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[Opinion] Nerf Reaction shots and/or tune AI to use them less.

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As the title says, in my opinion reaction shots are "mad op" right now. Especially because the AI overuses them, and without having any method of getting greater line-of-sight (reading game files it seems that eventually there's an armor that'll do it... eventually) it is virtually impossible to avoid being on the receiving end of them, often. And since the aliens rarely miss on their reaction shots, I often dread my own turns greater than the enemy turns.

A compound to this issue is the clunky way the squadsight is handled, specifically that aliens can easily throw rounds at you from nigh-on half a map away.

Between those two problems, unless I kill every enemy I see within a single turn, I'm usually on the receiving end of hellish firepower: I'm currently at a spot where my troops have Wolf armor... and my enemies are toting heavy plasma, plasma snipers, and plasma cannons primarily. Wolf gives me a roll to survive those, but asking my troops to survive a single turn when spotted by the enemy is apparently unreasonable. Anyway, what usually happens if I fail to kill an enemy in a single turn is that one will turn tail and run, while his buddies shell my troops/vehicles from a distance. Often he'll have a reaction shot for me at the same moment my Hunter spots him, since the Hunter has equal sight range. So then I'll take a turn of his teams shots... and I have to take another reaction shot when I pursue. It's brutal.

Side note: Aliens seem to be far more likely than humans to take reaction shots: This is best showcased by a recent event when I had four soldiers (with 30-40 TUs each!) staring at a door... and it opened, a Caesan walked out, took five steps or so, and shot at my Hunter, never once being shot at. Contrast that with my turn when moving a single tile within enemy LOS procs reaction fire.

Suggestions: Nerf reaction shots overall? Prevent reaction shots from occurring at the outermost 2 tiles of vision? Have a minimum-distance-travelled-within-LOS requirement? I decided to be a b*tch and just edited my own weapons.xml file and reduced ALL reaction shot values to tiny numbers (pistols went from 1.8 to 0.8, rifles went from 1.0 to 0.1, shotguns 1.4 to 0.4, so on.) I did this for both human and alien weapons, since I'm nothing if not fair.* Gonna see how that works out, although I get the feeling it's going to become far too easy as the AI tries to use it's same old tricks and have horrible odds.

*I did notice an oddity when going through that file: The alien sniper plasma has a reaction value of 1.5, meaning it's better than shotguns at taking reaction shots. And the final straw that drove me mad was a sniper-equipped Caesan getting a one-shot-kill with a reaction shot. I'm pretty sure that value is (at the least) not supposed to be that high.

OKAY, thanks for reading my rant. I know its a rant, but I needed to say all that. And a good part of it's rambl-y, I know. I'm sleepy right now. Stop judging me. Stop it. STOP IT!

Oh, and inb4 "learn to play," "it's in alpha so you can't complain," "stop trying to make everyone else play your way."

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Even Chris has agreed that the aliens are a bit too nasty. Its a carryover from when they were really stupid so they haven't been balanced yet. Try out Assoonasitis' balance mod, which, I think, changes various weapons stats around (alien weapons are more inaccurate for one thing, which reduces the RF deaths alot).

Another thing that lets the aliens RF more is that they see further than your troops and as such get more reaction rolls. Since they've got pretty good reaction scores (and powerful, accurate weapons) its pretty bad. The Hunter can see as good or better than most alien troops though, so alot of people swear by it.

The AI is still being worked on, so hopefully in the later builds it'll do something besides reserve AP for reaction fire and wander slowly around the map.

I've never noticed problems with my own troops reaction firing, but then again I mostly set up RF with shotguns and pistols (which get a bonus).

Are you using Hotfix 2? It cuts down the 'across the map spray' quite alot, since they can't shoot through walls and such anymore.

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I do use the Hunter (will be replacing it with the light tank soon actually), and it's nice... still does get RF'ed once though when it and the enemy mutually notice each other.

I admit that I don't consider RF a resource to myself, and avoid weapons that get bonii to it, preferring standard rifles and precisions, so that may be why I don't get them myself very much. (As a rule of thumb, I avoid tactical options that involve letting the enemy take the initiative AND hand over my decision-making process to the computer. )

Yes I am using HF2 and it does sorta cut down on that. It doesn't help much on wide-open desert maps, though. It also doesn't seem to stop the aliens from camping near the door of the UFO and shooting that out when they get squadsight.

I'll look into Assoonasitis' mod, seen it recommended a few times around the forum. Maybe Chris'll just say "screw it" and make that mod canon, heh.

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Haha, maybe. Yeah, the only way I've seen to avoid door shots is to stand to the side where they can't get an angle. I mostly use RF when I need to 'activate' the ufo's crew (make them run out by getting within a certain distance). Free kills basically, if my soldiers could shoot worth a damn.

My current game has been using 4 shotguns, 2 MG's and 2 snipers. Its actually been pretty effective and fun. I still don't rely on RF much for the same reasons you do, plus I prefer to finish missions quickly.

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You know, what I've noticed after my mass-reductions in reaction modifiers is actually primarily that reaction shots are taken far less: as of now I can pretty much move with impunity and never be RF'd. I intentionally turned it way down so that I could gauge what too low feels like after too much. Not only were the shots few and far between, but they were also inaccurate, so I don't think I got hit by a single RF during that mission.

Interesting that changing the modifier changes how often they RF -- maybe the algorithm for whether or not an RF is taken includes a "only shoot over x% chance," which might explain why aliens take advantage of it so much better than humans: At least in the early game, aliens shoot few rounds but with great accuracy and damage, while humans shoot many rounds with lower accuracy and damage. (I can't speak to the lategame, having not played it yet.) The base human weapon with the highest accuracy -- the precision rifle -- has a reaction shot malus, while the alien counterpart has a reaction shot bonus. Bottom line, aliens would qualify for that x% a lot more than humans would.

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I find the reaction shots of the aliens to me quite literally infuriating.

I had a few times when I just selected a soldier, not moved or turned on the spot, just selected and the aliens has fired reaction shots at the soldier.

After reading the OP, I thought I would try the same, modifying the XML file to balance it better, but I find myself somewhat confused.

I cannot find this reaction modifier to the weapons, I can find accuracy, but not reaction.

Am I missing something or are those two the same thing?

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weapons_gc.xml has an entry under the actual weapon, not under the shot type.

For example:

<Weapon name="weapon.pistol" bulletType="normal" emptySound="Empty Click 1">

<props range="10" hands="1" recoil="0" weight="1.5" isHeavy="0" clipSize="12" reloadAPCost="8" reloadSound="Weapon Pistol Reload" reactionModifier="1.8" hpLimit="60" />

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