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Since there was no thread for this, I'm starting one. Current balance issues I've noticed:

  • I feel like the 10-soldier squad has a negative effect on balance, but I won't go into detail, I've posted my thoughts in the Skyhawk thread.
  • The LMG ammo problem is still there, that is, a reload won't be needed under any realistic circumstances, as the LMG can be fired 10 times. To an extent, this problem exists with the rifles as well, with their 20-round magazines, exactly as in X1. I understand the desire to keep magazine sizes roughly realistic, but I also don't like how ammo isn't a factor for this tier. Wouldn't it be possible to make auto bursts fire twice the amount of rounds (6 for rifle, 10 for LMG) while halving suppression values?
  • Local forces are very strong in V8. Perhaps the accuracy is high? In my first three V8 missions, the locals killed four aliens. They shouldn't be that reliable. As a side note, it would be cool to support different stats for local forces on different maps, so sometimes you'd be supported by local military who are visibly superior to armed farmers.
  • Grenade throws cost 25 TU instead of being a percentage cost.
  • Too many Geoscape missions are spawned. By recruiting a few extra soldiers at the start, I can do enough missions during the first month to staff buildings and keep an income stream. Either reduce the mission quantity, or make some of them require multiple soldiers (though that is the plan I think).

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I´d vote for local forces and civilians to be treated like any other alien race. That is that you can freely define their stats and create a new rank="localRussian" under race="locals". The map would pull the local numbers in the exact same way X1 did, locals_localrussian_defensive 5. 5 is the number of these kind of units put on the map and defensive is the ( optional ) scirpt. That wouldnt only liven up the modding scene, it would also make it baby easy for Chris to put in whatever unit on whatever special map he wants. In either case all you have to do is supply the model.

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Melee weapons are incredibly inaccurate. I tried seeing what the combat knife is for, and went to knife a Sebillian, only to see the hit chance was 60%... missed both stab attempts. On another occasion, the stun baton had a 40% hit chance, so even worse. I doubt this is as intended, and it's likely a balance issue even if it is.

And what is the combat knife for anyway, aside from the cool factor? Getting into melee range is always risky, and I cannot imagine why you might ever want the knife instead of a pistol.

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I'd agree on melee being pretty dang unreliable. Maybe they should be able to be trained somehow? (Like a proficiency badge allowing someone to be more accurate with one type of weapon)

 

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20 hours ago, Solver said:

what is the combat knife for anyway, aside from the cool factor?

Does there have to be another reason? Well, in FPS games the melee is the finisher if you ever get up close. But I think it is a bit easier to spam it when playing turn based. It might work as a viable finisher if it were put to some skill check - like you can only successfully knife an enemy who has lower strength than you. So it can be cheesed early on (if you have enough TU to make it to point blank range), but you can't hack a sebillian until you get power armour.

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The issue here is that you're dealing with soldier equipment, which is limited in terms of what you can take (fortunately, unlike X1). If you're taking the knife, it's at the expense of something else. And from what I see, the knife is far inferior to anything else you could take with you.

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Based upon comments by Solver in this thread and Juan from the v7 balance thread I wondered if there was something to modding the starting weapon set so ballistic weapons shoot more bullets. And there is!

 

shootbulletmod.zip

 

Ballistic weapons in this mod

+Fire more Bullets. This is especially true with LMGs and Assault rifles. An LMG's theoretical ROF per turn is 10, an assault rifle is 6. Being able to fire more bullets helps to offset the generally weak nature of starting soldiers. 

- Do less damage. Not so much that you'll notice it with Psyons, but Sebillians do feel more tanky.It was neceesary to reduce the amount of damage that ballistic weapons did, otherwise it was too easy to steamroll, a combination of shootier and more dakka is too powerful 

+LMGs do more suppression damage

-Pistols are the devil. In the end, I settled for cheap shots.

 

I also have been experimenting with making aliens shoot more bullets. At the moment, aliens spend more time looking for cover than they do shooting back. I suspect that like in X1 aliens have a minimum to-hit value hardwired in. If their shot doesn't make the minimum to hit they don't shoot. This is to prevent aliens from standing in one spot and just shooting wildly away, a problem in early versions of X1. The problem with having a threshold is that aliens seem to never make the minimum, so they spend all their time looking for a better vantage point. So I've been experimenting with the accuracy values of aliens, trying to get it to the point where they will shoot more often, but not so high that they will always get past cover. 

 

+Psyons are more accurate

+Engineers especially so

-Alien plasma pistols do less damage - about as much as an assault rifle

+Brutes are harder to suppress. Once you suppress a Brute, they sit in a corner sucking their thumb.

+Brutes and sebillian warriors are more accurate.

 

If anyone is interested in trying out any of the changes, put files from the /weapon/ directory into /assets/assets/xenonauts/template/groundcombat/item/weapon/. The /psyon/ and /sebillian/ directories slot into /groundcombat/actor/combatant/psyon/default/ then /engineer/ or /soldier/  and /combatant/sebillian/default/ then /brute/ or /warrior/ as appropriate. Standard caveats apply, do make backups before replacing files in case something goes wrong. 

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4 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

Based upon comments by Solver in this thread and Juan from the v7 balance thread I wondered if there was something to modding the starting weapon set so ballistic weapons shoot more bullets. And there is!

 

shootbulletmod.zip

 

Ballistic weapons in this mod

+Fire more Bullets. This is especially true with LMGs and Assault rifles. An LMG's theoretical ROF per turn is 10, an assault rifle is 6. Being able to fire more bullets helps to offset the generally weak nature of starting soldiers. 

- Do less damage. Not so much that you'll notice it with Psyons, but Sebillians do feel more tanky.It was neceesary to reduce the amount of damage that ballistic weapons did, otherwise it was too easy to steamroll, a combination of shootier and more dakka is too powerful 

+LMGs do more suppression damage

-Pistols are the devil. In the end, I settled for cheap shots.

 

I also have been experimenting with making aliens shoot more bullets. At the moment, aliens spend more time looking for cover than they do shooting back. I suspect that like in X1 aliens have a minimum to-hit value hardwired in. If their shot doesn't make the minimum to hit they don't shoot. This is to prevent aliens from standing in one spot and just shooting wildly away, a problem in early versions of X1. The problem with having a threshold is that aliens seem to never make the minimum, so they spend all their time looking for a better vantage point. So I've been experimenting with the accuracy values of aliens, trying to get it to the point where they will shoot more often, but not so high that they will always get past cover. 

 

+Psyons are more accurate

+Engineers especially so

-Alien plasma pistols do less damage - about as much as an assault rifle

+Brutes are harder to suppress. Once you suppress a Brute, they sit in a corner sucking their thumb.

+Brutes and sebillian warriors are more accurate.

 

If anyone is interested in trying out any of the changes, put files from the /weapon/ directory into /assets/assets/xenonauts/template/groundcombat/item/weapon/. The /psyon/ and /sebillian/ directories slot into /groundcombat/actor/combatant/psyon/default/ then /engineer/ or /soldier/  and /combatant/sebillian/default/ then /brute/ or /warrior/ as appropriate. Standard caveats apply, do make backups before replacing files in case something goes wrong. 

I'll give this a test when in between bouts of baby duty. Sounds like XDiv, which is always good.

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About missions balance in v8.1

Started the game
Had about 10 ordinary missions - all of them were quite easy - seems ok for the start

Had 1 raid mission in month 1 with normal aliens (sebilians or whatever biological creatures) - average difficulty - seems like a normal upgrade over those first ordinary missions

Got another raid mission on month 2 with robots. Well, 7 big robots attacking me at once near dropship and exploding if I kill them - wtf... My squad is with ballistic weapon yet in composit armor (tier2) and killing 1-2 robots per turn seems to be the maximum of what I can do... and if they come close killing them turns into a suicide for my own soldiers. Looks like a bit too much for the 2 month mission.

 

Edited by Rusknight

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I believe in the first month of so, you're supposed to start reverse-engineering alien weapons so that your squaddies can use them. Alien weapons are without a doubt more powerful than baseline ballistic weapons, but the things is, you can get on by quite handily against Sebillians and Psyons with ballistics. It's not until you face the intentionally bulletproof Androns that you realise that you need bigger guns. My first encounter with Androns in v8 went exactly the same as Rusknights, only I lost 4 people to the explosion and as I am trying out the Iron Man, I NOPED outta there and saved the rest of the crew. 

 

What I found with mag and plasma is that were very similar in terms of to-hit and damage delivery. They were more expensive in TUs to use than ballistics (we're talking ordinary ballistics here - not my modded ones), had similar to-hits and well.. there wasn't a pressing ned to use them. I think converted alien weapons need to appear to be more attractive, while at the same time having drawbacks which don't make them the clear frontrunner to encourage their research and use. In experments with mag and plasma, I made mag and plasa shots less expensive to use - this made using them more attractive, as they started to compete with the assault rifle. At the same time, I tried experimenting with various way to give them drawbacks. It's possible to affect squaddie stats with weapons - you can boost or reduce any of the stats with a multiplier. So  biorganic weapon, for example, might reduce HP as it feeds on its operator. Or a clumsy weapon like the LMG reduces reflexes. Nothing felt right. then I tried altering the weight of alien weapons. This seemed a more interesting vector. Currently, the mag weapon in my game weighs 30 weight units, in comparison to the assault rifle, but the magazines only weight 2 weight units, in comparison to 4 for the rifle. The simulates to some degree that mag weapons are initally carried by walking hunks of muscle, who wouldn't have a problem with carrying large, weighty weapons and the magazines will be little more than shards for the rifle. If you want a solider to carry a converted mag rifle you're making a big, upfront investment in the gun. I went the other way with the plasma gun. Instea dof making that super heavy, I reduced the ammo in each power cell to 9, and upped the weight of the cells to 10! So plasma weapons weigh roughly the same as an assault rifle, but each additional power cell is large and heavy. It actually a decision to make wether you carry another power cell, or you carry something like a pistol instead when the plasma rifle runs out of juice. 

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1 hour ago, Max_Caine said:

I believe in the first month of so, you're supposed to start reverse-engineering alien weapons so that your squaddies can use them. Alien weapons are without a doubt more powerful than baseline ballistic weapons, but the things is, you can get on by quite handily against Sebillians and Psyons with ballistics. It's not until you face the intentionally bulletproof Androns that you realise that you need bigger guns. My first encounter with Androns in v8 went exactly the same as Rusknights, only I lost 4 people to the explosion and as I am trying out the Iron Man, I NOPED outta there and saved the rest of the crew.

I researched and produced some allien weapon indeed but looking at it's paremetrs I wasn't really sure it's worth equiping all my soldiers with it.

Anyway from the design point I think the game should not present you new enemies like this when you didn't meet androids before and then get 7 of them at once runing at you. You should meet 1 or 2 androids first at some mission to understand how dangerous they can be and adjust your tactics and weapon for new battles against them. 

I managed to complete this mission equiping all my squad members with MG to max raw firepower but it was quite dirty save-load victory. I doubt I could beat so many androids that early on iron man.

Edited by Rusknight

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I might say the early missions are too easy, but that's largely a side effect of the unnecessary change to 10 soldiers.

Weapon-wise, I kind of like the current balance between ballistics, mags and plasmas. Converted plasmas have high damage but high TU costs and no burst mode. Converted mags are pretty much better ballistics, with moderately higher TU costs, with burst mode, and damage somewhere in between ballistics and plasmas. I would perhaps lower the TU costs of plasmas a little bit, but in general I feel like the tradeoff is interesting.

My first encounter with Androns in V8 was rather lucky, it was an Observer crash site, and both Androns were in the UFO. I took one out, and the other one died in the explosion. They're a good deal more difficult than other enemies, but I think this is something X2 does well now. An X-Com game should have those moments where you're suddenly faced with a greater threat and see that it will not be easy. Sebillian Brutes and the first Androns you encounter are great in that role. 

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Right now there's not really been any testing of the alien invasion curve; I've played quite a few Probe missions for testing purposes over the last few months but I've not really tested the later missions. Unusual missions like Alien Base / Xenonaut Base Defence or even Raid / Terror missions might be wildly too hard or easy for the point in which they appear. This is something I do plan to start addressing in upcoming builds but by all means do flag up missions that are far too hard.

Sounds like Androns might be one of them :P

I actually thought I'd made Androns a support units for Wraiths whenver they appear, so if you're encountering missions that are just Androns then I've made a mistake somewhere. They're meant to be tough and scary but there should only be a few of them.

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@Solver, I respectfully disagree. Consider that both the Cmag and the Cplasma rifles are much more expensive to use in comparison to weapons from the ballistic family. For 50% of a squaddies TU, you get a shot which is less accurate than its ballistic cousin. For 68% you get an aimed shot which again, lags behind the ballistic variant. You're paying a lot of TUs to do a base 45 damage with the Cmag, and a base 60 with the Cplasma when the Ballistic LMG can rival either rifle type through its ROF, or the ballistic shotgun can rival it through the number of pellets it fires per shot. While the Cmag does add a snap, that weighs in at a hefty 36%, so it's not a shot you're going to take unless you have to, and the burst is a whopping 84% of TUs, so unless you're standing still you're never going to fire that mode. If I were to pick between the pair, then I would pick Cplasma every time. The number of shots per cell is high, the damage is incomparable and it may be expensive to use, but you're going to get your money's worth if you give it to a squaddie who knows what he is doing. Cmag needs a rework to compete with Cplasma or Ballistic, and you don't need either Cmag or Cplasma when ballistic is there for you. 

 

My thoughts on reworking both Cmag and Cplasma are as follows:

Reduce the amount of ammo per magazine/cell: Cmag and Cplasma have the same issue that ballistic does, only to a greater degree because a squaddie is likely to fire fewer shots.

Reduce the TU costs for some or all modes of Cmag: Cmag is too expensive to use in comparison to Ballistic, and Plasma does more damage. 

Make alien weapons heavier: At the point where converted alien weapons are introduced, squaddies are unlikely to boosted their strength a lot. The weight of a weapon has significant impact on what you can take into a battle, so making more poweful weapons heavier would be a factor in using them. From a thematic point of view, Sebillians are supposed to be walking slabs of muscle, and making the Cmag heavier would thematically make Cmag more distinct. 

(Optional) Introduce ammo degeneration on Cplasma: Cplasma is the clear front-runner for raw damage from the energy and ballistic schools until you get to human plasma. Ammo degeneration is significant drawback for a high-damage weapon. It prepares the player to expect ammo degeneration for human plasma. If you do this, then possibly keep Cplasma at it's 16-shot cell so denegeration is a factor to account for without totally nerfing the weapon. 

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When you enter into ground combat with a plasma weapon, you use it to take out an alien, and then use their weapon, which don't have power depletion issue, and so with each alien that you take down, you can rearm your soldiers. This fixes that problem, and adds a little something extra to the game!!

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20 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

@Solver, I respectfully disagree. Consider that both the Cmag and the Cplasma rifles are much more expensive to use in comparison to weapons from the ballistic family. For 50% of a squaddies TU, you get a shot which is less accurate than its ballistic cousin. For 68% you get an aimed shot which again, lags behind the ballistic variant. You're paying a lot of TUs to do a base 45 damage with the Cmag, and a base 60 with the Cplasma when the Ballistic LMG can rival either rifle type through its ROF, or the ballistic shotgun can rival it through the number of pellets it fires per shot. While the Cmag does add a snap, that weighs in at a hefty 36%, so it's not a shot you're going to take unless you have to, and the burst is a whopping 84% of TUs, so unless you're standing still you're never going to fire that mode. If I were to pick between the pair, then I would pick Cplasma every time. The number of shots per cell is high, the damage is incomparable and it may be expensive to use, but you're going to get your money's worth if you give it to a squaddie who knows what he is doing. Cmag needs a rework to compete with Cplasma or Ballistic, and you don't need either Cmag or Cplasma when ballistic is there for you. 

This paints a rather worse picture of converted weapons than I would say my experience is, but I haven't run the numbers. While Cplasmas are definitely very expensive to fire, my gut feeling has been that Cmags are only moderately more expensive to fire, but I'll need to play more, or do calculations on the actual numbers. At any rate, I agree that further balancing work there is needed.

One possibility could be to give converted weapons a buff all around, but also make their ammo limited, that is, make the weapons only use ammo you loot instead of having infinite ammo at the base as for human weapons. Not saying it has to be the solution, but it'd be good to keep in mind that ammo can be a factor to use in balancing, not only damage, accuracy and TU costs.

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I like the idea of limited converted ammo, it feels like they're a little too reliable in my book. Power wise I'd say the two complement each other pretty well with a mix of pews and dakkas

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Balance isn´t given in the get Engeneer / Scientists or Money Mission. The Game crashes at the final 2 Hour Countdown with an CTD and without Info. It was balanced up to the last 6.x Version.

After the 6.x Version that Bug came again in Version 7 and is still there in Version 8 follwowing.

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