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xanieeee

General rifle balance

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Hullo. I've recently discovered this little gem of a game. I came from playing XCOM(2012) with Long War mod and I thought it was the best gaming discovery I had in years. This game just surpassed it. I love it.

While some gamers are keen to story, maybe others on the graphics, a few on the settings and atmosphere I'm very well into game balance.

Currently I am doing a run with XCE 0.32 normal/ironman(my first run that passed the third month). I am almost done. I'm just waiting for the END GAME research to finish. While playing this run I have noticed that rifles has become less and less useful over the course of the game. They are of good balance and utility when your troops are still using ballistics and laser weaponry, but once you go to plasma and beyond their falloff becomes very noticeable. An extreme falloff would be when you get access to Predator armor. Your heavy guy, thanks to the armor, can basically do what your rifleman does.. 10 times better.

Let's get some points up.

On early/mid game:

+MG has better damage/TU

+Better penetration

+A single 10 round burst almost always secures a suppression if your victim was lucky enough to live

-Heavy weapon

-Heavy ammo

-Hard time moving and shooting at the same turn

Now when you have your Predator armor up it becomes:

+MUCH better damage/TU

+Better penetration, like above

+Suppression wizard, like above

+With 100 STR, it's not a problem lugging it around anymore

+With 100 STR, it's not a problem packing up 10 "magazines" for it

+No more problems with walking and shooting at the same turn

As I figure the only advantage a rifle has over a predator-MG soldier is that they can switch to single shots to not damage the environment. And of course precious UFO parts. But other than that I can't find a reason for any of them to hold a rifle anymore.

I only have experience on normal/ironman. Comments and opinions from higher difficulty players are most welcome!

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Yup, the Predator with the MG is basically a terminator and does more damage than any other class of weapon - but as the Predator can't use any other weapons, you need to pick any utility weapons you want on the final armour (which has less firepower but extra utility over the Predator).

The Predator is meant to be a bit OP, as it marks the part of the game where you start stomping on the aliens rather than vice versa.

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Heh, Terminator. Funny that used that word. When I was talking to my friend a few minutes after trying out this armor I called it "my very own terminator".

I'm more focused about the usefulness of the rifle class, though. The predator might make MG guys OP, but other classes still has their own uses throughout the entire game. Shotguns are still better at camping corners and assaulting rooms, shields are still good at soaking up reaction fire damage so that your main guys can get their shot in without getting killed, snipers with their added mobility(flying armors) and accuracy are good at taking down enemies from a safe position, and of course rocketeers still solves a lot of problems. It's only the rifle that has been phased out entirely. It doesn't have its own niche anymore to effective deploy it without gimping your squad.

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Rifle is something average.. its a weapon for every purpose but not so good at all..

Rifles always have better accuracy compared to MG, but MG got more bullet. Yes terminator armours make MG a very powerfull tool and can replace rifle easily.. everything can replace rifles easily at correct situation, like near enemy, shotgun; far enemy sniper; many enemy, mg; hard to hit enemy, rocket launcher... so at military, rifle is important for soldiers because you cant uess the situation will take place and rifles are the easiest for default army; but at a spec ops like Xenonauts with few ppl, it needs special weapons.

Another problem is a powerful rifle can overcome every situation.. if the rifle got good accuracy, then you dont need sniper. If it has good damagei you dont need shotgun, if it got suppression, you dont need MG... so i prefer a worse then everything rifle to use the other weapons..

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My conviction is that the rifle really has no place in Xenonauts. It is kinda ok in close range, decent in mid range and kinda ok on long range. But here is the thing - in mid range and long range, sniper is superior, in close range shotgun is superior. In real life, versatility is a good thing, but in this particular game it is not. I engage the aliens in long range fighting, with snipers, MG:s and rocket launchers, using shield/pistol combo for scouts. These guys also carry shotguns.

Where is the place for a rifle in such a build? Granted, there are other methods of fighting, where the rifle might actually fit well. One point about the Predator though - it is kinda expensive. You can get a bunch of powerful rifles with the price of one predator armor.

Edited by inRain

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My conviction is that the rifle really has no place in Xenonauts. It is kinda ok in close range, decent in mid range and kinda ok on long range. But here is the thing - in mid range and long range, sniper is superior, in close range shotgun is superior. In real life, versatility is a good thing, but in this particular game it is not. I engage the aliens in long range fighting, with snipers, MG:s and rocket launchers, using shield/pistol combo for scouts. These guys also carry shotguns.

Where is the place for the rifle in such a build?

But that weapons all got some down sides. Snipers shot only limited bullets per turn. Shotgun is very short range. MG is low accuracy, miss much. Rocket can be carried limited and destroys the items.. So your rifle man will open the area when the fire started.. You found an enemy far? fire.. you found an enemy near? fire.. rifles are for everywhere. Rifles buy you time when your sniper gets position, your shotgunner goes to close range...

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The thing is there is no downside as using MGs to replace rifles when you have the predator armor. That's the point I wanted to make.

I just finished my run just now. I'm downloading X-Division to try it out. Looks very promising!

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Yup, the rifle does become a bit obsolete once you get the Predator, but that's the cost of making the Predator act a bit differently to the other armours. We figured the trade-off was worth it.

I think rifles more than justify their place in the game up until that point, though. You'll have more raw power with a mix of snipers and shotgunners, but good luck clearing a UFO with precision rifles if the shotgunners get killed (not that there's any "correct" tactics, of course - play the game however works for you).

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You nailed it. I'm trying to think of a way to make rifles not get obsolete even after getting predators. Hmm.

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The limited visibility for Predator armour is a major drawback as is the way they smash door mechanisms. A balanced mix of Sentinel armoured Mag riflemen and Predators is my preferred set up. My experience has been that Predators won't reaction fire when down to last burst whilst Sentinel armour troops will spin 180 degrees to shoot and use multishot for close targets so they look after one-another.

I just finished operation endgame and tried to beat my previous record of kills. I had 4 Predators lugging mag-storms and 31 mag reloads each with 8 Sentinels with mag rifles, medikits and as many magazines as they could carry without dropping below 80% TUs. I carried 2 plasma charges for the generators.

Cleared the map and then hunkered down in front of teleporter where Predators offloaded 10 magazines to each rifleman. During the ensuing massacre we despatched 986 aliens (mostly reapers of course) before teleporting out when last rounds had been fired. My 8 riflemen had each killed in excess of 100 aliens but the highest scoring Predator had only 42. This shows how much more likely riflemen are to reaction fire with good visibility and underlines how the Predator is best used as an offensive weapon. Oddly enough, the limiting factor on my kill ratio was that many of the riflemen had relatively low accuracy since the Predators had done so much of the killing leading up to final mission.

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986 aliens? My god...

I'm not going to pretend it was terribly exciting after the break in battle what with all the hidden movement but the carpet of reaper courses was most impressive. I hate to think what would have happened had an alien turned up with an area-effect weapon whilst the "thin blue line" was mowing down the reapers.

The most entertaining aspect was managing ammunition. Since my riflemen had various reaction and accuracy combinations I found that 2 of the worst shots had the highest reaction scores (since they had started as shotgunners in an assault role they had only needed to shoot a few times on missions as it tended to be pretty final when they did) and now they were typically blazing away 4 times a turn but often failing to hit. I had some very accurate soldiers with slower reactions who usually mopped up but when the reapers bunched and then came in as 10 or more instead of the usual 4-6 a turn it came down to the 2 soldiers with lousy reaction times and because the reapers had got really close to trigger them they always fired multi-shot. This meant I had variable ammunition usage so faced worrying situations when everyone was close to empty at the same time - it certainly kept you on your toes but was very satisfying when soldiers were dropping magazines and shifting position so someone on empty could dash in and replenish just in time to stop the next wave.

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Did some more missions to improve reactions, strength (every magazine counts) and accuracy, got the 4 MAG-Stormers to leave as soon as the break-in battle was finished so they basically acted as mules for ammo and settled down with the 8 MAG-rifles to eventually kill 1,357 out of 1,400. Top scores were 200 and 198 with 2 of them not making triple figures.

I won't be doing that again in a hurry. Had to send out scavengers to pick up alien grenades just to keep going by the end.

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Or even a screenshot of the carnage :)

I tried to do that but stupidly managed a fascinating shot of my desktop. I have the game saved just before the end so will figure out how to get it right and post it. :o

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If you run the game in a window (selected from the launcher) - you will be able to make screenshots.

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223830_2015-06-26_00005.jpg


This is where they still had a couple of magazines left each. Bear in mind that the corpses in the doorway are literally hundreds deep. I sometimes had MAG Storms in echelon to either side (to avoid shooting each other when adjacent) but found that you get a better kill-ratio with rifles (4-6 instead of 3).

The cleaner is going to have something to say about this...

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Just had a thought... If I take 2 Sentinels with plasma charges to knock out generators and then 10 Predators with 33 mags each I can make sure I have no TUs for reaction firing and instead let the reapers get into the chamber on their turn and use my movement to line up as many gribblies as possible to get a greater kill-ratio. I could hopefully get 2-3 in a burst and with the extra ammo from the Predators I should easily manage close to 2,000. Could be brown-trousers time letting the damn things get close but will be a lot more proactive than letting the riflemen reaction-fire.

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Thanks guys, although I think OCD has a lot to answer for.

I was musing on how the end game could be tweaked so that the Chief Engineer and Chief Scientist have to come with the team. The alien fail-safe isn't to crash-land the ship but to realease the gribblies to charge for the teleporter which is set up to transport them to a major city. Teleporting such an enormous number of lifeforms over that distance will completely drain the ship's power source leaving it as a drifting hulk, hence why it isn't used normally for attack.

Our Boffin and Bodger have to race against time breaking the coding on the alien transporter so that once the last human teleports to safety it changes its alignment to send the chittering horde straight into THE HEART OF THE SUN. You therefore have to hold back the purple waves long enough to complete the work (presumably with suitably sarcastic remarks from the Scientist who is my hero). The length of time you need to hold out would vary on game-setting but would certainly add an edge as failure to realign the portal would mean curtains for planet Earth.

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Just had a thought... If I take 2 Sentinels with plasma charges to knock out generators and then 10 Predators with 33 mags each I can make sure I have no TUs for reaction firing and instead let the reapers get into the chamber on their turn and use my movement to line up as many gribblies as possible to get a greater kill-ratio. I could hopefully get 2-3 in a burst and with the extra ammo from the Predators I should easily manage close to 2,000.

Sigh. I put this to the test and can tell you 2 things for certain:

1) 10 Mag-Storms go through Operation Endgame like sh*t through a goose

2) You can't get those gribblies to line up nicely for burst fire to match the kill ratio of reaction fire from rifles - it's futile in the main corridor and in the throne room they catch you in the only place where they line up.

Hilariously, however, I dutifully packed a grand total of 2 plasma charges (1 for each sentinenel) so as to maximize ammo capacity and flung them on the generators after wiping the remains of the sibellian's off my boots, as you do. I set the timers to 2 so as to avoid the embarrasment of short throws and stood back to admire my handiwork. One went off leaving a satisfying pile of smouldering shards where the generator had previously stood but the other went off doing seemingly no damage. In a towering rage I summoned the full maturity of my 47 years and put 3 rounds rapid-fire into it. Kaboom! Didn't expect that. As a dedicated follower of Dranak's hilarious campaigns I remember when his grenades failed to destroy them and thought I was knackered as his very dead heroes were in the same circumstances but we all got home alright.

Next time is the big one. I have my squad pretty well maxed out on stats and intend to sail comfortably over my previous record. I'll be sure to take plenty of snaps this time and show you the final score card...there ought to be a medal struck for 200 kills in one mission :D

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Crikey. That was a marathon. I spent a few days grinding through missions to build up stats and ended with everyone maxed out for TUs, Strength and Accuracy and had Reflexes ranging from 58 to 81. I gave the lowest 4 Reflexes the Magstorms and everyone else yomped in with a full inventory of clips for the Mag rifles which reduced the Sentinel troopers to 72 TUs. I had 3 medikits and 2 plasma charges so was carrying 386 magazines (including those loaded).

The break-in went smoothly with both generators knocked out by the plasma charges but some grotty luck with dread meant that I had to fight a delaying action against the reapers whilst the rest of the squad cleared the ante-chamber and throne room. I straight away set about clearing lanes of fire in the throneroom by moving the furniture out of the way...alright, I atomised it with the Magstorms:

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I fired off remaining bursts on MagStorms and got the gunners to teleport out of there. We then settled in for the slaughter which culminated in this:

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My final rounds have just been fired and the weary but exultant troopers have teleported to safety. Here is the final tally:

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That's right, 1,763 aliens killed with top scorer on 281 (no medal but at least he got a boost to his reflexes which made it all worthwhile).

We expended a staggering 4,632 rounds with a kill rate of 38% (that's about 2.63 rounds per kill). Reapers? Schmeapers!

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