Weak points for bosses

The game already has individual parts targeting, however almost all parts have some basic armour. I would like to see weak-points for boss characters since they’re so big.

For example, ‘behind the knee’ on the crab queen. The back of joints and sensitive areas where armour doesn’t cover the flesh would be the perfect place for a weak-spot. A much smaller, more difficult to hit area with no armour and much less health than other body parts. When this joint or weak-spot is destroyed it destroys the limb attached to it or has some other heavy penalty for the boss. For example, if you shot out the back of a knee then she would lose the bottom of one of her legs. Or if you shot her neck it would cause heavy bleeding (perhaps 3 points).

I think this would allow for far more tactical gameplay against bosses as opposed to simply 'throw explosive til the armour is gone then lay into them".


It’s really a balance issue, I believe they’ll manage to make it right by the release.

The other side of that, these creatures are crustacean based, which have that exoskeleton everywhere. I think it makes sense to have to remove armor. If you look at the different locations, the head of the queen only has 3 armor. Easier parts to hit have more armor, which again, makes sense on an evolutionary scale. Remove her legs with explosives or AP shots and she can’t move very well, just walk away firing. Remove her claws, can’t hit you. so on, so forth.

Gotta work for the weak spots, make your own.

1 Like

If you look at this crab here you can see that it’s exoskeleton has little notches just where the joints join the legs together. Between those gaps is nothing but soft meat. Tendons mostly. They would make an ideal weakpoint. :https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=crab&safe=strict&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiP3unngOraAhXIKsAKHVKRBNkQ_AUICigB&biw=1745&bih=863#imgrc=iwOGysxD9n029M:

As for a neck or other weakpoints, the queen has clearly taken on some human characteristics and perhaps those of other animals, so giving them some weakpoints related to those parts would make sense too. Especially since it’s an evolutionary creature rather than a guided mad scientist evolution… maybe… probably. If it is a mad scientist evolution I called it. :stuck_out_tongue:

That’d be pretty awesome but in terms of realism, 3 story tall crab lady comes at you, unless you could walk up and put a round right into that joint, the odds of hitting it at 25-50+ yards are pretty slim. Could I hit it at 200 yrds? Reliably, no; that specific 2-3 inch wide 6-8 inch long joint, reliably, under pressure, with no setup time, after railing some other smaller bugs with an AR?

I’m just glad that this is accounted for :smiley: that’s one of the things i disliked about the Faraxis’ Xcom. 98%, you aren’t going to graze, or even wound, bounce off armor. you just miss if you land in that 2%.

Sniper rifles my friend. you only have to be close enough and once you blow off the leg they have a movement penalty anyway so it’s even harder for them to catch up with you. :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

the issue with sniper rifles is hitting something closer than say, 25 yrds with one. The couple of FF games i’ve played, the sniper rifle was the turned the point, when I won. (other times it was destroyed and I couldn’t find another in a crate). Since the sniper rifle blows through armor anyway, it’s almost like giving one character a tool specificly to exploit weak points.

One game, I dropped the queen on the control room side of the map, walked my sniper toward the other side, moved up my assaults, took a couple of shots at a guy in front of the garage, almost killed him. Kraken round ended with the crabman (we’ll call him Ralph) hiding behind some tanks in front of the garage, and dropping one of my assaults. My opener, move the sniper up just a bit closer, and headshotting Ralph through the tank.

Point is, they give ample tools to deal with the armor on the queen, and most walls ATM :stuck_out_tongue: Granted, Assaults only have grenades, but the heavy rocket launcher does a decent job, minigun will shred armor and sniper rifle ignores some.

1 Like

Yeah, it’s kinda silly that the sniper rifle is only reliable at assault rifle range. Similarly I find the assault rifle is only reliably accurate at shotgun range, haha. The heavy gun can be totally wild but the number of shots it fires makes it usable at longer ranges than the assault.

While you start with things that can kill the queen you don’t always have them later. As you said, sometimes your sniper rifle was destroyed and you couldn’t find another in chests. If your sniper dies early on you can’t shoot through the armour of the queen. Similarly I had one game where a couple of grenades destroyed almost all the queen’s limbs but in most of my games they’ll maybe take out a single leg and remove one armour point from each body part. Since the chance to strip armour is RNG based and unlikely (25% for grenades and 15% for heavy gun) it can often leave you having used all your grenades and all your starting heavy ammo (bearing in mind there’s crabmen to deal with too) so you could be left helpless against the queen. A weakpoint would give you a chance with lower damaging weapons like the assault rifle even if you couldn’t strip any of the armour.

Until now it worked quite well to shoot the legs of the queen and then kite her. she gets slower and you have time to finish her.
A well balanced weak point system might work but I would not like a simple kill switch on these massive bosses.
Never tried but can the queen still kill you if you disable both pincers?

I agree. They would have to be very hard to hit weak points with specific effects that wouldn’t be overpowered. So like I was saying with my examples, if they just insta-crippled a less important limb, or added a chunk of bleed damage then I think that would be fair.

I think at the moment she can’t do anything if you cripple both her pincers but @JulianG mentioned she’d be getting some new, more dangerous, attacks in later builds. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ranges do seem a bit short atm, but then maps also feel a bit small. I hope things scale up over time. could be alpha limitations.

As for the weak point aspect, if we have to think about it in terms of player reward, one has to think about how it is rewarding?. Hitting a weak point in a FPS or any other action intensive game rewards good reflexes and coordination. Simply putting your crosshairs on a weak point in PP when times is slowed to a crawl isn’t very hard, and probably won’t give the player a sense of achievement (unless the weak point is pixel sized, but I don’t see free aim becoming a “spot the pixel” mini game, that would be time consuming and a tad silly).

That said, you could introduce rewarding mechanics based around weak points but based on the game’s core mechanics. Maybe the weak point isn’t that small, but is only exposed from a specific angle, and you have to attack the big bad from all sides so that some guys can get a shot at it, rewarding flanking and positioning. Maybe the weak point is only revealed after a specific status effect is inflicted on the boss (dazed, stunned …) and you only get one shot at it, so you have to make it count, rewarding planning and proper sequencing of your actions.

There are definitely possibilities around weak points, but I’d rather have them follow something more interesting than (put your crosshair on a small spot and pray for RNGesus)

1 Like

I see what you’re saying. However, if the knee joint weakness I was talking about, for example, could only be seen from behind then it would be the player’s reward for flanking the queen. Similarly, the throat would be surrounded by heavily armoured carapace and mostly blocked by the head, so it would be a high risk target as you’d have to get really close and you would still have a large chance of missing.
So I agree that they shouldn’t be as easy to target as anywhere else and just be a better option all round. They should be situational or high risk, high reward targets.

I mean, it sounds like we have the same idea here, haha. Perhaps I didn’t explain it well enough before. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I agree with armour(and HP for that matter) being overly abundant for enemies and friendlies alike. I think those values should be reviewed to avoid “bullet sponginess” as it is certainly feels very much like that now, even when fighting basic enemy types with soldiers in basic armour. I’d rather prefer combatants being harder to hit rather than having tons of HP and armour to tank damage. With that said, weak points might be a decent solution to that where it will be more important to aim a a particular body part(or even a section of a body part if your soldiers are good enough for that), rather than just fill the enemy with lead.

As for current queen fight, it seems the idea is to either shred the armour with explosives and minigun, use sniper rifle with high penetration value or cripple the weaker legs, cause bleeding and wait for the queen to die on it’s own. While the latter seems promising, I am not too keen on FXCom-like armour/armourr shredding mechanics as it always felt very artificial to me.

1 Like

I think higher health/armor is the way to go. Otherwise you end up with the X2 issue of the alpha strike because you can’t take a hit. Likewise if you make it too hard to hit from a reasonable range then that ends up promoting explosive spam and classes/skills that can get up close quickly…

Though really I would say it feels about right. Currently you might take (or deal) minimal damage from range which forces several shots but if you get up close then the target can very much end up dying from a single burst of damage.

As for the queen another start is to only kill the pincers and then ignore her since she can’t attack then. Can be a bit annoying for whatever soldier she stands over but it takes fewer explosives/shots to do this.

1 Like

The problem with armour at the current stage is simply the difference between the soldiers and the aliens. Most soldiers have 2 armour while most aliens are covered with at least 3 armour on their weakest parts but up to 6 armour on their shields and carapaces. Even our heavy only has 4 armour which, if the enemy AI accounted for armour stripping, wouldn’t last long in a barrage of enemy fire. If it’s going to be based around armour then our soldiers either have to have a lot more that is slowly stripped by the aliens (which always outnumber the team you send in) and stripping armour would have to be added to a lot of guns as it would become a main mechanic. Alternatively, reducing the alien armour by 1 on the soft parts and 2 on the hard parts would put them more in line with the soldiers.
At the moment there’s too much reliance on explosives to shred the boss’s armour. So if you use them on the mooks, not expecting a boss, you’ll be almost entirely helpless against the boss.

The boss did mess things up a bit but Julian has stated that they are persistent and will try to run away. So you might not need to kill it like in the pre-alpha. Or you might decide to GTFO and forsake the mission. Or salvage more explosives from around the battlefield. Her armor was a bit rough but I’m not going to say it’s an issue right now.

As for the crabmen, it felt fine though I don’t know how you’re dealing with them. I didn’t have much of an issue with them and a single rifle burst almost always killed them when up close. Their armor meant I couldn’t plink at them very well but those legs are very squishy.

Another thing to keep in mind is what tier this armor is. I don’t know but it feels like standard T1 armor so I don’t expect much out of it.

The alpha strike issue in XCOM is only partially due to health. It’s more a matter of random infirmary time coupled to smallish rosters (a single point of damage can take your guy out for weeks in higher difficulties, while a dying soldier will sometime recover in a day). You simply can’t afford to have more than 2 teams and a few spares. When your tech is on the curve and your soldiers trained, you can take a few hits without losing anybody, you just won’t know how long they’ll be out.

If PP promotes bigger rosters and reasonable healing times for light wounds, the problem should be a lot smaller.

1 Like

I would say it’s primarily due to health. The infirmary times can be an issue but all of the comments that I’ve seen about Beta Strike have been positive and it simply increases health (and timers to make up for longer engagements). The problem with X2 Alpha Strike is that it’s simply too easy for a soldier to die if you don’t Alpha Strike down the enemy. Then throw in the love fetish for timers and things just snowball. You lose a troop (either unconscious from a Stun Lancer or flat out killed somehow) and now it’s harder to kill enemy pods, which in turn means you both have a harder time making timers and you’re more likely to take more damage per encounter. The timer problem can flat out cost you the mission even if you don’t lose more troops simply by not having the damage to make the timer, while at the same time pushing you to go faster in order to make up for doing less damage from being a man down (and thus more likely to make mistakes). Having such low health relative to damage likewise means an increased probability of losing more troops simply from not having the damage to kill all of the enemy when first engaged. Beta Strike gives you the health to reasonably survive engagements and rotate front-line troops to spread around the incoming damage.

This isn’t to say that I’m a fan of the changes to the infirmary times compared to EU/EW but I feel that’s different from the Alpha Strike issue and my bigger problem with it is the rate of promotions. This can be seen in WotC with the fatigue system and how it feels like it takes forever to promote people and you’re forced to have upwards of 3-3.5 full teams for fatigue rotation (well unless you abuse The Lost for unlimited XP to help guarantee multiple promotions since the game saves your total XP even with the 1-promotion/mission limitation). But now we’re going down the rabbit hole that is FiraXCOM balancing as a whole and not just the Alpha Strike issue and how it relates to PP balancing.

This whole thing can be a fine line to balance though. The OGs had crazy enemy Alpha Strike for UD and TFTD (Apocalypse felt very well balanced in regards to damage and you could send out wounded troops) but since troops didn’t have skills it wasn’t that big of a deal to Red Shirt a large chunk of your force to just overwhelm the enemy. The fewer troops you have and the more you make promotion-based skills matter the more soldier death matters (which is why I’m a fan of more research/equipment based skills as it helps for smoother balancing of the difficulty curve). If they gave us just one more soldier in the pre-alpha I think it would really trivialize things unless they really increased the enemy damage/numbers.

To add to the @Vathar 's point, alpha is not something introduced in X2. Every single XCom game, be it original ones, remakes or spiritual successors like Aftermath etc, all of them had those nasty moments when a soldier gets ambushed by 2-3 aliens who turn him into a swiss cheese the moment he enters a building or turns around a corner(“Doors and corners, kid. Doors and corners”.:wink:). This is an inherent problem of turn-based tactical games with heavily randomized map layouts and enemy placement. Readily available high survivability is a band-aid measure here: sure, it will allow a soldier to live through an ambush but it will end up making all firefights long and sluggish with bullet spongy combatants plinking at each other, slowly grinding through each other’s HP pools. It also reduces the importance of proper tactics, positioning and cover as with lots of armour and HP, all combatants can just run for it, shrugging off 1 turn worth of damage and them engaging the enemy in QCQ.

But my main gripe is not even with high HP values but with armour. Or, more to the point, armour shredding mechanics. Right from the introduction in the first FXCom, It was a very artificial and game-y mechanic, with certain arbitrary chosen weapons becoming “armour shredders” which locked them into this very specific use. This mechanic, while interesting in theory, turned armour into some sort of HP pool on top of HP pool, making combat very formalized with mandatory shredding becoming the “damage” you have to deal before you can actually deal damage. The thing is, while armour & shredding work ok for low armour levels, this mechanic scales rather badly, making shredding absolutely mandatory in mid- and late-game battles, when damaging enemy’s HP pool becomes outright impossible without dealing armour damage first with a shredding weapon.

I think amour should not be though of as a numerical value, but rather be represented by armour quality with particular damage types(be it per-weapon or per ammo type) affecting the target differently depending on it. Shredding will have to go completely with using armour-piercing damage and seeking weak points being the main way of dealing with armoured enemies.

I envision damage and armour types as follows:

~ basic damage (here and below, examples are given for ammo types if implemented and weapons, if no special ammo types will be available): FMJ ammo, assault rifles, HE warheads

~ anti-personnel damage: hollow point ammo, shotguns, frag warheads. these weapons have higher chance to cause bleeding when dealing extra damage

~ armour piercing damage: AP ammo, anti-materiel rifles, AT warheads

~ energy damage: laser & plasma weapons. these weapons have low chance to cause bleeding due to heat-induced coagulation.

I avoid discussing more exotic damage types here (such as highly advanced human or alien weapons) as those should be custom-balanced individually.

Armour types:
~ No armour(unarmoured human, soft alien tissue): regular damage type deals full damage, anti-personnel damage deal extra damage. Armour piercing damage deal reduced damage due to overpenetration, energy weapons deals extra damage

~ Light armour(human in a flack jacket, hardened alien tissue, durable machinery): regular damage type deals reduced damage, anti-personnel damage deal minimal damage. Armour piercing damage deal full damage, energy weapons deals full damage

~ Heavy armour(human in a powered armour suit, alien carapace, lightly armoured machinery): regular damage type deals minimal damage with reduced chance to bleed, anti-personnel damage deal no damage, Armour piercing damage deal full damage, energy weapons deals reduced damage

~ Assault armour(ironclad aliens, heavy armoured vehicles): regular damage type deals no damage, anti-personnel damage deal no damage. Armour piercing damage deal reduced damage, energy weapons deals reduced damage

~ Reflective armour(anti-plasma body armour or alien tissue): regular damage type deals extra damage due to armour crumbling and shredding the wound further, anti-personnel damage deal full damage. Armour piercing damage deal reduced damage due to overpenetration, energy weapons deals reduced damage

All of this is of course just an example, but I think you can get the idea. Armour will not be easily removable, most of the time armour type will not change during combat. Thanks to per-body part starts, there will be no need for this as enemies will not have uniform armour across the while body, instead some parts will have weaker armour types, allowing low-penetration weapons to stay relevant. On top of that, weapons will still be at least semi-useful in most situations outside of fringe cases(attacking heavily armoured vehicles with a shotgun etc will of course be futile) as they usually can deal some damage even to the armoured parts yet will have a distinctive “area of expertise” where they will shine.

Of course, such damage mechanics work best with diverse ammo types when, just like in the original XCom, you will be able carry, say AP and HE ammo for your minigun and change it depending on the enemy you are facing.


I think this is spot-on. FXCom felt much more like a squad-based RPG in terms of how important individual soldiers were and while this approach has it’s merits in a more story-driven game(I’d love to see an Icewind Dale in XCom universe), for a proper XCom game we have to have a certain level of, not so much of a disposability per se, but the game’s expectancy that we can lose our veteran soldiers and this will not be the end of the campaign. In that sense, having class/perk-based progression is the worst possible case as this makes high-levelled soldiers extremely important for the mission’s success. If, using FXCom as an example, you physically cannot recruit a rookie and give him a sniper rifle or a minigun, despite how strong he is or how good of a shot he is, having a levelled up soldiers becomes detrimental to campaign progress. If, however, each soldier would be gradually learning the appropriate skills, getting better and better at something instead of miraculously becoming a sniper after reaching a particular level, losing ranked-up soldiers will not be as critical as it will only reduce the performance of the squad instead of completely
crippling it. But of course, such design will have to be paired with a steady stream of available recruits as if soldiers themselves are scarce, losing one of them will be a problem in and of itself, regardless of his skill level.

1 Like

I guess I’ve had a different view/experience in regards to my missions in PP in relation to armor. When it has come to non-queen/non-heavy interactions the armor has made it so that cross-map plinking with the minigun and assault rifle was ineffective (to include crabman ranged fire, though over the mission this can add up) but when at close range things are very much still deadly. I’ve had a crabman round a corner and kill plenty a soldier with a single burst, and likewise my standard way of dealing with crabmen is to close in and put a burst into them (generally into the legs). Very rarely do the standard crabmen survive a single burst from an assault rifle when at such a range even with their armor.

Thus I haven’t really seen it turn people into bullet sponges but rather allow for people to basically take stray grazing shots while trying to reposition (compared to say the OGs where a single round would often severely wound/kill you outside of Apocalypse which I felt had great health/armor balance). But with the number of enemies on the maps that incidental damage still adds up and as I said, a single wrong corner can be the end of a trooper even when at full health.

Now the Heavy and the Queen do pose some problems here given their armor values, but I think this also comes back to needing to change tactics. Part of the problem I think is that this is a pre-alpha but also that means that now is the time to identify it so that it can be properly balanced down the road. In one of my playthroughs the gunners actually threw grenades and then lit him up, which made quick work of the heavy. In another a pincer crab stabbed him which appeared to ignore his armor as it did something like 8 damage and destroyed his torso. So it seems like while the AI needs a bit of work (for example not even attempting to shred his armor with the crabman guns), part of it is also the fact that in the pre-alpha the aliens can’t mutate to counter our tactics, though the ability for them to deal with our armor is very much there. Also don’t forget that Snipers can ignore various amounts of armor so we’re not forced into only explosives/shredding for damage (and this doesn’t require an RNG ammo upgrade like in X2).

The queen though, she is currently a great example of what you’re talking about. I’ve found that currently the best option is 1x Rocket, 1x Grenade, and then have the Sniper take out the pincers thanks to his armor piercing ability. But I mean on my last playthrough I did that, lost everyone but the Heavy, and then the Heavy fired point blank into the belly TWICE and both times did zero damage and failed to shred any armor. Thus I just stood there for like 10+ turns while she bled out at 2 damage/turn instead of wasting even more ammo. With Julian stating that the bosses are persistent and will try to escape after taking so much damage this might not be as big of an issue, especially depending on vehicle weapons, but it does a good job of showing the issues of too high of armor.

I don’t mind it having a numerical value so long as it’s properly balanced. I worked with Hobbes___ on rebalancing the enemy armor and damage reduction/weakness for his Area 51 mod (OXM mod for UFO:EU). The initial values were just crazy and if you were new to the mod plenty of the enemies could easily end your campaign without you figuring out what to do (like my base defense mission against his added Phaser who could only take damage from incendiary…which is pretty much useless against any other target and I never would have guessed that without him telling me and editing my game to give the save some incendiary grenades). The trick here is finding a proper balance and determining just how one wants a unit to act. It makes sense for a literal tank to have high armor that just ignores pathetic plinking shots until you blow off some of the armor for example. While as soldier armor improves it can be better to do a combination of damage reduction and/or raw armor (but at a lower level) so that we don’t have the situation where ~43% of the time you take no damage from a Heavy Plasma, ~46% of the time you die from a single shot, and only ~11% of the time you take non-lethal damage (numbers off the top of my head but I’ve done the math several times based off of a 60hp trooper and these are roughly what they come out to) but yet you can effectively ignore pistol shots.

Another option is what we first saw in Apocalypse and then was expanded upon in the FiraXCOM games, which is sacrificing armor for something else (Apocalypse Marsec vs Magpul armor, Spider/Flying/etc of FiraXCOM). While they can’t do the +def bit, it could have less armor to let you fly (different from the Heavy version), or maybe it gives you +AP and +DR% to make up for less raw armor (simulating you being more agile without adding in actual +def, dodge, grazing, etc). But I wouldn’t write off a numerical value system as it has its place so long as things don’t get out of hand.

1 Like