XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Strategy Game - Developed by Firaxis

The "two actions, one of which can be shoot" thing sounds reasonable to me. There were a lot of options with AP in the original, but it really boiled down to the choice of "do I want to cover distance slowly and be ready to shoot, or do I want to cover ground quickly and find out too late that I shouldn't have gone around that corner and there's nothing I can do now." Especially if you can "reserve" the shoot part of your turn as a reaction.

I hope they do keep the equivalent of "experienced troops have more TU". It sounds like they will just hide the numbers in the background. Which is nice because you wouldn't run into problems like trying to turn and shoot at an enemy and running 1 TU short.

"Action + action," is an effective game design for handling character move economy in a turn based game. It's just that when XCOM was published, designers were still under the mistaken impression that highly granular mechanics were more important than overall vision. It's one of those things I was hoping was going to be cut.

4e D&D and similar game designs handle action economy in just such a fashion, and is a much better game for it.

Such games handle improved character action economy by adding more actions to the turn of a highly experienced character, or decreasing the action cost of normal actions. For instance, a rookie sniper might only be able to shoot or move, but not both. A highly experienced sniper might be able to move and shoot, shoot and shoot, or use a power that greatly boosts his accuracy or damage.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

I'd dispute whether base defense missions are always just "mopping up," especially for first time players: even though first-timers will know the layout of the base, they're probably not going to know about the 80-item limit or even consider structuring their base in such a way to create built-in choke points.

As far as the actual tactics go, I suppose that you could say that using the blaster bomb launcher (in conjunction with the foreknowledge of the base layout) can make quick work of things, but I'd assign that as an issue to the lack of balance with the blaster bomb altogether, not with the structure of the base defense missions. You could probably argue the blaster bomb turns every mission into "mopping up" once you get it.

If you're trying to say that first time players are going to do poorly at game systems, then I agree. I'm not sure how that has any bearing on how base defense is played. You play that game at the layout and acquisitions management area. It's when you fail at that game when it becomes a tactical nightmare.

You don't need a blaster bomb to farm invasions. In fact, I played most of my XCOM games without any knowledge that the Blaster Bomb even existed - it was unnecessary and ultimately trivialized major game systems. It was mistake to include it, IMO.

You can farm Sectoid and Floater invasions with rocket launchers and explosive Gatling guns. Snake men invasions require lasers and Heavy Laser snipers for the horrid Crysalids. Mutons need plasma weapons.

Base defense is the prototype setup for a tower defense mini. It fits like a glove. Once you get wide expansive bases and dozens of soldiers in full out tactical battle, you need something for a change of pace. This became obvious in Terror From The Deep. It got repetitive for many players.

With a good enough mini game design, it could even stand on its own as a short game you can play when you don't have time for a full tactical encounter. Hmmmm... ...it occurs to me that base invasion could also be played as tower offense, but I like base invasions too much.

You wouldn't necessarily have to make it a total minigame. Base defence could work like a regular tactical battle, only the enemy has overwhelming forces and you have access to all sorts of defensive force multipliers. But looking at the new base map, it looks like it wouldn't work with the previous method of making each base tile part of the tactical map.

The more I think about it the more I dislike the action points removal. I went back and played X-com a little bit before bed. And without action points I feel like the tactical game is just going to lose a lot of its depth. In the original you had fast soldiers, and slow soldiers, moving inventory items cost AP, throwing grenades, fire modes, crouching, changing facing, etc. All of these you could do in any order on your soldiers during the turn. Move and shoot pretty much eliminates all the decision making. I suppose they want to make it easier for the player but some of us like all that stuff

It remains to be seen if it really will streamline the play or just give XCOM a bad case of consoleitis.

At least we have Xenonauts to fall back on.

Let's be honest, call it what you will...gamers' lack of patience, gamers' lack of intelligence, increased efficiency, whatever, today's games don't require the user to figure things out like "if I move here, do I have enough AP to enable snap shot". They just aren't that complicated any more so it is no suprise to me that APs have been removed.

LarryC wrote:
You can farm Sectoid and Floater invasions with rocket launchers and explosive Gatling guns. Snake men invasions require lasers and Heavy Laser snipers for the horrid Crysalids. Mutons need plasma weapons.

Just out of curiosity: since you keep referring to "farming" these base defenses, how often did your bases get attacked in a typical playthrough?

LarryC wrote:
Once you get wide expansive bases and dozens of soldiers in full out tactical battle, you need something for a change of pace.

I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this point. As I said earlier, the original X-Com design already contains a much broader set of mechanics than 90% of the games out there. I'm still not seeing why a change of pace is really necessary.

LarryC wrote:
This became obvious in Terror From The Deep. It got repetitive for many players.

Citation needed?

OzymandiasAV wrote:
LarryC wrote:
You can farm Sectoid and Floater invasions with rocket launchers and explosive Gatling guns. Snake men invasions require lasers and Heavy Laser snipers for the horrid Crysalids. Mutons need plasma weapons.

Just out of curiosity: since you keep referring to "farming" these base defenses, how often did your bases get attacked in a typical playthrough?


Last time I played, my game crashed each and every time a base got invaded. I had to hack my safe to put impenetrable anti-ship defenses in each one or I couldn't play any more.

Base invasions were the biggest slog in original XCom. You started out scattered and the base layout was typically going to make quick navigation very difficult. Farming items? Please. There's no reason to expect a bigger payoff from an invasion compared to a ship crash or terror event.

Barab wrote:
The more I think about it the more I dislike the action points removal. I went back and played X-com a little bit before bed. And without action points I feel like the tactical game is just going to lose a lot of its depth. In the original you had fast soldiers, and slow soldiers, moving inventory items cost AP, throwing grenades, fire modes, crouching, changing facing, etc. All of these you could do in any order on your soldiers during the turn. Move and shoot pretty much eliminates all the decision making. I suppose they want to make it easier for the player but some of us like all that stuff :(

Dunno, I think something akin to the D&D system of move-minor-standard or what have you works almost as well. While I can see missing it... I've played tabletop games enough (And written a similar tactical one, even), that I can see the reasoning behind it. And really, Firaxis hasn't disappointed me yet, I'm willing to accept they know what they're talking about.

Can't say I'm pleased with removal of action points. As people already mentioned, it is a core mechanic of the original game. It seems they are trying to simplify action costs, by making things cost 0, 1, or 2 action points. There is no more granularity allowing for different types of actions. In my opinion, that loses a lot of tactical depth. Tactical depth that is at the core of XCOM games. Ah well... *shrug* I suppose it's better than that other FPS abomination. My excitement level certainly went from 10 to somewhere around 7.

Yeah, I'm inherently nervous about anything touching the sacred glory of X-Com, the best game ever made, but Firaxis seems like a brilliant choice here. They managed to take Civilization and make a surprisingly good version for consoles (Revolution), and they're inherently makers detailed, really well-constructed games.

Will it be my same old X-Com? No, but if I want to play same old X-Com, I'll, you know, play same old X-Com. Sure, I'd love a glossy sheen and a better UI with my old favorite, but I can't realistically expect anything like that. Show me something new and exciting.

Also, multiplayer co-op over XBox Live, please.

IMAGE(http://media1.gameinformer.com/imagefeed/featured/2kgames/xcom/enemyunknown/reveal/DeepWoods1280.jpg)

Is it just me, or does this look like hexes?

Edit: At closer look, some stuff doesn't line up. Maybe there's no sort of grid at all anymore? I guess that would fit with the removal of action points.

deftly wrote:

Is it just me, or does this look like hexes?

Edit: At closer look, some stuff doesn't line up. Maybe there's no sort of grid at all anymore? I guess that would fit with the removal of action points.

Looks a lot like hexes to me, just with some aesthetic effect to the outlines.

Yeah I noticed the hexes too. At least there is that one improvement

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Base invasions were the biggest slog in original XCom. You started out scattered and the base layout was typically going to make quick navigation very difficult. Farming items? Please. There's no reason to expect a bigger payoff from an invasion compared to a ship crash or terror event.

I think there's some confusion here between invading alien bases and defending X-COM bases against aliens. Both are okay for farming, but for different reasons. Invading will get you a lot of materials and reputation points. Defending will get you a lot of experience and equipment (e.g. blaster bombs).

Base defense is trivial if you have designed your base properly--the X-COM wiki has an article about it.

deftly wrote:
IMAGE(http://media1.gameinformer.com/imagefeed/featured/2kgames/xcom/enemyunknown/reveal/DeepWoods1280.jpg)

Is it just me, or does this look like hexes?

Edit: At closer look, some stuff doesn't line up. Maybe there's no sort of grid at all anymore? I guess that would fit with the removal of action points.

Looks like this is a pic from the console version as well. The PC version is going to have a whole different UI in place so I have high hopes for a much more involved interface allowable by mouse and keyboard input.

Nope. That's the PC version. Complete with the Y and X button prompts. You also have to press start to get past the title screen. They had a post up about it on RPS.

Hmmm, the more I read about it, the more worried I am that it isn't going to live up to the expectations. Then again, I do still want a new squad-tactical game of some sort, and so I'll probably buy it anyway. However, details like the 4-trooper deployment limit make it sound a lot more like it should be Shadow Watch 2 than an X-COM game.

The brokenforum thread Itsatrap posted last page also mentions that you won't be able to build more than 1 base.

Itsatrap wrote:
Hmmm, the more I read about it, the more worried I am that it isn't going to live up to the expectations. Then again, I do still want a new squad-tactical game of some sort, and so I'll probably buy it anyway. However, details like the 4-trooper deployment limit make it sound a lot more like it should be Shadow Watch 2 than an X-COM game.

Where did you read that? And is it a hard limit or just the max capacity of your starting transport?

Hypatian wrote:
The "two actions, one of which can be shoot" thing sounds reasonable to me. There were a lot of options with AP in the original, but it really boiled down to the choice of "do I want to cover distance slowly and be ready to shoot, or do I want to cover ground quickly and find out too late that I shouldn't have gone around that corner and there's nothing I can do now." Especially if you can "reserve" the shoot part of your turn as a reaction.

I'd guess they'll do it like D&D and let you trade in your attack for a second move phase. There are some times where covering ground quickly is simply more important than being careful.

LarryC wrote:
Base defense is the prototype setup for a tower defense mini. It fits like a glove. Once you get wide expansive bases and dozens of soldiers in full out tactical battle, you need something for a change of pace. This became obvious in Terror From The Deep. It got repetitive for many players.

The two-stage encounters in TFTD were just too long in general. Between that and the fact that they were often on ships which sometimes meant going from room to room looking for one stray alien, and I'm amazed anyone had the patience to finish that game.

It's four dudes so that each one can be mapped to a face button during QTEs. They had to make each turn a button press so that the consolers didn't get too overwhelmed.

Edit: I think Irongut and BadMojo clarified the one base issue in IRC very well:

[11:56am] Irongut: GI Joe only has one base
[11:56am] Irongut: Cobra only has one base
[11:57am] Irongut: The Thundercats.. 1 base
[11:57am] BadMojo: Superfriends only have one.
[11:57am] BadMojo: LEgion of Doom? One.

You only get one base because you're that much more badass.

Only 4 dudes and 1 base? Wtf?

Excitement level.. dropping. How can something so easy be so hard for developers... stupid consoles grumble grumble. I don't know if it's been mentioned yet, but this is starting to sound more like a XBLA title than a full game.. has there been confirmation of this either way?

Four guys + one base = I hope this isn't true.

Hypatian wrote:
Four guys + one base = I hope this isn't true.

They're talking about reducing it to only two guys. The base is also strangely.. cup-shaped.

OzymandiasAV wrote:

Just out of curiosity: since you keep referring to "farming" these base defenses, how often did your bases get attacked in a typical playthrough?

That depends on the difficulty setting and whether or not I'm farming, natch. When I'm farming aliens, I could set up a base to get attacked twice a month or more (on the hotter bases, as much as twice a week!). Of course, you won't always get that many attacks on the Normal diff setting, even when you put your base right in their faces.


I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this point. As I said earlier, the original X-Com design already contains a much broader set of mechanics than 90% of the games out there. I'm still not seeing why a change of pace is really necessary.

LarryC wrote:
This became obvious in Terror From The Deep. It got repetitive for many players.

Citation needed?

It's primarily from TFTD, but also on higher diff settings in XCOM. Later in the game, you're attacking sites with 20 bogeys or so, doing them on large maps. I armed my interceptors with the high power guns just so I wouldn't have to investigate the smaller ships, and have less to mop up on the bigger ones. Usually, I'd only use the minimum firepower necessary so I'd get more salvage.

Quintin Stone wrote:

Base invasions were the biggest slog in original XCom. You started out scattered and the base layout was typically going to make quick navigation very difficult. Farming items? Please. There's no reason to expect a bigger payoff from an invasion compared to a ship crash or terror event.

IIRC, terror events do not accrue enemy ship salvage, so they are the poorest mission in terms of salvage. Ship crashes can be lucrative in alloy and definitely a prime source of Elerium, but base invasions are the best in terms of alloy salvage, and tech - the most reliable way to get a live Commander is to attack a Sectoid base.

Base invasions are very lucrative in terms of material and reputation, but you can't farm them as often, since the aliens have to actually set them up first, and killing the base drives down UFO activity in the area in general - bad for farming.

MoonDragon wrote:
Can't say I'm pleased with removal of action points. As people already mentioned, it is a core mechanic of the original game. It seems they are trying to simplify action costs, by making things cost 0, 1, or 2 action points. There is no more granularity allowing for different types of actions. In my opinion, that loses a lot of tactical depth. Tactical depth that is at the core of XCOM games. Ah well... *shrug* I suppose it's better than that other FPS abomination. My excitement level certainly went from 10 to somewhere around 7.

Action economy streamlining doesn't necessarily mean that you get to do less action types. It just means that certain actions are coded differently, and are lumped into other actions as a type. For instance, in D&D 4e, both moving and standing from prone are move actions.

It is possible that action types were removed in the XCOM remake, but it's not because Time Units were removed.

complexmath wrote:

The two-stage encounters in TFTD were just too long in general. Between that and the fact that they were often on ships which sometimes meant going from room to room looking for one stray alien, and I'm amazed anyone had the patience to finish that game.

Motion detectors. They greatly reduce the amount of patience required. Still need lots.

The more I hear about this, the less interesting it appears. Beginning to sound like yet another X-Com in name only game.

New screenshot posted!

Spoiler:
Seriously? Can we refrain from the boom/bust cycle until there's some actual tangible information out there?

Okay, so digging around some more, it sounds like the 4-trooper limit is upgradeable through research. Still, it means those early encounters are going to be brutal.