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Massive air combat difficulty spike


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The landing craft does suck up a crap ton of torpedoes, and it doesn't help when you fire torps and the antimissile-missile system blows half of them out of the sky! :) Do you lead with your Condor, so the antimissile system destroys the less powerful missiles rather than the torpedoes?

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A very good suggestion, and one that I will have to try. Again, would be very useful if the game pointed out somehow when your missiles aren't getting through, as I wasn't aware of this until reading this forum! Thanks.

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A very good suggestion, and one that I will have to try. Again, would be very useful if the game pointed out somehow when your missiles aren't getting through, as I wasn't aware of this until reading this forum! Thanks.

It's actually in the description of the landing craft BUT I think you don't get that until you capture one.

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I just hit this on my first play through on steam.

Air combat was simple up to now.. just send some fighters.. un-pause and UFO is toast.

Then all of a sudden medium turns up... so just in case I send everything I have (2 condors, 1 Mig) and lose all of them.

I totally hated the game at that point. From total superiority to completely wiped out. Totally unfair, and I'm just playing on normal difficulty. I'm most of the way through my second month. I finally got some allenium in my last UFO mission, and I'd just finished researching it when I got totalled.

Because there was no clue that UFOs were going to suddenly become invincible, I was researching weapons and armour for my troops, as I was regularly losing soldiers and wanted to keep them alive longer.

Even if I sell everything in my base, I cannot afford to manufacture a MIG. the game is basically over.

There needs to be some more sensible progression of the difficulty. I've not even encountered any groups of UFOs yet.

If I can defeat a "small" UFO by using 2 condor's with starting equipment and by not doing anything on the mini-game at all, then the next step up should not wipe me out completely. The next step up should cost me a fighter, but not the fight. When I start losing fighters regularly, then I've got a reason to make sure I upgrade them and make sure I have more available; just like losing soldiers means I spend time researching their equipment.

There is no reason (other than meta-gaming, i.e. knowing the game mechanics) for improving my fighters if I win every fight without effort. So the game needs to provide better clues that I need to do something.

I totally love the ground combat, but in truth, all I want to do right now is turn air-combat off entirely.

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Yes air combat hits a huge spike because the enemy upgrades their aircraft way faster than you can upgrade yours. Unless you get the tech you need fast enough ( need to encounter a specific enemy or clear a landing craft) before the enemy starts sending bigger ships you might as well start over since it will just snowball till you can't even play on.

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The main issue as far as I can judge it, is the game advances to fast for the player to keep up. The invasion ticker jumps way to high to soon imo. For instance for the whole first month its scouts, which is fine. Second month is medium vessels. However, in the second month the AI rarely actually sends that many roaving medium vessels instead sending a lot of fighters or terror mission ships. So you dont have much chance to get money or the research done in that month, and the construction will be a least a month for new fighters (building up workshops and ships themselves), so you are in effect a full month behind the invasion.

You see this as soon as it hits November, the AI suddenly sends out large ufo's and escorts you can barely take on. IF you are lucky enough to get Corsairs extremely early, you MIGHT have a chance to get to the new year. But by then the average player is now two months behind, and completely unable to counter the huge size vessels and interceptor escorts.

Its the ticker scoring for the invasion thats out of whack. The "medium" vessel phase needs to last AT LEAST two months (oct & sep) for the player to have any hope of really keeping up with the invasion. It currently feels like the game is way way to fast in upscaling the UFO's, meaning you can either have crappy gear for your men and good air cover or good gear and crappy air cover.

And you can forget about expanding your bases, because that just makes the problem worse. Not enough income to cover base upkeep AND production, combined with the fact that more bases = more waves and you are going to go down in flames fast.

Currently the game feels like its forcing me to win the game outright in 6 months or else fail.

Edited by Hadrian
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Yeah, the problem IS mostly the first playthrough, though. I suppose once there are some game guides up that will help newer players, but for the moment it is the most punishing. I've finally bothered to get a game past the first month or so and done fine with expansion and most air combat, though I did have to reload a few times once "small" stopped meaning scout and started meaning heavy fighter.

Initial mediums and their fighter escorts can be taken down with just 1 foxtrot and 2 corsairs with fairly standard loadouts, I am pretty sure I did it without even gatling lasers or anything, but only once. Then I was able to research and get the alenium missiles/torpedoes and everything was gravy after (well, till november where I am at currently at least).

I just would hate to see a lot of new players turned off by running into this on normal with little warning. I suspect it would be better for the "community" and "game sales" ;p if we put more of a tutorial into the normal difficulty mode, and then made Veteran the first difficulty for, ah REAL xcom players ;p

I don't imagine many gamers are going to start on Easy as it is....

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Not just on the first playthrough mate, Ive done multiple games now all having to restart and push for faster research and engineering earlier and ealier. It happens with each increase in size of vessels, not just the small>medium variety. So many games Ive had to rush missile development at the cost of weaponry or even armor because I either dont have the time to do t2 aircraft or the money.

By december im still sitting on 3 condors and 2 Migs all armed with plasma and have no chance of getting corsairs up. By the time I do get a corsair or two its just jumped again to Huge size with alien interceptors. If you see two or three interceptors at this point in a flight every aircraft you have will be shot down. Here again you forced to rush missile development, which means nothing for your troops. So unless you focus entirely on air combat through missile development and aircraft you lose big time. And the ground units will have bugger all gear because everything is devoted to R&D for aircraft tech and workshops are at full chat making jets.

The invasion ticker is just to fast post October, its that simple.

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Ah, only done the one game so I don't have that much experience, but I'm mid-november now I think with something like 6 condors and 5 MiGs spread out across 3 bases with a 4th base waiting to come online. Haven't really bothered equipping any weapons other than alenium missiles, but the biggest ships I have come across yet are the "medium landing ships" which do either take 2 migs and a condor, or require sending out one of my Charlies to nab it when it lands.

Great money in nabbing one landed though, better than shooting it down!

EDIT: Nm, make that the 8th of december, the condors and MiGs with the alenium missiles have been doing fine so far, just hit plasma weapons for my troops. Put most of my money into expanding my bases for as much world coverage as possible as fast as I could. 30 Scientists 45 engineers. Still haven't seen anything worse than a Landing ship. Might be that the expansion helped slow the ticker enough by interrupting alien missions. I still have yet to get more than a single terror site. Doing 3rd or 4th alien base now, I send out ships to cover every inch of whatever zone is dropping my incoming cash ticker ASAP.

Not sure if any of that helps, but it's where I'm at now

Edited by svidangel
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Well I have two bases running, both with 2 condors and a mig, and I am at the beginning of November and electronics is about to get researched. got 3 more hangars in each base building so by 12th I should have 6 hangars in each, but while I can add a condor to each base and produce 4 more migs, that will be around 24th November, and I guess I will need 2 foxtrots basically NOW if I understand the forum correctly. so far though I only encountered the Corvette, which a Foxtrot can easily handle (first UFO contact in November around 4th) and still regular wings of fighters, which I can handle with two condors with a bit of micro (because they do not evade missiles - fortunately :D) I suspect I will have to put production of laser weapons for some unknown future and move straight to corsairs before December starts... but then again as far as the Androns, etc. are concerned and no new enemy type will suddenly start be a real pain, I guess armor less soldiers with ballistic weapons will have to do and they can manage good so far (as long as I will be avoiding night missions).

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I think thats where Im having so much trouble, in that I cant get a second base up early enough due to lack of funds. You are right in that more interceptions on more locations slows the invasion down. Its why I set my base in Egypt for maximum coverage of multiple nations. I have to forgo the American continent because Charlie cant reach that far and neither can my fighters. I reckon with 3 bases I could have enough basic coverage to hold off the invasion longer.

But again, I dont understand how you folks are getting so much cash early on. Its November before I start getting enough resources to even consider expanding. And that with doing every crash site, and selling off every bit of elerium and most of the metals.

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I think thats where Im having so much trouble, in that I cant get a second base up early enough due to lack of funds. You are right in that more interceptions on more locations slows the invasion down. Its why I set my base in Egypt for maximum coverage of multiple nations. I have to forgo the American continent because Charlie cant reach that far and neither can my fighters. I reckon with 3 bases I could have enough basic coverage to hold off the invasion longer.

But again, I dont understand how you folks are getting so much cash early on. Its November before I start getting enough resources to even consider expanding. And that with doing every crash site, and selling off every bit of elerium and most of the metals.

Start selling alloys and some other stuff early on. the fast operational second base will pay for itself, once corvettes start appearing, so rather early :D

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I think it comes down a bit to what we expect from the game and the difficulty levels.

On easy I should never have to restart because I made a mistake (e.g. focused just on troops, or just on air-combat). I.e. very forgiving.

On normal, I should be punished for making mistakes, but they should be recoverable if I identify them and take corrective action. In my view, I should as a player be able to complete the game in a single play-through without having to give up. Fair. Is the word I'd use. By fair I mean that the game gives me enough hints (and I don't mean flashing yellow notices, but gameplay hints, i.e. scaling of enemies etc), for me to be able to prepare. If I don't prepare I lose; that's fair. If the difficulty suddenly spikes without warning, or I have to have played the game before to know what's coming (or have read a game guide), that's unfair.

On veteran I'd expect to have played the game a couple of times, know the research tree reasonably well, know the basic mechanics, so the game should be a lot more punishing. Having to abandon a game should be a regular (but not too frequent) occurrence for a casual player.

Elite/heroic/whatever: Having to abandon a game should be a frequent occurrence for a casual player.

A player with loads of XCOM, TFTD, Jagged, etc experience should have not too much difficulty completing the game on normal.

Of course, I accept that everyone has their own views on difficulty, and these are just my own. Personally, I'd rather play through the game on normal, and find it too easy and play on veteran next time, than get slaughtered on normal and go play something more fair. I won't do the success of the game much good either, I feel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am also in this boat. I have beaten TFTD and that new (sorta)x-com on either ironman or fake ironman (in the case of tftd) in normal mode.

But restarting this game multiple times (think about 8th -10th restart) even lowering the dif to easy and going full blown cheese mode with not allowing myself to lose a single fighter or troop with saving....

I cannot for the life of me get enough funds. I finally got to the point where I have two migs up by the beginning of October. Which has allowed me to down the unescorted landing ships with the condor/2 mig strat but it has cost me any chance at a second base, and novemeber constantly sees my funding just start getting decimated.

I have even managed to push a game to January where I had a couple cosairs, and 2 migs and plasma missles. Building my first x-37 or whatever the first true new aircraft is and finally getting research finshed on the new Shrike dropship. but again cost are just over the top.

250k a mig... needs a 40% reduction, think 150k would be good.

500k just for the base, then you add in the minimum rooms..

radar array (200k)

Storeroom (50k)

3 hangers (300k total)

Not to mention the 2 migs and condor (at another 550k) needed. And this is all assuming no living quarters and another hanger and Charlie.

You are looking at 1.6mil for just the bare bones functional base.

This is all without factoring in 50-60k for every laser gun or wolf armor.

Then lets not even get to the Corsair (400k), The new fighter (750k), and the Shrike (800k) add to that even with 30 techs those last ships are 30 days to build each which has a hanger sitting empty.

How anyone can do Ironman... I bow to their skills lol.

don't get me wrong... I love this game so far. Absolutely fabulous, but a cost balancing pass needs to get in there quick.

As it is I am now going to go research how to mod this game so I can do a flat 40% cost reduction across the board for everything. and mabey throw in a building time reduction for late game ships if I can figure that out.

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How anyone can do Ironman... I bow to their skills lol.

I've found the best way is to borrow from my RTS background and to a full out economy focused build. Don't build anything other than a single Foxtrot/barracks/med center until your second base is operational, then split your money between infantry gear and workshops.

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Maybe they could make it significantly easier to escape air combat with your fighters intact when you realize you're over your head. Increasing the turning speed of the mig/foxtrot would help a lot. In EU94, it was usually very easy to escape with an interceptor vs anything except a battleship (which one-shot you). And you had a lot more money.

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If I ignore fighter craft (most fighter craft in my game appear in squads of three or with a heavy fighter. It has been like this since October, it is now November) does the invasion ticker scale upward faster?

I shot down everything in Sept, and early oct was easy since it was only scouts. Then late October comes and it is either corvettes, corvettes with fighters, or lots of fighters.

It took two foxtrots and two condors for me to kill a corvette finally, and i lost both of the condors. When it crashed I thought to myself 'this thing was so hard to shoot down, now that I finally killed it, this is going to be a turning point in the current air combat.' I thought the resources and technology that I would recover from this near impossible-to-kill craft would help finance and construct new planes to help me win. Boy was I wrong.

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