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Version V6.3 is now out on the Experimental branch and contains a number of balance updates based on community feedback from the previous build. This thread is the place for people to make balance suggestions (not feature requests) so we can continue to improve the gameplay experience with every new build - there's plenty of work left to be done, but all these small changes certainly add up over time!

The balance changes made in V6.3 were:

  • Suppression is now applied on miss shots as well as hit shots (fixed a bug in the suppression)
  • Grenade throw cost increased to 25TU, from 15TU
  • Ballistic Rifle / SMG - Single shots now cost 12/18/24 TU instead of 14/20/28 TU, with the most accurate fire mode dropping to 120% Accuracy from 130% Accuracy. Burst fire now costs 25TU instead of 30TU.
  • Ballistic LMG Accuracy increased to 45%, from 35%
  • Large Psyon Accuracy decreased from 70 to 65, small Psyon accuracy unchanged
  • Small Sebillians down to 70HP from 100HP, large Sebillians down to 160HP from 180HP
  • Small Sebillian Accuracy increased to 60, from 55
  • Sebillian energy resistance increased to 30%, from 0%
  • Wraith Accuracy increased to 75, from 60
  • Wraith Reflexes increased to 70, from 50
  • Wraith energy resistance dropped to 0%, from 50%
  • Mantid Accuracy increased to 65, from 60
  • Reaper Accuracy increased to 90, from 60
  • Androns now carry a version of the Alien Plasma Rifle that has a blast radius
  • Alien Plasma Rifle damage reduced to 55, from 60
  • Alien Magnetic Rifle now fires 3 shots with each attack, weapon accuracy halved and damage reduced to 30 from 45
  • Alien Magnetic LMG now fires 6 shots and has accuracy increased to 50% from 30%, damage reduced to 30 from 50
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Converted Weapons: I'm not sure what direction you want to take the converted mag/converted plasma weapons. Heck, I'm not sure what direction you want to take the rest of the tech tree armoury. I'm guessing that you want to say "Now you can use the enemies weapons against them, but DRAWBACKS" because otherwise why would I want to research/make any of the human gear? At the moment, the converted weapons are slightly more expensive to use than the basic ballistic, have the same accuracy (or feel as if they have the same accuracy) and do more damage. How's this for balance: no burst and no aimed on converted weapons, but damage normalised at 55, so converted alien weapons are noticeably clumsier (and in the case of mag weapons, it really hammers home what Sebs can do with them but you can't) but they are more powerful.

 

In short: No (Aimed), No (Burst), Damage: 55. 

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31 minutes ago, Max_Caine said:

Converted Weapons: I'm not sure what direction you want to take the converted mag/converted plasma weapons. Heck, I'm not sure what direction you want to take the rest of the tech tree armoury. I'm guessing that you want to say "Now you can use the enemies weapons against them, but DRAWBACKS" because otherwise why would I want to research/make any of the human gear? At the moment, the converted weapons are slightly more expensive to use than the basic ballistic, have the same accuracy (or feel as if they have the same accuracy) and do more damage. How's this for balance: no burst and no aimed on converted weapons, but damage normalised at 55, so converted alien weapons are noticeably clumsier (and in the case of mag weapons, it really hammers home what Sebs can do with them but you can't) but they are more powerful.

 

In short: No (Aimed), No (Burst), Damage: 55. 

So the intention of converted weapons in my head was to provide a quicker and cheaper alternative to a particular tech tier, but they are less effective than the equivalent human tier of weapon (this is potentially more useful for the Plasma Weapons because you might want access to some energy weapons for when you go up against Androns). I'm unsure if we'll have these converted weapons in the final game or not, though. They should probably be less accurate and cost more TU to use than the equivalent human weapons, but do the same damage as the equivalent human weapon tier.

As for the overall tech tree, I think the main change is that MAG weapons are now called Gauss weapons and are now the second tier of advanced weapon - and don't require Lasers to research them, so you can rush them if you want. Plasma weapons are now the ultimate tier of weapon. But honestly it's all still subject to change at this point.

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@Chris, wait, can we research non-converted ones? I've never gotten that :(  I thought that the converted ones were the end of it in V6 as I ran out of stuff to research and it never appeared in my tech tree.  Mind, this iteration is the first time I've seen Androns, so. . .

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Also, the balance so far seems heaps better! The suppression is still a bit hit and miss, but a bit improvement in game play. 

I've had an idea about how to get round the strength issue: have another building called the gym with a max capacity of 5 or so, and troops who are in it get a chance to increase if they stay in it for a certain number of days (like a week). So it may go up, it may not.  That way, it's not an easy way to loads of uber-strong tanks.  What do you think @Chris?

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After a few ground missions with these changes, first impressions:

Suppression is much better now, and the LMG doesn't feel like a waste. Still undecided if perhaps suppressed aliens have the ability to fire a bit too much.

Sebillians are much better now, no longer overpowered early on. The Brutes are still very scary if you encounter 2 at a time but they're probably fair.

1 hour ago, Chris said:

As for the overall tech tree, I think the main change is that MAG weapons are now called Gauss weapons and are now the second tier of advanced weapon - and don't require Lasers to research them, so you can rush them if you want. Plasma weapons are now the ultimate tier of weapon. But honestly it's all still subject to change at this point.

Are you still intending to mix things up with damage types or other features so that each tier isn't always strictly better than the previous one?

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Now that the LMG is worth using, it's easy to see the magazine is too big. With 50 bullets per mag and 5 per burst, there's no need to reload. In X1, machine guns were good for 3 bursts before reloading. A bit more could be okay, but not 10 bursts as now.

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I'm really liking most of the current balance. The only thing I've found is that I can have the gunner lay down two bursts and no suppression (on psions and lizards it seems 50/50 but wraiths and spiders appear immune like the androns and drones) 

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3 hours ago, Emily_F said:

I'm really liking most of the current balance. The only thing I've found is that I can have the gunner lay down two bursts and no suppression (on psions and lizards it seems 50/50 but wraiths and spiders appear immune like the androns and drones) 

Even bullets are scared of spiders.

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Thanks for the comments, I'm glad people are enjoying the new balance more.

The LMG is in a slightly awkward place at the moment because the short bursts do allow it to fire 10 bursts before requiring a reload. The obvious solution would be to drop the damage and increase the number of shots to 10, but an LMG fires the same rounds as an AR so I imagine that change will see an endless stream of complaints from gun lovers over the remainder of development (I might do it anyway). Alternatively I could just up the number of shots in a burst to 10 but drop the accuracy a bit and increase the TU cost, but doing that gives a significant buff to the close-range effectiveness of the LMG and reduces the mobility of LMG soldiers - I deliberately switched the weapon to a LMG rather than the HMG we had in X1 to make it more mobile but less damaging.

Regarding suppression, the Mantids and the Wraiths look like they're suppressible and both have the default 50 Bravery. I just tested it out and a single LMG burst is indeed capable of suppressing them. It's probably worth noting though that suppression is now applied by each bullet as it travels down its flight path. In X1 it didn't actually matter where the bullets went, suppression was just applied in a radius around the intended target. What that means is that suppression is less effective at long range because if a bullet doesn't pass close to the intended target then it will not apply suppression to them.

To answer specific questions:

  • I'm still not 100% sure about the Strength training effect. I might just set it to grant +1 strength on a mission if you spend at least 200TU carrying more than 70% of your max carry load, and +2 strength if your soldiers spends at least 200TU carrying more than their max carry load. But to make that more interesting we might have to provide set TU bonuses / penalties at certain weights - e.g. a soldier gets +10TU if they are carrying less than 70% of their max carry capacity, and gets -10TU as soon as they get overloaded (and then a scaling penalty if they go above 130% carry capacity maybe).
  • Yes, we are planning to have different weapon tiers have different properties, although I've only done a basic pass on this so far (e.g. laser weapons can't be reloaded but regenerate ammo, plasma weapons drain ammo each turn, etc).

 

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7 minutes ago, Chris said:

Thanks for the comments, I'm glad people are enjoying the new balance more.

The LMG is in a slightly awkward place at the moment because the short bursts do allow it to fire 10 bursts before requiring a reload. The obvious solution would be to drop the damage and increase the number of shots to 10, but an LMG fires the same rounds as an AR so I imagine that change will see an endless stream of complaints from gun lovers over the remainder of development (I might do it anyway). Alternatively I could just up the number of shots in a burst to 10 but drop the accuracy a bit and increase the TU cost, but doing that gives a significant buff to the close-range effectiveness of the LMG and reduces the mobility of LMG soldiers - I deliberately switched the weapon to a LMG rather than the HMG we had in X1 to make it more mobile but less damaging.

Regarding suppression, the Mantids and the Wraiths look like they're suppressible and both have the default 50 Bravery. I just tested it out and a single LMG burst is indeed capable of suppressing them. It's probably worth noting though that suppression is now applied by each bullet as it travels down its flight path. In X1 it didn't actually matter where the bullets went, suppression was just applied in a radius around the intended target. What that means is that suppression is less effective at long range because if a bullet doesn't pass close to the intended target then it will not apply suppression to them.

To answer specific questions:

  • I'm still not 100% sure about the Strength training effect. I might just set it to grant +1 strength on a mission if you spend at least 200TU carrying more than 70% of your max carry load, and +2 strength if your soldiers spends at least 200TU carrying more than their max carry load. But to make that more interesting we might have to provide set TU bonuses / penalties at certain weights - e.g. a soldier gets +10TU if they are carrying less than 70% of their max carry capacity, and gets -10TU as soon as they get overloaded (and then a scaling penalty if they go above 130% carry capacity maybe).
  • Yes, we are planning to have different weapon tiers have different properties, although I've only done a basic pass on this so far (e.g. laser weapons can't be reloaded but regenerate ammo, plasma weapons drain ammo each turn, etc).

 

OH hell yes to all the above! Also, could always try the XDiv thing and just give LMGs 1 extra shot. While using different calculations, it made them just reliable enough to suppress in two directions. Sounds like it might work for X2.

Our of curiosity, how does Suppression actually calculate now? Is it when bullets apply, they do Bravery damage, and suppress if bypassed, or...?

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Possible balance issue with planes - repair takes forever. As someone who isn't great at air combat, I withdrew a fighter with 10 HP from an Observer, and it seems to be taking something like 15 or more days to repair. Very slow.

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11 minutes ago, Solver said:

Possible balance issue with planes - repair takes forever. As someone who isn't great at air combat, I withdrew a fighter with 10 HP from an Observer, and it seems to be taking something like 15 or more days to repair. Very slow.

Auto Resolve, they come back fine every time. 

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True, but that's basically a cheat button at this point as it seems to always win with no damage taken, and autoresolve isn't what normal air combat is supposed to be like.

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1 hour ago, Solver said:

True, but that's basically a cheat button at this point as it seems to always win with no damage taken, and autoresolve isn't what normal air combat is supposed to be like.

Nope, but the air game isn't finished yet. 

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So one old, familiar balance issue - mind control is currently instant. That doesn't work well. It's not balanced, and more importantly, it does not feel fun or reasonable. One soldier that gets taken over is very likely to kill one teammate immediately, perhaps two.

We've been through this with X1, where basically everyone hated mind control working like that, and it had to be changed in a patch.

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I'd disgree there. A soldier hit with Mind War is still usable in the turn before it takes effect. You can take a few shots, and then dump all the gear the solider is carrying before it is mind controlled. 

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Personally I prefer the wear-down and control when weak method. Didn't know about the second turn thing, though the popup is also so dang fast I can barely tell it happened.

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59 minutes ago, Max_Caine said:

I'd disgree there. A soldier hit with Mind War is still usable in the turn before it takes effect. You can take a few shots, and then dump all the gear the solider is carrying before it is mind controlled. 

Oh, I had not made any connection between Mind War and mind control. I had mostly seen the effects of Mind War dissipate. Now I feel stupid.

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In that first move, were you are told that a trooper is Mind War, First drop their primary weapon and move to were the other troopers can not see him, then move or shoot the other team mates, but moving them out of sight of the alien controlled victim, until the next turn, as the effect only last for one turn. In the subsequent turn return the trooper to retrieve his weapon, and do this until the psyon is naturalised?

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This is going OT, but it's more TU efficient to drop everything in the same space and not move the soldier. If anything offensive is left, the soldier will use it (e.g. grenades even smoke). The solider wil otherwise simply run in a random direction. You can then run back to where you dumped the stuff.

 

Back OT.

 

Ballistic Pistols and Combat Shields

I hadn't really taken much notice of ballistic pistols until I got combat shields, as I didn't really use them. When I started to use combat shelds, I found them severely lacking. A pistol may be cheap to shoot for 10 or 15TUs, but they miss most of the time so you're not really going to do much, if any damage with them. Seeng as how pistols are the only ranged weapon a combat shield armed solider can use, the combat shield trooper needs a bit more bang for his buck to compete with other weapons. So, I experimented a bit with making ballistic pistols more like mag pistols. Making snap 3 shots help a lot with missing - one can imagine the pistolier is simply snapping shots off as quickly as he can What II did with normal was to keep it one shot, but to boost the accuracy from 80 to 120. 15 TUs doesn't seem a lot, but it adds up quite quickly even for high TU soldiers. 

Combat shields need a bit of a bost as well. For $100,000 and 5 alloys, they don't last very long against mag or plasma fire. My main use of combat shields is for those troopers to draw overwatch fire and storm positions that would be fatal for even shottie armed troopers to get in close with. I boosted the HP of shields from the master value of 80 to 150. They still don't last that long, but they last a lot longer than they do now!

In short: Pistol: (Snap) Shots Fired: 3, (Normal) Accuracy: 120. Combat shield: Hp val:150, max: 150. 

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Laser weapons - they're supposed to be limited in ammo due to the recharge mechanic, which I don't think works well now. They recharge every turn. A laser rifle has 5 ammo, so if you shoot 2 aimed shots per turn, you can still afford to do it for 5 turns. If you do a burst + normal, the next turn will still see you at 2/5 ammo, allowing two shots. Given that it's common enough to spend a turn repositioning with no targets in sight, I don't feel like lasers are severely limited by their low ammo now, which they are meant to be.

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I'm a little reluctant to comment on laser balance, seeing as like all the other tech beyond ballistic they're up in the air at the moment but there are a few things I can say. In the current iteration of lasers my first experience of laser was "they're so light!". In comparison to ballistic you can sudenly carry a lot more gear as you neither need nor can use spare energy cells and it's surprising how many weight units ammo takes up, especially the LMG. My personal thoughts on how to balance them were inspired by a comment of Chris's in the 6.2 balance thread, where autofire in Xco 1994 was considered the default. By making single shots expensive, but bursts cheap and making both reasonably accurate I lean towards using cheap autofire and as a result, a quick draining of the energy cell. With the laser rifle I actually took out snap and normal, leaving only aimed and burst reducing the cost of burst from 30 to 20 and boosting the accuracy from 45 up to 80 so in effect burst becomes the new normal. Also, I dropped the damage. If I understand correctly, the ballistic weapons have a base damage of 30 (from weapon.json). The general damage increase of 45-55 from lasers is a step up  but if you want to make Sebellians resiliant to energy weapons then their resilience has either got to go up or the damage of lasers has to go down as the extra damage from laser (another 15-25) is enough to counter the resilience of Sebellians. I reduced the damage in general down by 5 to heighten the difference betwen Psyons and Sebellians more clearly. 

 

In Short: (laser rifle): Remove (Snap) and (Normal), (Burst): Accuracy: 80, TU: 20. Damage: 40 (rifle/LMG) Damage: 32 (shotgun) Damage: 50 (Sniper rifle). 

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Unfortunately the lasers do not seem to carry reserve ammo on the belt or on the ready ammo slot, you only get one load of ammo, regardless of ammo in the ready belt?

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15 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

I'm a little reluctant to comment on laser balance, seeing as like all the other tech beyond ballistic they're up in the air at the moment but there are a few things I can say. In the current iteration of lasers my first experience of laser was "they're so light!". In comparison to ballistic you can sudenly carry a lot more gear as you neither need nor can use spare energy cells and it's surprising how many weight units ammo takes up, especially the LMG. My personal thoughts on how to balance them were inspired by a comment of Chris's in the 6.2 balance thread, where autofire in Xco 1994 was considered the default. By making single shots expensive, but bursts cheap and making both reasonably accurate I lean towards using cheap autofire and as a result, a quick draining of the energy cell. With the laser rifle I actually took out snap and normal, leaving only aimed and burst reducing the cost of burst from 30 to 20 and boosting the accuracy from 45 up to 80 so in effect burst becomes the new normal. Also, I dropped the damage. If I understand correctly, the ballistic weapons have a base damage of 30 (from weapon.json). The general damage increase of 45-55 from lasers is a step up  but if you want to make Sebellians resiliant to energy weapons then their resilience has either got to go up or the damage of lasers has to go down as the extra damage from laser (another 15-25) is enough to counter the resilience of Sebellians. I reduced the damage in general down by 5 to heighten the difference betwen Psyons and Sebellians more clearly. 

 

In Short: (laser rifle): Remove (Snap) and (Normal), (Burst): Accuracy: 80, TU: 20. Damage: 40 (rifle/LMG) Damage: 32 (shotgun) Damage: 50 (Sniper rifle). 

from an eye of balance, wouldn't that make single shots completely pointless on any AR style weapon provided you have any spare ammo?

0.8*acc*40*3/20 would yield a significantly higher amount of damage per TU regardless of range compared to 1.2*acc*40/24.

even when factoring in reloads (0.8*acc*40*3/(20+9) vs (1.2*acc*40/(20+3)..assuming a 12 shot magazine, 3 shot burst and a 36 TU point cost reload, (36/12 for aimed, and 36/4 for burst) 

just from this rough math, I would say it isn't really that surprising one would favor burst with these stats, it seems to be about 30% better with reloads factored in and even more so on close range once the accuracy from the single shot gets cap-blocked. I would see no reason to ever use the single shot.

as a sidenote, this can be offset if carrying large volumes of ammo would actually be a problem..however, X1 didn't actually have that problem weapons apart from maybe the rocket launcher (as it was 3 KG of mass for 1 shot) and missions weren't really marathon sessions that required deep ammo reserves (with most units being able to complete a fight having no more then 2 spare mags for the primary) if lasers are going the single self charge battery route in X2, this depends on the charge rate of said battery

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