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Getting attached to your soldiers.

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I thought I would create a topic on this subject, what makes you attached to your soldiers? How can this be encouraged even more through in-game systems/features?

Personally I think that getting attached to your soldiers is an important step to getting you seriously hooked on the game and makes you keep coming back to more and also makes you feel scared when doing missions because you are so attached to them!

Soldier progression (leveling/stat increases) is of course an important part of this but there are already posts on this subject so that is best discussed there, what I would like this thread to focus on is stuff besides that, more "fluff" material so to speak. An example I could think of is for example your soldiers earning individual awards/medals and creating their own history and/or having their own personality.

This shouldn't be something that is forced into the player's face but something you can check up if you are the kind of player that wants to know these things, I'm thinking in lines of Dwarf Fortress here for example where your Dwarfs basically have likes/dislikes as well as any notable action they perform (or injury they get) will be recorded in the background of their guy, this is not vital to the actual gameplay however but it can a lot of times be very interesting to read and will make them feel more "real"

Now how much of stuff like this is too much? Is the time needed to add something like soldier history/background etc. etc. not worth it? What do you all think? Personally I love this kind of stuff and I know that a lot of people making Let's Play series do as well.

Another example of games adding uniqueness/personality/attachment to your soliders is Jagged Alliance 2, there every character had their own personality and quirks and this made them much more lovable (or hate-able) and thus you got more attached to them... Basically I think that them just being more then just a stat sheet that you min/max would be a good idea but this is just my opinion.

What do you all think?

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Yeah, this kind of stuff was brought up as a possibly polish item ages ago. Possibly part of some form of 'death list', Roll of the Fallen kind of thing.

Weirdly, what made me attached to my soldiers was simply that they were little more than a bunch of numbers. But they were MY number-bags and that's what was important. I'd hired them, I'd commanded them and most importantly, they'd survived.

It was always the stupid things that really made me like my troopers. Like a Captain Dimitry who'd been injured slightly several times (5 days or so each time) and was leading a squad of mostly rookies in a Snakeman terror mission. Advancing through smoke across a park, he killed 3 snakes where his useless charges failed, a true hero. Turn end.

Snakeman lunges out of the smoke and shoots him in the face with a plasma rifle and kills him.

Or RavenX II and his incessant bullet-magnetism.

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Definitely want a list of deaths, keeping track of who died when and where can get reaaally hard after a while and making a list of who died and when shouldn't really take much time to implement either? But yes not SUPER important stuff but definitely something sweet to have..

I agree though that even when lacking in-game features that provide stuff you get some kind of sense of "personality" from your units in x-com for example even though they were just a bunch of walking stats... Most of this was just something you created in your head however :)

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It often works better that way though. Never really got attached to soldiers in Apoc, which did have medals (they were based on total Xp and time in service and stuff though).

As for death lists, there is a mission-end screen that should show all the deaths, medical cases(including time) and stat increases/promotions, all on one page.

The Roll of the Fallen was more a end-game thing, maybe something for general checking, but mostly endgame. A kind of tribute to all the troops you got killed.

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The medals idea is under consideration as a polishing thing. If we have time, cool. The good news is that our artist who did all the weapon art has returned after a long hiatus and might be up for doing the art for such a thing. No promises though.

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Would it be possible for the soldiers to build tenure with each other?

So, for example, if two soldiers have been on 20+ missions together they'd get a small stats buff if they were near each other?

Or, if soldiers who are tenured with each other are near a soldier who does a reaction attack, their "buddy" has a chance to fire back too, even if he wouldn't have normally been triggered

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That seems like a hell of a thing to implement, and balance, for only some tangible gain (they both have to have available AP, they both have to be able to see the target, you may want his 'buddy' to not turn around and watch his sector instead, etc.)

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That seems like a hell of a thing to implement, and balance, for only some tangible gain (they both have to have available AP, they both have to be able to see the target, you may want his 'buddy' to not turn around and watch his sector instead, etc.)

Definitely would have to balance the react firing aspect, and that would be secondary in my requests to their boosting eachother's stats :)

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More importantly, it would require that the game remembers a complete list of every mission every solider has been on and who they were on said missions with.

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A little personality goes a long ways to getting invested in a character. Early in the Total war series it was 'fill in the blank' general with x/x stat. When they added the traits I really started differentiating between generals.

Sharp eyes increase LOS, or nervous ned decrease reaction accuracy. With the first example, Suddenly two scouts are no longer fill in the blanks, one is better, but also more valuable. Do you risk him or not.? Second example is, well, I need a some canon foder and Ned's useless in cover so send him up to find the alien the hard way. Maybe he'll survive and get tougher :)

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That's a great example. Even if it's just giving the stat increases names, it would go a long way in creating personality in your soliders.

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I believe that getting attached to your soldiers or npc's is one of the secret ingredients that help make a game incredibly addictive.

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I would love to see stuff like this. Something I'd like to see is something from the original xcom if I recall correctly, when the soldiers could be better at different stuff. A soldier might have be extra talented with sharpshooting and can often hit enemies far away more often than the other soliders can. Therefore he got the title "sniper" at his name

I'd love the soldiers to have different personalities

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A Fallen list at the end would be depressing. I don't think I'd want to be reminded how many I've lost in my X-Com 1-3 games. I like the idea of medals here. I'd like to be able to hand some out manually though. In some of my games I've had soldiers make a lucky or impossible shot that was a big help and wanted to give them a medal for it. A medal for saving a civilian would help keep the soldiers focused. It would also be nice if a medal had an effect/reward such as a +1 to a relevant attribute score. :)

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A Fallen list at the end would be depressing. I don't think I'd want to be reminded how many I've lost in my X-Com 1-3 games. I like the idea of medals here. I'd like to be able to hand some out manually though. In some of my games I've had soldiers make a lucky or impossible shot that was a big help and wanted to give them a medal for it. A medal for saving a civilian would help keep the soldiers focused. It would also be nice if a medal had an effect/reward such as a +1 to a relevant attribute score. :)

Not if you get to hand the medals ut manually.

For some reason I really like the manual medal idea. Would that be a generic "badge of honour" where you get to type in your own description as to why he got it or would it be a specific medal selected out of a list? I think i'd prefere number 1.

(Tbh im not much for small things giving individual boosts like that. It might feel like a cool idea but it makes everything so much harder to balance if you have to take those things into consideration. Maybe someone can add it in modding later on after the release of the game but i'd like it to stay out of the official release.)

PS. Fallen list at the end? of what? the game? I thought the idea was to have the fallen list acessible during gameplay. After the war has been won fallenlist wont really make you more attached to your soldiers. DS

Edited by Gorlom

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Some wonderful ideas here.

At a very basic level certain soldiers often become stand out characters because they pull off something wonderful in a battle so any way of recording that at the time would be brilliant, medals fit this role well.

Giving some stat advances names would be great, also something perhaps worth looking into would be negative traits too.

Sure some people are just going to play the game in a "min/max" style and cut loose a soldier who got a negative trait but for those taking a more roleplaying view negatives are often just as important as positives, if not more so.

They don't even need to be permanent, infact that's probably even better, for example if your most cared about soldier picked up a drinking problem, taking a slight hit to his accuracy but a boost to his moral as he takes some dutch courage.

Not a character ruining negative it just makes for a deeper character but more importantly think of the added feeling you'd get when/if that soldier then kicked their bad habit. Continuing the example above that would perhaps undo the lost accuracy and also give a boost to moral for the willpower shown and being able to beat his demons.

That sort of thing can be taken as far as you want or are able to within the constraints of everything else as it is all just an added bonus to the immersion of the game which is already very strong.

The idea of keeping medals and stat changes seperate sounds good to me, the medals being more of a record/diary of important events for the player should they want to do so rather than becoming an extra tactical weapon.

Edited by Inkallim

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I actually just signed up to input a similar suggestion!

The thing I was going to suggest is it would be really, really cool if you had little titles or medals based on your actions. Like "1st alien kill" for the person who kills the first alien for the Xenonauts, "Last Man Standing" if they were the last man alive at the end of a mission, "Original 10" for the original squad, etc.. It would be great near end game looking at someone and remembering that they were part of your first squad and have managed to survive this whole time.

One of the things that made XCom great was that you got attached to your squad and still had to watch them die, time and time again.

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What I think would be cool is if when they died they got put on a list as previously stated but also you could type a little something in to be put in a file with the name so you dont forget like "Drizzt died a brave death taking a Sectoid commander with him" or "I hated Drizzt he was a sissy and coward" (probably not the second one :P) but something like that so you dont forget who he was because no matter how much you like him random names are hard to remember :D

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What I think would be cool is if when they died they got put on a list as previously stated but also you could type a little something in to be put in a file with the name so you dont forget like "Drizzt died a brave death taking a Sectoid commander with him" or "I hated Drizzt he was a sissy and coward" (probably not the second one :P) but something like that so you dont forget who he was because no matter how much you like him random names are hard to remember :D

I suggested much the same thing on the old forums, and a few people quite liked that idea. Trouble is having enough variation, and creating a program that intelligently puts the phrases together. Would probably be best if it focused on how they died, their total kills, rank etc. not how cowardly they were...

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I think what Zorac is talking about is allowing the player to input the extra info.

You'd probably still forget about a bunch of soldiers and how they died, but the important ones you wouldn't.

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yes indeed that was what I was talking about thanks Sathra although it would be cool if it automatically put amount of kills who killed him adn all that stuff and then you could edit that

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One aspect of the original X-com that I didn't like was death of my soldiers. You grow attached to them and don't want to always have to reload a save game. Let's face it, I bet almost everyone reloads a save game when soldiers die so it is somewhat of a useless feature.

In the game "UFO: Extraterrestrials" there was a mod that I liked that removed permanent death for the soldiers and instead put them in the hospital for a period of time. The more hospitals you had the faster they would heal. Loved this feature.

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