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Chris

Doing Every Mission - Solution?

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Falidell, we just fundamentally disagree. I understand where you're coming from and respect your ideas, but would prefer the game not go in that direction.

I personally don't mind the number of missions as they are now.

It might be fun to occasionally throw a very high up ship onto the map that a player might be able to down with all of their aircraft semi-suicidally. This would offer players an option to drastically shift up the tech tree to get closer to the end, but at the risk of being unable to keep control of the map for a while.

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i see what your saying. well i know this one was discussed at the beginning but it's really the only thing i can think of that forces a limited amount of missions without hindering ufo count. have a chance to not vaporize the ufo but when you bring the ship down to the crash site for a mission "All Aliens are dead" so it auto completes. no mission while retaining some loot and beleivability.

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That sounds cool: I think I remember getting missions close to that result in TFTD. Even if it could drop to one alien (if 2 and under=stays in UFO) that'd probably help. Especially when people get alenium missiles.

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Mytheos has a good point. The small UFOs popping up throughout the game are there to allow training of rookies, for the most part. How about we incorporate training rookies into the local forces bit so we don't have to do the tedious rookie-training-missions over and over again and so we can focus on the fun stuff; using already trained soldiers to take out aliens using high-tech weapons.

Under my idea, we'd have three options available to deal with crash sites (short of simply ignoring them):

a) Do the Ground Combat Normally

Same benefits as we currently have: artifacts, soldier stat increases, relationship bonus, research materials, etc.

b) Offer Crashsite to Local Forces

You can give the crash site to the local forces to let them handle it themselves.

This you a relationship boost because they get all of the artifacts, the research materials, etc.

c) Assist Local Forces

You can give the crash site to the local forces and send a dropship of soldiers to the site.

This gives you a higher relationship boost and increases the skills of the soldiers used, provided they have low stats. However, the soldiers also are unavailable for 6 (?) hours as they assist the local forces. There also could be a chance for the soldiers to be wounded or killed.

Involving Stats: If the soldier's have stats under 65 (?) then there would be a chance (I'm thinking 75%) that they would gain one skill point in that sub-65 stat. Once they hit 65 in that stat they cannot increase it by assisting local forces anymore. However, even if your soldiers aren't getting stat-ups, you still get a higher relationship boost than if using the normal "Offer Crash Site to Local Forces" option because you're giving them more (rights to artifacts vs rights to artifacts and assistance in getting them).

Involving Being Wounded: maybe 30% chance for light wounds, 10% chance for heavy wounds, 1% chance of death, otherwise 59% chance they don't take any damage.

How to incorporate into the game, as far as the UI goes:

When you click on the crash site in the geoscape and the little menu pops up, simply give another option (besides intercept/send forces) "Offer Crash Site to Local Forces". This produces option (b) above.

When you send a dropship of soldiers, and the "Begin Mission" prompt comes up, there could be another option there as well, "Assist Local Forces" which produces option © above.

Restrictions to Local Force Involvement

The local forces shouldn't be allowed to handle a UFO before you have done at least three (?) ground missions with that UFO type.

This is for several reasons:

a) You need to have an opportunity to get research materials, and if you decide not to do a crash site and simply let the local forces do it you may miss out on important datacores and other materials required for progressing.

b) You should have the opportunity to experience every awesome UFO the devs have worked on; it's only fair to them.

c) As far as lore goes, the Local Forces aren't going to assault the UFO blind like the Xenonauts do. They need interior maps, after-action reports, and reconnaissance on the enemy. Thus, once you've done three, say, corvettes, you've gathered enough intel to sufficiently brief the local forces on how to take corvettes and what to expect, and only then are they ready and willing to take the crash site themselves.

d) You shouldn't be a slacker and simply never do any missions. By forcing the player to do at least 3 missions of each UFO type you know for a fact that they will have at least three encounters with each type of UFO. This knowledge will be invaluable for balancing, I'm sure.

Important Note Concerning Relationships:

The relationship boost of doing a ground mission yourself should not be negligible. You should be able to play and win the game by doing every single crash site yourself. You shouldn't be penalized by taking the long way 'round, as it were, and having the Xenonauts never delegate their responsibilities, if you can successfully do that. Because you would be selling loot and getting more materials you wouldn't need to rely on the funding as much, so we can make the relationship boost from doing it yourself smaller than if you gave the mission to the local forces. However, it can't be too small a boost, otherwise it'd penalize the guys who want to do every mission.

Suggestion:

In the UFO reports that the science division gives the player, why not have the scientist suggest that you leave the smaller crash sites alone, and focus on the larger, more dangerous, more important ones. After all, the local forces can handle it.

EDIT: EchoFourDelta Had a Good Idea:

We'll use a light scout for an example here, though it applies to all UFOs:

We have to do light scout ground missions ourselves three times to unlock Assist Local Forces. After we Assist three times we unlock Offer Crash Site to Local Forces. This way we kind of teach the local forces how to take care of the sites themselves. Brilliant idea, E4D. :)

I agree with everything in this post, I think it would make the game much more interesting and remove some of the tedious UFO grinding. It also seems a much better compromise to achieve the desired results than anything else mentioned. For those that state it's akin to auto resolve, how about making this feature controllable via the options menu such as IRONMAN mode currently is. Some people will inevitably prefer the game to remain as close to the original as possible. Too many other versions of the x-com remakes strayed to far from the original formula. I don't see this idea as doing that but by giving people the choice will only serve to please everyone.

I have no idea how much work would be required to make this happen but If I could help out in any way I would be more than happy to.

Chris comment please I believe this is a very plausible solution

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I agree with everything in this post, I think it would make the game much more interesting and remove some of the tedious UFO grinding. It also seems a much better compromise to achieve the desired results than anything else mentioned. For those that state it's akin to auto resolve, how about making this feature controllable via the options menu such as IRONMAN mode currently is. Some people will inevitably prefer the game to remain as close to the original as possible. Too many other versions of the x-com remakes strayed to far from the original formula. I don't see this idea as doing that but by giving people the choice will only serve to please everyone.

I have no idea how much work would be required to make this happen but If I could help out in any way I would be more than happy to.

Chris comment please I believe this is a very plausible solution

Chris has said that he doesn't want anything where soldiers can gain skills except through ground combat. But what about getting rookies up to speed so as to avoid/skip the super boring rookie-training that we all will have to go through otherwise?

One major con to the game (some see it as a con, anyway) is that there are so many ground combat missions. This is the entire point of this thread, even. The main reason why we can't remove all of the "boring" light scout ground missions from the late game is because we need them to train rookies and to build teams. The light scout missions are boring, the rookie training is boring, we should just cut out the middle man and fix training rookies and doing too many missions at the same time.

As for mechanics:

If 65 is too high a skill cap, maybe make it 60.

Maybe make the cap increase as you progress through the game.

Maybe it can only increase to, say, 60 on light/scouts, and 65 on all other missions?

Maybe limit the local forces mechanic to the "smaller" ships or something so you can't just send rookies on a battleship mission and have them gain rank ups from that.

While the exact details of the idea are up for debate, the idea itself is very sound.

Edited by GizmoGomez

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This talk of "streamlining" the game by reducing the number of missions makes me nervous. I find the idea of only 30-40 missions in a game really unsatisfying: I enjoy a long, grueling campaign with many missions, slow tech advance, and the need to gradually build a large, global organization with multiple combat teams spread around the world. To some people this seems tedious, to me (and others I'm sure) this is exactly the heart of the game. I do every crash site because that's what I enjoy, not because I need to obsessively maximize benefits. Ideally you could build in options to cater to the range of playing styles, perhaps along the lines of Civ's "Marathon, Epic, Normal, etc" options where you can choose the pace of progress in the game.

For example, a fast-paced option would have faster invasion progression and tech advance rate, fewer UFOs (thus fewer crash sites) but more gain per recovery in terms of salvage and soldier advancement. For the slow-paced option, the opposite.

Reiterating earlier posts, there are more elegant ways to limit number of crash missions without autoresolve.

1. Increase the % that a UFO crash is a total loss, nothing recoverable.

2. Make the ability to do every mission offset by the costs of building the infrastructure needed to do so. In other words, with a "minimal" set-up of 1-2 combat teams, I couldn't do all the mission if I wanted to, but with 3-4 teams the extra cost eats up the gains from extra missions. I personally would enjoy the latter, even if there were no net gain in "game progress". Some ways to do this:

2a. Decrease the time window that crash sites are available. As it is, I can send a team from halfway around the world. If they disappear more quickly, I'll need more teams spread around the world to reach every site in time, and this might offset the benefits of trying to reach each and every site. As it is, I also usually have the luxury to delay sending a team until daytime. If I was pressed to send a team more quickly, I might pass on night missions because I'd perceive the cost as outweighing the gain.

2b. Impose a recovery time for soldiers - some period of R&R before they're ready for a new mission. This way I need a larger pool of soldiers to draw on. I might not consider it worth doing every mission given the extra cost and the fact the gains are being watered down by distributing them over a wide group and not a single team of main soldiers.

Also, let me cast a positive vote for the idea of "mixing up" the crew composition of scouts to deal with they same-y-ness.

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I think we're really only talking about reducing the small ship flights a bit when larger ships appear and giving the players a way to get out of doing some recoveries if they don't want to. Thinking back to the OG, I believe there are far more UFO flights in this game in a shorter time span.

Edited by StellarRat

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But reducing the number of low-end flights imposes a limit on the ability to train rooks.

We could do that, and have a mid-to-late game research that increases the stat gain of soldiers below a certain rank. In effect they'd level faster, thus needing fewer missions, and no other alterations required.

Just a thought.

In Apoc they had perpetual passive training with the appropriate facility, you could just recruit and park rooks at the base before you ran out of squaddies and they'd slowly become less likely to instadie. No provision for that mechanic here though.

Edited by Elydo

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But reducing the number of low-end flights imposes a limit on the ability to train rooks.
I'm not talking about cutting Lt. Scout and Scout missions totally, just reducing them somewhat when the mediums appear. Right now there are just too many Lt. Scout flights later in the game.

BTW, you probably know this, but a good way to train rookies is to take a couple along on the hard missions i.e. rotation.

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At the moment, we're planning to try the straightforward option where crash sites can be given to local forces in exchange for some money. These will then be dealt with by the local forces, probably using excessive amounts of firepower.

This is going to be reflected by the UFO Crash Site pop-up having an "Assault" button and an "Airstrike" button. That should make the distinction relatively clear to the player (the Airstrike is conducted by local forces).

In terms of gameplay effect, the idea is that the player is going to receive more money from the Airstrike option than from an Assault mission, but Assaulting will give soldier progression, researchable technology and alien materials too (plus some cash). If people want to Assault every single crash site, that should work fine for them.

It's quite important in my view that the ONLY way the player can gain research artefacts and soldier progression is through the ground combat. If there are systems where you get either of them in another way, I think it'll really undermine the feel of the game.

Money in Xenonauts is important, particularly in the early-game, but it will only get you so far. I think this idea will let players who do not want to do every single mission play the game without disadvantage, whilst not really handicapping those that do either. From a lore perspective it makes sense too.

I've read the other solutions in the thread but they tend to either break the cardinal rule about soldier experience / research artefacts, or seem to be more complex than my current suggestion for no real gain that I can see.

EDIT - also, consider that any way of limiting the number of crash sites (rather than the number a player actually attacks) causes tech tree problems. What if a player is unlucky and doesn't get a Scout crash site for a month? That'll put them way behind other players in research terms at that stage of the game through no fault of their own.

Luck isn't meant to be such a major factor in your success / failure than it would be if you're heavily limiting crash sites numbers. Not much of a strategy game if it is.

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I just wanted to pop up my little suggestion but I think we should get a relation bonus for shooting down a ufo and the bonus should be based on the UFO size (meaning a scout isnt worth the same as a landing ship) also you should get bonuses for still clearing a UFO crash site manually but not as much as donating the UFO would give.

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In terms of gameplay effect, the idea is that the player is going to receive more money from the Airstrike option than from an Assault mission, but Assaulting will give soldier progression, researchable technology and alien materials too (plus some cash). If people want to Assault every single crash site, that should work fine for them.

In principle I think that the airstrike idea is a good one, since it offers a solution to the problem while remaining optional so players can use it how they want. I'm wondering, though, whether setting it up like this wouldn't be able to cause balance problems.

If air striking gives more money than assaulting, then air striking is better for generating money. While UFOs give researchable tech, you only need to do each UFO once to get that tech, so once you have assaulted a UFO type once you don't need to do it again for that purpose.

This leaves alien resources and experience as the two reasons to do an assault over air striking. I'm unsure whether this is a good tradeoff. The advantage of experience gain is arguably offset by the risk of death - once you have some reasonably veteran soldiers, grinding them for more stats can be more of a risk than it is worth. Alien resources may be worth while, but honestly I've never yet encountered a lack of these resources so I'm not sure I'd need to do that many missions for them (also, since alien bases can only be assaulted, you could probably rely on these for most of your resources).

More problematic, however, is that once you're a few months into the game you can get both materials and experience from *smaller* UFOs with practically no risk. The airstrike option, therefore, seems like it would be optimally deployed on the larger, more dangerous UFOs while smaller ones (along with alien bases) provide experience and resources. The airstrike option, therefore, seems to me to incentivise playing the least interesting missions because there's much less risk relative to the rewards you can get.

I'm happy to be proven wrong, mind. But that's what I'd expect on paper, at least.

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More problematic, however, is that once you're a few months into the game you can get both materials and experience from *smaller* UFOs with practically no risk. The airstrike option, therefore, seems like it would be optimally deployed on the larger, more dangerous UFOs while smaller ones (along with alien bases) provide experience and resources. The airstrike option, therefore, seems to me to incentivise playing the least interesting missions because there's much less risk relative to the rewards you can get.
Those are good points. From my perspective I'd be more inclined to use the airstrike to get some money from the Lt. Scout and Scout shootdowns. I don't even bother going to those after a while because they are boring once you to get to lasers and Wolf. I just shoot them down and leave the carcasses to rot. I think there ought always be more incentive to do a recovery than airstrike i.e. the airstrike money should be equal or less than you'd get doing it yourself. It should really be a question of if you want to spend the time and risk your troops to do ALL the recoveries or just the important ones.

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Options are good. I like a grueling slog fests. So as long as I still can still play it the way I want it's all good. I can't worry about people taking shortcuts. But then again I might get lazy.

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Well, we can justify the increased funding lore-wise with the host nation being able to claim to its people that it defeated a UFO. Yet they'll still need to pay off the xenonauts since they lack the ability to actually deal with aliens. Yay, propaganda.

I always kinda assumed that the extra points for captured aliens were for either holding public 'trials' against captured ones, or for the host nation to vivisect and do its own research.

I kinda miss being able to sell bodies like you could in TFTD. Xarquid Sushi- could be a hipster band name.

It'll be interesting to see how this change affects gameplay.

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More problematic, however, is that once you're a few months into the game you can get both materials and experience from *smaller* UFOs with practically no risk. The airstrike option, therefore, seems like it would be optimally deployed on the larger, more dangerous UFOs while smaller ones (along with alien bases) provide experience and resources. The airstrike option, therefore, seems to me to incentivise playing the least interesting missions because there's much less risk relative to the rewards you can get.

I'm happy to be proven wrong, mind. But that's what I'd expect on paper, at least.

The fact that it remains optional to use means that you, and other like minded people can still play without the airstrike option ever even being used. Your point while being valid is very situational. Not everyone will use the airstrike and prefer instead to play as the original x-com was intended. I'm glad I'm not forced down any particular path and have the option to choose is great. Air striking is way more preferable than leaving a crash site to expire.

The very fact we have options makes what is already a great strategy game even more multi faceted.

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The fact that it remains optional to use means that you, and other like minded people can still play without the airstrike option ever even being used. Your point while being valid is very situational. Not everyone will use the airstrike and prefer instead to play as the original x-com was intended. I'm glad I'm not forced down any particular path and have the option to choose is great. Air striking is way more preferable than leaving a crash site to expire.

The very fact we have options makes what is already a great strategy game even more multi faceted.

I think the problem is that this idea is trying to do two things at once. On the one hand, it is designed to reduce the tedium of doing missions which have become trivially easy. In other words, rather than having the choice between grinding a Light Scout when you have a squad full of Wolf-armoured veterans or getting nothing, you get a choice between grinding and getting *something*. In this way, it's attempting to act as a kind of ground combat auto-resolve. It's also, however, trying to work as a viable strategic alternative to doing ground combats. I.e., it is trying to create a choice between doing a ground assault (which gives you experience and loot) or air striking (which gives you a big(ger) relationship boost for more cash).

As an 'autoresolve' equivalent, the idea works great. If the player wants to use it, great! If not, no harm done. As a strategic choice, however, it doesn't work so well, because by making that decision you are also making a decision as to whether you get to play the ground combat game (which is, in the final analysis, the main point of playing at all!). So, persuing one strategy (a high cash/relations game by air striking lots), while valid, also resuilts in the player not really playing the main part of the game that much. This problem is exacerbated if the airstrike strategy is actually more optimal than going ground assaults, because then you are (absurdly!) punishing the player for *playing the game*.

I guess this is all really a longwinded way of saying that StellarRat has said above:

I think there ought always be more incentive to do a recovery than airstrike i.e. the airstrike money should be equal or less than you'd get doing it yourself. It should really be a question of if you want to spend the time and risk your troops to do ALL the recoveries or just the important ones.

In this formulation, the air strike isn't trying to compete with ground assaults for strategic viability; it's simply a way of reducing the penalty of not doing some missions because you don't want to spend time on them. In other words, I think it should be a safety net to catch players who don't have the time or care to do all the missions while also allowing others to ignore the option without being penalised*.

All that said, some IDEAS:

1) To encourage using this option on easier UFOs rather than harder ones, perhaps the difference between the 'assault value' and the 'air strike' value of each UFO should increase with UFO size. For example, the reward for air striking a Light Scout could be close in value to the reward you would get for assaulting it, where as the reward for air striking a Landing Ship could be approximately half the value of assaulting it. That way, there is more 'loss' air striking a larger UFO than a smaller one, which will mean that air striking smaller UFOs and assaulting larger ones will be optimal.

2) A completely different idea to the one proposed - have the crews of UFOs upgrade as the game goes on. Part of the reason why Light Scouts are so boring later on is that there is litterally no risk - plasma pistols don't tend to hit, and cause at best grazing wounds on Wolf-armoured soldiers. Upgrading aliens/weapons will change that significantly and make them dangerous in the mid-late game. It will also create a dissincentive to assault smaller UFOs later on - although their crews get more dangerous, the value of completing the mission will not go up by much, resulting in smaller UFOs being very dangerous relative to the rewards they give and therefore not worth doing in the mid-late game compared with larger UFOs (where the risk is more worth the reward).

*If this reads like an implicit analogy to the welfare state, it is entirely unintentional!

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2) A completely different idea to the one proposed - have the crews of UFOs upgrade as the game goes on. Part of the reason why Light Scouts are so boring later on is that there is litterally no risk - plasma pistols don't tend to hit, and cause at best grazing wounds on Wolf-armoured soldiers. Upgrading aliens/weapons will change that significantly and make them dangerous in the mid-late game. It will also create a dissincentive to assault smaller UFOs later on - although their crews get more dangerous, the value of completing the mission will not go up by much, resulting in smaller UFOs being very dangerous relative to the rewards they give and therefore not worth doing in the mid-late game compared with larger UFOs (where the risk is more worth the reward).

The problem with this part is that the only reason that Lt. Scouts continue to appear in the game is to provide an opportunity to train rookie squads. In earlier builds Lt. Scouts stopped appearing after a while; their presence in later months is solely due to requests from this very forum that they be kept in for rookie training. By increasing the difficulty of the Lt. Scouts later on, you make them much less suitable for this role.

The advantage to Chris's solution in this instance is that you can choose your action based on the current state of your playthrough; if you have one squad with great stats that you're trying to get all the best kit for, air-striking and taking the money is better than the minimal skill-ups you'll get. If you're in the middle of training a rookie group, you can send them in and get the XP.

As with any strategic game, there is a need to gather resources for use in furthering your plan. The main resources in Xenonauts are:

Money

alien materials (alloys and Alenium)

Trained troops

The option Chris is suggesting allows the player to assess their own resource weaknesses and decide which is most important to them at the time.

So, persuing one strategy (a high cash/relations game by air striking lots), while valid, also resuilts in the player not really playing the main part of the game that much. This problem is exacerbated if the airstrike strategy is actually more optimal than going ground assaults, because then you are (absurdly!) punishing the player for *playing the game*.

Xenonauts, like the OG before it, is a combination of the tactical and the strategic. I am always a little wary of people who claim that the tactical element is the *main* game; personally I'm much more interested in the strategic elements. Going too focused on the tactical and not enough on the strategic is what most people seemed to be complaining about in the recent remake.

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I really cannot see why the funding block would give xenonaughts money (or improved status) for blanket bombing a crashsite. Aside from the cost of replacement bombs and fuel, there are usually civilians in the area. I can just imagine the stink that would be kicked up if the UK government started bombing farms, villages, etc on their own turf. Damage control would more than wipe out any propaganda benefits.

I can see what Chris is trying to do but, from a lore or realism perspective, I cannot see any logic to it.

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The problem with this part is that the only reason that Lt. Scouts continue to appear in the game is to provide an opportunity to train rookie squads. In earlier builds Lt. Scouts stopped appearing after a while; their presence in later months is solely due to requests from this very forum that they be kept in for rookie training. By increasing the difficulty of the Lt. Scouts later on, you make them much less suitable for this role.

My response to this is that I don't see why the game needs absurdly easy missions for the purposes of training up rookies. There's other ways you could train up rookies without continuing to spawn exceptionally easy missions (e.g. take a few along with a more experienced crew or build a broader bench of soldiers from the beginning of the game), so for me it wouldn't be a loss.

But that's not what's up for debate, here, so I take your point.

The advantage to Chris's solution in this instance is that you can choose your action based on the current state of your playthrough; if you have one squad with great stats that you're trying to get all the best kit for, air-striking and taking the money is better than the minimal skill-ups you'll get. If you're in the middle of training a rookie group, you can send them in and get the XP.

As with any strategic game, there is a need to gather resources for use in furthering your plan. The main resources in Xenonauts are:

Money

alien materials (alloys and Alenium)

Trained troops

The option Chris is suggesting allows the player to assess their own resource weaknesses and decide which is most important to them at the time.

I don't have a problem with choices that amount to strategic decisions. I have a problem with one choice allowing me to play a particular part of the game and another choice not allowing me to play a particular part of the game, especially when a) I want to play that particular part of the game and b) the better (strategic) choice is quite often not to.

To take your example - if I have a squad with great stats that I'm trying to get the best kit for, what I want is for the game to push me into using that squad to get the money/whatever I need to get that stuff. Because I want to play the tactical game. Allowing me to get the kit I want quicker/more easily by *not* playing the tactical game is therefore punishing me for wanting to play (part of) the game!

Xenonauts, like the OG before it, is a combination of the tactical and the strategic. I am always a little wary of people who claim that the tactical element is the *main* game; personally I'm much more interested in the strategic elements. Going too focused on the tactical and not enough on the strategic is what most people seemed to be complaining about in the recent remake.

You're right, of course - I shouldn't have written that as a generalised statement like I did. But I'd hope you're wary of the argument, not the person who made it :P

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Agree with the decision to leave Lt. Scout and Scouts in until the end of the game as a training option. I think the number of these flights could be reduced after corvettes appear. I just like the idea of being able to easily dispense with them if you don't need training. Airstrike is a good option for lazy players like me! :D Just like autoresolve for air combat. I just don't think that airstrike should ever be more rewarding then a recovery. It could be EQUALLY as rewarding, but never better.

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I agree with the above statements; we shouldn't be rewarded for not choosing to play the ground combat. We should be compensated, certainly, but not given more than we would get from the crash site.

Instead of making it an air strike, it should be something more along the lines of "Local Forces Assault."

This way, there's

[*] No lore-smashing, immersion-breaking, "nation air striking its own people" ridiculousness.

[*] The funding nations would actually get the materials they want instead of blowing them all up.

[*] The player would be paid for the "sale" of the materials that the Local Forces recover (in that they are Xenonaut materials under the treaty, but the nation buys them from you upon their acquisition), and nothing more (after all, you didn't do anything but shoot down the UFO).

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It could be called 'Local Forces Attack' since Baj is correct. Precision bombs were available, but primitive and not widely utilized in 1980. Artillery was precise though, same with tanks.

edit: In this case, it's still the local government being able to claim it defeated a UFO while paying off the Xenonauts for keeping their mouths shut. Cept with artillery and or tanks being used= far less chance of collaterals. As for locals= pay them off/lie to them.

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