Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Nagul
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Nagul » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:40 pm

Poobah wrote: The game is balanced around the assumption that players understand the mechanics and systems in play, as well as the fundamental idea that XCOM is a "massively outgunned" guerilla resistance but really doesn't communicate any of this very well at all. Many of the mechanics in particular, like the reinforcement mechanic discussed here, are very different to vanilla XCOM2 and are pretty much unexplained until you run afoul of them and lose a mission which results in a very negative play experience. I suspect this is especially true for players who didn't do LW1 and maybe heard about LW2 from the extensive media coverage or from Firaxis' own coverage/endorsement and aren't expecting the Dark Souls learning experience. LW2 is also incredibly snowbally in terms of how punishing it is for going through this "learning experience" and you can quickly brick a campaign as you suffer wounds, deaths and captured soldiers with each new "lesson" and I can only see this driving players to either quitting or just save scumming every single turn.
But difficulty (in the sense of having to know mechanics and so on) are what makes the mod interesting and successful though. If some players want different things that what the mod proposes it's ... too bad for them but they didn't pay anything for the mod and you can't please everyone. Also don't forget this is a mod, supposedly intended for people who already played extensively the base game (I don't know you, but I don't usually heavily mod games I only casually play). They aren't exactly totally new players and core mechanics are already known.

As a veteran, you probably remember your first LW1 campaign, where you probably got rekt by ayys. Yet you are still here today, I guess because you were willing to try something different if what you are doing wasn't working.

And that's the core issue at hands : some new players trying the same strategies than in the base game (which is to be expected and totally fine), seeing it doesn't work. And then instead of trying something new, insisting that what they are doing should be working. That kind of reasoning is ... odd for me as it implies that the rules of the game should adapt to the player instead of the other way around.

My first reaction to something I didn't know (for example infinite reinforcement) is something like "well, I didn't know that, let's reload the mission and see if being more aggressive helps". I'm not sure I would like the mod if I already knew how to beat it without even playing.

Feedback are fine, but expecting devs to change an aspect of their game if you didn't make a serious attempt to play around it is unreasonable.

nightwyrm
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by nightwyrm » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:44 pm

I'm starting to feel the DE+reinforcement pinch as well in the middle of Sept. I'm playing on Vet but I began this campaign on Rookie so that might've affected event timings but currently I have 2 +hp DE, a +1 armor DE and some others active, but it's those 3 DEs that make things harder to kill that are the real biggies.

Last night I sent a 5 men team (1 GSgt and 4 others of lower rank) into an AS 2, X-light, 100% infiltrated VIP rescue mission. They had lasers. I have access to Mags, but since I went pretty heavy into lasers and my Coil research was only 12 days away, I decided not to give them better weapons. It was suppose to be a relatively easy, training mission of sorts for my lower rank guys but it turned into a big mess.

As I tried to sneak to the objective, everyone except for my Shinobi got pinned down by a pod's (Sentry, Advent sargaent, drone) red squares. They were moving closer in my direction and one of my dudes weren't in the best cover and was likely going to be flanked next turn. Long story short, I decided to go loud, took too long to kill the pod, other pods arrived and reinforcements arrived. After some last-minute save-scumming I managed to only lose one man who occupied the aliens while others made a mad dash for extraction.

I made some bad decisions during the fight, spending too much time trying to kill the first pod and not prioritizing getting out, but the longevity of the Advent were definitely a factor in how bad it got. Even with crits, my lasers needed at least 2-3 shots to kill an 11hp, 1 armor advent or a 6 hp, 2 armor normal drone. With some shots missing, a single pod of 3 tied up my squad of 5 for 3 turns, which was way too long.

I'm starting to find that sending 4-6 man squads to missions to be unfeasible. You either send 2-3 men to sneak to the objective, or you're doing 8-10 men huge firefights. 4-6 men squads are too big to stealth successfully but not enough firepower to kill things quickly.

Jacke
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Jacke » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:54 pm

I remember one Jailbreak mission in an earlier Legendary campaign. It was on a huge urban map (and this was stock LW2, I have no map mods). Had 3 soldiers. They ran as fast as possible, Shinobi leading. Saw 1 pod off to the side and bypassed them. Got to the jail. Sprang the prisoner. Ran as fast as possible to the evac. Got out on the 11th turn with only 1 turn to spare.

If *anything* had gone wrong, the mission would have been failed and the whole squad could have been lost.

Then I read somewhere that someone when playing with the Alien Hunters DLC adds 4 turns to the standard mission timers, to allow for the effect of running into the Alien Rulers. I haven't had the initial mission with Bradford yet, so there's no chance of getting them yet. But I editted the correct INI file to give me 4 more turns on Legendary. It gives me tactical flexibility without removing the ticking of the clock as a factor.

Last Jailbreak, besides getting the prisoners out, I also exchanged some fire with the enemy. Killed a Sectoid and 2 ADVENT Troopers and got an Elerium Core. The prisoners evacced on turn 11 or 12. The squad evacced on turn 14 of 16. By stock LW2, I was 2 turns over. This map had the ingress point, jail, and evac point closer together that the dead-run map. I could have gotten out on turn 11 or 12. But I decided to have some fun.

Jacke
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Jacke » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:59 pm

nightwyrm wrote:I'm starting to find that sending 4-6 man squads to missions to be unfeasible. You either send 2-3 men to sneak to the objective, or you're doing 8-10 men huge firefights. 4-6 men squads are too big to stealth successfully but not enough firepower to kill things quickly.
I'm just starting my current Legendary campaign. I've gotten 5-man squads in at just over 100% infiltration without boosting (spend my Intel expanding to a new zone), which isn't pushing quite it high enough to minimize the enemy force and its preparedness (had Very Light and Normal). I should be sending 3 or 4. Until you get the appropriate GTS perks, there's a jump in infiltration base time on 6 and on 8. It's why 5 is the common max squad size early game and often better to run 3 or less. Boosting with 30 Intel helps a lot and may be worth it to get the extra training for the troops early in the game.

nightwyrm
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by nightwyrm » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:36 pm

Jacke wrote:
nightwyrm wrote:I'm starting to find that sending 4-6 man squads to missions to be unfeasible. You either send 2-3 men to sneak to the objective, or you're doing 8-10 men huge firefights. 4-6 men squads are too big to stealth successfully but not enough firepower to kill things quickly.
I'm just starting my current Legendary campaign. I've gotten 5-man squads in at just over 100% infiltration without boosting (spend my Intel expanding to a new zone), which isn't pushing quite it high enough to minimize the enemy force and its preparedness (had Very Light and Normal). I should be sending 3 or 4. Until you get the appropriate GTS perks, there's a jump in infiltration base time on 6 and on 8. It's why 5 is the common max squad size early game and often better to run 3 or less. Boosting with 30 Intel helps a lot and may be worth it to get the extra training for the troops early in the game.
I was referring more to the mid-game. I have had good success with 5 man squads in the early game where you can one or two shot most enemies. When you can't, you need to either go really small or really big.

Jacke
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Jacke » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:42 pm

nightwyrm wrote:I was referring more to the mid-game. I have had good success with 5 man squads in the early game where you can one or two shot most enemies. When you can't, you need to either go really small or really big.
Have you gotten the GTS Tactics perks that reduce the infiltration times for 6-7 soldiers and then 8-10 soldier teams?

Tactical Infiltrations $250 Maj infiltrations with 6-7 will take less time
Lg Unit Infiltrations $250 Col infiltrations with 8-10 will take less time

Mine you, besides the cost, you need a Maj and a Col respectively to unlock them.

nightwyrm
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by nightwyrm » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:51 pm

Jacke wrote:
nightwyrm wrote:I was referring more to the mid-game. I have had good success with 5 man squads in the early game where you can one or two shot most enemies. When you can't, you need to either go really small or really big.
Have you gotten the GTS Tactics perks that reduce the infiltration times for 6-7 soldiers and then 8-10 soldier teams?

Tactical Infiltrations $250 Maj infiltrations with 6-7 will take less time
Lg Unit Infiltrations $250 Col infiltrations with 8-10 will take less time

Mine you, besides the cost, you need a Maj and a Col respectively to unlock them.
Yeah I got the 6-7 one. But it's not the infiltration time I'm worried about. When you're trying to sneak your guys between the map's edge and a pod's detection radius, there's only so much cover available. When you're taking 6-7 guys on a stealth objective mission, fighting at some point basically is your plan A.

GavinRuneblade
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by GavinRuneblade » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:03 pm

Jacke wrote:
nightwyrm wrote:I was referring more to the mid-game. I have had good success with 5 man squads in the early game where you can one or two shot most enemies. When you can't, you need to either go really small or really big.
Have you gotten the GTS Tactics perks that reduce the infiltration times for 6-7 soldiers and then 8-10 soldier teams?

Tactical Infiltrations $250 Maj infiltrations with 6-7 will take less time
Lg Unit Infiltrations $250 Col infiltrations with 8-10 will take less time

Mine you, besides the cost, you need a Maj and a Col respectively to unlock them.
Did they change the price in 1.1? I could swear when I looked at them they were 350 and 550. Essentially they were so expensive I just decided they don't exist.

Omnichron
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Omnichron » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:14 pm

I have the same feeling of this as the OP.

I lowered the difficulty to veteran after outright getting wiped out on several occasions on commander. I also even stopped playing on ironman and saved a lot as well, and had to load a lot as well as I am forced to move quickly because of a very tight time schedule (Yes, that could be fixed with the stealth mode, but just wanted to comment on the LW2 mode alone).

However, on my last mission it is just impossible to win. I was just going to hack a computer and I was over 150% infiltrated with a 6 man squad... The result is that I get overswamped with enemies that is too powerful for me- I haven't had the time or resources to upgrade my soldiers much, so I guess that might be part of the reason for the failure, but I get one or two groups of new enemies every round, thanks for the combination of groups moving on the map as well as constant reinforcements. This is the results:
20170207182606_1.jpg
20170207182606_1.jpg (234.25 KiB) Viewed 11186 times
Now, I don't claim to be incredible in this game, but I have generally enjoyed the challenge of Commander and Legendary in the past... and even in the worst battles there I've felt like I had a chance.

Anyways, I guess I could try the easiest difficulty... :oops:

Jacke
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Jacke » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:20 pm

It comes down to XCOM becomes stronger over a game. Paralleling this ADVENT gets stronger too, with more advanced and threatening troops and aliens and eventually Dark Events. It's trying to maintain the balance between XCOM and ADVENT and give the player a challenge.

However, it's becoming apparent this balance depends on the player do well and the generation of the Dark Events not being too easy or too hard. This balance isn't happening often enough that it leads to all these and other stories about Dark Events being a problem.

I've not seen a mission to stop a tactical Dark Event (the permanent ones), only a strategic one ("Minor Breakthrough, Alien scientists make great strides on a secret strategic project). Has anyone ever seen a mission for a tactical Dark Event?

Perhaps instead of a random sequence of tactical Dark Events, it would be better if the response of strengthen ADVENT was done in response to the visible actions of and the threat of XCOM. More missions, lower infiltraton, more wounds and kills by XCOM 2, larger squads, better tech, better weapons.

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Arcalane
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Arcalane » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:39 pm

GavinRuneblade wrote:
Jacke wrote:
nightwyrm wrote:I was referring more to the mid-game. I have had good success with 5 man squads in the early game where you can one or two shot most enemies. When you can't, you need to either go really small or really big.
Have you gotten the GTS Tactics perks that reduce the infiltration times for 6-7 soldiers and then 8-10 soldier teams?

Tactical Infiltrations $250 Maj infiltrations with 6-7 will take less time
Lg Unit Infiltrations $250 Col infiltrations with 8-10 will take less time

Mine you, besides the cost, you need a Maj and a Col respectively to unlock them.
Did they change the price in 1.1? I could swear when I looked at them they were 350 and 550. Essentially they were so expensive I just decided they don't exist.
Not specifically, but the 1.1 patchnotes do mention that GTS project prices were slashed.

nightwyrm
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by nightwyrm » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:02 pm

Sometimes it feels like Advent is growing in too many dimensions at once as the game progresses. Advent strength grows globally and locally, increasing the number of enemies on missions, having stronger/faster reinforcements and generating more retaliation missions. Stronger enemies and new version of old ones roll out at regular intervals. DEs rolling out at a faster pace with certain DEs applying widely (+hp/armor) or having strong tactical effects (rapid response), upgrading old enemies and making new ones even stronger.

You need to be really on the ball to be able to overcome some of these challenges. If you had suffered a few setbacks such as multiple top troops severely wounded and out for a long time, or if your weapon tech isn't meeting a particular benchmark when the alien difficulty jumps, it can easily lead to a death spiral.

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JoeShmo
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by JoeShmo » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:40 pm

nightwyrm wrote:Sometimes it feels like Advent is growing in too many dimensions at once as the game progresses. Advent strength grows globally and locally, increasing the number of enemies on missions, having stronger/faster reinforcements and generating more retaliation missions. Stronger enemies and new version of old ones roll out at regular intervals. DEs rolling out at a faster pace with certain DEs applying widely (+hp/armor) or having strong tactical effects (rapid response), upgrading old enemies and making new ones even stronger.

You need to be really on the ball to be able to overcome some of these challenges. If you had suffered a few setbacks such as multiple top troops severely wounded and out for a long time, or if your weapon tech isn't meeting a particular benchmark when the alien difficulty jumps, it can easily lead to a death spiral.

And that's where I think generally the mod has gone awry.

It's like the death of game design, feature creep, where you're wanting to add so much to your game to make it "awesome" that you either never end up releasing, release in a poor balanced / buggy state, or it changes the base game so invariably that it's not enjoyable anymore. I think that in the quest to make Xcom 2 vastly more interesting ( in their own vision ) , the creators of LW2 just kept adding things to the game until it became rather overwhelming; especially under the hood.

So then part of the "problem", at least for us, is that while they spent so much time working on these interesting features ..they didn't spend a whole lot of time balancing it ( And, I mean, how much testing can you do if you are expected to spend days / weeks playing a single campaign? ). Coupled with what I had mentioned previously about lack of empathy towards lesser skilled players, and you end up with a game that was designed from the ground up to throw everything at you from every direction...with little direction.

And while the meme of "It's Xcom Baby!" would easily dismiss having your entire campaign ruined via a single random event ( like having enemies gain 1 armor early game ) ...LW2 feels like the motherload of Rogue-Like games, to its detriment. Random outcomes can be interesting, especially if it requires you to change up your gameplay in a positive matter, but not if it forces you to change for the negative and/or halts your play altogether.

I'm pretty sure Binding of Isaac players would loathe if you could just pick up a powerup from a boss and it reduce your damage output by 50%. Or not only that, but it forcing a random penalty to you after every floor. There's a point where randomness is not perpetuating a sense of enjoyable uncertainty, but embodying a feeling of dreaded absolutes. You know you are going to get hit with a penalty at any moment in LW2, and it wont be the only one; so you just have to wonder every cycle if it's going to be the one that halts your play or not; and that's not an enjoyable experience or feeling to have while playing a videogame.

And for a tactical game, it's removing the key premise of the genre.

marceror
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by marceror » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:07 pm

I'm new to LW2 - I just started my first campaign on Veteran last Friday. It's currently May in my game, and thus far I haven't had any major issues with reinforcements - YET. Though, I've had to also realize that LW2 can't be played the way vanilla XCOM2 is played. Often you have to bring in underpowered squads and rely on stealth to win the day -- which is bloody fantastic by the way.

When stealth fails, as it sometimes can, than you have to learn when to cut your losses and beeline for extraction. Better to lose a mission than to lose soldiers. My experience thus far is that if you're general game plan goes well, there shouldn't be an opportunity for massive amounts of enemy reinforcements. If it all goes to hell, than you've got to watch that mission timer, and make some hard decisions about what you realistically can and cannot accomplish.

That said, I realize I'm still a newbie to LW2, and may myself be coming here to cry about my losses at some point too! ;)

Fictitious1267
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Fictitious1267 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:12 pm

I understand the need to remove flares for drops so that we don't just stand around in overwatch, and it works great when you're not fighting. However, the problem I have with it is specifically when you're already engaged. The game is already incredibly difficult just managing what's already on the board, but when 5 enemies just appear out of nowhere, flanking you from behind, and you can't move, effectively the game just wiped half your team based on bad luck. There's no way to deal with it (since you don't know where they will drop), and all you can do is throw down smoke and pray, if you can spare the move. I just don't think that's an enjoyable mechanic for a game, and I don't think it's acceptable to restart a campaign simply because the game randomly dropped a squad right on top of you on a crucial mission.

Unfortunately, the only way I found to deal with this is to edit the ini files and put flares back on the higher difficulties. It makes dealing with drops manageable while under fire, but makes drops while you are not a joke.

We already have pods so closely packed together that they can patrol into you while you're already under fire. That was the bad luck mechanic in LW1, and it did it's job well. Now we have that, plus free, full squad flanks on top of it. The total of the two is just too much of a coin flip at present. The pictures you see here of 36+ kills and 6 deaths here are of successful missions. Keep in mind that there are a lot of times where a squad was completely surrounded, couldn't do anything, or go anywhere, and the player just hit the "quit to desktop" button instead of taking a screenshot. I don't see this as an issue of difficulty, rather an issue of fairness to the player.

nightwyrm
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by nightwyrm » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:01 pm

Fictitious1267 wrote: We already have pods so closely packed together that they can patrol into you while you're already under fire. That was the bad luck mechanic in LW1, and it did it's job well. Now we have that, plus free, full squad flanks on top of it. The total of the two is just too much of a coin flip at present. The pictures you see here of 36+ kills and 6 deaths here are of successful missions. Keep in mind that there are a lot of times where a squad was completely surrounded, couldn't do anything, or go anywhere, and the player just hit the "quit to desktop" button instead of taking a screenshot. I don't see this as an issue of difficulty, rather an issue of fairness to the player.

This is the really big issue for me. Reinforcements are not too bad to handle if you're not already engaged, and they've been fixed to not fire upon arriving. But pods running in on you during a fight is where I'm running into the most problems. People complain about big maps where you have to keep dashing due to the timer, but at least you have room to maneuver. I find small maps where multiple pods are jammed together to be way worse. Trigger any pod and you're pretty much fighting the whole map.

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JoeShmo
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by JoeShmo » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:45 pm

nightwyrm wrote:
Fictitious1267 wrote: We already have pods so closely packed together that they can patrol into you while you're already under fire. That was the bad luck mechanic in LW1, and it did it's job well. Now we have that, plus free, full squad flanks on top of it. The total of the two is just too much of a coin flip at present. The pictures you see here of 36+ kills and 6 deaths here are of successful missions. Keep in mind that there are a lot of times where a squad was completely surrounded, couldn't do anything, or go anywhere, and the player just hit the "quit to desktop" button instead of taking a screenshot. I don't see this as an issue of difficulty, rather an issue of fairness to the player.

This is the really big issue for me. Reinforcements are not too bad to handle if you're not already engaged, and they've been fixed to not fire upon arriving. But pods running in on you during a fight is where I'm running into the most problems. People complain about big maps where you have to keep dashing due to the timer, but at least you have room to maneuver. I find small maps where multiple pods are jammed together to be way worse. Trigger any pod and you're pretty much fighting the whole map.
I believe there's genuinely a very good reason why the base game has a "MaxEngagedEnemies" entry in the ini's. Feraxis realize that under some circumstances and/or difficulties ...having an infinite engagement with the entire map leads to a lot of sorrows ( and cpu cycles ). And this is just one of the many things recently mentioned in this thread that lead to overwhelming power for Advent. When pod sizes were low ..and engagement sizes were low ...people could obviously see the vanilla game as "easy". If you increased either of the two..the game became much better; but unlocking them both at the same time is just asking for issues. Add to that all the other increases to AI power and you go from a Krillan to a SSJ4 Gojeta.

nightwyrm
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by nightwyrm » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:53 pm

JoeShmo wrote:
nightwyrm wrote:
Fictitious1267 wrote: We already have pods so closely packed together that they can patrol into you while you're already under fire. That was the bad luck mechanic in LW1, and it did it's job well. Now we have that, plus free, full squad flanks on top of it. The total of the two is just too much of a coin flip at present. The pictures you see here of 36+ kills and 6 deaths here are of successful missions. Keep in mind that there are a lot of times where a squad was completely surrounded, couldn't do anything, or go anywhere, and the player just hit the "quit to desktop" button instead of taking a screenshot. I don't see this as an issue of difficulty, rather an issue of fairness to the player.

This is the really big issue for me. Reinforcements are not too bad to handle if you're not already engaged, and they've been fixed to not fire upon arriving. But pods running in on you during a fight is where I'm running into the most problems. People complain about big maps where you have to keep dashing due to the timer, but at least you have room to maneuver. I find small maps where multiple pods are jammed together to be way worse. Trigger any pod and you're pretty much fighting the whole map.
I believe there's genuinely a very good reason why the base game has a "MaxEngagedEnemies" entry in the ini's. Feraxis realize that under some circumstances and/or difficulties ...having an infinite engagement with the entire map leads to a lot of sorrows ( and cpu cycles ). And this is just one of the many things recently mentioned in this thread that lead to overwhelming power for Advent. When pod sizes were low ..and engagement sizes were low ...people could obviously see the vanilla game as "easy". If you increased either of the two..the game became much better; but unlocking them both at the same time is just asking for issues. Add to that all the other increases to AI power and you go from a Krillan to a SSJ4 Gojeta.
I've played Vanilla using the All Pods Active mod, and the alien turn on that last mission was looooong. There were times I was afraid my PC would crash. Playing LW2 sometimes feel like I'm still using the APA mod.

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JoeShmo
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by JoeShmo » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:14 am

nightwyrm wrote:
JoeShmo wrote:
nightwyrm wrote:

This is the really big issue for me. Reinforcements are not too bad to handle if you're not already engaged, and they've been fixed to not fire upon arriving. But pods running in on you during a fight is where I'm running into the most problems. People complain about big maps where you have to keep dashing due to the timer, but at least you have room to maneuver. I find small maps where multiple pods are jammed together to be way worse. Trigger any pod and you're pretty much fighting the whole map.
I believe there's genuinely a very good reason why the base game has a "MaxEngagedEnemies" entry in the ini's. Feraxis realize that under some circumstances and/or difficulties ...having an infinite engagement with the entire map leads to a lot of sorrows ( and cpu cycles ). And this is just one of the many things recently mentioned in this thread that lead to overwhelming power for Advent. When pod sizes were low ..and engagement sizes were low ...people could obviously see the vanilla game as "easy". If you increased either of the two..the game became much better; but unlocking them both at the same time is just asking for issues. Add to that all the other increases to AI power and you go from a Krillan to a SSJ4 Gojeta.
I've played Vanilla using the All Pods Active mod, and the alien turn on that last mission was looooong. There were times I was afraid my PC would crash. Playing LW2 sometimes feel like I'm still using the APA mod.

I hear ya on that. I would wager that's probably one of the major reasons why LW2 missions take vastly longer to load and unload compared to vanilla ones ( god help you reloading a mission already in progress ). The extra pod entries that have to be loaded must be really pushing it, along with any special parameters their custom maps and units handle. The extra AI scripts running in the background probably lose their mind trying to figure out the best course of action from the "enhanced AI" scripts running in tandem.

30+ units with 5x more options all trying to calculate actions off of each other in quick sequence has got to be a stress on the system. Which might indicate why Xcom 1 / 2 didn't have terribly phenomenal AI, nor huge numbers....but good enough.

Takes me back to good ol UFO / TFTD alien turns that took up to a minute or two to resolve. Good times.

Jacke
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Jacke » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:03 am

JoeShmo wrote:It's like the death of game design, feature creep, where you're wanting to add so much to your game to make it "awesome" that you either never end up releasing, release in a poor balanced / buggy state, or it changes the base game so invariably that it's not enjoyable anymore. I think that in the quest to make Xcom 2 vastly more interesting ( in their own vision ) , the creators of LW2 just kept adding things to the game until it became rather overwhelming; especially under the hood.
To a degree, it's amazing that LW2 works as well as it does. Its Resistance Haven System and the Infiltration System have transformed XCOM 2 into a better game of human resistance to an alien occupation. But as JoeShmo said, designs can go too far. And when the design is complex, tuning stuff like the ADVENT response to XCOM to continue to provide challenge to the player can be hard to get right, so it hits that enjoyable middle that avoids being too easy or too tough.

One big irritant to me from this complexity that started in LW1 is the excess of soldier classes, 8, each with 3 choices of skill at each rank. I've worked hard to keep my builds at a minimum and I still have 16, with only Rangers and Gunners having a single build, but I'm starting to feel I'll have to add a 17th build as I may need 2 for Gunners. This is crazy.

And not at all like real-world armed forces. They may have a lot of specialities but a minimum of them on the front lines. There's infantry, armour, engineers, and artillery, and while they need a lot of skills at the sharp end, a lot of those troops learn and crosslearn a lot of those skills.

But games keep trying to pile on unreal differences. World of Tanks has armour crew specializing in driving, gunning, loading, radio operation, and crew commanding. But real tankers learn most if not all of those skills and can and do change seats when needed. And everyone in the Armoured Corps learns radiotelephony. It's similar in the other combat arms. Especially the infantry. Certain types of snipers, scouts and specialist are separate troops, but most infanteers know all the weapons carried in the section and the platoon and all the battle tasks they carry out.

I think XCOM and XCOM 2 had a better system with 4 main classes plus Psi and Mechs. With swapping of primary and secondary weapons and 3 skills per rank, this could have worked. And everyone should have pistols and knifes.

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Rifle        Scout    Assault    Ranger
Support      Gunner   Grenadier  Rocket+Flame
Tech         Hacker   Medic
Sniper
I know many people love the complex details of having so many classes with so many skills. But to most of us, it's a burden we have to simplify by finding some of the best combinations of skills and troops to form into squads. And then hopefully churn out and assemble enough of the right combinations.

With so many complex systems interacting, it's tough to get them right so they work well together. Then playing the game, it gets tough learning all the important details and ways things interact. Get enough of them wrong enough and the game falls apart.

Sometimes designs need to be simpler. The right details, but simpler.

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Devon_v
Long War EU Crew
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Devon_v » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:44 pm

Kremblin89 wrote:Is there a way to stop the reinforcements? Even on Rookie they are impossible to defend against... I had a mission to rescue 2 VIP's, and on the turn after I got to them a pod with 3-4 advent and a sectoid warp in right on top of them and shoot both. Also the random pods dropping in right behind your troops usually kill 1-2 of my troops because they always drop in a flank position and can shoot before you start your turn, giving you no chance to get to cover ><
Either you're misremembering or you've encountered a bug. Reinforcement pods cannot act, even in Alert status, the turn they enter.

Existing pods on the map can do so, which is why it's important to be aware of their location.


Regarding stealthing passed all the enemies (sorry about the lack of quotes, my phone sucks at copypasta), it's the best way to handle the objective-based missions, but this is not all of them. Also when you make a mistake, you have to fight out of it. Some missions like Destroy the Relay also tend to require holding the evac zone for a turn or two.

I personally feel True Concealment is the only way the game should play, the reinforcement pressure alone is indeed sufficient IMO.


As far as mission difficulty, I don't see anything out of place. "Extremely Light" is dead simple to complete. So long as you don't go loud on the first pod you see the moment you see it. You can set up an ambush, you can kill a bunch of ADVENT, but do it very close to the objective with 3 or fewer turns remaining until Firebrand picks you up. If you're still on the other side of the map and you've got a 5 turn delay on evac you might as well shoot yourselves and save ADVENT the trouble. The theme of the game is "massively outnumbered freedom fighters", not "heroic space marines". (Even if you have actual Adeptus Astartes in your squad.)

I just started a new campaign after losing an epic war for control of Mexico and I got surprised on a 150% infiltrated Extremely Light by a pod didn't think was there on a hacking mission. I killed them, and had to race to the objective, barely getting out, with a bunch of wounds, as ADVENT came pouring in. That wasn't a bug. That wasn't imbalanced. It was awesome. My squad got spotted. The alarm went out. I had to choose to abandon the mission, or try to grab the data by the skin of their teeth. That's what Long War 2 is all about.

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JoeShmo
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by JoeShmo » Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:57 am

Jacke wrote:
JoeShmo wrote:It's like the death of game design, feature creep, where you're wanting to add so much to your game to make it "awesome" that you either never end up releasing, release in a poor balanced / buggy state, or it changes the base game so invariably that it's not enjoyable anymore. I think that in the quest to make Xcom 2 vastly more interesting ( in their own vision ) , the creators of LW2 just kept adding things to the game until it became rather overwhelming; especially under the hood.
To a degree, it's amazing that LW2 works as well as it does. Its Resistance Haven System and the Infiltration System have transformed XCOM 2 into a better game of human resistance to an alien occupation. But as JoeShmo said, designs can go too far. And when the design is complex, tuning stuff like the ADVENT response to XCOM to continue to provide challenge to the player can be hard to get right, so it hits that enjoyable middle that avoids being too easy or too tough.

One big irritant to me from this complexity that started in LW1 is the excess of soldier classes, 8, each with 3 choices of skill at each rank. I've worked hard to keep my builds at a minimum and I still have 16, with only Rangers and Gunners having a single build, but I'm starting to feel I'll have to add a 17th build as I may need 2 for Gunners. This is crazy.

And not at all like real-world armed forces. They may have a lot of specialities but a minimum of them on the front lines. There's infantry, armour, engineers, and artillery, and while they need a lot of skills at the sharp end, a lot of those troops learn and crosslearn a lot of those skills.

But games keep trying to pile on unreal differences. World of Tanks has armour crew specializing in driving, gunning, loading, radio operation, and crew commanding. But real tankers learn most if not all of those skills and can and do change seats when needed. And everyone in the Armoured Corps learns radiotelephony. It's similar in the other combat arms. Especially the infantry. Certain types of snipers, scouts and specialist are separate troops, but most infanteers know all the weapons carried in the section and the platoon and all the battle tasks they carry out.

I think XCOM and XCOM 2 had a better system with 4 main classes plus Psi and Mechs. With swapping of primary and secondary weapons and 3 skills per rank, this could have worked. And everyone should have pistols and knifes.

Code: Select all

Rifle        Scout    Assault    Ranger
Support      Gunner   Grenadier  Rocket+Flame
Tech         Hacker   Medic
Sniper
I know many people love the complex details of having so many classes with so many skills. But to most of us, it's a burden we have to simplify by finding some of the best combinations of skills and troops to form into squads. And then hopefully churn out and assemble enough of the right combinations.

With so many complex systems interacting, it's tough to get them right so they work well together. Then playing the game, it gets tough learning all the important details and ways things interact. Get enough of them wrong enough and the game falls apart.

Sometimes designs need to be simpler. The right details, but simpler.

I see this as an evolutionary divergence of what we thought we wanted during the original Xcom games ( UFO / TFTD ).

In those games, all troops were created equal ( just not stat wise ), and it was up to either RNG of missions ( sometimes your troops just never got a shot off ..so never skilled up your aim, but holly hell could they sprint ) or a personal choice of specialization ( I want someone who can throw really far early game..so I'll devote all their APs to throwing things to skill it up ).

In the early xcom games ...you needed to "play" your soldier a certain way to get benefits, like working out IRL. People started making their own "classes" because of this, because you had to make an active effort to improve your soldiers, unlike in modern Xcom games. But now that soldiers just level up with generic group xp ...it's rather thoughtless improvement.

What got us to where we are today..is that Firaxis remembered that some people made special soldiers ..and because they were doing away with the AP system and making a 2 action system ...you couldn't design your own soldiers like before. And with the removal of equipment burden / inventory, you couldn't gear your own soldiers like before. So they made soldier classes instead. Seems like an alright improvement right? They had all the standard specialty classes people made; a medic, someone to throw grenades / blow things up, someone to carry the heavy weapons, etc.

But they went too far.

Xcom never had equipment bias / specialization up to that point; every soldier ( as you point out ) knew how to use every piece of equipment to at least basic degrees. But in Firaxis Xcom ... not everyone could use a LMG , or a rocket launcher, or effectively use utility items ( like medkit ) because they didn't have specialization to make it actually useful ( reviving, stabilizing, healing worth, etc. ). There was too much stringent "uniqueness" to the classes that it actually removed variety and direction. Removing soldier inventory decisions just cemented this in.

I don't see the new class system intrinsically as an off-putting hindrance, but it does create another layer of balance that has to be taken into consideration ( as also pointed ). How are missions balanced? Do they expect you to have a certain number of Assault? Snipers? Support? etc. Are the classes balanced against each other instead? Or in tandem? When you mod in 8 classes in LW2 ...are they taking into consideration these things as well?

I can't help but feel that a great deal of issues some players are having in LW2 are being attributed to "intended gameplay" that is not apparent to the player. "learning what to use" or "how to play" is fundamentally different than "who do you use" and "how many to use" on each mission. The latter is not a learning experience, it's an insight into poor / misplaced design. And I would wager that when the best / first answer to many mission issues is "I just stealth by" or "You need to ___ instead", the intended gameplay is obstructing normal / fluid gameflow.

In Baseball, there are many ways to place yourself onto a base. You can hit the ball away from the opposing team for long enough to run to a base of choice. You can get 5 "balls" from the pitcher and walk to first base. You can hit the ball out of the stadium to get 4 bases at once. Etc. But what happens if you enter Inning 6 and all of a sudden you can't figure out why any of your choices for getting a base placement work? Only to find out after you lost, that you actually had to have 3 people at home plate swinging at the same time and a tank running the bases for you. But only for Inning 6.

What Firaxis did for Soldier customization, LW2 did for Mission customization. Instead of you having "generic" missions that can be won any way you choose, you can only win them in LW2 under very narrow circumstances / rules. They made a variety of different mission types / rules ( like classes ) ..but you still have to abide by those layouts, not your own creativity.

Some are entirely fine with that, and that's entirely fine for them. But it certainly does objectively reduce intuitive choices, as well as customization / variety.

And interestingly enough, where you see having 8 classes with 3 "trees" to use as burdensome ( compared to the original 5 ) ...I see it as still constraining.

trihero
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by trihero » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:21 am

I'm starting to find that sending 4-6 man squads to missions to be unfeasible. You either send 2-3 men to sneak to the objective, or you're doing 8-10 men huge firefights. 4-6 men squads are too big to stealth successfully but not enough firepower to kill things quickly.
Seconded, my primary complaint about the direction of balance is that the game becomes increasingly dichotomized into stealth missions or all out raids, which is more apparent on higher difficulties and as the game progresses past the first couple months. While those mission types should exist, there is no "middle ground" anymore, and I miss that the most. The middle ground 5-6 men missions should be the meat of the game. Instead we're either yolo shinobing or doing overwatch creeping with 10 soldiers. Raid missions should be very rare and epic in nature, not like the way you farm to victory. Same with yolo shinobing, this isn't metal gear solid or james bond. It's xcom 2.

It's not entirely surprising; the devs of LW2 wanted "organically decided team sizes" but as with many problems in real life, the optimal solution happens at the boundaries (very few men, or maxed out). I think the primary balance concern of 1.2 needs to be focused on bringing back the "middle class", as I made a thread about. Most missions need to outright reward 5-6 man play and stop penalizing it; like the poster pointed out when advent strength gets high enough the 5-6 man squad actually can't handle the huge pods even at 100% infiltration, so it's way easier, faster, and costs less resources to send a stealth team in.

nightwyrm
Posts: 260
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by nightwyrm » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:30 pm

trihero wrote:
I'm starting to find that sending 4-6 man squads to missions to be unfeasible. You either send 2-3 men to sneak to the objective, or you're doing 8-10 men huge firefights. 4-6 men squads are too big to stealth successfully but not enough firepower to kill things quickly.
Seconded, my primary complaint about the direction of balance is that the game becomes increasingly dichotomized into stealth missions or all out raids, which is more apparent on higher difficulties and as the game progresses past the first couple months. While those mission types should exist, there is no "middle ground" anymore, and I miss that the most. The middle ground 5-6 men missions should be the meat of the game. Instead we're either yolo shinobing or doing overwatch creeping with 10 soldiers. Raid missions should be very rare and epic in nature, not like the way you farm to victory. Same with yolo shinobing, this isn't metal gear solid or james bond. It's xcom 2.

It's not entirely surprising; the devs of LW2 wanted "organically decided team sizes" but as with many problems in real life, the optimal solution happens at the boundaries (very few men, or maxed out). I think the primary balance concern of 1.2 needs to be focused on bringing back the "middle class", as I made a thread about. Most missions need to outright reward 5-6 man play and stop penalizing it; like the poster pointed out when advent strength gets high enough the 5-6 man squad actually can't handle the huge pods even at 100% infiltration, so it's way easier, faster, and costs less resources to send a stealth team in.

Even when I'm able to take a bigger squad, not fighting was always the optimal solution if you can just do the objective. Last night, I managed to sneak a 6-men squad to the objective of an X-light counter DE mission. The objective was guarded by a pod of 2 and a pod of 3 but I could've probably taken them with the soldiers (including a PsiOp with stasis) I brought. Instead I did the drop evac and hide squad out of sight thing you usually do with a 2-man team. Even though fighting would've been more fun, there was just not a lot of reason to do it if I was playing optimally. I could've gotten some random loot drops, but there was always a risk a lucky shot would put a soldier out of commission for a month or maybe I get bogged down and another pod or reinforcements show up etc. Risk was minimal, but reward was even less.

Therlun
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Re: Reinforcement spam has completely ruined LW2 for me

Post by Therlun » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:53 pm

trihero wrote: Seconded, my primary complaint about the direction of balance is that the game becomes increasingly dichotomized into stealth missions or all out raids, which is more apparent on higher difficulties and as the game progresses past the first couple months. While those mission types should exist, there is no "middle ground" anymore, and I miss that the most. The middle ground 5-6 men missions should be the meat of the game. Instead we're either yolo shinobing or doing overwatch creeping with 10 soldiers. Raid missions should be very rare and epic in nature, not like the way you farm to victory. Same with yolo shinobing, this isn't metal gear solid or james bond. It's xcom 2.

It's not entirely surprising; the devs of LW2 wanted "organically decided team sizes" but as with many problems in real life, the optimal solution happens at the boundaries (very few men, or maxed out). I think the primary balance concern of 1.2 needs to be focused on bringing back the "middle class", as I made a thread about. Most missions need to outright reward 5-6 man play and stop penalizing it; like the poster pointed out when advent strength gets high enough the 5-6 man squad actually can't handle the huge pods even at 100% infiltration, so it's way easier, faster, and costs less resources to send a stealth team in.
I progressed decently far into two campaigns and I completely agree.
Having stealth missions is different and very fun when you start playing LW2 but a few months into a campaign the amount of stealth missions rises so rapidly it starts to dominate your mission pool. Easily 60%+ of my missions are Shinobi+Specialist or solo Shinobi where I try to not fire a shot.

I really like timers in vanilla Xcom2. They push the player and the game systems were built around that.
In LW2 however timers fail to do that. Soon enough you don't want to or simply can't fight on timed missions at all any more. Enemy toughness and numbers rise so quickly, reinforcements are so punishing, reflex actions are so dangerous that stealth is the only solution. No corpses means there is no reason to fight at all. Stealth has much less risk, much bigger chance of success and is much less resource/soldier intensive.

On the other side the missions without a timer do go back to "overwatch creeping" indeed. Shinobi+Sniper(s) pulling pods into no-cover killing fields make those missions long but easy.

The third kind of missions are some of the retaliation ones. No hard timer, but they still combine the worst of both systems. You have to quickly move to protect your rebels and an objective but you can't move on the map at all because it's easy to activate three pods on turn one. You don't get loot. If you get a bad spawn your rebels and the objective will simply die on turn two and three against high tech enemies. All the while you risk your soldiers getting sandwiched between pods from three or more sides for no benefit. Once Advent strength and tech reaches a certain level it probably is the best solution to simply not run certain retaliations ever.

I like LW2, it changes vanilla XCom2 a lot in many interesting ways. Greatly escalating enemy strength and the current timers don't work well together however. Heavily discouraging fighting while at the same time multiplying the number of missions the player -has- to do are at odds with each other, resulting in the split into extremes. Missions are either all stealth or all slow map creep.

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