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Everything posted by Sorbicol

  1. Having got over my initial excitement at this announcement, there's a lot in what they've been saving that looks and sounds good and some not so good. I love the idea of orbital and land base maps and systems, I don't mind the 'quest' system as a replacement to goodie huts. As has been mentioned above that sort of works in Fallen Enchantress. If they could make modding that and creating your own quests easy and straightforward I could that becoming a real asset too. Still it does still sound very much like Civ in Space. Not necessarily a bad thing at all but here's hoping we hear more about some different mechanics as more details emerge.
  2. XCOM Enemy Unknown

    I've tried a few times and repeatedly got my arse handed to me. I can see it would be "manageable" with plasma weaponry and a high level squad, but I had too many one shot death scenarios right at the start (usually when I was behind full cover) for my rage to start bubbling slightly too vigorously to carry on. Bit harsh to go from a highly defended position to 3 dead and 1 panicking without being able to do anything about it. It felt a bit too random and not enough down to tactical skill, if you know what I mean.
  3. XCOM Enemy Unknown

    It's probably worth getting at least one play through on enemy unknown before moving on to enemy within. EW throws quite a lot of new things into the mix and it's easier to learn the basic tactics and strategy you'll need.
  4. Episode 243: Personal Highlight Reels

    That Newfoundland mission in XCOM:EW is a real gem that's for sure
  5. XCOM Enemy Unknown

    I think I've wrecked 2 or 3 campaigns by this same method......
  6. Episode 240: Enemy Within

    I think that depends on what you mean by no penalty. If you skip a DLC mission - slingshot or progeny - then that's it. Those missions don't reoccur. Their occurrence also seems to be randomised. Sometimes the Slingshot "friends in low places" is the first council mission I get, other times I have to wait until 3 or four have gone past before it comes up.
  7. Episode 240: Enemy Within

    Well this expansion is causing me more than a few problems, and I cannot, for the life of me work out why. All in all I really like it - it adds to the parts of the game that (for me at least) make it so addictive, and yet I also think it completely fails to solve the most basic problem with the game - that of the optimal path. I'll admit I appear not to figured that out yet, but underneath it all there it is - that path is clearly there, I just need to work out how to get it. I had one game where I got to the late mid game, but the new DLC missions and the Exalt missions (which are fantastic but cripplingly hard later on - are you just supposed to take the loss of cash and occasionally critical research time?) just wore me down and the subsequent lack of UFO missions left me horribly short on resources to sell and a massive cash flow problem. In the end, without access to a steam square in the base that was easily accessible it too me so long to get an elerium generator up and running I was being over run by Mectoids before I could respond, and that was that. It feels like the amount of Councul missions just gets in the way of the base game now, you need a fairly steady stream of UFO missions to get you through on the grey market and I had a month and a half spell with no UFOs at all. Since that playthrough, which didn't feel particularly hard in comparison to the base game, the problem I am now having is that of mission death. Because my god, my squaddies are dropping like flies! Someone has clearly taken all the thin men to shooting school (do they ever miss?!?), while the proportion of 90%+ shots (usually extremely critical ones that I factored into working out how to get to 90%+ in the first place) my soldiers are taking are missing is just gob-smacking. One miss at that 90%+ in a mission is one thing, but 3 or 4 is really, something else. I'm losing my entire squad 2 or 3 missions in, on classic, and in the base game that's just something that does not happen - my tactics aren't that bad and I've not changed them to go MELD hunting particularly. Coupled to the truly ridiculous amount of kills (10+ for some of them) now needed to get them levelling up and I've had to turn off ironman mode just so I can get somewhere with the game, next step, to my shame, is probably going to have to be normal level. I can only assume that for reasons I don't quite understand, they have made classic mode harder. Whether it obvious seeming things like increasing the aim value for the aliens, or little things like not having a steam generation level above tier 4 or having to excavate every sodding square before you build on it for the base infrastructure (I aborted one game immediately because it had 1 steam on level 5 in the far corner and no free squares) It just suddenly seems a lot harder. Frustratingly harder. And that's not fun. I just feel the balance is now all over the place, and in making the strategic side of the game more challenging it's really upset the flow of the missions on the tactical side. It also fails to do the little things like tell you you can repair MEC suits if their original owner gets kills, rather than just build a new one at great expense. Or have the flamethrower panic effect work properly where the aliens can move and shoot afterwards rather then spend the next turn cowering. I'm not sure I really want t play it on normal but at the moment classic feels more like Impossible on the base game rather than the excellent balance it was in the original. Punish my mistakes please, but don't have me repeatedly missing 90%+ shots, and have the aliens miss none of theirs mission after mission.
  8. XCOM Enemy Unknown

    Hmmm. I'm not sure. Getting a MEC and running effectively is very expensive. I think the gene mods, while more passive are more effective in the long run. Give one guy memetic skin for example, and just have him run off to collect all the MELD. Very OP.
  9. XCOM Enemy Unknown

    In every campaign I always find I get one mission where the RNG God decides to completely screw me over - either all the aliens spawn in one place and I am overwhelmed with little cover to manoeuvre through, or 70%+ shots consistently miss. It's usually a total squad wipe and then the mission after that one will be painstakingly slow and I'll get some bad injuries. It is recoverable, but it always hurts. All you can really do is make sure your B squad has a couple of colonels in it (I always have 2 snipers in my pool of soldiers with squad sight and double tap if I can get them that far. Essential) and have a couple of SHIVS handy too.
  10. Quitter's Club: Don't be afraid to quit the book

    Robert Jordan's Wheel of time series. After two books of that it was more than enough :-/. The other book I actively remember quitting (as opposed to just getting bored with an not finishing) was Tess of the D'urbevilles by Hardy. Never could get into that.
  11. XCOM Enemy Unknown

    Not necessarily but it'll very much increase the likelihood they will. You can have a country with maximum panic for a while, it's generally best to get them some satellite coverage before the end of month report though if you do.
  12. Steven Erikson and The Malazan Book of the Fallen

    I started reading these a couple of months ago and I've been very impressed with them. Having each book sort of self contained and just relating to the others where they need to certainly makes them flow a lot better and it doesn't drag the tale out to the point where nothing happens for chapter after chapter (I'm looking at you GRRM) They are still high fantasy (Gods, Magic and lots of rituals) but he does write it very well and grounds each race with very believable back stories of tribal culture and such. The blood and gore sometimes goes a bit over the top for me but then each to his own! If you like his books then I would highly recommend Joe Abercrombie's First Law series too. Fantastic series of 3 books with a definite beginning, middle and end, which have much the same feel as the Malazan books, maybe turning down the higher fantasy stuff a not h to make it all the more believable.
  13. Discworld

    I think it pays to read the first 3 watch novels in sequence - Guards Guards, Men at Arms and then Feet of Clay. That tracks the evolution of the watch from the arrival of Carrot, the role Vetinari develops for Vimes and how the watch then becomes what it is. You'll at least know who all the characters are in the other books (from Detritus through to Cheery Littlebottom) if you do that.
  14. Discworld

    Comes late to the conversation: As one of the UK listeners of idle thumbs (arriving via 3 moves ahead) Terry Prattchet's Discworld series is a sequence of books I've grown up with and been reading since I hit my teenage years. I'm now well into my late 30s. They are, in my opinion, some of the best works of UK fiction over the last 30 years or so. Some of them are genuine delights and well worth any book review: Mort, Guards Guards, Small Gods and my personal favourite Moving Pictures, are some of the most point satirical ruminations on the nature of death, authority, religion and Hollywood you are ever likely to read anywhere. To be sure the are a few disappointments in the series - Pyramids and Jingo spring to mind - but only really when taken in context of just how good the rest of the books are. Since his diagnosis of early onset Altzimers his output hasn't noticeably dropped yet (although I know he dictates his books now rather than typing them himself) but the quality has improved once again. He has also concentrate on clearly his favourite character, His Grace Sir Samuel Vimes which is no bad thing. I suspect of all his characters he is the one he most identifies with in the end. If you can find them, Sky TV over here in the UK did a series of adaptations of some of this books a few years ago. Some are better than others - The Colour of Magic didn't really hit the mark, but the Hogfather and Going Postal are both much better efforts and, if you can track them down that side of the Atlantic (which shouldn't be that hard considering Sky and Fox are owned by the same antichrist) then I would recommend them.
  15. Episode 219: Meeting of the Minds

    I thought that. Considering the niche Paradox has carved for itself I thought they would have realised kickstarter is as much a response to the major publishers not touching niche games as it is a nostalgia engine. There are lots of people out there who want to play RPGs in the mould of the old Bioware/Black Isle system, or a new Space Combat Sim (how did that genre ever die out?!?) I've been playing the steam early access build of Xenonauts all week, and it's actually really good. The best implementation of an X-COM clone I've ever come across. Don't get me wrong, I love the Firaxis reboot but there is more than enough room on my hard drive to be playing both.
  16. Episode 216: Lost in Space

    Cosian, you are making me want to give Distant Worlds a try - at least until I see the price tag! With an 18 month old to look after I can't really justify that kind of expenditure anymore How you've hit on one of things that I like so much about SotS too - that the galaxy is populated with Artifacts and other NPC races that make it come alive and it isn't just a blank space to be uncovered. Far too many 4x games seem to concentrate on expand and exterminate to the detriment of explore. There should be more out there than just "this planet has a nice herb that gives you +1 population growth". SotS covers that so well by having real artefacts for your ships to interact with during the combat phase, I think abstracting out the exploration side of the game really hurts the space 4x genre more than most. Space is supposed to be a big unexplored unknown, not something filled with +1 modifiers.
  17. Episode 216: Lost in Space

    Trithemius I agree with a lot if what you say there. Picking up on wants or needs, this is one of my major bugbears with space 4x games (something I've said before) and that ultimately all the alien races are just facsimiles of humans. Some might be slightly better at fighting, or spying (which I've never seen well implanted in any game!) or doing research or whatever, but their goals are still "expand empire and win". Generally by blowing people up. Genuinely alien races are most likely going to have completely different wants and needs to humans. You'd hope. OK, obviously you need to give human players a point of reference (after all if you don't want to do something then you aren't going to want your empire building space bears to do it either, probably) but them you just get a bunch of aliens all doing the same thing. Having them all aiming for different goals would be tactically challenging to say the least, but it could be very interesting. Quite how or what though probably needs a better strategic mind than my own!
  18. Episode 216: Lost in Space

    All that talk and nary a mention of Sword of the Stars? Broadly speaking however, I do agree with the thrust of Rob and Paul's points about the 4x space genre. However I have also banged on about this in other threads for other episodes so repeating myself seems a bit redundant. However considering my arguments where made in the "Building better worlds" episode thread ( I think that SotS in particular would address many of Rob's issues with the genre, with Kerberos managing to create a living, breathing galaxy full of genuinely different alien races, and then adding weird artefacts and gaming changing galactic menaces into the game as well. My issues with the MOO template is that it gets very dry very quickly, a criticism that I would level at Endless Space which ends up feeling like the gaming equivalent of a Hollywood film made by accountants (i.e. a film that makes money by just stealing bits from other films. "Olympus has fallen" probably being the best current example) In the end, as nicely put together as ES is, its a blank, flat board with chits that turn your colour and might have a +1 modification associated with them. There is an iOS remake of MOO called Starbase Orion and to be honest it's almost an identical game to Endless Space, only without the over enlarged "everything" that Rob was talking about with the scaling problem most 4x games have. SotS is without doubt the best Space 4x game I have played. It tries to address Rob's issues with the genre, and by and large it does so. It's not perfect by a long shot - shoddy UI, completely unintuitive and goes out of it's way not to help the player, but if you can invest some time in it and get to know it a little better it pays back in spades.
  19. Episode 215: Early Access

    I think they claimed it was fixed in the last patch but still a lot of reports of it happening. It's sort of intrinsic with the game mechanics though I think. All I can say is that it's not nearly as common as it was. Think I had it once in my last campaign. Cost me badly but I did recover. Think you died in that mission too :;
  20. Episode 215: Early Access

    The answer to that is "not quite". However it's certainly a lot better than it was. The main difficultly with the bugs is Ironman mode. Accepting a bad mission because you made a mistake or the RNG god was against you is one thing. Accepting a bad mission because of the teleport bug (which still happens) is something else. It doesn't really matter if you are playing it on normal - just reload. In Ironman mode though its a bit of an issue. Especially early in the game if it costs you a good squad. That said, don't let it put of you off playing it. The challenge is well worth it and you won't go back to normal mode once you turn on ironman.
  21. Episode 215: Early Access

    Yes. You really should ......
  22. Clearly I played GalCiv 2 with the galactic events switched off or something. Certainly don't remember the dread lords showing up in the sandbox mode. Endless space dabbles in this too the effects tend to be too eneamic to have much effect. I think if you are flu to have disruptive events then have really disruptive events - having the locust pitch up on your doorstep out the blue in SotS wasa truely horrifying event. Even if you survived you'd be completely battered at the end it. Just surviving could be an achievement afterwards.
  23. Games that nail atmosphere and immersion

    The Witcher 2 did this very well too. The impression the first time you walk into Floatsum is incredible - a living breathing town you just happen to walking into rather than some Hub who's sole existence is to provide quests. OK it's an illusion and if you spend too much time there it's exposed, but for those first 20 minutes just walking around the town and its environment, it's really really well done.
  24. Episode 201: Best of the Guests 2012

    Space 4x games are really about 2 things - expanding your empire and big spaceships blowing the crap out of each other using ever more exotic weaponry. If you abstract that side of the game too much then I think you on to a loser. As unwieldy as the space combat in SotS is, it does work on a visceral level and offers at least some level of strategy (if you know how to play it properly) Endless space (i prefer the name Infinite Space though!) suffered very badly to me because it abstracts space combat to a pointless card game. It's a shame because I think the rest of the game works really rather well. I'm also reminded of playing Battleship Gothic (Games Workshop's very short lived attempt at a spaceship combat game set in 40k) when I play games like this. It was a turn based tactical boardgame, with the different ships of the different races really working very different tactical options (heavy weapons platforms of the Imperium, hit and run tactics of the Eldar) over a grid board. Some like that adding tactic flavour to a strategic base game (bit like XCOM I suppose, or what Fallen Enchantress attempts to do) should work really well in a space 4x game, yet I've never seen a game that tries it out.
  25. Episode 201: Best of the Guests 2012

    I worry the fundamental structure of XCOM means that the scope of any future expansion is going to be limited. I think all they can really do is add another campaign, which is a shame as I think it exposes what XCOM lacks over X-COM - that feeling that it is game, not a simulation. Plus, as was mentioned in the podcast, they have to consider the nature of console expansions too. I think a sequel would serve the game better to be honest. Maybe with steam workshop support for the PC release to let the community play around with it and see what they can come up with. Jon - Regarding space 4x games I'm always slightly bemused that SMAC is referenced so much as an example of "how to make a space 4x game immersive". Fantastic though it is, I've never considered SMAC to be a 4x game, it is basically Civ but set on a different planet set in the future. It's a completely different setting to one where you are colonising a galaxy as opposed to a single planet. As for 4x with "flavour" I always think that Sword of the Stars does it best, taking the track of very different modes of expansion for each of the different races, and some variation in the techs for those races. To me that's how you would go about adding flavour in a space 4x. You can't plum history to fill the backstory, but in a true alien encounter each race should be using vastly different technology to counter each other, and that should the story - how do you communicate and how do you best/ally with another civ? I know from a game design point of view that's a massive challenge, but it SotS it works - at least for me. When you throw in the galactic menaces in that game as well, I think they add a massive amount of flavour to that game and really make it a very enjoyable experience, despite the glaring flaws in it otherwise. Those menaces are the only real proper Aliens (not human race facsimiles) I've really encountered in a game - races with their own goals and own methods who don't really bear you ill will but will flatten you just for being I the wrong place at the wrong time. I would love to see a space game that would let you play a race like that who's goals and objectives are not "colonise as many planets as you can and beat everyone else". Too many 4x games suffer from the problem that all the races are different but actually are all the same - One of the major flaws with Elemental too, as I am sure you are aware.