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Author Topic: Advice Needed: Help Me Balance Psi For My Next Playthrough  (Read 1797 times)

Offline Countdown

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Advice Needed: Help Me Balance Psi For My Next Playthrough
« on: March 04, 2016, 11:46:43 pm »
(TLDR version in red.)

Most agree that vanilla psi is way unbalanced. I'm starting a new campaign on superhuman and am seeking input on the best way to adjust it. I know a lot of the big mods already handle it in their own way, but I'm not comfortable enough yet with the vanilla game to go to something with a lot of changes. My playthrough will be mostly vanilla game mechanics except for psi (and blaster launchers - no waypoints for humans). There are so many things you can change with psi, below are some possibilities. Just looking for input from people who know the game and how things will change better than me.

1) I wanted to limit # of psi amps you can bring and limit # of uses (like medi kits). I don't think this is a ruleset option (correct me if I'm wrong), but I might just make this a self-imposed restriction. What's a fair number? 1-3 psi amps with 1-2 uses each?

2) TU cost up to 45 TUs or 100% TUs.

3) Make Ethereals immune to psi. Is there a way to increase alien psi defense without increasing psi offense?

4) Set a max range ... what is a fair number? I have no clue.

5) Require a researched ethereal commander for psi amp. (got idea from vanilla re-balanced mod)

6) In OXCE you can have Psi attacks cost health, energy, stun and morale:

-At first I thought great, 50-99% health and you can only do one attack in a mission, but problem,they will be in the hospital for over a month when you get back so that seems like too steep a price to pay.

-Energy seems like a good option, maybe 80-100% energy cost, stun doesn't really do much does it? and I'm concerned even if I had it cost 100% morale couldn't that artificially increase my soldiers' bravery because eventually their morale would go up to 40ish and they wouldn't panic.?

7) LOS for psi amp only (aliens can do normal). What are people's experience with LOS? But then logically mind probe would also be LOS and a LOS mind probe would be almost useless wouldn't it? My commander would just twiddle his thumbs all day in the sky ranger.

8 ) Training ... most psi skill comes from the field training, but if you severely limit the use it'll take FOREVER to get decent psi skill. And training for the sake of training is BORING. So maybe increase starting psi skill to 30-40 instead? - Is there a way to have psi lab increase skill by more per month? After 50 going up only by 2 per month is just a waste of time.


Basically, I have less problem with the strength of psi and more with the frequency it can be used. Being tactical and using it once in mission in a "clutch" moment is fine for me and I want it to be successful, but using it every turn gets old. Thanks for any input.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 11:49:53 pm by Countdown3 »

Offline Yankes

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Re: Advice Needed: Help Me Balance Psi For My Next Playthrough
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2016, 01:55:54 am »
@3 yes, you can calculate psi defense bonus based on any stat in OXCE.

Offline Cooper

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Re: Advice Needed: Help Me Balance Psi For My Next Playthrough
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2016, 02:21:23 am »
I have played a bit with TU cost 45 for psi amp combined with LOS, and its makes it quite balanced in my opinion. PSI soldiers will always have to be near the front line. A lot more fun :)

Offline Arthanor

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Re: Advice Needed: Help Me Balance Psi For My Next Playthrough
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2016, 08:16:22 pm »
You can make psi-amps require components from aliens. For example, you need one live psi-alien to make a psi-amp (ex.: to extract something from their brain). That way, you cannot spam psi-amps in the early game. Your first sectoid leader is "used up" to discover psi-tech, then you need another. This means that, barring bases (2-5 psi-sectoids) and battleships (2-4 psi sectoids), you need two sectoid terror missions in which you capture the one leader for your first psi-amp. That's a neat way to add scarcity to psi-amps.

Adding LoS (which requires to be within 20 tiles too for direct visual contact, as it's not LoF) to your psi-amps only changes the psi-game significantly as it is a lot more difficult to cover the whole map with all your psi-soldiers like you could with unlimited range and no LOS.

These two are sufficient for me. But I like the idea of using OXCE and apply stun and/or energy damage. Stun actually is relevant as you have to keep your soldier from stunning himself, and energy is a rather limited resources. Of course, you can have a medic stand next to your psi-soldier and use stims from medikits on him to help that. Morale is usually less of an issue since killing aliens gives you a huge morale boost.

If you want to tweak aliens, if I remember well psi-power is simply a function of psi-strength*psi-skill, whereas defense depends mostly on psi-strength. So you could double psi-strength and half psi-skill to get the same offense but twice the defense. The exact formulas (from which to get the stats for proper tweaking) are on https://ufopaedia.org.

Offline Countdown

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Re: Advice Needed: Help Me Balance Psi For My Next Playthrough
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2016, 09:28:23 am »
Thanks guys for the tips/ideas. Yankes, that definitely a very handy thing to have added in OXCE; didn't even realize that was there. And Arthanor, I like the idea to need to capture live aliens to make psi-amps. Would definitely slow down your psi progress/dominance. I'll check out that formula too and I'm sure that'll help me set some "fair" values.

Cooper, I did a test run and was actually surprised how much harder 45 TU/LOS made it. I thought it'd still be pretty easy, but even if you knew the alien was there (via another soldier), getting in the LOS with still 45 TU left was a challenge. (As Arthanor said, LOF doesn't = LOS).

However, still just a bit too much psi for what I'm shooting for. I tested it on this "unbeatable terror mission" I have saved. Without any psi use I'm dead after alien's 2nd or 3rd turn ... all 10 guys and the tank completely annihilated. With the 45 TU/LOS psi option and just three psi amps I beat it with 5 guys standing. Too big a swing for me so I'll keep tinkering with the different variables (probably add high energy costs) to make psi a little less a factor and get what I'm looking for. This was a good start for me though.


I think having the option for "one-and-done" psi amps (same modibility as medi-kits) would be great. Everyone will have their own preferences, but never hurts to have more choices.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2016, 09:30:50 am by Countdown3 »