Why Food Production Is Useless (and issues with the economy in general)

(Expanded from the writeup of my Legend campaign here.)

The economy in the Cthullu patch for Phoenix Point really doesn’t work very well, and it’s dragging the game down.

The basic problem is that as the game progresses, costs go up, but income doesn’t. A Firebird rifle costs 7 tech/120 resources: a Gungnir rifle costs 68 tech/135 resources. The first Phoenix Base activation costs something like 100 resources; the tenth costs more like 1000. But your sources of income don’t go up to match – your first exploration site gives you about as many resources as every other, and your first Haven Defence gives you as many resources as your 20th.

This means you have to do more and more missions to afford the same amounts of stuff. This slows down any feeling of progression and makes the game feel very grindy as you’re doing the same missions over and over for 1/3 or 1/4 of the relative reward.

At the moment, the strategic game is mostly about economics. To win the game, you have to do two things:

a) Do research.
b) Keep the human population alive while you do research.

To do all this efficiently you have to build lots of Research Labs (expensive), get a second and preferably a third squad of soldiers (also expensive), equip your soldiers with good gear (even more expensive) and expand to lots of Phoenix Bases and put Satellite Uplinks in all of them (REALLY REALLY EXPENSIVE).

So you need lots and lots of money. Where are you going to get it from?

  1. Exploration
  2. Mission Rewards
  3. Scavenging
  4. Raiding
  5. Trading
  6. Food Production

Income sources 1, 2, and 3 don’t really scale. There are a few high-end missions and milestones that give you large rewards, but they’re all one-offs and you don’t have much control over when you’ll get them. In theory you’re supposed to get ‘Overgrown Scavenging Sites’ in the late game with high rewards, but I played a full campaign without ever seeing one and by the late game you’ve generally cleared out all the exploration sites on the map anyway.

Number 4, raiding, kind of scales in that with more soldiers you can do more raids. Trouble is, now you’re doing missions to get the resources to do missions. This adds to the grindyness problem in that you’re basically spamming the same mission over and over again.

Number 5, trading, is probably the most effective way to earn money in the mid-late game, but it’s REALLY REALLY BORING. You just have 1-3 aircraft with a single soldier each circling the globe trading with every haven one after another. The UI is utterly unhelpful as it doesn’t tell you which havens you’ve visited and doesn’t give you any way to automate any sort of trade route, so you have to mentally keep track of the route of each of your trading aircraft and go click-click-click as you do the same trade deal over and over again. I can’t tell if this is working as intended, but it isn’t very fun.

So that just leaves the only real passive income in the game, Food Production Facilities. To build one takes 200 resources and 40 tech. So the equivalent of around 400 resources. The facility provides 8 food per day and takes 3 days to build. Food trades for resources at about 1:1 not counting the profit margin, so assuming you’re turning the food into whatever else you need it takes 53 days for the facility to break even. Before 53 days, the facility is a net loss; after 53 days, it shows a profit.

I finished the final mission of my Legend campaign on around February 22. The campaign started on January 1st. That’s 53 days.

Did I mention that you can’t build them until you get access to Anu tech? So probably a good month into the game?

With the current numbers, Food Production Facilities are a trap. They are literally worse than useless – they pretend to be a way to produce food when they actually cost you more resources than they give back.

There’s a reason that most strategy games give you some sort of automatic income source that starts small but that you can build up to large amounts by the late game (e.g. the monthly funding that each country gives you in XCOM). Without it, things slow down to a crawl as you have to do 2-3 income generating missions to afford a set of high-end gear.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the income missions gave you scaling rewards (e.g. late-game scavenging missions that gave 20-30 resource packs with rare high-tech weapons mixed in the crates, but which had lots of high-end enemies guarding them). Trouble is, they don’t – each Haven Defence gives you the same amount of money, each Scavenging Mission gives you the same amount of resource packs, etc.

Another option would be for the factions to give you a daily income based on your relationship score with them, maybe slanted towards their specialty (tech for Synedrion, resources for NJ, food for Anu). As it is you get the odd gift at milestones, and one giant lump sum at 100%, but nothing the rest of the time.


You are forgetting the most important (and fun) source of income from early-mid game: capturing Pandorans and turning them into Apples :slightly_smiling_face:

I agree though that food production appearing mid game is useless. It made some sense in prior iterations when you had some excess resources at the beginning of the game, because it allowed to recoup the investment in a few weeks (I did the calculation sometime ago, can’t remember how many days it was exactly - and it was contingent on getting the +50% tech for good production from Anu) and turn a profit. With the current pace it doesn’t make much sense.

This should actually be happening, not 20 but say 15-19 crates. These are the ‘overgrown’ sites. I think there must be some bug preventing them from appearing when they have to, but hopefully it will be fixed in the next patch.

Apologies, but I can’t help but plug in a ticket I made on Canny some months ago Diplomacy and base management overhaul proposal | Voters | Phoenix Point :slightly_smiling_face:

However, it is important to keep in mind that resources have to be scarce and the player starved for them because currently it’s really the only ‘gate’ to progress as fast as you want in the game and the only way to create some opportunity costs for certain tactics (for example, relying too much on explosives, as a single GL mag costs the same as a piece of armor).

On a side note, there is a general consensus that there are way too many Haven Defense missions (I estimate that on Legend I do 4 HDs/Pandoran Bases for each other mission type, which is bonkers) and that hopefully is going to get toned down in the next patch.


Which can easily lead to fewer chances to get resources. I’m for fewer HD in a 24 hour period, but they are needed for resources and building up faction relations.

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I agree that resources need to be scarce, but it shouldn’t take so much micromanagement! At the moment you can get tons of resources, but only if you’re willing to spend hours of time grinding repetitive tasks to do it (farming Haven Defences, stealing Helioses and then using them to trade between havens, picking a faction you don’t like and raiding them over and over again).

The problem isn’t that you’re getting too much or too little, the problem is that getting the resources requires doing things that aren’t very much fun.

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TBH, I don’t any of these things, except Haven Defenses when I must because otherwise the Haven will be destroyed (I don’t do them for resources).

Now, my personal favorite at the moment would be to merge Haven Defense missions and Raid missions, and give only rep reward for completing them.

While this is a fun idea in the end it is one more case of what Saph was writting about. Mechanisms are seemingly being created on the whim, without much thought being put into assessing impact. As a result, balance dies first.

Its no different with harvesting food from pandas. It starts with “we assume that resources will be scarce”…but then it turns into “here you are, a new way to gather vast amounts of food”… but as usually " lets make whole process tedious so you get bored to death while taking advantage of it".

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In order to make it work one has to do enough HD to get the research needed from 2 factions. What’s that word I hear, “grind”? And if they reduce the number of HD, more grind?

Actually, Science Labs and food facilities are things you don’t really need. 1 Science lab produces 24 science per day. 1 Raid gives 1000 Science per raid. You can easily do 10 raids with 20 restpower per squad. That are 10000 Science ppoints per day, compared to 24 per science lab.

Same issue with food facilities. Usualy, you don’t need food that much, that its worth to build these facilities.

1x Food facility costs 200R and 40T, that are compared to 280F. So 1 Food facility has to run for 35 days, to nullified the build cost, … or you do 1 raid and gain 1000 food.

Actually it feels like, that raiding as mayor income of F/T/R/S (food, tech, res, science) is overpowered, because there is no cooldown to do that. So if you need 10000 Res for whatever reason, you can do 10 raids. Also in addition, you have a chance to get items carried by the raiding target, so most time, you have items worth of 0-500 res too per raid.

You can pretty much finish the game in the early of februar, if you hardcore abusing your neighbours.


I would say that if you want to get massive amounts of food from capturing Pandas, having to paralyze them in large numbers is a bit tedious, though it’s not without a certain challenge because paralyzing doesn’t yield WP rewards nor panics Pandas, and you want to disable limbs to reduce strength, but you don’t want to kill the targets.

However, if you do it when the opportunity arises it can be a nice bonus.

Personally, I’m not experiencing the scarcity that would drive me into grinding behaviors, but I’m also a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to equipping troops…

Having said that, I do wish that resource procurement was less haphazard and made more sense overall.

Which is why I want Haven Defense missions to be merged with Raids.

Also because of this:

I think “pure” raiding should be extremely limited (you have to be allowed into the Haven, or your craft and soldiers take damage, or do it at night, or have to infiltrate the Haven taking a long time, etc.) and have grave diplo consequences.

At the same time merging Raids and HDs fits thematically and gameplay wise: when PX rescues a Haven they collaterally ‘rescue’ some resources (the type depending on the district under attack). This would create a reason for the player to do these missions.

Sorry, I don’t understand what you want :slightly_smiling_face:. Do you want more Haven Defense missions, more resources in general, or more resources to be given for Haven Defense missions?

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Just one note guys. Red resource is “materials” not “resources”. All of them are resources, but we can collect:

  • tech,
  • materials,
  • food,
  • mutagens,
  • science
  • and in near future few more. :slight_smile:

Time will tell. I’m holding off on final judgement until I see the proof in the pudding. Just thinking ahead and in the dark.

This is for me a must have, raiding is so easy and as long as you have an eye on the reputation with the faction and the heaven without any long term consequences.

At release we had crates in heaven defences, not with resources but equipment. They are completely gone. Why? Maybe a lot players didn’t like this looting part? I personally don’t want to look after every crate when I’m fighting the enemies. The scavenging sites are OK for me and sometimes also fun, but then the same in HDs? I’m not a big fan of this idea.

Also in HDs looting crates seems to me not really practicable. What if the enemies engaging your squad or objectives and you have no other chance then to kill all of them before you can loot something? No more automatic ending, instead you have to evac when you’re done with looting?

At the end, you can also simply give more rewards for HDs, also depending on the district under attack. You get the same result but without a maybe also grindy and with the time boring crate looting.

15-19 crates, or 15-19 resource packs? If it’s 15-19 resource packs, that’s only about 50% more than what a standard Scavenging Mission gives you already. That’s really not very impressive when you’re having to pay 240 tech and 1200 materials for the next Phoenix Base (and that’s without counting the base facilities).

Resource packs. You couldn’t carry that amount of crates even if you wanted to.

Ehh… Why would you want to do that? Just asking, because I have never activated so many bases as to those kind of numbers.

It’s what the game seems to be pushing you to do, isn’t it? You’re supposed to be saving havens - well, best way to protect havens is to kill the Nests, and to kill the Nests you have to locate them, and to locate them you want everywhere scanned, and the only way to do that is to take the Phoenix Bases.

I suppose I could just abandon large areas, but it’s a little bit off if the best way to play the game is to let half the planet’s population die to reduce micromanagement.


I must agree with Saph here. I would try to activate as much as possible of them.

Thus why I ask for free satellite scans possible anywhere (just limited by time factor) - not tied to the PP bases. It would lead to activation of bases which we really need with infrastructure we plan to repair.

It’s interesting: I think on some level the game does put you in this position where you have to be saving Havens, but on the other it just doesn’t make any sense and it shouldn’t be like that.

Phoenix Point is a tiny organization the purpose of which is to end the Pandoravirus threat, not to protect every single Haven on the globe. It’s completely absurd that PX that has a few dozen operatives has that kind of responsibility, when the Factions have hundreds of thousands of members/citizens/adepts.

PX shouldn’t be bearing the brunt of the military effort.

And, on a different level, the game does tell you that the time will run out on Humanity no matter what you do, so the point is not to protect the Havens but to end the threat.

Well, Haven defences give you money (which you need) and preserve population (which you need), so purely from a strategic point of view, there’s no reason not to do them. The game is encouraging you to do as many as possible.

The problem is that doing an endless series of low-risk low-reward missions just gets a bit tedious.


I don’t know why it was removed - perhaps Snapshot stats did show that players didn’t open them much. I for one usually didn’t, because there was nothing interesting in them: just ammo, back when ammo was cheap…:wink: Also, I was never sure whether I had to open them to get the loot, or I got it automatically at the end of the mission. It was very confusing.

Yeah, it can’t be a thing where you have many crates and you have to carry a dozen boxes to Evac. It would have to be done differently - perhaps one or two crates, and high value packages. I’m not sure.

I don’t like the idea of it being automatic, i.e. a reward for protecting a certain kind of district, or just something tedious you have to do during the mission. It has to be a target of opportunity, you have to be risking something in the battlefield to get the stuff. In that sense the mission should definitely end when the Pandorans are defeated - if you didn’t manage to grab something in the meantime it’s your loss.

Not sure if this is in Canny (will check), but should Science Labs and Factories actually produce their respective resources… if they aren’t being used for research or equipment production at the time? Gives another income stream.