XCOM - What would make the late game better?

I’ve been playing impossible ironman off and on. As with the other difficulty levels, it just tends to get boring once you get to the late game. The large UFOs take too long to get through, the council missions are too easy, the base is more or less built, the research is mostly done. All in all, it isn’t anywhere near as exciting as the first two or three months. This is a fairly common complaint too, almost everyone dislikes the late game. I haven’t yet heard any good ideas to make it better though. I know there’re a number of fairly dedicated players on the board. Thoughts?

The problem is that your guys out-scale the aliens. Sure, the later aliens are tougher, but they’re not ENOUGH tougher to keep up with your dudes suddenly being invisible, immortal, sprinting machines of death. The difference between a Squaddie in laser & carapace and a Colonel in plasma & ghost armor is far, far larger than the difference between a Muton and a Muton Elite.

Besides, none of the late-game aliens are really even threats on their own. Heavy Floaters derp out constantly, Muton Elites are plodding psi fodder, and Ethereals never leave their UFO’s bridge and would inflict zero damage even if they did, since they invariably waste their one action on a completely worthless Mind Control. The Sectopods are the only late-game enemy that survives long enough to get to DO anything, and even that’s not a given, since by that point you usually have several different ways you can crowd-control them into impotence.

Enemy Within helped the late game a fair bit over EU, with the Sectopod armor, the mechtoid + commander groups, and bumping the HP up on literally every late-game unit, but it didn’t go far enough, and counteracts much of the added threat with gene mods like neural feedback and second heart. Of course, it’s tricky, because if all the aliens are aimed at a team of Colonels and they actually manage to inflict losses, it can start a doom spiral, because now you have no veterans and no way to train up more.

The best solution is to nerf the soldier’s scaling.

There is some imbalance with the new units making it easier but you can change that.

Try to “speed run” a game. That is not to say go fast in the tactical mode…indeed take time and care in those.

What I am saying is, if you are like me, you game the overall progression so you are uber late game and it loses some fun.

Instead try to push the progression. “Speed run” it to see how little time you can go from start to end game in game time.

I think the actual maps need to become more difficult in the late game. By the time you get to the late game, you know the tactics to win every level. The game is less about beating the aliens as it is beating the map. So in the late game, there needs to be less cover and more opportunities for the aliens to ambush. Force you to make some riskier decisions.

Agreed on most points. Floater AI sucks. One thing I was thinking may make a sensible nerf for soldiers was limit ranks - you can only have 1 colonel and 2 majors in your team. It would limit how powerful your team is, and it adds another strategic dimension. Can you feed kills to the class that you want as colonel. Another thing I really want to see is stronger thin men and chryssalids later on. They’re the scariest aliens in the early game, but they’re somewhat laughable later on.

I dunno. With the random placement of enemy groups, maps don’t play out exactly the same way each time. Some innovation with maps would be nice, but I don’t know if just reducing cover would be the way to go.