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lemm

Base Defense Missions Need Balance

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After doing my playthrough up to mid February, I can say with absolute assurance that base defense missions are the most imbalanced part of the game. By November, you can get landingships arriving with three groups of light blue androns (anywhere in the base!) and you're expected to defend that with a handful of troops armed with laser weaponry and maybe a couple of plasma guns and wolf armor. This is in Veteran mode, mind you, but it's still unwinnable without exploiting see-through smoke and aliens who are ignorant of your scout vehicles.

While I like the idea that some base defense missions and some terror sites should be essentially unwinnable, base defense missions do not offer you the opportunity to salvage anything. Even the scientists, technicians and aircraft who have been evacuated are lost! The lousiest part, however, is that your soldiers whom you spent so long to train are essentially doomed, unless you evacuate everything beforehand and sell the base before the landing ship arrives. This is more of an annoyance factor than an imbalance factor because it really wasn't your "fault" that the soldier was killed. And to top it all off, you don't have a base anymore.

There's two ways that I can think of to balance this:

1. Do not lessen the number of aliens in the attack, but let the player retreat and salvage some of his stuff if the base defense is unsuccessful. (There is an emergency exit tunnel in the war room that can be permanently sealed before the aliens follow you out. Units that are in this room when the mission is aborted will be saved).

- Aircraft, personnel, and inventory evacuation.

All of this stuff can be evacuated to another base so that it is not lost. If you don't have a spare base, then you can evacuate it to the unlimited storage of the government warehouse. Aircraft can be stored there for free indefinitely. Scientists and techs can be housed there too, but they are still on payroll.

2. Base defense batteries kill some of the invading aliens.

75% damaged landing ships still seem to arrive with the full complement of aliens. Perhaps the number of invaders could be proportional to the integrity of the alien craft. Way easier to program, although I have a feeling it would be more "granular" than solution #1 in that the outcome of the base defense would depend primarily on whether or not the defensive batteries connect, rather than on how you manage your troops.

Personally, I like option #1, because it makes base loss tolerable-yet-punishing. You're still losing about a million dollars worth of base facilities, a month of rebuilding time, and all of your loot, but at least you aren't being punished by losing your elite soldier squad.

Oh, and there should be a solider armament screen before the base defense begins.

Edited by lemm

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IIRC, in the OG the base defense could damage the landing ship even if it didn't shoot it down and that would reduce the number of aliens that actually attacked your base. I believe they were some type of proportional system, 1 hit with a missile killed X number of landing troops, etc... An all or nothing system seems a little harsh to me.

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Those are all good ideas. I wouldn't mind a bit of an x-com apocalypse being thrown in w/ some remote-automated turrets to assist the player. Aliens could destroy these, but as you advance in tech, they get automatically upgraded. Not a solution, but something fun to help out.

I haven't had a base defense mission these last two builds: do the aliens try to capture the control room now?

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UFO health probably affects how many aliens land.

When a 90% landing ship landed, I got swarmed by a varied team of twenty-ish caesans, including psions and an officer, like you would expect from a lightly damaged crash site.

When a 13% landed, it contained 6 Sebillian Warriors and nothing else.

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IIRC, in the OG the base defense could damage the landing ship even if it didn't shoot it down and that would reduce the number of aliens that actually attacked your base. I believe they were some type of proportional system, 1 hit with a missile killed X number of landing troops, etc... An all or nothing system seems a little harsh to me.

I think the OG was all-or-nothing (some research on UFOpedia implies this to be the case but isn't clear).

I actually thought that Xenoaunts did use a system like idea #2, where causing damage to the ship reduced alien numbers. The problem I had with base defence systems in the OG is that, because they were all-or-nothing*, early ones just weren't worth using since they couldn't do enough damage to stop attackers without having loads of them (while late ones were pointless because base defences were so easy!).

Alternatively, having turret rooms would be cool (and, actually, probably a better solution in that it makes them matter during the combat and therefore become a tactical device), but I don't think they would work with base defences as they are as the aliens can attack from any direction (rather than specific facilities) and therefore unless you spammed them there'd be a good chance of the aliens being able to circumvent them merely by their attack position.

*Assuming I was right about this! The principle still stands, regardless.

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Well, the devs will have to clarify how and if this is true. I'm fairly sure base attack were affected by damage to the landing ship in OG or maybe it was TFTD. Like I said it's been a long time since I've played those.

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Hmm...wow, OK. Well, you seem to have pretty good memory for the OG I'll defer to you. I just seem to remember having base defenses where there were very few aliens and some where there were a lot.

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There was a significant degree of randomness to each alien deployment is all.

Each individual ship type had a certain number of aliens of each rank, with a random modifier that could be added to the base number of aliens of that type.

This was also regulated by difficulty; easy and normal used one set of numbers, with the other settings using another; (both used the same "random" modifier.

For example, in the OG, a Base Mission could involve 1 Type #1 Terrorist, 5 Soldiers, 1 Navigator, 1 Medic, 1 Engineer, 2 Leaders, and 1 Commander. On the other end, it could have up to 3 Type #2 Terrorists, 4 Type #1 Terrorists, 11 Soldiers, 2 Navigators, 1 Medic, 2 Engineers, 4 Leaders, and 1 Commander.

Edited by EchoFourDelta

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Someone said that in Xenonauts the base defences would reduce the number of aliens coming in.

I do like the idea of an abort zone. Get your troops there and evacuate. Other personnel are already gone. It would then cost you X amount to get a second base up and running. If you don't have the funds, the personnel are absorbed into the funding nation.

It would be nice if oyu could redeploy the soldiers to another base, if there were room or if they came up in the recruit pool, but that may be asking a little too much.

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I have just noticed that the AI seems to be missing the point of a base attack at the moment, currently the move into the first one or two rooms and then stand about like its a school disco.

Having deployed around the control room and waited for about 10 turns for something to come through the doors into the choke points I had set up I found all the androns just milling about waiting for me to come and flush them out of the base, they were not even smashing the place up.

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Base defence batteries should be reducing the number of aliens in the attack, yeah.

The AI for base attack missions has not been specifically tweaked yet, but I thought they did OK while testing - they seemed to move in to assault my team, has that stopped happening?

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Base defence batteries should be reducing the number of aliens in the attack, yeah.

The AI for base attack missions has not been specifically tweaked yet, but I thought they did OK while testing - they seemed to move in to assault my team, has that stopped happening?

Glad to know all those missiles do something even if the attack isn't stopped.

BTW, I actually defeated an attempted landing last night. Foxtrots damaged the landing ship then the base missile batteries finished it off before they could begin the assault. Yea!

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I have just noticed that the AI seems to be missing the point of a base attack at the moment, currently the move into the first one or two rooms and then stand about like its a school disco.

Having deployed around the control room and waited for about 10 turns for something to come through the doors into the choke points I had set up I found all the androns just milling about waiting for me to come and flush them out of the base, they were not even smashing the place up.

Did the Androns know where your troops were? I don't think they can do anything without something alive to shoot at.

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