New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Goumindong
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New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Goumindong » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:37 am

This thread has been OK'd by Johhnylump

It is a continuation of the prior thread, to discuss dark events, their implementation, and the effects on the game... without getting snippy at commentators.
johnnylump wrote: It's a fair point, but the logical extreme of resolving that issue is a fully scripted campaign, which I don't think you are proposing. The idea is that there will be some variance between campaigns (which enhances replayability) but in the aggregate each campaign is winnable. That's the way we did Long War for EU too -- buncha problems, buncha tools, and we balance to soften some sharp corners rather than to create a puzzle with a specific solution in mind. If the Grazing Fire is too nasty to pop in May, we can delay it till July, for example.
There are a few potential issues with this. The first is that the game already is a puzzle with a specific solution, or group of solutions, in mind. More or less every strategic game has to be. Making an event random does not mean that players do not have to prepare for it. All that happens adding additional random events is changing the set of solutions which can deal with it. Its also worth noting that a larger group of random events often decrease the solution space to the puzzle. This isn't necessarily bad. After all, it is a game, we are trying to solve a puzzle (or number of puzzles). But it is the opposite of your claim. Randomness does not necessarily increase tool use.

This is important in a game like long war because transferring between different strategies takes time. And Dark Events which modify the tactical layer in a way that negate a prior successful strategy impose significant costs in addition to the costs already assumed

The second is that there is a fundamental statistical error here. The more random events that are included the less likely that each campaign is winnable in the aggregate. The law of large numbers does not apply to sums and Xcom is a game of sums. For a law of large numbers to apply(and so make each campaign winnable in aggregate) the total effect of randomness has to be nill in the long run*. In xcom the opposite happens. A good first month gets you ahead of the aliens, which gets you further ahead, which gets you further ahead. You can still fail when doing well, or succeed when doing poorly but if you're behind in month one you are expected be be behind.

To put it in ways we all understand, a unit in cover getting one shot by an uncontrolled unit leads to a panic cascade leads to a squad wipe. Unless this mission had no reward or no penalty and the soldiers were of no value then losing this mission puts xcom irrevocably behind or irrevocably ahead. Or you have a tester who catches all the Dark Events and the game becomes too easy ;P This isn't bad; the game needs a failure and success state after all. But it does mean that random events can push the game to an unwinnable position and its a necessary structure of the way the game is designed

In the end, on legend at least, i don't expect that each campaign is winnable. If you're skirting the edge of winning and losing then even the best choices will produce losing situations sometimes. And i also agree that variance has value. But i also think that Long War has always been a game with a fairly strictly defined "solution", that a good deal of the solution is often "and pray you don't get wrecked by RNG". I am not sure that the game needs more RNG with regards to dark events when it already has a significant amount of RNG with regards to mission duration, structure, and rewards on top of the inherent RNG in shooting and getting shot.

At the very least, it might make sense to constrain preventable Dark Events to the temporary ones(and ideally, temporary ones that have more of a strategic effect than a tactical effect, such as producing different types of missions, infiltrating havens). Have the permanent events on a relatively set timer or time off of total research done/supplies gained**(plus a random duration). And enforce the variance in that manner rather than "missions are harder or easier randomly".

edit: That would produce a less structured strategic level game, but a more structured tactical game. So that players would always have a good idea of what kind of forces they were going to have to deal with when they go on missions, but not in the manner in which they choose to do various missions. As it stands, most of the RNG that i see in the game, seems to be of the type that doesn't particularly effect your strategic decisions in meaningful ways. It just makes the game harder or easier depending on whether or not you hit the right roll. (did you get the nasty DE in a region you were scanning in or one you had just left due to high concentration of forces?)


*for a comprehensive mathematical explanation of this you can look at time series statistics and random walks. Though this probably won't be particularly helpful for designing the game itself.

**Which is to say that if you do really well the aliens increase their presence to deal with the fact that you've got more scientists and have had a chance to do more and more valuable research. This could potentially constrain the effect of the RNG with regards to early game events.

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Valaska
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Valaska » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:11 am

I am on commander and got nailed by some pretty nasty dark events that I had no chance of countering. I've been relying heavily on shinobi and recently reaper to chew through enemies.

Galamoth
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Galamoth » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:23 am

I got the one where faceless can populate into random missions. This one is fine overall but if you are going to give them a full turn on the turn they reveal we need the ability to target and shoot civilians. I have lost a VIP to a faceless attack on the turn it spawned, no way to counter other than overwatch creeping. I lost a soldier when one popped, attacked me through the car I was taking cover behind, wounded me and blew up the car all without any means of protecting myself. Let us kill the civvies or don't let them attack the turn they reveal.

Manifest
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Manifest » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:37 am

Galamoth wrote:I got the one where faceless can populate into random missions. This one is fine overall but if you are going to give them a full turn on the turn they reveal we need the ability to target and shoot civilians. I have lost a VIP to a faceless attack on the turn it spawned, no way to counter other than overwatch creeping. I lost a soldier when one popped, attacked me through the car I was taking cover behind, wounded me and blew up the car all without any means of protecting myself. Let us kill the civvies or don't let them attack the turn they reveal.
For sure. Though battlescanners are supposed to be the counter they aren't quite a counter if they alert the relevant enemy...

UzielTD
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by UzielTD » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:10 am

At one point I had three separate dark events I never had a chance to stop all giving Advent HP permanently and it felt like my weapon tech had basically been pushed back a level. Now, my laser weapons are doing basically the same percentage of damage that my default weapons were doing, and my default weapons, which are still equipped on tertiary squads, are... sad.

Since these events seemed to be permanent ones, I now felt like I was playing the rest of the campaign with one hand tied behind my back. A higher weapons tier will eventually compensate, but Advent forces will get stronger too, which will result in zero (if not worse than zero) net gain. A few other unlucky Dark Events and the campaign, even only 30-35 missions in could start to feel unwinnable. Is this part of the goal of LW2? To make it so that some campaigns have to be abandoned, even early on, not because of tactical failures, but because of strategic ones (failures which, often, you have no control over)? If so, then the current system does the job. If not, however, it may be wise to implement some way to counter these "permanent" dark events after they have slapped you in the face without the player being able to do anything about it.

Give us the ability to raid an advent Armory which will negate the dark event in a region or a continent, for example. This would allow the player to be set back, but for that set back to be correctable by their own means. Perhaps the missions is too difficult or cannot feasibly be done the moment it appears. Perhaps it can be done but at a high cost. Let the player make that choice.

infidel901
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by infidel901 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:34 am

The one that really sucks, is the faster reinforcements. As if it were not fast enough already! Permanent.

code99
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by code99 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:48 am

I have to agree here.

In my current campaign the avatar project has 3 more ticks to to finish and i only just taken over my first region (hq mission). Enemies have so much hp that even mag weapons (which i only just researched) feel lackluster.

Ive counted at lest 2 (or 3?) avatar dark events, several events that boosted hp of advent forces, same for armor, dodge and everything else there is. Faster reinforcements just popped as well (this one is really unnecessary, reinforcements in most missions are already fast and plentiful). Oh and did i mention faceless related events? Yep, all active, all permanent, no way to counter.

In all this time all i got was 2 missions to counter dark events, thats it. All my (few) regions were working on intel and still, just 2 missions to counter dark events, what about the rest?

My campaign is becoming so tedious to play that im thinking of restarting (not before doing something about these dark events, maybe some ini changes) and thats sad because ive put sooo much time into this.

Dark events are fine, even the permanent ones, even multiple of them but PLEASE give us a way to counter them, at least some of them ... besides rng based mission popups that dont seem to happen that often.

UzielTD
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by UzielTD » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:27 am

Alternatively to allowing permanent Dark Event completions (the real bad ones at least) to be reversible, perhaps make it so that dark events only show up in regions where the actual Resistance (i.e. the player) is operating? Why would Advent need better HP or weapons in a region where the resistance is comprised of 5 lonely dudes holed up near a shack in a forest, anyway? Originally, I thought this was how it worked; it just made sense, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Maybe even force some Dark events to have negative repercussions for Advent. Advent has more HP by virtue of heavier armor now, but less dodge, for example. It makes sense, since the player also has to pay a price for everything they do. Higher tier weapons don't get built or researched just with time alone, after all. They have to be paid for in supplies and alloys and elerium as well.

deducter
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by deducter » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:46 am

It sounds like the spirit of LW2Dark Events is to emulate the LW1 navigator upgrades, which from what I recall were generally uncontroversial (outside of tactical sense heavy floater leaders). I personally really enjoyed the navigators and general alien progression in LW1, and I suspect most players did as well. In LW1, there was no way to counter alien research, outside of base assaults which set them back just a little. Because there was almost no way for a player to counter alien research, I suspect this is why it was not controversial.

A couple of ideas:
1. Make the text more explicit which dark events are permanent and which are temporary. Right now I'm not entirely clear on my list of 10 dark events whether any of them are going away.

2. Consider making some of the nastier events like grazing fire temporary, but make it possible to for the aliens to re-research these after they expire, giving players another chance to potentially counter them.

As a corollary, you can consider making more of these dark events temporary but that the aliens will immediately start the project again for the next month. Thus a player might end up with more opportunity to counter them, but if they run into 4-5+ missions a month realistically they would have to pick and choose which to counter. You would almost certainly have to shorten the mission time window (I've detected missions with 14 days left).

3. This will be a lot more work and perhaps out of scope for the project, but consider adding a quest chain to counter a permanent dark event. You would at the minimum need to do one "detect" mission to identify an alien facility, perhaps a second mission to identify what type of dark event you would counter, and then a 3rd HQ-assault style mission except you don't get any corpses/supplies/alien artifacts. Thus, the only reason to go through this chain would be to counter the dark event. It would be a very substantial effort on the player's part, and if there are a dozen dark events active realistically a player cannot hope to eliminate even most of them.

You could make it so that the player wouldn't even know which permanent dark even they would remove until after they complete the mission.

This would be a lot of extra development effort. But I think having more choice to countering dark events after they are completed might restore some agency to the player.

Stroggus
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Stroggus » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:08 am

I think it would be a good idea to assign alien facility to permanent DEs. Basically you will have 2 types of facilities - Avatar and DE. You will need to find a lead to DE facility too. And DE stays as long as it`s assigned facility stays on the map.

And aliens can always rebuld them next time. So yeah you can counter it and buy some time, but it will be back sooner or later.

Also quick question about some DE mechanic: when it says something like "some enemies will have this (lightning reflex for example)" does it mean some enemie types (like all sidewingers) or literally some enemies (like random 3 out of 12 enemies on a mission will have this perk)?

xmd1997
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by xmd1997 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:11 am

UzielTD wrote:Alternatively to allowing permanent Dark Event completions (the real bad ones at least) to be reversible, perhaps make it so that dark events only show up in regions where the actual Resistance (i.e. the player) is operating? Why would Advent need better HP or weapons in a region where the resistance is comprised of 5 lonely dudes holed up near a shack in a forest, anyway? Originally, I thought this was how it worked; it just made sense, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Maybe even force some Dark events to have negative repercussions for Advent. Advent has more HP by virtue of heavier armor now, but less dodge, for example. It makes sense, since the player also has to pay a price for everything they do. Higher tier weapons don't get built or researched just with time alone, after all. They have to be paid for in supplies and alloys and elerium as well.
They mentioned that they originally tried this already (making dark events only in contacted regions), but their testers were able to counter every event that would pop up which ironically made the game too easy near the end. Not to mention it would discourage the player's from expanding since expansion just means more DE's to deal with.

Zyrrashijn
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Zyrrashijn » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:53 am

Someone over in the other thread proposed some kind of facility assault mission to shut down a permanent DE after the liberation of a region. I find the idea quite appealing.

Jadiel
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Jadiel » Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:12 am

Another way to mitigate the randomness might be to allow you to spend intel for a guaranteed detection of the dark event counter mission. This means if there are particular DEs that you dislike you can spend resources to counter them, but the cost would be high enough that it probably isn't worth guaranteeing the detection of all DEs. It would require some back-end work, as you'd need to be able to move a mission from a region where the player has no presence to one where he does. I'm not sure how you'd do the mechanics for time remaining - I guess it would be random? I like the flavor of using intel to root out particular alien projects that you perceive to be more threatening to the XCOM agenda.

nightwyrm
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by nightwyrm » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:31 pm

Jadiel wrote:Another way to mitigate the randomness might be to allow you to spend intel for a guaranteed detection of the dark event counter mission. This means if there are particular DEs that you dislike you can spend resources to counter them, but the cost would be high enough that it probably isn't worth guaranteeing the detection of all DEs. It would require some back-end work, as you'd need to be able to move a mission from a region where the player has no presence to one where he does. I'm not sure how you'd do the mechanics for time remaining - I guess it would be random? I like the flavor of using intel to root out particular alien projects that you perceive to be more threatening to the XCOM agenda.
I really like this idea. As it currently stands, I don't have any incentive to spend intel on hidden DEs to find out what they are. Either the mission to stop it appears, in which case I'm squishing it if at all possible. Or it doesn't, in which case there's no point in spending the intel to find out what it is.

trihero
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by trihero » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:47 pm

I asked this question in the other thread, but it wasn't answered:

Which Dark Events are permanent, and which are temporary? How long do the temporary ones last?

LordYanaek
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by LordYanaek » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:55 pm

Menace One Five, we are picking up a wall of text heading towards your location ;)

OK. I think the issue with Dark Events goes beyond pure balancing of the game difficulty. Dark Events are random. Even if you add some controls as to which DE shows early and which one shows late, they will stay semi random and will feel even more random. There are some inherent issues with random difficulty.
  • Players, or at least a number of players don't like being beaten purely by the RNG in a strategy game. They will accept it if they loose due to mistakes and try to learn from those, but if they feel like they are doing things right and still loose because of the RNG, they will just get frustrated and eventually stop the game or switch to save-scum "tactics".
  • Following on the previous point, RNG "losses" can hide tactical mistakes. Give the players a chance to blame the RNG rather than their skill and you can be sure they will. Blaming someone else for you mistakes is common practice and the RNG can't even complain so he's a perfect excuse for not progressing.
  • Random difficulty is the least interesting difficulty. Loosing to the RNG is frustrating and winning thanks to the RNG doesn't give you a sense of achievement. There is no progress, no learning, no strategies to develop if you think you suddenly can't progress any further because you've just be struck by bad luck. Only restarting and hoping the RNG won't screw you this time. This doesn't motivate you to try and play smart.
  • Considering that it's OK if some campaigns simply can't be won due to RNG because it increases replayablity is ignoring all those players who won't have time for many campaigns. I agree they shouldn't try to beat Legend on their first run anyway, but even on more reasonable difficulties it seems like stacking some permanent DE early can make the game impossible.
I think the LW1 research and navigators/leaders was good because it wasn't random. You knew aliens would improve over time as and you knew you could only somewhat delay them so you had to prepare. It was strategy, if you lost because the aliens suddenly became too strong, you would learn. With Dark Events you just restart and hope you won't get bad event early or else you'll be able to block them. Even if they serve the same purpose, they are different and they seem different. Part of the issue with with permanent dark events is how players resent them because they feel like they should be able to block them. It's not just strength progression, it's a dark event that the RNG didn't allow them to counter.

I'll self-quote what i wrote in the old thread.
myself wrote:As others, i'm most concerned about the random nature of those upgrades. Again, comparing to LW1, we wouldn't see some of the most annoying navigators/pod leaders like those lightning reflexes crysalids or CCS oustsiders for quite some time and by the time they would show, we (hopefully and provided we played well) also had more tricks in our bags to deal with them. Here we could get some rather mean Dark Events very early and preventing them is not always an option. You need to see the mission to be able to stop them. I would probably risk sending squad Sledgehammer on those missions with 12h left if i saw them, but more often then not, i don't see them and i put most of my rebels on intel until i have at least 6 of them in every haven.
That's why i proposed to use another detection for dark events compared to regular missions, one that would eventually always show the mission, but with very limited time if you don't detect it before.

However, this could lead to another issue if the game is balanced with improved Aliens in the end. If someone actually fights every dark even, the end game might become too easy like in the base game. So why not use some sort of hybrid system between the old (LW1) research and the new Dark Events.
Basically, Advent would use research to improve their troops. That research would accumulate like the avatar project blocks, and once they reach a given level, the first upgrade (be it +1HP or something else) will be discovered, then Advent will accumulate research towards the next upgrade. If the developers don't want totally linear progression, i'm sure it's possible to implement groups of upgrades so all the group1 upgrades must be researched first before moving to group2.
Now comes Dark Events, they simply add to that research like the Avatar Breakthrough do. If you counter one of those dark events, you will delay the upgrades, but you can never prevent them, like in LW1 you could delay alien research by hitting their operations, but you couldn't stop it.

This way, you never get super dangerous upgrades very early but you can't totally stop advent progression either. This would take away some power from the RNG to totally screw you up or give you a very easy game, both situations being as bad in my view.
OK. I tried to think about this some more, especially after johnnylump posted they would not be removed, which i think also means they won't be turned into simple "add to advent research" events. There are still ways to implement them differently, hopefully in a manner that makes players feel like they can do something, and also ensures that they accept them for the late game if it's possible to use a different algorithm for Dark Events detection and regular guerilla missions and provided the developers are willing to change them.

It would certainly be possible to change the detection chance of tactical (permanent) dark events based on how many times they were countered. Another option would be to reduce the window of opportunity to counter them. The idea would be that the first time any given tactical DE would trigger, it would be fairly easy to counter it, but as the game progresses, the same event would come back (possibly being forced every month in addition to other dark events) as Advent didn't give up on their research, they just got delayed and moved the research to another place. They didn't have to start over totally either, which would explain that it becomes progressively harder to counter them. Eventually there would be a moment where you simply can't stop them any more and the event passes automatically to ensure no-one can totally block Advent progression and the end game doesn't become too easy.
Jadiel wrote:Another way to mitigate the randomness might be to allow you to spend intel for a guaranteed detection of the dark event counter mission. This means if there are particular DEs that you dislike you can spend resources to counter them, but the cost would be high enough that it probably isn't worth guaranteeing the detection of all DEs. It would require some back-end work, as you'd need to be able to move a mission from a region where the player has no presence to one where he does. I'm not sure how you'd do the mechanics for time remaining - I guess it would be random? I like the flavor of using intel to root out particular alien projects that you perceive to be more threatening to the XCOM agenda.
Now i like this idea and it could be tied to the system explained above easily. First time a tactical dark even appears, it would cost a small amount of intell (say 25, exact number to be determined). After you have countered it Advent will reinforce their security on that research and the cost goes up. Eventually, the cost will become prohibitive and the players will have to accept the dark event. This would have several side benefits automatically.
  • Players will easily figure out that they can't counter this progress indefinitely and rather than blame the RNG for screwing them, they will understand it's meant to be this way and accept it more easily like the navigators in LW1
  • Players will have a warning "be careful aliens will get more HP sooner or later, time to get those laser weapons". Good players will learn to adapt their strategies. Others will spend a lot of intel to delay the event as long as possible and get easier tactical missions at the cost of their strategic game. Multiple options will be available but RNGesus won't hold your fate in it's hands any more.
This doesn't mean there should be no RNG at all if you want to keep some aspects of the progress random, but it shouldn't be, nor look, totally random.

Whatever you decide, it must be obvious to the player that the aliens are supposed to progress. They should never think the RNG just caused them to loose the game because of a dark even they didn't even have a chance to counter.



On Dark Events balance, i'm still too early in my first veteran campaign to know all of the possible painful Dark Events but from what i've read and experienced, here are my 2 cents on two of them.
  • Grazing shot. I think this one should go out totally unless your intent is to encourage players to try and obliterate pods on the first turn they encounter them using every possible rockets. It basically nullifies an entire build of gunners, makes light armor/high defense strategies almost useless and forces you to have a field surgeon in every squad if you want to avoid long recoveries. Destroying several of the options you gave to your players doesn't really fit well with the rest of the game. Such a perk wouldn't be as much of an issue in vanilla XCom2 since the plan is always to blow up the aliens in one turn, but in LW2 you have added new means to control the battle making prolonged fights possible and interesting. Why suddenly destroy all you built with a single Dark Event.
  • HP progression. Those shouldn't show up before players have a reasonable chance to get better weapons. Maybe there is already such a security check, but i can't imagine how to win missions against +2 HP enemies with ballistic weapons. This brings up another issue : Rendez-vous missions. In those missions, you have only one soldier and the rest are rebels. As far as i know there is no way to equip your rebels with laser or better weapons, this means that at some point in the game you are effectively fighting with a single soldier against all of the aliens. I understand the reason for those +1 HP events and don't think the event should be removed, but would it be possible to exclude Advent on Rendez-vous missions from those bonuses like the scripted reinforcements in The Nest? Alternatively allow the rebels to get better equipment at some point in the game. The same logic actually applies to all of the tactical DE, when they are applied against rookie level troops with basic gear, they can become devastating. I now have +2 HP and my Rendez-vous missions starts to be quite hard, especially given that the advisors don't level up as fast as the rest of my soldiers and don't always have the best weapons (since i can't unequip them to give to my troops when i send them in missions).

Tuhalu
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Tuhalu » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:03 pm

trihero wrote:I asked this question in the other thread, but it wasn't answered:

Which Dark Events are permanent, and which are temporary? How long do the temporary ones last?
The permanent ones have "Tactical Upgrade" in the name, if I understand correctly. The others will go away eventually.

mustangdood
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by mustangdood » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:13 pm

There are two over-arching points.

1. Permanent Dark Events are not fun. They remove fun.
2. Permanent Dark Events make you hurry and rush elements of the game. The opposite of a Long War.

I would suggest that people try to solve for these two things in the solutions they present, or the root cause will just manifest itself in a different way.

Working within the confines of the existing system, I think it makes sense (and would be fun) to tie in the removal of a DE with some kind of mission(s). Maybe it starts with building the Intel for a Resistance mission. When you complete the mission successfully, you get a Data Pad. Back on the Avenger you research the Data Pad to uncover the lead to a facility involved with the DE, and then finally a raid on that facility to remove the DE. Or it could just be a set back, which offers 60 days of relief until it can come up again. If you fail to counter it next time, you repeat the cycle again.

This could lead to a lot of time spent on repeating the cycle over and over, so maybe you would counter the DE for 60 days, 90 if you have Radio Towers, 120 if you have liberated the Region.

Make lemons into lemonade.
Last edited by mustangdood on Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

nightwyrm
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by nightwyrm » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:36 pm

I just had a thought. Facility Leads in Vanilla allows you to attack sites in regions you don't control. Maybe a similar system could be placed to deal with DEs.

Let DE missions spawn as normal all around the world and if you detect it in a contacted region and deal with it, good for you. But whenever a DE spawns in an un-contacted region, you get a opportunity to pay an intel cost (escalating perhaps) for one last chance to go on a mission to stop it. If the mission is successful, the DE goes back into the DE pool and might be drawn again later.

This way, dealing with DEs in non-contacted regions becomes a choice with a (intel) cost. Maybe you let a few DEs go because they aren't worth the intel cost or you're afraid doing too much too early would make the intel cost for the important ones later too high to pay. But at least it'll be a player choice. It allows the player to have some control over DEs in the early game and encourages expansion so the player can deal with DEs the normal way instead of paying intel to unlock the mission.

Tuhalu
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Tuhalu » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:46 pm

LordYanaek wrote: [*]HP progression. Those shouldn't show up before players have a reasonable chance to get better weapons. Maybe there is already such a security check, but i can't imagine how to win missions against +2 HP enemies with ballistic weapons. This brings up another issue : Rendez-vous missions. In those missions, you have only one soldier and the rest are rebels. As far as i know there is no way to equip your rebels with laser or better weapons, this means that at some point in the game you are effectively fighting with a single soldier against all of the aliens. I understand the reason for those +1 HP events and don't think the event should be removed, but would it be possible to exclude Advent on Rendez-vous missions from those bonuses like the scripted reinforcements in The Nest? Alternatively allow the rebels to get better equipment at some point in the game. The same logic actually applies to all of the tactical DE, when they are applied against rookie level troops with basic gear, they can become devastating. I now have +2 HP and my Rendez-vous missions starts to be quite hard, especially given that the advisors don't level up as fast as the rest of my soldiers and don't always have the best weapons (since i can't unequip them to give to my troops when i send them in missions).[/list]
Actually, your rebels can get upgraded weapons. As your tech levels progress, there is a chance for the rebels to equip better weapons and those chances become a minimum level eventually. Once you research Coil Guns, the Rebels will be equipped with a minimum of Laser weapons.

Anecdotally, in the first playthrough where I got a Faceless hunting mission, I was lucky enough to have a Rebel with a Mag Shotgun. She was able to one shot faceless. She killed two in one round with a Command from the advisor :D

mattprice516
Long War 2 Crew
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by mattprice516 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:19 pm

Tuhalu wrote:
trihero wrote:I asked this question in the other thread, but it wasn't answered:

Which Dark Events are permanent, and which are temporary? How long do the temporary ones last?
The permanent ones have "Tactical Upgrade" in the name, if I understand correctly. The others will go away eventually.
This is mostly the case. I think there are a few permanent upgrades that don't say "Tactical Upgrade" in the name (IIRC the 3 +HP ones don't say that) but in general that's true. Stuff like faster reinforcements shouldn't be permanent, as although that affects the tactical layer its not really an alien upgrade persay.

Good rule of thumb: if it affects alien stats or perks directly, it's probably permanent. If not, it's probably not. Stuff like extra Faceless on missions and faster reinforcements isn't permanent (though the one that makes regular Faceless stronger is permanent IIRC).

We're looking into ways of more clearly indicating which are permanent and which aren't.

EDIT: I think tactical DEs are fun. :)

EDIT 2: Re: OP talking about statistics etc - you're not wrong that certain events early on can snowball. However, lots of the complaints I'm hearing are about the lategame balance (aka "the game will become impossible with that many DEs at the end"). While it's certainly true that the DEs at the endgame might be over tuned (or might not), it's worth pointing out that the endgame DE balance is something where assuming some sort of average or expected number of tactical DEs isn't unreasonable. The number of possible occurrences of tactical DEs, average rate of player countering them, etc - that's something that can definitely average out by that point.

As for preventing early snowballing - on each difficulty level there is a given week before which Tactical DEs cannot show up (week 7 or later IIRC for all difficulties below Legend). Additionally, many Tactical DEs have specific conditions for spawning that can also be tuned. So I'm pretty sure any early snowballing issues can be addressed pretty readily without having to scrap the whole system. :)

Nagul
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Nagul » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:33 pm

mustangdood wrote:There are two over-arching points.

1. Permanent Dark Events are not fun. They remove fun.
2. Permanent Dark Events make you hurry and rush elements of the game. The opposite of a Long War.

I would suggest that people try to solve for these two things in the solutions they present, or the root cause will just manifest itself in a different way.

Working within the confines of the existing system, I think it makes sense (and would be fun) to tie in the removal of a DE with some kind of mission(s). Maybe it starts with building the Intel for a Resistance mission. When you complete the mission successfully, you get a Data Pad. Back on the Avenger you research the Data Pad to uncover the lead to a facility involved with the DE, and then finally a raid on that facility to remove the DE. Or it could just be a set back, which offers 60 days of relief until it can come up again. If you fail to counter it next time, you repeat the cycle again.

This could lead to a lot of time spent on repeating the cycle over and over, so maybe you would counter the DE for 60 days, 90 if you have Radio Towers, 120 if you have liberated the Region.

Make lemons into lemonade.

I can't agree on your points.

1. I see permanent tactical DE as perks that make some enemies more interesting and unique, just as navigator perks made you agonizing about what to do in LW1. I don't want to consider advent heavy gunners just as heavy hitting advent troopers during the whole campaign. Give me a reason to focus or ignore them during tactical fight.
I can agree on the way DE are presented is not handled well though. Countering a DE feels like "avoid getting punched", it doesn't feel rewarding. Paradoxically people wouldn't complain that much about them if you had no way of countering them.

2. Have you played LW1 ? You always had to "hurry up and rush", otherwise aliens outscale you. Mind you, just as XCOM they don't have infinite enhancements (the number of DE is finite), but if you get behind in technology you are headed to a hard time. That was a legitimate way of losing in LW1, and should be just as legitimate in LW2. Many players like myself appreciate that aliens don't give the impression they are waiting for XCOM to win as they occasionally build a new facility that will get bombed in 1 week.


I would suggest to focus on improving the clarity of DE first (tell us what are their effects, what enemies are affected and in what proportion), for example a lot of people here are complaining about grazing fire without realizing it only affects a tiny portion of a subset of enemies. Once people realize they aren't as nasty as they thought they are it will feel like a natural thing.
Maybe reduce the RNG so each campaign has a similar-ish DE progression. If the player counters a lot of DE, increase the likelihood of them popping in other regions. If the player couldn't counter any of them, slow down a bit so things don't snowball out of control too fast.

Rempsv
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Rempsv » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:00 pm

Yes LW1 had improving aliens aswell(and i loved that feature).
But there are a lot of differences aswell.

The most important thing about that was the fact that it went smooth as time went by(no rng involved).
Second of all there already is an upgrading path in XCOM2 you have different tiers of the enemies.
So why do all the upgraded versions keep those buffs aswell.
Another big difference is the fact that in LW1 timers were non existent(except for bomb disposal ofc), which means you could try many more different strategies to overcome difficult enemies that you at the time were not really proper equipped for.
With those timers you have to keep going forward or you will fail the missions.
And with those timers and the lack of different possible strategies it can quickly get out of control.
I dont mind losing in fact the possibility that i can loose, makes a possible victory all the sweeter.
But losing to rng(for example there are certain dark events that are game breaking early on) is simply not fun.
And personally my biggest gripe with them is the fact that i have no reliable/possible way of countering them.

UzielTD
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by UzielTD » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:07 pm

xmd1997 wrote:
They mentioned that they originally tried this already (making dark events only in contacted regions), but their testers were able to counter every event that would pop up which ironically made the game too easy near the end. Not to mention it would discourage the player's from expanding since expansion just means more DE's to deal with.
I don't understand how this is even possible. You shouldn't be able to detect/do ALL the Dark Events that pop up even in a single continent, or am I wrong? There is a detection chance even within regions you control, modified by your resistance haven members who are on intel and the Avenger scanning in that region. Shouldn't some DEs, even within your own regions, just be undetectable by virtue of the player failing the roll to detect them?

Even if that's not the case and its possible/easy to stop them all, the player is already strongly encouraged to expand, in the early game, by virtue that Advent strength in a region you are constantly active in gets higher faster than your tech level can match it. Having multiple regions with low Advent strength seems to be a lot more beneficial in terms of resources as well as mission difficulty. I would never do a mission in one of those higher level regions, whilst I still had lower level options, unless its a dark event.

I can understand that you might not want to expand for fear of having to deal with more dark events, but there should be a trade off to be made for not expanding, as opposed to the player simply being punished for it. Maybe make it so that DE's related to the Avatar project DO appear in any region. This way, there is a lot of incentive to expand quickly, but carefully. Yes, you have to deal with more Dark Events, all of which you shouldn't be able to stop, but you also get more resources, more missions options and you don't constantly have to go on missions in regions where Advent has 5-6+ strength whilst you are still using basic weapons.

The current setup just outright brutalizes you for not expanding fast enough. Advent strength gets higher and higher in the 2-3 regions you control whilst Dark Events happen outside those regions without the player having any say in the matter. There is no other viable choice (viable being the key word here). Expand or die is the order of the day; the latter being a fate that seems almost unavoidable when Advent has drastically improved capabilities that basically cost them nothing (as far as I'm aware) but time and the player has really gained precious little, if anything, from choosing not to expand.
Last edited by UzielTD on Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Nagul
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Re: New and Improved Dark Events Thread

Post by Nagul » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:23 pm

Rempsv wrote:Yes LW1 had improving aliens aswell(and i loved that feature).
But there are a lot of differences aswell.

The most important thing about that was the fact that it went smooth as time went by(no rng involved).
Second of all there already is an upgrading path in XCOM2 you have different tiers of the enemies.
So why do all the upgraded versions keep those buffs aswell.
Another big difference is the fact that in LW1 timers were non existent(except for bomb disposal ofc), which means you could try many more different strategies to overcome difficult enemies that you at the time were not really proper equipped for.
With those timers you have to keep going forward or you will fail the missions.
And with those timers and the lack of different possible strategies it can quickly get out of control.
I dont mind losing in fact the possibility that i can loose, makes a possible victory all the sweeter.
But losing to rng(for example there are certain dark events that are game breaking early on) is simply not fun.
And personally my biggest gripe with them is the fact that i have no reliable/possible way of countering them.

There WERE lot of rng involved, mainly how many UFOs you were detecting/how lucky your aircrafts were. UFOs were making aliens research go faster, though since the order of upgrades were fixed it felt smoother, but the end result was pretty much the same.

The upgrading path as far as I know concern mainly plain stats (HP, defense, aim), it doesn't give them new perks. I like the fact in LW2 that I know in advance if codex have shadowstep before experimenting it first hand. I think DE similar to +1HP is to keep enemies like advent trooper relevant in midgame without throwing you the M2 version that might be too brutal for secondary squads equipped with lasers at best.

And also timers were existent, that sweet sweet meld wasn't going to collect itself. And I'm wondering which strategies are you referring to if you weren't bothering collecting meld, since overwatch creeping was pretty much the best and more basic strategy in this case.

DE are quite weak, and are quite insignificant compared to other aspect that makes mission harder (like advent presence in regions). If you failed your campaign, it's not because of unlucky DE it's because you probably didn't play the macro game right.

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