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Default XCom - The Long War (mod)

October 22nd, 2013, 03:24
I've been playing this mod to XCom - Enemy Unknown for a few weeks now and I'm really liking it. As the name implies, it makes the game longer. A *lot* longer. I think I've put 60 hours into the mod and I still haven't unlocked the enemy base yet (though I'm close).

As you can see by the description page, it makes a ton of changes. You start out with six soldiers and work up to eight (which is a little buggy in the soldier selection screen). Aliens come in larger groups (3-4 most the time but I've seen as many as six) and gain hit points and some accuracy as the game progresses. You've got four new classes plus eight new skills to help with the variety. Enemy AI is improved and some bugs are fixed. Non-infinite equipment gets removed from soldiers after a mission. New equipment has been added. Panicked soldiers mostly just hunker down or, if they are exposed, run for cover instead of SHOOTING THEIR FRIENDS (lawdy how I hated that feature). SHIVs actually become useful. And so on and so forth.

Mostly, though, battles are a LOT more common. They typically happen every 2 or 3 days. Given that soldiers are now tired for five days after a battle, you can forget about having a small group of core soldiers and a few "second string" backups. You're going to need at least 40 and probably more like 50! I've got 49 and last night I found myself with just two medics and seven 0-mission rookies in fighting shape. (I pulled a sniper and an assault out of tired and still made it through with just one dead rookie, thank goodness no cyberdiscs showed up.)

I actually hated having so many soldiers at first. Rookies are just random faces and having to cycle through so many means it takes a long time to get anyone with a nickname. Once they do get there, though, you can really get some character going. I've already got 10 with a dozen or more missions.

The effect on the game is pretty profound. Getting hurt for a month REALLY hurts when you're getting 10 missions a month! I'm also having to pay a lot more attention to my interceptors. I've also had to do something I never had to do before: run like hell! I'm sure folks playing in ironman mode have hit that plenty but this mod is convincing me to do it even when reloading saves. I never once even thought about doing that in vanilla.

I think the best thing about this mod is that it puts FEAR back into the game. Every time I think I'm getting a handle on this war, something knocks me right back into desperation mode. Maybe it will be the sudden appearance of a new alien or maybe it will be like last night where I get a few rapid-fire missions that force me to hand over my precious laser rifles to a squad of rookies, but the feeling of just barely holding on has been strong the whole time I've played.
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October 22nd, 2013, 10:16
Sounds pretty good. Does it do away with the horrible "pop-up" mechanic for the aliens?
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October 22nd, 2013, 13:03
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
Mostly, though, battles are a LOT more common. They typically happen every 2 or 3 days.
I don't think I'd like that to be honest. It sounds like it would just make the game a bit tedious to me.

I also thought XCOM was just fine length-wise.
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October 23rd, 2013, 01:48
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Sounds pretty good. Does it do away with the horrible "pop-up" mechanic for the aliens?
Errr, pop-up?

From what I can gather, the aliens have a small patrol route they follow. If a soldier moves into sight range of an alien group then they do the little cutscene showing them hissing/beating chests/whatever and move off to cover. If the aliens move into sight range of a soldier on their turn then you see them appear off in the black, they move to their appointed patrol waypoint, do their little cutscene dance, then rush off into cover.

As far as I know, it's the same with or without the mod. (Except with the mod you'll often only see three aliens in the cutscene when there are actually four or more.)

JDR: Yeah, it's definitely way longer so you likely wouldn't enjoy it much. I expect a *lot* of people will see it that way, which would be why Firaxis built it with the fast pace in the first place.
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October 23rd, 2013, 09:58
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
Errr, pop-up?

From what I can gather, the aliens have a small patrol route they follow. If a soldier moves into sight range of an alien group then they do the little cutscene showing them hissing/beating chests/whatever and move off to cover. If the aliens move into sight range of a soldier on their turn then you see them appear off in the black, they move to their appointed patrol waypoint, do their little cutscene dance, then rush off into cover.

As far as I know, it's the same with or without the mod. (Except with the mod you'll often only see three aliens in the cutscene when there are actually four or more.)
In the vanilla version - an enemy would get a free attack on you, as soon as you came within range. It would "pop-up" and shoot you for getting into range.

AFAIK, they used this mechanic to save CPU cycles on not having roaming AIs - and instead have predetermined spots where they spawn.

In any case, I hated that
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October 23rd, 2013, 15:04
Sounds interesting I haven't really been using mods with Xcom but this sounds like it could be a good challenge, what difficulty did you try it on?
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October 24th, 2013, 01:52
Pop-up: They got a free shot? Ouch!

Firestorm, I'm playing it on normal difficulty. I played once on normal and once on classic in the vanilla game last year.
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October 24th, 2013, 02:58
Hmm…as Zloth said regular enemies in XCOM (vanilla or not) do patrol and don't get a free shot at you. The only enemies I ever saw "pop up" were during special missions when you started an escort or something similar that triggered the appearance of hostile aliens. These enemies would appear out of nowhere in overwatch mode during the alien turn, and because they were in overwatch they could shoot at you if you moved into range on your own turn. They were pretty uncommon and easy to deal with though.
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October 24th, 2013, 09:38
It could have been overwatch, I guess. It certainly happened often enough to piss me off, though.

I did play on Classic - don't know if that made a difference.

It wasn't so much the free shot as it was the fact that you had to get so close before they'd spawn.
Last edited by DArtagnan; October 24th, 2013 at 09:57.
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October 24th, 2013, 16:18
Hmm I played on Classic too, but I'm not really sure what it is that you are describing. Even the enemies who popped up on overwatch did so on the enemy turn and not as a result of movement or proximity. Often they popped in right next to you, which actually made them trivially easy to kill since their overwatch was only triggered by movement and not by shooting them, and you had a whole round to deal with them before their next turn came.

Alerted patrols of course would frequently go on overwatch too, but they didn't just pop in and would only overwatch once you'd spotted each other. But if you lost track of one around a corner then it was very easy to get taken off guard by an overwatch shot.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It could have been overwatch, I guess. It certainly happened often enough to piss me off, though.

I did play on Classic - don't know if that made a difference.

It wasn't so much the free shot as it was the fact that you had to get so close before they'd spawn.
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October 24th, 2013, 17:03
I'm pretty sure it's the same game we've been playing?

Well, maybe I've gone insane - but I'm pretty damn sure enemies popped up and would often get what seemed like a free turn. Whether that happened during their phase or not - I'm kinda fuzzy on that. But Overwatch was such a weak ability for the player that you didn't really have a choice but to put your men in harms way and just stand around looking like an idiot while enemies spawned and behaved impolitely

But I'll give it a replay once the expansion is out - and maybe I'll be able to explain what I mean better.
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October 24th, 2013, 17:28
My big complaint was that the difference between victory and having your squad wiped out was often at what point in your turn cycle you met the aliens. If you ran into them with your first squad member to go that turn then you'd have an entire round to shoot at them before they could do anything. But if you ran into them with your last squad member then you were just hosed because they could shoot at you for a full round instead.

You could play around that mechanic by making sure only the first 1 or 2 squad members moved up and the rest stayed behind them. But it still felt very artificial.
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October 25th, 2013, 14:27
Did they fix the issue that the "hunker down" keybind does not work? It sucked. (Yes I know it can be fixed with toolboks, but it would be more hassle free if it was really fixed)
Thread duty: Given that I have a long queue of must-play games - no need for a longer war
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October 26th, 2013, 06:59
Originally Posted by fadedc View Post
If you ran into them with your first squad member to go that turn then you'd have an entire round to shoot at them before they could do anything. But if you ran into them with your last squad member then you were just hosed because they could shoot at you for a full round instead.
UNLESS you have a bunch of folks on overwatch, in which case you get to take shots at them before they can get into cover. If you avoid dashing, that's pretty easy to arrange. When you start throwing in skills that knock out the overwatch aim penalty and give extra shots, it can get pretty devastating for the visiting team!

P.S. I never use the hotkeys in game, I just mouse all over the place.
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October 26th, 2013, 07:17
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I'm pretty sure it's the same game we've been playing?

Well, maybe I've gone insane - but I'm pretty damn sure enemies popped up and would often get what seemed like a free turn. Whether that happened during their phase or not - I'm kinda fuzzy on that. But Overwatch was such a weak ability for the player that you didn't really have a choice but to put your men in harms way and just stand around looking like an idiot while enemies spawned and behaved impolitely

But I'll give it a replay once the expansion is out - and maybe I'll be able to explain what I mean better.
You're right about this feature, I found it incredibly annoying. The aliens spawn at certain points on the map but don't move until they're spotted by the player. When that happens, they get a free movement turn. Really amplified by them getting to move & act immediately after the players turn ends, basically giving them 2x move immediately after being spotted.

Confirmed in this review

"Never forget that enemies actually get a free move when you first spot them, which means that it’s incredibly unwise to go forward without having at least one (make it two to be certain) operatives on Overwatch, ready to use their weapons to take down any alien that bursts into view."

http://www.softpedia.com/reviews/gam…w-300745.shtml
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October 26th, 2013, 07:36
I don't see it as a big deal tbh. It's not as if they're getting to move and attack.
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October 26th, 2013, 15:46
Well, yeah, if they didn't get that free move they would all be huddled around one of those green body things. You would mow them down before they could do their little pose!

There's a basic, unrealistic aspect to this game: deaf enemies. You come swooping in with that VTOL craft then start shooting off rockets and grenades, yet the enemies you don't see just keep going about whatever business they were doing before. It's hardly unique to XCom, though. In fact, just about every RPG has done it going all the way back to pen & paper days. Can you image what would happen in a Baldur's Gate dungeon if all the denizens ran off to defensible positions and maybe even set up ambushes the first time you launched a fireball in a dungeon? Your party would be slaughtered!
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October 26th, 2013, 19:36
The aliens need their free move, otherwise you could just mow them down with 3 squadsight snipers in the back, the game would be way to easy then.

The key to wining is to always have a plan going forward, make sure you have your squadsight sniper in a good position, move the heavy last so the rocket is an option, never dash unless you are 100% sure you are not going to trigger something, move the assault first so you can run and gun into a better position if you need to.
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October 26th, 2013, 22:42
I'm not a huge fan of that strategy because overwatch shots tend to miss, not just because of the accuracy penalty but also because they are often fired from awkward angles through cover. You might get lucky and catch a bunch of guys wide out in the open, or you might waste all your overwatch shots trying to shoot someones foot through a window, at which point you will face a devastating counterattack.

Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
UNLESS you have a bunch of folks on overwatch, in which case you get to take shots at them before they can get into cover. If you avoid dashing, that's pretty easy to arrange. When you start throwing in skills that knock out the overwatch aim penalty and give extra shots, it can get pretty devastating for the visiting team!
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November 10th, 2013, 06:27
So… many… missions… I think I'm going to have to leave the Long War half done.

I checked my old video from back when I first won the game. At the end, I had a total of 330 aliens killed. After having finished off the first alien base in the Long War I have 1001 kills. And I haven't even gotten my air support strong enough to bring down most of the UFOs yet!

So this mod didn't just let me play through the game once more - it has basically given me THREE play-throughs of the game!
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