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V23 General Balance Discussion


Chris
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V23 is playable enough that I think it's worth opening a thread where people can discuss the current state of the balance of the game. Are specific weapons or aliens too strong or too weak? Are there bits of game design you think are weak?

Post your thoughts up here and I'll give them a read as we start to think about V24!

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Some of the Sebillans are WAY too strong and over-armoured, and given the Xenopedia says they have  poor eyesight, their reflexes, Al range and accuracy are all way too high. 

The others seem about right so far. 

* The stun weapons don't seem to be working

Some scenery doesn't blow up no matter how many explosive charges you throw at it. 

Often the damage shown in the top ten number doesn't translate into the actual damage done to health. I've sat there with several troops stabbing a seb and literally nothing happened. 

A base with 3 laser defences got attacked and only one round hit. I went back to a save have from before the base attack occurred and the same outcome with the same numbers occurred suggesting that there was no randomness to it. And the UFO that attacked never showed up on radar so you don't even get to defend your base from the air

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Emily_F said:

Some of the Sebillans are WAY too strong and over-armoured, and given the Xenopedia says they have  poor eyesight, their reflexes, Al range and accuracy are all way too high. 

The others seem about right so far. 

* The stun weapons don't seem to be working

Some scenery doesn't blow up no matter how many explosive charges you throw at it. 

Often the damage shown in the top ten number doesn't translate into the actual damage done to health. I've sat there with several troops stabbing a seb and literally nothing happened. 

A base with 3 laser defences got attacked and only one round hit. I went back to a save have from before the base attack occurred and the same outcome with the same numbers occurred suggesting that there was no randomness to it. And the UFO that attacked never showed up on radar so you don't even get to defend your base from the air

Thanks for getting the discussion rolling. Yeah, so I saw in your other post you were referring to the super-Sebillians - do you mean the actual physically larger ones, or the higher-tier basic Sebillians? Because the larger ones are usually melee only and in my playtesting they seem to be incredibly ineffective despite having a lot of HP. 

What do you mean by the stun weapons not working? That's probably a bug rather than a balance issue if they're actually not working. Or are they just ineffective? What situations have you tried to use them in and why hasn't it worked well.

Again, the damage number being incorrect is likely to be a bug rather than a balance issue, so it'd be great if you could provide a save game and post up a bug report next time you see it.

The thing with the laser defence random roll is due to the game seed, which is saved into the save game and ensures you'll always get the same results for the same sequence of actions. If you want to re-randomise it then you can just check the checkbox saying "Randomise Game Seed" or something on the Load Game menu and it'll generate a new seed (you can't do this on Ironman).

Finally, the UFOs just appearing above your base is a balance thing I'm trying out. The logic is that base defences are actually pretty useless in X-Com / Xenonauts because aircraft do the same job and are generally more useful, so the player rarely has to fight a base defence mission. By removing the option to intercept the incoming UFO it forces you to either build base defences or prepare to fight the ground mission once in a while. The alternative is to use more powerful UFOs, but then if the player shoot down the incoming UFO it basically breaks the tech tree pacing because people get advanced gear too early (and then get nothing new for months afterwards).

I guess most people are going to find the mechanic annoying, but I'm happy to hear opinions anyway.

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9 minutes ago, Chris said:

Thanks for getting the discussion rolling. Yeah, so I saw in your other post you were referring to the super-Sebillians - do you mean the actual physically larger ones, or the higher-tier basic Sebillians? Because the larger ones are usually melee only and in my playtesting they seem to be incredibly ineffective despite having a lot of HP. 

  • The ones who have like 240 HP.  They're virtually impossible to kill and when you have everyone shooting at them, you run out of people to provide cover when all the others turn up.  As an aside, there is an animation issue with some of the higher sebillians who get cut in half and swim thru the scenery when they move.  It's kinda funny, but wasn't worth its own bug report.

What do you mean by the stun weapons not working? That's probably a bug rather than a balance issue if they're actually not working. Or are they just ineffective? What situations have you tried to use them in and why hasn't it worked well.

  • I tried battering a mentarch to unconsciousness with three troops with stun batons.  Each had at least two strikes and the health number on the mentarch didn't move. And it didn't pass out. 

 

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I haven´t played V23 much, only the Main-Version and Upgrade 1. Then I have been waiting to the Upgrade 5.

What I can say from my Playthroughts with all previous and the first V23-Versions (Main and Upgrade 1) is following:

1. The Sebillians are Close-Combat Fighters. But I have to give Emily right, that the Sebilians are in some Points to good for the Xenopedia-Description (Shooting / Refelexes), esp. from the Distance.

2. Some Problems on the Maps aren´t fully solved yet. Esp. with the Explosions where it have to explode (Gas-Train-Things, Fuel-Train-Things ect.), where Emely is correct.

3. The new Armor-System seems to work correctly. I haven´t seen a Problem with it. But I could test it only short in V23 (Main and Upgrade 1) atm.

4. The Night-Fights against Cesans and esp. the Glowing-Aliens are nice and heavy to win. There you see the Advantage from them against your Troops and Vehicle.

5. The Ceasans, Drones, Robots and Glowing-Aliens seems to work correctly in the Day- / Nightfights.

6. The Sebillians work correctly in the not falling down to fast. They are Strong, good Armored and have the advanced Stem-Celles for Self-Healing (they are remembering me on Picollo in DBZ).

7. I had very seldom the Laser-Upgrade for my Bases and my Fighters / Vehicles in the Past Versions and Version 23 (Main and Upgrade 1). So I can´t say anything to the Base-Defenses or Weapons. I had to start begunn upgrading my Combat-Troop with Lasers (Sniper, Pistol, LMG etc.), but I couldn´t test them in V23.

8. From what I can say that the Rocket Defense works very good and shoot down 2 Attacking UFOs on the Main-Base (Destroyers). I have to say that I ever build up 2 or 3 Defenses like Emely did. That the UFO don´t show up on Radar is the sign that the Aliens don´t wanna get Intercepted before the Attack-Target is reached. The same you have with Terror-Sites (small / big ones), Alien-Base-Buildups and similar. That brings flavour in the Game. I hope that Chaos Concept (UFO ET-Series) brings in such Elements too in the Refit from UFO 1 ET and the DLC for UFO 2 ET. 

9. The Stun Weapons from the Beginning work like they should. They are modernised Stun Weapons for the Xenonauts, which are in use for the Police / Military / Public (Stun Pistol / Stun Batton). They are perfect for Standard-Aliens (f. e. Cesan-Engineers, Cesan-Soldiers [male the smaller ones, female the bigger ones], the Brain-Thing, unarmored MIB-Agents, unarmored Sebillias). Therefore you have to research Alien-Specific-Upgrades like it´s in the Standard- / Gold-Version from UFO 1 ET to catch the more Advanced Aliens, which are better Protectected agains Standard-Weaponary from the Humans.

10. The Ballance from the Base-Costs and Base-Buildup are better then in the Prevouis Versions, but I hope you take the Idea with old Bases / Outposts from the Xenonauts over the World, where you have to bring the Bases Step by Step online again.

11. The Idea with the Sticks in the MIB-Bases are a cool Idea. Sadly you couldn´t go in all Bureaus to take them all, because the Reinforcements from the Cleaners are to heavy. Dosen´t matter what you do and how fast you do it.

12. The Geoscape is good, but more cool Features would be better. Atm. it´s looking like every 08/15 Geoscape (old X-Com / UFO-ET-Series). There the Outpost-Feature we tested are a must have (f. e. UFO-Analysis, Prototype-Development-Testing for new Fighters) and / or Features which bring in Firaxis (Support from Materials, Agent-Training-Centers or whatever) are heavyly needed again.

13. The Geoscape don´t get all Crashsites (Bombers and Fighters f. e.) to take the Materials like from the Drone and similar, which don´t need an Military-Operiation.

14. The Basemanagement is good, but the Features you have announced in V23 with more People send there to get an Boost (f. e. Radar / Powerunit / Hospital) or whatever I haven´t seen yet. If that comes in, it will be cool and give the Game more Pepper.

15. The Advanced R & D should have the interrogation from several Aliens (Engineers, Soldiers, PSI etc.). That´s the cool Feature from new XCOM and UFO ET. Here the Stun-Weapons are a big Point again. That is used in the UFO ET-Series / old X-Com-Series / first Game of the new XCOM-Series to get the Storyline Step by Step forward as well as better Equipment for your Troops, Vehicles, Transports and militrary Air-Fighters.

16. The Airfight with the Refit is an cool thing. But there the Rockets / Torpedos get shoot to fast. In Salvos like in Real it would be cooler (see old X-Com / UFO ET-Series / Star Wolves).

 

Where Xenonausts 2 have an big Advantage to all other Games of that Gerne are the follwoing Points:

1. the Radar-Buildup-Technolgy: here it is with the classic X-Com on a similar line [Xenonauts 2: Radar, advanced Radar, ultimative Radar and later X-Ray-Scanner; classic X-Com: Radar, Longwave-Radar / Sonar, Longwave-Sonar and the X-Ray-Scanner]

2. the Weapon-Upgrade-Technology: here it is with the new XCOM-Game on a similiar Line [Xenonauts 2: Standard-Weaponary, Accelerated Weaponary, Laser-Weaponary, Advanced Laser Weaponary (an Upgrade from the already existing and used Weapons to make them lighter, more effective etc.), Gauss-Weaponary and the ultimative Plasma-Weaponary; new XCOM: Stanard-Weaponary, (with Mod Laser Weaponary before Gauss), Gauss-Weaponary and ultimative Plasma-Weaponary]

3. the Armor-Upgrade-Technology: here it is the new Benchmark, I haven´t seen something similar in all my about 35 Years of Playing Games. And I have seen everyting in that Part in Mediteranen-Games, Pirates-Games, RPG-Games or whatever. The new XCOM and JA-Row is going in an similar Direction, but what Goldhawk is doing is something complete new in that Part. They should get patented that.

4. the Aircombat-System: It´s the old one from Xenonauts 1 (which is the best we have tested for Xenonauts 2), which isn´t bad and brought in complete new / fresh Ideas. If the Specials there could brought in, it will be an great one which will be long time unbeaten. In similar seperated Aircombat-Systems other Devs are either Realtime-Based with lesser Options or Turn-Based  

The big but is comming in now! Where the Xenonauts Game integrate old with new Style as atm unbeaten Best of the Best, it have an small Deficit. Here the UFO-ET-Row make the Run:

1. Standard-Weapons and new Weapons can be upgraded with better Ammunition

2. Armors have different safety (Stun, Gas, Energy, Ballistic, EMP) and / or similar.

I like both Games and some Differences are a must have (like Storyline, Enemys, Specials and so on). Evtl. there are Things here in Development and Ballance-Work with it in the Background which we Founders / Betatesters don´t know yet.

More I haven´t seen yet, that´s from the Game-Status I have played as best I could get in with the Tests in Xenonauts 2 and the other Games [classic / new] I have played. But it seems that there is something in the Ballance-Things to do for V.24 / V.25 from what I read.

I never had Gauss-Weapons in the Betatests. But they have to be much stronger then the Laser-Weapons (Standard- / Upgrade) and the upgraded Basic-Weapons.

Edited by Alienkiller
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@Emily_F So the way stun damage works might be unclear, which is perhaps something we need to figure out how to communicate better in-game. Stun weapons don't do conventional damage, they do stun damage instead. A unit is stunned when the accumulated stun damage exceeds its current HP value. So you won't see the batons reducing normal HP, but that's not a bug and doesn't mean they're not working.

The alternative would be to treat stun damage like it is in XCOM, where you'd have a % chance of stunning an enemy with each attack based on their current HP, and if you fail then the attack does nothing. That wouldn't work as well for the gradual accumulation of stun damage from clouds of gas though.

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Just a quick one: every upgrade seems to involve alenium and alloys, even if they make no sense.  For instance, the advanced medical facility should require, say, 10 alien surgical tables instead. The nanotech science and engineering labs should require a number of mainframes.  That just makes more sense to me. The same goes for aircraft (e.g. needing a certain number of alien electronics) or whatever.  

Edited by Emily_F
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Also, what does the stealth armour actually do?  It certainly doesn't make soldiers invisible to aliens, but doesn't give great protection for the cost either

I'm not sure if I have mentioned this elsewhere or just dreamt about writing it last night, but the gauss weaponry doesn't seem to be a great upgrade in firepower.  It should do considerably more damage for the investment, IMHO 

Edited by Emily_F
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I don't know if I agree with Gauss Weapons having a buff to out compete laser weapons in damage. Gauss weapons have significantly more ammo than their laser counterparts. This makes Gauss weapons the ideal choice for longer missions like Base assaults and terror missions, while laser weapons are most effective when it comes to short and sweet missions. It is supposed to act like a sidegrade to laser weapons, not outright replace them in this regard. 

I think the main issue with gauss weapons is their availability instead of their damage output. Laser weapons can be researched and built in the first month of the campaign while gauss weapons require research that is not available for a couple of months. With such a large amount of time between getting laser weapons and getting gauss weapons, many players would probably expect more of an upgrade to laser weapons than a sidegrade, probably making it more worth it to wait a little longer for plasma weapons than to get gauss weapons in the eyes of many players. 

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Gauss Weapons are the next Step from the Standard-Upgraded-Weapons. That is explained in the new XCOM-Series (XCOM 2). Why not for Xenonauts 2, which are an later Upgrade for our Upgraded-Standard-Weaponary as an Refit with an longer R & D-Phase like we have now.

They have to be much better then Upgraded Standard-Weaponary (lesser weight, faster Ammo, higher Penetration etc.), but not the Main-Advances like Lasers (accuracy, high heat Penetration and so on). That are for both Laser Types Standard and Modernised. 

From what I have heard and read is that the Worldwide Military with the most Budget are working on both Weapontypes since Years or minimum 2 Decades.

An cool example is the old Star Wolves-Row I play. There you have 4 Weapon-Types: Standard-Kinetic-Guns (Standard, Advanced with up to 4 Types in SW 3); Fast-Fireing-Rotating-Guns (Standard, Advanced with up to 4 Types in SW 3); Lasers (the same) and Plasma (the Same). You get them earlyer (Black Market) or later (Trading Post) in the Storyline.

The same is here or in other Games of that Series like Xenonauts, where you get such Equipments with R & D. All have advanced and disadvances (accuracy / fast firing or lightweight / heavy weight etc.).

Edited by Alienkiller
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Yeah, so the question around Gauss weapons is an interesting one, and there's a few things that factor in. The first is that the damage increase of higher tier weapons has been compressed a bit in the latest builds with the idea of making it so that the HP of a unit mattered more. Previously having a soldier with high HP wasn't much benefit because as soon as aliens got Plasma / Fusion weapons all the extra damage meant the +25HP was totally immaterial. Instead, higher tier weapons have better armour penetration in addition to a bit extra damage.

(That said, we could always apply that to alien weapons but not human weapons given we can fully control the HP of the aliens and can scale that higher to compensate for higher damage. I'll have a think about that. I seem to recall there was a design reason why I didn't do that initially though.)

Secondly, we may put Alloy Rounds in the game, which are an alternative to standard kinetic ammo clips that have higher armour penetration but do less damage. The concept being that energy weapons are reasonably effective against all types of enemy but Ballistic / Gauss weapons can be loaded with appropriate ammo mid-battle to take on whatever the soldier is facing. This means that kinetic weapons are deceptively deadly because they negate armour better than energy weapons, provided the player carries the right ammo into battle.

The reason why we might not put the Alloy Rounds in the game is that it requires some irritating UI updates to support and it means we have to reduce the reload cost of weapons significantly, otherwise people can't do that and then shoot afterwards. But I guess that's not really a huge problem for ballistic weapons given they rarely run out of ammo anyway.

I'll boost the Alenium Grenades slightly so they get +15 damage and +1 armour shred instead of +10 damage. On a base damage of 35 and 2 shred for the starting grenades that makes the upgrade pretty punchy imo.

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Yeah Chris, I can understand what you mean.

That´s not easy to ballance and to bring in. But more advanced Ammonation for the Standard- / Gauss-Weapons were good.

If I have that correct in Mind in the competitive Product the Upgrade is atm in 2 Steps. An similar Rework it´s doable for the Standard-Rounds.

For Example the following Thinking:

1. Step: AP-Breaking-Head or other Upgrade for an better Standard-Ammo as Prototype or so (to advance it with the Weapons-Upgrade); you can still use the normal Standard-Ammo if you wish

2. Step: advanced Standard-Ammo with Poison- / or similar Refit to give normal equiped Soldiers an Chance (that one which can´t equiped with more Advanced Weapons yet [Laser])

 

On that Research for the Standard-Weapons the Gauss-Weapons get more important, because the Lasers incl. their more advanced Versions have some Disadvangages (like the Engery Cell, not so good AP-Breaking or whatever), that the Gauss-Weapons get the next Step until that Problems get solved.

Combined with Interrogations, Basic-Researches, Plans from the MIB-Agents and so on that Research-Part could be very interessting. Not only there in other Parts too (like UFOs, Scanners / Radars, Base-Upgrades, Fighter- / Transport-Refits in the Ground-Structrue to advance them and whatever I have forgotten).

Then the Aliens use Plasma / Fussion-Weapons and you have to upgrade yourself again Step by Step in the Weapon-Tech / Defense- etc. Tech. 

Edited by Alienkiller
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12 hours ago, Chris said:

Secondly, we may put Alloy Rounds in the game, which are an alternative to standard kinetic ammo clips that have higher armour penetration but do less damage. The concept being that energy weapons are reasonably effective against all types of enemy but Ballistic / Gauss weapons can be loaded with appropriate ammo mid-battle to take on whatever the soldier is facing. This means that kinetic weapons are deceptively deadly because they negate armour better than energy weapons, provided the player carries the right ammo into battle.

The reason why we might not put the Alloy Rounds in the game is that it requires some irritating UI updates to support and it means we have to reduce the reload cost of weapons significantly, otherwise people can't do that and then shoot afterwards. But I guess that's not really a huge problem for ballistic weapons given they rarely run out of ammo anyway.

Perhaps you might not have to reduce the reload cost of weapons in order to switch ammo. From what I see, the cost of reloading a weapon is a set cost regardless of a soldiers max tu. Instead, you might be able to change it to use a percentage of a soldier's max tu instead (say 15-20% of their max tu maybe). This would allow for a player to switch the ammo on any unit and fire their weapon in the same turn regardless of what kind of weapon a soldier is currently using or how pathetic their max tu is. 

Although the other question is when would the player be able to acquire said alloy ammo. It would be a pretty interesting design choice to give the player the option to research alloy ammunition right after the player researches alien mag weapons and alien alloys. That way the player can make an interesting decision to either research laser weapons or to research alloy ammunition and keep the ballistic/accelerated weapons competitive with laser weapons if the player desires. 

 

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