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Thread: The experience system kind of sucks

  1. #1

    The experience system kind of sucks

    There, I typed it. Now I realize the point of this excercise is to haul the spirit of UFO into the new millenium, but if there's one particular piece of the old game that could use redoing it's that. As is, it's rewarding the player for engaging in illogical, monotonous tasks. Examples would having the team members run circles out of sight of the enemy in order to gain AP, or adding additional never-to-be-used grenades to their backpacks in between every other mission to build strength. It's not to the point of gifting handguns to the Aliens and having them train reflexes for you, but only because knocking Aliens unconscious hasn't been implemented yet.

    This is not good game design, nor does it make sense from a flavor point of view. Worse, it's tedious. It replaces time spent not actually playing the game in any meaningful sense of the word with in-game stat increases. It takes time and focus away from what should be the core of gameplay - tactical combat - and replaces it with what, +2 strength?

    Please reimagine. Even something simple like random skill advancement would be a gigantic leap upwards from this. Hell, scrap skill advancement outside of Morale/Nerve altogether and it would be a step up. Kinda like they did with the olde Rainbow Six games -you had a rooster of guys/gals with different skillsets, some obviously superior to others and thus had an incentive to keep the better dudes alive (and having to make do with inferior replacements should they become wounded/KIA).

    EDIT: Basically, talking about this and why it detracts from the game.
    Last edited by Infinitum; 08-09-2012 at 14:44.

  2. #2
    WishfullThinker Gorlom's Avatar
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    Do you have any more concrete suggestions? "Come up with something better" and some loose concepts aren't that inspiring. Especially since it's before any proper balancing has been done. There is a chance that you might like it better after it's been balanced.

    I can't tell from your post if you know that there is a limitation to how much skill up you can get per mission, do you approve of that or see that as part of the problem?

    I think that I personally would find your preference to be rather disappointing.

  3. #3
    Commander thothkins's Avatar
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    to be fair to OP he/she/alien infiltrator does mention a couple of alternatives, so it's not just a "come up with something better" and that it.

    I suppose if it's something you don't like, then don't do it. I don't feel compelled to min/max my soldiers at every opportunity. If you find it "tedious" then you're not going to lose the game for not doing it. I only get the soldiers to fire at things on the last round of a mission and it's mainly just to test things out.

    Likewise, I don't get them to run round the Chinook to get extra APs in. I do find that they're on the move in nearly all of the rounds anyway in a mission. As a result, I suppose the advancement of my soldiers is a bit behind some other players.

    But as you say, it's there to be exploited, so...

    I'm not keen on random skill advancement because it doesn't reward your soldiers for the efforts that they've put in. I want Cpl Hicks to get the advancements for all the work in the field, not Lt Gorman for sitting on his butt in the Chinook.

    Dropping them all together is a better option. The soldiers are already towards their peak, so it's a question of just how much battling an alien invention can expand their already expert status. I would imagine that there would be at least some improvement, but then that would just be there to be exploited.

    Skill sets aren't likely to make the game as such. But if they were there, would there be any advancement options for them. If so then you're back to the exploit again.

    If not, and this goes for the no advancements in general, it's a good feeling seeing your soldiers advance, and I'm not convinced removing it adds anything to the game.

    So, I think the current method works quite well. As mentioned there are limits to the advancements, so there's only so much running aorund the Chinook in each mission that's going to make a difference. So that's a healthy check.
    "...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."

  4. #4
    pantless sectoid sectoid's Avatar
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    to me, this is single player game, and if the gamer discovered an unique way to build his squad, so be it, even it is some sort of exploit.

    it is a choice of gameplay, a freedom. nobody ever forcing one for repetitively-monotonous action in the tactical combat.

    hopes the developer won't nerf this and that as a dictator in Diablo 3, otherwise, it kills the sustainability of the game.

    i use following diagram to describe my view : i am more appreciate a game that explorable than controlled-narrow-corridors, thanks!
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  5. #5
    I don't really feel the need to "grind" stats like that. This game (and X-COM before it) was never meant to be like most RPGs, where the heroes constantly get stronger and stronger until at the end they can shrug off almost everything without blinking.

    But if we're looking for alternatives, I rather liked the X-COM Apocalypse approach. I forget if your troops actually gained experience from battles, but your base had training centers that you could assign them to, and their stats would slowly improve THAT way.

    Alternately, more training programs could be introduced. There's already one for "Corporal training" (which I'm sure will be fully implemented at some point), but there could be others to help a Xenonaut with specific stats - marskmanship training, bodybuilding programs, reaction training, and so forth.

  6. #6
    Moderator Gauddlike's Avatar
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    I prefer for advancement to be linked to what has actually been done.
    As long as the action makes sense.
    It is about attachment for me.
    As you use squad members they don't just advance in stats they take on a bit of life.

    Bernard 'The Beast' Revenu who took out that chrysalid filled base practically solo.
    Shuji 'Click' Koyama who forgot to take reloads so had to scavenge weapons to complete his mission.
    Nikolai 'Boomerang' Belov who can never throw a grenade straight even though his stats say he should be able to.

    If someone has just sat at the base doing nothing until they become my best soldier it just isn't the same for me.
    If I need to replace a vet with a base monkey then I don't want the squad to be eclipsed.
    They are my most experienced troops, that should count for more than a few training courses.
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  7. #7
    Forum Moderator Max_Caine's Avatar
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    Infinitum, your arguments touch on many points without explaining what you mean by them. As a consequence, I have to discard the things you don't explain in favour of the things you do when considering a response to your post. I apologise if you feel I'm slighting you in this response, it's just I can't respond to what you don't say.

    I understand from your post that you consider it it is illogical for a squaddie to get better at something by doing that thing they want to get better at. Which in turn, seems illogical to me. How else is a squaddie going to get better at something, if they don't do it? Is it that you mean that it is logical for someone to get better at something by the process of practice and doing that thing, but it is illogical for a squaddie to get better at something by the player discovering a means by which the squaddie is rewarded for doing an action which should not reward the player for doing that action, but does? Does that mean in turn that with the current system of levelling up, you feel it is too easy to exploit the system, and either such loopholes as exist should be closed, or a new system should be devised which is difficult and unrewarding to exploit and rewards tactical and engaging play?

    As an example of "closing loopholes", uh, you could set "gates" to levelling up. Like a squaddie gets no progress points for any stat unless they have shot at an alien that turn. Or progress points could be taken away for every civillian that gets killed. There are many forms of gates that could be employed to close loopholes and force the player not to muck about.

  8. #8
    Commander Jean-Luc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vivisector 9999 View Post
    I don't really feel the need to "grind" stats like that.
    Same with me. I just never think about exploiting the game like that so it's a non-issue for me. What's more the stat gain is limited (per mission) this time which makes the exploit not really worth while. Just play the game and your guys will get better with time, no need to think about it much.

    Also, someone should notify Bethesda that their skill advancement system is out dated. Bunny hopping to increase gymnastics ftw.
    "This is a primitive culture. I am here to facilitate its incorporation"

  9. #9
    Do you have any more concrete suggestions? "Come up with something better" and some loose concepts aren't that inspiring. Especially since it's before any proper balancing has been done. There is a chance that you might like it better after it's been balanced.
    No. The levelling system in UFO:EU was terribad by design and Goldhawk has adopted it wholesale. I don't need nor feel compelled to "come up with something better" in order to point that out.

    i use following diagram to describe my view : i am more appreciate a game that explorable than controlled-narrow-corridors, thanks!
    That was such a good DOOM map. Of course, it was about as linear as linear could be until you found the secret doors prior to and after the Yellow key that allowed you to skip parts of it and collect a Soul Sphere, at which point you did that instead every time. Yeah.

    However, in what ways does the current skill system entice the player to explore it? Either you have your dudes perform monotonous tasks and get ++ stats or you don't. The former choice is obviously superior. The only relevant decision on the players part is whether to bother or not.

    I prefer for advancement to be linked to what has actually been done.
    As long as the action makes sense.
    It doesn't. These are special forces we're talking about - they're supposed to be at, or close to, their physical prime. They're expected to train relentlessly to maintain this. Yet according to the game the only way to build cardio is to jog around in close proximity to the enemy, preferrably whilst maximally emburdened to build strength. It does make sense for Morale/PSI resistance to increase as the soldiers get used to fighting the unknown (and not going insane when things go south would be a suitable positive for veteran Xenonauts). The other stats though? Not so much.

    Infinitum, your arguments touch on many points without explaining what you mean by them. As a consequence, I have to discard the things you don't explain in favour of the things you do when considering a response to your post. I apologise if you feel I'm slighting you in this response, it's just I can't respond to what you don't say.
    Fair enough.

    It is about attachment for me.
    As you use squad members they don't just advance in stats they take on a bit of life.
    And this attachment is directly related to stat gain. Really?

    Also, someone should notify Bethesda that their skill advancement system is out dated. Bunny hopping to increase gymnastics ftw.
    It's not just TES either. I can't for the life of me name a single game where this kind of system has actually worked as intended (intent ostensibly being getting better at things organically rather than the bunny jumping, cantrip casting, rat punching crapfest that inevitably ensues).

    I suppose if it's something you don't like, then don't do it. I don't feel compelled to min/max my soldiers at every opportunity. If you find it "tedious" then you're not going to lose the game for not doing it. I only get the soldiers to fire at things on the last round of a mission and it's mainly just to test things out.

    Likewise, I don't get them to run round the Chinook to get extra APs in. I do find that they're on the move in nearly all of the rounds anyway in a mission. As a result, I suppose the advancement of my soldiers is a bit behind some other players.
    it is a choice of gameplay, a freedom. nobody ever forcing one for repetitively-monotonous action in the tactical combat.
    Same with me. I just never think about exploiting the game like that so it's a non-issue for me. What's more the stat gain is limited (per mission) this time which makes the exploit not really worth while. Just play the game and your guys will get better with time, no need to think about it much.
    The levelling system being safe to ignore isn't exactly a point in it's favor either. Playing the game doesn't require the player to spend an extra 5 minutes to click guys around or set up elaborate situations to boost stats without putting the squaddies at risk. Granted. Not my point.

    Playing the game optimally sure as hell does however. Worse, the tasks required to maximize the gains from the current system being repetitious, illogical and disconnected from ordinary gameplay is.. bad. Real bad. The game actively punishing the player for knowing how to abuse it bad. Most players knowingly handicapping themselves because the alternative is active boredom bad. UFO being a good game despite having some seriously flawed design bad. What-does-this-even-bring-to-the-game-other-than-lizard-brain-gratification bad.
    Last edited by Infinitum; 08-09-2012 at 11:11.

  10. #10
    Forum Moderator Max_Caine's Avatar
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    Infinitum, I'm being a bit thick here, so please help me out. To me, you making assertions without explaining them. Your last paragraph is filled with such assertions. X is bad. Y is bad. Z is bad. But the assertions are hanging without supporting evidence. Could you elaborate a little on the points you make, please.

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