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Author Topic: Some thoughts about 2.5...  (Read 6023 times)

Offline zollac

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Some thoughts about 2.5...
« on: August 26, 2014, 09:53:28 am »
Hi, there. Haven't played this game for a while (I played 2.4 about an year ago) and I decided to come back and try the new 2.5 game. I had lots of fun in 2.4, but somehow 2.5 seems to be a lot harder, that the fun parts are heavily outweighed by the hard parts. I didn't remember alien can one-shot my armored troopers (nano armor). Now I have to spam smoke grenades in every battle to keep my soldiers alive.
And this is something I don't understand at all. Yes, I know smoke is useful and I use a lot of smoke grenades in 2.4, but I don't remember that I had to spam 10 in a battle in 2.4. Is it intended that I have to spam smoke every game? It just feels so...unrealistic and no fun in it. Currently every battle is a hide-and-seek for me. Whenever I saw an alien, I pop smoke under my feet, move all soldiers inside and shoot the alien to make sure it doesn't shoot back and kill everyone. I have to play like this even when I have superior firepower and number. I think the problem is that many maps lack cover like walls that my soldiers can utilize to protect themselves while firing at the aliens. And even if there are such cover, it's simply easier to spam smoke grenades. Most of my soldiers carry at least two smoke grenades, some carry three, or even four. I feel like 2.5 is all about smoke and preventing alien from seeing any of my troops. Because if they do, they will kill most of the soldiers they can see in one single turn.
And right now, in many situations, especially inside buildings or UFOs, the best way to kill an alien is not to shoot at it (if I do this I will be reaction-shot to death even when I have more numbers), but throw a smoke grenade (again) to block the alien's LoS. Then wait for it to walk out of smoke, and then your troops can reaction-shot it to death. I don't know if I had to do this in 2.4, but it just feels unfun. Another hide-and-seek game.
Another thing I don't quite understand is, why do the aliens spawn near the LZ? Although this probably happens in 2.4 as well, but I didn't have problem with it back then. Anyway, from a gameplay perspective, having lots of alien near my initial location means that I have to spam smoke grenade first to prevent any reaction fire, and I'm tired of doing so. From a reality/story perspective, a helicopter/dropship/any aircraft will never land near a place full with hostile contacts unless it's some special situations. If they have to do so, usually they will try to clear any hostiles first before landing. I think it's better if the aliens never spawn near the LZ, or at least not in LoS.
I don't know...there are some more parts of the game that I feel can be improved, but currently the most upset part is the "spam smoke or die in one turn" experience. I play at normal difficulty but the game is very unforgiving. Once the aliens get any chance of shooting, they hit hard, most likely kill the soldiers they shoot at. I won't care some casualties if I'm leading a 20-man team, but for a 8-man squad, every single loss means a lot. It seems that I can't do much to prevent the aliens form massacring my veterans, other than spam smoke. If there are enough useful covers in game then the situation would be improved in my opinion. So it would not be "shoot and kill enemies in one turn," but some real fights which lasts several turns between the aliens and the PHALANX. Currently, however, I have a lot more unfun than fun.

Offline MonkeyHead

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 10:35:35 am »
Have you tried flashbangs? They allow for more aggressive play than smoke grenades on the first turn, or if an alien has obviously reserved TU's for reaction fire.

Offline Daikataro

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2014, 07:01:32 am »
I HAVE tried flashbangs and:

-Other than HARDENED (30+ kills, double digits missions) veterans, soldiers aim grenades like they gulped down ten irish car bombs beforehand. More often than not, I find the grenade bouncing back to the thrower.
-Unless whatever you're aiming at has the thing blow up directly below their feet and in front of them, flashbangs do little more than annoy them. They will still shoot me dead the next turn.
-Considering the above point, you're much better off tossing a plasma and hoping it's enough.

Seriously, the main problem with the game is two facts:

a) Rookie soldiers, past EARLY stages of the game, are about as useful in actual combat as a sack of potatoes
b) Alien shots are ridiculously strong, as in, absurdly so. I've had power-armour wearing units go down to 2 health and die of bleeding next turn anyway from a SINGLE shot. What's the point of armour if all it does is slightly delay the unavoidable?

What needs to be done is actually easy and requires little coding
a) As PHALANX gains recognition and fame, more experienced soldiers join the cause (seriously, rookies' stats suck so hard they could power a vacuum tube). I would happily trade 30 lousy soldiers for one decent guy who knows not to shoot himself in the foot. Seriously, you're fighting an advanced alien race and all you get are boot camp rejects?
b) Make armour actually relevant, with some armours nearly entirely negating one weapon type damage but leaving nearly unguarded against another. For example, aerogel has a melting point of 1,200°C (yes, it actually exists) so armour based on the technology would be able to dissipate plasma blasts almost entirely, protect decently against laser (since it's more concentrated) but be nearly useless against explosives (except plasma grenades) or penetrating force (needler).

Offline Internecivus

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2014, 12:54:36 pm »
a) As PHALANX gains recognition and fame, more experienced soldiers join the cause (seriously, rookies' stats suck so hard they could power a vacuum tube). I would happily trade 30 lousy soldiers for one decent guy who knows not to shoot himself in the foot. Seriously, you're fighting an advanced alien race and all you get are boot camp rejects?
It was so in previous releases (2.4 and below). There were reasons to do that, but I don't remember exactly.
By the story you're already getting the best soldiers, so even rookie from Phalanx could easily beat few elite soldiers from nations armies. But it's not enough to beat aliens, of course. 
b) Make armour actually relevant, with some armours nearly entirely negating one weapon type damage but leaving nearly unguarded against another. For example, aerogel has a melting point of 1,200°C (yes, it actually exists) so armour based on the technology would be able to dissipate plasma blasts almost entirely, protect decently against laser (since it's more concentrated) but be nearly useless against explosives (except plasma grenades) or penetrating force (needler).
And aerogel is extremely light, so armour weight should go down.
Btw, for different armours, it's not only coding but also modeling, and modeling isn't as easy as coding.

Offline Noordung

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 02:52:47 pm »
yes to super light aromurs ;D
well... we could have exoskeleton. power aromour as POWER i understand that this could be exoskeleton with thick armour that not only gives superior protection but also gives more strenght.

and +1 for aerogel. i read somwere that this is suppose to be hard fiction game. so good descrition how things work with mention of known and theroretical materials and technologies could be benifit for game.

Offline Daikataro

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2014, 05:06:48 pm »
Screw modeling for the time being, this is meant to be a "quick and dirty" fix to an unnecesarily hard modification of the game. It is one thing to have a challenging game that makes you do things differently, think, plan and react. It's an entirely different thing when the enemy is so overpowered they can 1-shoot soldiers with the best gear money can buy.

On the "screw modeling for the time being" matter, just use the old combat armour model as a temporary sit-in and have the report say it was retrofitted with an insulating layer of aerogel that will increase its heat resistance by 1,200%, reduce weight by 50% but strip the armour of roughly 85% its stopping power against concussive/penetrating force. If devs have spare time, model a new one, but fix the issue now and fix the pretty details later (I'm an engineer so we tend to go for the "screw aesthetics" philosophy more often than not).

Here's the counterpart of that one by the way, I'm certain most of you have played with silly putty, and have at least heard rumours about it being used as armour component, so after studying the alien manufacturing techniques, a byproduct of the research would be a non-newtonian fluid that allows for free, unrestrained movement under low stress (running, aiming) but harden to a magnitude order above kevlar when subjected to severe kinetic force (melee, puncturing, shrapnel). Of course, non-newtonian fluids have never been known for their heat resistance, so it would be near-useless against plasma/laser based weapons.

Offline TBeholder

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2014, 07:39:11 pm »
By the story you're already getting the best soldiers, so even rookie from Phalanx could easily beat few elite soldiers from nations armies. But it's not enough to beat aliens, of course.  And aerogel is extremely light, so armour weight should go down.
Is called "ablative layer". I mean, you don't want to run in just glorified styrofoam on top of a shirt?..
Btw, for different armours, it's not only coding but also modeling, and modeling isn't as easy as coding.
Base armour + variety of additions... in plate pockets, and thus invisible anyway?  :D
Which also may make R&D tree longer: you got a new material, you produce reinforcement plates first, then your guys have necessary experience to do it with full armour. After all, research got to have "item X" as a prerequisite to deal with alien equipments, so it can be expanded to items that needs to be produced.

Offline MonkeyHead

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2014, 05:44:49 pm »
I have never understood why the power armour adds any weight to a soldiers load at all. I mean, is not the point of it that it is a load bearing device to take the weight of heavy plating and suchlike? As it stands, I pretty much never use it in combat, as giving it to a soldier means not being able to give them a weapon of anything other than the lightest weight if I want them to have a few grenades, a plasma blade or medkit - which is easy to do with the NanoComp.

Offline anonymissimus

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2014, 09:51:46 pm »
I have a few soldiers with strength 60+ now (after 1 year in the campaign), they can carry power armour, coilgun, 2 replacement ammunition packs, some grenades, medkit, IR goggles and a plasma blade. So anything you could want. They had starting strength 39 and are from the beginning. I choose the best recruits to become snipers as their survival rate is the highest. Strength is the most important skill, more than mind. So choose recruits carefully and keep them.
It's also important to always use the full carrying capacity without being burdened. This often means adding useless weight. Ammunition for the grenade launcher has best ratio of weight per space.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 09:55:49 pm by anonymissimus »

Offline MonkeyHead

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2014, 11:50:56 pm »
Heh, I finished a campaign game this evening, where my top 2 soldiers were 2 coilgun snipers I had kept alive from the start - they had only reached 50 strength, though I was running 4 combat teams from 2 bases with fairly high squad rotation.

Offline anonymissimus

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2014, 01:19:17 am »
Well I guess it's because of the things I mentioned:
-Choose high starting strength recruits. 39 is the best I ever got, 30 the worst. I need to admit that I "rerolled" (repeatedly starting the campaign) a lot until I got good recruits. This is not cheating.
-Use full carrying capacity to get strength experience. You can also make them burdened in easy missions, gives more experience.
-How many missions do you have ? 130 missions in total now. My strongest soldier has strength 64, 63 missions and 68 kills. I have several with strength between 50 and 60. If soldiers are rotated a lot, it's pretty clear that a single soldier doesn't get as much carrying experience as he/she would get if soldiers rotate only little (fewer dropship teams). I have 3 bases with dropships with 1 team each. (Some of them stay to heal and defend in case of a surprise attack while the dropship is on the way).
-On http://ufoai.org/wiki/Skills/Improvement/v2.5 average weight is mentioned, so probably it's useful to not reduce the weight a soldier carries during a mission. Don't reload, don't throw grenades...however you organize that...or let soldiers pick up things to compensate for the lost weight ?

EDIT
Incidentally, I also just finished. It seems I could have delayed it further though. Or the bomber could have appeared much later. So the values above are from the end of the campaign.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 01:40:07 am by anonymissimus »

Offline Wolls

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Re: Some thoughts about 2.5...
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 04:15:14 am »
I have to spam smoke grenades...know smoke is useful..spam smoke every game?  I pop smoke under my feet, move all soldiers inside..It just feels so...unrealistic and no fun

Smoke is awesome in terms of avoiding RF.  Or smoke simply disables Line Of Sight which disables RF.  SO how to maximize it?

Think perspective.. you've seen the Kids in the Hall 'I squash your head'?  The closer you get the bigger, or more important any and all actions are.  So in terms of movement.. the closer you can pop that smoke to the offensive ( and RF target) the more room you have to move. 

Where ) is smoke and > RF   ( Yes i totally picked an image that would suggestively over qualify Smoke v RF... i am biased..although line of sight or field of view does travel iin some straight damn lines.)

>
     >
     1)........>2
     >
>

>
      1>
     1........)>2
      1>
>

That second position is almost completely blinded.  I won't say that you are not better off sleeping in a smoke cloud, but outside of that there are better uses for such a small TU cost.  In terms of mobility.  Your first option should be smoking the RF and moving towards a better offensive position because when you sit.. all enemies fall on you.. they centre towards your mass.  IF you are mobile, they always seek to realign.. you more often meet them one on one rather than allowing them to glom group on you.  IF you have the absolute hidey hole, and civs, this is a killing field they walk into.  When you don't control the setting most times its you being ganged up on from all angles.  I guess in addition to being something to hide in, smoke can be used to GET to the place you want to hide in.  Use a crate not just to hide behind but to diffuse the RF count and double your approach angles.

Smoke makes up for so much of the base maps lack of cover.  Use it like any other cover.  The closer it is the more obstructable ( apparently that is not a word.)  I am not against hiding in smoke.. I don't get why anyone would start there. 

( Complain about lack of cover.. create cover.. and just hide in it.) 


EDIT: I'ma pip. I dance myself into resolution.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2014, 04:32:08 am by Wolls »