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Aaron

Geoscape Balance Discussion V20 Experimental 4

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The new experimental build is out, and it contains a bunch of new changes to the Geoscape portion of the game (Aside from the the very obvious new UI). Here are the main gameplay related ones:

- Overhaul of UFO AI for the Geoscape

-- UFOs now pick a target nation at random, then spawn over that nation, which should help reduce the prevalence of attacks on poor old Australia

-- UFOs that pick a specific target (terror attacks, base supplies etc) should now fly a slightly more circuitous route so they are harder to pick out from normal UFOs

-- Scout UFOs should now explore a bit more randomly

-- Implemented a randomised variation of the interval between UFO waves, so they are much less predictable now

- Aerial terror attacks

-- Ground Attack missions now have a chance to spawn "aerial terror sites" (this will actually change to Bombing missions in future versions)

-- These must be dealt with quickly, or the aliens will lay waste to the area causing a heavy national relations penalty

- Added ability to hand off crashed UFOs to local forces for airstrike

-- This allows the player to essentially skip very repetitive missions (or ones they are not able to tackle)

-- The penalty for doing so being that the Xenonauts will not recover any alien technology

-- A cash bounty is provided by the nation the UFO crashed in equal to about half of the value of UFO + crew if it had been cleared in ground combat

- Implemented Radar stacking so that building additional radars at a base increased the range of radar coverage, instead of the detection chance (range increases offer diminishing returns for each new radar, and caps at 3)

In particular I would really like to hear feedback on the UFO behaviour - they should both fly more "naturally" now (and you won't be able to pick out ones on a specific mission so easily) and they should distribute their attacks more evenly across countries instead of picking on ones in unfortunate geographic positions (like Australia).

Also keep in mind the aerial terror sites will eventually be generated by bombing missions, not ground attack ones (we actually just made a mistake in our instructions to the programmer!). They will also grant a more substantial reward on completion than they do now.

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The following is skewed because my save has the starting Alenium.

With the nation-targeted spawning, the Middle-East seems a little overpowered in terms of coverage. Instead of just being a good spot to partially negate harassment against six nations, it's now a gold mine in range of about 50% of all UFOs that spawn. In comparison, Australia is now an awful base choice in range of something like 15%.

With my second base (which goes up after one month) being an interceptor base in Central America, I can quite comfortably answer any aerial terror site except in Australia, and about 75% of all UFOs that spawn. I only missed one Aerial Terror site before the second base went up, and the relations penalty at the end wasn't that impressive - I only lost something like 10k funding from South America that month.

Using airstrikes compensates nicely for the lack of a second squad, and the reward being lower seems fair considering the upkeep of a dropship (20k), hangar(10k), wages(80k), medbay(5k), living quarters (5k) and store room (5k) totalling 125k per month, not to mention actually doing the mission, replacing soldiers, and everything that goes into manufacturing gear. The result is that one-squad play is extremely potent.

It's a very enjoyable playstyle, and knowing you can stay a while on the geoscape and progress gives the game a massive boost to the "just until this next research finishes..." feel. I'm a little concerned about losing the sense of urgency and the motivation for having multiple squads, but overall I think the game is better off.

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Do aerial terror missions do anything? Just had one in September that I couldn't reach and showed no change in my funding level before/after it.

One assault team play seems like the way to go now. You save half a million or so in startup costs by not building a second team, plus cutting your weapon/armor production in half makes manufacturing trivial, especially since there's no need to ever manufacture anything aircraft related (unless some later changes wind up making Condor spam non-viable).

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I did 2 small ufos crashsites. I have earned 2 x 50k $+ 20k predicted fund level change. Airstrikes seems to be undervalued. In comparison they give 20k per small ufo (There is no predicted fund change). Its only one third of original value! - It's motivate to do every crash site mission again.

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My first idea was to quickly build bases all over the place without dropships in them and rake in money by shooting down UFOs and ordering an airstrike. If that won't make the host country happy however, I'll have to rethink this strategy.

Also, will we get an option to drop a bunker buster on an enemy base?

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My first idea was to quickly build bases all over the place without dropships in them and rake in money by shooting down UFOs and ordering an airstrike. If that won't make the host country happy however, I'll have to rethink this strategy.

Also, will we get an option to drop a bunker buster on an enemy base?

I think just shooting down the ufos makes them happy, too.

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What are you suppose to do against Aerial bombing terror ? I can't send interceptor, and when I sent my chopper, it was shot down, lost a soldier and the 7 other were gravely wounded ( All of this was an auto battle triggered when I reached the bombing site ).

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What are you suppose to do against Aerial bombing terror ? I can't send interceptor, and when I sent my chopper, it was shot down, lost a soldier and the 7 other were gravely wounded ( All of this was an auto battle triggered when I reached the bombing site ).

You should be able to send interceptors, so if you can't, it's a bug. Winning the air combat should spawn a normal crash site.

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Alright, it seem to work now. Maybe my interceptors were all unavailable. I'll check carefully next time.

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Not sure I like the change to the UFO spawning. It was nice for there to be a reasont to have a base in the Oceania/Australia area, and now it's just a waste of time and money. I also liked larger nations being bigger targets. The prevalance of attacks on Australia was basically the only thing that made it worth defending!

I'll play a bit more before commenting on the other changes, but I like them overall.

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Randomizing targets of ufo, made using foxtrots pointless. Now the best squadron is 3 x condor or 3 x maruder (corsairs are too expensive). Heavy fighters are useless in current game version.

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Their primary use before was as a diversion, since the damage output of the condors is higher but the foxtrot is faster.

Now that it's harder to actually get the enemies to target the foxtrot, it's not even good for that.

Or so I'd guess anyway - I found them utterly useless in v19 and them getting worse isn't really a noticeable difference.

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As the only major Geoscape change in experimental build 2 was switching aerial terror sites from ground attack to bombing mission UFOs, I'm just going to let this thread continue rather than unstick it and make a new one.

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Guest

I sort of agree with the Foxtrot assessment. They are simply not punching hard enough, but speed is good. So I normally tried to have them be a spearhead with their fast speed - was a good thing - allowing your slower craft to get close and attack too.

Edited by pistolhamster

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@Pistolhammer: this thread is for discussion of the Geoscape part of the game - please post Ground Combat comments in the equivalent Ground Combat thread.

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As the code hooks for getting datacores from non-landing craft (e.g. fightercraft, heavy fighters etc.) are now in place, is there any chance of getting a few alien alloys, maybe a bit of alenium when a fighter wing is shot down? That would make up for not getting anything else from a fighter wing other than a sense of relief.

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Foxtrot was always a target of haviest ufo's, so the airfight was simple (foxtrot vs havy escorted ufo and interceptors (fighters with cannon and evade ability) vs enemy light fighters. Now foxtrot could be a target of enemy light fighter so it will be hard / impossible to launch torpedos on havy ufo and escape.

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But... wouldn't the response to that be to slow the Foxtrot down and speed Condors up so the Condors will enter attack range of the escorts, who in turn will trigger their missiles because they will fire at anything in missile distance? And heck, wouldn't it also be useful to have the Foxtrot bank left or right, so the attacking escort will pursue the Foxtrot and let the Condor attack with impunity? Dranak, what do you think?

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But... wouldn't the response to that be to slow the Foxtrot down and speed Condors up so the Condors will enter attack range of the escorts, who in turn will trigger their missiles because they will fire at anything in missile distance? And heck, wouldn't it also be useful to have the Foxtrot bank left or right, so the attacking escort will pursue the Foxtrot and let the Condor attack with impunity? Dranak, what do you think?

That's basically how I do every air combat with a Foxtrot and Condors, except that I just withdraw the Foxtrot after its torpedoes are fired - in most cases, the brief period in which it turns around will cause the enemy craft to change direction long enough to draw fire away from my fighters.

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I haven't played extensively with Foxtrots, so this is all based on just a bit of dabbling mixed with some theorycrafting. I pretty much only build Foxtrots for testing purposes now. My overall opinion is that currently going pure Condor and eventually replacing some of them with Marauders is the way to go. In v19 I felt that planes were pretty well balanced, with Condors being a bit too good if you have immaculate control. v20 was a huge buff to the cost efficiency of Condors, and also nerfed Foxtrots via the targeting change (which I admit is better for the game overall) and the rearming delay (it affects all planes, but Foxtrots much more heavily imo since I used them as high speed raiders that could attack multiple times per wave, which is now much reduced). I also feel that mixed squadrons is a mistake because Foxtrots/Condors have different strengths that don't synergize well when mixed.

That said, if you can keep your Condors between the alien fighters and the Foxtrot, without having to charge into range of the main UFO's weapon, you can throttle down the Fox and pop the fighters since they will fire their missiles at the first target that comes into range. So actually using them in a single engagement hasn't changed much, aside from the chance your Fox won't be chased by the main UFO.

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I just started a new V20 game.

I think the Geoscape is very well balanced now. The only think I can say is that the enemy fighter planes should try to be a bit more evasive (they don't do anything if you're on their tail).

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Foxtrot was always a target of haviest ufo's, so the airfight was simple (foxtrot vs havy escorted ufo and interceptors (fighters with cannon and evade ability) vs enemy light fighters. Now foxtrot could be a target of enemy light fighter so it will be hard / impossible to launch torpedos on havy ufo and escape.

It's actually pretty easy to evade enemy missiles with a foxtrot.

1. Fly straight into enemy UFO with escorts.

2. Time a U-turn so that the enemy capital ship catches the corner of your torpedo firing arc, then run like hell.

3. If you fall in the enemy fighter missile arc, just keep afterburners on and travel perpendicular to the path of the missile, which will fall behind you. Then run away.

Actually, capital ships should slow down a bit and let the fighters engage the enemy first. The fighters should be far enough ahead so that the foxtrot cannot engage the capital ship without putting itself in the firing arc of the fighter.

EDIT: Autocannons should probably do less damage to capital ships. Right now, a Condor can deliver more damage than a Foxtrot can.

Edited by lemm

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I think that this tactic could be hard against fast enemy interceptors(4000 km / h) and heavy fighters (3000 km/h top speed).

Using third condor instead of foxtrot makes airfight easier and gives more firepower.

Edited by Gromitek

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The fighters should be far enough ahead so that the foxtrot cannot engage the capital ship without putting itself in the firing arc of the fighter.

That actually is what happens once Heavy Fighters show up, however they fire their missiles at the first target to come in range, so Condors can draw missile fire for the Foxes.

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