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
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.