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Doing Every Mission - Solution?

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Could always state that each Terror attack involves Reapers, even if they aren't part of the engaging force. Maybe the hordes have yet to be awakened and unleashed.

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Use of factual military capacity info based on that time in history isn't geopolitical in the slightest. If that were the case, someone could be reasonably offended about Roman provincial military capacity. If the data's there and up to date= it's data. People can deal with it.

The Soviet Union would obviously be ok w/ more force used in it's least populous area, rather than the Japanese in Tokyo, a densely populated area. You could say the same with the Soviets if a UFO crashed in Moscow. They'd obviously avoid large amounts of damage to the city and populace if the Xenonauts could be used instead.

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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.

I don't like the idea of airstrikes giving more or the same of anything an assault would. Ground combat is more work so you have to incentivize people if you want them to do it because as you say fun is not an in-game commodity. Consequently you either reward ground combat or you don't penalise players for letting a site time out, you can't do both. But this is not even a problem.

The problem is that the opportunity cost of not doing a site is enormous. Shooting down a light scout is a measly 4 relation points that equates to 2000$ a month. In contrast the ground mission for that same UFO is say 24 relation points AND 45k cash AND research items AND combat experience. Way too top heavy, more of those benefits should come from downing a UFO.

If you manage to strike a reasonable balance with the distribution of rewards between air and ground combat - thereby reducing the opportunity cost of not doing a crash site - people won't feel as obliged to do each and every mission. Of course if somebody still chooses to do everything and build a death squad by all means let them, but as long as the game can be finished with the number of missions you targeted plus some leeway you are good.

After this you might find that airstrike is not even needed, although auto resolve does have a place in the game. But if all it does is give cash or relation points then you just slapped a new name on timeout and shifted some of the benefits - which is basically what I am suggesting - because who in his right mind would let a site time out ever again. If it gives more cash than assaulting you discourage ground combat which is of course not desirable. So the benefit has to be unique but must not deter players from assault. Some ideas:

- Let host nations handle a site for a cut but tie the option to a minimum standing requirement thus allowing players to shift their focus to other parts of the world once a region is sufficiently secure. This way you have finer control over the minimum number of missions a player must do so they can't just grab items for research and ignore ground combat from then on, and auto resolve remains distinct instead of outright replacing timeout.

- Make auto resolve a gamble. After a certain type of UFO has been assaulted a set number of times and the team has accumulated enough combat experience and the know-how for recovering artefacts offer the option of a less experienced officer handling ground combat for that particular class of UFOs. Let players earn SOME of everything they would otherwise but make the choice carry the very real risk of serious injury lasting several weeks. Same benefits as above, you retain fine control over the minimum number of missions before auto resolve kicks in and you introduce a real distinct choice instead of giving timeout a new name. You may exclude soldier experience from the rewards but personally I feel this is the single most important reason why people keep grinding so you have to accept a compromise if you want a real solution.

- Introduce a distress beacon mechanic: Grounding a UFO gives no reward anymore. Instead crash sites activate a distress beacon asking for extraction thereby attracting more air traffic in the area. This can be stopped immediately via airstrike for the - rebalanced - reward grounding used to give, by assault for the usual stuff, or the player can choose to let the signal run for a certain amount of time in hopes of it luring more UFOs in. But with every hour the risk of it getting away increases so eventually dealing with it one way or another is a must. This way you can significantly lower the number of UFOs by default but leave the door open for more so that players can overcome the tech tree difficulties you described and nut jobs wanting their 100 all death squad can have their fun too. More freedom for players and no need for hard coded safeguards against dead ends.

One last point regarding light scouts for rookie training: Makes no sense, the same solution that worked in UD and TFTD are still viable here. Rookies may have crap stats but their starting gear improves as the game progresses so the relative difficulty of light scouts diminishes. Of course this will lead to boredom eventually. If you want to maintain interest you have to scale the difficulty over time. I don't want small UFOs throughout the game for the sake of rookie training, I want them because an army without foot soldiers isn't authentic.

Edited by nailertn

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someone could be reasonably offended about Roman provincial military capacity.

Don't talk to me about what the Romans have done for us!

I'll make sure to keep any further ideas involving geopolitical differences to myself henceforth.

It's a pretty respectful list, so there haven't been any issues on that at all (sunken islands and missing Russians aside).

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I can go along with the air strike idea with a few ideas of my own.

Air strike is based on the standing you have with the country and the country's current state. I f they are about to collapse why would they want more aliens to deal with?

Rewarding you for not playing the game seems silly to me so to me the reward would be if you do not inform the nation to airstrike the location before the ship disappears off the map you take relations hit. As in they were not aware you had no plans to send in a team so they focused on evacuation of the people nearby not planning an air strike.

If there must be a reward I think it should be small enough so you can’t just blow up a few of the ships you don’t want to fight and be able to buy that last armor you wanted

I admit I play every ground mission if I can.

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The problem is that this is a game and everyone wants to win.

The other problem is trying to balance the game to deliver an equal experience and challenge for skilled, completionist players and casuals.

The third problem is the reason why not doing the mission would be practical/wanted in reality and why in a game - things which often clash violently (in this case, why would you get more $$$ and improved relationships for not capturing it?)

Most of these are connected to the save/load gaming mentality which practicly negates all the risk.

*****

I would love to say that I know how to fix those issues (other than forcing Ironman mode for everyone) ...but I can't.

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Well, the issue is that people feel compelled to do every mission because it's frankly stupid not to try to do all of them. If we made it so that not doing missions compensated you enough that you wouldn't have to, then things would be alright and we wouldn't feel as if we had to do every one.

What is the most important commodity in the game? Not soldiers; you can have plentiful high level soldiers stocked up. Not alien resources, you can stockpile those too. It's funding. You always have to work to keep the funding nations happy. If you're not increasing funding, then funding is decreasing.

Currently the funding gains from shooting down a UFO are pitiful, and the funding gains from doing a ground mission are plentiful. This is the opposite of what we should have.

Lets make the shooting down of the UFO the main funding part. If shooting down the UFO gives us the big funding boost, and doing the ground combat only gives us a smaller, supplemental funding boost (or penalty if we fail) then there's not an overwhelming need to do every ground mission. If we feel that we're set as far as alien resources, technology and soldiers goes, then there's not a need to do the ground combat. We can still choose to do the ground combat (I would), but we aren't forced into doing every mission just to keep up with funding.

Does this sound good?

EDIT: Also, this removes the need to have an airstrike option available; we can just let the crash site time out. Just tell the player that timed out crash sites are taken by local forces.

Say something about how the treaty states that the crash site belongs to the Xenonauts for X hours, and that after that time if the Xenonauts haven't claimed it it belongs to the nation in which it crashed.

Edited by GizmoGomez

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Lets make the shooting down of the UFO the main funding part.

I had toyed with adding that to an earlier post, but had some thoughts:

The focus of Xenonauts is the ground combat, and I wondered if saying it was something else detracted from this too much.

Particularly considering the comments concerning air combat.

With the odd exception for getting research objects, it allows you to autoresolve your way through the game to get maximum funding.

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If just shooting down UFOs was the main objective everyone would just worry about building big air bases. The main focus of Xenonauts is ground combat and research.

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That is a very valid concern, yes. Hmm...

Well, how about this:

UFO shot down - small points based on how large the UFO was (larger the UFO, the larger funding boost; bombers and ground attack craft may get extra funding points because they're so evil to the funding nations)

Then we get a choice:

  1. Ground combat:
    We get a large funding boost, alien loot, research materials, troop training.
  2. Air Strike:
    We get a smaller funding boost (maybe half the ground combat, but more than the UFO shot down bonus) and however much cash we would receive from selling all of the alloys, alenium, and the alien weapons/other loot.
    (We would "sell" the loot to the local forces because it's our loot under treaty, or something. The whole mechanic should be explained in a Xenopedia entry).

This way you can choose quick, painless money and a decent funding bonus if you don't want to do the ground combat.

However, the funding bonus for the airstrike shouldn't be enough to justify choosing it over and over again. It should be for when you're feeling tired and don't want to do yet another "boring" crash site (light scouts, I'm looking at you), but don't want to lose funding or fall behind.

The ground combat should always be the "better" option, in my opinion. (Building materials, troop training, research materials, more funding). However, the air strike should adequately compensate you enough so that you can do some of the ground combats and leave others to the local forces without falling behind. (Enough funding to just keep up with the invasion, plus some spending money for selling the alien alloys, alenium, and weapons/ammo cells.)

Sound better?

EDIT:

Forgot to mention; a small incentive to pick airstrike over ground mission would be when you need cash now, but can't wait for the end of the month. So, choosing to give the local forces the crash site would give you money when you needed it, albeit at a cost later on (less funding vs doing the crash site). That should be a consideration when balancing it (though, in my opinion, the money from giving the crash site to them should always be the same you'd get from selling all of the sellable loot from doing the crash site normally. Maybe I'm wrong, I dunno.)

Edited by GizmoGomez

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Another solution might simply be to make it impossible to do everything.

Have UFO's conduct simoltaneus missions under heavy escort. But I think people would still try to shoot down EVERY SINGLE UFO and rage if they can't.

Again, gaming mentality.

People are not used to thinking in terms of cutting their losses and conservation of strength, because they know they CAN win. They may have to re-load a dozen times, but they can.

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How about if giving the crahs sites to nations would increase their tech level faster?

So allied soldeirs would start becoming stronger faster? Higher stats. Better weapons?

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Hell, I already get multiple ufos at once, four or five per base sometimes and a mix of small and medium, escorted and not. It's impossible to get them all because even assuming I don't take damage, I'll need to RTB to refuel and rearm after two or three intercepts and that typically takes too long for me to get the planes airborne again before the ufos bug out.

Don't even ask about what happens if I get shot down. Kiss the next two waves goodbye as well. Haven't really got a problem with not being to down everything, but I'd still like the refueling time to be decreased slightly.

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Hell, I already get multiple ufos at once, four or five per base sometimes and a mix of small and medium, escorted and not. It's impossible to get them all because even assuming I don't take damage, I'll need to RTB to refuel and rearm after two or three intercepts and that typically takes too long for me to get the planes airborne again before the ufos bug out.

Don't even ask about what happens if I get shot down. Kiss the next two waves goodbye as well. Haven't really got a problem with not being to down everything, but I'd still like the refueling time to be decreased slightly.

Yeah the number of UFOs seems a bit much by November or so. I have two bases and about 7 or 8 planes fully set up by then usually and I can't shoot them down fast enough.

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In addition to what GizmoGomez suggested - why not put a cap on funding change? Once you "max" the funding for that month you can leave it, unless it deteriorates again ( alien activity, terror sites, alien bases, etc. ).

You'd have to communicate the funding per region though.

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In addition to what GizmoGomez suggested - why not put a cap on funding change? Once you "max" the funding for that month you can leave it, unless it deteriorates again ( alien activity, terror sites, alien bases, etc. ).

You'd have to communicate the funding per region though.

I disagree; I mean, what happens when over nine thousand UFOs show up over the middle east, you shoot all of them down, and you assault successfully every one? I'd hate to have all of my hard earned funding points stop accumulating after a certain point.

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I like that airstrikes give you money. They should, however not give you more money. There should always be an advantage for risking your soldiers lifes.

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A Superior Alternative (thematically) to Airstrikes

Comment about the airstrike - lorewise it's terrible, and we have a better alternative just a bit of the ways into the game that is justified as being primarily useful against smaller targets.

Allow the player to choose to gas the site instead (blanket stun gas). Gassing the site and gifting it to the locals would mean they could take the UFO with minimal resistance by simply executing the stunned aliens, it would keep civilians alive (making local forces happy) and fit the lore of the game. It could be unlocked as an option after research.

Obviously, this wouldn't work against ships with gas-immune crew members or large enough ships that everyone could hide inside indefinitely while the gas clears.

I think it's a better alternative than a simple "bombing" run, and it would even be nice if we could equip Foxtrots with this gas bombs and have to deliver them ourselves - then we can justify the increased benefits of "skipping" the missions because we are actually earning the rewards through intelligent application of our technology, and it is still /us/ earning the money. It fits the theme of the game far better, and as long as it's an investment it's okay if the monetary reward is better.

Edited by GlyphGryph

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I disagree - while details are quibble-worthy, it's important to get the overall "feel" of such things right. With my proposal, it "feels" like the player is enabling the locals, that they still need us, even if it only ends up being a byproduct of our research rather an application of direct efforts. "Gassing" the area and waiting for the aliens to oxygen suffocate feels like we're doing something good - we're not just letting other nations throw people into the grinder, we're not abandoning civilians, we're not abdicating responsibility.

A lot of the complaints in this thread have been that letting the locals take the UFO doesn't fit thematically, because it downplays the player's importance - I think this addresses the concern. It also allows for easier suspension of disbelief by explaining why you're able to get more monetary value out of such an approach (something the traditional airstrike or mass of local forces doesn't, really) which isn't super important but every little bit helps.

It also means players can't avoid the smaller UFO's until they've gotten several researches in (good for gameplay balance) and provides an easy justification for why it won't work just as well against larger UFOs.

The "how" is important - here, for both mechanical and thematic reasons.

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Vasquez: All right, we got seven canisters of CN-20. I say we roll them in there and nerve gas the whole fucking nest.

Hicks: That's worth a try, but we don't know if it's gonna affect them.

Besides, technically you could do your very best to avoid stun research but you would still have the airstrike option available, so the research done wouldn't match the UI.

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Well when I usually can't be bothered with fighting aliens on a downed UFO, I generally do my best to have the air combat overseas. You can now understand why most of my soldiers paint "say hello to the Titanic for me, suckers" on the pilot's torpedoes.

Regarding the question asked, though, the "sell the UFO crash site to the highest bidder" is an excellent suggestion. I believe they did something similar in UFO: Alien Invasion.

You had to build off-base hangars to store the UFOs you recovered in a mission, and you had no place/had no further use for the craft, you could sell it to the Nations, granting a small boost in dosh and approval to the country. It could be a very viable option to have some income (although I think it should be less than if you went on the mission yourself), because money is hard to come by in the game, which is neat ; I always thought it was way too easy to get money in the original X-Com, especially if equipped your soldiers with nothing but laser weapons.

You could also put an auto-resolve button for the ground combat, even though, just like Air Combat, it's a risky deal, especially if you "randomly" lose your best soldiers to a malicious RNG.

My two cents thrown in, I'll edit the post if I think of anything really substantial.

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Vasquez: All right, we got seven canisters of CN-20. I say we roll them in there and nerve gas the whole fucking nest.

Hicks: That's worth a try, but we don't know if it's gonna affect them.

Besides, technically you could do your very best to avoid stun research but you would still have the airstrike option available, so the research done wouldn't match the UI.

They should have listened to Vasquez...

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