Author Topic: A look at faction balance.  (Read 1589 times)

Offline mumble

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A look at faction balance.
« on: July 23, 2017, 07:02:52 am »
Ok, so factions currently seem a little lopsided in terms of balance between risks of different levels of forces, and I wanted to talk about this.

For level 1 enemies (lotus disciples, red dawn gangers, dagoon supporters / cultists (I count them as the same) and exalt infiltrators, their potential is very mixed : I'm not against unique enemy types, but I feel the threat level is very different

Hands down lotus grunts are the weakest and most boring, they usually have ABSOLUTELY TINY pistols which cannot pierce kevlar, and will almost never go through combat armor, or have melee weapons / throwing knives, which makes them a non threat at most ranges. this means I can practically ignore them, and its not uncommon to have me kill off all their leaders while ignoring the grunts for the most part and then have them surrender because they are such a very low threat.

Gangers / exalt infiltrators seem mostly fine : variably armed, a threat, but never severe.

Supporters of dagon suffer a bit of what lotus disciples do, but less : usually they have a decent gun, especially later missions, and I never feel I can completely ignore them, even if they are minor threat.

LEVEL 2 enemies

This is exalt grunts, priests, red dawn lads / pioneers, and witches / footmen (not sure what is what level, but this is how I'm organizing it)

Exalt grunts are pretty nasty, usually with guns big enough to make kevlar feel inadequate. Very satisfying to take down. Feels like an actual higher up, and feels like hes significantly more important by how he plays alone.

Lads and pioneers are mixed : sometimes they have great guns, othertime they are useless : lads I almost never have problems with, and I often prioritize a ganger with an AK over a lad with an uzi. Lads never feel like more of an additional threat, and pioneers are very spotty. I think they should have marginally better guns, give lads an mp5 at least. And giving the pioneer VERY minor camo might be a good bet.

priests and chosen :  honestly just feel like slightly amped up disciples of dagon, they have better guns sometimes, but certainly don't feel unique in any way. The chosen in particularly feels like a reskin of the priest, but with different research tree. Hes not noticeably better, or worse at anything, like at least the lad in red dawn is slightly less armored and weaker, but less of a dunce than the gangers.

Black lotus excels with its mid level troop, which makes it fun to fight and unique. Its witches are a bit unpredictable, troubles at close range due to the fireglove, while the footmen are trouble at long range due to snipers : they make their hapless grunts who are barely armed seem horribly under-prepared, which feels silly especially when attacking a hideout and seeing most of them with tiny pistols. Also, black lotus warriors, despite their melee stats, almost never get close enough to threaten. I figure HIGHER TU's and a bit of camo might help.

LEVEL 3 : high tier. Enemies in big bases.

First off, the obvious : the assassin from the black lotus. This guy is absolutely mean, and incredibly dangerous, though once you get incendiary grenades, hes easier to expose and kill. I've lost plenty of people to these guys from knives flying out of nowhere killing folks. Very fitting for a high tier enemy

The avatar from the black lotus is a very scary threat : lasers and flying, which freaks me out early on.  Very much a worthy challenge.

Dagons gilldogs : melee class brings its own weaknesses, but these are extremely nasty and dangerous, I fear them hands down the worst out of any threat dagon has.. which is sad because not much really comes close, Except maybe the deep ones with sonic pistols, but they are very rare.  They tank a lot of damage, and facing more than 1 legitimately scares me.

The dagon ultra priest (I forget his name) is a threat only marginally above others : hes a bit tougher and his staff is a bit dangerous, but I think I've only had 1 troop killed by him in any of my playthroughs. This again, isn't made better considering the rest of the crew is nothing special, besides the dogs. His psi powers would be a little more scary if it was used for something more than flinging acid balls. I suppose I wouldn't care if the priests, chosen, and desciples didn't seem so similar.

Exalt enforcers seem tough, just enough. Their guns and aim make me prioritize them, but they are well balanced, as is the coordinator.

Red ops from red dawn are good and effective : no complaints


With all this said, I have the following recomendations

First, fix the issue with black lotuses wacky balance : ninjas being an immense threat, and followers being a NON threat more of the time. I could argue ninjas could have slightly reduced camo (I can only see them in broad daylight from 2 tiles away) and possibly adjust throwing knives to have longer range slightly, but less damage. And make the followers more of a threat in later missions, later missions they shouldn't still be using clubs and pocket pistols. Give them a crossbow occasionally, an SKS, or even FN minini for one of them in big missions. And possibly give warriors a small amount of camo, so I at least cannot snipe them across the map, with them helpless.

Lads from red dawn usually have little pea shooters which cannot shoot straight : an upgrade to an Mp5, or  some kind of long arm would help, as even if pistols are powerful, the low damage and low range of them makes them very  easy to deal with.

Church of dagoon could use more variety in my opinion : what if the chosen was capable of channeling "the spirit of dagon" giving it increased damage resistance, but making it less graceful than the others? Give it a chainsaw in 1 hand, sawn off in the other and the tenacity of a chupacabra while being slow and lumbering, with zombie like regeneration : This would make it far more diverse, in my opinion, and would make me treat priests and chosen differently..I suppose my only issue here is them being so similar, and not exactly "less effective" but I feel the super natural elements of this could enable more fun ideas than exalt or red dawn.

I also think more should be done to distinguish red damn and exalt : exalt has their psi-clones, red dawn has there body enhancement program : why do these not seem to be prevalent in combat, while dagon and lotus have their quirks?

Anyway, take what you want out of this, I just wanted to point out these issues.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: A look at faction balance.
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2017, 07:56:47 am »
Many thanks for the useful analysis!

Some tidbits:
- Pioneers already have camo, and it's pretty good.
- Gave a small camo bonus to Black Lotus Warriors.
- Made small improvements to Black Lotus equipment (less light pistols everywhere).
- Chosen are already much buffier than Priests.

Offline HumanTraitor

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Re: A look at faction balance.
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 05:14:22 pm »
Personally, I would rate the Red Dawn higher: Starting from 3rd difficulty and above, they bring tons of firepower, manpower and explosives, which are deadly until you get your own grenades and especially smoke grenades. Pioneers also tend to have high-precision/heavy weapons which can turn your guys and gals into mince-meats and love using the aforementioned grenades. The Chinese criminal stereotypes aren't a threat at low-to-mid levels unless you do a night mission against them (moment in which ninjas will sneak around and backstab you) and same thing with the Dagon Cultists and EXALT.

At higher levels, I would rate Dagon Cultists as the highest thanks to their deadly Deep Ones and their even deadlier Gilldogs, which aren't bothered that much by smoke. Russians ironically are not that dangerous by then as by now you probably have smoke to give yourself a defensive screen, but they're still the 2nd most dangerous faction. Lastly, EXALT Enforcers and their Exterminators are not as dangerous as the high-level Black Lotus equivalent due the fact that the latter can fly.

In short, my final classification would be something like this:

Russian Red Dawn=Dagonites>Black Lotus>EXALT