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V8 Balance Changes Required?


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OK, so I want to make V8 playable when it goes out as a press build. This thread is intended for people to provide suggestions on equipment that is over or under powered, or suggestions on what would make the game more balanced.

This is assuming the bugs get fixed, of course - the Ferret won't have nil fire cost and so on. So what does everyone think? This applies across all parts of the game.

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These have been my thoughts regarding balancing ground combat:

1. The shotgun's power needs upped so that it has a 50/50 chance of killing the guards. At this point the shotgun is worse at going into a building than the rifle, because the shotgun cannot fire a burst to kill the guard without the guard getting the chance to fire back when wounded.

2. Explosives seem underpowered in general. When I fire a rocket at a building, it just doesn't feel right that it doesn't put a hole in it and the area of destruction seems about a tile in radius too small.

3. The Ferret machinegun turret is amazing compared to the Ferret rocket launcher turret. This could probably be balanced by increasing the power of the rockets and adding two rockets to the clip.

4. It might just be what we have available to fight at the beginning of the game, but the sniper rifle feels like it should do more damage.

5. More randomness in general regarding damage. I remember instances in X-Com where a sectoid sometimes took 3 hits to drop and other where they only took 1.

Air Combat:

1. A pair of sidewinder missiles need to be capable of taking down a scout.

2. Fuel usage seems too fast in air combat although it does tend to lead to some interesting combat scenarios.

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Big one from me is the reaction fire for the aliens. Its murderous, and especially jarring when I see one run from the edge of visual range to behind my troops perimeter around the Chinook, and still manage to reaction fire twice. That's happened 6 times now, and its often hard to avoid being shot by moving up from behind.

That and they RF from turning, which as an X-com vet is disturbing, but that's not a major thing.

Hmm, for the beta build? I'd up the Guard's armour 5-10 points. Makes a much tougher prospect, and gives Sniper rifles and shotguns a better show due to their armour mitigation.

(Checked the files, is Wolf armour meant to have the same stats as Jackal?)

Not sure what else I can think of. Minor balancing for weapons? Last time I did so it was mostly dropping the AP costs of everything a bit as well as the accuracy. Did seem to flow a bit better, might still have the edited file around somewhere if you want it.

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I agree with Quartermaster that the shotgun and sniper rifle both seemed underpowered. Is there a critical hit system in place? That was what caused the 3 hits versus 1 hit feel in xcom. A head shoot to save your butt was always nice!

Also agree on the underwhelming explosives. I have stopped using them in all forms. Once the ferret ap bug is fixed, that might change as a rocket will do more damage per ap than the machine-gun.

Reaction fire seems to be a little overpowered currently especially while just turning. Maybe decrease the radius from behind that would trigger rf to about 2/3rds what it is now.

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It's possible that a redution of AP cost to fire and accuracy across the board could be useful, as Sathra says. That would add a lot more utility to weapons like sniper rifles that could have much more accuracy added by the zoom levels than at present.

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I agree with all of the above, especially the accuracy of the aliens and their ability reaction fire accurately when you are walking up behind them. Does anyone else think they have too large a sight radius over our soldiers? I kept advancing and, while saving for reaction shots, couldn't get close enough for 2 turns to see them, while they were quite happy peppering my troops. Though that might have had to do with the alien who was invisible and under the wing of the UFO...

Edited by anotherdevil
my fingers didn't type what my mind though
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This is just my opinion, but I think the following approach might work well. There are two main things (and plenty of little things) that need done for the press build. They are getting the scout ufo crash working correctly and changing how reaction fire works for the aliens to be a bit more fair. While those are getting done we could have a separate thread where we tweak the values on the initial level of ballistic weaponry to find a nice balance. The value changes that we are discussing do not necessarily need to be done on Chris' end exclusively. Much like Sathra has done maybe we could share some weaponry files to test a variety of options.

I propose the following methodology to get this to move swiftly. I say we start with Sathra's value set and get about 5 of us to test it for a few battles. After that we all come back, give feedback, and do another iteration. Once we have done this about 5 times we would probably have a pretty decent balance for the ballistic weaponry.

Would this approach be useful for you Chris or are you mainly interested in getting a rough approximation at this point?

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Not a matter of balance but I think it's an important issue to raise.

Does the line of sight in ground combat affect the aliens the same way that it does our soldiers?

What actually provokes a reaction?

Just for kicks I have modified my squad of soldiers to have 99 on all their abilities.

A soldier bearing an assault rifle was approaching an alien facing 180 degrees away from the line of approach.

This was after the alien has moved during their turn.

The approaching soldier has full 99 APs on a fresh turn.

The alien still managed to turn and fire in reaction.

So my question is, does the same mechanics work for the aliens or do they have something special?

Better senses? Better detection gadgets?

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The current reaction fire mechanics are a hack because the aliens don't have proper AI yet. As are the alien LOS mechanics, as you guys have already picked up on. I think aliens have pretty much unlimited sight range and 360 degree angle reaction fire.

The scout should work fine in the next update. I admit it's going to be hard to test the weapons properly until the aliens have some proper AI, but we're looking at AI coders at the moment so hopefully it won't be too long.

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Yeah, on the geoscape. I always place a base in the very top of North Africa, and the UFOs always fly in and out of my radar range either above europe (North sea?) or the atlantic, but usually over the sea. So often when I finally do catch up, I have to tail them over land, and then I run out of fuel before we get there... I once played and I got to UFO 3 before my fighters even managed to get into engaging distance (the tooltip popped up), let alone getting them over land. I always just send all 3 planes, in case that makes a difference

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Does anyone else feel that the distance your soldiers can see (i.e. how many tiles away the fog of war/shroud stops) is unrealistically short? I'd guess the sight range is about 30-40 metres at most and soldiers (especially elite/sf ones) should be able to see much further. It's also quite odd when soldier A can't see an alien himself but once soldier B has spotted it, A can hit it consistently with basic non-scoped weapons.

I'm sure this has been brought up before but if it was increased by 50 to 100% outside and left the same inside, for night missions, etc then it would feel a bit more realistic.

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I would like to see a reaction fire modifier (I guess that's for a soldiers reaction stat?) for soldiers/aliens that have not moved during their turn.

I had an instance just then of two soldiers (one with sniper rifle, one with rocket launcher) who were both crouched, facing the direction of a known alien threat (who was currently under the fog of war). They had not moved on their turn and had maximum AP.

On the enemy turn one Guard moved about 3 tiles into my LOS and then shot both of my men (insta-kills). Neither of my men offered reaction fire due to whatever reason.

I feel that troops that have not moved during their turn should have a greater chance of making reaction fire as in theory this signifies the fact that they have their weapon readied and would detect movement more easily than if they were moving themselves.

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Is it me or does everyone else have their fighters spend ages following the alien craft around before they get a lock? They never seem to be able to catch up at the very end and it's a wee bit frustrating...

This happens to me as well, I have to dance around with constant pausing and leading of targets even at point-blank range to stand a chance of intercepting the UFOs. It never felt that hard to intercept in normal X-COM. I can be literally right on top of the UFO, to the point where the models are overlapping, and still chase it around for 2-3 minutes before running out of gas and having to return to base while it scoots away.

This may be working as intended, but if so I'd advise looking at it a bit more because it really is rather frustrating to be so close but completely unable to close the final few pixels.

It's also possible that this is just a result of me being rubbish at the game and not comprehending that my crap starter planes aren't supposed to be able to catch zippy little UFO scouts, in which case disregard the above post.

Edited by TheTuninator
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I'd think the best way to work out reaction fire is to use three points.

1. the AP saved by the guy on overwatch (or whatever you call that)

2. the AP the guy doing an action has left after that particular action

3. the cost of that particular action

So, if the guy is doing a simple action like turning, kneeling etc it is less likely to give a reaction fire incident against him than pulling a gun from his back pack, aim firing a gun, etc. Since each time you do a short AP action there is the same chance for reaction against him this would build up over time (such as walking several squares) making it still be fairly likely to draw fire, plus as you keep doing short actions your remaining APs diminish making it even more likely to get reactions for each short action.

Does this make sense? How close to the current formula is it? Should range also be factored in? IE even if you can see a target would it being far away make you less likely to 'notice' it's movement and get a reaction fire? That could make alien's superior vision not be totally overpowering. Instead allowing snap reactions outside Xenonauts view occasionally, but most of the time getting them in view.

Edited by Patupi
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I suspect on the Geoscape the interceptors are just flying straight towards the UFOs rather than flying an intercept course which automatically leads the target by half the intervening distance (as they do in the air combat). That would probably explain why it's so difficult to catch anything.

For the reaction fire, first thing we need to do is to implement reaction fire modifiers for each weapon.

The reaction fire formulae currently works by it being triggered when the offending unit is first spotted. The reacting unit will try to take a shot at him, and if the shot fails then he won't be able to take another one until the offending unit has used the same number of APs. Ie. an alien appears in front of a rocket launcher soldier, who tries to take a shot at him costing 25APs. He fails. The alien then has to spend 25APs before another reaction fire check can be made against him by that soldier.

I'm unsure about a modifier for not having moved in the turn (basically for having more APs than the shot will take), as I suspect this will be very hard to balance.

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