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Balancing ground combat risks/rewards - discussion


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Would it be significantly harder to make armor disappearing when absorbing X damage rather than just when a soldier is killed?

Yes, actually. Making armour disappear after absorbing damage would take some work, making it disappear on kill takes a couple of minutes. Besides, sprites can't be changed on the fly like that, so even if armour was made to disappear after some damage, the soldier would still be shown wearing it, confusingly.

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That would need to be tested in the game, but I agree.

I am looking at every single way that could boost the consumption of alien alloys and for me soldier death isn't the right call as the single factor to trigger it. Especially considering it's harder to lose a soldier once you get to the high tier armors.

EDIT: I mean armors disappearing after the combat is complete, not mid-mission, of course! The logic is once combat is over it's beyond usability and it's better to produce a new one rather than patch up the old one.

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On second strike teams - as far as i see the biggest trouble is equipment and a dropship - it takes a very long time to construct both kinds of items with 2 workshops. So either some reduction of mandays or an increase in workspace for engineering workshop (say 20 engineers per workshop) and respectively make living quarters more cramped(40-45 space). In addition this could be combined with some chagnes to cost of items - increase how much alien alloys are required for most/all items,especially planes. Alloys are very plentiful as you all know and if more of them were used it wouldn't be that difficult for average player, who stockpiles it in hundreds.

On armors - if it loses more than 50% of Armor it is not eligible for free repairs

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Hmm, come to think of it, you never buy a dropship for your main team. You start with a Chinook, which is indestructible, but you pay 100k for a second one. Later models notwithstanding of course. That could be a way to reduce the startup costs of a second team.

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My 2 cents if you allow me, and it can be done by modding only I think.

Crash sites. They should not give that much money, they should be the less profitable way of gaining money. What they give you is training opportunity and special techs/components unlocking if a large ship (and these special techs or components must be greatly expanded compared to base game). As it was said, requiring that item or vehicle X or Y demands a special item is probably a must here.

(Airstrike gives a bit more money than crash site, is 0 risk free and gives no components or training)

So small crash site is about training, large one is less about training (because dangerous) but gives you unique components/techs you might need.

Alien base: gives huge relation boost when destroyed, gives a lot of money, unlock some others techs/components that you can't get with crash sites. This is not your best training opportunity, as they are tough, but you can get load of money from them.

Terror site: your general pain in the arse that you fear. Very tough, average money, no tech unlock. You do them to save population though, so if beaten, huge relation boost, if unchecked or failed, same, large relation penalty.

As you see, each event has a specific, they can't be interchanged by not doing one and while farming another. Early money can also be acquired by airstriking, this is to remove the grind factor.

Small crash site: Training

large crash site: components

aistrike: money (slightly more than a crash site)

alien base: lot of money,components, relations

terror: relations

Edited by Nibelung44
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How did I miss this conversation? Anyway. Guys, you're waving big sticks but players need more than sticks. They need carrots too (even Demon's Souls had the occasional carrot). I have lots of carroty ideas, but I'll restrict myself to just one for the moment.

Proposal

You've been discussing the economics of setting up a second strike team. Fine, here's a carroty suggestion. How about a) dropping the cost of a previous tier/item when a new tier/item is researched, or b) permitting specific research topics that drop the manufacturing cost of a specific tier or item.

Reasoning

As has already been discussed at length, making a second or third team is discouraged because of the setup costs involved. Hiring a team, arming and equipping it to the same standard as the first team and providing it with transport is prohibitively expensive in terms of man hours and resources, especially in the early game when all efforts are on expansion and the air war. As a consequence, 2nd teams tend to organically evolve from the current team, receving hand-me-down arms, armour and transportation. If we want to have a second team with the same options as the first team, then we need to examine ways in which costs can be lowered without creating a situation where a crafty study of deflation means the player never has to pay full price for any of his kit.

One way of achieving both goals would be to reduce the cost of items when a new tier is researched. One might argue that when a new tier is researched it's too late, but researching a new tier is not the same as building those items. The handover from old equipment to new equipment can be long and laborious, depending on the specific pressures the player is put under at any point whereas the previous tier is a) available now and b) cheaper.

Another way would be to develop specific research topics which reduce the price of specific items. These topics could nbe inserted anywhere in the tech tree, at appropriate moments. (for example "Chinook Outsourcing" might become available after the first Corvette datacore is captured). The problem with doing it that way is that a canny player will understand the tech tree and will make a beeline for any tech that dropped prices.

Methodology

For either a) or b), this could be done with an argument in researches.xml. Perhaps something like adjustCost(<list of items deliniated with apostrophies>,<percentage or real figure>). By doing it in researches, you can fine tune where price drops would occur, what goes on sale and by how much.

EDIT: If peeps wanted to do specific research topics, I think I could donate a piece of art or two.

Edited by Max_Caine
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I have a proposal that might solve these problems and simultaneously reduce the GC grind factor. What if only a certain fraction of downed UFOs spawn a crash site? This could be easily justified as UFOs that explode mid-air or vaporize when impacting the ground due to damage caused to certain systems.

This would results in less crash sites and less possible grind. Furthermore if you increase the monetary reward and the experience gains of missions, while keeping airstrikes lower, it gives a real incentive to do them. A second strike and third team would also make sense because otherwise you miss missions and gain much less money and resources. To prevent the possibility of one Chinook covering all global crash sites you could simply reduce the time a crash site exists. This would mean you have to have a dropship and crew nearby, and could also force you to do more night missions. Terror sites would still exist long enough to get any dropship too, so you don't get RNGd before you can expand your strike teams.

Another benefit of quicker leveling troops is that if you lose some in the late game, you don't have to grind through as many missions to train up rookies.

Edited by cybrbeast
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The strongest incentive to do something hard is a corresponding reward, preferably unique.

In gaming terms it would be (unique) resources, which bring me to my first point.

1. The game has unique resources already (which rewarded for GC only) , but the system around it isn’t properly balanced, which is my next point.

2. There are a couple of problems with resource acquisition currently:

2.1. Player can acquire both main unique resources by doing any ground combat (but in different quantities).

2.2. (Unique) resources over abundance, because there are not enough resource sinks.

Proposed solutions:

1. Player can acquire Alienium in small quantities only in certain missions, excluding easy ones (especially crash sites till late game UFOs). Of course rebalance of various resource costs of manufacturing is needed to accommodate the proposed change.

Clarification: this change will provide strong incentive to do hard missions because without Alienium player wouldn’t be able to produce high tier weaponry/gear/aircraft at all.

2. Additional resource sink:

There is simple and I think pretty elegant solution to provide already mentioned here ‘downwards pressure’ or in other words changing gear progression from permanent to sustainable. The idea is to represent producible ammo clips back in the game. Please hear me out.

Clarification:

Everything considering additional resource sinks (like destroyable by aliens/death equipment, armors, additional resources for vehicles repairs) proposed here can be replaced by producible ammo clips.

Think about it: without equipment/armor, repaired vehicles/craft you can’t fight as well as without ammo which you need to produce expending precious (unique) resources.

Moreover the need of unique resources to produce (high end) ammo heavily compliments the first point (incentive to do hard GC to gain needed resource).

Counter counter-argument:

Yes, I do understand that I’m proposing to use ammo to gain ammo, but it can be balanced with numbers (easiest way). Additionally not all weapons should have producible ammo: stock and laser weaponry may not for example. Or player may use certain tactics, which decrease ammo consumption etc.

I.e. by adding a tiny amount of additional micromanagement the game would gain additional absolutely justified resource sink and as a bonus it’d bring back some logistics in the game.

Some other thoughts:

Already represented here ideas about certain UFO parts requirement for manufacturing sounds good and is totally along the lines of OG.

Edited by cgerrr
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Proposal

You've been discussing the economics of setting up a second strike team. Fine, here's a carroty suggestion. How about a) dropping the cost of a previous tier/item when a new tier/item is researched, or b) permitting specific research topics that drop the manufacturing cost of a specific tier or item.

Hmmm I like your idea very much. Very nice and well explained too.

Just a small suggestion what do you think about making new weapons more expensive for lets say 1 month. I have no time right now to think about possible game mechanics consequences but its in my opinion easier to explain in Xenopedia why new weapons are more expensive in production (cause they are only prototypes and we dont have assembly lane yet blah blah).

How u will explan to players why old weapons become cheaper "Just After" researching Laser Weaponary for example, in terms of game coherency? From mechanic point of view I rly like your idea but how to put it into game without this strange feeling "hey this is weird? What the hell game devs did that?"

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I have a proposal that might solve these problems and simultaneously reduce the GC grind factor. What if only a certain fraction of downed UFOs spawn a crash site? This could be easily justified as UFOs that explode mid-air or vaporize when impacting the ground due to damage caused to certain systems.

This would results in less crash sites and less possible grind. Furthermore if you increase the monetary reward and the experience gains of missions, while keeping airstrikes lower, it gives a real incentive to do them. A second strike and third team would also make sense because otherwise you miss missions and gain much less money and resources. To prevent the possibility of one Chinook covering all global crash sites you could simply reduce the time a crash site exists. This would mean you have to have a dropship and crew nearby, and could also force you to do more night missions. Terror sites would still exist long enough to get any dropship too, so you don't get RNGd before you can expand your strike teams.

Another benefit of quicker leveling troops is that if you lose some in the late game, you don't have to grind through as many missions to train up rookies.

I think current game mechanics prevent crash sites and terrors from disappearing when there is at least one dropship assigned to them.

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just my 2c from a not-so-experienced player:

I had an idea for a mod where things like alien corpses, captured aliens and the UFO power sources and other gizmos would have a sell value. I've always been disapointed how little of anything the UFOs start yielding about the time when Cruisers start coming around. So early UFOs would yield comparatively little extra cash but once you get more and more exotic gizmos to sell to the world goverments you'd get more money from it.

I don't know if I'm the only one but I always hit a point where maintenance costs outstrip any relations gains. I think it has something to do with how difficult escorted Cruisers are to deal with anything else than Marauders. Marauders are more bottlenecked by Alenium than money. So you need aircraft to shoot down UFOs to get Alenium. Aircraft have maintenance costs. Maurauders take a good while to build, especialy without the base upgrades. So it kind of becomes a tighrope of balancing between keeping existing air cover and getting rid of old planes to get Marauders.

What usualy happens is that I don't have enough Marauders to deal with Cruisers and they start sinking the relations real fast. Ground combat missions just become kind of tedious after Carriers, the UFOs are really big and the gains feels disapointing by comparison.

I think that the later game shift to a kind of a scavenger economy is actualy cool but also that the rewards from it are a bit too sparse.

I also think that the second drop team has a more important secondary function than just getting money. I would use the secondary team to train replacement troops for the first team. Or at least it had when you could and needed 12/16 troops in the lategame. This way you're a bit less screwed over if you lose some experienced troops because you get reserves. But secondary drop teams are pretty expensive to run and a lot of the time I end up doing a lot of GC missions just to get more money to maintain them.

I do agree that perhaps having some of the late-game stuff require recovered alien components would be good. I just don't know what would be good canditates for those techs. Having Marauders require Cruiser engines would IMO be pretty harsh except maybe if Corsair gets turned into something else than a novelty for people who are really good at the air combat.

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Why so much dislike for Corsair? It is reasonably fast, highly maneuvrable, has good HP and powerful weapons. With plasma casters it downs a landing ship singlehandedly. Besides it eats alien fighters for breakfast, which isn't something a Foxtrot can do. It isn't a Marauder, but then, it doesn't need to be.

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Why so much dislike for Corsair? It is reasonably fast, highly maneuvrable, has good HP and powerful weapons. With plasma casters it downs a landing ship singlehandedly. Besides it eats alien fighters for breakfast, which isn't something a Foxtrot can do. It isn't a Marauder, but then, it doesn't need to be.

I don't like how they can't deal with anything without getting damaged themselves. So after every combat you either wait for them to repair or risk losing them. Waiting for the repairs is almost as bad as losing them anyway.

Sure they can eat alien escort fighters but they'll be sitting in the repair bay after that. Then the next wave comes.

It's an interesting combat that may work for really experienced players. I really just build them for dealing with fighters and sometimes I wonder if that's even worth the effort. And I'm not the only one who'd rather wait for Marauders.

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I find Corsairs exceptionally handy without requiring some impressive air-combat skills, they are an important asset to have before reaching Marauders for sure. I dread handling escorted aircraft with Condors so I never skip them.

Do you always autoresolve aircombat? Corsairs can flank most enemies rather easily to avoid LoF and shoot them down without taking any damage at all. Especially if you have another aircraft to divert attention.

Handling a trio of fighters isn't that hard either, just put your Corsair on afterburner and aim to position it sideways of the fighters. Before they can maneuver to engage you will shoot down all of them.

Edited by KevinHann
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