I wish XCOM had learned a thing or two from Gods and Kings

#1 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

While I think XCOM is pretty damned amazing, I have to say a few things have me a touch disappointed so far.

Most of this is the sort of stuff you see in early patches: animations catching, dudes not taking cover despite being told to on the odd occasion, etc.

A couple are a bit more substantial, the simple one being the way items are managed on your operators.

The big one for me though is the way the combat rolls are handled. It feels much like early Civ V where a lot of battles felt, no matter how much skill you used to position and maneuver your forces, mostly down to luck. It was a bit unsatisfying to have one turn go alright for you, and the next go incredibly well for the other side, and as a result a less skilled move ended in victory.

While I understand it can't exactly be entirely skill based, I really liked the way Gods and Kings changed the combat in Civ V to be a little more detailed. It didn't go as far as I think it could have, but it was a good step forward, in my opinion, over the luck/rock paper pikemen system the game originally used.

I feel that XCOM to an even greater extent, suffers from this black and white view of things. No matter how skillfully you move your guys, use your skills, etc, your hit chance is still a hit chance, and luck can make a brilliant strategy just flounder. The way this manifests itself is things like point blank 98% shots missing entirely, rather than simply being "less effective." It's sort of like if body shots in a first person shooter had a random chance to miss, rather than always doing some amount of damage, but the headshots, harder to pull off, allow you to be more effective.

I mean, sure, you can kind of get around the system, if you flank a unit you get a bit of a boost (but sometimes, it's not even that game changing, which is especially frustrating when you have a great vantage on an unfriendly unit and yet yoru hit chance is still 68% or whatever. Worse still is when you miss that shot, and then the next turn some alien has a brainfart and does something stupid but because he got a lucky roll, obliterates one of your guys completely.

Maybe I just don't quite jive with that "thing" XCOM has, but I feel like the game would be better if the combat had more grey areas. I am sure this'll change once I stop restarting shortly into the campaign, but every action feels so black and white in the game. either that dude is just wasted, or he's untouched. And more often than not, that has to do with luck as much as skill or strategy or tactics.

The solution I'd propose to this problem would be to replace the "hit chance" with an "attack power" which means you're more or less likely to score a solid hit on the target. You might think "well shouldn't any hit be a pretty good hit?" However, it's not hard to find examples of soldiers today almost shrugging off bullet wounds and getting back into the fray. Hell, I've seen a shot to the shoulder, something usually completely disabling, patched up and cleared for duty all while fire was being exchanged. It hurts like hell, it can't just be ignored, but in a combat scenario, there's a lot more than just "oh fuck that dude is DEAD" and there's a lot less "oh I randomly missed and it doesn't really matter how well I move my guy, it really only matters that I get as close as possible to him without happening to get shot."

I think the XCOM combat actually feels best when everyone is hitting the majority of their shots, even the bad guys, because I feel I have control over it all, I feel like if my guys win, it's because my tactics beat those of the enemy, not because my rolls were lucky.

How do you guys feel about the way XCOM handles dealing damage?

#2 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

Ive never had someone not take cover. As for the clipping and odd animation ive seen that a ton. As for the damage dealing. Ive seen some crazy low % shots pulled off and 95% miss. It does seem funky at times but I do not feel all shots hit. Early on it does seem I was hitting shot all the time but as the game went out my dudes where dodging shots and returning fire for lots of damage. 

#3 Posted by Hungry (166 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos

While I feel that in the early game (at least on Classic and above) luck does oftentimes factor way too much into outcomes, the second you get level 1 armor and weapons the game becomes more manageable, and then once you get even a single plasma weapon the game becomes a cakewalk on Classic. Right now I am playing on Classic with most of the Second Wave effects on and I feel like it mitigates the luck-beats-strategy problems the early game has a little more.

However, if you like a game where strategy is all that matters and everything is purely mind games and mathematics, Frozen Synapse is probably the king of strategy games. It is really, really good and fucking tense.

#4 Posted by prestonhedges (1961 posts) -

Isn't Civ V the game where they had to change the hit percentages because people didn't like missing a 75%?

#5 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@gladspooky said:

Isn't Civ V the game where they had to change the hit percentages because people didn't like missing a 75%?

Not exactly. They basically made it so instead of a XX% chance to hit between 3-4 out of 10, and a NN% chance to hit 7-8 out of 10, they made it more like 20-50 out of 100, so you'd be less likely to just totally with. It made the various systems a little more meaningful and helped curb the problem of much better troops being out-scored by simple units and getting blasted to pieces. It's not the simplest change to explain.

@The_Laughing_Man: The cover thing has only happened I think twice to me. Again, it was a little thing.

Kind of on the same subject, I feel like there could have been a middle ground for flanking, so you didn't have to be in a square actually behind their cover. Especially when you do things like shoot around a corner in such a way that puts you out completely behind their cover, etc.

#6 Posted by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

It feels awful to miss one of those 90% shots when your target stands in the tile right next to your guy, you'd expect that some rule was in place to make that a sure-fire hit. I have less problems with missing a 75-80% if there's some distance between the shooter and the target, though it can really hurt you to miss one of those as well.

#7 Posted by Gargantuan (1887 posts) -
@Funkydupe said:

It feels awful to miss one of those 90% shots when your target stands in the tile right next to your guy, you'd expect that some rule was in place to make that a sure-fire hit. I have less problems with missing a 75-80% if there's some distance between the shooter and the target, though it can really hurt you to miss one of those as well.

Why should a a point blank shot be 100% sure to hit? People don't stand still waiting for their turn to move. What you see in game is not how it would look if it was real.
Online
#8 Posted by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

Muton. Big. Close Combat Specialist. Shotgun. Point Blank. You try to plan, as this is a strategic game. I decided to send my soldier in. He took the shot. Missed. Died.

#9 Posted by ShaneCase (29 posts) -

So far so good for me , I usually find one of my units will hit even with low percent in individual missions. I guess I may be breaking the game a little since after
I find that sweet unit I do most of my killing with it and use the rest for items and sure shots

#10 Posted by Funkydupe (3321 posts) -

The Rapid Shot with a shotgun is my favorite move. If they both crit they can take down almost anything.

#11 Posted by Loafsmooch (365 posts) -

Play the full game and your opinion will probably change. Also, switch to normal if you're playing on classic. No point in complaining when you could just turn the difficulty down.

I'm having no problem with the percentages. And people either being at full health or dead is totally not true. Just research armor or something. Geez man.

#12 Posted by Hungry (166 posts) -

@Loafsmooch said:

Play the full game and your opinion will probably change. Also, switch to normal if you're playing on classic. No point in complaining when you could just turn the difficulty down.

I'm having no problem with the percentages. And people either being at full health or dead is totally not true. Just research armor or something. Geez man.

If someone feels like the random chance is the main factor in the difficulty of the game, I think turning down the difficulty is not the correct solution. When you play on harder difficulties (which from hearing what people say, Normal is boringly easy) you want more of a challenge. If you feel the RNG is overcoming any actual challenge the game would have without it, then it isn't a good challenge. This works both ways by the way, being too lucky and being too unlucky.

That said I completely agree with you. Get some better tech and play through the game a little longer and the RNG will not feel so bad.

#13 Posted by Akyho (1698 posts) -

So what I read is....this thread is not all that different from the 5 others threads on here and 1000s of other threads on the net, complaining about LUCK being a factor in the game. Pointing it out.

You do give a better overview and opinion than a lot of people. However it comes down to peoples willingness to deal with random chance. Alot of people seem to have a problem dealing with chance being a factor and calls bullshit when things are not given 100%. Complaining about 95% chances hits missing completely ignoring what a percentage is and thinking 95% is rounded up in some weird way.

On a resent Bombcast Brad said a very good thing about the Company of heroes 2 vs Starcraft 2 in being an Esport game.

*Rough quotes from here on*

When Patrick asked "Do you think this could be an Esports game?" Brad hummed and went "no, because Company of Heroes it too random. Starcraft players like to know that when they send this unit against this that its basically just maths. They all hit 100% of the time they all will do X amount of damage and it all just matters is the amount you bring to the fight."

*end rough quotes*

However to directly answer your main point is this.

That is extra options that were no implemented into the game people have found in the PC version. They have modded the game to use these options. Here are what they do.

  • Damage Roulette: Weapons have a much wider range of damage
  • New Economy: The funding offered by individual council members is randomized
  • Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats
  • Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, his or her stats increase randomly
  • (Bugged) Red Fog: Any wounds taken in combat will degrade a soldier’s stats for that mission
  • Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit
  • The Greater Good: The secret of psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien
  • (Bugged) Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete
  • Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases
  • High Stakes: The rewards granted for stopping alien abductions are randomized
  • Diminishing Returns: The cost of satellites increases per construction
  • The Blitz: Aliens target a larger set of cities during abduction attacks
  • More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare

Alot of those options sound like what you want.

However as I have said if 1000s of people are complaining about % as is. THEN WHAT WILL PEOPLE DO WHEN THEY HAVE DAMAGE ROULETTE ON!!!

They will lose their minds and break the cd in half.

I myself actualy kinda want Damage Roulette on. I want Not created equally on. or Hidden Potential.

However 90% of people cant handle a simple thing like chances and percentages when introduced to ONE aspect of the game. LET ALONE ALL OF IT!

#14 Posted by StarvingGamer (8559 posts) -

I don't think that would feel right. The larger numbers thing makes sense for a Civ game as the combat is much more abstracted. Little pieces on tiles are representing whole squads and companies. There's no need for an accuracy mechanic because when you're smashing tens or hundreds of soldiers into one another, there's going to be injury on both sides.

The combat in X-Com is much more personal since it's on a dude-by-dude basis. It just wouldn't feel right to see soldiers firing with 100% accuracy, taking 8-16 shots before they go down when in a high-cover situation. Look at the dramatic way the plasma sniper rifle extends it's barrel and the deadly finality of the sound it makes when it fires. Can you imagine a gun like that making contact with a Sectoid, then watching as it only takes off one point of health?

There's a severity, a real sense of risk in X-Com because guns are powerful and are represented as such. While switching to a Civ-like structure might help create a more balanced strategy game on a mechanical level, the game would also lose the oppressive feel of death and danger. And then it simply wouldn't be X-Com.

#15 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

I'm beginning to think that a lot of people don't quite understand what a 90% chance of hitting means. You've got to balance risk. I've taken a few--left a guy out of cover to flank, hoping that the hit percentage would be high enough to connect. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. Sometimes the choice has left a soldier to die. If it all boiled down to hard numbers, there'd never be any risk at all. You'd never take a chance because you'd know for sure if you're going to come out on top.

The idea of variable damage on actual hits--it just doesn't make sense to me in the context of this game. It's all or nothing, with a chance at a crit. All the calculation goes into whether the shot connects. Adding even more variability to that calculation would lead to more frustration rather than less. I can see it's value as an option, but not as a part of core gameplay.

#16 Posted by huser (1106 posts) -

@haggis said:

I'm beginning to think that a lot of people don't quite understand what a 90% chance of hitting means. You've got to balance risk. I've taken a few--left a guy out of cover to flank, hoping that the hit percentage would be high enough to connect. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. Sometimes the choice has left a soldier to die. If it all boiled down to hard numbers, there'd never be any risk at all. You'd never take a chance because you'd know for sure if you're going to come out on top.

The idea of variable damage on actual hits--it just doesn't make sense to me in the context of this game. It's all or nothing, with a chance at a crit. All the calculation goes into whether the shot connects. Adding even more variability to that calculation would lead to more frustration rather than less. I can see it's value as an option, but not as a part of core gameplay.

Weirdly enough I reject the notion put forth in the OP while also LOVING the Second Wave mod. Missing or not and how hard you hit should be affected by your planning and decision making, but ultimately it's a flash of the target in the sights and guesswork by your triggermen that decides the outcome, so I love the notion of a probability to both the hit chance and what damage you ultimately do. Especially if you take into account the Red Fog option (and I assume it applies to the aliens as well) where your stats go down due to damage. I can see the addition of more frustration, but I think the OP was suggesting the replacement of hit probability with variable damage which I can see as a less frustrating thing, especially if like the hypothetical FPS mentioned, the random damage is probably the difference between 3 or 4 rounds of automatic fire dropping your target (ie not really relevant).

#17 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -
I think we all learned something from Gods and Generals... oh, you said Kings.
#18 Posted by Brodehouse (10134 posts) -

I have to agree about the game becoming more fun when you can actually plan what you're going to do, and not have a series of random events completely hornswoggle you. A game of chess where you had to roll a dice to capture a piece is no longer a strategy game, it's gambling.

#19 Posted by Undeadpool (4998 posts) -

It's the old AD&D/Heroclix conundrum: all the strategy in the world doesn't mean shit-all when you're staring down a critical miss. There are definitely arguments to be made on both sides and I like the idea of all flanking shots being guaranteed crits because I think THAT is where the sweet spots lies: have certain shots that are guaranteed to hit. For instance: melee range shotguns should never miss (seeing as how the enemy melee attacks never miss, this seems like a fair trade). Or even the opposite of that: elevated snipers can't miss exposed targets UNLESS it's a reaction shot, then standard penalties apply.

#20 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@Akyho: Damn! I want those options on my 360. >:
 
@Brodehouse said:

I have to agree about the game becoming more fun when you can actually plan what you're going to do, and not have a series of random events completely hornswoggle you. A game of chess where you had to roll a dice to capture a piece is no longer a strategy game, it's gambling.

Arkham Horror is EXACTLY LIKE THAT, UGH. But i still think it's possible to have some strategy in XCOM, since you try to position your soldiers in the most favorable position, but it comes down to the tactics you employ depending on the dice rolls.
#21 Edited by The_Ruiner (1140 posts) -

Dice rolls are random. They were implemented into tabletop gaming as a means to simulate the fact that in life there are no 100% guarantees. In a gun fight, even the best snipers can miss do to the wind, sun glare, a distracting noise, the reflexes of the opponent, and a variety of other factors. So to simplify this, they use dice rolls to simulate a sense of chaos that is inherent to the real world. If your sniper misses a 95% shot, that just means you were unlucky friend. You fell within that 5%. It's the real world equivalent to getting a rare disease. Sucks for you... but I bet you don't complain when that Muton Elite whiffs that plasma rifle shot on your favorite support soldier.

Besides if you do away with dice rolls than you do away with the sense of drama and danger that comes with a small scale gunfight. The sense of luck and accomplishment when you get a massive crtit. In X-com you play a commander and no matter how good a commander is he can't plan for random chance. The real test of a commander is one that can adapt when things don't go the way they planned.

#22 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1903 posts) -

@The_Ruiner: Well, you beat me to the punch.

I always preferred comparing it to coaching basketball. No matter how good your point guard is, he is going to miss a few shots. Sometimes it's the same shot that he has an (unbelievably good) over 90% accuracy with. It happens. Tactics is planning around that. Put them in the optimal situation, then hope that the x-factors work out in your favor. That's life.

#23 Edited by Mesoian (1574 posts) -

@MordeaniisChaos said:

While I think XCOM is pretty damned amazing, I have to say a few things have me a touch disappointed so far.

Most of this is the sort of stuff you see in early patches: animations catching, dudes not taking cover despite being told to on the odd occasion, etc.

A couple are a bit more substantial, the simple one being the way items are managed on your operators.

The big one for me though is the way the combat rolls are handled. It feels much like early Civ V where a lot of battles felt, no matter how much skill you used to position and maneuver your forces, mostly down to luck. It was a bit unsatisfying to have one turn go alright for you, and the next go incredibly well for the other side, and as a result a less skilled move ended in victory.

While I understand it can't exactly be entirely skill based, I really liked the way Gods and Kings changed the combat in Civ V to be a little more detailed. It didn't go as far as I think it could have, but it was a good step forward, in my opinion, over the luck/rock paper pikemen system the game originally used.

I feel that XCOM to an even greater extent, suffers from this black and white view of things. No matter how skillfully you move your guys, use your skills, etc, your hit chance is still a hit chance, and luck can make a brilliant strategy just flounder. The way this manifests itself is things like point blank 98% shots missing entirely, rather than simply being "less effective." It's sort of like if body shots in a first person shooter had a random chance to miss, rather than always doing some amount of damage, but the headshots, harder to pull off, allow you to be more effective.

I mean, sure, you can kind of get around the system, if you flank a unit you get a bit of a boost (but sometimes, it's not even that game changing, which is especially frustrating when you have a great vantage on an unfriendly unit and yet yoru hit chance is still 68% or whatever. Worse still is when you miss that shot, and then the next turn some alien has a brainfart and does something stupid but because he got a lucky roll, obliterates one of your guys completely.

Maybe I just don't quite jive with that "thing" XCOM has, but I feel like the game would be better if the combat had more grey areas. I am sure this'll change once I stop restarting shortly into the campaign, but every action feels so black and white in the game. either that dude is just wasted, or he's untouched. And more often than not, that has to do with luck as much as skill or strategy or tactics.

The solution I'd propose to this problem would be to replace the "hit chance" with an "attack power" which means you're more or less likely to score a solid hit on the target. You might think "well shouldn't any hit be a pretty good hit?" However, it's not hard to find examples of soldiers today almost shrugging off bullet wounds and getting back into the fray. Hell, I've seen a shot to the shoulder, something usually completely disabling, patched up and cleared for duty all while fire was being exchanged. It hurts like hell, it can't just be ignored, but in a combat scenario, there's a lot more than just "oh fuck that dude is DEAD" and there's a lot less "oh I randomly missed and it doesn't really matter how well I move my guy, it really only matters that I get as close as possible to him without happening to get shot."

I think the XCOM combat actually feels best when everyone is hitting the majority of their shots, even the bad guys, because I feel I have control over it all, I feel like if my guys win, it's because my tactics beat those of the enemy, not because my rolls were lucky.

How do you guys feel about the way XCOM handles dealing damage?

I agree with you 100% and said as much in my review. You are totally correct. It's the big reason why, for me anyway, normal difficulty is the one that makes it feel like a video game opposed to a board game.

#24 Edited by ArbitraryWater (12127 posts) -

It really does emulate the original in the way you can totally screw yourself over with a few missed shots, though it's also a bit more forgiving in that your soldiers can take more than one hit and in the late game can take several hits before needing medical assistance. I'm not inherently against probability management as a form of strategy. I think that D&D, or at least the editions of D&D that I am familiar with, do it well enough.

EDIT: Also, let's be fair. Normal difficulty is pretty manageable. I feel like Classic and Impossible are way worse in this regard.

@MikeGosot said:

@Brodehouse said:

I have to agree about the game becoming more fun when you can actually plan what you're going to do, and not have a series of random events completely hornswoggle you. A game of chess where you had to roll a dice to capture a piece is no longer a strategy game, it's gambling.

Arkham Horror is EXACTLY LIKE THAT, UGH.

The number of times I have been screwed over by a bad dice roll in Arkham Horror have been numerous. I think that game is fun, especially with friends, but it is far too easy to be blindsided by a random event or monster that you simply haven't built your character towards and then get devoured in the eternal maw of Cthulhu or something.

#25 Posted by DystopiaX (5361 posts) -

@The_Laughing_Man said:

Ive never had someone not take cover. As for the clipping and odd animation ive seen that a ton. As for the damage dealing. Ive seen some crazy low % shots pulled off and 95% miss. It does seem funky at times but I do not feel all shots hit. Early on it does seem I was hitting shot all the time but as the game went out my dudes where dodging shots and returning fire for lots of damage.

The only time I don't have dudes take cover is my snipers at the beginning of the battle. With Squadvision if aliens get found the first turn they can usually pick off one or two, and since all my other dudes advanced they're basically safe. I only move them once they don't have any more squadvision shots in range.

#26 Edited by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -

Yeah it does seem weird that they left out all the pre-game variable switches that Civ5 had, such as New Random Seed on every load instead of when the level starts. Those are there to make the game play more to your liking. If you want total randomization, you should have the option. If you want increased hit rate but more randomization in damage, you should have the option. Since they clearly put some thought into that stuff, as evidenced by the screenshot, it'll probably be fully implemented in a later patch and was likely scrapped to make the release date in time.

#27 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -
@Gargantuan
@Funkydupe said:

It feels awful to miss one of those 90% shots when your target stands in the tile right next to your guy, you'd expect that some rule was in place to make that a sure-fire hit. I have less problems with missing a 75-80% if there's some distance between the shooter and the target, though it can really hurt you to miss one of those as well.

Why should a a point blank shot be 100% sure to hit? People don't stand still waiting for their turn to move. What you see in game is not how it would look if it was real.
Pretty much this. XCOM is, fundamentally, similar to a tabletop wargame like Warhammer 40,000.

I roll my dice to see if my squad of Space Marines hit that mob of Orks. I miss a couple of shots.

Now that doesn't represent my Space Marines standing there and their guns magically firing into the air; it represents the Orks dodging, ducking behind cover, returning fire and throwing off aim, etc.

XCOM is the same principle. While it is less abstract than most turn-based strategy games, that has the result of causing a greater disconnect between what you see (point-blank shotgun blast missing that crouching alien), versus what would have actually happened (shotgun gets fired, alien has moved, ducked, back flipped, crawled up the wall, etc, etc)
#28 Posted by WarlordPayne (706 posts) -

I much prefer the aiming reticle in Valkyria Chronicles to just being assigned a random hit percentage like in XCOM.

#29 Edited by Fredchuckdave (6161 posts) -

Front Mission had a lot of particle or multiple projectile weapons like a shotgun or a machine gun, each individual projectile was rolled on the % chance to hit and each one individually dealt damage; much smarter way of handling it than "Hit or Miss;" only very rarely felt screwed by luck. But its Firaxis they're not great at things like combat, and haven't been in over a decade.

In actuality its difficult to hit with every single bullet from a light machine gun, but it's also damned hard to miss with every single bullet. Similarly hitting with every pellet from most shotguns is unlikely but missing with every pellet from a shotgun is damned near impossible within a certain range.

#30 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

@huser said:

@haggis said:

I'm beginning to think that a lot of people don't quite understand what a 90% chance of hitting means. You've got to balance risk. I've taken a few--left a guy out of cover to flank, hoping that the hit percentage would be high enough to connect. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. Sometimes the choice has left a soldier to die. If it all boiled down to hard numbers, there'd never be any risk at all. You'd never take a chance because you'd know for sure if you're going to come out on top.

The idea of variable damage on actual hits--it just doesn't make sense to me in the context of this game. It's all or nothing, with a chance at a crit. All the calculation goes into whether the shot connects. Adding even more variability to that calculation would lead to more frustration rather than less. I can see it's value as an option, but not as a part of core gameplay.

Weirdly enough I reject the notion put forth in the OP while also LOVING the Second Wave mod. Missing or not and how hard you hit should be affected by your planning and decision making, but ultimately it's a flash of the target in the sights and guesswork by your triggermen that decides the outcome, so I love the notion of a probability to both the hit chance and what damage you ultimately do. Especially if you take into account the Red Fog option (and I assume it applies to the aliens as well) where your stats go down due to damage. I can see the addition of more frustration, but I think the OP was suggesting the replacement of hit probability with variable damage which I can see as a less frustrating thing, especially if like the hypothetical FPS mentioned, the random damage is probably the difference between 3 or 4 rounds of automatic fire dropping your target (ie not really relevant).

The game already has what you're asking for in some sense. There is a roll for a hit, and then there is a separate roll for a critical. This is the point I was kinda skirting around. The game already has variable damage. You get a miss (zero damage), a hit (regular damage), and the chance at a critical (enhanced damage). Now, those damage numbers don't change--it's basically one of three damage levels rather than true variability, but it's still variable. So I'm not sure I understand how much of a change having gradation between a hit and a critical would really make. Unless I'm missing something.

#31 Posted by KoolAid (1034 posts) -

In general, I enjoy games that use random dice rolls. To me, this doesn't mean there isn't strategy and it is all luck based, it means that you have to figure out what plan gives you the best odds of success. And what I like about dice rolls is that there is still drama and tension even with rock solid tactics. But a good strategy game that uses dice rolls will make it so the "better" player consistently wins, instead of it being just random all the time. And I believe xcom is wells designed, and doesn't suffer from a randomness problem.

I've been playing xcom a lot, and I haven't found the game to be very luck based at all. Sure, sometimes I get lucky were my guys survive being flanked. And sometimes they get crit-ed. But I've never felt like I've lost a guy that wasn't my fault in some way. Playing in classic mood right now, and I've found that is it almost impossible to take down an alien in cover without flanking (without great risk to my guys), so I've found success carefully moving my guys through cover to flank. If I just engage in a strait up fire fight, I might win... Or I might lose. That's just luck. But if I hunker down a guy who is "covering" and then get someone to flank, I will most likely win without losing a guy. That's strategy. Maybe you need to shake up the tactics, or maybe this game isn't for you. Keep in mind that one of the reasons xcom is awesome is that it is ok to lose! Lose a guy, its ok! Lose the game, start over! Keep playing this game and I know you will get better.

#32 Posted by Scrawnto (2467 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

Front Mission had a lot of particle or multiple projectile weapons like a shotgun or a machine gun, each individual projectile was rolled on the % chance to hit and each one individually dealt damage; much smarter way of handling it than "Hit or Miss;" only very rarely felt screwed by luck. But its Firaxis they're not great at things like combat, and haven't been in over a decade.

In actuality its difficult to hit with every single bullet from a light machine gun, but it's also damned hard to miss with every single bullet. Similarly hitting with every pellet from most shotguns is unlikely but missing with every pellet from a shotgun is damned near impossible within a certain range.

I think that's probably the most sensible solution I've heard. Obviously damage per bullet would have to be scaled, and hit points adjusted for greater granularity, but it would probably make things feel more "fair", even though it technically is fair already. It would also mean that sniper shots would still be all-or-nothing (one shot/one roll).

Frankly, I'm fine with it as it is, because I've taken probability classes, and I'm good at picturing the combat through the abstraction, but games are often about feeling, and the way it plays out is quite unintuitive in many respects to the average person.

#33 Posted by KoolAid (1034 posts) -

@Akyho said:

On a resent Bombcast Brad said a very good thing about the Company of heroes 2 vs Starcraft 2 in being an Esport game.

*Rough quotes from here on*

When Patrick asked "Do you think this could be an Esports game?" Brad hummed and went "no, because Company of Heroes it too random. Starcraft players like to know that when they send this unit against this that its basically just maths. They all hit 100% of the time they all will do X amount of damage and it all just matters is the amount you bring to the fight."

*end rough quotes*

This is a real good observation. Despite looking very similar, COH and SC2 are EXTREMELY different games. And they fit different audiences. This is a bit of a generalization, but most competitive esports players prefer skill to be the 100% deciding factor. Because there is a random chance of hitting your targets in COH, eports players will not like it as much. This is also why Smash Brothers Brawl can be disqualified as a competitive games for no other reason then your character trips and falls over randomly.

However, this does not mean that a game is not balanced. In Brawl, both players have an equal chance of tripping. In COH, executing an engagement correctly will reduce the random chance to a point where randomness is heavily reduced as a factor, while still preserving tension in the combat. Which also means the better player will win more often then not. So in the end, its a matter of personal taste.

In theory, lets say two e-sports players are complete equals, play perfectly, and their race/fighters are perfectly balanced.

In a game with no random chance, they should tie and/or play forever.

In a game with random chance, one will win, but that winner will be random.

As a player, which do you prefer?

As a different example, let's say there is a similar match-up. In this match up, lets say Player A plays perfectly but Player B makes one mistake.

In a game with no random chance, Player A will win.

In a game with random chance, Player A will likely win, but Player B has a chance.

Again, which do you prefer?

Me, I prefer a well designed game with random chance. As long as the player who plays "better" consistently wins, I feel the added tension is worth the occasional game lost due to randomness. Plus, I love seeing a weaker unit beat the odds and take down a stronger one! As it should be noted I am not an esports player.

#34 Posted by pyrodactyl (2360 posts) -

Odds and % in combat are manageable. If you get dealt a set of really bad cards on the base management part you're pretty much fucked. Playing on classic ironman anyway.

#35 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater said:

@MikeGosot said:

@Brodehouse said:

I have to agree about the game becoming more fun when you can actually plan what you're going to do, and not have a series of random events completely hornswoggle you. A game of chess where you had to roll a dice to capture a piece is no longer a strategy game, it's gambling.

Arkham Horror is EXACTLY LIKE THAT, UGH.

The number of times I have been screwed over by a bad dice roll in Arkham Horror have been numerous. I think that game is fun, especially with friends, but it is far too easy to be blindsided by a random event or monster that you simply haven't built your character towards and then get devoured in the eternal maw of Cthulhu or something.

With Arkham Horror, i feel like the game plays you, more than you play the game. I mean, godfuckingdammit, you feel hopeless and without any control of the situation. It is not a game i would recommend to everyone, but it can be pretty fun. I prefer Mansions Of Madness, tho...
#36 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@The_Ruiner: first of all, most well aimed shots will hit. If you know how to handle a weapon, you are trained to engage targets out to around 800M. If a Marine Eifleman is trained to hit targets at 300, M then a SEAL is going to kick complete ass at that range, let alone the close iarters of XCOM. Most of the chaos on a real firefight is the effect a round has on a target rather than the accuracy of that weapon. Plus, its a game. Its annoying to lose or win just because you got too lucky or unlucky. Occasional total wiffs are one thing, but the harder difficulties are silly

. Enemies always hit, you never fo. In reality, a well equippediped and trained force that executes superior Tactics will almost always come out on top. I don't mind randomness on the shots. I don't like the black and white nature of it, because I don't want to restart a mission I i got screwed, and I honestly don't want to just mow down the enemies because of lucky.

#37 Posted by Levio (1786 posts) -

LoL specifically removed dodge/miss chance from the game because it made the game too luck based and less fun. They kept crit though since people don't need crits to win, and you can totally play a non-crit character if you hate luck or you can load up on crit if you do.

WoW also used to rely on a +hit system which was awful since having >100% hit was a huge waste of stats, but having <100% was terrible, and it was near impossible to get exactly 100%.

I agree with you that reduced damage or increased damage (possibly with some randomness) is way better than a chance to miss.

#38 Posted by Akyho (1698 posts) -

@KoolAid: Your take one a perfect game of two equal skilled people with random chance part of the game and one player making a mistake sound like what?

Real life! That is why Id prefer the random element because it reflects true life stories of wars and actions.

All sorts of things happen in wars or battles. and I like that element in my game. How ever maybe people are too egotistical and if their skill isn't reflected 100% acfcuratly they take it as a slight against them and that the game must be bad.

Thats my fear of people. Or we have been used to 100% measures in games for 40 years now. Random chance is hard to take.

#39 Posted by MrKlorox (11209 posts) -
@Fredchuckdave said:

Front Mission had a lot of particle or multiple projectile weapons like a shotgun or a machine gun, each individual projectile was rolled on the % chance to hit and each one individually dealt damage; much smarter way of handling it than "Hit or Miss;" only very rarely felt screwed by luck.

Oh wow I totally forgot about that. You're totally right. Man, FM3 was a great game. Why can't they make Front Mission like that anymore?
#40 Posted by Fredchuckdave (6161 posts) -

@MrKlorox: Yeah, it also had like 150 hours of gameplay which was pretty nuts at the time. Front Mission 4 is an okay game but only like 25 hours without a second scenario. In FM3 a nuke blows up the town you're trying to defend and its like "Oh shit we fucked up..." then the game goes on for another 50 hours. Also the Alisa scenario's story is fabulous, though the Emma storyline is pretty meh.

If you want a tactical game with a similar amount of meat and generally interesting gameplay I'd recommend Kessen 3, about 50 hours if you do every mission plus additional difficulty levels; rewards flanking and intelligent movement of your troops though some troops will be much more used than others and having Samurai Warriors/XL saves nets you additional excellent characters. Wish there was a Kessen 4 but they keep making identical DW games instead

#41 Posted by huser (1106 posts) -

@haggis: Well for one, I doubt most people are shooting COUNTING on a critical other than very specific cases like flanking. So gradation means that now you can't assume that your normal 4 damage attack will kill that 3 hit point enemy while presumably also opening the possibility that if you're super lucky you can one shot a Muton. It makes the risk reward that much more volatile, and so now you have an interesting choice. Go even more glacially slowly through levels to mitigate the risk that your 90% shotgun blast to the face might still only do 1 damage and so you always need another attack in your back pocket, or you go run and gun counting on the reverse...

You would probably find yourself in the middle. Crossing your fingers that you get some outlandish damage rolls in your initial attacks to thin the herd, while tactically leaving yourself a couple "spare" attacks at the end of your turn just in case some of the sure things weren't so sure. Given how much tension the to hit rolls provide in both missing sure shots and hitting lucky ones and how little I register criticals (because I plan kills on the base damage, flanking being a case where the critical becomes the new base), variable damage being a hardwired thing rather than some bonus I wasn't counting on anyways seems that much more interesting.

#42 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

@huser: I'm still struggling to understand how more uncertainty solves the problem of uncertainty that so many seem to be complaining about. It's just another version of uncertainty, except in this case even when you do hit, you'd have uncertainty not only as to getting full damage but also uncertainty about getting a crit. if the complaint is that the dice rolls eliminate all the supposedly brilliant tactical movements we're making, I'm still not seeing how more uncertainty fixes that. If you're just looking for more challenge, then more power to you--I don't have a problem with that. In fact, I think it might be fun. I'm not sure it makes sense given the design choices the devs made. I'm not sure the risk/reward ratio needs to be more volatile. That actually seems to be the opposite of most complaints about the game.

It seems there's two different complaints here, one that the game's dice rolls are handled wrong, and those complaining about dice rolls in general (ie., that there shouldn't be any chance at all in the game). Clearly critics of the game are pulling in two different directions (ie., more chance or less chance). This sort of thing makes me happy I'm not a game developer.

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