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Jagged Alliance 3 in GameStar preview.


Wigen
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I don't know German very well but in the newest issue of GameStar, an article about Jagged Alliance 3 is to appear.

I think they are very enthusiastic and full of hope 🙂 Probably after Gamestar there will also come time for other services.

 

https://www.gamestar.de/artikel/neues-gamestar-heft-ja-jagged-alliance-3-wird-wirklich-entwickelt,3374188.html

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  • Wigen changed the title to Jagged Alliance 3 in GameStar preview.

Okay, here's a short summary:

Title: this is the Jagged Alliance we know and love

JA3 - in the author's opinion - seems to manage what countless sequels didn't: to be a true successor to JA2.

They interviewed Producer Brad Logston and learned that even hardcore fans should feel relieved.

The Laptop is back, it is your way of managing things. You can use video calls to interview mercs you want to hire. Mercs like Igor, Ivan, Steroid or Tex create a warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.

Mercs will have several ways to level their skills: automatic through use or by player choice (aim and +dmg are mentioned) and some are specific to certain characters (dual wield pistols is mentioned). Leveling up makes them more expensive.

Also, you can (and need to) buy weapons, armor and other things (like explosives).

The preview ends right where they went into describing the campaign management. They mention that all mechanics from JA2 are there, nothing seems missing, some mechanics were updated in a good way. They are adamant that JA3 creates the true JA feeling.

Target Release date: 2022

And that's it, nothing more for now. My eyes... my poor eyes. I can't believe I managed to read through it... 😵

Edited by LXant
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2 hours ago, LXant said:

They mention that all mechanics from JA2 are there, nothing seems missing, some mechanics were updated in a good way. They are adamant that JA3 creates the true JA feeling.

Please be true, please be true, please be true, please be true.

Dammit, it might be the beer, the wine and the whisky but it brings a tear to my eye that just maybe we are on the right path to get a true sequel to our beloved JA2.

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14 minutes ago, Hendrix said:

Please be true, please be true, please be true, please be true.

Dammit, it might be the beer, the wine and the whisky but it brings a tear to my eye that just maybe we are on the right path to get a true sequel to our beloved JA2.

The article heavily depends on the subjective feelings of the one writing it. So, full of doubt and mistrust, I did a bit of research on the author.

Here's what I found after a quick search: She is old enough (something between 40 and 50 years old) to have played the early JA games, prefers action games and RPGs (and JA has both qualities), has been for over 20 years with that particular games magazine and made it to the position of lead editor.

I'd say there's a good chance that she actually played JA/JA2 back in the day, knows what made both games great and that her assessment of JA3 as true successor is justified and entirely correct.

Like you, I'm also hopeful. More than with any other JA game that came after JA2.

We might still be wrong and get disappointed - and I'm sure some of us will - but until then we have hope. And beer. And wine. And whisky. 🙂

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8 minutes ago, LXant said:

The article heavily depends on the subjective feelings of the one writing it. So, full of doubt and mistrust, I did a bit of research on the author.

LXant, my man! "Ones own surveys are better than others opinions". 

 

11 minutes ago, LXant said:

Here's what I found after a quick search: She is old enough (something between 40 and 50 years old) to have played the early JA games, prefers action games and RPGs (and JA has both qualities), has been for over 20 years with that particular games magazine and made it to the position of lead editor.

I'd say there's a good chance that she actually played JA/JA2 back in the day, knows what made both games great and that her assessment of JA3 as true successor is justified and entirely correct.

I WANT to belive that counts for something in todays "gaming climate". Someone who remembers how games (in most cases) used to be. Before it became the industry we see today. There was a passion that many developers (in my opinion) has lost along the way. Hell, I remember when EA was considered to be a good studio! 

 

16 minutes ago, LXant said:

We might still be wrong and get disappointed - and I'm sure some of us will - but until then we have hope. And beer. And wine. And whisky. 🙂

True true, got my guns aswell... and I guess the cat to... course the wife now that I think about it... 

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Hey! I'm glad to hear these things...

...and I really don't WANT to sound like the party-pooper, but I want to see gameplay before an interview report.


I might sound skeptical (I probably am feeling a little skeptical to be honest), but I think the past decade and a half of poor pc game revivals and poor releases with over-hyped promises has taught me that whenever I've gotten my "panties" all tightly wound up...  ...it ends up not feeling so good after!

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13 minutes ago, GODSPEED said:

Hey! I'm glad to hear these things...

...and I really don't WANT to sound like the party-pooper, but I want to see gameplay before an interview report.


I might sound skeptical (I probably am feeling a little skeptical to be honest), but I think the past decade and a half of poor pc game revivals and poor releases with over-hyped promises has taught me that whenever I've gotten my "panties" all tightly wound up...  ...it ends up not feeling so good after!

Nothing wrong with being skeptical. I am starting to feel like that old pipe smoking man on his poarch who rants at todays young'uns about the good old days of gaming. I mean what is the worst case? They botch this game and we go back to play 1.13 for another 5,6,7 years untill the next idio... suicida... I mean OVERLY optimistic game studios have a try at the franchise. 😂

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3 minutes ago, Hendrix said:

Nothing wrong with being skeptical. I am starting to feel like that old pipe smoking man on his poarch who rants at todays young'uns about the good old days of gaming. I mean what is the worst case? They botch this game and we go back to play 1.13 for another 5,6,7 years untill the next idio... suicida... I mean OVERLY optimistic game studios have a try at the franchise. 😂

Oh jeez... tell me about it!

😑

When you talk Turn-Based games and they say xcom and you think they are talking Apocalypse.. and they have no idea what that is.. and then you try to explain the beauty of JA2... and they are just like: "have you played Divinity Original Sin 2?"


sigh



If these guys botch JA3... we'll need to join forces.. 9mm + 7.62x39mm before anyone else ever attempts another failure.
[seriously, to anyone reading that; it is a JOKE!!!...I have no violent tendencies other than in JA2!!!!!!]

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8 hours ago, GODSPEED said:


When you talk Turn-Based games and they say xcom and you think they are talking Apocalypse.. and they have no idea what that is.. and then you try to explain the beauty of JA2... and they are just like: "have you played Divinity Original Sin 2?"
 

I've played all of the games you mentioned (and some more), so naturally I'm a bit curious: why do you seem to dislike more modern approaches for turn-based strategy?

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8 hours ago, LXant said:

I've played all of the games you mentioned (and some more), so naturally I'm a bit curious: why do you seem to dislike more modern approaches for turn-based strategy?

I'm not one who appreciates simplification of elements in a game that can pause or wait for me to finish my turn.

Quite the opposite, I rather mechanics that are a little more hidden, with many complications. I tend to enjoy games like 7,62 High Calibre, Silent Storm 2, Baldur's Gate 2, JA2 1.13 with many of the more complex options like strong suppression, weapon resting, etc.. So I enjoy the old X-Coms, mostly Apocalypse for the complexity of the game world, its factions the completely destructible environment. Having to calculate AP's and how to properly use them.

Cover should be pretty self-explanatory.. I rather use logic than always wait to judge depending on the shield icon being half or full. I like games that offer me absolute freedom in how, who, when, where and with what. I would rather a game that I learn by my own mistake that I should not have run this far, because I now don't have enough AP to take a shot, instead of a game that shows me two different ranges of movement.. I'm not the brightest and most intelligent person, by far... but I do like being able to learn limits on my own. I don't need the game to hold my hand with waypoints to where I need to go or how far I can move. I want to figure it out myself.

I should be able to give ANY character ANY weapon, bomb, grenade, lockpick, gear and see them fail as I see fit. I do not want imposed restrictions.

Often, newer games favor simplistic action points, arbitrary rules and you feel like you have VERY limited options during combat. You can never be imaginative or TRY things for fun. Combat becomes a little tedious and inventory, gear, clothing is all very basic. I find no enjoyment in that.

I won't even talk about the new-xcoms, because, eventhough I enjoyed the first time I played them, I dislike those games for how they treated the IP and I am unable to go back without feeling like it's boring me to death. Xcom 2 is a great example of limiting strategy. It's become more of a timed puzzle game that limits freedom.. so, the opposite of what I enjoy.
Phoenix Point just falls short after a few hours of play.. D:OS2 has a poor story, boring characters and is so level capped that it offers little freedom how or when you approach areas.

Sorry for my ramble.. I do that a lot.


In short:

+ Complexity {I judge the pros/cons of every one of my actions}
+ Detail {ammunition types, magazine sizes, pouches, equipment}
+ well hidden mechanics {I want to judge my cover and learn from my mistakes, I want to judge how far I can move}
+ Well-designed maps {generated maps look and feel generated and take away from immersion because often doesn't make "sense".. or locations that are just as generic as every previous location}
+ freedom (I decide if I want to camp the enemy, I decide if I want to rush or take 5 hours to kill the last 2 enemies)

- showing me the limits of everything I can do (I'm not so stupid I need the game to hold my hand at every turn!)
- Quest pointers (same as above)
- simple inventories with absolute minimum basic 2-3 items
- locked abilities/weapons to classes {Silent Storm 2 compensates in other areas, so it's forgiven here, Baldur's Gate as well}

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Thank you for taking your time and giving me such a detailed answer. I must warn you, though, as I also tend to ramble when it's about something I'm passionate about. 🙂

What you describe as strong points in those old games, I experienced as irritating and at times confusing. Let's take X-Com and TftD as an example: There was no fun in buying stacks of ammunition and equipping my soldiers again and again before each mission.

Yes, it is more complex than a simplified inventory, but there's no challenge in that kind of complexity. It just eats time, it doesn't do anything for gameplay. True, it adds the illusion of freedom, and - like you - I actually dislike arbitrary equipment restrictions. BUT: once I got my team, roles and equipment didn't change anymore. I'd give them exactly the same things I gave them in the last few missions. As if, surprise, their class was set and their role was determined. While I always had the freedom to equip everyone as I saw fit, I chose not to.

This is something that is also true for many other games btw, like RPGs (since you mentioned D:OS2), be it Baldurs Gate, Kingmaker or the newly released WotR etc. There you also level certain characters in a specific way and stick to your idea, despite all the freedom of equipment.

While the idea of having a restriction might be offending, its impact on how we actually play the game is arguably small. That's what I try to say here.

Inventory management and ammo shuffling aside, counting AP, varying AP costs between soldiers, unclear AP costs when moving over different surfaces, many issues with positioning, cover and line of sight etc. were also weak points that I'm glad were improved. You called that a challenge, learning from experience, a game not holding your hand. I call it guesswork and unclear communication of crucial information. It was okay in the 90s, to some degree in the early 2000s. I didn't complain because I didn't know better. But now? A game not telling you what your action actually entails is just bad game design.

I don't know if you followed some of the interviews the Devs of XCOM gave. It is interesting because it shows why certain things had to change, even when great fans of the old games were part of the Dev team; fans that loved the old games as much as we do.

They described that their early versions of the game had all the things you could ever ask for (meaning all the 'complexity' of the 90s). Firaxis didn't simplify things randomly, they actually struggled with their modern adaptation of clearly outdated mechanics. To the point of nearly failing the whole project, as they freely admitted. Only when they simplified things without forcing players in endless loops of trial and error (interestingly enough they also made the game give the player less exact information, to keep an element of surprise), only then did they manage to make a game that many people (including myself) found enjoyable.

That Firaxis is on the right track is evident when you compare Phoenix Point and XCOM/XCOM2. Julian Gollop deserves all the praise for creating the original X-Com, but Firaxis clearly has a better understanding of how to create a good game. As I said in another thread, they managed nothing less than the revival of a dead genre and inspired other developers to make similar games.

Which brings me to JA. It was a good game in its time and I greatly enjoyed it (I wouldn't be here otherwise). But it suffered from the same weaknesses that I described here. AP counting, unclear interrupt mechanic, inventory shuffling, too much trial and error and so on aren't exactly part of a good game design.

That's why I'm quite happy with Haemimont implementing some of the more popular elements of modern XCOM design: The old AP count was drastically reduced, you have much clearer information about movement, attacks and cover (and three stances to choose from if you don't have any cover I think), the overwatch system is also superior compared to the old interrupt system...

There's just one challenge that even Firaxis didn't manage to overcome with both of their games: combat pacing. Without strict time limits the player is rewarded for slowly crawling and overwatching everything to death. That makes combat boring. JA2 is also guilty of this very thing: waiting in the darkness, luring single enemies to you and then going for interrupts was the way to go. It was fun at first, but quickly became repetitive and boring. There was not much of a variation in mission types either.

Time limits are generally disliked, but most people can't argue with the results: they forced many XCOM2 players to choose a more aggressive approach. It made engagements more dynamic and memorable, you actually had to use your skills and do some planning in advance. And that is something you can only do if the game gives you the necessary information.

Looking at JA3, I think the better way would be not to punish players for failing a time limit, but to reward them for being quick. I hope JA3 will go this route. That would discourage overwatch-crawling without forcing time limits down our throats. But it is too early to comment on it, just that I'm curious what the Devs have in mind here.

Looks like I couldn't resist my urge to ramble away at it. Oh well... I hope my rant didn't bore you.

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On 10/15/2021 at 7:47 PM, LXant said:

They interviewed Producer Brad Logston and learned that even hardcore fans should feel relieved.

 

And was this interview with Brad Logston long or short? Did he say something new about it that we do not know and we still know?

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3 minutes ago, Wigen said:

And was this interview with Brad Logston long or short? Did he say something new about it that we do not know and we still know?

I just provided a literal translation of that part from the short preview. Sadly, without having the whole article I cannot tell you more than that. And believe me, I'm as keen on getting new info as everyone else here.

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Here are the last tidbits I could gather from my limited access to Gamestar:

The person actually interviewing Brad Logston is another member of the team, but he is an outspoken fan of JA2. A bit of speculation on my part: since he is a big fan of the new XCOM games, it isn't unreasonable to assume that he'd speak in a positive manner if JA3 had similarities to the new XCOM games.

There are at least 40 mercs available

Max squad size seems to be 6, though it remains unconfirmed for now

Destructable environment is in, you can "shoot holes in walls and use explosives to surprise your enemies"

Like in JA2, you get a starting budget, which you'll use to hire your first mercs

Mercs are paid weekly

Well, there it is. Everything else is already known.

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7 minutes ago, LXant said:

There are at least 40 mercs available

 

40 mercs? Somewhere I read that there will be 60 mercenaries. Apparently, other editorial offices give a different number. Some say 40, others say 60. We will see how much will be available in reality. Of course, I would like this number of mercenaries to be as high as possible. 🙂

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20 minutes ago, LXant said:

Destructable environment is in, you can "shoot holes in walls and use explosives to surprise your enemies"

 

Damn! I ran out of time to edit my post and I wanted to add something else. 😒

Does that mean that if I shoot a wall, a door, a stone, or a tree without being in the room, I won't destroy any of these obstacles?

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23 minutes ago, Wigen said:

Damn! I ran out of time to edit my post and I wanted to add something else. 😒

Does that mean that if I shoot a wall, a door, a stone, or a tree without being in the room, I won't destroy any of these obstacles?

I wish I knew the answer! All I did was translating the sentence as literally as possible.

But if the announcement trailer is to be trusted, we can expect something similar to XCOM2 - also a game with destructible environment. Would mean that you can use explosives freely, but not aim your weapons directly at normal objects (though missed shots would still damage them).

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4 hours ago, LXant said:

What you describe as strong points in those old games, I experienced as irritating and at times confusing. Let's take X-Com and TftD as an example: There was no fun in buying stacks of ammunition and equipping my soldiers again and again before each mission.

Yes, it is more complex than a simplified inventory, but there's no challenge in that kind of complexity. It just eats time, it doesn't do anything for gameplay. True, it adds the illusion of freedom, and - like you - I actually dislike arbitrary equipment restrictions. BUT: once I got my team, roles and equipment didn't change anymore. I'd give them exactly the same things I gave them in the last few missions. As if, surprise, their class was set and their role was determined. While I always had the freedom to equip everyone as I saw fit, I chose not to.

This is where I find this to be part of the fun of wargaming. A more in-depth (slightly game-ified) way of creating a layer of logistics.

Having LIMITED access to ammunition means you are way more careful with how you use it, it might impact who you hand the ammo to or if you don't hand ammo to a character.

To me, this is plain and simple the part where you plan and you organize. I used to play some milsim-lite airsoft with a dozen friends, as a team thing. A big part of the enjoyment (for some of us) litteraly to count equipment, organize and create scenarios of limitations and organizing who has what and how much. Wondering what pouches we might need for our scenario or not. Some other players, they just really didn't care much, they always came to the game with everything the same.. that's how they had fun.

Naturally, this "logistics" detail works well with games that approach a more "wargame" feel. I do think Jagged Alliance, 7,62 High Calibre, Silent Storm, etc.. do take many scaled-down elements from traditional wargames. Something that was completely removed from newer-style turn-based games.

 

4 hours ago, LXant said:

This is something that is also true for many other games btw, like RPGs (since you mentioned D:OS2), be it Baldurs Gate, Kingmaker or the newly released WotR etc. There you also level certain characters in a specific way and stick to your idea, despite all the freedom of equipment.

While the idea of having a restriction might be offending, its impact on how we actually play the game is arguably small. That's what I try to say here.

I agree that I consider it differently when playing D&D, because in D&D, classes have a big impact on your choices.. but that is also why I think a game with character and personality or stronger writing compensates for other elements that are lacking.

As an example, Baldur's Gate 2 has such a strong story, among the best written villains in video games and a more mature theme, so I overlook the personal freedom of each character and I appreciate and work with the limitations I am given.

Take a game like Skyrim though, or even Oblivion. You have so much freedom.. almost completely classless, a little bit how I like it... but the writting and story are so poorly done that it doesn't compensate, so to me, they feel empty.

 

4 hours ago, LXant said:

Inventory management and ammo shuffling aside, counting AP, varying AP costs between soldiers, unclear AP costs when moving over different surfaces, many issues with positioning, cover and line of sight etc. were also weak points that I'm glad were improved. You called that a challenge, learning from experience, a game not holding your hand. I call it guesswork and unclear communication of crucial information. It was okay in the 90s, to some degree in the early 2000s. I didn't complain because I didn't know better. But now? A game not telling you what your action actually entails is just bad game design.

I don't call these weak points... I call these learning.

Do you calculate how much energy your body will expend walking through snow compared to walking on a sidewalk that has no snow? No... You learn from the action, you learn from the experience that okay, when I walk through heavy snow, I must do this or that to ease my steps and waste less energy.

Having lesser information in a video game, leads to learn from what you experience, even if there are no numbers. I think this is EXTREMELY important, because it works your logic skills, it helps develop and still grow your logic center in the brain, even as you play a game. This is the way it feels to me and the way I enjoy games. Just like I REALLY hate when shooters have shooting mechanics that are too constant. Something feels... abnormal.

When you shoot a gun, regardless if it's a real gun, a water gun, an airsoft gun or a paintball gun, even if you were to set your rifle on a bench and have it not move a hair.. your shots would change where they hit. So I look for video games that replicate this closely. I really dislike when video games have such accurate pistols it feels you can snipe a head at 200m no problem, just because you know that it is a 100% constant trajectory and placement at every shot.

Now, yes, for sure, there has to be some elements in video games where concessions MUST be made for the sake of playability.. but that is where I would much rather pick up a game like Arma, then a game like Counter-Strike (I have played both and enjoy either for what they are, but if I had to pick.. I'd pick realism any day!).

I do not see lack of information as bad game design.. I actually see well hidden numbers as a way to recreate a more organic and realistic feel.. because, like many thigns in life, things are often a gut feeling, a reflex or a feeling. We act on those.

Just like in JA. If you take two Assault Rifles, one has a damage output of 52, and the other of 56. Which one will you take? Have you considered HOW the weapon handles? Maybe the 52 dam rifle will have higher chance at hitting an 3 rounds auto versus the 56 dam. 1.13 has taken great care to try and number these details.. but I still rather just experience it from using the weapons.

I get annoyed when everything just becomes a matter of simply choosing the highest rated number out of the weapons. That is how many modern looter-shooters, rpgs and turn-based games do it. You simply compare numbers.. it takes away most "feeling" and your own simple bias, because you know that there is a better number.

 

4 hours ago, LXant said:

I don't know if you followed some of the interviews the Devs of XCOM gave. It is interesting because it shows why certain things had to change, even when great fans of the old games were part of the Dev team; fans that loved the old games as much as we do.

That Firaxis is on the right track is evident when you compare Phoenix Point and XCOM/XCOM2. Julian Gollop deserves all the praise for creating the original X-Com, but Firaxis clearly has a better understanding of how to create a good game. As I said in another thread, they managed nothing less than the revival of a dead genre and inspired other developers to make similar games.

This is where I am in EXTREME disagreement. To start, I do not follow interviews, because, usually, interviews are to paint a glorious image on their product. No one will give a very neutral interview.. questions will be answered to promote their product, show how much work was put in and will be done to help sales.

And I do not consider the new Xcoms to even come close in quality compared to the old ones. What did the new ones achieve? Financial success? Wider audience? Financial success through cutting down on features and making it accessible to almost every modern platform. Naturally, ANY game you open the door to a huge audience, if done with a certain level of quality, will fare better than being released on PC alone.

I do not view this as a success. I don't judge how good a movie, a game or a book are on how much they made from profit.

Turn-Based Strategy games never died.. we've had so many since 1999. All the new Xcoms did, was give it a more cinematic feel and make it easily accessible to a wider audience.. while stripping it down to a boardgame level. I love boardgames.. but when I play boardgames, not PC games.

To me, the new Xcom was the first game to announce the downfall of Turn-Based Strategy games. Now, instead of having PC games with a complexity and detail that is relevant to the platform, we are handed watered-down games that copy, modify or tweak the new xcom system, because that game was a financial success.

I think we're still lucky that some studios like Slitherine still exist, because they keep pumping out old-school turn-based strategy games for it's niche audience! I praise that effort!!

 

4 hours ago, LXant said:

Which brings me to JA. It was a good game in its time and I greatly enjoyed it (I wouldn't be here otherwise). But it suffered from the same weaknesses that I described here. AP counting, unclear interrupt mechanic, inventory shuffling, too much trial and error and so on aren't exactly part of a good game design.

What weakness? Is there a cult following of the first new Xcom? are there still mods being conceived for it? Updates on a regular basis?

Jagged Alliance 2 1.13 is still going strong. They are still finding ways to implement and tweak features. New FULL mods coming out for it.. on top of a very extensive library of EXTREMELY well-done mods that are balanced, enjoyable and not too "cheap" feeling.

The game never even had multiplayer, yet they worked so hard on the engine, they managed to integrate a multiplayer feature into it!

I did not greatly enjoy Jagged Alliance 2 (as in when it came out)... I STILL greatly play it (as in; enjoying it as much as since the year 2001 when I found it). I even took a pause from my game at the moment to respond here.

No other game has me coming back for more mods, more games and more time than titles like Jagged Alliance 2 has.. and I will enjoy it for another few decades, regardless the success or failure of JA3.

 

4 hours ago, LXant said:

That's why I'm quite happy with Haemimont implementing some of the more popular elements of modern XCOM design: The old AP count was drastically reduced, you have much clearer information about movement, attacks and cover (and three stances to choose from if you don't have any cover I think), the overwatch system is also superior compared to the old interrupt system...

There's just one challenge that even Firaxis didn't manage to overcome with both of their games: combat pacing. Without strict time limits the player is rewarded for slowly crawling and overwatching everything to death. That makes combat boring. JA2 is also guilty of this very thing: waiting in the darkness, luring single enemies to you and then going for interrupts was the way to go. It was fun at first, but quickly became repetitive and boring. There was not much of a variation in mission types either.

Jagged Alliance 2, in its bog-standard base game has AI as advanced as any other TBS game honestly. 1.13 has seriously given that major tweaks. I can't remember just sitting around waiting for the enemy to pile up. Sure, luring an enemy to you is a very commmon tactic in video games.. but overwatch brought that on by it's own poor design.

In Jagged Alliance 2, as you put it, and some others also say this... this "archaic" system of misunderstood interrupts is the basis that should NEVER be removed.

It helps balance out the sitting to lure the enemy tactic.. as you can never be 100% certain that you WILL interupt the enemy. Sometimes, you interrupt the enemy, you take a shot, but your muzle flash creates an interrupt for another enemy who does hit you!

Please tell me how many games have such a cool system that has more layers that simply pressing the button to sit and wait for the frist enemy to enter your cone?

Firaxis wanted to bring the game down to a ridiculously "gameified" simplistic level to catter to ALL platforms.. so they shot themselve in the foot and needed to correct it by making you rush through missions in Xcom 2. So that game became a turn-based puzzle game.

The whole point of the turn-based strategy games it to give you that "time" to evaluate, think and plan a strategy, or react to one. Xcom 2 made you rush so much that you have no room for error... creating an environment very far away from wargames.
 

4 hours ago, LXant said:

Time limits are generally disliked, but most people can't argue with the results: they forced many XCOM2 players to choose a more aggressive approach. It made engagements more dynamic and memorable, you actually had to use your skills and do some planning in advance. And that is something you can only do if the game gives you the necessary information.

Looking at JA3, I think the better way would be not to punish players for failing a time limit, but to reward them for being quick. I hope JA3 will go this route. That would discourage overwatch-crawling without forcing time limits down our throats. But it is too early to comment on it, just that I'm curious what the Devs have in mind here.

Looks like I couldn't resist my urge to ramble away at it. Oh well... I hope my rant didn't bore you.

I remember nothing in xcom as being memorable. None of the characters I controlled were interesting.. no enemy was interesting. They were all generic.


I easily remember some major huge battles I've had in JA2, I easily remember the feelings I had the first time I entered some locations, because of the feeling they gave. Like the prison in Tixa. I remember being super creeped out and so curious and full of mystery on that map.. and the battles I've had in the prison underground. Or big battles I've taken part in between militia and the queens forces. I remember lines mercs say, or how the queen is such a funny character.

Nothing in xcom is memorable... yet, I remember taking down entire levels in X-Com apocalypse because that rocket missed its shot and destroyed a huge part of the building for which I was trying to gain favors from its faction.

I won't even talk about Phoenix Point.. other than, that is the only and last game I've pre-ordered in the past decade. It's super fun the first few hours, then it simply falls flat. It lacks any character.. it's just as generic and unmemorable. I don't remember any battles other than a frustrating one, because the generated maps created a lock in gameplay that couldn't be resolved.


I sincerely hope they will NOT go that route with JA3. I don't expect 1.13 level of detail... I just expect a game that a niche of players will love to death. Mod support or not... if the game lacks what most JA2 players want from it... it will fall flat like most attempts.

If it's redeeming factor is the fact that it "succeeds" because it copied/tweaked one of the newer systems to be accessible to as wide an audience as possible... I'll consider that a failure.



Your rant was NOT boring! I appreciate that you took the time and responded with a rant that I was glad to read. I respect someone who can speak his mind, regardless if it is my opinion or not. As long as we can do it in respect, I don't see these arguments as a negative.. to the contrary, someone can say something that makes us think and at least it gives us another opinion to consider. I think that this is important.

Keep in mind, we can both agree to disagree simply because we like different things, or even similar things, for different reasons!

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11 hours ago, LXant said:

But if the announcement trailer is to be trusted, we can expect something similar to XCOM2 - also a game with destructible environment. Would mean that you can use explosives freely, but not aim your weapons directly at normal objects (though missed shots would still damage them).

 

The truth is, however, that in a destructible environment it was always the same as it was meant to be, and all that was implemented was the possibility of destroying the door.

Creating an integral, destructible environment in a game takes a lot of work, money and resources. Of course, it would be nice to see Jagged Alliance 3 demolish the house to its foundations, but so far I'm skeptical about that announcement.

 

On 10/15/2021 at 7:47 PM, LXant said:

Leveling up makes them more expensive

 

Will you be able to buy skills with money? Is there any broader description of this feature?

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6 minutes ago, Wigen said:

Will you be able to buy skills with money? Is there any broader description of this feature?

Here you go, the closest possible translation of that part:

You hire mercs for a certain period of time; the longer it is, the more money they want. Throughout the game their skills improve, automatically as well as through specific selection of certain generally useful (more dmg, higher precision) and character specific talents (use two weapons at the same time).

But the higher a mercs level is, the bigger their weekly costs get. This is a bit tricky, since you need your money to also buy equipment like weapons, armor and explosives.

 

To answer your question, there's absolutely no indication that you direcly buy skills with money. However, indirectly any new skill will increase the weekly costs, so skills do cost money.

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7 hours ago, GODSPEED said:

Your rant was NOT boring! I appreciate that you took the time and responded with a rant that I was glad to read. I respect someone who can speak his mind, regardless if it is my opinion or not. As long as we can do it in respect, I don't see these arguments as a negative.. to the contrary, someone can say something that makes us think and at least it gives us another opinion to consider. I think that this is important.


Keep in mind, we can both agree to disagree simply because we like different things, or even similar things, for different reasons!

Again, you've my thanks and appreciation for voicing your thoughts in such a respectful and thorough manner. I think I can understand the direction you come from, now that I know a bit better what it is you enjoy. I look forward to discussing things with you, your passion for JA is admirable!

7 hours ago, GODSPEED said:

This is where I find this to be part of the fun of wargaming. A more in-depth (slightly game-ified) way of creating a layer of logistics.

Having LIMITED access to ammunition means you are way more careful with how you use it, it might impact who you hand the ammo to or if you don't hand ammo to a character.

To me, this is plain and simple the part where you plan and you organize. I used to play some milsim-lite airsoft with a dozen friends, as a team thing. A big part of the enjoyment (for some of us) litteraly to count equipment, organize and create scenarios of limitations and organizing who has what and how much. Wondering what pouches we might need for our scenario or not. Some other players, they just really didn't care much, they always came to the game with everything the same.. that's how they had fun.

Naturally, this "logistics" detail works well with games that approach a more "wargame" feel. I do think Jagged Alliance, 7,62 High Calibre, Silent Storm, etc.. do take many scaled-down elements from traditional wargames. Something that was completely removed from newer-style turn-based games.

I can see why you like inventory management. Scarcity adds to the experience of dealing with limited resources, of improvising and a feeling of accomplishment when overcoming such a challenge.

But most of the time the logistics part feels unnatural and at times arbitrary. Usually you encounter a great number of enemies, supply with basic weapons, ammo and other equipment shouldn't be an issue thanks to that. It only is because those basic things - while being used against you mere moments ago - simply don't drop as loot. It creates a shortage of something that should've been there in abundance.

The question is, how should the game handle this? 100% loot would be realistic, but it would remove the challenge. Less loot would give you a challenge, but go against realism. Which is why I willingly accept the modern abstraction of making basic items like cheap firearms or ammo free/unlimited. It allows you to focus on collecting rare and special items.

But it seems we'll have to wait on this one until we get to see the full extent of inventory management. I would like to note, however, that - like you - I want a multifaceted inventory with more than 4 or 5 slots. At least weapon customization is in, something both of us should enjoy.

 

8 hours ago, GODSPEED said:

I agree that I consider it differently when playing D&D, because in D&D, classes have a big impact on your choices.. but that is also why I think a game with character and personality or stronger writing compensates for other elements that are lacking.

As an example, Baldur's Gate 2 has such a strong story, among the best written villains in video games and a more mature theme, so I overlook the personal freedom of each character and I appreciate and work with the limitations I am given.

Take a game like Skyrim though, or even Oblivion. You have so much freedom.. almost completely classless, a little bit how I like it... but the writting and story are so poorly done that it doesn't compensate, so to me, they feel empty.

It is hard to tell how many hours I spent with Skyrim/Oblivion/Morrowind over the last decades... and I could argue that hardly anybody plays those games for their story. The freedom of choice is the main selling point of those games.

Story-driven games on the other hand limit that freedom to give the player a clearer direction.

This puts JA in a bit of a hard spot, as it tries to tell a compelling story while at the same time aims to give the player a sandbox experience. Maybe that's why so many JA sequels failed, because they failed to walk that fine line?

 

8 hours ago, GODSPEED said:

I don't call these weak points... I call these learning.

Do you calculate how much energy your body will expend walking through snow compared to walking on a sidewalk that has no snow? No... You learn from the action, you learn from the experience that okay, when I walk through heavy snow, I must do this or that to ease my steps and waste less energy.

Having lesser information in a video game, leads to learn from what you experience, even if there are no numbers. I think this is EXTREMELY important, because it works your logic skills, it helps develop and still grow your logic center in the brain, even as you play a game. This is the way it feels to me and the way I enjoy games. Just like I REALLY hate when shooters have shooting mechanics that are too constant. Something feels... abnormal.

When you shoot a gun, regardless if it's a real gun, a water gun, an airsoft gun or a paintball gun, even if you were to set your rifle on a bench and have it not move a hair.. your shots would change where they hit. So I look for video games that replicate this closely. I really dislike when video games have such accurate pistols it feels you can snipe a head at 200m no problem, just because you know that it is a 100% constant trajectory and placement at every shot.

Now, yes, for sure, there has to be some elements in video games where concessions MUST be made for the sake of playability.. but that is where I would much rather pick up a game like Arma, then a game like Counter-Strike (I have played both and enjoy either for what they are, but if I had to pick.. I'd pick realism any day!).

I do not see lack of information as bad game design.. I actually see well hidden numbers as a way to recreate a more organic and realistic feel.. because, like many thigns in life, things are often a gut feeling, a reflex or a feeling. We act on those.

Just like in JA. If you take two Assault Rifles, one has a damage output of 52, and the other of 56. Which one will you take? Have you considered HOW the weapon handles? Maybe the 52 dam rifle will have higher chance at hitting an 3 rounds auto versus the 56 dam. 1.13 has taken great care to try and number these details.. but I still rather just experience it from using the weapons.

I get annoyed when everything just becomes a matter of simply choosing the highest rated number out of the weapons. That is how many modern looter-shooters, rpgs and turn-based games do it. You simply compare numbers.. it takes away most "feeling" and your own simple bias, because you know that there is a better number.

While I agree with you in principle, I disagree from a standpoint of game design.

Chances and uncertainties are fine, I'd even say important. However, a game still needs to tell the player crucial information, so that their choices are more than lucky guesses or the result of trial and error. If there's an element of chance, the player needs to be told about it. XCOM got that right, as you had effective weapon ranges, weapons had dmg ranges and, of course, the infamous hit chances. And if the trailer is right, it seems that JA3 will follow suit.

If something isn't 100%, it can fail. As a player I understand and accept it, because the game tells me that there's a 10% or 30% chance to fail something beforehand. Or if there's a dmg spread between 10 and 20. I accept it, because the game told me BEFORE I chose to go with it. Failure becomes a consequence of accepting the possibility of it happening.

But when the game doesn't tell me with how much movement I'm left when moving somewhere, when I won't know if I can see/attack/flank someone when I move to a certain tile, when I don't know if something counts as half or full cover... then failure becomes a consequence of lack of information. It is a frustrating experience and overall bad game design. That's where people start complaining, and rightfully so.

Some people enjoy that kind of unfair design, but most people don't.

 

8 hours ago, GODSPEED said:

This is where I am in EXTREME disagreement. To start, I do not follow interviews, because, usually, interviews are to paint a glorious image on their product. No one will give a very neutral interview.. questions will be answered to promote their product, show how much work was put in and will be done to help sales.

And I do not consider the new Xcoms to even come close in quality compared to the old ones. What did the new ones achieve? Financial success? Wider audience? Financial success through cutting down on features and making it accessible to almost every modern platform. Naturally, ANY game you open the door to a huge audience, if done with a certain level of quality, will fare better than being released on PC alone.

I do not view this as a success. I don't judge how good a movie, a game or a book are on how much they made from profit.

Turn-Based Strategy games never died.. we've had so many since 1999. All the new Xcoms did, was give it a more cinematic feel and make it easily accessible to a wider audience.. while stripping it down to a boardgame level. I love boardgames.. but when I play boardgames, not PC games.

To me, the new Xcom was the first game to announce the downfall of Turn-Based Strategy games. Now, instead of having PC games with a complexity and detail that is relevant to the platform, we are handed watered-down games that copy, modify or tweak the new xcom system, because that game was a financial success.

I think we're still lucky that some studios like Slitherine still exist, because they keep pumping out old-school turn-based strategy games for it's niche audience! I praise that effort!!

That's a very unfavorable view on interviews. 🙂

I mentioned them because some of those went beyond simple advertising and explored the thought processes that led to certain decisions. It was interesting to learn of the challenges and problems the Devs had when trying to adapt an old game. Why did they change this? Why did they do that? It was very insightful.

We might like certain aspects in old games because we associate them with our childhood, but there are many people who never played the old games, who simply lack that feeling of nostalgia. And they don't hesitate to point out elements that are simply not fun or borderline unfair.

Hearing those hardcore X-Com fans describe the difficulties when creating the remake helped me understand that not everything was simply "watered down" to make more sales. They were as surprised as everyone else when the game became a huge financial success. Turn-based tactical games were dead back then, the whole genre is still a niche product. Turn-based strategy is generally better received, but - as you said - also remains a niche compared to other genres.

We might never agree on this one, but I see XCOM as a step in the right direction. It started the renaissance of the whole niche, which is why we even get JA3 now; development began shortly after XCOM2 released and proved that the success of XCOM1 wasn't just a fluke. It is only natural that JA3 will try to build upon and improve on some aspects of what XCOM2 had to offer.

 

9 hours ago, GODSPEED said:

What weakness? Is there a cult following of the first new Xcom? are there still mods being conceived for it? Updates on a regular basis?

Jagged Alliance 2 1.13 is still going strong. They are still finding ways to implement and tweak features. New FULL mods coming out for it.. on top of a very extensive library of EXTREMELY well-done mods that are balanced, enjoyable and not too "cheap" feeling.

The game never even had multiplayer, yet they worked so hard on the engine, they managed to integrate a multiplayer feature into it!

I did not greatly enjoy Jagged Alliance 2 (as in when it came out)... I STILL greatly play it (as in; enjoying it as much as since the year 2001 when I found it). I even took a pause from my game at the moment to respond here.

No other game has me coming back for more mods, more games and more time than titles like Jagged Alliance 2 has.. and I will enjoy it for another few decades, regardless the success or failure of JA3.

I don't know if you know, but XCOM actually had a bunch of talented modders that created awesome mods for it. Long War was the biggest and most popular one. Their work was so impressive that Firaxis involved them in the development of XCOM2. A huge part of why XCOM2 is so moddable, has thousands of mods and still gets mods to this day is thanks to that group of modders. They even founded their own dev studio btw, Pavonis Interactive.

If JA3 comes even close to the success of XCOM2 and gets a mere fraction of its mod support, it would be a huge win in my books.

 

9 hours ago, GODSPEED said:

Jagged Alliance 2, in its bog-standard base game has AI as advanced as any other TBS game honestly. 1.13 has seriously given that major tweaks. I can't remember just sitting around waiting for the enemy to pile up. Sure, luring an enemy to you is a very commmon tactic in video games.. but overwatch brought that on by it's own poor design.

In Jagged Alliance 2, as you put it, and some others also say this... this "archaic" system of misunderstood interrupts is the basis that should NEVER be removed.

It helps balance out the sitting to lure the enemy tactic.. as you can never be 100% certain that you WILL interupt the enemy. Sometimes, you interrupt the enemy, you take a shot, but your muzle flash creates an interrupt for another enemy who does hit you!

Please tell me how many games have such a cool system that has more layers that simply pressing the button to sit and wait for the frist enemy to enter your cone?

Firaxis wanted to bring the game down to a ridiculously "gameified" simplistic level to catter to ALL platforms.. so they shot themselve in the foot and needed to correct it by making you rush through missions in Xcom 2. So that game became a turn-based puzzle game.

The whole point of the turn-based strategy games it to give you that "time" to evaluate, think and plan a strategy, or react to one. Xcom 2 made you rush so much that you have no room for error... creating an environment very far away from wargames.

As it is, the interrupt mechanic is out and we get overwatch instead. And I suspect the reason for that change was, as you correctly pointed out, the unpredictability of the whole concept.

I understand that this is something you like, that there's always a risk of getting killed by something that is impossible to account for. It is very similar to reaction fire in the first X-Com games.

This touches on the aforementioned subject of giving players reliable information. Elements that heavily punish players in random unpredictable acts simply need to be tamed. Not to cater to all platforms, but to make things more predictable for the player.

We might also disagree here, but too much randomness - especially when the consequences are as severe as perma-death - is what constitutes bad game design. Many people find no fun in getting punished for something that was a) outside of their control and b) not clearly communicated by the game beforehand.

Again, some players might enjoy unfair game design, but most people don't.

 

10 hours ago, GODSPEED said:

I remember nothing in xcom as being memorable. None of the characters I controlled were interesting.. no enemy was interesting. They were all generic.

I easily remember some major huge battles I've had in JA2, I easily remember the feelings I had the first time I entered some locations, because of the feeling they gave. Like the prison in Tixa. I remember being super creeped out and so curious and full of mystery on that map.. and the battles I've had in the prison underground. Or big battles I've taken part in between militia and the queens forces. I remember lines mercs say, or how the queen is such a funny character.

Nothing in xcom is memorable... yet, I remember taking down entire levels in X-Com apocalypse because that rocket missed its shot and destroyed a huge part of the building for which I was trying to gain favors from its faction.

I won't even talk about Phoenix Point.. other than, that is the only and last game I've pre-ordered in the past decade. It's super fun the first few hours, then it simply falls flat. It lacks any character.. it's just as generic and unmemorable. I don't remember any battles other than a frustrating one, because the generated maps created a lock in gameplay that couldn't be resolved.

I sincerely hope they will NOT go that route with JA3.

This is where our experiences differ. I spent countless hours customizing my soldiers, giving them biographies, using visual mods to make them even more unique. The campaigns I fought in XCOM2 are among the most memorable I ever had.

When thinking back to Apoc, I don't remember my soldiers. Also, the aliens were not memorable or important for the whole experience. What made the game great was the destructable environment, all the interactions within the city, destroyed buildings after hard battles in the sky, raids against various organizations. It was a huge sandbox that I greatly enjoyed, but it never made me truly care about my soldiers or the main mission. XCOM2 was the exact opposite, which was closer to the original games in that regard.

That puts JA2 in a special place for me, as it somehow unifies the strenghts of both worlds, giving me soldiers that I care about, a clear direction and at the same time a sandbox experience that I like.

From what little we know about JA3, we might get something very similar. At the very least I'd love to have XCOM2-like customization options.

 

10 hours ago, GODSPEED said:

I don't expect 1.13 level of detail... I just expect a game that a niche of players will love to death. Mod support or not... if the game lacks what most JA2 players want from it... it will fall flat like most attempts.

If it's redeeming factor is the fact that it "succeeds" because it copied/tweaked one of the newer systems to be accessible to as wide an audience as possible... I'll consider that a failure.

What do JA2 players want? Not always the same thing, that much is clear. And given the high costs of game development (especially when compared to two decades ago) some concessions will be necessary to make it more appealing for a broader audience.

Like you, it leaves me a bit concerned, as we don't know where that line is drawn. For now, from what we heard, no major feature seems to be missing. If the gamestar magazine is right, that is. Without seeing for myself I will remain sceptical.

But tbh, while I hope for the best, I'd already call it a success if it doesn't kill the entire franchise. And we all know that this could very well happen, as JA3 is the biggest JA project in a long time. Financial failure could mean another 20 years of small pay-to-win/mobile JA games.

That makes mod support the maybe most important feature of all.

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1 hour ago, LXant said:

To answer your question, there's absolutely no indication that you direcly buy skills with money. However, indirectly any new skill will increase the weekly costs, so skills do cost money.

 

Thanks. As I thought, it is about leveling a mercenary, as was the case with JA 2. The higher the level of experience, the higher the price for their services each time.

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