Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Forum to support developing of community project to update Long War 2 to work with the War of the Chosen expansion.

Moderator: John Luke Pack Hard

albamuth
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:37 pm

Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby albamuth » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:20 pm

The innovation of covert ops in LW/EW was that the player was thrown into a situation where the covert operative was vulnerable (lightly armed/armored) but fulfilled a essential function that fit thematically within the game. The addition of Sitreps and Ambushes also force the player into special circumstances where they must either bring along certain equipment (suitable for dealing with the Sitrep), or show flexibility and tactics when the unexpected happens (Ambushes).

So I have some ideas which I am sure someone has thought of already:

1. Make Most Missions Covert Ops - You would assign a squad and a specialist (Scientist, Engineer, or Faction representative) that is neccessary to complete the mission. This would require perhaps giving scientists and engineers unique perks that allow them to do things while the squad gives them cover (hack a special door, do a scan of certain enemies). Like the covert operative in LW/EW, they could have a pistol, knife, or gremlin but no primary weapon. This would mean, like LW2, you would have multiple Covert Ops cooking off at the same time, reducing enemy alert/forcelevel the more time you gave them.

2. Integrate Musashi's Stealth Overhaul - stealth kills would be key to making a prolonged stealthy covert op mission viable.

3.Make The Lost More Dangerious but Not Alarm Bells - killing the lost with suppressors or melee weapons should not alert Advent. In trade, there should be no "headshot"-free-moves for killing them.

4. All Breakthroughs and Inspirations require Covert Ops - Example: to inspire a +1 armor piercing breakthrough for magnetic weapons, you would have to take an engineer along on a Covert Op and that engineer would have to take some sample from a destroyed Advent MEC. Or if that's too tricky, just have the Covert Op conclude with a mission to extract that engineer, which is already happens in WOTC. The point is, to make ALL advantages gained by the player come from Covert Ops, not random chance in the research lab.

TL;DR - bring back the kind of Covert Ops missions we saw in LW/EW, plus use the WOTC covert Op mechanic to implement LW2 mission infiltration mechanic.

brunodema
Posts: 39
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:45 pm

Re: Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby brunodema » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:05 am

The thing that I wish the most on LW2 port to WotC is an integration of the strategy layer of the mod with the elements brought by WotC making it simpler than it actually was in LW2 altogether.

Example: remove the entire infiltration mechanic and replace it with the covert ops platform from WotC, since all the framework would already be done and it would make it easier for players to understand it. This may be easier said than done, but at least would eliminate the job of porting the entire infiltration mechanic to the expansion.

I believe that this could be something doable and that wouldn't deviate much from the original intent of the mod. As albamuth said, almost every mission could be coupled with the covert ops platform (from research missions to loot gathering ones), and there could also be quick response missions alongside with it (like retaliations, ambushes, etc), just like in LW2.

Psieye
Posts: 681
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:27 am

Re: Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby Psieye » Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:01 pm

To all who want infiltration to completely be replaced by Covert Ops: design the UI for that. How will you communicate to the player which region (i.e. the Str and what other missions are already there) the Covert Op is being sent to?
Previous 1.5 Commander campaign for the 8-man GOp squad.
The current one.

albamuth
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:37 pm

Re: Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby albamuth » Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:47 pm

Psieye wrote:To all who want infiltration to completely be replaced by Covert Ops: design the UI for that. How will you communicate to the player which region (i.e. the Str and what other missions are already there) the Covert Op is being sent to?


Good point - though the Covert Ops mechanic does generate map icons that are clickable, so it should be able to handle multiple covert on the Strategy map at once. The ability to cancel them or launch them at a certain point of infiltration would have to be added. All icons should be visible on the globe, whether or not the Covert Op has been engaged.

--> In the Mission Select Screen, the available missions could have the region name as part of the mission name, or as further information once that region is clicked upon. The Op information has enough space to display some vital stats that success/fail of the op may change, like Advent Strength, progress towards liberation, regional income, recruitment rate, etc.

Overall, the idea is to have so many options that it allows for variety of strategies. In LW2 the RNG of mission generation axed any possibility of a cohesive strategy as you were always scrambling to complete as many missions as possible that you could manage.

--> The ways in which Faction Influence changes the covert ops available is already built in, with regard to mission levels. If the Faction HQ could be tied to the Haven personnel makeup in that region, it creates the possibilities for complex effects (on top of supply/intel/raid-chance effects), e.g.:

    More Intel Jobs in Reaper HQ territory increases Guerilla Ops mission chance
    More Hide Jobs in Reaper HQ territory increases Stealth-related breakthrough-reward missions
    More Supply Jobs in Reaper HQ territory increases Reaper mission max squadsize
    More Recruit Jobs in Reaper HQ territory increases Reaper recruitment mission chance

...and similarly for the other factions.

--> Faction Covert Ops should be gated behind contacted regions. Vanilla WOTC allows you to contact all 3 factions within the very first month, and basically kill all the chosen as soon as you have a Major to get their Stronghold missions exposed. I do not believe this to be in the spirit of Long War!

Bremen
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:00 pm

Re: Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby Bremen » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:34 pm

This might be a bit more complex than anyone's looking for in a straight port of LW2 to WOTC, but... I think it would ideally be best to take the best from both systems and merge them.

One of the big complaints I often see about LW2 is too many guerilla ops late game (when you have a lot of regions) bogging the game down. Similarly, IMHO it makes the game a bit too random when it comes down to if and when you get important missions like Liberation chains.

I kind of like the idea of making many missions quick response (retaliations obviously, but probably also supply raids and troop column ambushes). Rather than requiring resistance members on intel to find, these could work more like vanilla or LW1 where they happen on a bit of a schedule and require you to send a squad within a certain short time. Wounds and the fatigue system from WotC means that you'd still probably want more than just one squad to run these.

The rest of the operations could be merged into the covert ops system; your resistance personnel on intel find leads (taking the place of the available covert operations from resistance groups in WotC) and you send soldiers on those missions like you do in LW2, but with a limit of how many covert actions you can have going at a time to avoid the bogging down problem of late game/the feast or famine issue of trying to find the most guerrila OPs early game in LW2. Finding more leads would still be advantageous since you'd be able to pick and choose what missions you most wanted to run; do you want the breakthrough or the inspiration? A new engineer or stop the dark event?

Maybe remove the infiltration timer but keep infiltration bonuses as a modifier to how difficult the mission is? So a squad going in with a bunch of grenade launchers and powered armor would take the same time for a covert op as one with pistols, shinobis, and civilian outfits, but the latter squad would face fewer enemies/get more turns on the mission timer?

This would, unfortunately, probably involve a lot of UI work; IMHO the covert actions screen from WotC doesn't work as well when the mission will definitely include combat, since it doesn't have loadout options (and going to another screen to mess with loadouts is annoying). It would probably be best to launch them from the geoscape instead of the covert actions screen, so it would be obvious where they were going, and end up in a squad loadout screen for equipment choices. I'm unsure how much UI work it would take to have certain squad positions require engineers/scientists, but I do like Albamuth's suggestion there. The window to the right that includes infiltration percentage info in LW2 could instead list things like mission duration and expected difficulty.

The covert ops screen as it exists now could still serve to track ongoing covert ops.

Psieye
Posts: 681
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:27 am

Re: Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby Psieye » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:33 pm

albamuth wrote:so many options that it allows for variety of strategies

This is a rookie designer mistake. Not just in games, but UX (User Experience) in general. We agree on the end goal: a variety of strategies. Forcing that by cramming a lot of quantity for the SAKE of quantity is... well, it's understandable for designers to want to express themselves. However, a designer should put the end user first, not their own ego. Of course, if you just want to make a mod to satisfy yourself then you know what's best for your own self. That wouldn't be a LW2 port into WotC though. Sure I envision there could be a multitude of adaptations on top of a base LW2->WotC port for people to fine tune the experience (Commander's Choice, show Vigilance, etc). But the base port needs to have wide appeal within an already niche audience.

Complexity should be on a quota. Specifically, superficial complexity. Chess and Go are games which refuse to die because they have mastered this design principle: simple to learn, hard to master. A more modern example would be MtG: it too had to learn that good design starts by being seeming simple to the beginner and the depth only emerges once you've understood the basics.

albamuth wrote:In LW2 the RNG of mission generation axed any possibility of a cohesive strategy as you were always scrambling to complete as many missions as possible that you could manage.


Bremen wrote:IMHO it makes the game a bit too random when it comes down to if and when you get important missions like Liberation chains.

On a tangent, I see feedback on LW2 that the RNG of mission generation is unsatisfactory. I view the complete removal of all RNG from mission generation to be a knee-jerk overreaction that will backfire hard. The problem is that people don't understand the rules. People (well, most) are happy with RNG for hitting a shot because you can infliuence the dice threshold with various details (like proximity or height). When a player wants Lib chains, they need to know what work they must do to make it happen: whether that's in knowing which days to put a scientist advisor and scan or knowing what can be done to still succeed despite a low timer.

Assuming the community port will focus only on English and multi-lingual support will be crowd-translated as available, that makes adding text easier. A decision needs to be made early in design: how much should the rules be explained in-game (or at least, an official wiki)? Certainly it's fine to have hidden variables but some amount of explanation is required else we have players walking away as they think it's pure RNG.
Previous 1.5 Commander campaign for the 8-man GOp squad.
The current one.

Skarlightcrimson
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:52 am

Re: Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby Skarlightcrimson » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:06 am

I love the idea of the covert op mechanics and I like a lot of the suggestions that were put into it.

I've done a playthrough with wotc and, even with the current mods and AI changes, I really can't get myself to dig into another game of it... The replay ability isn't as prominent as it is in lw2 or even lw for that matter.

One currency or resource that I think isn't used correctly is intel. Along the lines of the covert ops suggestions listed above, I believe intel "prices" should be extremely high, but intel is available from many places and often earned as a reward from whatever battle might have happened. After all, we are discovering the purpose for this alien government on our planet and it's true purpose. We are learning where new contacts are in the world to broaden the spectrum of our influence. Intel just seems underused as it is now.

An idea to me is to use intel to explain what sitreps are happening, otherwise they might be unknown.

Perhaps, even knowledge of what enemies might be on the map (either number of enemies or just the types of troops) like the shadow chamber does and alter some of the use of the shadow chamber. The longer the infiltration time spent on a mission, the more you know. Is it too hard to even consider that there might be a random bonus objective on the battlefield? Scarce supplies on some maps, a civilian on the map that happens to be a scientist, up and coming rebel or engineer?
This would create a tie between the strategic and tactical layers while also giving some more opportunities to play around with difficulty.

I have 0 knowledge with actual modding or programming so I have no idea where to even begin with these ideas, but I wanted to throw them out there, get my feet wet in the topic at least. I've never given my 2 cents before.

albamuth
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:37 pm

Re: Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby albamuth » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:23 pm

Psieye wrote:Complexity should be on a quota.


Agreed - - I think that the complexity of WOTC/LW2 is already high enough, in that there are a sufficient variety of things to do, my suggestion was more along the lines of how to exert some control over all those possibilities. In short, rolling the non-urgent mission varieties presented by LW2 into the Covert Ops screen.

The influential factors (Resistance Haven Jobs) of each region is something that has been hidden in the backend of LW2 (some mods have exposed the stats, but that should remain just with those mods)

Psieye wrote:A decision needs to be made early in design: how much should the rules be explained in-game (or at least, an official wiki)?
Hopefully, very little. There was no explanation of why funds were disappearing from "unknown causes" in-game, and when the player (this player) figured it out, it was quite a pleasant surprise. However, we can assume that at least initially, the port will keep all the core mechanics to be the same, so no surprises for LW2 players (as a communitiy effort, it probably isn't feasible, anyhow).

Psieye
Posts: 681
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:27 am

Re: Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby Psieye » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:26 pm

Yes, it seems the community's team is going for an 'adapt as-is' at first and then worry about changing the design. It's a good first step: got to gain experience by porting things over without the additional burden of wondering if the project scope is correct.

Certainly, more control over the mission possibilities is good - be that from different rules or clearer explanations.
Previous 1.5 Commander campaign for the 8-man GOp squad.
The current one.

User avatar
SonnyWiFiHr
Posts: 227
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:57 pm

Re: Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby SonnyWiFiHr » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:41 pm

Mission generation is fine.
RNG - is yes or no.
This gives strange "edge" results. On average RNG follows the mission generation rules.

In game guide on mission generation , managing Vigilance and rebel job switch is MUST.
How much trouble I get because I could not understand what is going and guides are totally wrong ?
I even wrote my own guide and accepted risk that I m totally wrong. Because rebel job switch do not work on one specific case - mission generation. I can get 1 day delay one everything other than that.

Do you need save scum tester ?
The Preacher

tulliopontecorvo
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 10:57 pm

Re: Suggestions: Covert Op Mechanics

Postby tulliopontecorvo » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:54 pm

I agree with PsiEye. The CovertOp function certainly has interesting possibilities but I doubt it can replace the infiltration mechanics altogether and I similarly don't think it's wise to remove the RnG, it's a much simpler solution to expand upon the archives in-game so that players can begin to reason on the rules of the strategy game. If strategy has to have depth, then it has to have rules, mechanics you can clearly understand: if you just scanned and reacted to missions in LW2 that was already doing it wrong tbh.

I would also say don't overreach. First try and make the two compatible. Everything else will take extensive testing and finetuning.


Return to “Long War of the Chosen Development (Community Adaptation)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests