What is reaction fire bringing to the game?

I posting this from a position of having spent a brief hour playing PP on its standard map so it’s very much a first impression, but can any tell me what reaction fire is bringing, tactically, to the game?

It might be just me, but at the moment I’m just finding that it’s irritating the hell out of me. I’m not seeing how it being as aspect of the game is in anyway better than just having a standard overwatch system.

I’m open to the idea of this feeling being down to the fact that I might not have explored reaction fire enough yet, and I can see that people are posting to say that your heavy won’t draw it, does this mean that you should make all shots with your heavy, or that you should use your heavy as a moving shield for other soldiers? I’m also seeing that people are saying that when the map is full of enemies that they’re then losing a ton of HPs due to multiple enemies performing reaction shots on them each time their soldiers take a shot. So does this mean that I should try to engage enemies one at a time and draw them back to my positions rather than moving forward into theirs?

I personally find it a neat idea due to the fact that it kind of simulates simultaneous firing in between groups. As when you choose a spot to fire from, it kind of makes me actually imagine someone poking their head up to fire shots, while enemies are firing at them as opposed to the “my turn, i fire. Now it’s your turn, so you fire.”

It could use some work imo, but i think i really like it. Especially if abilities like supression fire were added solely to boost the return fire rate (causing return fire before the enemy moved/placed a shot)

I’d personally like some sort of facing/soldier orientation system to come into play with this mechanic though, as it can be odd when your troops return fire while in non-optimal positions…mainly due to the fact that i think this game has alot of potential with a facing system.


Honestly, I feel it’s quite detrimental to the gameplay at this point. Your soldiers only fire half clips and usually at enemies that are miles away so they rarely ever hit, and it just drains ammo. The enemies have infinite ammo, seem to shoot more accurately and every one of them has reaction fire, as opposed to just your two assault guys.
Oh, and if you soldier fires a half clip on reaction fire for their final ammo pip and then try to take a normal shot they’ll only shoot 3 bullets instead of 6. So it can actually give you a surprise disadvantage when you think you can kill an enemy but then only shoot half what your soldier should.

I feel I will never use overwatch in this game. The fact it costs willpower, ammo and will just shoot at the first enemy seen (which will likely be really far away) means it’s just an awful choice.

You’ve been watching too many films and playing too many shooters. :stuck_out_tongue:
People don’t stand in a hail of bullets and fire at each other until one is dead. People are scared of bullets, and for good reason, haha.
In pretty much every drawn out gunfight one party will take cover while the other shoots, and they’ll only shoot if they see exposed body parts, otherwise they’d just be wasting ammo. So, the other group will wait until the gunfire stops and then try to pop up and take some quick shots at them before they can return fire.
In a sense it’s very much ‘turn based’.

I’ve been pondering this same question whilst watching PP playthroughs. Unfortunately I can’t run the game (on the default high graphics settings) so I can’t test it out for myself and judge if it works well or not.

My concern would be that it could make the combat too much like the combat used in CCG’s and RPG’s where units virtually trade damage simultaneously each turn (where whichever target you choose to attack can damage you back during your own turn).

…I’m not a fan of that that style of turn-based combat, I find any turn-based combat system which is primarily based on trading damage simultaneously to be pretty weak (and uninteresting tactically).

Surely enemy units get the chance to ‘react’ to your fire during the following turn anyway (their actual turn - which is technically still the same round in which you took your turn), this is their true ‘reaction fire’.

‘Reaction fire’ as it is termed in this game just seems to be another form of overwatch without being actual ‘overwatch’. However, there is actual overwatch in the game also so it just feels like units have some kind of double overwatch or persistent overwatch.

Like I said though I can’t properly judge it yet because I can’t test it myself (until some kind of low graphics settings are added).

I personally think its’s a cool idea. I had it once where their 2 gunners reacted to something that my sniper did, but my assault guys reacted to their reaction and cool little firefight occurred, resulting in one of their gunners going down.

Wait, do soldiers react to enemy reaction fire? Cause then for every free shot the enemy could have your soldiers would get one too. Although that would just take up even more ammo. So much wasted ammo. :
Especially if your sniper took a shot, the enemy fired back with long range reaction fire, then your assaults fired back with more long range reaction fire, almost always missing.

I like the idea of the reaction fire. It gives the game a nice dynamic touch. Of course, it needs some balancing or options that you may set for the trooper. Like defensive - do not shoot back, neutral shoot only if the chance to hit is higher than 50% and aggressive- shoot always back. With this, you can react to the remaining amount of ammo. Save it if it is scarce and let it rain if you just found a nice cache.


I believe so - but remember you can turn return fire off if you want to conserve ammo by switching to something that isn’t your gun.

Hmm, weird I haven’t noticed that… I might test it later.
Yeah, I know. I’ve been doing that most of the time. It’s just annoying cause there’s sometimes shots that would be worth taking but since you can’t pick which ones to return fire to you just have to turn it off to conserve ammo.

Ammo consumption on return fire seems borked as I’ve seen soldiers with full magazines after having returned fire.

Aside from this, Julian mentioned that return fire won’t be the same once mist, detection radius and other mechanisms are in place. Maybe we’ll even see some items that limit return fire by making the shooter less conspicuous (silencers/suppressors). I also expect that ammo will be less of an issue when we can gear up soldiers ourselves and give them more than one reload.

As for overwatch consuming WP, I sort of like it. It means overwatching becomes a tactical decision instead of the default thing to do if you can. You have to try to anticipate the enemy’s movement and decide if you’re likely to get a good OW shot.


I swap to medkit or grenade before end of turn to avoid return fire and save ammo

Nah, it’s not borked, though I do like that word, haha. With every return fire the soldiers only shoot 3 bullets instead of 6, their normal burst. So it only takes up half an ammo pip. Which means that if you get a reaction fire in your last ammo clip your final normal attack will only shoot 3 bullets instead of 6 and it can be a nasty surprise.

Good to know, thanks.

That could certainly be worth testing.

I think the problem with return fire is that in this build there is not fog of war and everybody is shooting everybody every time. With reduced LOS and not seeing the whole map, maybe return fire will feel different.


Yeah, that’s a very fair point. My main complaint would be soldiers shooting back with almost no chance to hit and wasting ammo. With fog of war the enemies would be much closer and therefore the reaction fire would always have a much better chance of hitting.

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hehe, I think you might have a point with your first observation.
I suppose what might better represent my thought on it is that it makes the position in which you fire from more important…say if you were to fire from out in the open, theres no way that the opposing team would not try to take advantage of that, which could otherwise be done thanks to the current Action point system. This can be extended to places in which you fire from in general that expose body parts. In a way I think you’re logic sort of proves that point.

I guess it’s all pretty abstract, which makes it strange, at least for me, to try to organizing it mentally. I feel like theres something to it though. It’s just a matter of tweaking it some so units aren’t taking unneccesary shots…Although, you could argue that judgement calls (good/bad) that soldiers make, despite you’re orders, is taking place. It kind of reminds me of the pit people game by behemoth.

It’s certainly an interesting dynamic. Would love to see the dev’s thought process behind it.

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Your point about soldiers making judgement calls is interesting. It would be cool if soldiers had character traits as well as skills. Say, Dave is short sighted so he has a negative to aim beyond a certain range. Maybe Jack is impulsive and will return fire on every enemy no matter the distance while Oliver is cautious and will never return fire. Traits would really make squads feel unique and the soldiers special, rather than just an army of faceless people you can force into any role you want them in. I would like to see a balance of positive and negative traits per soldier. Maybe one of each or two of each. Perhaps more get unlocked as they grow in levels.

Valkyria Chronicles and Darkest Dungeon had similar systems in place and might be worth looking at for inspiration.


oOoh! yeah! I like the idea of traits that aren’t too invasive on the thought process. What my reasoning is:
Although I really love the idea of permanent marks/traits that will accumulate on characters, i’d like it to be in a way that i can intuit into my gameplay decisions rather then something i have to consciously be aware of.

Or something that adds some role playing flavor to the game, rather then something that’s going to add to my trying to intently maximize performance with every little statistic and trait that get’s associated to each character in a 8-16 man squad (or however many the dev’s plan to have implimented)

Still, shortsightedness and impulsiveness are things that i can generally base a general rule of thumb around, which I’d honestly find more interesting then juggling a bunch of classes and class based abilities.

I’ll end it there as I might already be losing my train of thought, lol!

Right now RF seems like a really strong ability, especially for enemy. I mean, you can move and shoot(TU and ammo cost) at one enemy, or move and overwatch one enemy(TU, ammo and Will cost). After all that, you can still shoot at every visible attacking enemy and this won’t cost you anything but ammo. Or you can use all your TUs and still do damage.
I can already imagine fun stuff like a team of assault class soldiers in heavy armor slowly moving through the map spraying and praying like a group of Space Marines.)
Or a stealth class soldier with agile silent weapon sitting in a vantage point and doing vengeful attacks at enemy without being noticed.