Posted: Feb 10, 2016 7:35 am
by Thommo
Edit: Sorry, this reply is way longer than I intended, my bad. Skip the first half before the ------ if you get bored, it's just waffle.

Assaults are better in EW than EU I think, close and personal (if that's the one you mean) did something else in the base game. The free overwatch ability CQC was in though, so assaults could still fire 3+ times if they double shot in a good spot where enemies would have to pass them by.

Can't say I've ever been a fan of disabling shot. I simply love battle scanners, well used that's 2 free ambushes and also let's you know if you can move to flank or not in a lot of situations. Absolutely great for getting into the UFO in those horrible open areas for UFO crashes. Things are easy once you're inside and you can just prep+door breach everything.

Bullet swarm + shredder rocket heavies with heat ammo at that stage of the game make cyberdiscs and sectopods a non issue in EW, the rocket softens the mech up and takes out its attendants, then second heavy can just make mincemeat of it, a single heat+shredded hit does enormous damage at any tech level, if both land it's about the same damage as 4-5 shots from a sniper rifle (and it's much easier to get laser cannons for heavies than laser snipers too, since you need the las cannon research ASAP to stop the early medium-large UFOs escaping in month 2-3). A group of purely heavies with 1 healer is basically optimal for the entire game, you can hardly lose when you have nuclear option for every encounter and up to 10 shots a round. Even at sergeant to lieutenant rank the aim difference (assuming you don't play with randomised troop stats, which favoured heavies the most) between a heavy and a sniper is only 12/14 respectively. Even at enemies in full cover 2 shots is a much, much better bet than 1 shot at +14 aim. I think a lot of people scope their snipers but don't scope heavies, making the gap of 24% feel much bigger than it should. Also 2x ghost grenades in EW is better than anything any other class can bring at those ranks. Admittedly you can mimetic skin and spend hours sniping instead by that point, I guess, but that's boring and once you have either your campaign is won anyway. It probably makes the first month or two harder as well, since you have to go for a gene lab instead of MEC trooper rush, which is a huge boon to month 2.

Disabling shot was more appealing in EW I'd definitely agree, although it still means giving up battle scanners and of course missing it was always lethal, which happens quite a bit midgame due to the accuracy and lack of high ground with good LOS on flat maps like UFO crash sites.

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Sorry, that was a really long aside, to answer your question I'd say the XCOM 2 difficulty curve is really similar to XCOM:EU / EW. The peak is at about the end of the first month, with the first 2 months being by far and away the most challenging. I'm nearing the end of my first legend campaign now and I don't even try any more. Last mission I played I activated all 17 aliens (including all end game types AFAIK) at once pissing about with mind control and walked away with no casualties. If I'd brought along another specialist I doubt I'd even have got injured, but I took a bit of a pasting from a pod of two heavy mechs, so I could only hack one and the other was in a flanking position.

The first few missions before stun lancers appear in weeks 1-3 or so are probably a bit easier (the first mission is substantially easier with concealment and grenades that stand at least a fair chance of 1 shotting the basic enemies - they have a damage range of 3-5 now, although they do 3 about 80% of the time, if you hit 3 enemies to activate a pod that means you have about a 49% chance of a kill). Although on classic difficulty and below where sectoids are 1 shot by grenades those weren't remotely as hard anyway I guess. The next few weeks or month are probably harder, since you have timed missions that force you to take risks and injury recovery takes longer, which results in more taking rookies/squaddies. Mind you, you can replace troops with new recruits at the highest rank you've attained twice a month (once for cash, once for intel) which makes recovering from losing a key member or two easier.

The game is still challenging, but without mods I'd say slightly less so.

I do love the strategic layer changes. You don't need to get a lucky start or have guaranteed permanent country withdrawal now. The number of campaigns I quit because the first UFO didn't show up by day 11, or the first council mission by day 7 was crazy. I hated losing a country to pure RNG. Of course that does make things easier in a way too, you can really afford to go 100% in on research and construction that aids the tactical layer with no tension pulling the other way now. Come to think of it, that's rather odd when you think that the tactical missions are now riddled with timers (about 50% of missions ish, compared to about 5% in 2012 XCOM) which does exactly the opposite - provides competing tension that harms your combat effectiveness. I much prefer the tension this way, but it seems a lot of people don't. :shifty:

Personally I think it's a better game, although again, that seems a bit of a controversial opinion. Clearly poor old Rome Existed hasn't had a good experience. :(