Author Topic: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed  (Read 6019 times)

Offline Jojo

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Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« on: September 23, 2022, 05:24:31 pm »
It's only August 1998.

I have 18 manors on my map.
Superhuman difficulty.



Many of them have migs.
They shot down your planes with 1300 speed fighters. (this base gets immediately intercepted)



I was notified only about 2 Manors.
I took one out (Exalt) but it was EXTREMELY difficult with little reward and many casulties.
I did every mission available to me.

Seeing 18 of them feels bad.

Offline Magat0r

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2022, 06:43:40 pm »
I have the same exact experience, I'm probably a dozen SH/I runs in and all end in similar fashion - no matter how well I perform against the cultists (or how bad, for that matter), by mid-late 1998, there is *always* 20 manors around the globe. This wouldn't be so bad if some of them didn't already evolve into launching Migs, which completely hinders you from playing the game. Yes you can bait them but surely it is not intended to have this amount of Manors while closing 90% of all cultists cases. Migs of your own are gated behind promo 3 and several research projects, so the absolute earliest you can get this is by late 1998 and even then, you would go equal.

Another issue (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that the Manors seem to generate negative score every month? I did fairly well in certain months but ended up having negative score in the thousands, the mission score (or event/despawn score) didn't add up at all to this.

In summary, I thought Manors are there to punish players that are too passive on the geoscape and not be something you can't avoid being swarmed by.


Offline Alex_D

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2022, 11:58:59 pm »
In my previous campaign (technically current as I haven't played in a while), I had dozens of Manors, bases, and Hybrid things. The most annoying were the Hybrids as they popped up dozens of fast attack crafts.
The good news are the crafts can be defeated by most of X-Com interceptors. A good thing to get bonus for the pilots.

As for the Manors, once everything has been researched, just bombard everything and everyone with no mercy and extreme prejudice. These are good training missions for 1/2 of the squad who might be still rookies. Just pay attention to the reinforcement areas. Those nice ambush zones are a two-way street.

Offline Juku121

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2022, 12:11:52 am »
This is strange. By August '98, you've had 11 occasions for the manor-generating script to run, with 32x3% chance each time. So the expected number of manors ought to be 11*32*0.03 or near enough 11. That is, one per month. My own experience tends to reflect the roughly one per month nature of manors.

There's of course the tiny chance that you get 30 manors per month, but it shouldn't happen all the time.

AFAIK, difficulty should not affect mission generation, so Superhuman should not matter. Perhaps I'm wrong?

'Many of them have MiGs' is probably the fact that manors are coordinated to all stay roughly at the same tier, and so upgrade every 8 months on average. Although you should be seeing other fighter jets as well, unless your Earth has been taken over solely by Red Dawn. :D

...surely it is not intended to have this amount of Manors while closing 90% of all cultists cases.
You obviously don't know Solarius. :P

Migs of your own are gated behind promo 3 and several research projects, so the absolute earliest you can get this is by late 1998 and even then, you would go equal.
Eh, depends on the weapons. Avalanches are an auto-win button. Stingrays are a crapshoot, true.

Theoretically, you should be getting to Interceptors by the time the invasion starts, and those are pretty good against cultist craft.

Another issue (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that the Manors seem to generate negative score every month?
Yep, all 'alien' bases do. Though the worst you get from even the biggest  manor is 5*30 = 150 a month. 20 of them would be pretty bad, though.

Edit: The bigger problem is that high-tier manors can upgrade as well, and those missions are much harder. Hybrids, Golden Academy, extra High Temples.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2022, 12:15:00 am by Juku121 »

Offline termidor

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2022, 02:51:17 am »
Honestly  my main issue with manors is how repetitive they are. I think it is a fun mission, but having to repeat it 11 times is a bit ...ugh. And yeah if you are behind the curve they just hit too hard. Imo would make most sense to then being rarer and not spawn jets until late 98 probably 99 specially considering how sometimes you can be locked out promo III for a big time.

Offline Magat0r

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2022, 01:44:39 pm »
So every of my campaigns so far depend on the rng god, gotcha. Having every faction with 8 rolls at a 3% chance per month to spawn a manor is imo not a good design.

Offline Juku121

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2022, 02:44:11 pm »
Well, maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps Superhuman does have an effect, perhaps there's some other source of manors that I'm not aware of, perhaps my experience is tainted due to frequent reloading, etc.

Appropriately enough, this is my 404th post here, too. ;D


And, yes, this mod has a bunch of strange choices in it. Comes with the territory, mods are by default somewhat idiosyncratic. Fortunately, in XCF most such things are easy to change yourself. Well, sometimes it depends on your tolerance for mindless busywork. :)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2022, 02:45:57 pm by Juku121 »

Offline Magat0r

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2022, 03:58:05 pm »
Yeah personally, I cant play these types of games without true ironman but it feels like some of the difficulty spikes in this mod are more geared towards save scammers and not balanced around ironman. I will see if my current run fails again due to manor spam and if yes, i will try to change the spawning to start around month 14 instead of 10.

Offline Vakrug

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2022, 11:32:09 am »
it feels like some of the difficulty spikes in this mod are more geared towards save scammers and not balanced around ironman.
I personally think this mod is balanced around "player already knows everything about this mod and what mod can throw at a player". This is definitely true about research tree in early game. I don't think this is absolutely bad. After all there are only 2 possibilities: either game is balanced around experienced player or not. And both are equally terrifying...

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2022, 07:35:21 pm »
There' a simpler explanation: the mod is WIP, and balancing happens in unpredictably stochastic steps. :P

Offline the nomad

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2022, 11:47:45 pm »
I gotta give feedback and say that I stopped playing the mod due to manors. I explained my problems with them in another post. It is not that they are not doable on iron man, but I just don't see why and how there are a lot of manors already tougher than the cults' HQs (there are certainly more enemies) around August/September. I mean I am facing 90+ enemies on the third difficulty. I do think the idea is good but needlessly excessive.

In my opinion there are three ways to nerf the manors:
 
1) Make them easier relative to your tech the first months they spawn, so it would be your fault if you let them progress. They are already very dangerous when they spawn, and there are quite a few.
2) Decrease their evolution speed. I don't want to fight that many enemies around August, certainly not with those cheating reinforcemets that begin to attack you the moment they spawn, especially when you have no idea where they'll appear and thus take proper cover etc.
3) Or the manors should be gone when you terminate their respective cults.
4) Or at least give us better ways to shoot down their crafts, or better undercover crafts before Promotion III.

As I said, just my feedback.

Offline Juku121

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2022, 12:25:38 am »
While I generally agree that (especially tier 3) manors are too much, I do have to point out that:
  • Manors already have a 6-month grace period when they don't upgrade.
  • Lower-tier manors don't have reinforcements, and only the same kind of equipment as regular cultists. Not sure how one could reasonably nerf their 'tech'.
  • Manors don't self-propagate, so killing off existing manors does nothing to stop more manors from showing up.
  • You're supposed to be able to start engaging UFOs in 1999, so being able to fight regular jet fighters 4-5 months earlier is not a big stretch. And actually makes your own MiGs useful for once.
Personally, I'd do away with the 32*3% business and make each cult 25% likely to create a manor per month, or thereabouts. And delay tier 3 manors till October 1998, give or take a month.

Oh, and give cultist HQs some reinforcements. >:D

Moving MiGs and Stingrays from Promo III to Promo II would also be nice.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2022, 12:30:40 am by Juku121 »

Offline the nomad

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2022, 04:43:55 am »
Yeah, I don't know the exact mechanics behind them, and didn't know they had fixed 6 months where they don't upgrade. But I seem to remember the circle around them getting bigger before 6 months passed. Maybe I discovered them late.

Still they are pretty difficult the first time they spawn. So maybe the best moment to strike them is later in that 6 months period, where you have developed your tech more and they stayed the same. However there are still a lot and a few of them will most likely slip by, at least with my progress speed with the game. I mean this knowledge won't help with my problems much.

With my previous playthroughs, the earliest I've unlocked Promotion III was still November. Add the time to do the proper researchs etc. I don't think I can get jets that fast. I do agree if MIGs were unlockable before Promotion III it would help. To be honest those Little Birds are pretty pointless in the game IIRC (been a while I played). You don't need to attack any cult crafts until they start to go faster than your transports, and once they do most of the time they'll destroy those helicopters.

Overall I still think the best fix would the destruction of manors when the cults are terminated. That way it would give the player a very good reason to rush the final assault and until then we'd have to play cat and mouse stealth games with them as intended, and this would actually make us feel rewarded when arc is complete. I don't even feel like I terminated a cult at this state, as basically I still need to do a few missions more difficult than HQs. The downside to this is you wouldn't 100% need to attack a manor outside of loot and flight security, but it'd still be better.




Offline Juku121

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2022, 10:11:09 am »
But I seem to remember the circle around them getting bigger before 6 months passed. Maybe I discovered them late.
Most likely.

Still they are pretty difficult the first time they spawn. So maybe the best moment to strike them is later in that 6 months period, where you have developed your tech more and they stayed the same.

I mean this knowledge won't help with my problems much.
My comment was more aimed at how it'd be hard to meaningfully nerf tier 1 manors while staying 'realistic'.

Striking at a specific time is hard because there's little in-game info to tell you how old a manor is. Maybe you spotted it late, maybe it's been rolling snake eyes on its upgrades for a while, etc.

To be honest those Little Birds are pretty pointless in the game...
Well, you get some score and pilot experience out of using them. But, yeah, far from necessary. If Solarius makes more interceptable mission-spawning cultist craft, then maybe they'd have a role.

Overall I still think the best fix would the destruction of manors when the cults are terminated.
You could also just disable the interception missions upon cult termination. You'd still want to clean up the globe at some point, but a decapitation strike would actually have teeth then.

Manor-spawned missions have a strange progression ATM, too. At least the infiltrations got fixed.

Offline Vakrug

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Re: Cultist MANOR spawning rate and evolution speed
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2022, 11:23:00 am »
But I seem to remember the circle around them getting bigger before 6 months passed.
What I hate about mansions is that after certain date they spawn as level 2 and after another certain date they spawn as level 3. This is not realistic and fair. This basically means you almost guaranteed to lose Osprey to Migs at some point. The nerf I want for mansions is so that mansions will spawn as level 1 at any date and only their upgrade time is decreased over time.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2022, 01:30:18 pm by Vakrug »