Does Anyone Else Feel That Dice Rolls Completely Negate Strategy?

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#1 Posted by Hungry (166 posts) -

Hey guys, I have played maybe 3 hours of the new XCOM today and in the past two weeks I booted up DOS-BOX to replay the original to have it fresh in my mind and I feel like there are some big problems with this game. However, I do want to say that for the most part I enjoy the game a lot except for this one thing.

The cover system is the sole reason why I flip-flop on my affection for this game about every 20 seconds. If a solid wall and a phone booth are both considered full cover, how come I can still be hit through the cover? I feel like that if you are even remotely unlucky that any sense of strategy is thrown out the window because of this simple system. Your entire squad lies in wait behind full cover, and then when the aliens act two of your men get the business from incoming plasma because the aliens happen to get lucky. Even though the system is way less fleshed out and less obvious to the player, I feel like the cover system in the old X-COM is much more sensible and actually adds a sense of strategy to the game. This guy is behind this solid wall, until it gets destroyed or the aliens shoot mind bullets at you there is no way you are going to get killed. I understand that these principles of luck apply to the aliens too, but I don't really like having random chance so largely impacting the game in either sides' favor.

The old X-COM had a lot of random chance in it too (missing 3 quick shots with a Heavy Plasma on the incoming Chryssalid... ugh) but your decisions could mostly combat that problem and you could escape a lot of missions with soldiers unharmed until later in the game. You could very easily have cyberdiscs firing on your troops the second they set foot out of the Skyranger in the original, but it was at least manageable and I didn't feel like it was because of the RNG, but because of the enemy positioning or my lack of caution on my part. If I am Hunkered Down and in Full Cover and I still get blasted in the new XCOM what was I supposed to do?

So am I missing something or is this just something I am going to have to live with if I want to keep playing this game? It could be the equipment progression too I guess. In the original X-COM you could rush Plasma weaponry in like the first month or two and pretty much be on equal footing in combat, and the fact that you could purchase unmanned vehicles as scouts at the beginning as well. Any advice or confirmation that this is just something I am not going to like would help a lot, and thanks in advance.

PS: I also want to say that besides that problem, I really think the game is enjoyable. The atmosphere of the game is pretty good and how I would imagine a modern XCOM to be, and I think mechanically it is enough to be considered an XCOM game but is also far enough away to be considered a good game as a stand alone title. Of course except for the infuriating cover system :p. Also, I was kind of mad when I pretty much failed a mission because they changed the way Chryssalids looked, but it isn't like that didn't happen when they were first encountered in the original X-COM so I am kind of okay with that.

#2 Posted by Fredchuckdave (6003 posts) -

Firaxis isn't very good at tuning non-normal difficulty levels with the notable exception of Gettysburg. So you're pretty much signing up to get fucked on Deity in Civilization or Impossible in this.

#3 Posted by Fearbeard (834 posts) -

Well the strategy is for putting odds in your favor. Random dice rolls are just that, random. Sometimes they'll help you, sometimes they'll hurt you. But if you are playing intelligently you'll still have the edge.

As for problems with not being able to supply your troops with enough alien weaponry, just make sure you take some enemies alive whenever you have the chance. The research seems long, but you can have a pretty decent stockpile by the time it's researched and don't really need to spend the money manufacturing the items as you should have enough from the spoils of war.

#4 Edited by Tennmuerti (8172 posts) -

At the start of the campaign? - Yes. Absolutely. The randomness can screw you big time. Low HP pools, limited abilities, panicky soldiers.

As you progress further? - No. Better armor and dozens of soldier abilities can provide you with a sufficient buffer to deal with random fuckups, as well as tools to avoid said fuck ups in the first place. Not to say that the game gets easier, just more manageable and controllable, provided you play your cards right.

At 3 hours you are still in the very very early stages of the game.

Also don't put your entire squad behind the same cover, that's bad tactics. While we are at it, low cover should be considered a baseline state, not actual good protection.

As to what you're supposed to do when killed when in full cover and hukered down? Analyse why were you killed in a single turn, weak soldier with low HP? was it a flank? type of enemy? weapon used against you? could you have instead suppressed the enemy? or flushed him out of cover, or destroyed enemy cover? Rookies and low ranked dudes can get one shot if they are only wearing basic armor, regardless, so don't sweat it, new recruits are cheap.

#5 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

This is why I'm hesitant to play this game on Ironman mode, because I'm worried I'll get 20 hours in then there will be some kinda fuck up or bullshit or mistake and I'll have to start over. To be honest, the meta game, research, diplomancy, and tough choices, and randomization are what appeal to me in this game, and if I just play on non-ironman, it loses a lot of that effect, since you just play until you beat it. I want to know I can fail, but at the same time, as I said, the fact that failures might be because of bad luck can be a good thing (always on your toes) and a bad thing (awesome, I just lost 20 hours worth of time because I hit B instead of A or a 99% chance to hit missed)

#6 Posted by bonesquad (13 posts) -

As already hinted at, in any game with dice rolls (be it actual dice like Elder Sign or Summoner Wars, or implied rolls as in XCOM) the strategy is to mitigate the randomness of the dice. If I ever feel like I'm being overly screwed over by bad rolls, that always tells me I need to rethink my strategy:)

#7 Posted by Ping5000 (385 posts) -

I think it's the fairness of it that let's me not see this as a problem, since it applies to the aliens, too.

#8 Posted by Akeldama (4255 posts) -

This is a really strange argument. I am looking at this game as I look at FTL or other Roguelike-esque games. Whatever happens happens. This is war.

#9 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

@Ping5000 said:

I think it's the fairness of it that let's me not see this as a problem, since it applies to the aliens, too.

Yeah, I've had a few sniper shots go through cover in my favor, so it balances out (at least, so far). There's basically no way to completely protect yourself, which seems like a sensible design approach for the game. You try to minimize the chance of being hit, but you can never eliminate it. That keeps you on your toes, and forces you to assess the risk/reward of your positions. Honestly, it's usually safer in the long run to take some risk in order to get a better shot angle than it is to keep your soldiers hunkered down all the time. Of course, I'm only a few hours in so that advice should be taken with a grain of salt.

#10 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

I say it's fine, but then again I got this bad motherfucker on my side

There exists no being he cannot kill.

#11 Posted by StrikeALight (1114 posts) -

@Terramagi said:

I say it's fine, but then again I got this bad motherfucker on my side

There exists no being he cannot kill.

Also, +1 for being ginger.

#12 Posted by Anund (937 posts) -

It's not like a real life commander can expect the same results every time he gives a command.

#13 Posted by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -

YES.

I angrily posted this after I missed three 85% shots and lost dudes.

I want an _element_ of random chance but not too much. There needs to be an element because otherwise the game is just academic. If they have better numbers than you, you will not win. And since this is XCOM, they always give the enemy better numbers.

But too much and it's not strategy, it's just finding ways to prepare for bullshit. This is why my friends stopped playing Arkham Horror, that game is basically _pure random chance_, with all the numbers tweaked to fuck you. There's really no strategy to it beyond throw dudes at The Witch House and the Woods and hope you roll well. No preparation is enough to deal with even mediocre luck. That's just not fun, especially in a game that takes 6-8 hours to see through.

#14 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@StrikeALight said:

Also, +1 for being ginger.

That's an effect of the Psi powers.

#15 Posted by Forderz (248 posts) -

My biggest complaint is that sometimes flanking just doesn't work the way it should. When I send my heavy trooper around the front of a semi-trailer to pick off the sectoid along the side, why the hell does the sectoid remain in cover?

And panicing soliders really should remember that the dude RIGHT NEXT TO THEM is not an alien, and should not unload a shotgun into their soft flesh.

#16 Posted by JesterPC238 (345 posts) -

@Brodehouse: I think you need to re-evaluate your Arkham Horror strategy, I've been playing the game for years and would completely disagree, there's certainly a lot of luck, but as bonesquad said the point of the strategy is to try to give yourself better odds. I've played XCOM for around 5 hours and I've never felt cheated. Sure, I've lost a couple soldiers on some bad luck, but that's life, and that's war. Being able to maneuver tactically and knowing the capabilities of your troops and the enemy (which, in a stroke of genius, requires observational skills) will, in my experience, tip the odds in your favor.

#17 Posted by Veektarius (4984 posts) -

I think the real lesson here is, if you don't want to get fucked by bad luck, don't play on ironman mode.

#18 Edited by Hungry (166 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

At the start of the campaign? - Yes. Absolutely. The randomness can screw you big time. Low HP pools, limited abilities, panicky soldiers.

As you progress further? - No. Better armor and dozens of soldier abilities can provide you with a sufficient buffer to deal with random fuckups, as well as tools to avoid said fuck ups in the first place. Not to say that the game gets easier, just more manageable and controllable, provided you play your cards right.

At 3 hours you are still in the very very early stages of the game.

Also don't put your entire squad behind the same cover, that's bad tactics. While we are at it, low cover should be considered a baseline state, not actual good protection.

As to what you're supposed to do when killed when in full cover and hukered down? Analyse why were you killed in a single turn, weak soldier with low HP? was it a flank? type of enemy? weapon used against you? could you have instead suppressed the enemy? or flushed him out of cover, or destroyed enemy cover? Rookies and low ranked dudes can get one shot if they are only wearing basic armor, regardless, so don't sweat it, new recruits are cheap.

It seems like you've hit the nail on the head, it is because of how early I am in the game. The old X-COM you could pretty much move out of early-game technology if you knew the tech tree and could mitigate any of these same problems I am having. Now, I think that is pretty bad design so I am pretty happy that it is not in this new game, so I will just have to tow this shitty line until my gear gets better.

Also, my troops aren't all behind one piece of cover, I just try and keep behind full cover as much as possible. It is just annoying when I am moving cautiously and then I discover a group of Mutons or whatever, they get to move behind cover for free(another infuriating thing about this game) and then when their turn starts they kill two dudes because they got lucky.

I forgot to mention as well that I am playing on Classic Ironman. I thought about doing Impossible but I didn't know how much different this would be from the old X-COM to warrant that.

@haggis said:

@Ping5000 said:

I think it's the fairness of it that let's me not see this as a problem, since it applies to the aliens, too.

Yeah, I've had a few sniper shots go through cover in my favor, so it balances out (at least, so far). There's basically no way to completely protect yourself, which seems like a sensible design approach for the game. You try to minimize the chance of being hit, but you can never eliminate it. That keeps you on your toes, and forces you to assess the risk/reward of your positions. Honestly, it's usually safer in the long run to take some risk in order to get a better shot angle than it is to keep your soldiers hunkered down all the time. Of course, I'm only a few hours in so that advice should be taken with a grain of salt.

I can kind of understand this sentiment, but the thing is I really don't want random chance ruling over the outcome of the game like that. From what most people are saying the random chance seems to mostly be due to how early I am in the game and I just don't have the gear yet to mitigate it (just like in the old X-COM, except in that one you could rush the tech really early). I like games where both sides are on equal footing when it comes to mechanics and capabilities, but I think how much things can swing with random chance is not good design. If I made a huge mistake and my dudes deserve to get killed and I get lucky by killing two dudes with two 20% chance to hit critical shots, that is not good to me. Sure it is advantageous to me, but I did not deserve to have that happen. If it is of any help to understand my thoughts on turn-based strategy games, I think Frozen Synapse is one of the most brilliant strategy games ever made.

Anyways, thanks a lot everyone for your responses. I will keep at it for a bit more and see how things turn out.

#19 Posted by bushpusherr (829 posts) -

Dice rolls don't negate strategy, they negate certainty.

85% is not 100%. The game would be broken if you never missed an 85% shot. And as for cover, the angle at which you are being shot at is important, as well as elevation. I've had a few spots of bad luck, sure, but overall the game has been completely fair. I'm about 15 hours in and I've only lost about 2-3 guys. That's not "preparing for bullshit", it's just playing the odds.

#20 Posted by prestonhedges (1965 posts) -

Maybe you should've started on normal instead of going straight to the man's difficulty.

#21 Posted by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -
@JesterPC238 I think I said that, it's about managing unfair odds, which I like games to have a little bit of random chance but AH takes it too far. Me and my friends have largely switched to Pandemic because a) FASTER, OH MY GOD and b) the doom tracker and catastrophes and so on might be random, but at least you can rely on your own abilities and actions. AH it's a random chance what stuff you'll have, and its a random chance what encounter you'll have, and a random chance what you'll have to fight, random chance if you'll do damage, if it will, random chance what'll happen every single turn, with every single person. I've seen the absolute best possible preparation turn bad and no prep at all somehow win.

The Elder Sign version is even worse about it..! But at least it doesn't take an entire day to play.
#22 Edited by Hungry (166 posts) -

@gladspooky said:

Maybe you should've started on normal instead of going straight to the man's difficulty.

I am not crying about it being too hard, I am crying (kind of, rereading the OP I feel like I come on that way but I don't mean to) that it seems like in the early game your strategy barely matters. Trust me, I love challenging games, but what I don't like is random chance mostly deciding what is going on. So either I am missing something huge about how you are supposed to play this game, or this is just how the early game plays out.

@bushpusherr said:

Dice rolls don't negate strategy, they negate certainty.

85% is not 100%. The game would be broken if you never missed an 85% shot. And as for cover, the angle at which you are being shot at is important, as well as elevation. I've had a few spots of bad luck, sure, but overall the game has been completely fair. I'm about 15 hours in and I've only lost about 2-3 guys. That's not "preparing for bullshit", it's just playing the odds.

Either I am missing something, or I am the king of bad luck. I've missed several 80+% shots and been hit from max fog distance and instantly killed behind full cover several times, and I am only 3 hours in. Sure they do have Plasma weapons so their accuracy (if this is like the old X-COM) should be pretty good, but if I can't sit max range and hit and they can sit max range and hit, then what do I do? I just don't really see the strategic options because there are not a lot you can do.

@rebgav said:

If you're within the effective range of the enemy then you aren't safe, regardless of factors like cover or abilities. Ideally, you want to draw the enemy to you so that they have to move into range before they can attack - all of your guys on Overwatch then get a crack at the enemy before they get to fire on you... The random variables create a level of unpredictability in every encounter, you counter that by trying to make good decisions which set your strike team up for success and mitigate as much of the risk as possible. That isn't a design flaw, that is the essence of the game.

So if you put troops on Overwatch do they get to take potshots at the enemy when they get their free movement upon discovery? That might help a lot, but almost all of my Overwatch shots miss anyway. Also, I agree with strategy mitigating random chance, but I just find it really hard with the limited options you have (at least in the early game) to mitigate it enough to feel like that my strategy actually does any good job with that.

#23 Posted by prestonhedges (1965 posts) -

@Hungry said:

@gladspooky said:

Maybe you should've started on normal instead of going straight to the man's difficulty.

I am not crying about it being too hard, I am crying (kind of, rereading the OP I feel like I come on that way but I don't mean to) that it seems like in the early game your strategy barely matters. Trust me, I love challenging games, but what I don't like is random chance mostly deciding what is going on. So either I am missing something huge about how you are supposed to play this game, or this is just how the early game plays out.

Yeah, but it sounds like you want to play on normal. You hit, but there's some randomness. I lose like one guy a mission. Also, ignore the percentages. In every game where they show you the percentages, it never feels right. It always feels like you've got like a 40% chance, even if it says 99%.

#24 Posted by pyromagnestir (4337 posts) -

As a poker player and a fan of strategy rpg's and the like, I can say with some experience that dice rolls or random chance elicits one of two reactions, always.

When it plays out by the numbers in your favor, the reaction is "Yeah, that's how it's supposed to go."

When it plays out against the numbers to your detriment, the reaction is "Fuck you! God/this game/the universe is out to get me! They are all trying to fuck me over! Why does this always happen to me?"

Strategy still plays. Unless you want to play the save/load save/load game. Which, I've been guilty of.

#25 Edited by bushpusherr (829 posts) -

@Hungry said:

Either I am missing something, or I am the king of bad luck. I've missed several 80+% shots and been hit from max fog distance and instantly killed behind full cover several times, and I am only 3 hours in. Sure they do have Plasma weapons so their accuracy (if this is like the old X-COM) should be pretty good, but if I can't sit max range and hit and they can sit max range and hit, then what do I do? I just don't really see the strategic options because there are not a lot you can do.

Yeah in the early game your soldiers are pretty fragile because of their low health, I heavily utilized snipers so I could sit back more. Also, I usually find myself using Hunker Down instead of Overwatch in a lot of situations where high damage is a bigger risk.

@gladspooky said:

Yeah, but it sounds like you want to play on normal. You hit, but there's some randomness. I lose like one guy a mission. Also, ignore the percentages. In every game where they show you the percentages, it never feels right. It always feels like you've got like a 40% chance, even if it says 99%.

Lol, you must waste a lot of time and ammo shooting at guys that have an 18% success rate

#26 Posted by Tennmuerti (8172 posts) -

@Hungry: Yes overwatch can trigger on the free movement the enemy gets when they spot you.

#27 Posted by Hungry (166 posts) -

@bushpusherr said:

@Hungry said:

Either I am missing something, or I am the king of bad luck. I've missed several 80+% shots and been hit from max fog distance and instantly killed behind full cover several times, and I am only 3 hours in. Sure they do have Plasma weapons so their accuracy (if this is like the old X-COM) should be pretty good, but if I can't sit max range and hit and they can sit max range and hit, then what do I do? I just don't really see the strategic options because there are not a lot you can do.

Yeah in the early game your soldiers are pretty fragile because of their low health, I heavily utilized snipers so I could sit back more. Also, I usually find myself using Hunker Down instead of Overwatch in a lot of situations where high damage is a bigger risk.

Do you know if Snipers have some optimal minimum/maximum range? I am pretty sure they get less accurate when aliens are right in their face, but I have been like a full Sprint move away from an enemy in half-cover and had a 45% chance to hit wit ha SCOPE equipped on my sniper. So far because of the movement restrictions and that low chance to hit and the low damage until I get laser snipers I have found snipers to be pretty ineffectual.@gladspooky said:

@Hungry said:

@gladspooky said:

Maybe you should've started on normal instead of going straight to the man's difficulty.

I am not crying about it being too hard, I am crying (kind of, rereading the OP I feel like I come on that way but I don't mean to) that it seems like in the early game your strategy barely matters. Trust me, I love challenging games, but what I don't like is random chance mostly deciding what is going on. So either I am missing something huge about how you are supposed to play this game, or this is just how the early game plays out.

Yeah, but it sounds like you want to play on normal. You hit, but there's some randomness. I lose like one guy a mission. Also, ignore the percentages. In every game where they show you the percentages, it never feels right. It always feels like you've got like a 40% chance, even if it says 99%.

The thing is, difficulty shouldn't jack up the random chance, it should jack up the difficulty. The original X-COM was pretty hard and had random chance, but I never really felt like I got fucked over by random chance in that game nearly as much as I do in this one.

Again, thanks everyone for the responses.

#28 Edited by bushpusherr (829 posts) -

@Hungry said:

Do you know if Snipers have some optimal minimum/maximum range? I am pretty sure they get less accurate when aliens are right in their face, but I have been like a full Sprint move away from an enemy in half-cover and had a 45% chance to hit wit ha SCOPE equipped on my sniper. So far because of the movement restrictions and that low chance to hit and the low damage until I get laser snipers I have found snipers to be pretty ineffectual.@gladspooky said:

Leveling up snipers makes them much more effective. Pretty early on they have an option of shooting after movement, or having their range extended to shoot at enemies that are in the line of sight of your other squad mates. I'm not sure if the laser and plasma snipers upgrade accuracy at all, I think it's just more damage.

Also, utilizing your other classes specializations will help increase your aim (I think it's the heavy that has the skill that adds +10 aim to any squad mate shooting at an enemy that the heavy has shot at/suppressed). And play close attention to things that decrease aim(being suppressed, overwatch, etc)

#29 Edited by Tennmuerti (8172 posts) -

@Hungry:

Sniper rifles (not snipers themselves) have an optimum minimum range after which the accuracy degrades the closer the enemy is, don't know the exact range in squares atm, but you get a feel for it (like half a screen maybe). The reason I put emphasis on sniper rifles is because snipers can use pistols just fine at close range, in fact giving good pistols to snipers is a great tactic to mitigate this weakness, I have downed many an enemy with the laser/plasma pistols in the hands of a good sniper.

Don't worry random chance is not jacked up by difficulty, it's always exactly what it says before you shoot. A 100% shot will never miss, and taking a 25% shot is almost never a good idea.

#30 Posted by Hunkulese (2840 posts) -

I'm also playing on classic difficulty and once you get a Heavy with holo targeting and a sniper with a scope and the ability to use teammates sight things start dieing so quickly you don't need to worry about your strategy so much.

#31 Posted by bkbroiler (1640 posts) -

I will agree that the free movement the enemy gets when they spot you is bullshit. It sucks that you can never really sneak up on them, unless you can get them from behind or something.

I really liked how the turn-based squad mechanics worked in Shadow Watch. While I think XCOM is much better than that game, I wish a few of the things worked like that - you could play stealthy and set up mini ambushes if you played it right.

#32 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

If aliens invaded the only way we wold survive is by pure luck. So I think it's fair.

#33 Posted by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -

Well... if Firaxis is still Firaxis... Maybe XCOM Terror from the Deep will get rid of the free movement!

#34 Posted by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -

Actually now that I think about it, why bother to open up doors stealthily at all if they always know you're there as soon as you make contact?

#35 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@Hungry said:

Hey guys, I have played maybe 3 hours of the new XCOM today and in the past two weeks I booted up DOS-BOX to replay the original to have it fresh in my mind and I feel like there are some big problems with this game. However, I do want to say that for the most part I enjoy the game a lot except for this one thing.

The cover system is the sole reason why I flip-flop on my affection for this game about every 20 seconds. If a solid wall and a phone booth are both considered full cover, how come I can still be hit through the cover? I feel like that if you are even remotely unlucky that any sense of strategy is thrown out the window because of this simple system. Your entire squad lies in wait behind full cover, and then when the aliens act two of your men get the business from incoming plasma because the aliens happen to get lucky. Even though the system is way less fleshed out and less obvious to the player, I feel like the cover system in the old X-COM is much more sensible and actually adds a sense of strategy to the game. This guy is behind this solid wall, until it gets destroyed or the aliens shoot mind bullets at you there is no way you are going to get killed. I understand that these principles of luck apply to the aliens too, but I don't really like having random chance so largely impacting the game in either sides' favor.

The old X-COM had a lot of random chance in it too (missing 3 quick shots with a Heavy Plasma on the incoming Chryssalid... ugh) but your decisions could mostly combat that problem and you could escape a lot of missions with soldiers unharmed until later in the game. You could very easily have cyberdiscs firing on your troops the second they set foot out of the Skyranger in the original, but it was at least manageable and I didn't feel like it was because of the RNG, but because of the enemy positioning or my lack of caution on my part. If I am Hunkered Down and in Full Cover and I still get blasted in the new XCOM what was I supposed to do?

So am I missing something or is this just something I am going to have to live with if I want to keep playing this game? It could be the equipment progression too I guess. In the original X-COM you could rush Plasma weaponry in like the first month or two and pretty much be on equal footing in combat, and the fact that you could purchase unmanned vehicles as scouts at the beginning as well. Any advice or confirmation that this is just something I am not going to like would help a lot, and thanks in advance.

PS: I also want to say that besides that problem, I really think the game is enjoyable. The atmosphere of the game is pretty good and how I would imagine a modern XCOM to be, and I think mechanically it is enough to be considered an XCOM game but is also far enough away to be considered a good game as a stand alone title. Of course except for the infuriating cover system :p. Also, I was kind of mad when I pretty much failed a mission because they changed the way Chryssalids looked, but it isn't like that didn't happen when they were first encountered in the original X-COM so I am kind of okay with that.

Everything you have a problem with, I think is the greatest thing about the series.

I think it's completely unrealistic and unreasonable to ever have 100% certainty that something will or won't happen.

Strategy games that give you 100% assurances annoy the crap out of me.

#36 Posted by Brodehouse (10106 posts) -
@JazGalaxy Chess.
#37 Posted by Vashyron (213 posts) -

Know what I hate? The first Council mission you get is Bomb Disposal on Classic Ironman.

#38 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

@JazGalaxy Chess.

Wow. You blew me out of the water.

I stand corrected. I love chess.

However, if one goes into Xcom expecting it to play like Chess then they are in for an entirely upsetting experience and I understand their confusion. But, I guess, I played a lot more TBS games before I played my first Xcom and was not excpecting it to play like that.

#39 Edited by BoG (5192 posts) -

I didn't like this either, at first. However, I'm slowly learning how the cover system works. If you and an enemy are standing parallel to one another, and you are in perfect cover, the cover will be hit, but you won't. Any other scenario means that the shot may hit you rather than the cover. Your cover seems to increase of there are other things covering you to the side. If you're standing inside of a house, a shot won't hit you. If you are hiding behind a tree with perfect cover, and your enemy shoots you at an angle, it can still hit. Really, the more things there are in the way of an enemy's shot, even if you're not necessarily hiding directly behind those things, the better your cover. It makes sense. Here is an attempt to express this visually: In the first column, you are hiding behind perfect cover, but it only covers one tile in front. The alien is parallel to you, and far away. It won't hit. In the second we have the same cover scenario, but the alien is shooting at an angle. It may hit. In the third, you are standing behind partial cover, but it covers many tiles in front of you. The alien shoots at an angle. This third scenario with partial cover is better than the second scenario, though in that one you have full cover.

A................ ...............A......................................... A

O .....................O ......................................-----------------

S..................... S ..........................................S

The periods exist so that the image will work.

This is how I understand the system. If I'm wrong, please explain.

#40 Posted by Dezztroy (852 posts) -

I do miss bullets actually being real projectiles that could be stopped completely by terrain blocking them. That's probably my biggest complaint about this game compared to the original.

#41 Posted by jozzy (2042 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Hungry said:

If I am Hunkered Down and in Full Cover and I still get blasted in the new XCOM what was I supposed to do?

You were supposed to not be there. If you're within the effective range of the enemy then you aren't safe, regardless of factors like cover or abilities. Ideally, you want to draw the enemy to you so that they have to move into range before they can attack - all of your guys on Overwatch then get a crack at the enemy before they get to fire on you. Inevitably, you're going to have guys in bad positions occasionally because you were surprised or flanked by the opposition, how that plays out is going to depend on all of the choices you've made up to that point. You're just as likely to set up in an advantageous position and breeze through a mission in a few turns. The random variables create a level of unpredictability in every encounter, you counter that by trying to make good decisions which set your strike team up for success and mitigate as much of the risk as possible. That isn't a design flaw, that is the essence of the game.

Very well said, totally agree. I still curse like a sailor when I get a streak of bad luck, but this is what makes XCOM great. The tactical side is definitely there and very important, but at the end of the day what you remember are those epic saves where you are in big trouble and a couple of huge gambles pay off, or those situations where a pretty easy situation escalate into total misery.

Classic difficulty scares me though.

#42 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1859 posts) -

Dice rolls don't negate strategy, because there is no certainty to any action in life. If I'm coaching a basketball team, and my pointguard has an exceptional shot average of 90+%, I can't be surprised that he misses around 10% of the time.

I think something that's hard for people who are new to Firaxis games are the percentages. Most people really don't have a good grasp of how they work. Sid Meier has a great video explaining this somewhere, but I can't be arsed to Google it right now. Suffice it to say, people feel justified (or at least are rarely reactionary) when a low percentage shot hits, but cheated (very reactionary) when a high percentage shot misses.

#43 Posted by Fredchuckdave (6003 posts) -

This realism argument is absurd, does time stop and allow only one side of combatants fight in reality? "Life" isn't a game and there's no reason for them to overlap. The hardest turn based strategy game is Heroes V and it's not random at all; it's just a cold blooded murderer. That said randomness isn't necessarily an issue if it doesn't dictate complete and utter failure with no recourse; so only play Ironman on the harder difficulties if you're willing to fail over and over and over; again much like Deity in Civ and Swashbuckler in "Pirates!"

#44 Posted by kerse (2118 posts) -

I don't think the shields are the best indication honestly, I've been just looking around and picking cover like I was in a 3rd person shooter, just because its a filled in shield if theres someone at an angle they still have a chance to hit you.

#45 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

This realism argument is absurd, does time stop and allow only one side of combatants fight in reality? "Life" isn't a game and there's no reason for them to overlap. The hardest turn based strategy game is Heroes V and it's not random at all; it's just a cold blooded murderer. That said randomness isn't necessarily an issue if it doesn't dictate complete and utter failure with no recourse; so only play Ironman on the harder difficulties if you're willing to fail over and over and over; again much like Deity in Civ and Swashbuckler in "Pirates!"

what?

xcom is a strategy role playing game. using dice rolls to simulate reality is the whole point.

#46 Edited by Fredchuckdave (6003 posts) -

@JazGalaxy: Yep there's absolutely nothing more to strategy RPGs than dice rolls, you nailed it. Why did we ever evolve past Risk, the most realistic of all wargames?

#47 Posted by JasonR86 (9763 posts) -

Nope, you're the only one.

#48 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

@JazGalaxy: Yep there's absolutely nothing more to strategy RPGs than dice rolls, you nailed it. Why did we ever evolve past Risk, the most realistic of all wargames?

Videogame "evolution" is garbage.

Games dont' evolve. They're trendy.

No better proof of that is Xcom. Why hasn't there been an xcom game in a stinkin' millenia? Becuse moron journalists who had no idea what they were talking about claimed that Turn Based Strategy was dead, and that Real Time Strategy was the evolved form. And, yet, when Command and Conquer and Warcraft had their day, here we are back at the same formula that was popular 20 years ago getting 9's and 10's from reviewers.

Games don't evolve any more than pair of pants does. They just go in and out of style.

#49 Posted by Getz (3140 posts) -

I'm not too far in to the game, but I'm not really seeing the problem here. Strategy does not immediately go out of the window when you introduce random chance; if that were the case then every single battle fought in the world's history would not have been fought strategically. Part of the gameplay is planning for every contingency, so that if you do get fucked over by a few missed shots you can recover. There's so many ways to plan out your attack to make it more successful: that makes it a strategy game.

It seems to me that your complaint lies more with the game not being like the original XCOM, which being the case, is kinda childish don't you think? It's a Firaxis game; they made the game in their image and I can't imagine the end product being better if they had tried to step outside their wheelhouse.

#50 Posted by Hungry (166 posts) -

Hey guys, I thought I would just pop in and give an update. I managed to squeeze in five hours of play today on a new save (still Classic Ironman, because I hate myself) and made some significant progress, and I have to say that things have gotten better and here is how I see why that is for anyone who is curious or having the same problems I have:

a) Squad promotions are way more important than they were in the original X-COM. Your statistics seem to be raised more significantly in the new XCOM and it is easier to gain ranks. Having a handful of Sergeants seems to make everything a little more balanced out numbers-wise because you don't have all the amazing tech to slap onto a half dozen rookies.

b) Managing who you send out on missions. In the original X-COM wounded soldiers recovered fairly quickly so you could usually keep a consistent crew going. While this is true in the new one as well when you have an important squad member wounded for 18 days it is important to know who to risk sending out on missions, even if the risk is only them being wounded. Easy missions like assaulting light scout UFOs are fine with maybe one higher-level squad mate and a group of Rookies or Squaddies, while saving your main crew for Terror missions and the like.

c) Suppression is king. Suppression is king. Suppression. Is. King. This goes hand-in-hand with managing who you take with you and leveling up soldiers early.

c) Tech. Focusing on getting the level 1 armor and laser weapons has made it so that I have only lost maybe 2 soldiers who were not throwaway Rookies through this entire new playthrough.

Some things to learn from:

a) Base-building: Trying to set up a huge array of satellites early seems to be a fool's errand. By the time you have enough money and engineers to support a large number of them a decent chunk of the council will have pulled out already (Classic is pretty harsh on the panic levels) unless you can somehow get either really lucky with the mission draws. Instead, getting the Officer training is incredibly important since it can upgrade your squad size to six and reduce wound healing time for fairly cheap by what you would expect.

b) Main objectives: Because I was trying to get the new tech so early I held off on doing any of the main objectives (I think it was like May before I even tried to capture an alien). Well apparently the story missions can easily lead you to getting some of that important tech research either for free or discounted, I couldn't tell because I had already researched the stuff it was giving me credit for.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but thanks again everyone for your help and responses. After a bit of a rough start and taking some time to figure this out, my initial thoughts on this game have proven to be true; it manages to make itself different from the original X-COM in mechanics but manages to still capture what made the original so great.

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