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Build V17.9 Balance Discussion

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This is the thread for discussion about the game balance as it is in V17.9. Please give us your thoughts on what's good and bad, bearing in mind the following:

1) All difficulty settings are the same in the current build.

2) You're not meant to have enough money to buy everything you want. That's pretty much the point.

3) I've not done any balancing work beyond the appearance of the Corvette.

4) This is a remake of X-Com; you're meant to lose soldiers even on the early missions.

5) This is a thread to discuss balance, not bugs. If bugs are affecting balance then feel free to mention them, but please focus your discussion around the balance itself (so imagine that they had been fixed).

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Only thing I can say so far is that that most weapons seems to be more accurate than the sniper rifle since the update. I don't know what attributes are taken in to account when coding, however I would see them as having these main points:

Accuracy (when taking soldier accuracy in to account)


TUs to fire

Weight (TUs required when moving)


I would expect the sniper rifle to maybe give you one aimed shot and one snapshot (assuming 55-60 avg TUs for a soldier) but accuracy to be by far the best. Ammo clip wouldnt be high and weight only second to the heavy version of weapons.

Rifles would be the average.

Shotguns most powerful but limited to extremely short range and ammo about the same as sniper.

Heavy machine guns obviously heavy and inaccurate but lots of ammo and reasonably powerful.

Each weapon class (bullet, laser, plasma etc) would as a set be more powerful than the last, however there would be overlap (i.e. laser rifle still not as powerful as shotgun etc)

Lastly, on weapons, I think we should assume that recruits would be as well trained in using their own weapons as the aliens. I have had a case of getting out shot by a caesian with a plasma pistol versus my guy with a rifle over a reasonable distance. That doesnt really make sense to me.

Hope that all makes sense and helps somehow.

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The sniper rifle is a heavy weapon, so it has a 50% accuracy penalty if you move in the turn you fire it. It's extremely accurate if you use a 4-level zoom (it's the only weapon that goes up to 4 level of zoom) with a stationary guy. Did you know that, or should it be better communicated in-game?

Yeah, the aliens have had a major accuracy boost in recent times. Dunno if people think it's too much? Generally I want the aliens to be pretty accurate, but it might be that the aliens can fire too many shots per turn with the pistol that may make them overly deadly.

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Well I can give some of my own personal feedback on the new patch.

Strategic Layer.

I feel that limiting the players money and forcing you to chose where to concentrate your finances is a great thing, for the first time in Xenonauts I had to actual think about what I wanted to spend my money on, leading me to spend my money on expanding my Research capability while forfeiting my Airforce.(In hindsite maybe a bad decision). I also really like how the player no longer starts with access to the Jackal Armour and the Hunter, as well as those being another financial decision.

As it turns out, money runs out quite quickly.

Of course one thing that has been noted is the current inability to rotate facilities on the Base Construction menu, however this was emphasized at one point as being addressed. I will mention that without the ability to rotate buildings base construction becomes significantly more difficult.

I did initially have problems intercepting a UFO, they tended to outrun my fighters and escape to space. I would pin that on luck though.


As I mentioned at the start I did not get too try this out for too long, I ended up suffering from some weird graphical issues on a second mission that distracted me (White textures all over the place). however I do have some feedback on it,

The Aliens are definitely more effective in combat, they (Sebeillans) actually take cover and return fire, and I even lost a man for the first time ever! However I will state that they tended to retreat a lot, though I am more willingly to pin this on several factors (Being outnumbered 3-1 and isolated, being Non-combatants and being initially exposed). Cover seems far more necessary than before, since seemingly a single hit from a Plasma weapon kills a solider, and that I no longer have access to Jackal Armour from the start, in fact a wall piece saved one of my soldiers life.

I actually fear having to fight more combat trained and equipped Sebiliians, since their Non-combatants were able to absorb a lot of fire, one of them took about two Rifle and three Sniper rounds before being killed. The other took multiple Rifle rounds before being suppressed by a Machine Gun to allow for a soldier to close the gap and kill him with a close range Shotgun blast.

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Chris - re the balancing. I have just finished a mission where I killed 3 caesians that were concentrating on other things (1 was hiding, 1 I snuck up on with a smoke grenade and the other was shooting a farmer.

The third, however, I am guessing had a plasma rifle. He managed to outshoot 4 of my men that had surrounded it, 2 of which had sniper rifles, 1 an M-16 and the other a shotgun. That happened in 2 turns, 1 of which I was moving in to poisition and 1 where I only hit the alien once. He returned fire and killed 1 of my soldiers and killed the other 3 in the two turns. He only missed once from range that gave my sniper rifle 86% accuracy.

I have seen snipers in action in real life and from that distance they would not have missed and would never be outshot by someone with a rifle. Obviously I know this is a game and snipers wont be accurate from 300-500 yards... but to have 2 snipers outshot by an alien with a plasma rifle I thought was a bit harsh.

I also had a sniper shoot someone one tile in front and to the left of him with around 90% accuracy (cant remember if it was 86% or 94%) on the alien 5 squares directly ahead!!

Not sure what their vision is like too as I often get shot at from people that it takes me a few more squares of advancing before I can see them. Thought they werent used to our atmosphere hence the retrofitting of their ships? Should this not affect their biology too?

BTW - I think that the aliens are much better in this version in terms of intelligence.

Edited by Lancebloke
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The promotions seem to come a bit quickly for me, with 3 or 4 all getting promoted at the same time and after a fairly short space of game time. I'd like to see the time/ requirements increased, so that you're not tripping in captains all the time.

The money sure runs out quickly :) I used to get a second base up and running as soon as I could, but am now huddling in the first one at the moment. $50 for jackal armour seems pretty expensive, but I've yet to really get a feel for the costs yet in this build.

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Aliens are definitely a lot more fun to fight in the ground missions now. I love the reduced squad size for the beginning as well. It's just more focused and lets a newer player learn how to use a smaller number of troops before letting them upgrade into larger forces.

I don't know if you want bugs posted here or not but I came across two after playing just a few missions. The first one was after shooting down a light scout. The loading screen told me to expect Heavy resistance but after one turn of moving my men around, the mission ended and I had won without seeing anything. I thought it was unlikely that a civilian killed all the aliens in one turn.

Second bug (or feature?): Are we going to be able to see the aliens shooting at our guys on the hidden movement phase? At the moment, you hear gunfire and maybe a scream and have to wait to see what happened. I'm guessing this is just a bug or something not ironed out yet, but I figure I should ask.

Balance on the ground right now though seems a lot better than before.

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I think the game need are rebalance.

I play at esay.

The reaktion fire is to Precice.

The Alliens can take to may damage.

In me game i give one a full Burst from Scout car, after this he turm around and bumm the cars go down.

Other situation.

A soldier with M16 fire at 5 or 6 tiles , hit the alien.

He givs returnfirer and me soldier die after one hit.

THe sharpshoter fires 1 hit the allien stand aigain.

Returnfire and scharpshoter go down .

Next Soldier with Shotgun, go close and fire, hit and teh Allien stand Aigain.

Next shot and he go down.

One allien take out 2 soldier and take ;

1 hit from M16

1 Hit from Sharpshoter

2 Hit from shotgun

This is to many!!

With lower Sqaudsize is it not to mange.

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Yes, I use 4 levels of zoom for my snipers. The 86% was for one that had not moved. In the second go my other sniper had 95% after not moving.

Considering the accuracy is 85%+, it seems to miss a lot more than it hits from a distance. They also seem to be a lot less accurate than and early game caesian with a plasma rifle.

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An issue I was keeping an eye on was the effectiveness of the engineers, as they often seemed to sit twiddling their thumbs for much of my earlier run throughs. This is only an issue at present due to finances, and does seem to have a much better balance overall. Importantly, I'm having to make choices of which part to advance with - Armour, weapons or aircraft tech.

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My only problem might be with the costs of some of the items. I feel like the Jackel Armor should be a little cheaper. Your 2nd armor should not be that expensive, especially when compared to a Hunter which is $100,000, unless the Jackel just has way better armor. I also feel like the prices of some of the other things should be reduced, but just slightly.

The aliens are much more bad asses now nearly wipping my whole squad on a scout although granted that was my first ufo on that playthrough. That was just some bad luck for me and some lucky Seballiens.

The base seems alright, a little small, but that was what you were going for. Other than that, everything seems okay. Keep up the good work.

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Hmm. I'm going to ask the ground combat programmer to add some form of accuracy debug mode so we can check the accuracy stuff is working properly. I'm not sure anything else said re: accuracy suggests that the balance is off; Lancebloke if you had two snipers with 85%+ chance of hitting the target (and two sniper bullets will kill an alien) then that suggests to me that the balance is fine.

Potentially I may look at some nerfs for the alien weapon accuracy. We'll see.

The Jackal armour is intentionally expensive so you have to choose what to spend your cash on in month 1. I'll consider dropping it to 30-40k but we'll see.

It's also intentional that you can't set up a major new base in month 1, and even month 2 should be a stretch. I think I did increase the Chinook range to compensate for that.

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Hi all,

Hi Chris,

after a long time of "stalking" this game I decided to buy it this weekend. First of all - so many thanks for making this game - its already great and fun to play. Great!

Two issues are a bit weird.

Since month 2 all of the tactical missions are a automatic win:

- shoot ufo down

- fly soldiers there + end first turn

- result is a win without a single shot

That is not a single mission issue - it`s like the 10th+ in a row

Second thing is connected to this issue - if you move your soldiers after landing in the first turn, that is always available, they gain "character" points (strengths etc.). Maybe there is the possibility to neutralize the first turn for gaining points. I have a promoted Major only through moving in first turn.

Keep up the great work - I´m really looking forward to the beta!

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It's also intentional that you can't set up a major new base in month 1, and even month 2 should be a stretch. I think I did increase the Chinook range to compensate for that.

In that case it works great :) I do remember threads about how good it was to force players to have multiple bases to cover terror missions and also to have enough space to build all of the facilities they need. For example, you couldn't build enough labs in the main base say, without losing, or perhaps just not being able to optimise, some of it's combat capabilities say. Really hard to do that now.

On funding though, I do notice that the countries that are covered by my single, lonely base are giving me enough funds to compensate for the disappointed, but not terribly upset other nations.

I do notice, especially with the quick wins eraser_real points out, that overloading your troops makes them fairly proficient a lot quicker.

As for nerfing the aliens, I think the balance is about right for a normal setting. Despite now having to go out in their pyjamas, I've lost 4 soldiers in two months worth of play, including a good dozen scout missions and one terror site played twice. In fact two of the casualties were on the same terror site (game crashed on both occasions) in every one of those deaths, it was my own silly fault.

- walked a guy back round a corner when I knew there was an alien there, looking to finish it off.

- Stood a guy in the middle of a crossroads without any sort of cover.

- Last guy in the round went too far out of cover, and was left exposed with no back up.

- Don't make your already injured (friendly fire) soldier be the first one into the UFO.

Since I'm not a particularly cautious player, this really seems to be a fair return.

Yes, it does take multiple shots to take down a Sebillian. So it should. They're tough. I equip accordingly and adjust tactics. Exactly the same thing I had to do way back when Cyberdiscs would take half of my squad to take down. Even then the explosion would put a few troops at risk. That sort of feeling is the one that stays with me. A win that wasn't too difficult, has a feeling of exciting dread and gives a few memories.

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I`ve noticed, that the only efficient tactics so far, which is to position 2-3 of my xenos and have the hunter scout near (it seems to see further and can catch a shot, or two if lucky, so can look around the corner), if secured then move troops forward, if alien spotted - shoot with troops. Only this way you can efficiently avoid reaction fire, as the aliens can see too far away. Its annoying to catch plasma bolts from the middle of nowhere. I also tried to throw smoke grenade and then advanced covered, chances are like 50/50 to come close enough to see the alien. If in jackal armor - can see even worth.

So my suggestion is to make the first guards and noncombatants closer or equal to the first xenos in accuracy, reaction and line of sight, so player could develop his team a bit. When some techs grabbed, armors discovered, start lunching stronger aliens.

Donno if it is implemented or meant to be, but could you make reaction stat of xeno/alien to be a countermeasure to reaction fire (the more reaction the shooter has, the more chances that his target wouldn`t start reaction fire). Could be also nice to have reaction trained a bit by spotting the aliens and maybe shooting them without making them to reaction fire or something like this. This will force you to scout with troops and get reaction trained, as it is the most difficult stat to train.

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Yeah, how do you train reaction fire? Perhaps there could be a guide of some sort in game (not necessarily explicitly stated, but suggested?) to increasing stats, like in the xenopedia it could have a stat guide kind of a thing.

(I just realized that I haven't actually checked to see if there is one already. If there is, ignore what I said.)

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You train reaction fire through your guys having reaction fire tests to see if they can reaction fire at aliens, whether or not they actually pass the test.

I suppose there is scope to add a "reaction dodge" where a xeno soldier ducks and the shot that would otherwise hit goes over the head, might be a cool feature and it would be obvious what was happening then.

Yes, the aliens have a longer sight range than humans. Perhaps I'll nerf it. I raised it in an attempt to make the aliens more dangerous as they weren't consistently shooting at my guys in my test missions. Perhaps I took it a bit too far for the early ones.

Eraser - thanks for the comments, glad you like the game.

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OK, Chris, I made a few notes about balance and some other issues. First off, let me congratulate you and your team. This release is nearly bug less from what I can tell. The AI even in it's present form is far superior to the AI in the original XCom. It gave me a great game last night. Excellent work there.

So my issues/suggestions:

1. I think you need a progress bar or something that moves while loading ground combat. That way the player knows its not frozen.

2. I don't like the troops groaning and stopping when they run through smoke. They sound like they got hurt, but they are just slowed.

3. No way a level 1 grenade should be able to blow up any terrain features. I destroyed a hedgerow with them all the way to the point where even the dirt mound underneath was gone.

*4. Are grenades and other thrown objects supposed to always hit hedgerows and stop if you miss the target? Everytime I tried to toss a grenade over a hedgerow it stopped in the hedgerow and hurt my own guy.

*5. The Hunter scout car says it has dual .50 cal MGs on the in the Xenopedia, but show .30 cal MGs everywhere else (could be the other way around, either way they don't match. If it is supposed to have .50s you need to raise the damage and penetration a lot. Like twice what the sniper rifle has now.

6. There needs to have a message about overloading the Chinook when you try to assign vehicles to it and there is not enough space because of troops and vise versa. Right now, you have to sit and think about why you can't get the vehicle to load.

*7. Every light scout I went to investigate ended the turn after I landed. I'm assuming you aren't ready for ground combat with the Lt. Scout yet? Or for some reason, no aliens are surviving a light scout crash.

8. You should consider adding a real clock to the screen somewhere as a convienence to the players. I didn't realize it was 2:00 AM when I quit last night. Most games have these nowadays.

9. You really ought to consider a different animation for giving first aid. Tossing med packs at the hurt player looks pretty silly.

10. Now that you are asking for opinions, I'm going to advocate again for reducing the burst fire spread. It still looks silly. Just have some of the misses hit short or pass through the target tile without hitting the target. Please at least make it moddable if you don't want to change it.

11. The grenade tossing range should be WAY shorter. Like 6 tiles maybe. I'd base it partially on the strength of the soldier. 6 for an average troop maybe 8 or 9 for a really strong soldier or alien. Otherwise, you basically have human rocket launchers, right?

*12. Last, something is way wrong with the Hidden Movement screen. I can't tell what's going on most of the time. I can't tell where fire is coming from. It shakes all over the place sometimes. I had occasions last night on a terror map where it looked like it was literally "raining" plasma shots all over the map.

* Posted bug report.

Edited by StellarRat
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Implementing "reaction dodge" feature would make the sides` (xeno or alien) turn actions more important, rather than players` attempts to out cheat reaction fire of computer, as for now maybe 9 of 10 kills of my soldiers come from enemy reaction fire. This would make reaction fire less important, but still leaving this great feature as an important part of battle.

Besides looking through assets dir noticed that you have kneeled animations for aliens - is that what you thought about?:cool:

(adrons for example could move like terminators T600 without dodging feature by default...looking forward to see something like this)

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Would be also nice to have a specific close combat or even melee alien (reaper maybe) who is partly blind but has a lot of TUs and is running in front of xenos dodging their pistol shots (because they give reaction fire bonus) finally detecting one of xenos and tears `im apart - like an alien dog or something.

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I was able to play Xenonauts for an hour and a half this morning before work (for the first time!), so I have a few suggestions of my own.

1) Okay, got TPK'd on a couple of missions. I modified the plasma pistol to have a damage of 55. A damage of 55 made the plasma pistol nasty without being instantly deadly in reaction fire and allowed squaddies to fire back. (It took a plasma pistol two shots to kill a squaddie out in the open rather than just one!)

2) I also adjusted the base AP cost of the p[asma rifle up to 24AP. I noticed that aliens were spamming shots with the plasma rifle, and given how deadly it is, even one shot was enough to spell lights out for a squaddie.

3) Have combat shields been implemented? Having them at the start of the game would allow for a squaddie to take the role of point man and be able to absorb some of the fire from reaction shots.

4) It was really annoying to open a UFO door, get set up for a reaction shot, then have the doors shut. Because when ya open them, the aliens inside get reaction shots off.

5) My machinegun armed fellow was man of the match in every mission. Because he could suppress aliens, it really gave me a chance to get my other guys into position.

6) The shotgun has a HORRIBLE range. Seriously, I have to get almost point blank to use it. So I upped the range from 8 to 13, and it's more of a useful weapon now.

7) With fewer light scout waves on the radar now, I increased the ticker count for the scout from 100 to 150. This gave enough time to attack a few light scouts and get the plasma pistol and improved armour researched, just in time for scouts and plasma rifle toting aliens.

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6) The shotgun has a HORRIBLE range. Seriously, I have to get almost point blank to use it. So I upped the range from 8 to 13, and it's more of a useful weapon now.

It should be even shorter. I'd lower it to six if I had my way. 50 yards for buckshot and maybe 100 for slugs IRL.
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