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Alter Move and Shoot Penalties and TU Consumption for Kneeling


RotGtIE
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Last time, I posted my analysis of the various weapon classes compared to each other in an earlier build and concluded that machine guns were a much better choice than any of the other weapons regardless of the situation. Now, I find that the changes made since then have elevated the usefulness of the lighter move-and-shoot weapons while drastically diminishing the competitiveness of the precision rifle and machine gun classes of weapons to the point of making them nearly unusable by comparison. I think there is an easy fix for this problem: eliminate the penalty for moving before firing these weapons, increase the time unit consumption of the kneel action, and increase the difference in accuracy between kneeling and standing.

Currently, the kneel button is a sad little thing that doesn't see use in demanding situations where the player can't afford to waste time units. The benefits of kneeling are just too small to make it an action worth doing, even with the tiny expenditure of four time units it costs. In my personal experience, kneeling is always a frivolous decision - something I only ever do because I want to feel all tactical and watch my soldiers take cool-looking kneeling shots. It's never a hard choice; either I have the spare time units to BS around, or I don't, or I don't feel that clicking the kneel button is worth the physical effort. I think kneeling should be a bigger deal. A higher time unit cost and a stronger difference in accuracy compared to standing would complicate the cost-benefit analysis of choosing between the risk of stabilizing a soldier to take a more accurate shot or simply firing quickly and ducking behind cover or skipping the shooting to begin with.

I also feel that the kneel function would be a better feature for implementing the mobility limitation on precision rifles and machine guns. Enemies like to try to move out of the player's firing lines before the end of their turn, which is completely reasonable and unfortunately makes the prospect of using any weapon which you cannot fire after repositioning in the same turn a very unreasonable one. I think it would be much more fitting if these weapons benefited more greatly from kneeling (or suffered more greatly from standing) than the move-and-shoot weapons, rather than binding them to a location from which the enemy will always make every effort to deny a clear line of fire.

These changes would allow players to use precision rifles and machine guns to their full and desired effect, and would prevent the AI from being able to deny the effectiveness of these weapons tremendously by making tiny movements that should only require a tiny repositioning movement to counter.

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As a side note, I'm pleased to see the cost-free laser weapon batteries, but still finding the ammunition per mag to be pretty rough. I'm still having trouble deciding whether I'm more flabbergasted by the idea of an assault rifle with a mag size of nine or a machine gun with a mag size of fifteen. That's less than half the mag size for the comparable ballistic weapons; even the xenopedia promises at least half the number of shots! Would it be possible to bump those mag sizes back up to 50% or maybe 66% compared to ballistics? Nine and Fifteen round mags are not very conducive to firing bursts.

And on a final note, would it be cost/labor-prohibitive to allow machine guns the option to fire three round bursts or five round bursts? There are times when a shorter burst is more appropriate, or a player might want to conserve the shots in his machine guns, especially if some of them are going to be carrying fifteen rounds max at a time.

Edited by RotGtIE
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Kneeling does more than add a bonus to-hit. It also reduces the to-hit, by slapping on a cover bonus (stackable with cover). There was a hilarious point in the earlier v20 builds when a kneeling solider had a -40% bonus to-hit, meaning that aliens and troopers sat around shooting each other and almost always mising at anything other than point blank. Any discussion that involves kneeling must also take into account that as well.

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Yeah, I tried kneeling for the cover bonus alone several times, but I'm not quite feeling it. I still prefer to cut LOS completely or pop smoke when going for safety measures. I've had a problem with kneeling in that it will X out the crosshairs of a shot if you try to aim at an enemy through smoke while you are kneeling, denying the shot completely as if LOS were cut by a solid object like UFO walls. Standing shots don't seem to have this problem shooting through smoke.

I'm not particularly interested in getting a significant cover bonus out of kneeling. I'm much more interested in its effects on accuracy and reactions. I'd mainly like to see kneeling serve as the mobility limitation for precision rifles and machine guns, rather than having to not move from where you ended on your last turn. Not being able to move at all, rather than having to set up and stabilize by kneeling, puts a pretty hard limit on the contributions those weapons can bring to the fights in Xenonauts. Especially since your mission is almost always Search and Destroy; your objective demands that you stay on the move and press into the enemy, while their tactics involve a lot of ducking and weaving away from you. Weapons which must be stationary - especially when those weapons have reductions to their reaction shooting ability - aren't really able to contribute to that kind of fight in a meaningful way. At the very least, one should be able to start their turn behind hard LOS-breaking cover, and take one step out of it to commit to a shot without taking a huge penalty to their accuracy. Having kneeling as the mobility limitation mechanic would allow players to do that.

I personally would love to see a more TU-expensive kneel - maybe 8 or 10 TUs - that provided a significant boost to accuracy and reaction fire capability (or simply negated the negative effects of moving/standing while firing a heavy weapon), even if it had no cover bonus associated with it.

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The malus of acc for hitting enemies behind cover while kneeling forces every sniper (with enough range to target) to stand up for every shot. That doesnt feel very snipe-ish 8) .

You could make sniper weapons miserable without kneeling and reduce the "crouch hits crouch behind cover" malus over the distance to the target or the first cover.

I like the idea of the moving penalty removal for the heavy (not really for the sniper rifle) when crouching. Well it dont have to be eliminated completely, a greater reducement would maybe be enough.

And finally the clip size. The laser pistol becomes quite unreliable, as it sometimes feels more rewarding to use a normal pistol for better supression chance without having to change the clip every round (as with 60 tp for 10tp shots[ or even mixing some 20tp with 10tp shots])

because i was in mood for it i painted something!!! HURAY!

cover.jpg

there should be an easy way to size it better.. just click on it allready!

its just to illustrate the cover thingy. (big advantage for near cover and minor advantage for far cover from a standing gunner).

And i know you dont intend to be completly realistic in this game for good reason 8P, but it kinda feels nice.

I hope RotGtIE doesnt mind that i pushed in a slightly different direction 8/ .

cover.jpg

cover.thumb.jpg.14483a883c9f772d77670a8a

Edited by tscho
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One of the major uses for the machine gun in particular (for me at least) was always suppression fire.

That is not linked to the accuracy of the shot only the range so moving and firing was still useful.

The downside to that tactic is that you will likely miss out on the chance to do damage along with the suppression.

If you remove the accuracy penalty for moving and replace it with a higher AP cost to fire then moving and shooting to support your troops with suppression fire would become much less viable.

The machine gun would just become an assault rifle that I can't fire very often and would probably get left at home.

An accuracy modifier for kneeling, set on each weapon individually, may be interesting though.

Use it in the same way as the reaction modifier currently works.

You could reduce the accuracy of the mg (and precision rifle) by 50% but then give a huge accuracy bonus while kneeling to compensate for it.

The cover issue tscho mentions would need addressing though as standing to take a shot with a heavy weapon would be very difficult.

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