Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

RantingRodent
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Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by RantingRodent » Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:39 am

I don't have anywhere near the Long War 2 experience of many others around here, but I'd like to at least seed this idea I've developed after a considerable amount of my own play time as well as watching Xavier's series. I'm curious about what more experienced players think of this.

Maybe part of the solution to the over-effectiveness of small squad operations is to rebalance infiltration times so that 4-5 soldier squads actually have the shortest base infiltration time of all, and squads of 3, 2, or 1 have increasing base infiltration times instead of decreasing. Squads larger than 5 have increased infiltration time to help balance out their increased effectiveness; sometimes you get a nice long time to infiltrate with a large squad and steamroll Advent with it. I think the solo/duo stealth operations would benefit by being gated by a similar mechanism.

1. If stealth is the most effective/safest way to complete a given mission, you have to push intel in the region to actually get the opportunity to use that optimal strategy. Currently if it's the most appropriate strategy for a particular mission, it's very unlikely that you will be unable to do it.
2. In regions where you have poor intel you'll no longer be getting a steady stream of easily-completed missions.
3. When you're forced to send a squad that minimizes infiltration time, it will be a 4-5 soldier squad, which seems to be the ideal range for creating tense but survivable tactical situations.
4. More difficult for a solo/duo squad to reach 150-200% infiltration, limiting your opportunities to stack detection range debuffs to their maximum possible extent.

bountygiver
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by bountygiver » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:26 am

If i am stealthing a mission and bringing 4 is optimal, i will bring 4, and have them hide somewhere while waiting for evac flare, heck i already bring extras to stealth missions so they get experience to level up before participating in real missions, and evac them early if i notice the map is too hard to stealth with more than shinobi.

stefan3iii
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by stefan3iii » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:17 am

Re-balancing infiltration times to encourage bigger squads would be nice but...

The primary reason that stealth missions are good is that they can be done by squaddies without any gear, until that's addressed doing a lot of stealth missions is going to be the best strategy.

Consider the midgame, you probably have:
1) An A team of your best soldiers equipped with your best gear, 100% occupied doing story missions, network towers, HQs, and ambush troop columns.
2) A B team on standby, with good soldiers and enough gear to handle retaliations.
3) The rest of your barracks.

Given the current price of gear, and the rate at which you get experience, it seems very difficult to have more than 2 good size teams that can actually handle combat missions. I imagine if you really really tried, you could squeeze out 3 combat teams.

Now imagine an 8 day hack workstation mission pops, do you send your B team, or do you send a stealth team? You could choose to send your B team, and then with 4 days of infiltration to go, a retaliation pops and you have to cancel your infiltration to handle it, but now there isn't even enough time to send in a 200% infiltration stealth squad. It was much more prudent to send the stealth team in the first place. Even more likely, you probably actually have a flood of good missions to choose from, if you've expanded quickly enough and have enough intel on regions. In my campaign I regularly had 5+ infiltrations going on, with all but 1 of them being a 1-3 man stealth op.

As long as there are more misisons than you have soldiers/equipment that can do them, and stealth missions are possible, then it's going to make sense to do them. Risking a couple of squaddies or even rookies for 30 intel is a no-brainer every time.

RantingRodent
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by RantingRodent » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:59 am

stefan3iii wrote:Now imagine an 8 day hack workstation mission pops, do you send your B team, or do you send a stealth team? You could choose to send your B team, and then with 4 days of infiltration to go, a retaliation pops and you have to cancel your infiltration to handle it, but now there isn't even enough time to send in a 200% infiltration stealth squad. It was much more prudent to send the stealth team in the first place. Even more likely, you probably actually have a flood of good missions to choose from, if you've expanded quickly enough and have enough intel on regions. In my campaign I regularly had 5+ infiltrations going on, with all but 1 of them being a 1-3 man stealth op.
Yes, I understand all of that, in fact understanding this is where the idea came from.

My whole point is that sending that one Shinobi to do the mission should take baseline 6 days to infiltrate instead of 3. Getting an easy stealth mission with high return on investment should actually require you to do work to earn it instead of being possible as almost a default approach to most mission types. It would also to make it virtually impossible to get 150% and 200% infiltration in regions where your intel is garbage, which is as it should be.

I love small squad ops, but they do make certain mission types very easy, and this would be perfectly fine if you had to actually invest time and resources to create opportunities to run them. It doesn't matter if a gearless squaddie can successfully run a mission if it's likely you won't have enough time to send less than 4 soldiers.

Just in case my earlier description wasn't 100% clear, I'm proposing something like the following. These aren't supposed to be actual numbers, just trying to communicate the general idea.

Base infiltration time: (Current -> New)
1 Soldier (3D,7H -> 6D,21H)
2 Soldiers (3D,14H -> 5D,12H)
3 Soldiers (3D,20H -> 4D,10H)
4 Soldiers (4D,10H)
5 Soldiers (5D,12H)
6 Soldiers (6D, 21H)
...

Plockets
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by Plockets » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:09 am

As bountygiver already pointed out, that changes nothing. You would just bring your normal stealth squad and fill it to 4 with rando SMG troopers (or whatever number optimizes infiltration), and it's exactly the same as before, except with a few deadweight troopers just beelining the evac as safely as possible while the shinobi/spec (or whoever) do the actual mission.

RantingRodent
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by RantingRodent » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:02 pm

That seems to only really apply to Jailbreaks, though? Every other stealthy mission type requires you to throw the evac yourself or doesn't start you off concealed. A couple of extra squaddies are actually a non-trivial liability for everything but jailbreaks, aren't they?

chrisb
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by chrisb » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:39 pm

RantingRodent wrote:That seems to only really apply to Jailbreaks, though? Every other stealthy mission type requires you to throw the evac yourself or doesn't start you off concealed. A couple of extra squaddies are actually a non-trivial liability for everything but jailbreaks, aren't they?
Extract VIP from city is one that requires a good squad or solo shinobi with some OscarMike/Command. If I can take a squad on these I typically will. The Evac Flare missions are actually quite the same. You can still stick your tag-along guys off in the corner where you started. Send the stealth portion off to handle the mission, evac them, then rethrow the evac flare with the guys hiding in the corner. They only have to sit for 2 turns, and are typically far enough away that the ayys can't get to them in 2 turns.

chrisb
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by chrisb » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:27 pm

I think the real problem here is not so much infiltration timers. It's the risk vs reward of these missions. In fact, at least on lower difficulties, you can basically win a whole LW2 campaign without firing a shot outside of the Tower/HQ missions and last mission. I think I remember JoINrbs joking that he would try a "Pacifist" campaign where he did exactly that, because it is at least theoretically possible.

I think part of the issue is the power curve that exists in squad size. A 10-man squad is at least 3-5x more powerful than a 5-man squad. If you have a shinobi/specialist in your squad, that's effectively a 3-man team in terms of offense. If 1-2 of that offense gets CCed by drones/sectoids/vipers... you could easily wind up giving the aliens free turns! Compare that to a 10-man, where at worse your down to 5 guys that can kill things in a turn, but more typically you have 7-8 that can depending on LOS/cover situtation. Even if 2-3 people get CCed in a 10-man, it's not the end of things as you typically can factor in backup plans into a 10-man squad.

Simply put, 5-6 man squads simply don't have the 'squad budget' to factor in both offensive power and control. These are the two elements that matter most in this game. Either kill the ayys, or control them. Anything uncontrolled and alive at full health is a massive liability. Small squads simply can't afford to have both. If you take offense only then you gamble on being able to kill every turn, which is risky since RNG will bite you eventually and since you have little to no control, they get a full turn against you. If you take too much control then you can't kill anything and you simply get overwhelmed with yellow alerts.

This is why in LW1 at the top of everyone's list was squad size upgrades! They were critical, to keeping up with the power curve. Now these squad size upgrades are basically ignored because they only affect 6-10 man squads and have no impact at all on 4-5. Maybe if there was another cheaper option that lowered infil time on 4-5 man squads it would make a difference. But nothing will change the fact that a 5-man squad is very weak in either firepower or control.

One exception to this is the network tower. In this mission there is a mechanic that gives you an absurd amount of control. This mission is simultaneously the hardest and easiest mission in the game. If you hit the button at the right time, with enough AoE/multi-target firepower you can easily mop the aliens up while they are nicely packed together. Screw up at any point and your in for a rough ride.

I think a better long term solution would be adding more varied mission types that catered to the 5-6 man squad and accounted for their lack of both firepower and control, like the network tower does.

dstar3k
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by dstar3k » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:45 pm

chrisb wrote:Simply put, 5-6 man squads simply don't have the 'squad budget' to factor in both offensive power and control. These are the two elements that matter most in this game. Either kill the ayys, or control them. Anything uncontrolled and alive at full health is a massive liability. Small squads simply can't afford to have both. If you take offense only then you gamble on being able to kill every turn, which is risky since RNG will bite you eventually and since you have little to no control, they get a full turn against you. If you take too much control then you can't kill anything and you simply get overwhelmed with yellow alerts.
So this gives me an idea that would be really nifty, but probably out of scope, sadly.

Add missions where there is a bonus to both defense and dodge which starts at +x for four soldiers and goes down from there, hitting 0 at 7 or 8. Even with a high bonus (+30, say, dropping to +10 at 6 and 0 at 7), you still aren't going to be able to fight those missions if they have a relatively high number of aliens if you only have three soldiers... but it might actually be easier with 5 soldiers than with ten, especially if it scales with infiltration (say, directly up to 100%, and then at 33%, so that 200% infiltration is only a 133% bonus).

JoINrbs
Long War 2 Crew
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by JoINrbs » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:57 am

On Rookies/Squaddies being effectively free, if you're finding that you're able to translate an effectively free resource into more valuable things maybe the simplest solution is just to make that resource not free anymore? It doesn't really make any sense for XCOM to be adding Rookies at a point in the campaign where only SGTs+ are viable on combat missions anyway, so why not stop providing the player with Rookies at some point and start only providing Squaddies or better but having them be more expensive? And then a couple of months later the player can only get CPLs or better and they're twice as expensive as the Squaddies were, and so on.

I've actually suggested that infiltration speed have a general sweet spot at 4-5 soldiers before with very similar numbers to the ones RantingRodent suggested, I think it's a great idea and makes a lot more sense mechanically, narratively, and balance-wise. One problem is that we care largely about soldier hours spent to beat a mission (because our barracks is under pressure and can only output soldier hours). Currently the soldier hours required to beat a mission increase drastically as squad size increases, but it'd make a lot more sense in terms of keeping comparable pressure on the barracks for them to increase far less drastically.

I also think there's tons of room to improve stealth missions to make them more enjoyable and to make sure that players are being provided constantly-changing challenges. For example:

Different missions having different ideal squad sizes and/or different infiltration base times (already in play for troop columns and some of the larger missions, but could be leveraged a lot more to make GOPs different each time).

Stealth-oriented perks for all classes available by LCPL. "Ghillie Suits" for Rangers that give phantom, -20% detection, and infiltration speed, take away 1-action shot from Snapshot and make it give +3 mobility, -20% detection and infiltration speed, etc.

Necessary nerfs for Specialist and Shinobi. Mobile hack requires two actions? Infil modifier on Specialist way up. Shinobi gets Covert at Squaddie but can't pick up Phantom until SGT, etc.

Different missions give infiltration bonuses for bringing the right class of soldier, for bringing a soldier from the region, for bringing a soldier who was captured and rescued from that region previously, etc., basically mini-quests to complete to improve infiltration time to generate unique squad compositions in all situations.

Get rid of civilians busting stealth. Just let them be yellow-alert screamers after you've broken stealth, that's fine.

Merciful ADVENT so that soldiers bleeding out on failed missions are captured and able to be rescued later in the campaign. Maybe even a surrender button which makes all your soldiers get captured and ends the mission.

I can go on like this forever, but I get almost no feedback from other people about it and I find that bizarre. There are lots of people who want to argue that stealth is broken or boring and want to give fairly simple ways to nerf it, but a greater design goal, and one which makes this game extremely replayable and uniquely compelling, is that all squad sizes should have a reasonable place and be supported by compelling gameplay. I wish there was more feedback on how to make stealth more compelling and less feedback on how to nerf it or edit your .inis so you don't have to do it.

chrisb
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by chrisb » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:19 am

JoINrbs wrote:On Rookies/Squaddies being effectively free, if you're finding that you're able to translate an effectively free resource into more valuable things maybe the simplest solution is just to make that resource not free anymore? It doesn't really make any sense for XCOM to be adding Rookies at a point in the campaign where only SGTs+ are viable on combat missions anyway, so why not stop providing the player with Rookies at some point and start only providing Squaddies or better but having them be more expensive? And then a couple of months later the player can only get CPLs or better and they're twice as expensive as the Squaddies were, and so on.
This only makes sense given that the other sources of new soldiers already scale with the game. The black market and rescue soldier VIP scale up but the rebel jailbreak and the recruit from Haven don't. And like you said, getting rookies when you need nothing less than SGT is just fodder for lib 3 suicide missions.
JoINrbs wrote:I've actually suggested that infiltration speed have a general sweet spot at 4-5 soldiers before with very similar numbers to the ones RantingRodent suggested, I think it's a great idea and makes a lot more sense mechanically, narratively, and balance-wise. One problem is that we care largely about soldier hours spent to beat a mission (because our barracks is under pressure and can only output soldier hours). Currently the soldier hours required to beat a mission increase drastically as squad size increases, but it'd make a lot more sense in terms of keeping comparable pressure on the barracks for them to increase far less drastically.
I think the creation of a couple of new mission types would really help. Cap them at 5 like the network tower and cater them to 5 man teams. It looks like the upcoming Smash n Grab fits this niche. The one thing I really like is that it's not impossible to do with as little as 1, but the rewards scale with the more people you bring. I feel with some missions at the moment the risk of taking more people isn't really worth the reward. I think if the missions enabled you to do it with fewer people, but the reward would scale up with the size of your force would provide some incentive to bring as many people as you can afford. This also makes the player have to make judgement calls to balance out the 'infil fatigue' that they put on their squads. Maybe the mission has 9 days, but you need to do it with less because you can't afford the soldier-hours.

Some of the existing missions could be tweaked as well to push for larger squads. Imagine you get a jailbreak for 3 rebels. You get to the cell, hack the door open, and find 1 of them is badly wounded and the other 2 are unconscious. The only way to get them all out would be to heal the ones that are wounded and carry the ones that are unconscious. A specialist could be even more handy here with the ability to use Revival after stabilizing. Also there could be a pod of 2 sentries guarding the door that you could sneak up on and ambush, but doing so would yellow alert from sound, pushing for the use of suppressors as more than just infil time reduction. And again, if you only take a shinobi/specialist with you, then either you won't have the firepower to alpha strike the 2 guards, or you won't have the manpower to carry/heal/revive everyone out. Taking a 4-5 man squad now would scale the reward as you could get more of them out. It would also make it a much more engaging mission that you would actually have to plan things out a bit.

I think destroy relay already pushes for at least a 4 man if your going for a semi-stealth 1 turn alpha strike on the relay. I find these really fun to setup, and if you come up short on damage, you typically activate so much you have to evac. My last one of these I did just enough damage on my last shot from the shinobi, if he had min-rolled I would have had to evac with 1 dmg left on it after activating 2 pods dropping down to the evac. These missions get more trivial as you tech up though. Imagine if the relay was something like (20+2*FL), possibly giving it (FL/5 armor). In end-game you'd have a relay with 60HP and 4 armor to take down. For something you can't crit, that's alot of damage to have to deal! It would certainly keep the mission relevant for 5 and even 6 man squads to have to deal with.

Hack missions seem like they are fine. It's risky to go in solo/duo. It's a big dash to get into position in time and have to find a place to hide for the evac. Maybe over-infil shouldn't lower the evac timer so much? I often bring a fire team on these if I can afford it, and sometimes have to abort the mission because I simply can't get there in time. What if the mission timer scaled with the size of the squad. This might be an idea in general. I feel like one of the big risks of bringing a bigger squad, especially with Fixed Evac missions, is that deciding to fight could leave you short of the evac, which is basically a squad wipe. Maybe having 4/5/6 guys would give you 1/2/3 extra turns?

The one thing I don't like about what OP suggested was making smaller squads cost more infiltration time. This just feels wrong and not intuitive. I think addressing this from the point of view of rewards is a more engaging and less confusing way to go about it.

Tweaking the GTS upgrades might also be beneficial here. It seems like most players consider them an afterthought for when they are rich with supply in the mid/late game. This makes them feel broken, especially compared to how they were treated in LW1. You wanted them as fast as you possibly could because it had such a big impact. These perks are currently quite lackluster. Maybe the 1st one is ok, but the 2nd one is hardly helpful at all. It would be nice if these perks were aligned such that they felt like you were getting an extra soldier.

Here's how I would adjust them, might even try it out to see how it works out.

Upgrade 1. Reduce infiltration time of 2-5 soldier squads by 3/5/10/20. 100 Supply, requires a 1st Lt.
Upgrade 2. Reduce infiltration time of 6-8 soldier squads by 25/25/30. 200 Supply, requires Major.
Upgrade 3. Reduce infiltration time of 9-10 soldier squads by 50/70. 400 Supply, requires Colonel
Upgrade 4. Reduce infiltration time of 11-12 soldier squads by 70/90. 800 Supply , requires Field Commander.

With all upgrades this would change the values as such.

Code: Select all

Size | Base | Upgrade |
1    | 0.6  | 0.6     |
2    | 0.65 | 0.62    |
3    | 0.7  | 0.65    |
4    | 0.8  | 0.7     |
5    | 1.0  | 0.8     |
6    | 1.25 | 1.0     |
7    | 1.5  | 1.25    |
8    | 1.8  | 1.5     |
9    | 2.8  | 2.3     |
10   | 4.0  | 3.3     |
11   | 5.2  | 4.5     |
12   | 6.4  | 5.5     |
The effect of the first two upgrades would basically be like getting an extra soldier on each mission. The last two upgrades are not as substantial. But imagine that you actually had to fight the storyline missions with 10-man squads. Epic battles would ensue! Having these perks, along with your Officer infil reductions and other sources would be what get them down to reasonable levels.
JoINrbs wrote: I also think there could be some tweaks to the way detection works. If I'm right
I also think there's tons of room to improve stealth missions to make them more enjoyable and to make sure that players are being provided constantly-changing challenges. For example:

Different missions having different ideal squad sizes and/or different infiltration base times (already in play for troop columns and some of the larger missions, but could be leveraged a lot more to make GOPs different each time).

Stealth-oriented perks for all classes available by LCPL. "Ghillie Suits" for Rangers that give phantom, -20% detection, and infiltration speed, take away 1-action shot from Snapshot and make it give +3 mobility, -20% detection and infiltration speed, etc.
It would be nice if more of the classes had some way of being competitive with stealth without having to go SMG all the time. This basically makes them useless in a firefight. It would also put some more variety into certain classes. I feel like many of the offense classes have 1 best build, and deviations from that don't provide enough value anywhere else in the campaign. All of my Rangers are clones, straight down the left side, nothing else is even remotely appealing. Ranger/Sniper/Assault really SHOULD have more stealth capabilities, although I could see certain classes like Gunner/Technical/Grenadier not having them. That's ok though, not every class should be as capable in all areas of the game! They would still all be not as good as Shinobi, but it would at least be less binary.

I'm also a big supporter of having more options in the AWC along these lines. It's really nice to pickup things like Covert/Phantom/Ghostwalker on the odd soldier. It helps them be a lot more viable in small squads and less of a liability. Maybe the offense side of the AWC could have perks that reduce infil times, or add a turn to the mission timer? Would be some nice flavor and would differentiate your small-squad capable soldiers from the more 'go loud and bang it out' bigger squad members. I guess there is Tradecraft, but I don't remember ever getting it on anyone.
JoINrbs wrote:Necessary nerfs for Specialist and Shinobi. Mobile hack requires two actions? Infil modifier on Specialist way up. Shinobi gets Covert at Squaddie but can't pick up Phantom until SGT, etc.
100% agree. It always seemed odd that you can't haywire without ending your turn, but you can hack an objective on a blue move? This would also make it worth taking an Assault for a Run n Gun hack if the Specialist can't get a good LOS.

Also I do think Shinobi perks are out of order. You get most of your power almost straight away, which makes Shinobi a bit disposable. Conceal is nice for certain missions, but I feel like those missions shouldn't be so easily cheesable with Conceal anyway. A good example is the blacksite. There's a whole mechanic built-in that lets you reduce infil time by 90% if you liberate it, but thats a ton of work when you can basically skip it with Oscar Mike/Command/Ghostwalker/Conceal/Grapple Hook. These missions should be the most epic missions of a campaign, and they're completely bypassable right now... Imagine if grabbing the Vial stunned the soldier grabbing it for a turn! You'd need the fire support just to keep them safe until they could get to the choppa.
JoINrbs wrote:Different missions give infiltration bonuses for bringing the right class of soldier, for bringing a soldier from the region, for bringing a soldier who was captured and rescued from that region previously, etc., basically mini-quests to complete to improve infiltration time to generate unique squad compositions in all situations.
Nothing wrong with some more flavor/content to the game.
JoINrbs wrote:Get rid of civilians busting stealth. Just let them be yellow-alert screamers after you've broken stealth, that's fine.
I'm all for nerfing civilians, it's really stupid that they can bust concealment. They are not aliens, them seeing you should not mean anything. I am however still in favor of them being faceless because I love watching xwynns trigger them every other mission lol.
JoINrbs wrote:Merciful ADVENT so that soldiers bleeding out on failed missions are captured and able to be rescued later in the campaign. Maybe even a surrender button which makes all your soldiers get captured and ends the mission.
I would add to this that running out of time on a forced evac mission should cause this automatically. And once it does, a mission immediately spawns in that region with a high detection chance. Maybe there is some chance that soldiers are killed/bleeding out/unconcious/wounded when the mission spawns do to 'interrogation'. This would mix well with the jailbreak idea above.
JoINrbs wrote:I can go on like this forever, but I get almost no feedback from other people about it and I find that bizarre. There are lots of people who want to argue that stealth is broken or boring and want to give fairly simple ways to nerf it, but a greater design goal, and one which makes this game extremely replayable and uniquely compelling, is that all squad sizes should have a reasonable place and be supported by compelling gameplay. I wish there was more feedback on how to make stealth more compelling and less feedback on how to nerf it or edit your .inis so you don't have to do it.
Hopefully we can spur some more discussion. Sometimes all you have to do is get the ball rolling and people will get inspired. It's very easy to simply turn to the nerf bat as a solution. While sometimes the nerf bat is the right solution, mostly it just removes content from the game and makes it overall less enjoyable. I totally agree that there is a ton of room here to introduce new and more compelling content. It would also alleviate some of the balance issues. I like how Smash n Grab takes some of the pressure off farming Supply Raids and Troop Columns for resources. It would be nice if there were other options for getting corpses as well.

LordYanaek
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by LordYanaek » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:43 am

Some really interesting discussions in those late posts :)
JoINrbs wrote: I also think there's tons of room to improve stealth missions to make them more enjoyable and to make sure that players are being provided constantly-changing challenges.
This would be a huge improvement. The issue with stealth missions isn't that they exist but that they are not particularly engaging, and even less varied. It's fun at first to try and sneak you way around pods but becomes repetitive before the campaign is over. A lot of things could be done to improve them.
Stealth-oriented perks for all classes available by LCPL. "Ghillie Suits" for Rangers that give phantom, -20% detection, and infiltration speed, take away 1-action shot from Snapshot and make it give +3 mobility, -20% detection and infiltration speed, etc.
Not a big fan of removing the 1-action shot from Snapshot because i really like my snapshooters in non-static missions and sharpshooters are already the "other" stealth class but i agree with the idea of having more access to stealth abilities, through normal class perks or AWC (there could even be AWC specific stealth perks) for more classes so we could have more varied stealth squads. Not every class need to be good at stealth, i would even say that gunners should have larger detection radius and make more noise : this would help turn them away from some missions and leave some room to other classes.
Necessary nerfs for Specialist and Shinobi. Mobile hack requires two actions? Infil modifier on Specialist way up. Shinobi gets Covert at Squaddie but can't pick up Phantom until SGT, etc.
IIRC there was discussions to make the evac timer's minimal value higher than 1 turn, this would already reduce the power of the throw flare from out of LoS and move next turn to hack'n evac strategy. The issue with using the nerf hammer is you'll also hit all the non cheesy uses of those soldiers.
Get rid of civilians busting stealth. Just let them be yellow-alert screamers after you've broken stealth, that's fine.
+1
I can go on like this forever, but I get almost no feedback from other people about it and I find that bizarre. There are lots of people who want to argue that stealth is broken or boring and want to give fairly simple ways to nerf it
Unfortunately crushing things with the nerf hammer is what first comes to most people's mind. As i said already the best balance is achieved when everything is equally overpowered, if you just nerf everything that looks too strong compared to other mechanisms, everything will end up equally bland and uninteresting. Also, saying "Steath need to be nerfed" just takes 5 words rather than having to type a lengthy post that many people won't read anyway because it's too long :roll:
Improving stealth however would certainly require more work from Pavonis as it would certainly require new code and i don't know how much more work they want to invest in LW2 now besides simple balancing. I guess they are OK to add new content seeing new missions are already planned.
Maybe a new topic to specifically discuss ways to improve stealth would make sense but i'll let you start it, you're likely to draw more attention than myself ;)
Some mods exist that already add new stealth mechanics or improve wonky ones.
  • There is a mod that changes concealment so you are no longer revealed for taking a look around a corner or from concealment on a roof. It makes stealth movement much more logical (you shouldn't "stealth" in the middle of the road to avoid accidental detection) but it suffers from the fact that it's impossible for the author to change the red indicators without touching the core and making his mod highlander. This wouldn't be an issue if that feature was integrated into LW2. I know the devs don't want to integrate many mods but this one is a perfect example of a a mod that would benefit from the integration as much as LW2 would benefit from the mod. With LW2 changes ported to the Community Highlander the author could then use this mod as a base for his non-LW2 version.
  • Musashi created a number of fun, if a bit broken, covert ops mods giving you options such as Silent Kills (you don't break concealment for taking down one guy with knife/blades/silencer depending on the mod). The mechanism is a bit OP in his mods and the Katana pack is just completely crazy with the Vortex Ninjato but the idea is interesting if balanced correctly. If in addition you could carry the bodies to drop them where they won't alert other patrols and yellow status aliens were more active in searching for concealed soldiers (possibly moving faster) this could make stealth much more interesting than the current move-hack-evac.
chrisb wrote: I think the creation of a couple of new mission types would really help. Cap them at 5 like the network tower and cater them to 5 man teams. It looks like the upcoming Smash n Grab fits this niche
Yeah, i think we should wait and see how Smash'n grab changes the campaigns before hitting small squads with the nerf hammer, especially in ways that don't really feel intuitive like increasing the infiltration.
Some of the existing missions could be tweaked as well to push for larger squads. Imagine you get a jailbreak for 3 rebels. You get to the cell, hack the door open, and find 1 of them is badly wounded and the other 2 are unconscious. The only way to get them all out would be to heal the ones that are wounded and carry the ones that are unconscious.

Very interesting idea. As have been said numerous times, the risk/reward doesn't scale with increased squad size in stealth missions which is why people do them with 3 guys, or even 1-2 when they go "screw the XP". Scaling the reward with more soldiers would definitely help change the balance from 2-3 guys to 4-6 squads.
As JoINrbs explained on reddit making it obvious to the player that they actually missed some rewards (such as the loot) in the post-mission report would also help people understand that pure stealth is an option and not the optimal play.
Imagine if the relay was something like (20+2*FL), possibly giving it (FL/5 armor). In end-game you'd have a relay with 60HP and 4 armor to take down. For something you can't crit, that's alot of damage to have to deal! It would certainly keep the mission relevant for 5 and even 6 man squads to have to deal with.
A bit on the high end of the spectrum but i think both alien and rebel relays should scale in HP as the game progresses.
I'm also a big supporter of having more options in the AWC along these lines. It's really nice to pickup things like Covert/Phantom/Ghostwalker on the odd soldier. It helps them be a lot more viable in small squads and less of a liability. Maybe the offense side of the AWC could have perks that reduce infil times, or add a turn to the mission timer? Would be some nice flavor and would differentiate your small-squad capable soldiers from the more 'go loud and bang it out' bigger squad members. I guess there is Tradecraft, but I don't remember ever getting it on anyone.
But that would definitely require revealing the AWC perks unless all of those are T1 perks. Tradecraft does show and is not even uncommon but it's a T3 perk so if you don't reveal the AWC perks, you probably don't even know it's there because it's hidden behind perks you don't want to take! I won't derail the discussion here to repeat what i have said in another thread further but if you want to make choices, you need to know what options you have.
Conceal is nice for certain missions, but I feel like those missions shouldn't be so easily cheesable with Conceal anyway. A good example is the blacksite. There's a whole mechanic built-in that lets you reduce infil time by 90% if you liberate it, but thats a ton of work when you can basically skip it with Oscar Mike/Command/Ghostwalker/Conceal/Grapple Hook. These missions should be the most epic missions of a campaign, and they're completely bypassable right now... Imagine if grabbing the Vial stunned the soldier grabbing it for a turn! You'd need the fire support just to keep them safe until they could get to the choppa.
You shouldn't be able to use Conceal if you are carrying an objective item or if you have thrown the evac flare. That change would go a long way towards removing all the cheese from Conceal without using the nerf hammer to move it to MSgt and hurt "legit" uses of conceal (to resume scouting after you had to help in a tough fight).
On the liberation boost : well, it takes so much time to liberate a region that you are probably faster doing the blacksite(forge/gate) mission directly most of the time (even with a big squad). Maybe it should require Lib1 or 2 and have an even longer base infiltration, this way you have already started the chain and finishing it could actually really help you infiltrate faster.
And yeah, removing the cheese.
I would add to this that running out of time on a forced evac mission should cause this automatically. And once it does, a mission immediately spawns in that region with a high detection chance. Maybe there is some chance that soldiers are killed/bleeding out/unconcious/wounded when the mission spawns do to 'interrogation'. This would mix well with the jailbreak idea above.
I think running out of time already causes capture of your squad but the issue is that if LW2 still uses the vanilla "liberation", the mission might appear any point from now to far in the future but in LW2 you have to actually detect it with a decent timer so yeah, making it auto spawn and easy to detect would definitely help. It doesn't make sense ADVENT keeps those guys alive for months anyway.
Also in such a "liberate your troops" mission there should be crates like Smash 'n grab with the soldiers equipment (if it wasn't just basic items) so with enough guys on the mission you could also recover the items you lost.
But don't fail that one or your guys are lost for good!
It's very easy to simply turn to the nerf bat as a solution. While sometimes the nerf bat is the right solution, mostly it just removes content from the game and makes it overall less enjoyable.
Apart from calling it the "nerf hammer", i'm 200% with you on this ;)

RantingRodent
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by RantingRodent » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:47 pm

Too many great ideas to respond to all of them right now, but I'll speak on a couple of them, at least.
JoINrbs wrote:On Rookies/Squaddies being effectively free, if you're finding that you're able to translate an effectively free resource into more valuable things maybe the simplest solution is just to make that resource not free anymore? It doesn't really make any sense for XCOM to be adding Rookies at a point in the campaign where only SGTs+ are viable on combat missions anyway, so why not stop providing the player with Rookies at some point and start only providing Squaddies or better but having them be more expensive? And then a couple of months later the player can only get CPLs or better and they're twice as expensive as the Squaddies were, and so on.
I really like this idea, and it helps address a couple of other exploits like the suicide rookie approach to workstation hacks. It does mean that you may have trouble filling roster gaps late game, but that may even be a good side effect; creating a strategic pressure to have good roster redundancy before the rookie pool dries up.
JoINrbs wrote:Stealth-oriented perks for all classes available by LCPL. "Ghillie Suits" for Rangers that give phantom, -20% detection, and infiltration speed, take away 1-action shot from Snapshot and make it give +3 mobility, -20% detection and infiltration speed, etc.
I think stealth gear makes a lot more sense than dedicated stealth perks in all of the other class trees, and would allow perks to be removed from the Shinobi tree without actually taking away access to those abilities. For example, Attaching Covert to a piece of gear that anyone can wear would make a lot of sense. Actually, putting Covert on armour would have the excellent side effect of forcing you to choose between being able to Grapple and having reduced detection radius.

Giving Shinobis more perks that help on stealth missions in ways other than simply reducing detection radius is probably the right route to take to make missions more interesting, like improved sight radius or a perk that actually makes distractions viable without having Conceal. Maybe a perk that allows you to throw a grenade without breaking concealment?
JoINrbs wrote:Get rid of civilians busting stealth. Just let them be yellow-alert screamers after you've broken stealth, that's fine.
Or allow them to be yellow alert screamers at any time. Having enemies go on yellow alert while you're concealed is a reasonable punishment that won't necessarily tank the mission, but will put a lot more pressure on you if you want to stay concealed.
chrisb wrote:The one thing I don't like about what OP suggested was making smaller squads cost more infiltration time. This just feels wrong and not intuitive. I think addressing this from the point of view of rewards is a more engaging and less confusing way to go about it.
Think of it this way: Narratively, the infiltration phase involves a lot of preparation; recon, intelligence gathering, coordination with the local haven to get you into the right place at the right time for the mission. With large squads, this takes a long time due to the extra care required to keep a large number of soldiers hidden from Advent. With tiny squads the problem is that you don't have the manpower to get all of the necessary work done in a timely fashion.




Balancing the role of Shinobis in stealth operations is kind of a separate conversation, in my mind. I think that properly balancing the effort required to take on stealth missions in the first place should already do a lot; people complain about burning out on them because they do so many. They are a lot less likely to burn out on stealth missions, and the strategic impact of easy stealth is limited, if there's something in play that throttles your ability to take on a billion easy stealth mission just by training enough LCPL Shinobis.

I think having the infiltration time "Sweet spot" sitting at 4-5 soldiers combined with the pool of cheap rookies drying up in favour of acquiring more expense soldiers with more ranks would accomplish this without any additional changes.

stefan3iii
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by stefan3iii » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:43 pm

Making stealth deep and compelling seems like you'd be building an entire side game within Xcom. I mean if Pavonis can pull it off, that'd be amazing, but I'm pretty skeptical that it's feasible. FYI, check out Invisible INC for an amazing tactical stealth game.

I'd be satisfied with just doing fewer stealth missions, right now in mid game the ratio is something like 3 stealth missions for every real mission.

Solutions:
1) Make gear more available. I'd straight up just lower the cost of gear. Or, make it cheaper the more of them you build. So the first 2 laser cannons I build are the same price they are now, but if I build a 5th one the cost is negligable. Flavor wise, think of it as an economy of scale. This would allow me to actually equip many combat squads.

2) Make higher level solders more available, and make them more expensive. This is JolNrbs interesting idea from above.

3) Rebalance infiltration timers and evac flare times to favor medium sized squads.

4) Make objective hacks take 2 actions and end your turn. Make officer abilities break stealth. Remove Hack Workstation mission from the game, it's the same as Recover Data except that you can't suicide cheese Recover Data. Make Dark VIP misisons fail on assassinate, you have to actually knock him out now and evac to win. Give Data Relay Destruction more HP, but increase the timer for the mission to compensate.

5) Make XP scale with number of soldiers you bring, beyond 3, to encourage larger squads. So a team of 6 might get 1.7x the amount of total XP a team of 3 would for finishing a mission, not including kills.

6) Make 9 and 10 sized squads not have such ridiculous infiltration times, so that it's actually a reasonable decision to do this sometimes.

7) Provide a new Officer ability like "Mentor", that lets you take 1 low rank soldier on a mission for free without infiltration time cost. This would allow you to train up more soldiers, and viably get a C and D team. Lots of options on how to balance it, maybe only kicks in for 3 ranks below the officer rank, maybe it's not free infiltration but a really big discount. I would make this a default ability of all officers.

8) Make reinforcement timers less punishing, especially the 8 turn cavalry timer. The reinforcement timers heavily encourage stealthing to the objective even on missions where you brought a combat squad.

9) Remove GTS ability to tain rookies into a specific class. Instead, make it so that you staff an officer in it, who then passively trains XPs on soldiers.

10) Allow me to bring Haven Advisers on retaliation missions. Technically you can already do this, it just requires a ridiculous amount of clicking and micromanagment.


The general theme of my suggestions is to make it easier to train lower rank soldiers, make equipment available to more teams, and to make stealth and suicide cheese less attractive.

JulianSkies
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by JulianSkies » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:49 pm

I think having the infiltration time "Sweet spot" sitting at 4-5 soldiers combined with the pool of cheap rookies drying up in favour of acquiring more expense soldiers with more ranks would accomplish this without any additional changes.
I'm more of a mind with joinrbs here, I think it'd fit better of the sweet spot for infiltration varied by mission type, this way you could enforce some stealth (hack objective, retrieve item), some small ops (dark vip, escort, prison break) and some large (destroy relay)

fowlJ
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by fowlJ » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:12 pm

stefan3iii wrote: 4) Make objective hacks take 2 actions and end your turn. Make officer abilities break stealth. Remove Hack Workstation mission from the game, it's the same as Recover Data except that you can't suicide cheese Recover Data. Make Dark VIP misisons fail on assassinate, you have to actually knock him out now and evac to win. Give Data Relay Destruction more HP, but increase the timer for the mission to compensate.
I disagree with removing Hack Workstation, and strongly disagree with removing the partial reward for killing a Dark VIP. The capture/kill mechanic is precisely the sort of hybrid strategy-tactical decision I think should be more prevalent in the game overall, and if the choice between the full capture reward and the partial kill reward isn't meaningful enough it should be adjusted, instead of just scrapping the mechanic.

Kind of similarly, if Hack Workstation and Recover Data are too much like each other, I would rather they be made different rather than just getting rid of one of them.

One idea, though I don't know how technically feasible this would be, is that the workstation hack has a slightly lower hack difficulty, but if you don't succeed, you don't get the objective, and need to try again. Suicide rookies are discouraged (it will take them likely several turns to get the hack, during which enemies will probably discover them) while actual hackers can still do it fairly consistently, but still with some risk if they don't have a team to watch their back.

Alketi
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by Alketi » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:41 pm

joinrbs, did you keep track of the number of small squad stealth missions you did in your last 1.2 campaign and your success rate? I thought I remembered you saying somewhere that you failed quite a few. Do you know your overall success percentage?

How hard do you want it to be for an expert player? What's the design goal for stealth success? 50%? 75%? 90%?

Keeping in mind that the success rate for non-stealth missions, at least below Legendary, is between 95-100% for a successful campaign.

So, if you say the stealth success rate is supposed to be between 50-75%, then wouldn't a careful player avoid them except as a last resort? That's how I personally view stealth missions - a last resort. I only revert to them when dealing with an impossible mission timer. I'd much rather take a squad and fight. There's less risk of failure/death.

So, are we trying to make stealth harder, rarer, more fun, or all three? I think they're somewhat mutually exclusive.

I prefer to influence behavior through incentives rather than punishments. So I agree with most of stefan's ideas except #4, which I think would trigger a number of unintended consequences.

Here are a few tweaks (also mentioned by others) to address harder/rarer stealth and incentivize more mid-size missions:

1. Scale XP with group size.
2. Lower the price of Vulture. (More loot drops, more incentive to fight. Right now this is unaffordable until mid/late game.)
3. Make infiltration/mission discovery a bit easier.
4. Make a 3rd soldier available at the Black Market each month and/or increase the cost/skill level of rookies as the campaign progresses. Both would likely have good benefits and also discourage suicide runs.

These would make suicide-runs more punitive, stealth missions less beneficial in experience, and incentivize more mid-size missions in XP, loot, and infiltration. It would also address the "useless July rookie" syndrome, similar to how you had originally suggested.

stefan3iii
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by stefan3iii » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Alketi wrote: How hard do you want it to be for an expert player? What's the design goal for stealth success? 50%? 75%? 90%?
I wrote this guide on stealth, https://www.reddit.com/r/Xcom/comments/ ... lth_guide/, I would guess that success chance is definitely over 75%, probably close to 90% for Evac Flare <= 2 turns.

LordYanaek
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by LordYanaek » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:37 pm

stefan3iii wrote:Making stealth deep and compelling seems like you'd be building an entire side game within Xcom. I mean if Pavonis can pull it off, that'd be amazing, but I'm pretty skeptical that it's feasible. FYI, check out Invisible INC for an amazing tactical stealth game.
Well, not to that level but making stealth more interesting is definitely possible.
4) Make objective hacks take 2 actions and end your turn. Make officer abilities break stealth. Remove Hack Workstation mission from the game, it's the same as Recover Data except that you can't suicide cheese Recover Data. Make Dark VIP misisons fail on assassinate, you have to actually knock him out now and evac to win. Give Data Relay Destruction more HP, but increase the timer for the mission to compensate.
I prefer fowlJ's idea for hacking that if you fail you must start over next turn. This would make a dedicated hacker of high enough level important and you couldn't just run with a suicide rookie. I strongly disagree on removing the partial reward for killing the VIP but it should be clear for the player that they loose something by doing this. There is a general issue with the UI not conveying efficiently the rewards received.
5) Make XP scale with number of soldiers you bring, beyond 3, to encourage larger squads. So a team of 6 might get 1.7x the amount of total XP a team of 3 would for finishing a mission, not including kills.
How about mission XP is much lower but every soldier receives it. Then kill XP is divided among all soldiers (so support soldiers level as fast as killers).
6) Make 9 and 10 sized squads not have such ridiculous infiltration times, so that it's actually a reasonable decision to do this sometimes.
9-10 men squads should be reserved for specific missions and "sledgehammer approach" to low infiltration missions so having high timers is perfectly valid on most missions. It's an issue on Blacksite/Forge because they can be sneaked rather easily and quickly.
7) Provide a new Officer ability like "Mentor", that lets you take 1 low rank soldier on a mission for free without infiltration time cost. This would allow you to train up more soldiers, and viably get a C and D team. Lots of options on how to balance it, maybe only kicks in for 3 ranks below the officer rank, maybe it's not free infiltration but a really big discount. I would make this a default ability of all officers.
I like this.
8) Make reinforcement timers less punishing, especially the 8 turn cavalry timer. The reinforcement timers heavily encourage stealthing to the objective even on missions where you brought a combat squad.
8 turns is after you complete the objective. You have 20 turns after you break concealment otherwise. 8 turns after the mission is over is a long time to stick in the area to farm reinforcements XP
9) Remove GTS ability to tain rookies into a specific class. Instead, make it so that you staff an officer in it, who then passively trains XPs on soldiers.
Don't like this at all. Being able to choose the class of my soldiers is important past the initial 2 of each from gatecrasher and early rookie missions
10) Allow me to bring Haven Advisers on retaliation missions. Technically you can already do this, it just requires a ridiculous amount of clicking and micromanagment.
What? They automatically join the retaliation :?
Alketi wrote:joinrbs, did you keep track of the number of small squad stealth missions you did in your last 1.2 campaign and your success rate? I thought I remembered you saying somewhere that you failed quite a few. Do you know your overall success percentage?
Yes he did.
Looks like he ran 62 stealth (1-3 guys) missions. 17 failures which is slightly more than 27% so his success rate was about 73%. 6 of those failed missions resulted in squadwipes (but "squads" were 1 or 2 guys). Note that he lost 19 soldiers in those missions including some "squadwipes" on successful missions (suicide i guess).

EDIT: It's actually 61 missions/16 failures as there was a rendezvous in the mix. Out of those 16 failures, 6 were Extract VIP, probably the hardest to stealth as the VIP is revealed and must cross the entire map. For comparison there were only 3 Extract VIP in the 45 successful stealth missions.
If i remove those Extract VIP it's 10 failures out of 51 missions for approximately 80% success.

But don't forget we are talking about a top player.

Thrombozyt
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by Thrombozyt » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:02 pm

Soldier time is a major strategic resource and currently small squads double dip, because not only do stealth missions occupy less soldiers, it also occupies them for less time. Those two advantages compound.

On top of that, you have - dependent on the amount of intel gathered by the haven - a variably percentage of missions that can only be done through stealth due to low time left when detected. Not only does that further jack up the amount of stealth missions but also degrades haven management into 'all-or-nothing' on intel. So I would rather have squad size only be a minor impact on the infiltration time, but the amount of gathered intel to modify base time.

I already summed that up in a post here:
http://www.pavonisinteractive.com/phpBB ... 15&t=25252

stefan3iii
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by stefan3iii » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:04 pm

LordYanaek wrote: 8 turns is after you complete the objective. You have 20 turns after you break concealment otherwise. 8 turns after the mission is over is a long time to stick in the area to farm reinforcements XP
Happened to me on a Dark VIP mission, I started really close to the Dark VIP, and ended up killing him on turn 2 and ran into cavalry later in the mission. I assumed it was always 8 turns after breaking stealth on guerilla ops. Regardless, you still want to break stealth as late as possible to avoid any reinforcements.
10) Allow me to bring Haven Advisers on retaliation missions. Technically you can already do this, it just requires a ridiculous amount of clicking and micromanagment.
What? They automatically join the retaliation :?
I mean any haven advisors, including from other Havens.

RantingRodent
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by RantingRodent » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:13 pm

Thrombozyt wrote:Soldier time is a major strategic resource and currently small squads double dip, because not only do stealth missions occupy less soldiers, it also occupies them for less time. Those two advantages compound.

On top of that, you have - dependent on the amount of intel gathered by the haven - a variably percentage of missions that can only be done through stealth due to low time left when detected. Not only does that further jack up the amount of stealth missions but also degrades haven management into 'all-or-nothing' on intel. So I would rather have squad size only be a minor impact on the infiltration time, but the amount of gathered intel to modify base time.

I already summed that up in a post here:
http://www.pavonisinteractive.com/phpBB ... 15&t=25252
Not making squad size a significant factor in infiltration time still allows you to take the lowest risk option every time, should you choose to; you can still choose to solo shinobi every mission which is most easily done with a solo shinobi.

What I'm suggesting still addresses the underlying issue of getting a large number of missions you can only solo/duo by making it impossible to run solo unless you discover a mission with a lot of time remaining. Missions discovered with very little time remaining can instead only be approached with 4-5 soldier teams, which would now have the lowest infiltration time of all squad sizes.

JulianSkies
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by JulianSkies » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:31 pm

stefan3iii wrote:
LordYanaek wrote: 8 turns is after you complete the objective. You have 20 turns after you break concealment otherwise. 8 turns after the mission is over is a long time to stick in the area to farm reinforcements XP
Happened to me on a Dark VIP mission, I started really close to the Dark VIP, and ended up killing him on turn 2 and ran into cavalry later in the mission. I assumed it was always 8 turns after breaking stealth on guerilla ops. Regardless, you still want to break stealth as late as possible to avoid any reinforcements.
Yep, the "Objective Completion" in this case is killing the VIP.

Thrombozyt
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by Thrombozyt » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:39 pm

RantingRodent wrote:Not making squad size a significant factor in infiltration time still allows you to take the lowest risk option every time, should you choose to; you can still choose to solo shinobi every mission which is most easily done with a solo shinobi.

What I'm suggesting still addresses the underlying issue of getting a large number of missions you can only solo/duo by making it impossible to run solo unless you discover a mission with a lot of time remaining. Missions discovered with very little time remaining can instead only be approached with 4-5 soldier teams, which would now have the lowest infiltration time of all squad sizes.
While it is still possible to solo shinobi the mission, there are several factors against that in my proposed alternative model:
1) A firing suqad is always an alternative possibility due to eliminating the short notice missions.
2) A firing squad gives more loot & XP at the cost of more soldiers missing from the baracks.
3) Its much harder to over-infiltrate, meaning your stealth teams will face more pods and better detection at longer EVAC times - thus solo teams run a higher risk.

My proposed alternative doesn't go for punishing the stealth approach but rather to alleviate the factors pressuring into stealth.

You could also make stealth harder by default and introduce new items to facilitate stealth on top of that so that if one goes sideways, equipment gets lost.

LordYanaek
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Re: Changing infiltration math to balance small squad ops

Post by LordYanaek » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:35 pm

I've said this multiple times but not in this thread so let's go once more : we don't need some heavy nerf on stealth, we need some incentive to try another approach. Currently we get most of the rewards whether we fight or not and what we don't get isn't obvious (how much loot and XP did we miss exactly?) so players don't see any reason to try anything but stealth whenever the mission isn't "kill them all"
If we do know we are actually missing a sizeable portion of the rewards by running stealth, we'll no longer want to run stealth all the time which is all that's required. Making stealth impossible wouldn't make the game better, it would just reduce options however stealth should really be that : an option and not the (perceived) optimal strategy for every mission.
This could be achieved by some simple re-balancing of rewards/costs (elerium cores could be a powerful and easy lever, acting like LW1 weapon fragments if the developers wanted) and some less simple UI modifications that clearly show us what we missed after a stealth mission.

Also, new mission types (don't forget Smash 'n grab is coming) will already add more missions for 5-6 man squads, it's not an issue if some missions are still done best with a stealth approach.

Improving stealth gameplay itself would be icing on the cake making stealth missions more interesting :)

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