Home » PLAYER'S HQ 1.13 » v1.13 General Gameplay Talk » Help me with Ironman Expert Balance
Help me with Ironman Expert Balance[message #347602] Thu, 24 November 2016 03:39 Go to next message
lolsteamroller
Messages:2
Registered:July 2016
So, I've spent a lot of time trying to play the game without loading saves, unless it's a crash. I play this game since 2001, and it was always abuse of save-load mechanics, and lately I really want to balance the game up to point, where I can pick the game up and play it with a sweating. So, I need help with couple of problems on how to tone stuff down.

Right now, you can't really take Drassen early (no counter-attack, but reinforcements just will kill you, or cripple you so hard). Garrisons are 120%. You usually get a lot of cheap and try to survive with Tony paying with guns (you need to chill and just scrap from patrols to up the levels, and make a ton of rotations - make sure to clean all patrols, and when you have a bank, try to get Scope for 1 day, with m1 carbine and HP ammo from Tony) to get the MERC hire (I made IMPs cost 20k$ with scaling (so 40k$ for next) - since I don't think IMP's are fair, since you have no time pressure.).

So the main issues I'm facing is at the moment:

Handling deaths, I couldn't hire anyone from AIM really, except Buzz, I think, after day 10. I only had 3 deaths in 14 person army (4 from AIM, ton's from MERC + dimitri and Ira).
I had lost Buns quite early from a single headshot enemy made with Grach from 17 tiles away and HP ammo, that the helmet didn't stop, and one deadly night ambush, where somebody had shot go through as well, and MD was patching him up, and then the SA-24 burst come in killing both MD and the victim already.

I think I tweaked the reputation already, giving less attention to it (more like looking to balance it), but it looks like the game itself awards save-load mechanics too much. I've been amazed at how much morale affects NCTH, and injuries as well. I feel as if, there is too much of a snowballing going down, where you just suffer one stray headshot, then someone morale drops and he can't kill enemy no more, resulting in him getting shot a bit, resulting in very bad battle outcome at best, meaning tons of downtime.

Look, I want to get hit, I want to lose mercs, but the penalties is insane. It's hard enough getting med kit's and paying wages to sustain healing before day 6-8 where you just might get lucky and take Drassen. Right now, there are two ways I lose mercs, one is going alone with a great merc, getting interrupted and shot lightly, say with shotgun, not have AP's to retreat, and take the unrecoverable route, or there is the RNG way, like a enemy shooting pistol with a glaser round that just goes through and kills (i did not have a control over that).

Yesterday, I lost all my men, due to fact, that firstly I couldn't really get new guys for field from AIM, since the reputation was bad. I was trying to clean patrol on the road to Alma, which can take days, since someone is bound to get shot there. A night came up, and the Ironman (whole game wise) is just insane with night operations. All my mercs were with the best possible equipment (kevlar vests + kevlar helmets 95%+, leg protectors, mostly fresh from bobby rays), Colt M4 Commandos, or SKS/M1 Carbines. I lost em all first, because the armor just doesn't stop stuff - I had Bull leading the way (he even has Ceramic Plates, which are unpurchasable), and whoosh, 2x -48 and he's wasted in matter of first turn engagement. Everything stops, and everybody is getting shot.

So, my first thing is - how to stop enemy from blind firing on my guys they can't see directly. Usually, enemy sends 2-3 guys, which I can't effectively kill, because I can't kill instantly, killing isn't easy. So they are sitting there with Poor condition, but then tons of bullets (like sprays of 12 bullets come in from all sides around my mercs, which suppress me so hard. I never get to see the enemies. I have to rush them, because they will sit in dark and take shots from distance. It isn't a problem I could solve strategically really, I had NVG. I suppose it is part of me allowing AI to shoot up to 1.6 effective range as well, not sure about insane suppressive fire. What I want is that if someone wants to take shot at my Merc, they NEED to able see myself by themselves. I used up to 6 break flares in that battle and if enemy would throw them at me and got me with multiple gunmen firing on someone spotted, that would be cool by me.

Second thing I got slaughtered by Mortar fire with red smoke and all that. I was hurt already on that time, but it was epic. I guess I never saw it coming, but any ways to modify the radius? I don't think you can really get away from it in ways I play.

Yeah, and modify the armor coverage. For my testing, everybody gets shot on average once per battle (count the times you loaded the game in battles, now try imagining never loading the game for whole game). Poor Buns was KIA with full health just from HP headshot, and she had been shot 11 times in 8 battles she was before.

Getting medkits is awkward, I just tend to pay medics for 1 day (hopefully doctors, since i get two), and then they just work for a day in Omerta, and then go home.

Anyways, that my story and what I'm trying to archieve. If you have tips, comments or suggestions, they would be appreciated.
Re: Help me with Ironman Expert Balance[message #347603 is a reply to message #347602] Thu, 24 November 2016 17:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
edmortimer

 
Messages:756
Registered:January 2015
Location: Home Free
I don't have much for you but since nobody else is speaking up . . .

It sounds like you don't want the AI to cheat. Knocking the game back to Experienced will help with that because all Expert and Insane does is enable the AI to cheat on certain things, and increase the numbers of enemies. Other than that -- just keep tweaking settings to your liking until you find the right mix. For instance: add first aid and medical kits to the ItemChoices_Enemy_Regular.XML and ItemChoices_Enemy_Elite.XML so you will get a few to drop. Do the same with other items that should be easy to get but are rare.




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Re: Help me with Ironman Expert Balance[message #347604 is a reply to message #347603] Thu, 24 November 2016 17:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1168
Registered:December 2012
Location: Russia
edmortimer wrote on Thu, 24 November 2016 20:39
It sounds like you don't want the AI to cheat. Knocking the game back to Experienced will help with that because all Expert and Insane does is enable the AI to cheat on certain things, and increase the numbers of enemies. Other than that -- just keep tweaking settings to your liking until you find the right mix. For instance: add first aid and medical kits to the ItemChoices_Enemy_Regular.XML and ItemChoices_Enemy_Elite.XML so you will get a few to drop. Do the same with other items that should be easy to get but are rare.

Stock 1.13 AI doesn't cheat at expert except small vanilla cheating with watched locations that works on all difficulty levels.
There are several places in the code that can be considered cheating in Insane mode like instant breath regeneration but it's not really something that can make a big difference, and AI doesn't start knowing your exact location or something.
What is more important is that enemy receives big bonuses to it's stats and equipment on Insane level, this definitely makes game harder, and enemy numbers are also increased to something that I find completely out of balance, because if you fight against 10-15 enemies, it's about tactics and thinking, if you fight against 60 enemies, there no room tactics and maneuvers, it's only about how much heavy weapons you can bring with you.



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Re: Help me with Ironman Expert Balance[message #347605 is a reply to message #347602] Thu, 24 November 2016 18:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sevenfm

 
Messages:1168
Registered:December 2012
Location: Russia
@lolsteamroller
Lucky headshots from distance are a part of NCTH, you can do nothing to change it without changing code.
You can make them less frequent by increasing DEGREES_MAXIMUM_APERTURE, but this will make all shots less accurate.
You can change settings for enemy artillery strikes in skills_settings.ini, section [Radio Operator], you can also use your radio operator to jam frequencies, this will prevent enemy from using artillery strikes, calling reinforcements or raising red alert to activate bomb triggers.
Enemy cannot shoot accurately if he cannot see you, but if he fires for suppression with long enough autofire, he will compensate aiming error and one of the bullets will hit you, this is a part of NCTH balance, you can try to tweak it in CTHConstants.ini.
You can also make suppression less frequent by changing min requirements for AI to start shooting:
AI_SUPPRESS_MIN_MAG_SIZE = 30
AI_SUPPRESS_MIN_AMMO_REMAINING = 10

For example, if you set AI_SUPPRESS_MIN_MAG_SIZE = 100, only machinegunners will use suppression fire on targets they cannot see currently.
Snipers will shoot anyway, but they usually need a high CTH to start firing.



Stable 7609+fix (14.09.2016)
Stable 7609+AI (r381 29.01.2017)
Improved weapon sounds
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Re: Help me with Ironman Expert Balance[message #347606 is a reply to message #347605] Thu, 24 November 2016 20:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Flugente

 
Messages:3045
Registered:April 2009
Location: Germany
  • Keeping in mind I have no idea on your campaign state, make sure you take the box challenge in San Mona every day, as those are very easily earned 15k$ a day.
  • Recently more merchants have been added, a few of them in San Mona. Perhaps some of their equipment might be useful to you (no idea if that's the case for you).
  • A spy would be useful to you in to ways:
    • You could travel to enemy cities, enter the mine and collect all the silver/gold in there. That's a few thousand $ s well.
    • You could use a spy as a sort of a scout in combat, so you know where the enemy is. You can also attack them, but on Iron Man, that'll be very risky.
  • If you have militia, you can nowadays move them in strategic too, which might be helpful.



Saren threw his head back and screamed in impotent fury, before falling to his throne, head in his claws, trembling in horrified disbelief.

Then he heard a faint chime as Sovereign subscribed to her ECHO channel.

If you want, you can donate to me. This will not affect how and what I code, and I will not code specific features in return. I will be thankful though.


Re: Help me with Ironman Expert Balance[message #347607 is a reply to message #347605] Thu, 24 November 2016 20:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
silversurfer

 
Messages:2038
Registered:May 2009
sevenfm wrote on Thu, 24 November 2016 17:01

Lucky headshots from distance are a part of NCTH, you can do nothing to change it without changing code.

What he could do about lucky head shots is to increase <ubCoverage> of helmets in Armours.xml. The reason why I mention this is that there is a risk that the bullet completely ignores the armor of the helmet and hits an uncovered part. A kevlar helmet for example only has 65 percent coverage which leaves quite a large unprotected part. Increasing coverage could virtually turn a kevlar helmet into a full helmet. This can be called cheating but that's everyone's own responsibility. big grin



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Re: Help me with Ironman Expert Balance[message #347611 is a reply to message #347607] Sat, 26 November 2016 02:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
happybjorn

 
Messages:24
Registered:October 2003
Location: California

A few more suggestions

Night battles are risky and can go sideways quickly. Either create situations with advantage (like an ambush with static light sources providing you with extra vision range) or fight during the day.

Pretty sure heatshots have a damage multiplier setting in the ini editor. Lower it if they are too strong (although this won't help much against extra damage ammo). It affects you too (and will probably work against you in the long run).

I avoid Drassen like the plague, but usually play Arulco Revisted (there is no airport there, so no real pressure to take). Taking 4 of 5 Cambria sectors is easier to defend and closer to San Mona (plus Cambria has a merchant and random loot usually includes marbles, which is like a free $5000 each).

What difficulty? Lowering it could help (Insane is just silly w/ number of enemies and frequency of reinforcements).
Edit: silly me, its in the title. Experienced is still fun.

Definitely don't turn on the tanks can move setting.

You could try playing OCTH (but this would require a new game). It is more predictable (but some people don't like it since your characters all become super marksman super fast), but you'll still get hit randomly in the same way, just not quite as often.

For the red smoke followed by mortar fire, read up on Flugente's thread if you want lots of info. The best counters are identify and kill the enemy radio operator (spy is good for this, as is several rounds of scouting), run away from that area, or have a radio operator jamming the enemy.

Medkits are hard to come by early days. I think the merchants in Estoni and Balime have them, but otherwise you best bets are random loot and getting them from inexpensive mercs.

[Updated on: Sat, 26 November 2016 02:30]

Re: Help me with Ironman Expert Balance[message #347991 is a reply to message #347611] Tue, 03 January 2017 02:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Vincent J. Claymore

 
Messages:269
Registered:February 2011
happybjorn wrote on Sat, 26 November 2016 02:28


I avoid Drassen like the plague, but usually play Arulco Revisted (there is no airport there, so no real pressure to take). Taking 4 of 5 Cambria sectors is easier to defend and closer to San Mona (plus Cambria has a merchant and random loot usually includes marbles, which is like a free $5000 each).

Why are marbles worth $5000?
Re: Help me with Ironman Expert Balance[message #347994 is a reply to message #347991] Tue, 03 January 2017 03:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Flugente

 
Messages:3045
Registered:April 2009
Location: Germany
Marbles can be used to make an enemy trip and fall. If that were to happen in a boxing fight, that fight would be easy, no?



Saren threw his head back and screamed in impotent fury, before falling to his throne, head in his claws, trembling in horrified disbelief.

Then he heard a faint chime as Sovereign subscribed to her ECHO channel.

If you want, you can donate to me. This will not affect how and what I code, and I will not code specific features in return. I will be thankful though.


Re: Help me with Ironman Expert Balance[message #348009 is a reply to message #347994] Tue, 03 January 2017 12:40 Go to previous message
Vincent J. Claymore

 
Messages:269
Registered:February 2011
Oh, of course. I have never done those fights without save-scumming, so I never needed marbles, but I guess if you try it fair and square, they would come in handy!
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