"More reinforcements? More loot!" or: Why I think salvage from defeated enemies is in tension with the narrative

So in the last couple of patches the devs have been promoting a smash & grab playstyle what with the changes to reinforcements and extraction points. The thing is, after doing it once just to try it, I’ve never used it again, because why would I want to miss out on the salvage?

Let’s talk about guerrilla warfare for a bit.

You are a plucky band of heros, facing off against an evil occupying regime. Your operational goals are, in no particular order:

  • Obtain weapons and supplies to allow you to continue fighting (and get higher level/rarity gear because that’s a thing in this universe I guess)
  • Disrupt the enemy’s C&C and logistics
  • Attrit the enemy forces in carefully chosen surprise engagements
  • Score flashy victories to boost the locals’ morale and decrease the invaders’
  • Defend the local population from the invading forces

What you do NOT want to be doing is engaging in prolonged head-to-head engagements against a numerically superior foe.

This is where the issue of salvage from defeated enemies comes in - it creates a perverse incentive to fight more and more bad guys when narratively what you should be doing is trying to engage as few as possible while carrying out your strategic goals.

So what do? Well, I can think of a couple of ways to address this:

  • De-emphasise loot from enemies, and put much more emphasis on getting loot from raids. That would give you a solid incentive to go after convoys, for example, which are currently terrible. (although if you do do this, please improve convoy battles to be more like ambushing a convoy and not being YOLO’d by sixteen tanks.)
  • Infinite waves of reinforcements; possibly escalating in size. Eventually you are forced to retreat
  • Reactive attacks on the campaign map. After you attack something, nearby bases should spawn counter-attacks to head to your last known location. You should NOT want to be caught by them.
2 Likes

I agree that the Hit and Run missions are flawed. But the problem that I see is that if the enemy are a higher level, you are more likely to have to kill them fast. Giving little salvage. And from the loot from raids, please make it clear what is from the raid, as I don’t see what they are providing.

Greetings

I have been thinking that the loot system should be reworked entirely. While the devs might have plans for it in the future, the current system has several issues.

  • Inventory management takes up a lot of time. Even if the UI gets improved(able to select and scrap multiple components would be nice), it does not change the fact that you very quickly have 20+ components after big fights lying around that you need to look at, and you get a lot of “trash” items along with it(including dublicates or almost dublicates).
  • You have a large surplus after just a few hours gameplay, both in terms of supplies and parts.
  • Your base workshop is under-utilized. Outside of building mechs, there is no point in crafting items, as they are often inferior to what you gather on the battlefield and just require you to scrap most of it again.
  • You sit for hours(in game time) in one location during salvage operations. It breaks the pacing and serves no real purpose other than resting your pilots for a bit(since repairs are done way, way faster) and forcing you to give up on salvage temporarily in case something else happens that you need to react to.
    Not only that, you might even forget where and what the salvage was after having dealt with that urgent stuff(or events interrupt you etc.).

As such, I propose a series of changes:
1) Blueprint mechanics

  • The Blueprint mechanic is fairly simple. You find a blueprint, you are now able to craft this item yourself. So instead of enemies dropping parts, weapons and subsystems, you get a blueprint of that specific item to reverse engineer it yourself. This will free up your inventory to only include already crafted/available items. And there will be no dublicates.
  • Of course this would require a new tab, called “Blueprints”. These will have different categories, like type, level, rarity and “affix”/quirk. In addition, there should be a toggle/category called “hidden”, where you can hide blueprints that you are no longer interested in. For instance, once you reach level 5 tier items, you probably no longer care about your level 1 and 2 blueprints.
  • Crafting from a blueprint works similarly to what the current item crafting does. It costs supplies and takes time, but you are able to move around. However, the time and price varies on the item type, level and rarity.
  • If need be, high rarity blueprints could have a limit on how many you items you can craft this item(simply from a game mechanic/balance perspective).

2) Special rewards

  • Certain missions or bonus objectives might provide a special item(random generated at the appropriate level). It will always be of blue or higher rarity. This way, you will still get a small influx of new items outside of crafting from blueprints and it will always be something “decent”.
  • Alternatively, these items could have a unique rarity and be predefined, similar to unique items in ARPGs. We could call them “prototypes”, because they would behave differently compared to the standard variation, and you wont be able to craft them yourself. For instance, a unique sniper rifle that fires at a lower velocity and damage, but has tracking shots. Or a shotgun that fires a single, powerful bullet, but it can penetrate multiple targets if they line up.

3) Supplies

  • Supplies will only be gained from certain mission types, certain secondary objectives, events, scrapping items and holding specific landmarks(like logging camps, mines, factories etc.). Currently you get way too many supplies and not enough meaningful stuff to spend it on.
    With the changes mentioned above on how to aquire items(crafting them yourself), we now have something to pour the supplies into, and by making it objective based, you have to plan your campaign a bit. Especially smash and grab missions become important.
  • This also means that the pacing changes. Instead of heading into level 5 or 7 areas as soon as possible, you might stay in lower level areas for a bit to gather a few more supplies so that you can actually build the higher level items once you aquire the blueprints.

4) Final thoughts

  • Because you do not necessarily want the blueprints from an area(it might be a level 5 area and you are using level 7 or higher mechs), just completing the objectives(usually supplies) and then exfiltrate makes a lot more sense. You wont get extra supplies for sticking around and fighting the enemy reinforcements, because you dont get extra items that you can scrap. This helps emphasise the “guerilla warfare” feel, with your engagements focusing on specific goals(either set by yourself, like getting new blueprints, or by the game, like supply objectives).
  • In games like these, I have always found it weird that you are able to pick up an arm or a leg and just attach it on one of your own mechs. To me it makes more sense that you take a design and reverse engineer it to fit your own mechs. That is how we can have components from different manufactures fit together, even though they are not meant to. As such, a blueprint system makes more sense to me, than simply taking the salvaged part and stick it on a mech.

Lots of great suggestions :slight_smile:

Yeah, inventory management is a mess. Two things I’d really like to see

  • sort parts by parameter (e.g. heat dissipation)
  • auto-strip subsystems from stored parts. Seriously the current system makes managing subsystems a complete pain as you have to sort through your part inventory; equip the part with the subsystem you want; rempove the system; find and re-equip your old part; equip the subsystem onto it.

We know the workshop is basically unimplemented at this point so I’m going to wait and see, but these are solid ideas.

Agreed. One option would be to have the option to choose which parts to salvage (including unknows), and consequently reduce the time spent stationary.

This is a great idea.

If you click on “filter” above the sort by level button, you can select specific categories of items, which is nice when you want to clean out a bunch of old items or find specific things. Seems like a few categories might be missing though.

But you still can’t clear out ALL level 1 items in one go… you have to click the item and select delete for each and every one.

Agreed.

The key point here is that a few hit and run missions are great, basically you are trying to engage in guerrilla warfare against a superior enemy. However, if they never detect you or counterattack, essentially the game becomes a series of linear (amazing) battles.

That is OK at the beginning but can become less challenging over time. So, basically, while the battles are amazing, the campaign should be more dynamic/interactive. There may be other suggestions on things that are already partly present in the game but may be elaborated more, like capturing captives, different types of missions, etc - so far the battles look pretty much the same, regardless of the type of site. Even the capital city, for example, looks very similar to a small village.

I would really like it if attacking bases would yield more distinct rewards depending on the function of that base. For example a supply base should yield supplies, a fortress should yield a large hope boost for the region, and a research base should yield experimental or exotic weapons and parts. Perhaps a gun that discharges chain lightning, a shield that redirects bullets back at the enemy, or maybe body parts covered with explosive armor that deals damage to attackers when hit by melee attacks.