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Author Topic: Weapon balance / meta  (Read 6127 times)

Offline TheCurse

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Weapon balance / meta
« on: November 02, 2019, 09:05:46 pm »
So since we got several dozen weapons in game and its about impossible to balance them perfectly right off, here´s a discussion topic about it.
Its not meant for small details (e.g. Shotgun should have 1 less dmg) but rather the meta (what do you expect from a weapon class / technology).

A lot of weapons are probably not meant to be useful and there´s some really strong equipment/tactics, so I´d suggest we collect what you´re primarily using to give data points to Solarius and other players of course.

There´s gonna be a lot of different opinions, so at least try to keep it civil  ;)

I´m using pretty much only minigun type weapons.
BlackOps minigun is imo a bit too strong, since you can fire 3 times/turn and take down 1+ enemies per salvo, even at mid/longer ranges. Or just deal 3x10x30 (or 50) dmg at short range...
Recently upgraded to scatter blaster, its strong but really good balanced. 2 salvos per turn (but 15 instead of 10 shots), so it deals much dmg but you can't kill that many weak units per turn.
Which brings me to the meta point about it.

Most of the time you´re facing weak enemies. Humans, Sectoids, Floaters etc., so its not about how much dmg you deal, but how many enemies a weapon can kill per turn.
Especially if you land right in the middle of them...
And sniping them from long range is rarely needed, since most enemies just suck at long range, you can just fire e.g. a minigun at 5% hit chance, if its 2 soldiers each firing 3x10 bullets, chance is thats gonna be enough... and some bonus kills if anything is standing next to it. ;)
On mid/short ranges sniper rifles may deliver serious dmg too, but very few shots, snap shots could be made cheaper for them.
Or maybe some nice special effects, like HE sniper ammo or such. HEIAP 50cal bullets exist...  8)
Currently i see not much reason using them, despite the long range appeal.
Min range makes no sense for me.

Blaster carbine completely replaces Blaster rifle, because with that accuracy you`d rarely need aimed shots, but snap/auto are far better for carbine.
(Thats what any of my soldiers too weak for armor+scatter blaster carry)

Can't really say much about SMGs or Shotguns, since after short trial i found no reason using them. Except macro SMG, which is nice late game for weak soldiers.
May be bacause they´re short range weapons, and getting close to enemies is kinda dangerous... >_>
As Solarius put it nicely, Nurgle-Type player... I´m keeping my distance and fire storms of bullets at things. And if there´s things in between or far away things, well... more bullets.

HMGs may be nice, but it seems minigun type weapons deliver comparable dmg/acc with significantly less firing cost.

Well thats all i can think of atm, maybe later more.
Pretty sure many of you made different experiences. Lets hear them  :)


Offline LytaRyta

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2019, 10:40:33 pm »
i would love to get, /( got) in X-Com such top-tier weapons like the famous *BFG-9k000* :o :P

..and also that "TS-Rays Negater" (Emitter)
« Last Edit: November 03, 2019, 12:12:39 am by LytaRyta »

Offline TheCurse

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2019, 10:51:15 pm »
well we got blaster launcher. way cooler  8)

just noticed, there´s another thing in weapon balance... price!
E.g. scatter laser is really cool, but you could just not that easily afford to equip everyone with one of those, if they´re like 200 elerium...
Or blaster missile half the map if each shot is 50 elerium.

Offline Arcalane

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2019, 12:12:16 am »
Most of the time you´re facing weak enemies. Humans, Sectoids, Floaters etc., so its not about how much dmg you deal, but how many enemies a weapon can kill per turn.
Especially if you land right in the middle of them...

Boy are you gonna be in for an unpleasant surprise when you meet the Gazers... ;)

I've generally not found saturating fire tactics particularly effective due to enemy dispersal, even in incredibly enemy-dense missions like Apocalypse Riots, Gang Wars, or Prison Breaks. Instead I've been opting for mid-low cost high-accuracy semi-automatics (black ops pistol pairs well with shields, for instance) backed up by one or two specialist weapons.

Whilst snipers are fairly mediocre early on, I think the auto-sniper shines as an example of snipers done right, in the right hands. The bonus accuracy and firepower from firing acc and reactions mean it's a real killer in the right hands, as my two specialist snipers have >200% aimed accuracy (so they can always hit targets beyond personal LOS, barring obstructions). Not only that, but the damage bonus means they essentially do double normal damage (giving them a 0-400% scale vs the baseline 0-200%).

Their burstfire turns - basically - into a rather expensive "delete enemy" button at closer ranges. That said, against soft targets I'd rather have pistols or autoshotguns for CQC.

I'm curious though; what do people prefer for nonlethal tactics? My teams use dart pistols in their QD holsters, as they have better range and accuracy than tasers and no need to close to melee like batons, but this has overhead with building ammo and researching the better ammo types.

Offline TheCurse

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2019, 02:46:01 am »
ye I´ve met gazers. Unpleasant little guys...
Takes like 3-5 full minigun salvos to take one down. Challenging, but not a real problem.
I´d imagine scatter lasers do a far better job here.
Really scary were lobstermen... it seems like they´re basically immune to any kind of bullets. Turns out tazers did quite well XD

As for non-lethal, I´m actually using stun rods (the one handed military cow prods), just due their sheer dmg output and light weight.

Interesting about the crowded missions... even with lack of reaction fire, miniguns just devastated the enemies. (not using supression fire though)
Early on its at least 2-3 guys per salvo. IIRC highscore was 5 or 6, but that was dagon guys. They usually fall fast anyway ;)
On what distance are you engaging with the pistols?
Don't have shields yet...

I pondered a lot about the auto snipers. But too expensive snap shots for me. Blaster carbine can do like 4 at 90acc...
Tried a bit with natashas sniper rifle with guys with 100acc. But sometimes it actually missed and not every shot was a definate kill, so i dropped it in favor of the usual.

What do you do against aliens? Pretty sure it won't be BlackOps pistols... ^^

Offline Marrik

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2019, 04:33:21 am »
For the Lobstermen and Swarmids, you need to use fire. Grenade launchers with incendiary rounds and flamethrowers take them out quick.

Offline X-Man

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2019, 07:27:07 am »
Man, it seems you fell in love with miniguns, so you can't see other options to do. And these options are exist.  ;)
A lot of (especially inicial) weapons are useless indeed, but I think that is not a question of poor balance, but the question of variety. Isn't it cool, when you are trying this and trying that and become to the right and lovely tactics by your own?
Basing on my own experience I can't say that any type of weapon has the real and uncounter advantage.

My main philosophical idea: if you'll make everything useful, you'll make this useless at the same time.  ;)

Offline Arcalane

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2019, 08:23:16 am »
On what distance are you engaging with the pistols?
Don't have shields yet...

Keep in mind when I say shields, I mean the full-size riot shields that take up one hand, not personal energy shields. As long as you have combat vests or tritanium vests, you can choose to give them a shield which improves their frontal armour by around 15-20 points or so. As such, a shield trooper is completely immune to 99% of incoming ballistic fire, and without the much higher penalties from the full-body armour.

Engagement range for shield troopers is around... I guess I'd say 12-15 tiles? The aimed mode is accurate out to 22 tiles too, but I primarily use snapshots as they're extremely cheap at only 18% TU and have a base accuracy of 80%.

Rookies get put into shield duty; they have a light, easy-to-handle gun and whilst they're considered expendable they're also well-protected and get plenty of opportunities to practice shooting at enemies. If they survive long enough (and so far, they have) they can be quite effective.

Honestly if I had the research done and enough ammo to spare I'd be issuing them laser or plasma pistols instead, but for now the blackops will have to do.

What do you do against aliens? Pretty sure it won't be BlackOps pistols... ^^

So far I'm early enough that I haven't skirmished with them very often, but for the most part the ones I do encounter are quite vulnerable to ballistics. I'm mostly trying to take captives at the moment though, especially engineers, so that means flashbangs, dartguns, and a lot of luck.



Man, it seems you fell in love with miniguns, so you can't see other options to do. And these options are exist.  ;)
A lot of (especially inicial) weapons are useless indeed, but I think that is not a question of poor balance, but the question of variety. Isn't it cool, when you are trying this and trying that and become to the right and lovely tactics by your own?
Basing on my own experience I can't say that any type of weapon has the real and uncounter advantage.

My main philosophical idea: if you'll make everything useful, you'll make this useless at the same time.  ;)

I think the fact we have Stats For Nerds makes it easier as well, because it allows us to make more informed decisions than the vanilla ufopaedia would. Things like rounds per mag, nonstandard range values (a very important factor; for instance the BlackOps SMG has much better effective ranges than the Mac10) and so on.

As for weapon types... maybe there's no clear overall 'winner' so to speak, but I'd say within certain brackets/groups there are undeniable best-in-class options. Early-game assault rifles/carbines for instance, I think the FAMAS is probably the best of the bunch - the AK is much too slow and the L85 not as accurate. They're then all largely made redundant by the blackops weapons, which can gradually be phased out in favour of energy weapons, and so on.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2019, 08:24:56 am by Arcalane »

Offline X-Man

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2019, 09:52:36 am »
I think the FAMAS is probably the best of the bunch

I prefer FN FAL/Galil - the most damageable among all rifles with average TU-cost. G-11 can be very effective on close/mid distances, because it allows to make 3 auto-shoot with effective range of 16 and accuracy 65%, but it contributes much bravery to do significant damage, despite its 15%-armor piercing.

Offline Mobling

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2019, 12:15:21 pm »
I have to admit, I am very much on the minigun train. The early game for me is a rush to miniguns, which you can get in around 2-4 months of research. After that, light and normal miniguns can carry me until I can equip the entire base with laser rifles. Even at that stage, miniguns are still a safer option for most missions. The only time my all-minigun tactic really doesn't work is when we get off the skyranger and see mutons or gazers. Back on the ship, boys.

I've seen many people say that miniguns aren't overpowered, and that they're just one of many types of playstyles. This is probably true. But for me miniguns make the game so much faster and (unfortunately) much easier. You can equip 12 soldiers with miniguns and 4 with special roles (medics or grenadiers or snipers and what not) and literally blast through most missions in under 10 turns, even HQ assaults. Black Lotus HQ in particular is laughably easy by just spraying a hail of bullets down each hallway and closing the doors. And any early sectoid UFO is a gimme if I have miniguns at that point.

For the sake of experimenting with other playstyles I should probably avoid purchasing a single minigun in my next campaign. Okay, maybe just one. Or two.

I admit that I have a problem. I may have to mod them out of the game to resist the temptation.

Offline X-Man

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2019, 02:20:27 pm »
Your cry was heard! http://prntscr.com/prty03
I'll check it out. And if I'll see 90% TU cost like in FMP miniguns... Well, I hope your flesh will burn in eternal flame! >:( ;D

Offline X-Man

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2019, 02:44:33 pm »
Okay... You may live, mortal ;D

Offline TheCurse

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2019, 04:57:55 pm »
oh that looks nice :)
still gonna totally abuse them. but it seems more fitting now. XD

For Nurgle!  ;D

so we got nothing yet on gauss/plasma/etc stuff...
anyone at that state currently?

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2019, 05:31:01 pm »
oh that looks nice :)
still gonna totally abuse them. but it seems more fitting now. XD

For Nurgle!  ;D

For Nurgle! 8)

so we got nothing yet on gauss/plasma/etc stuff...
anyone at that state currently?

Gauss/rail miniguns are a problem due to heat dissipation, even futuristic alien tech can't deal with this much heat.

A plasma minigun would be possible, but extremely expensive and not that practical - standard weaponry is good enough against standard infantry. The Blaster Launcher and plasma explosives in general are good enough to fill in the gaps.

Offline TheCurse

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Re: Weapon balance / meta
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2019, 07:29:02 pm »
gauss minigun would not be a problem due heat, but due weight...
but gauss would make a multi barrel gun obsolete anyway.
tech wise i´d expect a gauss gun to be very heavy and deliver massive kinetic dmg, even at mid/long ranges. auto fire is no problem. recoil maybe... ;)
(then again the high gun mass should counter it)
gauss would allow different projectile shapes though.

railgun on the other hand...
even more dmg. insane levels of dmg. not just purely kinetic, since on impact extreme heat is created. but projectile may deteriorate due friction. definately no auto fire...
and due extreme heat pretty sure no minigun either. except you have a salvo of every barrel fired exactly once.
railguns would generally be lighter than gauss guns.
maybe a max range, depending on gun/projectile size.

plasma could have a minigun i think. probably extremely heavy and high usage costs.
but what would you do with that many plasma shots...
(well i know what i would do  ;D )

on snipers I´d say the crucial part is cheap snap shots. look at the 50cal M82, you can empty the magazine very quickly actually. if you can stand the recoil. and of course its not aimed...