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#1 Sorrow

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Posted 22 September 2009 - 05:06 PM

I've noticed one thing about X-Com3 - when guided missiles aren't involved, the game is pathetically easy. While Ufo/TFTD was extremely deadly, X-Com3 isn't, even with weapons modded for X-Com1 level damage.

I think it has something to do with alien behaviour - X-Com1 had very brutal reaction shots and pretty brutal aliens. In X-com3 they tend to lose focus and run around aimlessly, which costs them lives...

#2 NKF

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Posted 23 September 2009 - 12:07 AM

The aliens in Apocalypse are a bit more suicidal. I'm not even referring to the poppers! The anthropods and skeletoids seem to not care about their own companions when it comes to throwing vortex mines/boomeroids or launching dimension missiles amongst their friends.

Shields would be a generous contributor to the overall ease. Before then, a plain vanilla devestator beam can ruin your day easily. In UFO/TFTD, even the best armour don't guarantee total survival.

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#3 Sorrow

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 10:34 AM

Well, even when they have highly damaging weapons and there are no shields, it's still very easy to complete missions if no missile launcers are involved - there isn't anything like X-Com1 rookie slaughter.

From what I've noticed, aliens tend to use cautious and normal AI settings which cause them to hide behind corners, run away, etc. which usually costs them lives.

#4 Sorrow

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 11:02 AM

Damn, boomeroids and devastator cannons started to appear and real heck started - now I'm losing about 7/8 of my soldiers in every mission.
I wonder what would happen in UFO if the aliens wouldn't start only with an inaccurate version of Plasma Pistol...

#5 NKF

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 02:25 AM

I dunno, I loaded up a UFO game recently and the sectoids had a go at me with a heavy plasma on the very first mission. Granted I was playing Superhuman and about half of them were carrying pistols. 30% troop loss, but still showed them the what-for with conventional pistols.

Real heck generally begins when they start bringing in entropy launchers. That is then countered by shields. They in turn are countered by dimension missiles. The missiles are then countered with the teleporters. With teleporters, you've practically won the battlescape aspect of the game. ;)

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#6 Sorrow

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 12:16 PM

Oh, I have made a typo XD . I meant "would start with an inaccurate version of Plasma Pistol".

#7 Mustang

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 03:19 PM

Hey, if you're looking for more difficulty you could try Aliens 250.
It makes the game significantly harder, and I know that from experience. I found myself almost praying that some suicidal folks would put themselves into the agent recruitment tab, because the constant battles get pretty crazy


#8 Ylenard

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Posted 21 November 2009 - 10:49 AM

It's not that the game is so "easy", but that it's so unbalanced. My observations from a no-reload superhuman game:

-very beggining(~first week, probes and scouts) - It's pretty much impossible to shoot most of the UFOs down in the first week if you don't use hoverbike, hovercar swarm, but once you do, it get's really easy. If you do not OTOH, you'll very soon run out of ammofor your agents(not really a problem, since the aliens are mostly harmless in this stage).

-beggining(~second week, transporters and FASs) - Swarms suffer heavy losses when confronting FASs, so most of the drops will get inside the city meaning lot's of mop up missions, racking up of lot's of points, and in turn transition to the next phase. You're very likely to run out of ammo, if you didn't use swarm in the earlier phase, which can be tough(Fast disruptor research to the rescue!)

-middle game(~third week, assault ship, destroyers, FASs) - Since you probably won't be able to stop those UFOs in the air without heavy losses, you'll have to fight aliens on the ground. If you've managed your points wrong you'll get what I got - disruptor agents vs devastator+shields aliens (which will soon get entropy:P). Really difficult phase of the game, but mostly because of one thing - limited supply of agents. I had to limit myself to only cleaning the highest infiltrated organisations, becuase I lacked healthy agents. Once you get toxiguns&shields(end of this phase), you'll never have to worry about ground loses again.

-endgame(the rest) - at first you will only shoot down what UFOs you can without much air loses, but you'll soon gain air supermacy thanks to hybrid-crafts, and you already have ground supermacy thanks to toxiguns+shields. This is it:P The Aliens no longer stand any chance.

So the only real difficulty in this game IMO comes from short supply of ammo and agents. It still is a difficulty though, but one you know a few tricks it pretty much dissapears, which is a real shame. It would be great if the game had better AI making the aliens more threatning in GC.

Edited by Ylenard, 21 November 2009 - 10:50 AM.


#9 Sorrow

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 11:57 AM

Very true. It's more like an artificial difficulty. The limited amount of agents is especially annoying.

I'd prefer if aliens would actually use some more effective (or rather any?) tactics that would allow them to wipe-out whole assault teams with relative ease.

In my mod, it's easier to shot down smaller craft and flying vehicles have much higher cost than the ground ones. I use swarms of groundhogs and wolfhounds instead of swarms of hovercars/hoverbikes,

I'm in the middle phase now. I have some attrition, but I can't really say I'm getting wiped out unless I send in very small squads.

#10 Ylenard

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 01:37 PM

I'd prefer if aliens would actually use some more effective (or rather any?) tactics that would allow them to wipe-out whole assault teams with relative ease.


I'd definitely prefer it too, but the problem is it would be difficult to program a good AI(implementing advanced tactics), and it wouldn't guarantee good results, because I suppose most player simply use a clearly supperior defensive approach most of the time(traps in advantageous positions). The things I would really like to see would probably be simple tweaks(okay, simple from the alghoritmic POV, I have no idea how does it look from Apocalypse programmers POV, because I have no idea, how this games engine looks like):
- making sure aliens are on "aggresive" instead of "cautious", allowing them to not waste time doing usless manouvers
- making sure they use the ability to throw vortex mines from afar utilising their pretty high strengh
- making sure they don't shoot explosives around too close to themselves or their friends
- checking for more directions that they can storm players positions from instead of using the shortest route
- timing their advances, so that they attack in groups from multiple directions if possible instead of one alien at a time from one.

In my mod, it's easier to shot down smaller craft and flying vehicles have much higher cost than the ground ones. I use swarms of groundhogs and wolfhounds instead of swarms of hovercars/hoverbikes,

I'm in the middle phase now. I have some attrition, but I can't really say I'm getting wiped out unless I send in very small squads.


Is that the Roadwar Mod? I'll probably try that after I finished playing with Megapol Mod ;)

Edited by Ylenard, 24 November 2009 - 01:40 PM.


#11 Sorrow

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 03:18 PM

I'd definitely prefer it too, but the problem is it would be difficult to program a good AI(implementing advanced tactics), and it wouldn't guarantee good results, because I suppose most player simply use a clearly supperior defensive approach most of the time(traps in advantageous positions).

Well, one option would be simply have the AI use some defensive positions themselves.

- making sure aliens are on "aggresive" instead of "cautious", allowing them to not waste time doing usless manouvers
- making sure they use the ability to throw vortex mines from afar utilising their pretty high strengh
- making sure they don't shoot explosives around too close to themselves or their friends

Exactly, they lose a lot of units through stupid walking around and too often fail to use their explosives. I think that suicidal use of explosives may be a viable tactic for aliens as long as it kills a few agents. It's stupid when done by gangers and rent-a-cops, though.

- timing their advances, so that they attack in groups from multiple directions if possible instead of one alien at a time from one.

Yeah. I think that it's stupid to make a game where there are large forces (up to a platoon) used, but they work as tens of individuals instead of working as squads.

Is that the Roadwar Mod? I'll probably try that after I finished playing with Megapol Mod ;)

No. It's my X-Com3 Revisited mod.

#12 Hobbes

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 08:25 PM

Yeah. I think that it's stupid to make a game where there are large forces (up to a platoon) used, but they work as tens of individuals instead of working as squads.


I don't think the game engine was designed with the intent of using your agents as a platoon, and the squad designation used by the game does not correspond to a modern military squad (9-13 soldiers). The equivalent to a game squad in modern military organization would be either 4 soldier fireteams or pairs.

It is very rare the occasion where I bring more than 12 soldiers, or a squad. It is easier and quicker to control that number while if you bring more than 12 soldiers during building missions the game will generate a larger battlefield (and longer battles).

#13 Sorrow

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 06:01 AM

I don't think the game engine was designed with the intent of using your agents as a platoon, and the squad designation used by the game does not correspond to a modern military squad (9-13 soldiers). The equivalent to a game squad in modern military organization would be either 4 soldier fireteams or pairs.

Well, it is enough to have enough men for a platoon composed of 3 9 man "squads" with additional support (guys with scanners, missile launchers, psykers, etc.) attached.
Anyway, taking in account that there are man-portable AGLs available, and everyone is armoured, squads could simply get smaller to take in account increased cost, fire power and survivability.

It is very rare the occasion where I bring more than 12 soldiers, or a squad. It is easier and quicker to control that number while if you bring more than 12 soldiers during building missions the game will generate a larger battlefield (and longer battles).

I prefer to take 18 soldiers and keep 6 soldiers in reserve. Too bad I never have 18 soldiers...

As for the control thingie. It's because there isn't any kind of squad AI, which is why the Aliens suck unless they bring missile launchers and why we have to micromanage everything.

#14 Hobbes

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 11:19 AM

I don't think the game engine was designed with the intent of using your agents as a platoon, and the squad designation used by the game does not correspond to a modern military squad (9-13 soldiers). The equivalent to a game squad in modern military organization would be either 4 soldier fireteams or pairs.

Well, it is enough to have enough men for a platoon composed of 3 9 man "squads" with additional support (guys with scanners, missile launchers, psykers, etc.) attached.
Anyway, taking in account that there are man-portable AGLs available, and everyone is armoured, squads could simply get smaller to take in account increased cost, fire power and survivability.


True, the game limit for soldiers is 32 (IIRC), so you could bring a platoon of troops. But if you are an veteran player you'll hardly need that many. With that many soldiers it takes longer for battles and after you deploy shields and C-toxin you'll simply obliterate the aliens (and provide plenty of targets for explosions). The less soldiers you bring, the more challenging the fight will be.

It is very rare the occasion where I bring more than 12 soldiers, or a squad. It is easier and quicker to control that number while if you bring more than 12 soldiers during building missions the game will generate a larger battlefield (and longer battles).

I prefer to take 18 soldiers and keep 6 soldiers in reserve. Too bad I never have 18 soldiers...

As for the control thingie. It's because there isn't any kind of squad AI, which is why the Aliens suck unless they bring missile launchers and why we have to micromanage everything.


Use the pair system (2 soldiers assigned to each squad, both with the same stats, especially speed/TUs) and change formations. You'll still have to micromanage to use grenades, rocket launchers, psi and so on but you can cut the number of orders for moving and firing.

#15 Sorrow

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 03:28 PM

True, the game limit for soldiers is 32 (IIRC), so you could bring a platoon of troops. But if you are an veteran player you'll hardly need that many. With that many soldiers it takes longer for battles and after you deploy shields and C-toxin you'll simply obliterate the aliens (and provide plenty of targets for explosions). The less soldiers you bring, the more challenging the fight will be.

Well, personally, I'm not interested in artificially creating challenge. Actually, I'd prefer if I'd be able to bring in a Hovercar or a Wolfhound for fire support. I hate the big maps, though.

Also, my mod brings back weapon damages from UFO and increases damage of new weapons accordingly.
For example, Disruptor Gun does 100 damage, Devastator Cannon does 250 damage, spittle of various critters does the same damage as Celatid spittle, etc.
So, getting hit is usually deadly. Especially to troops that don't wear power suits.
And Devastator Cannon can sometimes take out or heavily wound an android in Power Suit.

Which is why I like to keep a reserve.

Use the pair system (2 soldiers assigned to each squad, both with the same stats, especially speed/TUs) and change formations. You'll still have to micromanage to use grenades, rocket launchers, psi and so on but you can cut the number of orders for moving and firing.

I usually use 4 man squads - 1 scanner, one machine gun, one devastator (or another MG) and an android in PS with AC - they get divided into a 2-3 man normal team, one power suit team and sometimes one "sniper" with devastator
I use two such squads and a reserve team/squad.

#16 Sorrow

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 11:47 AM

Damn, I just tried deploying 18 soldiers in pure RT. It was uncontrollable. Actually, two squads are barely controllable. But 3?

They would have to rotate - 1-2 squads on battlefield in any given moment, with reinforcements waiting outside, to enter the area when the other squads get to battered. if-you-see-Kay.
Or they would have to have a squad AI that would care for all the micromanagement.

#17 Hobbes

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 01:28 PM

Well, personally, I'm not interested in artificially creating challenge. Actually, I'd prefer if I'd be able to bring in a Hovercar or a Wolfhound for fire support. I hate the big maps, though.

Also, my mod brings back weapon damages from UFO and increases damage of new weapons accordingly.
For example, Disruptor Gun does 100 damage, Devastator Cannon does 250 damage, spittle of various critters does the same damage as Celatid spittle, etc.
So, getting hit is usually deadly. Especially to troops that don't wear power suits.


Increasing the weapon damage values might also be considered 'artificially creating challenge'. It is also a double edged sword since once you research the devastator cannon and the disruptor gun you'll be able to use those improved weapons against the aliens.

#18 Sorrow

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 03:00 PM

It's more about what I always liked about X-Com series, starting with Laser Squad.

Weapons had pretty brutal effects on people, especially the energy ones - it was good for the game's atmosphere. Then came X-Com 3 with its RTS-style low damages and large amounts of HP. It is one of the main thing that I dislike about it.

Devastator cannon is devastating, but I prefer to use slug-throwers and reserve DCs for those who have high accuracy. I usually use a combination of MGs and ACs. AC is good because it's an area effect weapon and MG feels good for inexperienced rookies.

#19 NKF

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 04:14 PM

Managing a small team or a large team is all a matter of communication. Or so says the Art of War. With large squads, take your time to pause - a lot. Take the time to review the squads and adjust their orders accordingly. One thing I might also recommend is to switch on the pause command for when enemies are spotted if it isn't already on. I think the one when you are under fire would be useful too.

Once the various squads have secured safe areas around the map that they can defend, you can leave them to do their own thing for a while. Check back on them every so often and coordinate their actions when you want squads attack a room en masse or from several different directions at once. You'll still probably be using 1 or 2 squads to actively hunt through the maps to hunt the aliens.

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#20 Sorrow

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 06:26 PM

Managing a small team or a large team is all a matter of communication. Or so says the Art of War. With large squads, take your time to pause - a lot. Take the time to review the squads and adjust their orders accordingly. One thing I might also recommend is to switch on the pause command for when enemies are spotted if it isn't already on. I think the one when you are under fire would be useful too.

Well, I don't like how the pause gives me a total control over units.

And if I have large squads, then commanding every single soldier shouldn't be my job. It should be squad/team leader's job.

#21 Hobbes

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 07:48 PM

It's more about what I always liked about X-Com series, starting with Laser Squad.

Weapons had pretty brutal effects on people, especially the energy ones - it was good for the game's atmosphere. Then came X-Com 3 with its RTS-style low damages and large amounts of HP. It is one of the main thing that I dislike about it.

Devastator cannon is devastating, but I prefer to use slug-throwers and reserve DCs for those who have high accuracy. I usually use a combination of MGs and ACs. AC is good because it's an area effect weapon and MG feels good for inexperienced rookies.


Laser Squad is not part of the series, but yes the combat system was the basis of the first and second X-COM games. I played it (and its predecessor, Rebelstar) when it first came out and I still love it (along with UFO and TFTD). You're right about one shot killing weapons giving a nice atmosphere (and brutal) but like you say, Apocalypse has a different system (and I don't know if you have ever tried Laser Squad Nemesis, the online multiplayer remake of the original Laser Squad, which uses RTS with a touch of turn based).

The thing is exactly that, Apocalypse's system is different from UFO or TFTD and so is the atmosphere. You can compare both but they start in different settings (world vs. city, dimensional vs extraterrestrial aliens, etc.) and they give emphasis on different aspects. To me Apocalypse is much better played with the RT system (I've used TB when I first started playing it years ago but switched to RT and never went back) and without comparing it to UFO. They are simply different and I enjoy each on their own.

#22 Sorrow

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 03:41 AM

(and I don't know if you have ever tried Laser Squad Nemesis, the online multiplayer remake of the original Laser Squad, which uses RTS with a touch of turn based).

I have tried it. I don't know why they have chosen to name it Laser Squad, since it has nothing to do with the original game. I didn't really like it.

The thing is exactly that, Apocalypse's system is different from UFO or TFTD and so is the atmosphere. You can compare both but they start in different settings (world vs. city, dimensional vs extraterrestrial aliens, etc.) and they give emphasis on different aspects. To me Apocalypse is much better played with the RT system (I've used TB when I first started playing it years ago but switched to RT and never went back) and without comparing it to UFO. They are simply different and I enjoy each on their own.

I agree, about it being much better in RT. My main problem with TB is that the aliens tend to be on defensive mode and waste too much APs running around. Also, enemy turns are way too long.

I don't think that a change to RT needs lowering damages, so that it would be more like RTS games. Sudden death is as cool in RT as in TB.

I prefer real RT or TB to RTwP, though. Being able to pause in any moment and being able to give orders during the pause is like a cheap way to avoid having to create a decent individual/squad AI.

As for the world vs. city, dimensional vs extraterrestrial aliens, etc. I like the idea, but it feels like these aspects of game are simply unfinished.
Organisations have infinite amounts of guards, infinite amounts of weapons, are impossible to get bankrupt (even if they start with much lesser amount of money and income than X-Com), impossible to get destroyed, while at the same time X-Com can hire only a limited amount of soldiers, can buy a limited amount of weapons, a single successful raid destroys an X-Com base, bombing can destroy an X-Com base, etc.
Not to mention the amount of content that got cut out.

Edited by Sorrow, 29 November 2009 - 03:43 AM.