XCOM: Enemy Within Lead Designer Talks MELD

XCOM: Enemy Within Lead Designer Talks MELD

Lead Designer Ananda Gupta discusses the new resource, MELD, with The Escapist.

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It certainly sounds interesting, but I hope that Enemy Unknown can be retrofitted with the new maps and Second Wave options; it'd be nice to have the option of taking the resource-gathering element out when y'don't want to make use of it.

I didn't expect for the explanation of MELD to go down the Metal Gear route, but:

Sectoid: *blasts at cybernetic soldier* Why won't you die?!

Cybernetic soldier: Nanomachines, son!

*Sectoid keeps shooting, but to no effect*

CS: You think you can hurt me?! *runs to sectoid, then punches it*

What I have problem with is that it's not continuation, but available from mission 1
It would be awesome if MELD and all related DLC content appeared only after mothership was destroyed
And few additional major battles was added after this (+plenty of smaller ones)

blackrave:
What I have problem with is that it's not continuation, but available from mission 1
It would be awesome if MELD and all related DLC content appeared only after mothership was destroyed
And few additional major battles was added after this (+plenty of smaller ones)

On the other hand, this approach does make it *much* more accessible to new players. The way I figure it, they can rely on a good portion of existing EU players to pick this up regardless of how they approach it, but since it's a standalone expansion, it should also be easy for those who haven't already played through EU a dozen times to get into.

Now, an option to continue your campaign with the new stuff would be AMAZING. I'd love to be able to pick up from the end of my last campaign, and just work through the new content with the squad I know and love. Not to mention, my maxed out team would benefit greatly from some genetic modifications.

blackrave:
What I have problem with is that it's not continuation, but available from mission 1
It would be awesome if MELD and all related DLC content appeared only after mothership was destroyed
And few additional major battles was added after this (+plenty of smaller ones)

Eh.

XCOM is all about re-playing it from the beginning. Having, in all honesty, interchangeable minions with a fairly high attrition rate as your primary means of interacting with the game only makes it even easier.

Pink Gregory:
It certainly sounds interesting, but I hope that Enemy Unknown can be retrofitted with the new maps and Second Wave options; it'd be nice to have the option of taking the resource-gathering element out when y'don't want to make use of it.

Thing is, you don't have to go for them if you don't want to. The new units just sorta need it is all, so it depends on if you want the new tech I guess.

I would have preferred it to function more like elerium in the old game. Shooting down ufos gives a low chance for survival of elerium. I'd also like for ufo hunting to be shootier; air combat is an afterthought at best. I also want to shoot down terror ships so I can effectively end terror in the late game.

Is there an additional story? I mean, not to sound stingy. But for the price of 49 dollars ( Pretty damn close to the original game ). I hope theres an extension to the first's story or a brand new mini story line. Don't get me wrong, new units , enemies, maps and ways of planning fights sounds great and all, but it feels like, well, dlc material. Not a proper expansion pack with an underlying story etc.

Lictor Face:
Is there an additional story? I mean, not to sound stingy. But for the price of 49 dollars ( Pretty damn close to the original game ). I hope theres an extension to the first's story or a brand new mini story line. Don't get me wrong, new units , enemies, maps and ways of planning fights sounds great and all, but it feels like, well, dlc material. Not a proper expansion pack with an underlying story etc.

They've teased at there being new, or at least more, story, but they haven't confirmed anything.

All we really know for sure is that the campaign is supposed to take significantly longer with Enemy Within.

Story really isn't the focus of Xcom in any way, adding new story in a self contained unit was exactly why the Slingshot DLC was so worthless. This is an expansion, it adds properly to gameplay. Also putting Meld on a timer is an inspired move, in vanilla Xcom every mission that isn't a terror mission or a bomb disposal mission plays exactly the same way. Now there's a balancing act to pull, you'll want to get around the map as quickly as possible but advancing without leaving any TU available for shooting is still going to be outrageously dangerous.

Rack:
Story really isn't the focus of Xcom in any way, adding new story in a self contained unit was exactly why the Slingshot DLC was so worthless. This is an expansion, it adds properly to gameplay. Also putting Meld on a timer is an inspired move, in vanilla Xcom every mission that isn't a terror mission or a bomb disposal mission plays exactly the same way. Now there's a balancing act to pull, you'll want to get around the map as quickly as possible but advancing without leaving any TU available for shooting is still going to be outrageously dangerous.

Especially on difficulty levels above "normal."

Sooooooooo, people will be double screwed if they get this and play on anything higher than normal. Christ even adopting the "safest" strategy your guys can and will get massacred. And lord forbid you get a bomb defuse mission with MELD on the map as well. Looks like the only way to play with the new toys is to sacrifice your soldiers for it at this point, since being out of cover is usually a straight up death sentence.

otakon17:
Sooooooooo, people will be double screwed if they get this and play on anything higher than normal.

You only screw yourself if you're a perfectionist who wants all the MELD in the map. MELD is an optional resource that's only useful for MEC Troopers and Gene Mods, i.e. the new features for Enemy Within. If you don't use both all that much, or don't want to use them at all, having MELD on the battlefield won't mean much, and you can skip it entirely.

Also, they've confirmed multiple times that at least 1 MELD canister will always be in an "easy location" close to the extraction point, meaning you can play safe as usual and still be assured a MELD canister. Finally, MELD doesn't show up in Terror, Council and Story missions, only in UFO and Abduction missions.

Uliana:

otakon17:
Sooooooooo, people will be double screwed if they get this and play on anything higher than normal.

You only screw yourself if you're a perfectionist who wants all the MELD in the map. MELD is an optional resource that's only useful for MEC Troopers and Gene Mods, i.e. the new features for Enemy Within. If you don't use both all that much, or don't want to use them at all, having MELD on the battlefield won't mean much, and you can skip it entirely.

Also, they've confirmed multiple times that at least 1 MELD canister will always be in an "easy location" close to the extraction point, meaning you can play safe as usual and still be assured a MELD canister. Finally, MELD doesn't show up in Terror, Council and Story missions, only in UFO and Abduction missions.

Except for the simple fact that the only reason to download this pretty damn expensive expansion IS TO PLAY WITH THE MELD. And to get a fully upgraded MEC and Gene Soldiers requires a lot of MELD. If you're not even going to bother trying to get the stuff, why even buy the expansion? You're going to want to get as much MELD as possible so you CAN play with these new features instead of having to play through 10+ missions just to get an amount that is worth a single upgrade. Also I hope that MEC soldiers can be healed somehow and have some sort of damage reduction since Defense on a non-cover unit is mostly worthless for player characters.

otakon17:
Except for the simple fact that the only reason to download this pretty damn expensive expansion IS TO PLAY WITH THE MELD. And to get a fully upgraded MEC and Gene Soldiers requires a lot of MELD. If you're not even going to bother trying to get the stuff, why even buy the expansion? You're going to want to get as much MELD as possible so you CAN play with these new features instead of having to play through 10+ missions just to get an amount that is worth a single upgrade. Also I hope that MEC soldiers can be healed somehow and have some sort of damage reduction since Defense on a non-cover unit is mostly worthless for player characters.

1) Defense is amazing for everyone. It's literally "decrease chance to be hit", it doesn't matter if you're in cover or not.

Matter of fact, being in cover does nothing but add Defense. That's how the game mechanics work, and that's why wearing Ghost armor allows an uncovered soldier to count as in half-cover, and half-cover to count as full-cover. Increased defense means that you don't need cover.

2) I don't think they've confirmed it, but I can't imagine that the "Heal SHIVs" upgrade to the arc thrower won't also be usable on MEC troopers.

otakon17:

Except for the simple fact that the only reason to download this pretty damn expensive expansion IS TO PLAY WITH THE MELD. And to get a fully upgraded MEC and Gene Soldiers requires a lot of MELD. If you're not even going to bother trying to get the stuff, why even buy the expansion? You're going to want to get as much MELD as possible so you CAN play with these new features instead of having to play through 10+ missions just to get an amount that is worth a single upgrade. Also I hope that MEC soldiers can be healed somehow and have some sort of damage reduction since Defense on a non-cover unit is mostly worthless for player characters.

The MELD tech is a big part of Enemy Within admittedly, and of course it's the major reason most players will get the expansion, but it's not the only part:

- Enemy Within will add a new story, which is more or less confirmed by the new Steam achievements, and this is on top of the confirmed Operation Progeny, which is a Slingshot-style mission chain included in Enemy Within. (Progeny was supposed to be a Slingshot-style DLC, but has since been incorporated into Enemy Within).
- New enemies to fight in the form of not only the confirmed Mechtoid and Seeker, but human enemies as well, heavily hinted at according to the Steam achievements.
- The Steam achievements also hint at BASE DEFENSE (hard not to come to that conclusion when one of the achievements blatantly mentions "XCOM Base Security Personnel", and one of the achievements is called "Elite Defense").
- You have the perk rebalancing that'll change your tactics a lot, like the nerfed Squad Sight (can't crit unless Sniper can see the target himself or use Headshot) and the changed Up Close & Personal perk (the first attack made within 4 tiles of an enemy is refunded) etc.
- You have the new items and equipment like Needle Grenades, Flashbangs, Mirror Beacons etc.
- New foundry upgrades like Tactical Rigging, which grants ALL classes two item slots, significantly changing up how you loadout your squad.
- The Second Wave options like Training Roulette, which randomizes the skills available to each individual soldier; so you can get the chance of an Assault having In The Zone or Bullet Swarm.
- The 47 new maps that'll add variety to missions

Enemy Within adds a whole ton of features other than the MELD tech, that changes up gameplay even if you don't use MELD.

Also, as Agayek mentioned Defense IS Cover: what you know as "Defense" in the stats is what reduces your chance of getting hit, and cover works by adding to Defense, so low cover adds 20 Defense, while high cover adds 40. A basic SHIV has 20 defense, which is identical to a soldier in low cover, while an Alloy SHIV has 40 defense identical to a soldier in high cover. Also, non-cover units often have immunity/resistance to Critical Hits as a standard feature, so you can't damage them beyond a certain threshold unless you use more powerful weapons. The reason non-cover units are Bullet Magnets though is precisely because we see them out in the open, see their massive hit points, and thus focus all our fire unto them.

Finally, MECs are confirmed to have an ability called "Damage Control", which reduces their damage taken, though the exact mechanism is unknown at the moment.

 

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