to equipment and ability use

There’s a thread at the moment discussing whether or not things like med-packs and jump-jets should be tied to the will power system or not. - It also mentions overwatch.

I think this could something which ties in nicely with perks and/or soldier classes.

How about the idea that any soldier can use a med-pack, a jump-jet, wait on overwatch, or whatever. But only a specific class can use that equipment or employ that ability without a loss of will power.


  • Any soldier can use a med-pack already, but only the medic can use one for free, for anyone else there would be a degree of tension required to use that kit and they spend willpower to remain calm.
  • Any solider can use a jump-jet to move around, but only the airborne ranger can do it without fear.
  • Any soldier can sit on overwatch, but to the sniper it comes naturally and they can do this whenever they like, they could sit on overwatch all day to make a kill, that’s why they became a sniper, they’re stone cold, whereas a different soldier would eventually break if asked to do the same.

NB - This is just for concept, I’m not considering balance.

In each case the specific class could gain perks as they progress which allow them to become more and more efficient at using these abilities without cost. You’ve still got flexibility upon the battlefield as to who does what, but you’ve also got specialists for particular roles, and without giving them superhuman abilities. It could even be something where you make choice for each solider as they progress. Is Private Stone, who already has a reduced will power cost for using overwatch, going to take that ability further, or will he gain a different perk that also lets him gain a slight percentage to his aim percentages.


I can understand what you’re saying but I think it would be a balancing issue. Rather than using cooldowns on abilities they instead cost Willpower, which in turn acts like a cooldown/limiter. Likewise Willpower plays into panic. Thus if units aren’t using their Willpower as much it starts bleeding into other things and affecting the balance of the game as a whole.

Another potential issue comes back to how they do the class system. If the “classes” are more like World of Warcraft specializations then that means all classes are open to all soldiers (as opposed to the FiraXCOM version of classes which lock you into only those skills). At which point you will end up with multi-class soldiers, who are spending even less Willpower, which further degrades the balance of the game.

So I think what you’re bringing up is an interesting idea, I just don’t think it would work well in PP given what the devs have done in regards to balancing the game and making Willpower such an integral part of the game.

I can always appreciate concerns regarding balance, but at this stage the game is far enough away from completion that I don’t think it’s an issue.

I think first and foremost the early builds are about getting the mechanics within the game right. Changing the willpower mechanics in the way I’m suggesting might very well throw the balance out for backer build one, but that balance could be restored via other means (simple ones being that if soldiers ‘are’ spending less willpower, then you can just reduce their starting will power and/or increase the will power cost of abilities). Balancing can come later in game’s development, in fact balancing will need to come later regardless of what is or isn’t changed.

Right but my thing is that I think Willpower as it is is too integral. Yes they “can” rebalance things but with just how fundamental it is you’re talking about potentially a LOT of work to do so. This then means that they can’t start tweaking things until they come up with a working framework. The suggestion touches on panic, ability use, multi-classing, and class strength just off the top of my head.

To try and paint a picture. Overwatch costs WP specifically to cut down on OW creep. If OW doesn’t cost WP for Snipers then you’ve just made Snipers crazy strong and allowed the OW creep strat to come back. At which point they would need to find another manner to deal with this that for the love of all that’s holy isn’t timers attached to most missions. But then what happens when you give a Sniper an Assault Rifle or Minigun? Since, you know, people can use any weapon they want. Or what happens when an “Assault” starts grabbing Sniper skills? Is he now a Sniper as well and thus gain access to Sniper “free” skills, or does he retain his “Assault” class? If he retains his original class then why wouldn’t people want to simply make all of their soldiers “Snipers” and then just spec into other classes and/or use other guns from there?

So clearly OW would be a bad idea to be free. But then the devs would have to go through EVERY ability and do this. Sit there and look at all the possible combinations, how they interact, etc, and there would STILL be certain combinations that would just be flat out better. Increasing costs of abilities likewise runs into issues. In the pre-alpha the Assault could do two Exertion uses in a row (but not the same turn) before needing to rest. If you increased the cost they could only do one. Likewise the Sniper could have the cost of firing the pistol for WP doubled and it wouldn’t matter much because you rarely fire the pistol.

The game is supposed to release in Q4 and we’re already in Q2. Making such a fundamental change is going to draw away a lot of resources just to come up with an initial working design. Resources that could be spent on other things like balancing what they already have planned, creating models/maps, etc. Instead I would say what you’re suggesting is more in line for a mod when mod support is released rather than trying to overhaul the system this late in the game.

Remember that they only just got the inventory system added to the game just before the pre-alpha was released. They don’t even have in Fog of War, vision range, etc. We haven’t seen if they’ve come up with the skills yet. There’s just a lot of work still to be done.

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It’s a fair point to say that there is a limited time available to devs when developing a game, and if the currently planned perk system were already implemented then I’d be with you in saying that any major change to it should come in the form of a mod. But the planned system is at the moment just that, it’s a planned system. It’s currently at stage where changes can be made to it - I dare say that the devs are already doing this behind the scenes on an ongoing basis as each stage of that plan is being implemented, all we’re doing as backers is proposing changes to that plan.

When and where devs have actual time available to change systems is something we don’t know, but I’d be surprised if they haven’t accounted for some buffer time within their plan in order to make use of feedback from backers, otherwise why create this forum? With some aspects there may be a decision to make in terms of how they spend that time, with others it’ll depend on job roles and specialities, for instance I the person designing models may not be the same person that does the coding for the perk system.

To that end any feedback that we give is just creative input that the devs can choose to implement or ignore. I’m sure they’ll picking up and dropping ideas across the forum based on those ideas’ value and the cost/benefit payoff of implementing them. They’ll look at some ideas and reject them, other’s they’ll take on board, more I’d imagine they’ll part implement making use of the idea but with their own twist on it.

With regards to overwatch in particular it won’t matter how strong it is, just so long as there are alternative perks that are equally strong and the player is in a position where they have to choose between those perks. That’s where balancing comes in. If overwatch is stronger that its alternatives, then yes it would be OP, but it could be OP with the existing system and a sniper can already pickup different weapons. How do perks work for a sniper if they pick up an assault rifle using the current system? Which type of unit is currently the most useful based on its perks? These are questions that will be looked at regardless of perk system.

As you say yourself, other mechanics such as fog of war and vision range have yet to be implemented, how they work and in turn affect balance is all still theoretical. And again, final balancing will need to be done before release regardless of what perk system is utilised, once all systems are combined, then the game as a whole will need to be balanced.

One thing I’ve seen from watching Snapshot develop Chaos Reborn - They’re very good at balancing a game.