Tobold's Blog
Sunday, March 06, 2016
XCOM 2 pacing

After over a hundred hours played, I have to agree with the reviewer who said that XCOM 2 has a pacing problem. The strategic game isn't as fun as it could be because it doesn't give you enough control over the tactical game. To see what I mean, compare XCOM 2 with games like the Total War series or the Heroes of Might & Magic series: In these game your moves on the strategic map initiate tactical combat, and you have some control when you want to attack and whether you want to attack the enemies main force or just do an easy fight for a few resources. XCOM 2 doesn't have any of that. There are 4 story missions and the occasional Avatar facility that you can attack whenever you want, but all the other missions in the game just pop up at some point and you need to do them *now*, or deal with serious negative consequences. That isn't just sometimes annoying to get frequently interrupted in some strategic map action, but also can have you waiting around for a mission when you want to attack and there isn't a mission on offer.

The source of the problem of course is that XCOM 2 copied the pacing more or less from the first XCOM. There UFOs would pop up from time to time, and it made perfect sense that you couldn't fight the aliens when none of them were in sight. But the background story in XCOM 2 is reversed, the aliens are in control of earth, and you are playing guerrilla rebel fighters. If the aliens are everywhere, why wouldn't there be a location for me to attack at any given point? Why can I only attack the aliens if they allow me to?

In the over thousand mods that XCOM 2 now has, I haven't found a single one that gives you the option to attack aliens when you want. However I did find a number of mods that mess in one way or another with the Avatar timer, and thus allow me to play a longer game. To me that is more fun, because I can play more games against the harder aliens with soldiers that have more options, instead of having to rush to the final mission and finish the game. But I would be interested in either an XCOM 2 expansion or an XCOM 3 with a different pacing, and lots of options to attack different points on the strategic map for different rewards, instead of having to "scan and wait" for those rewards.

This is necessary because of the tech improvement of the game. You get stronger, but so are the aliens.

While you are in tactical battle, the strategic time is stopped (or very slow). So if you spam N missions when you are at advantage, you can N times the tactical rewards of a mission, all in a single strategic day.
I distinctly remember at least one scan that resulted in combat mission, so the potential for what you want seems to be there - just populate world with short scans like that instead of automatic resource aquisition.
Isn't it more or less what X-Mercs gives you? Apart from the 30 min lock on zones, you can just go anywhere (which also means choose the difficulty setting).
I was thinking the same thing the other day.

Looks like there is now a mod to start your own missions
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