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Closed Beta V11 Balance Thread

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Closed Beta V11 is now available on the Experimental Branch (instructions for how to switch over here); you can see the full changelog for the new version of the game here.

Unfortunately I've not had a chance to do a proper balance playthrough for the game recently, and I suspect a lot has changed due to the recent fairly major changes to the strategy - e.g. the Signal Uplinks, the Orbital Bombardments, the changes to Relations gain - and the addition of several new mechanics that affect the air combat like the Heavy interceptor armour, the fleeing UFOs and shield bubbles etc. Unfortunately, the ground combat hasn't seen much balancing work since the last build though.

I'll be starting a balance pass next week, so please use this thread as a place to comment on balance that seems wrong or broken as then I can pay specific attention to it as I play through the game.

For example, one user was recently talking about alloy / alenium starvation on the strategy layer, but I honestly can't remember if I've updated that in the last three months or not. Are really tough aliens like Androns still turning up way to early in the campaign, before you have a chance to develop the weapons you need to take them on? That sort of thing.

 

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In answer to Androns. Yes. Do please look at the human behaviour in the terror missions. I'm sure you're aware of it, just wanted to make sure it got some attention. Thank you.

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I can't wait to get to the hotel and try this for a bit. Sounds like a lot more going on this time around, and hopefully no room for Corvette Purgatory :)

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I test it since yesterday night. And I must say I´m surprised about the stability and ballance from this Beta. The last 3 or 4 Month of Development were realy needed. That I call a Beta which you can test and play from Head to Feat.

Edited by Alienkiller

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My initial thoughts on the 'weekly' alien bombardment mechanic is I feel the reputation/relations loss will outpace our ability to compensate for it. Maybe I've just had bad luck but by the third half of my first month my relations in Europe are down to 40, despite me having conducted extensive operations there.

From my initial observation of the new light/heavy armour for interceptors, I just have a feeling that we're going to end up with everyone using light armour over the heavy armour, if it comes to a choice between 100 extra aircraft health versus the ability to dodge, I'd rather be able to dodge and avoid damage instead of tanking more damage. It is early days however, and I do appreciate that, at this stage, it seem swapping between the armours is instant so you could change your aircraft load outs prior to sending them out on a intercept mission, this might be relevant later on. 

Just my quick thoughts.

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On the Andron issue, I've just encountered Androns on the 30th day of the first month on a 'raid' mission (I assume some kind of mini-terror mission). My best weapons are the improved ballistics. 

Speaking of guns, the Grenade Launcher seems, at its current state, useless. It has terrible accuracy at any range (at point blank I have a 40% hit chance, past about six or so tiles it drops to 0%) and it seems to fail to destroy cover or terrain. 

I could rant about some of the issues I have with the ground combat balance, but that's the joy of pre-early access. 

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Give the Launcher good shooters as well as LMG´s and Sniper. Yeah, the Launcher isn´t a precission Weapon, he is an Area-Weapon like the Grenade Launchers from the Army. The difference is that the one of Xenenonauts 2 is a Handheld weapon.

 

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So just a few thoughts form the first few missions in (probe only).

 

Firstly, it would be good to have more than just the MARS to research off the bat. Just perhasp a few projects, such as the MARS and maybe the HEVY. Just that with the starting scientists you research the MARs and then don't have anything to do, an it would be nice to have a choice in what to research after the welcome project is done. 

Secondly, and this will sound strange, but could "Tactical Armour" be changed in name to "Tactical Dress", or a similar sounding name? This is because "Tactical Armour" gives the impression that the solider is wearing armour, when it's very clear the squaddie is doing no such thing, and you have to select the armour module to actually put some real armour on the squaddie.  

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9 hours ago, Steelpoint said:

My initial thoughts on the 'weekly' alien bombardment mechanic is I feel the reputation/relations loss will outpace our ability to compensate for it. Maybe I've just had bad luck but by the third half of my first month my relations in Europe are down to 40, despite me having conducted extensive operations there.

From my initial observation of the new light/heavy armour for interceptors, I just have a feeling that we're going to end up with everyone using light armour over the heavy armour, if it comes to a choice between 100 extra aircraft health versus the ability to dodge, I'd rather be able to dodge and avoid damage instead of tanking more damage. It is early days however, and I do appreciate that, at this stage, it seem swapping between the armours is instant so you could change your aircraft load outs prior to sending them out on a intercept mission, this might be relevant later on. 

Just my quick thoughts.

Being down to 40 in a region doesn't sound too bad given you start at 50 ... but yeah, we'll have to play a bit further to see. You get a total of +70 Relations in every region just from research by the time you complete the tech tree, which is 21 weeks of Bombardment cancelled out even before you start counting the Signal Uplinks. I suspect what's happened though is you've not played far enough into the game to unlock Lasers yet? Those are the first tech that gives a Relations bonus. Perhaps I should stick smaller bonuses on some of the earlier projects too (e.g. Warden Armour, maybe even Alien Materials) so there's not such a time lag until the Relations boosts start arriving.

Re: the dodge, I suspect you're right and I need to switch up the UFO weapon balance. I think the weapons that can be dodged are probably so powerful that a craft that can't dodge will get annihilated by them even with their HP bonus ... and the weaker UFOs do so little damage you don't need the bonus HP. Maybe I'll boost the HP bonus a little, reduce the damage on the weapons that can be dodged, and slightly increase the damage on the weapons that can't be dodged. Hopefully that'll make the two a bit more evenly balanced.

5 hours ago, Steelpoint said:

On the Andron issue, I've just encountered Androns on the 30th day of the first month on a 'raid' mission (I assume some kind of mini-terror mission). My best weapons are the improved ballistics. 

Speaking of guns, the Grenade Launcher seems, at its current state, useless. It has terrible accuracy at any range (at point blank I have a 40% hit chance, past about six or so tiles it drops to 0%) and it seems to fail to destroy cover or terrain. 

I could rant about some of the issues I have with the ground combat balance, but that's the joy of pre-early access. 

Was it an entire raid of Androns, though? You are meant to encounter them fairly early in the game but you're meant to meet them as the support units of Wraiths ... so you're only meant to encounter one or two of them on the mission (where you can defeat them with sheer weight of fire). But any mission where you're encountering large numbers of Androns is a mistake I need to fix.

3 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

So just a few thoughts form the first few missions in (probe only).

Firstly, it would be good to have more than just the MARS to research off the bat. Just perhasp a few projects, such as the MARS and maybe the HEVY. Just that with the starting scientists you research the MARs and then don't have anything to do, an it would be nice to have a choice in what to research after the welcome project is done. 

Secondly, and this will sound strange, but could "Tactical Armour" be changed in name to "Tactical Dress", or a similar sounding name? This is because "Tactical Armour" gives the impression that the solider is wearing armour, when it's very clear the squaddie is doing no such thing, and you have to select the armour module to actually put some real armour on the squaddie.  

Yeah, I'd like a few options here too. In X1 we had the vehicle and the Foxhound intereceptor, but we've removed the latter from the game. I'm open to ideas of what we could have - potentially the heavy armour for the Falcon, the HEVY, maybe stun weapons? But it's a bit difficult to justify why any of those things might be available for research despite the fact the player hasn't actually encountered the aliens yet (this also sorta applies to the MARS).

The complication with not calling the basic armour "Armour" is that all of the advanced armour is actually protective in its default form, and just becomes more protective when you add on the extra armour (i.e. the "extra armour" module is just something you enable for strong soldiers). But potentially the "Tactical Armour" could become the "Tactical Suit", I guess. I think it's a slightly weird thing to get worked up about but I also very much doubt you'll be the last person to point it out unless I change it, so I guess I'll just do it now :P

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9 hours ago, Alienkiller said:

I test it since yesterday night. And I must say I´m surprised about the stability and ballance from this Beta. The last 3 or 4 Month of Development were realy needed. That I call a Beta which you can test and play from Head to Feat.

Glad you're enjoying it!

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On 2/7/2020 at 9:36 PM, Dangermouth said:

In answer to Androns. Yes. Do please look at the human behaviour in the terror missions. I'm sure you're aware of it, just wanted to make sure it got some attention. Thank you.

The AI will get some attention in the medium term, as right now the aliens and the civilians have incredibly crude AI. So it's definitely something we'll fix but it might not be until after the Early Access launch.

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36 minutes ago, Chris said:

The AI will get some attention in the medium term, as right now the aliens and the civilians have incredibly crude AI. So it's definitely something we'll fix but it might not be until after the Early Access launch.

Thank you. 

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Ideas for starting research:

I figure stopping in the air would be the first goal, so...

Sidegrade air armor

Cool, but impractical air weapon, like a grapeshot missile.

Thruster sidegrades

On the ground...

Recon tools of some kind

Additional armor modules

Ammo types

Faster meds

Crappy stun

New base facilities

Dropship modules

 

 

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12 hours ago, Coffee Potato said:

Ideas for starting research:

I figure stopping in the air would be the first goal, so...

Sidegrade air armor

Cool, but impractical air weapon, like a grapeshot missile.

Thruster sidegrades

On the ground...

Recon tools of some kind

Additional armor modules

Ammo types

Faster meds

Crappy stun

New base facilities

Dropship modules

Yeah, but I guess the point I was driving at is why would you start researching this stuff before you've encountered your enemies and have any idea what the sort of war you'll be fighting is?

We might have to add some kind of opening mission like in XCOM, maybe.

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4 hours ago, Chris said:

Yeah, but I guess the point I was driving at is why would you start researching this stuff before you've encountered your enemies and have any idea what the sort of war you'll be fighting is?

We might have to add some kind of opening mission like in XCOM, maybe.

It would be pretty cool to be able to have the option to play a week as the doomed base. 

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Yep I enjoy it too. But check the Robot-Units from the Aliens and the Destroyer-UFO Ground Mission. See Bug Report, I have done to today.

What I wanna have as Resrach Back is the Foxtrott with the Gun and normal Missels as a long Range Interceptor.

Edited by Alienkiller

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Impressions and Suggestions for the MARS

I gotta confess, I'm underwhelmed with the MARS. My first impression of it soured me on it almost immediately. I got it out the dropship, shot at a Sebillian and the Sebillian killed the MARS with counterfire. 31, 24, 27 and that's all she wrote. The Sebillian was getting the kind of average damage numbers it would get verses a squaddie and at the time all I could think was Two Hundred Thousand Dollars!  (plus some swearing). At the start of the game, $200k is not small potatoes. After that, I was more likely to throw a squaddie at a problem than a MARS because squaddies are cheap and disposable in comparison to the MARS. (Don't get me wrong, it's not like I WANT squaddies to die, but it's not like I'm going to reload a mission if a squaddie or two snuffs it. There's always more where they came from!). 

 

Following that, I dug into the JSON file and did a few alterations. From my experments, I would like to make two suggestions. First thing, double the health. 160HP seems a lot, but it's not. It's surprising just how quickly 160HP can vanish but then you don't really see the kind of damage that even a simple mag pistol can do as squaddies (especially starting squaddies) tend to die on the second or third hit in a row. Second thing I suggest is to bump the AP from 80 to 100. While I was only testing the MARS in its stock configuration, 40-ish AP (8-10 tiles after firing a burst) didn't seem fast enough for a scout. The 2 extra tiles you normally get (50-ish AP as opposed to 40-ish AP) feels like that little bit extra which makes the MARS truly "scouty" and a lot more zoomy than squaddies.  I'm attaching my strategy test file for the MARS so you can give it a try. 

 

mars.json

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Yep you are right Max_Caine. The MARS-Scout-Vehicle get destroyed very fast if you don´t watch for them. The Armor and HP is good against normal Ballistic-Guns, like for the Soldiers with Kevlar-Vest and the Upgraded Kevlar-Vest.

But against Plasma they have no Chance. The MARS get destroyed very fast with Plasma-Guns (2 shoots), the same with the atm best safety on your Soldiers. I haven´t found an better Armor yet for them as the starting Armor with the Kevlar Ugrapde and Shields. 

The normal Starting Armor with Kevlar (Soldiers) and after researching the Alien-Material the Kevlar-Upgrade and MARS-Starting Armor are for a long time the best you get (2,5 to 3 Month).

The Soldiers have an the Vest, maybe the MARS don´t have such an Armor. It has only the Breather-Thing for an upgrade.

Edited by Alienkiller

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2 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

Impressions and Suggestions for the MARS

I gotta confess, I'm underwhelmed with the MARS. My first impression of it soured me on it almost immediately. I got it out the dropship, shot at a Sebillian and the Sebillian killed the MARS with counterfire. 31, 24, 27 and that's all she wrote. The Sebillian was getting the kind of average damage numbers it would get verses a squaddie and at the time all I could think was Two Hundred Thousand Dollars!  (plus some swearing). At the start of the game, $200k is not small potatoes. After that, I was more likely to throw a squaddie at a problem than a MARS because squaddies are cheap and disposable in comparison to the MARS. (Don't get me wrong, it's not like I WANT squaddies to die, but it's not like I'm going to reload a mission if a squaddie or two snuffs it. There's always more where they came from!). 

Following that, I dug into the JSON file and did a few alterations. From my experments, I would like to make two suggestions. First thing, double the health. 160HP seems a lot, but it's not. It's surprising just how quickly 160HP can vanish but then you don't really see the kind of damage that even a simple mag pistol can do as squaddies (especially starting squaddies) tend to die on the second or third hit in a row. Second thing I suggest is to bump the AP from 80 to 100. While I was only testing the MARS in its stock configuration, 40-ish AP (8-10 tiles after firing a burst) didn't seem fast enough for a scout. The 2 extra tiles you normally get (50-ish AP as opposed to 40-ish AP) feels like that little bit extra which makes the MARS truly "scouty" and a lot more zoomy than squaddies.  I'm attaching my strategy test file for the MARS so you can give it a try. 

mars.json

Those stats sound pretty powerful; the Hunter in X1 only had 70 TU and 100HP (although admittedly it had quite heavy armour). I'll drop the cost to $100k and up the HP to 100HP and we'll see what we've got then.

We need to do a little work to allow modules to edit the stats of units, but when we do I suspect I'll add an armour module that makes the MARS substantially tougher but slower, and then maybe tweak the stats some more.

1 hour ago, Alienkiller said:

Yep you are right Max_Caine. The MARS-Scout-Vehicle get destroyed very fast if you don´t watch for them. The Armor and HP is good against normal Ballistic-Guns, like for the Soldiers with Kevlar-Vest and the Upgraded Kevlar-Vest.

But against Plasma they have no Chance. The MARS get it destroyed very fast with Plasma-Guns (2 shoots), the same with the atm best safety on your Soldiers. I haven´t found an better Armor yet for them. 

The normal Starting Armor with Kevlar (Soldiers) and after researching the Alien-Material the Kevlar-Upgrade and MARS-Starting Armor are for a long time the best you get (2,5 to 3 Month).

The Soldiers have an the Vest, maybe the MARS don´t have such an Armor. It has only the Breather-Thing for an upgrade.

Yeah, you're right - at the moment the MARS doesn't have any upgrades as you progress down the tech tree. That's something I'll add in the next major build (v12) I think. 

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I know the stats I'm suggesting sound super potent, but if we're talking about the Hunter it had a price tag of $60k, amazing armour, better accuracy and the twin .30 cals had 10(!) shots. In comparison the MARS is as squishy as the squaddies, has the same weapon choice as squaddies and is not as accurate as squaddies. When it comes to protecting your investment, AP is helpful in getting into cover, and HP is what you need when you can't get it to safety. The MARS currently is one hell of an investment and I'm not seeing a return on it when it can blown away as easily as a squaddie. I'd rather invest the cash in armour and gear for the squaddies because if I loose a squaddie, I can pull that off the still smoking corpse and hand it to the next one in line. 

 

EDIT: Would it be possible then to be able to send the MARS back to the workshop, even if it gets wrecked? If I thought that I could fix the MARS instead of having to build a new one from scratch that would help the sticker shock. 

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2 hours ago, Max_Caine said:

EDIT: Would it be possible then to be able to send the MARS back to the workshop, even if it gets wrecked? If I thought that I could fix the MARS instead of having to build a new one from scratch that would help the sticker shock. 

Yes, this is exactly what I was going to suggest. The MARS spawns an item when it's destroyed (which is why the wreckage offers cover), and we can make that a recoverable item - and then create a workshop project called "MARS Rebuild" that only appears when you have MARS Wreckage in your base stores.

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The Hunter was still a dubious choice since you were sacrificing two soldier slots for one vehicle that does not earn experience. At the very least the MARS has the advantage you only take one slot. 

There's a mod for OpenXcom (Hardmode) that adds scout drones to the game, one of their benefits is that if it is destroyed you get back the wreckage and you can rebuild the drone at half the cost it would take to buy a new one, assuming you recovered the wreck. That kind of feature would definitely improve the usability of the MARS, in addition at this stage I feel the MARS is more a proof of concept since it lacks any real upgrade options that I assume it'll get in later game versions as we get better tech. 

--

Back on the aircraft heavy armour. One thing I was thinking to add some incentive to use heavy armour is that any aircraft that is damaged while using heavy armour can be repaired much faster, and that if a heavy armour aircraft is shot down, then the craft can be recovered faster than an aircraft with light armour. 

At the end of the day, you'd rather not take damage than take it, but if taking damage or even losing your aircraft did not punish you as hard then I think there might be a reason to have a few heavy armour aircraft to act as the tanks.

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Yep Steelpoint. The Repair of Aircrafts are very very long. Here I have an Idea to Minimise the Repairtime. That Feature was in in the last Builds and can be integratet in an Hotfixpatch very fast again.

Here it comes: What I have noticed is that you can´t move the Research- and Technican Personal as well as Soldiers to the Buildings anymore. That Feature was in the middle and last Builds great.

In the complete Builds from Beta Version 5 to Version 10 you can move your Personal to Sickbay and Research (Scientists) as well as Generators and Workshop (Technicans). And the not to forgett the Soldiers in the Training Center to get more EXP.

That is a must have again. The Technicans / Scientists should have Access to the Training Center too to help the Soldiers. So you can use 8 Soldiers and 1 Technican / Scientists in one Training Center. Or 10 Soldiers in a Training Center.

As well as the Technicans should have access to the Hangars to repair the Aircrafts faster. Or you sepcialice 2 Technikans in every Base to Repair the Fighters / Transports with the Hanger-Personal. So would give the Game more Potential in the Base again.

Edited by Alienkiller
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3 hours ago, Alienkiller said:

Yep Steelpoint. The Repair of Aircrafts are very very long. Here I have an Idea to Minimise the Repairtime. That Feature was in in the last Builds and can be integratet in an Hotfixpatch very fast again.

Here it comes: What I have noticed is that you can´t move the Research- and Technican Personal as well as Soldiers to the Buildings anymore. That Feature was in the middle and last Builds great.

In the complete Builds from Beta Version 5 to Version 10 you can move your Personal to Sickbay and Research (Scientists) as well as Generators and Workshop (Technicans). And the not to forgett the Soldiers in the Training Center to get more EXP.

That is a must have again. The Technicans / Scientists should have Access to the Training Center too to help the Soldiers. So you can use 8 Soldiers and 1 Technican / Scientists in one Training Center. Or 10 Soldiers in a Training Center.

As well as the Technicans should have access to the Hangars to repair the Aircrafts faster. Or you sepcialice 2 Technikans in every Base to Repair the Fighters / Transports with the Hanger-Personal. So would give the Game more Potential in the Base again.

I'd love the option of assigning more people. Would probably say Scientists for Medical, Techs for planes, though. It's still "if you squint hard enough, they're kinda related" sort of an assignment, but I'd think the scientist would make sense on the planes as a way to increase gas mileage or something. 

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