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On 5/5/2020 at 10:59 AM, Max_Caine said:

I can't find the posts now, but I think the original scheme was that you'd have two weapon trees, energy-based weapons and kinetic-impact based weapons (hence the thermal and kinetic damage types currently in the game). You'd have the option to progress down one or both of the weapon trees, hence the early introduction of enemy MAG and then plasma weaponry. However, I suspect that has changed and the progression of weapon types is closer to X1. Based upon my experience of fiddling about with the data files, and having played the damn game since v1 I believe it is more likely now each weapon family will have it's own quirks and flaws and research is linear so you have to research weapon families in a particular order who will be, quirks and flaws notwithstanding, objctively better in the areas that count. 

Well its refreshing that they decided to keep the old system. One thing though, how annoying are these "flaws"? In the original game the only real flaw was less ammo, which wasn't that big of a deal and could be easily ignored. The laser weapon recharge mechanic on the other hand... My god is that annoying.

 

Is there any planned flaws for plasma and mag weapons?

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I guess you don't have the game, or you wouldn't ask that question. Plasma weapons ammo currently degenerates. As in, the power cell will slowly run out of shots whether or not you use the gun, meaning you need to carry more ammo with you. It's the reverse of the laser family. It makes things more interesting, seeing as the plasma family has currently the highest damage output of any of the weapon families. I would strongly advise people reading my posts in this thread to take everything I say with a share in a salt mine. It would be just a day's work (I know, I've done it) to completely revise the tech tree - the way the data is set out, it can be annoying to follow back all the threads but it's possible to make sweeping changes to the tech tree and weapon families within a relatively short period of time. It makes sense in terms of the game to have a linear progression - the way XCOM-a-like games are set up prefer a linear research progression model as opposed to a radial model used in 4X/grand strategy games such as stellaris, but that doesn't mean you couldn't have all the weapon families right from the start and the tech you pick up from UFOs refine crude applications of technology into something a bit more usable. 

 

EDIT: And now that sounds really interesting to me - I wonder if it could be carried off? 

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Then how about upgrade and add on to weapon system, like an upgrade to laser tree to recharge ammo every turn in cost of ammo count and weight? First phototype should have a lot draw back but improve over time with alien tech.

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The game is one step ahead of you. Each weapon family has a mark 2 version on the tech tree. At the moment, the mark 2 upgrade simply upgrades damage, but you could do any number of things with it. However, if you look at the April update, there's a very interesting line from it:

Quote

Fixed the issue where weapons in backpack didn't properly contain ammo (which also lays the foundations for modular weapons)

DUN DUN DUN!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, if that goes ahead then you have to ask just how necessary an overall mk 2 upgrade would be. If I can slap parts on a gun, then I can overcome the inherant flaws of that weapon family.

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It doesn't fundametally change much. Weather you research a weapon upgrade/addon like a stabilizer/silencer/scope or whatevr, you build a new gun. It is still new research and new production.

 

The difference is aplicability. While a completely new gun would be self-contained, a scope might be fitted on different guns.

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So to get your point straight all of these "quirks" like the laser not being reloaded or the plasma losing charge can be modded out EASILY right?

Also you mentioned plasma has the highest DPS. Did MAG weapons get removed?

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I'm going to preface what I say with "at the moment", because the game isn't out of beta yet, let alone EA, so things can change. However, to answer to your question, @Comrade, the answer is yes. I can take that one step further - if all you wanted the weapon tiers to be is linear ++damage, thats entirely possible to do as well. Gauss is there, but I believe Chris gave plasma the highest raw damage as a conterbalance to their quirk - the power cell draining each turn. 

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The tech tree is far from final or balanced at the moment, but this thread illustrates pretty well how difficult it is to please everyone!

The plan is to have each tier of weapons be better than the last in *most* situations, and for each tier of weapons to have unique quirks like the recharging lasers. But that stuff isn't really playtested yet, and it's a difficult balancing act to decide just how much better each tier of weapons should be from the last. I don't know exactly where I stand yet.

Note the MAG weapons are now called Gauss weapons, and have switched places with the Plasma weapons in the tier structure. So it now goes Ballistics >> Lasers >> Gauss >> Plasma. This is relevant because some aliens have resistances to particular types of damage, so in some circumstances if you know you're facing a particular race you may want to downgrade your soldiers to a lower tier of weapons.

Yes, all the properties of weapons / armour / aliens / the research tree can be modded easily.

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On 4/30/2020 at 1:24 AM, Lord Blade said:

I'd definitely like to see more "side-grades" and strategic options with weapons as opposed to simply straight up damage increases. So while getting new tech would let you do more damage, it would be nice to see more options open up along with it. So different ammo types, or specialized weapons and such.

That would be nice ! A few ideas :

  • Tacer rounds for combat at night that would leave "ray" of light instead of the X1 splash of light of the flares.
  • Smoke grenade upgrade that block line of sight completely.
  • Supressing 'screaming' rounds that could scare the non mecanical / untrained aliens with fewer shoots, but could not realy hurt them, especialy if armored.
  • Different burst for you weapons, 5 rounds instead of 3 for example, or lock your weapon in a certain kind of stance that eat more ammo, cost less TU per shoot but is less effective with each individual shoot.

By the way, I never got far in my X2 runs for the moment, is the incapacitating gaz grenade in the game ? Is it planned ?

On 5/1/2020 at 5:24 PM, TrashMan said:

Why is that annoying?

It's like complaining you have to carry an AT missile to kill a tank. 

I agree with you. In X1 I often had a soldier that was just "the artificer". He/she had C4. A lot of it. A pistol, also, but seldom used it.

Edited by Comte Pseudonyme
Messed up initial post.

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On 5/6/2020 at 3:58 AM, TrashMan said:

BOOOOO. Hiss, hisss!

 

I can kinda accept weapon families being researched in an order, but only if it's not the research end, but rather the start of research. That is to say, you unlock ballistic, then lasers, then plasma, but as you move on, more research in ballistic and lasers is unlocked. Basically, new application of newly mastered tech on already existing weapons.

 

Most people seem to have a very limited thinking of "high-tech sounding and looking = better than low-tech sounding and looking", which has no connection to reality whatsoever. A lot of high-tech things are horribly inefficient, expensive and can have some serious downsides that are way too often ignored.

I find it funny that 40K of all settings tends to be a lot more realisitc in many aspects despite it's over-the-top nature compared to some settings that are supposedly more grounded. Plasma guns in that setting are powerful, but can overheat and explode in your face and have low rate of fire, which is why you want mixed weapons in a squad.

Firm agreement here. Rather than being linear there should be parallel lines of development which occasionally cross over.

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The Game is already build up that you have to upgrade the existing ballistic Weapons first. Some Time later you get the First Lasers which are self-Reloading, but with not much shoots per Playerround. Upgraded Lasers you get too, that we know already and could test it for the Public. The best Weapons are Plasma, but there could be human magnetic Ballistic Weapons too.

But the Game isn´t finished yet and there can be some more refits, changes and similar we Betas don´t know too.

Edited by Alienkiller

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On 9/14/2020 at 6:07 PM, Fritz1776 said:

Firm agreement here. Rather than being linear there should be parallel lines of development which occasionally cross over.

The counterpoint to that is that then there's going to be either one of two situations at play:

  • If the weapon families are not inherently more powerful than one another, just different, you get into a situation where there's never a reason to develop better guns than the Lasers you unlock near the start of the game because even the late-game Plasma weapons aren't actually inherently more powerful than them (so you just learn to use the Lasers properly and use them all game, negating the point of tech tree).
  • If the weapon families are parallel lines and all of them have multiple upgrades to keep them relevant as the game goes on, there's not really any reason to develop more than one of those lines. You just pick say Laser weapons at the start of the game and put all your R&D into those, ignoring the other weapon families.

The tech tree is a difficult thing to balance because a clearly optimal strategy usually becomes visible. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this issue and you've got to draw a little from each of the different ideas to keep a progression without falling into the "boring numbers-only upgrade" system that X1 uses.

One thing I'm pondering is whether it might be worth adding researchable armour penetrating rounds for the Ballistic and Gauss weapons, so if you carry a mix of ammo into battle then you can freely switch between armour-penetrating or anti-personnel rounds depending on how armoured your targets are (although you have to spend the TU to reload your gun each time). But I think that'd potentially be a cool system - and because energy weapons don't fire physical projectiles, Laser and Plasma weapons wouldn't have that option available to them. That feels like the sort of interesting differentiator between weapon tiers that would mix things up without causing meta-issues with the design of the research tree.

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10 hours ago, Chris said:

The counterpoint to that is that then there's going to be either one of two situations at play:

  • If the weapon families are not inherently more powerful than one another, just different, you get into a situation where there's never a reason to develop better guns than the Lasers you unlock near the start of the game because even the late-game Plasma weapons aren't actually inherently more powerful than them (so you just learn to use the Lasers properly and use them all game, negating the point of tech tree).
  • If the weapon families are parallel lines and all of them have multiple upgrades to keep them relevant as the game goes on, there's not really any reason to develop more than one of those lines. You just pick say Laser weapons at the start of the game and put all your R&D into those, ignoring the other weapon families.

I usually agree with you on most stuff, but not here. There are tons of ways in which you can keep different paths relevant. One example outlined by you below:

Quote

One thing I'm pondering is whether it might be worth adding researchable armour penetrating rounds for the Ballistic and Gauss weapons, so if you carry a mix of ammo into battle then you can freely switch between armour-penetrating or anti-personnel rounds depending on how armoured your targets are (although you have to spend the TU to reload your gun each time). But I think that'd potentially be a cool system - and because energy weapons don't fire physical projectiles, Laser and Plasma weapons wouldn't have that option available to them. That feels like the sort of interesting differentiator between weapon tiers that would mix things up without causing meta-issues with the design of the research tree. 

That would generalize to different game mechanisms for the weapon families. For the Laser family, you could add a researchable power control that gives you more damage per beam in exchange for more battery drainage or more heat (if you implement an overheat mechanism).

Another path would be that the final weapon tiers are similar in overall power but balanced for different use cases. In Long War and X-Division, Laser weapons have an accuracy bonus, which makes them perfect for inaccurate rookies or long range snipers. Other families could have more damage, more armour mitigation, more projectiles per shot/burst, more damage to props, spawn fire or smoke or light on their path or target, aoe damage or dot, ...

Quote

The tech tree is a difficult thing to balance because a clearly optimal strategy usually becomes visible. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this issue and you've got to draw a little from each of the different ideas to keep a progression without falling into the "boring numbers-only upgrade" system that X1 uses.

It is good that you want to attempt that. But also, you could link these improvements to your laser weapons to some research that comes out of plasma tech, which means you cannot "stay" on your divergent laser path if you want to improve your weaponry, but have to tech the other ones too, and then decide if you want to upgrade, build the new tech from scratch or some mix of both. Apart from that, do not underestimate that researching new tech and getting unexpected new toys and more cool research from it is very satisfying. I'd research pretty much everything just to see what comes of it and to get that small dose of dopamine when another tech is finished.

With a mix of different damage types, resistances and tiers within the families, there is huge potential for viable side-grading of your weapons and equipment in general. Just make sure the player can explore as well as make informed, strategic and tactical decisions with what you come up with, and all will be fine.

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14 hours ago, Dagar said:

It is good that you want to attempt that. But also, you could link these improvements to your laser weapons to some research that comes out of plasma tech, which means you cannot "stay" on your divergent laser path if you want to improve your weaponry, but have to tech the other ones too, and then decide if you want to upgrade, build the new tech from scratch or some mix of both. Apart from that, do not underestimate that researching new tech and getting unexpected new toys and more cool research from it is very satisfying. I'd research pretty much everything just to see what comes of it and to get that small dose of dopamine when another tech is finished.

I agree with this. The reason why I don't want to keep early game tech like Lasers relevant for the whole game is precisely because I think players like researching fun new toys, but to me those toys actually have to be useful for it to be worth something. What's the point of spending the time researching Plasma weapons and then spending the cash and resources required to build them if they're not actually better than the Lasers you've already got?

That's a slightly simplistic view, I know, and you've partially addressed it in the rest of your paragraph. My view is that each weapon tier needs to be better than the one that came before it, but to be clear I don't think that should render the earlier weapon tiers completely obselete like they were in X1. I just don't think it's a good idea to try and set up a tech tree on the basis that all weapons tiers are equally good. 

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To expand on the current setup, there's currently five weapon tiers in the game in order of appearance:

  • Starting Ballistics
    • Accelerated Ballistics (upgraded Ballistic weapons manufactured from captured alien magnetic weapons)
  • Lasers
  • Gauss
  • Plasma

I think trying to set up weapons with specific niches that remain relevant even when they're not the optimal choice for all your soldiers is kinda interesting. Having Lasers have increased Accuracy is an interesting idea but by itself it doesn't create a niche because +Accuracy is good for pretty much any soldier ... whereas it might be interesting if Laser weapons provide an Accuracy bonus that decreases as the Accuracy of the soldier gets higher. So they become extremely useful for rookies, but experienced soldiers might be better off using another type of weapon.

The way Accelerated Ballistics use captured alien weapons to upgrade basic Ballistic weapons is also kinda interesting. It might be interesting if captured alien plasma weapons could be used to upgrade Lasers, for example, and captured alien fusion weapons could be used to upgrade Plasmas too. It's nice to have more of a drip-drip of equipment, where each battle gives you what you need to build two or three upgraded weapons rather than you building 10 at once and equipping your whole squad in one go.

Anyway, there's plenty of ideas to play with to try and experiment with to see what feels right in the game. A lot of possible variation is already supported, and the stuff that isn't probably won't take that long to implement if we like the idea!

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8 hours ago, Chris said:

I think trying to set up weapons with specific niches that remain relevant even when they're not the optimal choice for all your soldiers is kinda interesting. Having Lasers have increased Accuracy is an interesting idea but by itself it doesn't create a niche because +Accuracy is good for pretty much any soldier ... whereas it might be interesting if Laser weapons provide an Accuracy bonus that decreases as the Accuracy of the soldier gets higher. So they become extremely useful for rookies, but experienced soldiers might be better off using another type of weapon.

I like that idea! Sounds like something I'd want to use, unless the damage output of Lasers is practically zero in the end.

Quote

The way Accelerated Ballistics use captured alien weapons to upgrade basic Ballistic weapons is also kinda interesting. It might be interesting if captured alien plasma weapons could be used to upgrade Lasers, for example, and captured alien fusion weapons could be used to upgrade Plasmas too. It's nice to have more of a drip-drip of equipment, where each battle gives you what you need to build two or three upgraded weapons rather than you building 10 at once and equipping your whole squad in one go.

Another potentially cool thing to try, if you have such upgrade paths would be something like this: You are soundly in the Laser tier, with enough weapons for all of your soldiers, when you research Plasma Now you can start manufacturing these clearly better weapons, but they are expensive as hell, and you need special material for them that you only get few of, if any, in a mission. But you also unlock an upgrade to the Laser tech which costs you time and maybe some material to manufacture, but then automatically all your Laser weaponry becomes slightly better. Not as good as the Plasmas, but still a nice little upgrade. Then you can choose to save the research time and material to do that upgrade and go straight for as many Plasmas as you can, or you can take the sidegrade, smoothing out the effectiveness increase bump a bit for the cost of mostly time. What do you think?

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There are so many things you can do.

The Upgrading like with the Standard-Ballistics to accelerated are great and a must have, otherwise you will loose at Start.

The other thing I have in Mind too is the Ammonition for your Soldiers, after you find better Aliens with more ressistance to Standard-Ballistics. There could be done something with the Allien Ballistic-Ammo to upgrade the Ammo too, not only the Weapon itself for the upgraded accelerated Standard-Ballistics.

What I like with the Lasers are the selfreloading. It´s a milestone in that Art of Gaming again. It was in the first X-Com: EU from 1993 and was never used again in similar Games (X-Com: Apoc, UFO ET, the UFO-After-Series, in the new XCOM-Row). Never had the second Lasers yet, but I hope there is more in upgrading.

All in all the more Damage-Output is good and the fight against Armor and Damage has a very good balance.

But like I said I hope for more Upgrading: The Weapon and Ammo get lesser in weight, you have more Shoots (evtl. smaller Ammo), you can upgrade your Weapon with sights, Laerpointer or such.

And much important: Like Chris said the Lasers get more effectinves for Rookies and not fully trained soldiers.

The other Point I have in Mind is that the accelerated Standard-Weapons can be upgraded in GAUSS-Weapons later and Lasers to more effective Weapons. Mayby a Plasma Hybrid or so.

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I think niches for laser weapons could be set up being similar to Underrail. Where heat based weapons have a small chance to cause the burning effect that cause biological enemies to panic for 3 turns where they run away trying to put out the fire and if they die burning alive would lower all surrounding enemies morale as well. Adding some small mechanics where laser weapons having the larger ammo capacity (hell you can give each magazine the ability to be used as improvised explosives like in 40k to make them even more amazing).

Plasma weapons on the other hand can completely disintegrate an enemy with a critical hit could be cool. Then adding it with a cooling mechanism where after a certain amount of shots a combat engineer could use specific tools in late game to reset. Before that you are forced to use plasma in conjunction with mag of laser weapons.

I would also like to have more one off weapons derived not only from the research tree but also political favors similar to X1’s singularity cannon. For instance in the process of researching mag weapons your researchers accidentally discovered a way to weaponize the grav manipulation modules on a UFO (the only way they create artificial gravity on their ships) as the Graviton beam gun. This weapon can’t cause direct damage, but can use as a debuffing weapon. When hit an alien is drained of a part of their APs according to the power level of the gun with has 3 modes:

- light fire: shoot a weak graviton beam, consuming 1/4 of the energy cell, draining 20% of an enemy’s APs.

- regular fire: shoot a medium graviton beam, consuming 2/4 of the energy cell, draining 40% of an enemy’s APs.

- concentrated fire: shoot a strong graviton beam, consuming the entire magazine, draining 80% of an enemy’s APs.

That’s not all however as any flying enemies hit with this weapon will instantly fall to the ground a take exponentially more damage the higher up they are and the intensity of the beam. Which would finally solve the problem of fliers constantly flying away at the end of battles by just splattering them on the ground.

This is just a small example but there’s much more equipment that can be put on the tree like: melee weapons derived from armor research, teleport modules from researching the alien elevator, gyrojet bullets being able tied ballistic with mag weapons,...

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On 10/28/2020 at 2:10 AM, Xeroxth said:

I think niches for laser weapons could be set up being similar to Underrail. Where heat based weapons have a small chance to cause the burning effect that cause biological enemies to panic for 3 turns where they run away trying to put out the fire and if they die burning alive would lower all surrounding enemies morale as well. Adding some small mechanics where laser weapons having the larger ammo capacity (hell you can give each magazine the ability to be used as improvised explosives like in 40k to make them even more amazing).

Wow, 40k has changed since I played it last (which admittedly was about 15 years ago). Standard lasguns can be used as improvised explosives now? How does that work?

I think we'll be testing the armour-piercing ammo for ballistic / gauss weapons in an upcoming build, because the game is already 90% set up to handle it and we just need to make some UI tweaks. The "decreasing accuracy bonus" system for Lasers is also quite easy to implement but I'm a bit less sure about that mechanic.

Going forward it might be interesting to treat the ammo for energy weapons as "heat" rather than ammo, so you start at 0 ammo in the weapon and each shot adds ammo until reach the ammo maximum - at which point you can still fire the weapon but the soldier firing the weapon starts to take damage. Maybe reloading the weapons (which you could only do on Plasma weapons) would reduce heat? That gives the unlimited ammo effect for these weapons but still puts a limit on how often you can fire them ... unless you've equipped your soldier with armour that might protect them against the damage. However, I imagine that system would require quite a bit more effort than the other stuff we've mentioned so I'll put it on the backburner for now.

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Why not have heat dissipate each turn? I don't know if you have modular guns but you could add heatsinks and heat shields and such much like real rifles which could help.

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