Author Topic: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks  (Read 16904 times)

Offline wsmithjr

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Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« on: July 08, 2013, 08:32:45 am »
Started a new game on Veteran difficulty.  Have a bunch of mods installed (Combat Armor, Sniper Rifle, More Enemy Ships, etc.) but haven't fiddled with Psi to my knowledge.  Haven't changed the default ruleset, just added additional rulesets to it.  Had a terror mission with Sectoids at the beginning of February and thought it was odd that the aliens never attempted a single Psi attack against any of my soldiers.  Just now, shot down a Sectoid Harvester, and once again, not a single Psi attack the entire battle.  This time I know a Sectoid Leader was present because I captured him.  Anyone else find it odd that not a single attack in these battles?  There's no way I kept completely out of sight so they couldn't get a bead on me as I lost 3 soldiers in the assault and had a number of non-lethal shots taken at my soldiers.  I used to dread those early Sectoid terror missions because of the possibility of Psi attacks.  I feel guilty about picking up a Leader so "easily".

Offline Align

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 01:49:04 pm »
In vanilla, the AI cheats massively by knowing where all your dudes are all the time after spotting just one of your guys, at least as far as psi is concerned. Not so in OX, where the alien team needs to spot your guys on each turn - also meaning your frontliners will suffer psi attacks much more, even if they're not psionically weak.
At least, this is what I believe is happening...

Offline wsmithjr

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 03:35:18 pm »
In vanilla, the AI cheats massively by knowing where all your dudes are all the time after spotting just one of your guys, at least as far as psi is concerned. Not so in OX, where the alien team needs to spot your guys on each turn - also meaning your frontliners will suffer psi attacks much more, even if they're not psionically weak.
At least, this is what I believe is happening...

That sounds good in theory, but it seems to have really crippled the Sectoids.  Aside from reaction fire when I'm running around corners or out in the open, there doesn't seem to be any reason to fear the Sectoids anymore based on the 2 missions I've done that had the possibility of Psi attacks.

Offline kharille

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 03:39:30 pm »
I do play on superhuman and I acknowledge sometimes its time to quit.  But the way sectoids knew where your guys were and who was the weakest was really annoying.  Its like they had mind probes with unlimited time units as well as a full awareness of where your men are, which would not be the case.  Otherwise they could just pick you off at extreme long range with their guns.  As this is not the case I don't see why sectoids should have such overwhelming power.  I mean, even when we develop psi powers we can only apply psi attacks against aliens visible to myself.

Offline wsmithjr

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 04:06:40 pm »
I certainly agree with you about knowing where all your guys are and hitting the weakest one.  However, in my mind, the leaders should be able to psionically attack at least see the guys that other aliens see and try to hit those guys, strong or not.  The leader I captured was hiding out in one of the center rooms of the UFO.  No way he's going to see anybody from there until it's too late, but he should have been able to do something to at least the guys that had been seen by the aliens.  Maybe those 2 missions were just a fluke and the next one I'll get pounded by psi.  The vanilla behavior was completely unfair and often frustrating but my experience currently seems to indicate it has been nerfed too much.  But, I'll be happy to learn otherwise in a future mission.  Well ... relatively "happy" anyway.  ;D

Offline bulltza

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2013, 10:18:26 am »
I completely agree that PSI has become too weak feature on aliens in OXC. In vanilla it was very scary meeting the Sectoids, now however you can go with rockies as long as you kill early enough the aliens around. And if one of your soldiers is psi controlled, it is almost not a problem because you just need to move the nearest soldier in the direction of where you think the aliens are and kill the nearest one. However human PSI is extremely powerful when you know how to use it, and from that point the missions become boring because you allways win.

If Vanilla AI was cheating, I would suggest to put an advance option "Alien PSI behaviour" with 3 possible values:

  • Like it is now PSI works like in humans, aliens can PSI atack enemies in the FOV of any of the aliens
  • Enhanced version of what it is now, PSI units can sense enemy units that are closer than 2 times the distance of the original FOV. Alien however can not know the unit location, only sense it and attack it with PSI but not allow other aliens to shoot the sensed unit. This means that an alien with PSI power can attack humans that are at least at a distance of 2 times its original FOV distance limit and even if they are hidden behind obstacles. Then the original equations for the PSI attacks is kept. The assault of a ship would become especially scary because the commander in its room would be able to make psi attacks to any human entering the ship. And that would feel a lot like vanilla
  • Like vanilla, PSI units will attack to any soldier that is not in FOV as soon as one of the humans are spotted by aliens

Maybe I should have put this under "suggestions"?

Offline Align

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2013, 12:30:01 pm »
4. Psi-attacking a unit grants a psionic lock-on of sorts, allowing psi-attacks on that unit again at any time
5. Similar yet different, any spotted unit remains psionically attackable even if not currently visible (think of it as being able to make a specific unit out from the background noise after seeing it clearly)

(#5 is probably the better one of those two, as it's very powerful while still being manageable - you can work around it to some degree, but it's the kind of thing that'd easily go horribly wrong. And enemy psionics should be scary, so that sounds good to me...)

Offline Warboy1982

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2013, 06:56:11 pm »
actually, we currently use model #5, which is essentially the same as #3.

Offline Align

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2013, 10:06:34 pm »
So there's some other reason we're not getting constantly psi-assaulted? I'd heard the success rate is affected by the range-based accuracy option, and I guess the AI wouldn't bother trying if the chance to succeed is too low?

Offline wsmithjr

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2013, 04:04:52 am »
So there's some other reason we're not getting constantly psi-assaulted? I'd heard the success rate is affected by the range-based accuracy option, and I guess the AI wouldn't bother trying if the chance to succeed is too low?

I've had that enabled for my game.  I had a save before my Skyranger landed at a Sectoid Harvester, so I replayed that mission with the range option turned off.  While the entire mission itself was completely different, this time the aliens actually used Psi and even MC'd 2 of my soldiers.  It even Psi-attacked some of my soldiers who currently couldn't be seen on that specific turn ... so must have been seen earlier.

One battle does not a case make, but given the first 2 battles where not a single Psi attack was even attempted to this last one is a significant difference.  Without knowing how everything works under the hood, I would suggest that the range-based accuracy option NOT apply to alien Psi attacks.  Or alternatively, have a separate option specifically for Psi attacks.  For humans, it's probably a good balance to the brutally over-powering Psi campaign the player can generate towards the end of the game.  And in-game, the rationale for it to apply to humans and not aliens makes sense to me.  Humans may be very strong and learn very quickly, but the aliens have been doing this for thousands of years (don't think the back story actually defines how long) and so obviously, they have a few tricks up their sleeve that humans can't yet match.

I really like the idea of the range-based accuracy option, but think I will turn it off until it's tweaked a little bit or we're given more options for its control.

Offline wsmithjr

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 08:49:30 am »
One battle does not a case make, but given the first 2 battles where not a single Psi attack was even attempted to this last one is a significant difference.

In the interest of fairness, I will say that I repeated that battle 2 more times and the results were inconsistent.  The first time was with ranged accuracy back on and I did experience 2 or 3 separate mind attacks, but not as aggressively as the previous attempt.

The second battle was with the option back off, and I expected to see many more mind attacks but actually none were conducted.

Perhaps by the 3rd time seeing that battle, I was much more efficient in clearing it safely (as the setup was identical all 3 times) and so perhaps that can account for the difference.  I also did capture the Sectoid Leader on the 2nd level of the ship, earlier than the previous attempt.

Still, at this point, I have to admit I don't know.  Too bad, as my theory seemed to make good sense to me. :)

Would be interested to hear other's test results if you're inclined.

Offline Phezzan

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2013, 04:10:32 am »
? Are you playing 0.9 or the newest source control.

AFAIK there are at least two differences between 0.9 and current:

- an inconsistency between the AI's evaluation of your psi defence and your actual psi defence.
  I believe 0.9  assumes  you're  slightly stronger than you actually are.
- a newer build doubled the range penalty.

These were relatively small changes - I doubt they'd prevent you from getting psi attacked ... but
If your entire squad has good Psi Strength, I could see it not bother attacking.

Roll a random battle against Ethereals - They will Psi you unless you've hit some horrible bug.

Offline wsmithjr

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 05:25:33 am »
Thanks.  I've been using the night builds, but that was a while ago so I have no idea what version I was using at that point.  Since then, I've gotten a lot of missions with Ethereals.  They do use psi attack, but not tons of them.  I can't say for certain, but when I recently got the Psi labs online, none of my squad had a rating of higher than 50, and more than half were less than half that rating.  So, it probably wouldn't have been because my soldiers had a psi rating that was too high, though I undoubtedly lose several who potentially had much higher ratings.

Anyways, in recent battles, I've definitely seen psi attacks.  Haven't run into many Sectoids recently to see if they can manage anything significant.

'Course, in one particular battle, that raised another issue.  I had my entire squad outside the skyranger attempting to shoot at something or other.  On two separate occasions, a soldier was mind controlled and did absolutely nothing except wander a few spaces away.  I seem to recall the original xcom being punishing when those guys would get controlled and kill everybody around them with either a grenade or auto shots.  In each case, I simply walked over, stunned the controlled soldier and went on the with battle.

I know the AI is being worked on, and my last battle with the most recent night release yesterday saw 6 Sectopods in a downed terror ship completely destroy my squad.  Maybe the RNG giveth and the RNG taketh away.... :)

Offline Warboy1982

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2013, 07:17:48 am »
i've altered the psionic attack handling somewhat drastically, the frequency and success rates of alien psionic attacks should be roguhly 99% in-line with vanilla, and it should no longer cause aliens to hide in a corner if they're psychic, they should patrol properly and assess combat situations more logically.

Offline wsmithjr

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Re: Alien/Sectoid Psi attacks
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2013, 05:10:24 pm »
Very cool. Thanks . . . I think.   :P