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Rookies Are The Suck


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#1 Snakeman

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Posted 15 December 2004 - 10:58 PM

I think I have the right forum for this :) I'd like to discuss some thoughts on where or in what circumstance we might see our Rookie Washouts ™, and what their fates could be. Grab a cup of joe, light that cig and have a read. 'Tis a bit long :Coffee:

In other threads we were discussing topics ranging from new mission types/scenarios such as introducing the raid mission type to this updated classic of the first game, to having some market influence (the stuff you buy/make then liquidate having some geopolitical or other battlescape ramifications i.e. units turning up with items you'd gotten rid of among the civs or other countries militaries etc.).

First, I'd like to highlight some of the mission types the old game had and include a few it didn't, then I'll address the market stuff and include some thoughts on where the rookie washouts might turn up to deepen that whole issue of your actions having some direct or indirect actions upon you later in various ways. Please refer to the topics relating to mission improvements/addons for others insights to those for possible inclusion in future versions, however I will touch on a few here as it relates to rookies.

Old Game Missions

Research (or scout missions)
Abduction
Base (construction)
*Supply
*Infiltration
Retaliation
Harvest
(Alien) Base Assault
*(X-COM) Base Defense
*Terror

Proposed New Missions

*Raid (alien/other opponent raiding of bases/other type locales)
Pilot Rescue
MIB Involvement (Those dark shady dudes we sell stuff to)
Counter Infiltration ( + any other new missions or even old ones I may be overlooking just now heh).

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Essentially, the missions above with the * are areas I can think of just now that could be good places for our ex-rookies to show up. This is in addition to the cool ideas by others relating to improvements to the old missions, or aspects of any new ones mentioned (not unlike the other ideas of having scientists/engineer sackies (or acting as contractors for you) in some way influencing any of the other groups and/or governments/comapnies if any).

Where they show up on the Battlescape can largely be a random affair by unit count, hostility/friendliness toward X-COM as it relates to changing political climates. There are a few mission types I can think of however where it might be a neat idea to go into the mission and have to control the ex-rookies (just for the mission mind you) where those units are still friendly toward you and in some cases there's no X-COM involvement (such as the addon "Counter Infiltration/Rescue Leader" mission ideas. One aspect covered there was the use of MIB units to bolster that class, but perhaps there is just as good an arguement here for ex-rookie turnout).

Supply Missions

Just to cover this briefly, if the supply missions would eventually allow the player's side to institute some of their own, these might be good places to use those ex-hirees. The thinking here that there could be some eventualities where X-COM might have supplies being picked up by an outside group/government where the firelings are there as recievers of those goods (hey, somebody liked them enough to hire them on, plus perhaps X-COM cannot for whatever reason do the delivering so you don't have use of your vets for this reason), and the mission itself was intercepted by aliens/other badguy types (who for them, would probably be on a Raid Mission once it began).

Infiltration (Counter Infiltration - Defense of Gov Leaders)

This one is a mixture of the ideas involving MIBs (the infiltration of alien bases/ships/any location I may be overlooking) but could also involve these rooks so I sort of rolled these thoughts into one. Some may have been aquired by the MIBs independently to augment their forces (in which case the player could control them and the MIBs), and/or some may have shown up as hirelings of the opposition/rogue government courting an alien pact in the case of Infiltration.

For the Defense of Government Leader mission type, I was pondering an addition here which correlates to how long you take to investigate that new site (because you got the intel for it in a previous mission/interrogation result)...If you don't go yourself in the role of X-COM (perhaps because again, you have vets tied up elsewhere or otherwise don't wish to risk them and transport fuel), you could simply click the "crash site X" (I know it wouldn't probably be called this in this situation), and have the option to decide to control the X-COM washouts now hired on to protect that leader. Think of it as the last ditch sort of affair where the situation involves one of the very last steps about whether or not a country decides to defect to the other side or not. It'll make you think about whether or not to use your troops for this to increase your odds of success.

Note: The country in question still must have a friendly relation to X-COM to open up this option (the clicking the site to use their troops bit if not your own). Otherwise you'll then be forced to use MIBs (w/ex-rookie support) to attempt a "re-infiltration" if you will of the target country's leadership apparatus once that country turns (makes ignoring the site a no no similar to Terror sites).

Base Defense

I was pondering this aspect tonight, and while I was selling some stuff I made, I got to thinking (I know, that's bad) "why not designate some of the rookies as lower paid outside base guards/reserves?" And then I thought about someone else's remark about base defense which gave me this additional twist for rooks..Extending Base Defense mission to include an outside stage for either side. These reserves don't have to live in your base but rather a building outside it (to explain where they are rather than have it represented or confuse them with the men you want residing inside).

These guys shouldn't show up on your regular roster or at least, should be on one all their own. You can designate who goes there but they have to still be of Rookie rank. You cannot remove them from their post unless you fire them or they get killed. After all, this particular group of guys are supposed to be fodder, let's treat them that way in pay and lot in life ;0) The alien's/other badguy bases can be handled the same way, they keep their washouts (yet still hired help) on the outside. In purpose, it'll be their job to slow them down, but the catch is, their skills can never improve.

The idea here is to further give that sense that when you storm a base, you mow through that opposition before going into the base proper. Also there should be no tanks here or too much (if any) exterior weaponry (the base's outside gun emplacements got hit after all).

What you can do however, is designate armor and weapons for them but I think to make this part of the mission go quicker, the max number assigned outside bases should probably be 1/3rd the number of attacking troops (assuming that climbs exponentially as disucssed when bases keep downing UFOs, then on subsequent attacks, those UFOs can stack that attack - the plus here is that you can gradually add more rookies within the game's unit cap for that location, but you'll always be outnumberd up there). The AI pathfinding here can be made such that every unit will do its utmost to reach an entry way inside without stopping. This will still give the guards a surviving chance, but without stat improvement, it'll still seem like a dire situation regardless. These reserves by the way should not be able to follow inside after them (to alienate them more as punks heh). Likewise, vets inside cannot go out to help. They're in "Alamo-mode" after all.

The map its self can probably be one extra level above the hangers/access lift rather than a stage of its own (the way Cydonia was handled) unless that would seem the better way to go. If the idea goes as far as a testing phase, it might need more pruning for your side, since it should seem more in favor of the attacker at least in that particular exterior setting.

Terror Sites

Some of us touched on the notion of having civ cops/militia sprinkled in among the regular civs at Terror sites. Perhaps one additional use for the X-COM washouts here could be that occasionally (perhaps not at every single terror site or situation) an X number of these turns up among only those civs that are armed (or able to help in some other way if not). If you spot them in line of sight, they act as one additional controllable unit for your team, but again, only if the country its happening to is still on relatively good terms with X-COM (funding must be on the +side - if its just a flat unchanging donation or below, make these guys on a teeter totter sort of thing on whether they appear to you as hostile or friend). Again, stats for these guys never change other than at what level you might have fired them at originally (and they had to be of that rank).

Raids

Depending on the weeding out process that normally occured with rookies in the first game (and if Xenocide will be anything like this - I don't know about anyone else, but I fire a lot with UFO), it may be a good place for them to reappear. If your raiding a rival human run group that is. When a country is about to change alliegiance, you can mix these units up among some of the alien ones to give the player a visual que that things are on a down turn (I sometimes forget to check out the graphs, so visual indicators like this in combat can remind a player somethings about to give) before every battle that happens thereafter in that country shifts to have all alien opposition.

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A final note about the market, when you begin to sell a lot of technology, and whether or not you specifically deploy supply runs yourself (targetted deliveries to any party in particular), these units you face, friend or foe, gradually begin to get these things if you've been selling significant quantities arbitrarily for the sake of cash. In additon, whether its a scientist, engineer, or the new pilot class touched on (you also fired these with crap stats), these show up as other civs/combat-unit-where-applicable, also for enemies or allies alike to help/hurt you/you-may-have-to-protect on a mission where relevant.

That's a lot of hyphons. And no, I don't cheat at Scrabble...much :)

A next-to-last (there I go again) comment about training. You can train rookies as long as you like before firing them, but they can only be rookies when you do fire them for them to be eligible for any more "cameos". So for instance, you could train up a rookie's Psi Skill, Pilot ability, what have you as long as you want, and those stats will follow that unit after he's canned, but you can never control when or if that rookie will be foe/friend/or even controllable in certain circumstances (let alone whether he managed to get his mits on a Psi Amp/Fighter craft even) when they do finally show themselves.

This sort of goes to my thoughts on training facility usage, how many types there should be, and now tieing in whether or not to fire a rookie who's taking up valuable real estate which could be used for better troopers. So its not just a facility management challenge, but one of personnel as well.

So to spin the topic into a question here...Are Rookies The Suck? Much of the time I'd think so, but with training, they can become good fodder to be thrown back in your face :)

Anyway, what other situations or missions might be cool to have these disgruntled or not-so-disgruntled soldier washouts turn up?

Edited by Snakeman, 16 December 2004 - 12:15 AM.


#2 kafros

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 09:04 AM

- You could attack a crash site or an alien base in order to salvage alien artefacts, or in order to capture a certain speciment (dead or alive) in order to be used/researched in the X-com Labs.

- If you have an "Alien message decryptor", you could have certain missions in which you should attack certain alien ships, or even capture certain aliens (engineers, soldiers, scientists, commanders).

#3 Snakeman

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Posted 16 December 2004 - 05:11 PM

So are you saying that with these mission types, our ex-rookies could show up there too? Aside from the ones you keep, I think probably so.

If this is what you were referring to, I would think that might be good too. Perhaps on missions like Abductions, X-COM could stumble on a few now and then onboard these ships in the laboratory rooms there. They might simply be restrained and otherwise unharmed and could be used by your forces as an "extra" unit for the duration of the mission, or they could have been in various states of having been experimented on (they might be conscious and easily recognized as hostile, totally friendly, or they might have gotten injected with a "surprise" to seem good n' helpful first, then go all evil-like later).

The second one you have there intriques me, partly because this could also relate to others' thoughts on being able to raid ships in transit or something (probably better in a space setting i.e. in Earth/Mars orbit). Anyway, where this relates to finding civs/armed civs/xcom washouts would probably make more sense depending on the mission being carried out by the enemy at the time. Abduction was covered, but maybe Harvest, Terror, or even Battleships on Retaliation have interogation rooms with some inside.

I like the thought too that it would be interesting to find some of them in places you wouldn't normally expect in that situation and perhaps change or add mission objectives as the battle unfolded. So for instance, you might be doing a raid on a landed Supply ship, you think "this'll be a piece of cake. I'll waltz on in, smoke some baddies and bug out with the loot." Only you didn't count on stumbling on a captive, and now you've got to bring him back to examine/interrogate.

Edited by Snakeman, 16 December 2004 - 05:42 PM.