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  1. #701
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voon View Post
    So, basically, you're saying this game, a turn-based strategy game, is an utterly simple, dull management sim. For what it lacked in base management, it was more complex than it's predecessor in terms of combat while rookies aren't really just morons in uniform armed with peashooters anymore. Most of the time.

    And why would you say scientists are useless? Having more would do wonders for research. Other than just speeding up progress, you need a lot more for those precious plasma weapons research, right?
    They aren't useless as in "they don't do anything," they are useless as in "you should never get them." The opportunity cost is too high. Getting a scientist is always suboptimal.

    It is similar to a game offering you a choice between $5 or $7. You take the $7.

    That's all bunk, pretty much every strategy game has an optimal build order while at the same time leaving some wiggle room for variation and the same is true for XCOM. Labs are not remotely 'useless', having a lab means having access to tech a few days sooner, which can be the difference between your team being outfitted with, say, carapace instead of standard armour for the next field mission. This can be a life-or-death difference when you're playing Ironman (or at least refrain from savescumming).

    See above. Labs have a function, but they are always outclassed by engineers.

    No good strategy game has one right way of doing things.

    George, I don't know how you claim such experise at base construction if you admitted only completing the game once. Read wikis much?
    It's a combination of reading other AARs and playing the game a lot. I won once on Classic Ironman, though that was long after I'd become bored with the game.

    Also, the game has tonnes of interesting tactical and strategic decisions basically at every minute. Buy heavy plasma or titan armour (since you can't afford everything most of the time)? Move to a half-cover flanking position or try to take a lower chance shot from full cover? Use this shredder rocket now on this Cyberdisc or save it in case a bunch of Mutons pops out later? The critics have a reductionist view of the game which is plainly ridiculous.
    Heh. "Plainly ridiculous." A little dramatic there.

    The game does offer decisions sure. The problem is there's no depth to any of them, and some decisions are really, really obvious (engineers>labs is the biggest).

    A lot of the decisions you mentioned at the tactical level aren't really deep either. For example, in your first example, "heavy plasma v titan armor" - this is simply a question of +2 offense or +2 defense? It's like the kind of choice TWD offers - neither is wrong, per se, but neither is very interesting. In your second example, you are really playing the random number generator there. Whether it's a good decision to move from cover A to cover B depends on two things the game never makes clear:

    A) will moving to cover B activate a new squad of enemies? B) what will my % chance to hit be in the new spot? (INSANE that the game does not make that clear)

    Because neither of those things is clear, you are really playing the RNG more than flexing your tactical muscle.

  2. #702
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    For some reason my previous post was deleted or never posted, so in short:

    1) Never get scientists instead of engineers. In fact, never build labs. That's a rule, not a strategy. If you refuse to accept it because scientists contribute some non-zero value to research, you either have not played the game or are intentionally handicapping your progress. I do not mean to say scientists contribute no raw value whatsoever, only that the opportunity cost of buying labs and getting scientists makes them a net negative for the player. I am surprised some posters here actually interpreted me as saying the former -- I suspect they are just trying to defend XCOM at all costs, rather than understand the point of my argument.

    2) A lot of XCOM's choices are made less tactical by the game's refusal to tell you hit percentage if you move to a certain hypothetical square, as well as the randomness of alien encounter activations. The decision of where to move troops is very, very much dependent on factors the game hides from you, so it's more gambling than tactics. E.g. "Do I move to worse cover square X to get a higher percentage shot?" is complicated by variables the player can never be certain of -- specifically, what will the hit % be at square X, and will square X activate more aliens?

    You might think that lends dynamism to the gameplay, but it does the opposite. What the uncertainty means is that the best strategy ends up being minimizing the risk of alien activations entirely, since activating a big group of Mutons accidentally can result in a squad wipe and game over. Which means you will learn to inch your squad up, being very careful to avoid activating more groups of aliens. You will learn to only discover new tiles on the first turn of your first or second soldiers' moves -- everyone else just plays the role of trailer. This becomes the rule for tactical play. It's not a strategy -- on higher levels, you simply must play this way to maximize your chances of victory. Inching up bit by bit. Everything else is too risky to be viable.

    It's quite boring and gamey, and actually manages to punish the player for thinking up big-picture flanking maneuvers. I honestly thought Firaxis couldn't break tactical combat anymore than they did in Civ 5, but I was wrong.

    If you find this kind of play thrilling, good for you. I suspect you will find it less thrilling as I did once it becomes clear that if you are making a lot of your own inventive choices at the strategic and tactical levels, you are not playing the game very effectively. (Unlike a game like, say, Civ 4, which is an actual example of a good TBS)
    Last edited by georgetownhoya; 11-12-2012 at 11:34 PM.

  3. #703
    George, you seem to be on a quest for a pure strategy game, with nothing left to chance and pure clarity of mechanics. I don't know why you have this expectation from XCOM which indeed does have a gambling element present as it comes from a certain tradition of games, like most other turn based strategies such as Jagged Alliance 2 or HoMM3. These games are war games at heart, and war games do need an element of unpredictability ('fog of war' as Clausewitz put it). That's what makes them exciting and tense to play for the most part.

    Also practically every game has an apex strategy which guarantees a win; that does not necessarily mean that it's broken. After reaching the top skill level you have to move to another game, that's how it goes. It's the 'getting there' part and the experimentation involved where the fun's at. Can you really reasonably expect something like XCOM to entertain you for the next 5+ years?
    Last edited by Gray Guardian; 12-12-2012 at 04:37 AM.

  4. #704
    Quote Originally Posted by Malawi Frontier Guard View Post
    This entire discussion is useless because XCOM is obviously a thousand times better than the original because it has the action cam. I'm totally serious. That shit never gets old.
    I'm getting to the end of my second playthrough and I have the acton cam off at this point (also soldier voices) sadly :(

  5. #705
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Guardian View Post
    George, you seem to be on a quest for a pure strategy game, with nothing left to chance and pure clarity of mechanics. I don't know why you have this expectation from XCOM which indeed does have a gambling element present as it comes from a certain tradition of games, like most other turn based strategies such as Jagged Alliance 2 or HoMM3. These games are war games at heart, and war games do need an element of unpredictability ('fog of war' as Clausewitz put it). That's what makes them exciting and tense to play for the most part.

    Also practically every game has an apex strategy which guarantees a win; that does not necessarily mean that it's broken. After reaching the top skill level you have to move to another game, that's how it goes. It's the 'getting there' part and the experimentation involved where the fun's at. Can you really reasonably expect something like XCOM to entertain you for the next 5+ years?
    I disagree that every game has a guaranteed winning strategy. Take Civilization 4 -- a game I keep bringing up. There is no one right way to play Civ 4, particularly if you play with a random leader. You might think you've got a perfect build order/tech tree for a culture win, but what happens if you spawn with a militaristic leader, or next to several warmongering nations? You might have to change and adapt, and alter some city build orders, if only temporarily. There are just a whole lot of different paths that the game can force you to weave.

    But with XCOM, no matter what -- in all cases -- your key build order is the same. You go engineers and avoid scientists. Nothing can ever change that. That takes replay value from several years (Civ 4) to several days (Xcom).

    Sure, in Xcom sometimes there isn't a right choice (e.g. should I build titan armor or a heavy plasma). But decisions like that, in addition to being too rare, are also too inconsequential. Whether you pick titan armor or plasma, you are still getting a good benefit you can always work with. Whereas in civ 4, if you invest in a culture building, you can waste that investment easily by failing to plan your strategy around your culture investments.

    Randomness is also okay, to an extent. Civ 4 is dependent on a degree randomness for combat, after all. With XCOM, however, if you get unlucky and reveal an extra batch of Mutons, your whole game can be decided just based on that one roll of the RNG!

    Civ 4 did not really allow your whole game to be ended by the RNG, unless you played with barbarians or are very early on (and veryyy unlucky).
    Last edited by georgetownhoya; 12-12-2012 at 05:28 AM.

  6. #706
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus c-Row's Avatar
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    Oh, I got an even better one now, and it's also relevant to the discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moot Point View Post
    Funny how people love and defend this game, but come out with alternatives which would make the game so much better (in their eyes).
    Funny how some people argue that the new game is so much worse than the 2012 iteration by banging the "there is only one right research path" drum and totally ignore that it was pretty much the same with the original.
    - If the sound of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings" makes you think of Kharak burning instead of the Vietnamese jungle, most of your youth happened during the 90s. -

  7. #707
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    What are you talking about and who are you referring to? I don't think anyone ever ignored problems with the original. I certainly think the original was deeply flawed and haven't played it in ages as a result. It was quite easy to manipulate once you learned some basic tricks, and much of its challenge and "depth" in reality came from its terrible user interface and novel-like documentation.

    What's that got to do with XCOM 2012 exactly? And how embarrassing is it that XCOM 2012 is only marginally less shitty than a 20-year old 2 megabyte game made by one guy in his basement?

    Sorry, but you can't just dismiss my criticisms by pretending I think the old XCOM is the height of game design. I don't.
    Last edited by georgetownhoya; 12-12-2012 at 09:01 AM.

  8. #708
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgetownhoya View Post
    it becomes clear that if you are making a lot of your own inventive choices at the strategic and tactical levels, you are not playing the game very effectively.
    I think this is the key point. XCOM is a great "throwaway" game that you play for a week or two. It's kind of a puzzle strategy game, in some sense. There's an obvious optimal route, and your job is to find it. Once you've found it, things become rather too automatic. Especially in the strategic layer. Also, the alien activation is just a bad mechanic.

    I liked the game a lot, but I know that replaying it just means making slight refinements to the winning strategy. A strategy game that's solved with a broadly optimal route in 20 hours is rather disappointing.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  9. #709
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    Yes that is definitely how I feel. I actually was really looking forward to this game, not just because of all the previews, but because Jake Solomon really sold it well. Too bad.

    By the way, to confirm just how bad Xcom is at the tactical layer, just try playing multiplayer. Wins and losses in matches come down to A) Which player discovers the other first; B) Whether one player stupidly didn't get an archangel sniper; C) random chance. It's a pathetic but powerful indictment of the game's entire design.

    As for Xenonauts, that's another one my hopes aren't too high for. It's been in development for so long, and the latest alpha build I just played is pretty much awful. Despite sticking much more closely to the original design than Firaxis did, Xenoanuts still feels about as tactical as a ham sandwich. You just shuffle units around and press fire. Occasionally you run out of TUs right in front of an alien. The horror. Next turn. Yawn.

    I've been trying to find great tactical turn based games but honestly I don't think any have come out in the last 5 years. Frozen Synapse will have to do, I guess.
    Last edited by georgetownhoya; 12-12-2012 at 11:43 AM.

  10. #710
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    Quote Originally Posted by c-Row View Post
    Oh, I got an even better one now, and it's also relevant to the discussion.



    Funny how some people argue that the new game is so much worse than the 2012 iteration by banging the "there is only one right research path" drum and totally ignore that it was pretty much the same with the original.
    I like how you have used my quote twice to illicit a response. I feel honoured!

    However, I never said the "there is only one right research path" though did I? What I have been saying is that XCON is devoid of the tactical depth of the original, because the game designer Jake threw his toys out of the pram and omitted and changed the game to a point where thinking isn't required, because he didn't like certain elements of the original.

    But I guess that suits the console retards. ;p

  11. #711
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    Did the original really have tactical depth, though? I always thought of it as having tons of promise but falling victim to easy exploits and boneheaded AI. Maybe I'm wrong, it's been so long. But there was undoubtedly so much there for XCOM 2012 to build on. Instead it just ran the other direction and made things even worse.

  12. #712
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus c-Row's Avatar
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    [editing bonanza hooray!]


    Quote Originally Posted by Moot Point View Post
    I like how you have used my quote twice to illicit a response. I feel honoured!
    You are welcome.


    Quote Originally Posted by georgetownhoya View Post
    Sorry, but you can't just dismiss my criticisms by pretending I think the old XCOM is the height of game design. I don't.
    It pretty much came across like "This is so much worse, the original did it much better" when the original had pretty much the same weak point. If that wasn't the point you were trying to make, I apologize.

    Quote Originally Posted by georgetownhoya View Post
    Did the original really have tactical depth, though? I always thought of it as having tons of promise but falling victim to easy exploits and boneheaded AI. Maybe I'm wrong, it's been so long.
    This actually reminds me of all the people complaining about how a Syndicate FPS would loose all the tactical depth of the original when the most tactical decision was essentially choosing in which corner to wait for the oncoming rush of enemy agents. Just because you remember it doesn't mean it was there.
    Last edited by c-Row; 12-12-2012 at 12:56 PM.
    - If the sound of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings" makes you think of Kharak burning instead of the Vietnamese jungle, most of your youth happened during the 90s. -

  13. #713
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgetownhoya View Post
    I've been trying to find great tactical turn based games but honestly I don't think any have come out in the last 5 years. Frozen Synapse will have to do, I guess.
    I think the Firaxis XCOM tactical layer has solid foundations, but perhaps requires something controversial like entirely removing the fog of war. The game plays a lot like a tabletop wargame, so that move would make sense to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by georgetownhoya View Post
    Did the original really have tactical depth, though? I always thought of it as having tons of promise but falling victim to easy exploits and boneheaded AI. Maybe I'm wrong, it's been so long. But there was undoubtedly so much there for XCOM 2012 to build on. Instead it just ran the other direction and made things even worse.
    The tactical layer of the original game was pretty poor in my opinion. The AI seems almost random. I enjoy Firaxis XCOM more. The strategic layer of the original was vastly more fun, though.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  14. #714
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    Instead of arguing over a disappointing game, you could be playing Mission in Space: The Lost Colony. It's GOOD.


    http://www.kongregate.com/games/Stor...he-lost-colony

    This actually reminds me of all the people complaining about how a Syndicate FPS would loose all the tactical depth of the original when the most tactical decision was essentially choosing in which corner to wait for the oncoming rush of enemy agents. Just because you remember it doesn't mean it was there.
    Cannon Fodder is more tactical at times than the Syndicate FPS. At least in both old Syndicate and Cannon Fodder you can split your forces and you have a view from above, which allows you to see what's coming and plan a few seconds ahead. In Syndicate FPS, you just pull the trigger. You can no longer execute even simple tactics because you can't see anything behind you or past walls.

    It is possible to create tactical games with FPS view. Hired Guns and Space Hulk are some examples. Action is fairly slow, so it's managable (the game is split-screen by default). With Syndicate FPS, they didn't even try.
    Last edited by b0rsuk; 12-12-2012 at 11:00 PM.
    pass

  15. #715
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    Whats with all advertising in whole forum borsuk,did you made the game ? :D

  16. #716
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    I think this is the key point. XCOM is a great "throwaway" game that you play for a week or two. It's kind of a puzzle strategy game, in some sense. There's an obvious optimal route, and your job is to find it. Once you've found it, things become rather too automatic. Especially in the strategic layer. Also, the alien activation is just a bad mechanic.

    I liked the game a lot, but I know that replaying it just means making slight refinements to the winning strategy. A strategy game that's solved with a broadly optimal route in 20 hours is rather disappointing.
    Probably the bane of the vast majority of mainstream strategy games, hence why I hardly give them a chance anymore. Take WC3 for instance: wonderful universe and characters for a strat game, RPG mechanics that I found pretty cool, and some of the best micro of any RTS, but when you know every move you're making as soon as that load screen pops up and you see the race you're against you have to wonder where exactly the strategy is in it. Too many of these games lack dynamic strategy in which you adapt rather than follow a predetermined build order/route and that's where they bore me.

  17. #717
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaftPunk View Post
    Whats with all advertising in whole forum borsuk,did you made the game ? :D
    I wish I have ! The game is free, very good, and little known. It deserves more recognition than it gets. And if it should be advertised anywhere, it's in this thread.

    ... or am I mistaken - is the new X-COM made to appeal mostly to Mass Effect fans ?
    pass

  18. #718
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    It's ok, but I'd rather be playing Incubation.

  19. #719
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus c-Row's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b0rsuk View Post
    Cannon Fodder is more tactical at times than the Syndicate FPS. At least in both old Syndicate and Cannon Fodder you can split your forces and you have a view from above, which allows you to see what's coming and plan a few seconds ahead. In Syndicate FPS, you just pull the trigger. You can no longer execute even simple tactics because you can't see anything behind you or past walls.
    I never said the FPS was tactical in any sense. I said that not much was lost since the original really wasn't that tactical to begin with despite what everybody seems to remember. I replayed chunks of it earlier this year, and most of the maps can be won by simply standing in a single spot and blasting everything that comes through the door, followed by chasing down the last four enemies that didn't rush towards you.


    Quote Originally Posted by b0rsuk View Post
    ... or am I mistaken - is the new X-COM made to appeal mostly to Mass Effect fans ?
    Romance DLC just around the corner?
    - If the sound of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings" makes you think of Kharak burning instead of the Vietnamese jungle, most of your youth happened during the 90s. -

  20. #720
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    So there are 2 ways to remedy it:
    - improve the AI of individual agents
    - remove instead of fixing

    The Syndicate FPS chose the latter. In my opinion the reason why splitting forces wasn't very viable is the artificially bad AI. Essentially they wouldn't fire as often as a player would. Also, enemies would rush you one by one, they would not defend areas except for the few with sniper rifles.

    When I'm talking about similarities between new X-COM and Mass Effect, I mean the visual style, focus on appearance of individual soldiers and dramatic sequences. The old X-COM and Mission in Space: The Lost Colony is a more cold-blooded experience.
    pass

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