XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

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Mongrel
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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby Mongrel » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:47 pm

Yeah, I think they leaned far too much on artificially restricting your team, which removes the gameplay option of "send lots and lots of disposable guys vs sending a smaller, more highly trained team."

Also a lot of the enemy AI stuff is just bullshit, where they're just granted the ability to see you wherever instead of making tactical decisions. That's what I loved about Long War, the massive AI improvements, where the aliens used actual tactics and tried to bait you or ambush you instead of just relying on raw power and wallhax.
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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby Smiler » Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:35 pm

I always think about all of the improvements long war makes, but then stop myself from using it because aside from removing some of the bullshit it also just makes the game harder which I'm not sure I really want either.

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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby Mongrel » Thu Oct 18, 2018 12:02 am

Smiler wrote:I always think about all of the improvements long war makes, but then stop myself from using it because aside from removing some of the bullshit it also just makes the game harder which I'm not sure I really want either.

Yeah. In my Really Long Review of Long War a few months back, I basically went over the fact that they didn't just make it a good deal harder, they also made the endgame very long and drawn out and boring. You can avoid this, but only with perfect macro play, which you won't know how to do until you've played Long War once.

Once was enough, man. They're not kidding when they call it LONG War.

Incidentally, I was okay with the massive difficulty increase because it was INTERESTING difficulty (vastly improved AI) and I've always been guilty of savescumming the hell out of XCOM games. So this made each match an interesting puzzle-challenge of "How do I get all my guys through this mission without anything more than minor injuries?", which I actually really enjoyed.

It also made the rare instances of "There is literally no way past this turn without someone taking a massive hit/dying." or "We simply aren't prepared for this mission and have to abort." more meaningful instead of the game just being a meatgrinder. If you do that in regular XCOM it just makes the game a romp.

That said, I think there's a "short" version of Long War.
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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby WingSounds » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:47 am

I've always found it weird that some people lose it when other people savescum, especially in single-player games. Partly because I used to do *Band roguelike runs, which were largely honour-based, but...

The focus on ironman, anti-save-scumming, and 'proving' your digital skill isn't new, but I think often leads to bad design decisions. Games/mods must focus on pleasing those sorts of players and closing loopholes they will loudly complain about, or - at worst! - review bomb over, and though sometimes those decisions can be good or at least interesting, they are just as often - if not more so - there to make things longer, not harder.

Basically, just seconding what you two said, in my own manner.

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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby Mongrel » Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:19 am

For me it really just boils down to time efficiency. "Am I skilled enough to pick up this game and figure it out well enough to win it in the first couple goes with no savescumming? If not, do care enough about this game to play it for X months?"

Since the answer to that is usually "No, I just want to see what this game offers, how it works, etc.", especially with single player games, since most of them are story or progression-based, savescumming just helps me get through a game before it bores me.

If I wanted to play without savescumming, I feel the only way to do that sort of thing legit is ironman or a mode where you have to spend resources on extra lives. Otherwise it's just half-assed savescumming with conditional rationalization "Oh well this time is okay because the absolutely bullshit RNG I just got is bad design", "enemies have [ability] which is poorly coded and dumb", etc.

One of the mods for Skyrim which is really great is Death Alternative, where it's implicitly acknowledged that you're the hero, you're not gonna die, etc. So the mod replaces instances of death with weighted randomized outcomes anything from waking up in a nearby inn where your followers dragged you, to frozen and abandoned in a snowbank, with most of your gear and all your money stolen (usually there's way to get it back, otherwise you'd break tons of quests or lose unique items which would just encourage savescumming in spite of the mod) with mid-term health and ability penalties, to ending up as a prisoner or slave where you have to find a way to escape.

The concept isn't new, but I've noticed a lot more games have started to incorporate similar features over the past decade.
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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby mharr » Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:04 am

I really like the bronzeman mode introduced by long war, there's only one save but you can completely reroll any mission if it drives off a cliff. All the benefits of ironman with none of the team wipes to random number satan, bugs or other bullshit eighty hours into a great run.

I've had GMs do something similar in the past by calling dream sequence on a cursed session.

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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby Thad » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:08 am

I really liked the PSP version of Tactics Ogre where you could just rewind to any previous move. Wouldn't help you if you picked a bad party, but it was great for any mistake short of that.

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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby Thad » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:10 am

Mongrel wrote:Yeah. In my Really Long Review of Long War a few months back, I basically went over the fact that they didn't just make it a good deal harder, they also made the endgame very long and drawn out and boring. You can avoid this, but only with perfect macro play, which you won't know how to do until you've played Long War once.


The base game certainly seems to be designed with the assumption that you'll lose the first playthrough. (Hell, that's even the canonical ending.)

mharr wrote:I really like the bronzeman mode introduced by long war, there's only one save but you can completely reroll any mission if it drives off a cliff. All the benefits of ironman with none of the team wipes to random number satan, bugs or other bullshit eighty hours into a great run.

I really liked the PSP version of Tactics Ogre where you could just rewind to any previous move. Wouldn't help you if you picked a bad party, but it was great for any mistake short of that.

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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby mharr » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:05 am

Oh yeah, I've never seen a game genre that wasn't massively improved by the ability to straight-up rewind time. The existence of any other system is just an artefact of early technical limitations.

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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby WingSounds » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:38 pm

Mongrel, Death Alternative sounds great. That's exactly what I'm talking about. I feel like - ideally, loss should not be an end-of-game state, but something interesting and wound into the gameplay itself. Despite the fact I am mostly too dull and bitter to be a games designer, I do have a small idea for a tactics game I might bust out at some point that actually takes player death into account as a premise and tool. Shin Megami Tensei: If... Actually used death to gauge your pseudopersonas, so it can be done. I'm just more interested in my writing and playing games, and find myself consumed by misanthropy when talking to games dev people.

mharr, I absolutely love the term bronzeman and am now resolved to use it wherever I can. Hehe... Also, random numbers satan. How does the GM calling a dream sequence work, though? Just - anything before the numbers went to hell... They're tossed, something like that?

Thad... This isn't really related to your point, but now I truly miss Ogre Battle. I just want to stay indoors all day and turn people into pumpkinheads. Is that so wrong... Uh, but getting to it - yeah, I think that's a great feature. Especially if you misclick or don't understand, say, terrain elevation or how a skill works.

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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby mharr » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:34 pm

The one I remember vividly was a GURPS Supers game in which the horrifying team wipe was turned into a prophetic dream for our telepath. We all played through the same conversations with him again like we had no memory of the previous session, and I think the player was starting to fear for his actual RL sanity by the halfway point.

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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby WingSounds » Fri Oct 19, 2018 8:47 am

Ah, my old friend! Sanity damage!
... I really miss Call of Cthulhu, or even CoC D20. Some day, I should try to find a group to run with.
Revisiting the old conversations sounds like a potentially awesome device, though, if you've got a well-knit group that can pull it off. Maybe I just miss pen and paper in general?..

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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby mharr » Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:57 pm

The rest of the group were all working at the same call centre at the time, so we were able to pre-plan the session with the GM, everyone but the victim knew it was going to be a time loop plot device. It was the event that unlocked prescience powers for his character and he never quite forgave us. We all enthusiastically charged down the same path that doomed us all before, for the same reasons, until he finished freaking out and Hulk Smashed his way into temporary leadership.

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Re: XCom: Flooding the Market with Dead Poisonlizard Salarymen

Postby WingSounds » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:10 am

THAT IS AWESOME.
I understand why he wouldn't entirely forgive you, but my eyes'd be sparkly wells for something so neat.
Alternatively, I'd have somehow bungled it and repeated the events, ahaha...

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