Difference between revisions of "Psionics in Apocalypse"

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Title: Psionics in Apocalypse

Title: Psionics in Apocalypse Number: 72 Date: Dec 5, 2014 at 20:51


bobucles - Dec 5, 2014 at 20:51

bobucles: There were three major changes to psionics over previous XCOM games. The first and most obvious change is the need to have the target within vision range. This part is okay and was probably a much needed nerf. Even in OpenXCOM, using LoS psionics alters the weapon from a map sweeping God Mode into a risky but potentially powerful weapon.

The second change is the addition of PSI energy. It is used with every single PSI ability and as an additional upkeep cost to maintain attacks. The differences between turn based and real time are fairly major here as a successful attack in turn based will burn maximum energy to full effect(1 energy per TU), even if you didn't need it all. Real time psionics require time to take full effect (draining energy) and can be shut off any time.

The third change is much more subtle but just as important. Half the aliens in Apocalypse don't have brains! Even when you want to use Psionics, there are so many targets that are simply immune or have insanely good PSI defense.


So what went wrong in Apoc?

In my experience PSI energy is the biggest problem. You simply don't get enough! Energy is consumed insanely fast (it regens at a paltry 1:sec or 11:turn) and agents can burn out from merely attempting an ability. IMO psionic energy needs to be doubled (or consumption halved), and agents on BOTH sides need more recovery speed. Perhaps an XCOM item could help recover PSI energy?

My best attempt with Psionics was cheating agents to have 255 energy and insane attack/defense. The energy was enough for a really good mind control and could have stunned 2 or 3 guys. Still, it couldn't compare with a 96 accuracy Toxigun super soldier in the slightest. PSI morphs have what... 150'ish energy? Even then they burn out pretty quick.

The huge number of PSI immune aliens is a huge bummer and doesn't really make sense at all. I mean I can understand that simple aliens don't have enough brain for an XCOM agent to mind control it and force it to make coherent choices. But don't forget. Everything in this game is based on a Psionic entity! The Micronoid aggregate conquers its victims through a combination of psionic compulsion and by being a parasite.

A hybrid soldier would KNOW this after dealing with enough aliens to understand their quirks, and with some training or gear alteration they [i]should[/i] be able to attack the entity directly (just like the Toxigun does). So things like psionic stun could still be available and have decent odds, even if the target isn't something that can be controlled. It may have even explained the purpose of the Psionic Blast ability, which was never implemented in game.


The Reaver of Darkness - Dec 6, 2014 at 06:23

The Reaver of Darkness: I think at least triple or quadruple energy is in order, as a lot of agents begin with so little they can't even make a single psionic attack. Also, as Sectoids are able to perform psionics without any tools and the hybrids have primarily taken on the sectoid psionic traits, it might be a cool flavor bit to allow hybrids to perform psionics without a psi-amp, albeit with a reduced strength.

I think certain aliens should have a very strong psionic resistance only initially, but after researching them extensively in the lab, you should be able to research proper methods of psionically controlling them. This should make weak brainless aliens like multiworms, brainsuckers, etc. go from being impossible to control straight to being downright trivial--because after all, they ARE psionically controlled in the first place. Aliens like the psimorph and micronoid aggregate would be more vulnerable to psionics after said research, but would remain highly resistant due to their strong psionic potential.

Lastly, I've been toying with the idea of militant sectoids. When you enter the food chamber in the alien dimension and discover sectoids, it would be neat if they would pick up and use weapons or equipment they find on the ground near them. You could then throw them guns, shield generators, and even psi-amps for them to use to assist you in taking the building down. They wouldn't be able to use armor (it's shaped for humans) or alien weapons (they haven't researched those), but they should be able to perform psionics just fine without a psi-amp. Or maybe the aliens have them psionically controlled, so there might be some device you have to destroy to free their minds before they will be willing to assist you.

And if we have militant sectoids, there's no reason regular civilians can't be made to use equipment given to them. The major difference is human civilians could wear armor.


Grimagor - Dec 6, 2014 at 08:22

Grimagor: Good post Bobucles, it's a damn truth :D As Reaver sais, maybe you can "unlock" psionic weakness in Aliens and create some countermeasures like a new kind of Mindbender designed to figth the aliens. Another way to "improve" psionics could be raising human threat: if some organization will be more agresive, your psionics will have better use. Improving the power of psionics aliens looks nice to me, it will give another oportunity to androids in late game. And my last thought: psi panic should be more powerfull  ;)


Grimagor - Dec 6, 2014 at 10:32

Grimagor: [quote="bobucles"] It may have even explained the purpose of the Psionic Blast ability, which was never implemented in game. [/quote] Excuse me, can you explain this?  ???


bobucles - Dec 6, 2014 at 12:57

bobucles: [quote]Excuse me, can you explain this? [/quote]Wait, I think I made that up. Psionic blast is a damage type used by the psi grenade. Nothing else is known about it other than it is more effective against "smarter" aliens and doesn't work against armor. I suspect the original intent is for the grenade to do raw damage, but Apoc is kinda weird about armor ignoring attacks so it probably didn't work out.

Currently the psi amp is required to access the menu for psionic abilities, which is okay. It might be cool for the PSI amp to provide some sort of bonus to the agent's attack strength, or to provide some improvements against aliens as the game progresses.

[quote]I think at least triple or quadruple energy is in order, as a lot of agents begin with so little they can't even make a single psionic attack. [/quote]Maybe for the Psimorph! A 10m blob of tentacles and horror shouldn't be running out of energy, like at all.

Regular hybrids have pretty decent max stats as is. They might need 50-100% more energy and 2-5x better energy regen. Psionic stats cap out at triple the initial value, so perhaps it would be better to start hybrids with half their max energy and let it double instead (for example giving an agent with 75/150 or 100/200 energy). Reducing the cost of failed attacks (especially the lower tiered abilities) will go a LONG way to helping psionics.

It's difficult to distinguish between high defense smart aliens vs. low defense stupid aliens with the current defense formulas. It would take new formulas and many stat changes to get that right. It could be very simple by using two psionic ranges, giving 0-100 for smart guys, and 101-200 for stupid guys. That's pretty easy to work with. [quote]And my last thought: psi panic should be more powerfull[/quote]I think PSI panic is resisted by the bravery attribute, just like in UFO/TFTD.

Ooh! Bravery IS the way to distinguish between smart and stupid guys. Brainless aliens do not have a bravery attribute, which would render them immune to panic and potentially mind control. Their psi defense can then be adjusted to be more susceptible to stunning and scans.


Grimagor - Dec 8, 2014 at 19:20

Grimagor: Well now I know were the problem is (the bravery), thanks  ;)

By the way, what do you think about "creating" a new kind of Bind-bender for the middle game effectively agains the aliens?


bobucles - Dec 8, 2014 at 23:09

bobucles: I think it'd be a really cool new thing. By the time XCOM discovers the "real alien threat", they would have a full understanding that the micronoid organism is the key to everything. It may then be possible to create a new kind of PSI amp, one that uniquely targets the parasite and allows agents to attack it directly with greater efficacy. TLDR: A palette swapped PSI amp with +bonus attack rating against aliens.

Both SELF and the Mutant Alliance are deeply repressed factions in Megaprimus. Since micronoids are a psionic entity, both hybrids AND androids would prove to be the ideal weapons against it. Their key contributions to the XCOM war make for a great story element and perhaps were meant to be part of the game's overarching story. For example after the war(it wouldn't be good in game), Hybrids could discover a way to psionically extract the micronoid parasite and eventually cure its victims. That one in a million shot of getting an android brainsucked might break ground on just how "human" they really are. Cool stuff like that.


Solarius Scorch - Dec 9, 2014 at 12:51

Solarius Scorch: [quote="bobucles"] I think it'd be a really cool new thing. By the time XCOM discovers the "real alien threat", they would have a full understanding that the micronoid organism is the key to everything. It may then be possible to create a new kind of PSI amp, one that uniquely targets the parasite and allows agents to attack it directly with greater efficacy. TLDR: A palette swapped PSI amp with +bonus attack rating against aliens.[/quote]

I think instead of a simple boost, a more interesting option would be to enable this new Psi-Amp to hack the link between brainless aliens and micronoids, resulting in making them [u]easier[/u] to control than the higher alien life forms. Just imagine chasing Anthropods with a Popper!

[quote="bobucles"] Both SELF and the Mutant Alliance are deeply repressed factions in Megaprimus. Since micronoids are a psionic entity, both hybrids AND androids would prove to be the ideal weapons against it. Their key contributions to the XCOM war make for a great story element and perhaps were meant to be part of the game's overarching story. For example after the war(it wouldn't be good in game), Hybrids could discover a way to psionically extract the micronoid parasite and eventually cure its victims. That one in a million shot of getting an android brainsucked might break ground on just how "human" they really are. Cool stuff like that. [/quote]

Yep, cool stuff. And good for fanfics.


bobucles - Dec 9, 2014 at 13:29

bobucles: [quote]I think instead of a simple boost, a more interesting option would be to enable this new Psi-Amp to hack the link between brainless aliens and micronoids, resulting in making them easier to control than the higher alien life forms. Just imagine chasing Anthropods with a Popper![/quote]If the bravery tag is utilized this becomes very easy to implement. Aliens without bravery can be completely immune to control/panic regardless of their actual defense stat (this also allows brainless aliens to have lower defense stats instead of half of them with 100 defense). The "psi upgrade" would ignore this bravery tag. Since brainless creatures can not panic, one alternative is to replace the panic ability with a new option to psionically kill or sever the parasite's connection, killing the creature. For poppers it means they won't explode (but Toxigun also wins that game so hmm. Time for another toxi nerf! ;) ). For other fearless creatures it means a powerful way to kill them at nearly any range.


Grimagor - Dec 10, 2014 at 08:36

Grimagor: [quote="bobucles"] I think it'd be a really cool new thing. By the time XCOM discovers the "real alien threat", they would have a full understanding that the micronoid organism is the key to everything. It may then be possible to create a new kind of PSI amp, one that uniquely targets the parasite and allows agents to attack it directly with greater efficacy. TLDR: A palette swapped PSI amp with +bonus attack rating against aliens.

Both SELF and the Mutant Alliance are deeply repressed factions in Megaprimus. Since micronoids are a psionic entity, both hybrids AND androids would prove to be the ideal weapons against it. Their key contributions to the XCOM war make for a great story element and perhaps were meant to be part of the game's overarching story. For example after the war(it wouldn't be good in game), Hybrids could discover a way to psionically extract the micronoid parasite and eventually cure its victims. That one in a million shot of getting an android brainsucked might break ground on just how "human" they really are. Cool stuff like that. [/quote]

That was a very good point of view  :D Honestly, SELF and Mutant Alliance should have a bigger role in the invasion (even more for the "relationship" between they and the govermen)


bobucles - Mar 4, 2015 at 13:56

bobucles: Uh. Only a trained hybrid agent has enough skill to succeed at psionic attacks. They also work very different in real time and can not be removed while active.