This week I have been mostly playing...

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SleepingDragon

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SleepingDragon » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:59 am

We had a very different experience with Stardew Valley, the game was just so laid back for me. I very quickly settled for a small but steady and easily managed crop income which left me plenty of time to do whatever I wanted. It never really felt like I was in a hurry to do anything because hey, if it takes me another season to get this thing what's the rush? Interestingly enough I also rapidly lost interest sometime in the 2nd year, soon after I got hitched, by this point I explored most of the game, discovered most of what there was to discover about the characters and while I'm aware I'm missing some endgame content getting to it mostly requires some season specific things and/or repetitive activities and from what I read doesn't seem all that interesting. I might start another playthrough in a couple years when I forget most of the game and I will readily admit I'd hand over a couple bucks for a DLC that oiffers new things to discover. Oh, and the friend I do multiplayer with may pressure me into running a farm with him if they ever launch the multiplayer mode.
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Wide And Nerdy

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Wide And Nerdy » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:38 pm

Tried out Middle Earth Shadows of Mordor because it was really really cheap on Steam. I'm having a hard time getting into it. Its not hard to play but I don't know what I'm fighting for. Why do I need to kill this many orcs again? I wasn't paying close attention to the opening.

All I'm thinking the entire time is "I wish Skyrim had this fighting system." But it strikes me that the system would have to be retooled to incorporate monsters. That Batman/Mordor style fighting seems designed for fights with humanoids.

But having that and especially having the Nemesis system would fit right in with what Bethesda seems to be going for with their Fallout and Elder Scrolls games. Emergent systems stacked on a large play space.
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Sudanna

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Sudanna » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:22 pm

There are a few monsters to fight in SoM. It's clearly not where the mechanics excel, though.
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Wide And Nerdy

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Wide And Nerdy » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:44 pm

Then they could take a page from The Witcher 3's combat system. This would require a bit of tweaking of their encounter design but man, if there's something my most recent return to Skyrim has driven home its that the game clearly just needed one or two more major things. It could have done with New Vegas's writing, a Witcher 3 or Mordor style combat system, some kind of traversal or verticality like Fallout 4 or to a greater extent Just Cause 3 had. Just one or two more major things.

Or maybe I just feel that way because I can mod away most of the issues of the game and its just the one or two things left that keep it from being the All-Game. The elusive game that has everything.
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:59 pm

Wide And Nerdy wrote:Why do I need to kill this many orcs again?


Because theyre there.What else are you going to do in mordor?


Wide And Nerdy wrote:I wasn't paying close attention to the opening.


The gist of it is that they killed your family and you,then this elf ghost zombified you and merged with you.

Wide And Nerdy wrote:It could have done with New Vegas's writing, a Witcher 3 or Mordor style combat system, some kind of traversal or verticality like Fallout 4 or to a greater extent Just Cause 3 had. Just one or two more major things.


Saints row 4 it is.
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Sudanna

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Sudanna » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:35 pm

. . . ew
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The Rocketeer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby The Rocketeer » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:18 pm

Played through a little game called LiEat in a little under an hour.

LiEat is a game I bought entirely because of its premise, which is always a terrible idea. As I understood it beforehand, you either have or are a dragon that eats lies. The art used to advertise the game is of some girl with a weird little cutesy black creature; I assumed that the girl was your character and the monster was the "dragon." As it turns out, the girl is the "dragon" and the little monster is the physical form of a lie. "Dragon," in the setting's logic, essentially just means a person with some specific X-Men power of some kind, like eating lies, or manipulating shadows, etc.

LiEat is made in some sort of RPGMaker-like program. It might be RPGMaker; I don't know enough about it to say. The game consists of three short stories largely unrelated but for the two principal characters and some recurring side characters. In each of the stories, you roll into town and discover some sort of mystery or deception, which you sort out by sussing out and eating the lies of the people involved. The mechanical basis for the game is... well, there mostly isn't one. There's turn-based combat, but it's very token and there isn't a lot of it. There aren't any random encounters to pad the length, leveling (to the extent that it matters) is very rapid, and I never felt any threat of actually losing a battle. Which is all fine; the combat is more of a story element than anything, a way to lend a sense of action to the resolution of problems. Now, having established that the game isn't about combat, the next natural assumption is that the game is based around logic or puzzling, getting to the bottom of mysteries and comparing people's testimony with evidence, right? Well, that's there, but to about the same degree that combat is there. It's really a means of demanding player input before continuing dialog; you won't give yourself a headache trying to sort out the next kink. You also generally know the resolution to the mystery around the same time you begin controlling your character after each episode's opening, as well.

Really, the whole appeal of the game is its cast and a sense of charm. There's some good characters and light humor throughout. There's a pretty good amount of text, but the dialog never drags, which is a credit to the translator. I guess I give the game a big shrug. It never annoyed me or excited me. I paid a couple of bucks for it and I got my money's worth.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Trix2000 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:56 pm

The Rocketeer wrote:LiEat is made in some sort of RPGMaker-like program. It might be RPGMaker; I don't know enough about it to say.
I would assume it is, since it is tagged as such and had some distinguishing hallmarks from the engine - though it has been significantly modified and uses custom assets, so it can be hard to tell.

It turns out you can do a hell of a lot with RPGMaker if you're willing to really put effort into systems and details. It's just often easier for people to skip that for some (or most) things and use a fair amount of the default stuff (which isn't bad, but sticks out if you've seen it before).
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SpammyV
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SpammyV » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:43 am

After Space Funeral I wouldn't be able to take seeing stock RPG Maker assets again. But then Space Funeral is kind of the epitome of self-aware RPG Maker games.

The twist of Space Funeral is that the reason that everything is ugly, poorly drawn, distorted, grotesque, and runs off of dubious dream-logic is that the king made his way to the City of Forms (as in Platonic Forms, as in the ideal form of a thing) and realized that nothing in his realm could ever be so beautiful, and so everything became horrifying.

In other words, the creator realized he could never make something that looked better than stock assets. Once you beat him, he tells you to enjoy perfection and everything turns into RPG Maker stock assets again.


I don't know why I'm still moved by the brilliance of Space Funeral to this day.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Trix2000 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:20 am

The main problem I have with the stock assets isn't so much their quality (it's all pretty well done, and I actually like some of the music quite a bit) as it is the fact they're available for everyone who owns the maker to use, so they're automatically less distinct/unique as a result. This is not helped by me being very familiar with most of them.

I do like that they've been working to improve this in some fashions - MV now has a fairly robust character maker, for instance, so you can at least have fairly interesting/unique characters without needing to draw up a physical character design yourself.

If nothing else, though, they make GREAT placeholder assets so you can make something semi-complete out of them and save the difficult/expensive creation step until much later (or not at all, if not gearing for a serious release). This has been part of what's made it an ideal system for me to work with, because I can't draw or compose to save my life.
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SleepingDragon

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SleepingDragon » Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:19 am

Yeah, I don't want to condemn people for using the default assets but after I binged on free RPGMaker games several (if I check I'll probably find out it was more like 10) years ago I became really familiar with the default asset pack for that iteration of RPGMaker and it became a bit tiring to look at the same sprites over and over again.

On an unrelated, I'm finished with Dark Souls 2, after I got through the DLCs I was so ridiculously overlevelled I breezed through the endgame almost without stopping. I did pass on a couple optional bosses (most notably the two in the Iron King DLC) but at this point I honestly don't feel like going back for them. Right now I'm planning to finish my replay of Arkham Origins and, since I'm leaving on vacation for a week, maybe squeeze in some short indie title, or play one of the roguelikes that are eternally rotten in my library.
Steve C

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Steve C » Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:37 pm

I started playing Jotun. I bought it as part of a Humble Bundle a while ago and never tried it. Since it is free right now, I decided to actually play it. I believe developers accomplished making the game they wanted to make. The problem is that it is extremely boring. I agree with all the reviews that praise it. It is beautiful and charming. I also agree with all the criticism. It is excruciatingly boring. The boss battles looked interesting. They aren't. If you did not pick up this game for free then you didn't miss anything.
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bitterpark

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby bitterpark » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:40 pm

Been trying out a bit of Dead Cells.

It's one of those games where you start playing it and go "why is this in Early Access, they can just release it right now!". But then, after you give it a dozen hours, you realize "no, actually, maybe let it bake some more".

The action is very fast and visceral... for the first couple of levels. Then, the game's diablo-style incremental item progression system comes into its own, and ends up shooting the combat system in the foot: because the game has a bunch of item tiers and status effects and stats, it needs the enemy health bars to be granular (i.e. large) enough to accomodate all that.

Essentially, when you start with your baseline gear and stats, the enemy health is perfectly attuned to those, and it plays like an action game: enemies die quickly, and you fly through them like a hot knife through butter. Then, after a couple of levels, you get a random spread of items and stats and your power curve goes all over the place, while enemies become very tanky, and the combat becomes slow and extremely spammy.

It reminds me of Risk of Rain, which kinda had the same problem of spammy fights that are less about precision, and more about throwing out your crowd control AOE abilities and getting out of the clusterfuck before all the enemies in a crowd can hit you at once.

In addition to weapons, there are Skill items in the game, mostly in the form of bombs, that break the balance and encourage very boring play: they fly in an arc and bounce off walls, in a game where almost all enemies are confined to their platform. Between that, the Dark Souls inspired punishing health system that only allows you to take a couple of hits, and the stunlock and spam heavy enemy attacks, the best strategy is often to stand on a ledge above the enemies and throw grenades down until everything dies. And the grenades are infinite.

But there are a lot of positives too. The weapon and skill selection is randomized each run, which makes the game very replayable and addictive, and the weapons work differently, and are varied enough to make every run feel fresh.
Another decision that I really like are the timed doors: every level after the first one has a special door that closes if you don't get there fast enough. Effectively, this enables you to mostly skip the early levels and go for the speed doors, which will give you enough goodies to compensate for everything you've missed by not exploring properly. This is great design, because the game relies heavily on learning enemy behaviour: most of the difficulty in a new level comes from getting used to all the new enemies and the attacks they do. So, once you've mastered a certain level, instead of making you do it over and over again the game presents a new tier of challenge: now master doing it quickly. I think this is a really interesting touch.
That said, it's good design in theory: in practice, the timed doors don't actually give you enough to compensate for all the stuff you miss not doing levels the slow and boring way. And, because enemy health ramps up so quickly, it becomes progressively harder to actually get to those doors in time, especially since the time they give you doesn't change: it's always 3 minutes 30 seconds per level.

All in all, I find the game very addictive, but not quite as fun as it probably could be. Early Access is a fitting place for it: the devs have thrown a lot of items and mechanics into the pot, and should be able to slowly figure out what works and what doesn't and make an actually balanced game. As it stands though, the economy and the power scaling of things is all over the place, and the lategame becomes a slog, but the average run lasts less than an hour, so it doesn't get too stale before its over.
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:58 pm

bitterpark wrote:while enemies become very tanky, and the combat becomes slow and extremely spammy.


That actually depends on the weapons you unlock.If you go with the precision weapons,like the whip and the knives,then yes you have to play it slow and methodical.But if you go for the fast sword,or the backstab dagger,then you can clear out even the big enemies in seconds.The problem is that the more weapons you unlock,the less you can customize your early game.A toggle at the beginning would rectify this,I think.

As for its current build,just go for the fire.Fire is your friend.Burn everyone!.....In the game,I mean...
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Wide And Nerdy

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Wide And Nerdy » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:22 pm

I'm running out of Skyrim to play but I want to keep playing so I picked up Beyond Skyrim Bruma. Looks good so far. Voice acting is as good or better than the main game (low bar to clear but the point is, its not immersion breaking). The music fits as well. And I got my first real choice as well. The game lets me decide whether or not I want to hold to my allegiances. I'm impressed. I might come back through here later and see how they handle the other option.

I also recommend the Ordinator's Perks mod. Makes leveling more versatile, allows you to specialize more in your preferred skills. My only criticism so far is the Rat King perk. You can't shut it off and the rats, while helpful, tend to get underfoot. Thankfully, I already had the Waking Dreams Black Book so I could respec my perks. I think Rat King should be modal.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Trix2000 » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:32 pm

Finished my NG+ on Persona 5, which ended up being significantly shorter due to the nature of the mode.

...And by shorter, I still mean 100 hours. Granted, I went and maximized basically everything on this go around (got all the achievements) but it's still a little surprising just how much time you end up sinking even when it feels much faster.

I still really enjoyed it (even with hindsight for the remainder of the game), and it was kind-of interesting to notice the subtle things they did to set up the later parts (like deliberately separating the 'pancakes' line from Morgana with Akechi's response, putting a bunch more dialog in between so that the player is less likely to make the connection). I was also surprised at how well things were balanced for a NG+ - while equipment and high-level personas really make things easier, you still can't completely steamroll fights in a turn due to your levels. This was particularly preferable for bosses, since it meant they still lasted long enough to feel like they mattered.

Getting the confidants I missed was nice, and I'm even more kicking myself for missing Sun and Fortune the first playthrough - they are SO useful.



In the meantime, I've moved back to Elite for a bit to try out some more exploring in a different ship. Kinda got the urge to actually get Elite rank in something.
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Retsam

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Retsam » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:26 pm

I've finally played a bit of Stellaris again, I bought it when it came out and had been meaning to give it another shot since some of the updates came out, but hadn't gotten around to it until now. A friend of mine has been organizing multiplayer sessions, and that got me back into it.

It's definitely a lot more fleshed out of a game: though it's hard for me to be particularly specific: it's been long enough that I don't have the clearest memories of what originally bothered me, and I haven't actually played a game straight through to completion yet, for that matter. It still seems like it might drag a bit towards the middle, if you are at peace, but I'm not sure.

---

But I can speak to the multiplayer experience of playing Stellaris and say that it's pretty good. Shamus was probably largely speaking of Stellaris when he complained about real-time with pause, but I'll say one distinct advantage of it, IMO, is multiplayer. I've played a fair bit of Civilizations multiplayer, and it's fun, but a bit painful. There's always That One Person whose turns take consistently longer than anyone else's and then everyone else is just sitting there twiddling their thumbs waiting on the slowest player.

Real-time with pause doesn't really have that issue. Sure, sometimes the game is running slightly faster, or slightly slower than you want it, but you're basically never dead stopped waiting for the other players. We really only ever needed to pause it when war was declared so that the combatants could set war demands. (And sometimes if someone walked away from the computer: though not even always then.) Most of our game ran on Fast, and every once and awhile we'd turn it up to Fastest, by consensus.

Though perhaps this just boils down to realizing that I rather like Real Time with Pause Strategy in general. (RTWPS? RTPS?) They're just a nice balance between an RTS and a strategy game. I really can't do RTS's with any sort of ability, they just move too quickly, and I get overwhelmed by the number of things to do simultaneously, but I do like the idea of real time. The real-time aspect adds some pressure and tension, but the game is still primarily strategy oriented, rather than being about doing a ton of micromanagement and attention juggling. It actually reminds me quite a bit of when I played competitive chess: speed is important, but it's not the most important thing.
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John

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby John » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:41 am

. . . XCOM: Enemy Within. I recently started playing XCOM again, this time with the Enemy Within expansion. I'm playing a non-Ironman game on Normal difficulty. As with the base game, I'd like to get a couple of regular playthroughs under my belt to learn all the mechanics before I tackle an Ironman run. And there are a lot of new mechanics in Enemy Within, including but not necessarily limited to gene mods, MECs, and medals. Gene mods are the most interesting to me. I've given several of my soldiers some minor mods, eye-mods for some of the snipers and adaptive bone marrow for my assaults and certain supports. I haven't got any MECs. I haven't even built the MEC lab. I just don't see the appeal, because as far as I can tell a MEC is just a heavy who can't use cover--and if there's one thing that XCOM has taught me it's that not using cover equals death. Unless I have an utterly massive money surplus in the late game, I think I'm just going to skip MECs for this run. I'll go for MECs in my next run, just to be sure that I'm not missing anything. I guess. (Heh. And maybe I'll finally get around to building a SHIV. Who knows?) Finally, medals just sort of annoy me. The worst part is that XCOM has a real text-parsing problem. When I type something, be it the name of a person, their nickname, or the name of a medal, it refuses to capitalize the first letter I type. Shift, capslock, nothing works. It drives me nuts. So, while I'd like to rename the various medals to reflect their actual assigned powers--and can somebody explain how medals confer powers on my soldiers?--I don't, because the names end up looking really stupid in the menus: "defense Medal", "sniper Medal", etc.

I am currently metagaming, delaying the alien base assault until I can build some alien-tech fighters with plasma cannons. Also, I'm trying to save that sweet, sweet global panic reduction until I really need it. I just finished my first proper EXALT mission. The EXALT soldiers are surprisingly durable. They generally take at least two hits from my squad's laser weapons before they go down. That would be fine, except that they also all seem to have medkits. Fortunately, they're still equipped with puny bullet-based guns which are relatively ineffective against carapace armor.
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Trix2000
Location: California

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Trix2000 » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:55 pm

MECs may not use cover, but they have some significant base defensive benefits without cover that makes up for it. They can also be any class and have some significant boosts to durability and damage, depending on how you outfit them. They're worth considering.
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Daemian Lucifer

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Daemian Lucifer » Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:22 pm

John wrote:I just don't see the appeal, because as far as I can tell a MEC is just a heavy who can't use cover--and if there's one thing that XCOM has taught me it's that not using cover equals death.


Have you faced sectopods recently?Those things dont use cover.And you are correct that they equal death,but death for the enemy.Mecs are sectopods for the humans.
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John

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby John » Sat Jul 22, 2017 7:43 pm

Daemian Lucifer wrote:Have you faced sectopods recently?Those things dont use cover.And you are correct that they equal death,but death for the enemy.Mecs are sectopods for the humans.

That's a fair point. But I also know that two or three XCOM troopers with plasma weapons can bring down a sectopod in a single turn (without even being unusually lucky). Sectopod are dangerous, no doubt about it, but they're hardly invincible. I'll definitely try a MEC at some point, but I'm still a little skeptical at the moment.
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SpammyV
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Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby SpammyV » Sat Jul 22, 2017 8:18 pm

MECs are actually ludicrously powerful outside of higher difficulty levels. No, they cannot use cover. But that's not really an issue. The Flamethrower does unblockable damage in an area, and the Kinetic Strike Module deals insane single-target damage. It turns high health problematic aliens into pushovers, shave a bit of health off and you can rocket punch them into oblivion. MECs also get a ton of damage boosts. Electro Pulse allows you to neutralize mechanical enemies for a turn.

MECs are really good.
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Retsam

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Retsam » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:28 pm

Medals are pretty mediocre in Enemy Within: most of the bonuses just felt too small to really be worth bothering with. I had more fun with the flavor of medals: I named one of my medals "Survived Something that Should Have Killed You" (Had to make it an initialism: SSTSHKY to fit in the input box) and awarded it as appropriate. And it was frequently appropriate.

And yeah, MECs are cool. They can deal a ton of damage and soak up a lot of damage for your "squishier" units.
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Humanoid

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Humanoid » Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:08 am

A lot of new EW players have a bad time with MECs first up because of the mistaken notion that MECs are tanks. They are not. They might be more durable than your normal meat-soldiers, but leave them in the open and they'll keel over just the same. Instead you should focus on using their superior mobility and firepower to fulfil roles like infinite cover destruction, flanking assassin murderbots, or simple long-range firefights at the edge of engagement range (such that only the nearest alien can safely engage the MEC while the rest are pinned down by your squad).

One important thing to remember (which also applies to SHIVs), is that while they can't take cover, they can hide in essentially the same fashion. "Lean out" line-of-sight rules don't apply to units who can't take cover, so if you stand a MEC around a corner, or even behind a one-tile wall segment, they cannot be shot at. In many situations this can be more advantageous than a regular soldier in the same piece of cover, who only gains a 40-point defence bonus.


EDIT: With Exalt, one thing you'll quickly notice is that they're even dumber than the usual enemy AI. They'll drop everything to charge into the capture zone, which with a good defensive setup you can readily exploit. They'll just keep on charging into the turkey-shoot murder-zone, every last one of them. Close Combat Specialist assaults have a particularly good time with these missions. However, ExaltHeavies should be exterminated with extreme prejudice because one of their rockets can and will ruin your day.

With the other type of Exalt mission, the most important thing to remember is that reinforcements are only triggered by you reaching the objective tiles. This allows you all the time you need to prep for each set: reload your weapons and take up good overwatch spots (you will learn exactly where to expect the spawns and instantly vapourise them). Further, the reinforcements are triggered by you standing next to the relays, not when you activate them. You can therefore just move up to them first and delay activating them until after the reinforcements appear in order to disable them as well.
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Lachlan the Sane
Location: I come from the land down under, where women blow and men chunder

Re: This week I have been mostly playing...

Postby Lachlan the Sane » Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:25 am

Humanoid wrote:EDIT: With Exalt, one thing you'll quickly notice is that they're even dumber than the usual enemy AI. They'll drop everything to charge into the capture zone, which with a good defensive setup you can readily exploit. They'll just keep on charging into the turkey-shoot murder-zone, every last one of them. Close Combat Specialist assaults have a particularly good time with these missions. However, ExaltHeavies should be exterminated with extreme prejudice because one of their rockets can and will ruin your day.

With the other type of Exalt mission, the most important thing to remember is that reinforcements are only triggered by you reaching the objective tiles. This allows you all the time you need to prep for each set: reload your weapons and take up good overwatch spots (you will learn exactly where to expect the spawns and instantly vapourise them). Further, the reinforcements are triggered by you standing next to the relays, not when you activate them. You can therefore just move up to them first and delay activating them until after the reinforcements appear in order to disable them as well.

This is my experience with both EXALT and MECs from my first few XCOM: EW games:

- I rush the objective with my Assaults and MECs.
- Various EXALTs are ground into a fine paste.
- The newly-spawned EXALTs all start rushing towards the wrong side of the building.
- I wonder about this for a while as my Snipers pick them off from the roof.
- I realise that my MEC has punched an EXALT through the wall, creating a new entrance to the objective, which the EXALTs are prioritising for some reason.
- I realise that the new hole makes for an absolutely perfect chokepoint.
- DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA

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