Talk:Personal Armour

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Damage modifier notation incorrect

There is a bug in the soldier spawn routine which incorrectly assigns the Power Suit damage modifer category to units with Personal Armor. The programmers should have made the program check if the armor type read from the SOLDIER.DAT file was less than or equal to the value of 1 (personal armor). Instead, they check if the value is less than 1, which not being true for 1, allows the damage modifier category of the Power Armor to be assigned to the unit. -Tycho 13:42, 17 February 2013 (EST)

That explains the fire immunity it always conferred. I assume this is the same for TFTD's Plastic Aqua Armor as well? -NKF 04:57, 18 February 2013 (EST)

Yes. That section of the spawn routine in TFTD is exactly the same code.-Tycho 21:35, 18 February 2013 (EST)

Should we advocate the use of this stuff?

While, from a tactical standpoint, Personal Armour is of some use, from a strategic standpoint it's dubious at best. A suit of Personal Armour more than doubles the cost of a Rookie (in materials cost alone, never mind the engineering time), but doesn't even halve their chances of dying in one hit. So unless you're in serious danger of having a mission go south, you're better off simply forgoing Personal Armour and accepting the casualty rates.

Psi-screened soldiers, of course, are far more expensive to replace, so armour's absolutely worthwhile on those, but by then Personal Armour is obsolete. Magic9mushroom (talk) 15:32, 24 July 2018 (CEST)

Amusingly, while not my own opinion, I usually notice that it's the Power Suit that is most often considered for the chop when the value of the different suits are discussed.
You can could think of it as the same discussion around skipping mid level gear like lasers, tanks, medi-kits and most of the advanced ships. You can ignore them if you really want to. But perhaps depending on the circumstance you find yourself in, a cheap (relatively) and more accessible alternative may just be what you need to help get you by until matters improve. I certainly wouldn't discourage its use, though perhaps a refresh of the description in this article is well overdue.
That has me thinking. It might be useful to build some comparison tables to show how effective the different suits stand up to the different plasma weapons. Just pulling some numbers out of the air here, say a Heavy Plasma can damage the front plates of each suit 5%, 21%, 42% and 47% of the time respectively. NKF (talk) 11:49, 25 July 2018 (CEST)

I'm not saying Personal Armour's skippable in favour of better armour, I'm saying it's literally not worth building even when the alternative is no armour whatsoever. And the reason for this is well-illustrated in that table you asked for.

Plasma Pistol Plasma Rifle Heavy Plasma
Nothing 87.6% 91.9% 94.4%
Personal Armour 51.4% 68.3% 77.9%
Power Suit 3.8% 37.3% 56.3%
Flying Suit 0% 31.1% 51.9%

Armour just doesn't put that big a dent in your chances to be killed, because of the super-wide damage ranges in UFO. And armour adds an additional cost to each death, because the armour's destroyed along with the soldier and the armour costs significantly more than the soldier (taking into account only cash/alloy/elerium costs, a Personal Armour suit costs $48,000, a Power Suit $99,500 and a Flying Suit $170,500). When you multiply those chances to penetrate (or the related chances to kill) by the cost of a death, you'll find that you're spending more to give troops Personal Armour (and then have them die anyway) than you would be to simply send the rookies out naked. Power and Flying Suits can be worthwhile against the lighter plasma weapons, but not the Heavy Plasma Gun.

There are really three good reasons to use armour:

  • Armour effectively lets you send more force to a mission, because there's a limit on how many soldiers you can send. So if you're in danger of a mission going south (Sectoid terror sites without psi-screening, alien bases, Cydonia), armour is worthwhile.
  • Flying Suits give you tactical options that you don't have at all without them (in particular, the ability to snipe from level 3, and the ability to stay off the ground and thus neuter Chryssalids). If you value those options, the Flying Suit's worthwhile.
  • A soldier with a known high Psionic Strength effectively costs many times what a generic disposable rookie does, because you have to take into account all the soldiers that fail and the cost of keeping the cohort through two month rollovers. For instance, if you're screening for 81+ Psi-Strength, each passing soldier will effectively cost $404,000 (101/20 * (40,000 + 20,000 + 20,000)). This makes armour absolutely a cost-saver, and the stronger the better.

The only one of these reasons that would really apply to Personal Armour would be a Sectoid Terror Site, and even then it's dubious; Cyberdiscs' plasma cannons are even stronger than Heavy Plasma.

For comparison, here's the much, much armour-friendlier table for the front plates of TFTD's armours:

Sonic Pistol Sonic-Blasta Rifle Sonic Cannon
Nothing 100% 100% 100%
Plastic Aqua Armour 65.4% 78.1% 97.7%
Ion Armour 0% 0% 36.6%
Magnetic Ion Armour 0% 0% 28.2%

Magic9mushroom (talk) 16:11, 25 July 2018 (CEST)

I agree that if a player is experiencing a high soldier loss rate then Personal Armour (or any armour for that matter) could become very expensive to replace. Especially in the early game, where it would be like buying a new tank every few missions. In this instance it would be be more cost effective to go without and endeavour to be more careful.
For a less fraught scenario, personal armour would just be another risky investment for the early game. If it pays off and a soldier gets to limp away then that was money well spent. If not, to use the modern aphorism, "That's UFO: Enemy Unknown, child!". Sorry, I am deliberately getting that wrong.
Come the mid and late game, money and materials should become less of a problem thanks to the philanthropic invaders. Until you can phase them out entirely, there should be no real disadvantage to equipping all of your reserve troops with Personal Armour. It is not going to be as huge an impact on your resources by then.
The Personal Armour numbers do look low, but that's not too surprising for what is effectively a half-strength Power Suit. Nevertheless I do feel the numbers are reasonably generous compared to the coveralls. It may only block a heavy plasma to the chest about 1/5 of the time, but the 50 damage reduction is a sizeable chunk off any penetrating damage received. Depending on health that could very well decide whether or not it is a fatal blow. Coveralls leave far too much to the RNG. NKF (talk) 14:50, 30 July 2018 (CEST)

Well, if you're not experiencing a high soldier loss rate, what do you need armour for? Either a) you're suffering casualties, in which case it's more expensive than replacing the soldiers, or b) you're not suffering casualties, in which case the armour does nothing because you're not getting shot (exception for Flying Suits, as I've noted). Magic9mushroom (talk) 15:39, 30 July 2018 (CEST)