Why Scavenging Missions are Broken

This is another well-known problem, but I am posting it here so that the devs have a one-stop shop to examine the main issues in one place. As things stand, it simply isn’t worth running a Scavenging mission in the mid-late game.

An example: I got bored. I was experiencing what I call the Pr8Dator Syndrome, where my guys had done all the Story Missions I wanted, cleaned out the Citadels and were sitting around twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the latest Research to cook. So I decided to do a Scavenging mission, just for the hell of it.

As a mission, it was quite fun: c.10 2-shot Crabbies each weilding 300HP MGs and Shields - it forced me to be imaginative in my approach. Since I couldn’t 1-shot them, I couldn’t hit them with direct fire, so I had to set up ambushes and lure them into Overwatch traps while my Snipers took out their arms at long range. I quite enjoyed that, but the only way my Peeps could survive was by turning my Armadillo into a damage sink.

1 dead Armadillo and 10 dead Crabbies later, I was the proud possessor of… 100 Tech and 100 Apples - and no XP cos my guys are all Lvl 7. Hardly a good return on my effort: when you factor in the cost of the Armadillo, I was around 600 Materials down. Thing is, I knew it was going to be like that, and I only did it cos I was waiting for something to happen.

My point is, if you are going to up the risk on Scavenging missions (300HP/shot ?!??? - a fun challenge, but no barrel survives longer than 1.5 turns), you have to up the rewards as well. That mission might just have been worth it if I knew the barrels had double the HP and double the resources in them - then I could have maybe saved 3.5 rather than 2.

But as things stand, Scavenging missions are broken because it’s simply not worth doing them. You can get more resources by playing the Haven resource market for absolutely no risk whatsoever.


The strength of the containers should scale with panda firepower.


I think you are downplaying it :wink:. With their machine guns they obliterate containers in one turn.

I agree that past a certain point I hardly do those and only trade food. It’s hardly worth it from a time (would rather be doing something else) and resources perspective (with ammo cost, it doesn’t add much).


Why do we even have barrels on the map in the first place and why pandorians attack them? It’s such a gameplay gimmick.
Why not just have some resources “being” in the location and we clear area to extract those resources. You can even have some group of survivors living there, who collected those resources and you evacuate survivors to your base or some nearby heaven.

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90% of the time that’s true. Th other 10%, the barrel survives another turn.

TBH, I have no problem with that - it reminds me of Meld in EW (though Meld was more worth the risk). The idea that you have to race against the Crabbies to rescue scarce resources - and you have to choose which to prioritise - is a good one, as long as it’s implemented well. The problem is, the implementation is so unbalanced at the moment that past c.5% ODI, it’s really not worth the effort, because the barrels are going to be gone before you get to them and the amount of ammo you’ve expended to save the last couple is probably more expensive than the resources you have rescued.

That makes it a broken mechanic in my book. I’m just proposing ways to fix it.

I think everyone understands “mechanics” of this idea. It’s just too gimmicky. The whole prioritization part can be done on a strategic level where you know which resources you are going to get approximately from the mission. You don’t even have to resolve them by combat all the time. You could give a command to start loading resources into the ship and then you can get attacked by crabman, or maybe attack never happens, or it happens multiple times and you just escape with what you have gathered already.

We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. It doesn’t feel gimmicky to me - in fact I quite like it in the same way that I always thought Meld was a far better way of breaking players out of Overwatch Creep than force-feeding them timers.

My only problem with the system as it stands is it doesn’t incentivise me to do this because the risk/reward balance is broken.

Yes, “fixing broken mechanics that got broken as a result of a meta gameplay by adding more meta gameplay”, this is the way of Firaxis Xcom. As this is a new game, things can be done better. If game has a problem with “overwatch” abuse and needs timers or some other silly remedies, then this goes beyond the single mission type.
The supposed idea of this scavenging missions is to have a risk/reward type of gameplay, which can be done much better than “racing” against enemies on a tactical map. You can spend resources on setting up resource extraction nodes or sending expeditions, then defend them in time if the get attacked. You can completely remove current scavenging missions and just add more chances to get ambushed when surveying locations or loading resources into the plane. This way you can put more focus on balancing core of the regular battles instead of trying to balance each type of mission individually.
Ohh and the whole “racing” thing could be done better by having a POI on the map that need to be occupied by one of the sides for x amount of turns, instead of running around the map to get crabs attention diverted from boxes to you. In case someone wants more “meta”

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As I say, lets agree to disagree. :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t see anything wrong with the Mission as it stands except the risk/reward balance.

10 crabbies? Good riddance!
In my 2 latest scavenging missions I had 16-18 crabbies (300 HP, pincer and grenade variation). And that’s happening in the mist-free zones!
My squad of 8 people managed to finish it recovering 4/9 containers (and a pair of paralyzed crabs), but some of my soldiers barely did it coming with red limbs and destroyed equipment. No reloads used.
So I agree with you in that these missions are currently among the hardest in this game. Very challenging!

Nearly my full team has Athena sniper rifle or Hera pistol + neurazers to finish the job.
The advantages are:

  • after a single shot the crab can not move as far
    • either move or gun/grenade/spitter
    • or single move and pince
  • gives you more time to move in and secure the zone
  • you get lots of mutagen


  • Athena ammo costs more
  • no drop in will power for Pandas (as @Lorifel reminded me)
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I’ve tried this approach and it worked wonders at the moment when enemies started to accumulate armor)))
The only significant drawback is that your soldiers don’t get WP bonus for paralyzing and enemy doesn’t have WP reduced. With conventional arms there is a moment when enemy morale becomes broken and it gives you a free turn when he is mass panicking. Also low enemy morale helps your Priests to mind control.

Yep, knew there was something else. I will add “no willpower drop” to the disadvantages in my previous post. My soldiers usually have enough willpower to spam “quick aim”, and I do kill some of them.

I didn’t read the thread but wanted add that in my opinion the problem isn’t the reward (but probably that too) but the procedural generation, there’s 6 chests, at first enemy turn, half is out then half reward removed, bad design.

And no, rush to attract enemies isn’t a serious solution, it can works at first, not later in game.

Moreover a systematic test hints scavenging missions influence a lot too much the auto scaling.

My opinion…

Thank you! I am glad to find another fan of Athena sniper rifle! :wink:

On Legend it’s even far worse, since you are fighting 30+ enemies. What is the point of reinforcement tiles if ALL the enemies are present at once. Mostly you will come back with 1-2 crates that spawn at your start and for the rest of the mission you will hug that spawn position. The T2 crabby machine guns also act like sniper rifles.

Was it in mist-free zone? What types of enemies and how many exactly?

Both, doesn’t matter. On mist free zone you have just crabbies. In mist it’s tritons too, and pray they don’t have sniper rifles.

Maybe it’s not just the risk/reward in terms of resources, but also game-play that needs to be addressed.

Would you find sufficient temptation to engage in scavenger missions if you could have the possibility to discover some unique weaponry, research blueprints, random NPC encounters, clues towards the location of PP bases, lore stories, or other forms of reward, even if it meant a risk to your solider’s?

By late game, I understand that you don’t really need resources no matter how much scavenger missions would give, but would you still scavenge for something that you found more interesting?