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Warhammer Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector - Space Marines vs Tyranids turn-based strategy

Mefi

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Posting this cos I'm quite fascinated by the sort of scale Black Labs (and most Slitherine games) work on. This is from Slitherine's CMO, Marco Minoli. Obviously Steam isn't the only platform they released on but does give some sense of the numbers, for additional context about 26.4k downloaded the demo during NextFest.

2021-08-05-2.png
 

Galdred

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Here is the review of Fosil, one of the best Sanctus Reach players (when multi was still a thing):

battlesector is a shallow sanctus reach with higher production values and better graphics. the single player campaign has good narration and cutscenes, but the missions play very samey and the AI offers no challenge to the player. your own units are utterly expendable and freely replaceable with no restrictions on list building. there are general unit upgrades you can unlock in several skill trees with a limited resource you get by progressing the game. it becomes quite quickly obvious, that you just want to spam the highest armor units to stomp through the levels, especially because the AI has a long range unit that can one-shot infantry.

skirmish and MP have a small map pool with one of three victory settings (kill every unit and two types of claiming victory points). map sizes are generally small. the maps don't have a lot of space for maneuvering and the game tells you through the FoW the exact location and type of moving enemy units. list building is unrestricted, so it is very common to encounter spam lists, that hard-counter more diverse army compositions. unit balance is very iffy, with large part of both faction rosters being trap choices. atm the cheapest tyranid unit can melt at medium range through the toughest armor with the help of passive buffs, which puts heavy restrictions on what kind of blood angels list are playable.

every unit has skirmish rules, which means you keep your full movement even after shooting. long range kiting is mostly prohibited by the map sizes and lack of open spaces on most maps. flying / teleporting units on the other hand are very often extremely favored by map design.

compared to sanctus reach, more often than not, games are decided before deployment. there are no overlays to see LoS or weapon ranges from specific tiles, you have to memorize overwatch tile pattern from enemy units and it is hard to understand what adjacent tile gives cover and what adjacent tile blocks LoS. there are no unit transports and movement range is with a few exceptions quite uniform across both factions.
 

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Woah, comes with a 60 page manual (pdf).

The new Chaos Gate will be developed by a relatively untested studio, though, so it is a tough call, because Black Lab seems pretty competent (Battlestar Galactica seems to have been pretty well received).
Regarding the beta, I had the same impression: we were asked for feedback way too late in the development process (at the time I played Sanctus Reach, the best weapons against everything were high rate of fire weapons, even if they were supposed to be anti infantry, and single shots anti tank weapons were horrible at everything).

I've not properly got beyond Chaos Gate's headlines just yet so interesting about the studio. Just me wondering really how far the licenses can overlap when trying to figure such obvious and clear direction away from that sort of progression within a campaign and the deliberate desire to avoid anything XCom-y (see also 'timers on missions' and 'evacuate units from map'). Although one dev of a TB game once said to me that the sole reason for his game totally avoiding anything XCom was because the comparisons were going to be inevitable regardless and least he could truthfully say he hadn't set out to make a shit ripoff.

Man I lost my Chaos Gate game I was haflway through. Managed 10 pages of LP though! https://rpgcodex.net/forums/threads/lets-play-wh40k-chaos-gate-looking-for-new-recruits.80439/

Got too lazy to do Sanctus Reach. Maybe I'll retry Sanctus Reach.

Have they released any pics of new Chaos Gate yet? Chaos Gate squad mechanics were similar to JA/SilentStorm. It'd be like the nuXCOM version of "Chaos Gate." I mean I'd need some time relearning things if I replayed.

m8mage021.jpg
 

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Got too lazy to do Sanctus Reach. Maybe I'll retry Sanctus Reach.

I think the semi randomized roster on mission start (well, it is not really randomized, but it is still unpredictably shuffled) makes it much less LP worthy.
Chaos Gate runs well now on XP Compatibility mode (at least, it ran flawlessly for me, but I only played 3 story missions)
 

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Have they released any pics of new Chaos Gate yet?

Nah, just the 'not representative of gameplay' hype thing they did for Skulls this year. There's a trailer due to be released some time this month but doubt that will have much, if any, gameplay footage in it. They're obviously signalling that they're doing a story to it by bringing on the Helsreach author to write but the last Necromunda also had a black library author writing a narrative and even the narrative campaign was utter dross.
 

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Got too lazy to do Sanctus Reach. Maybe I'll retry Sanctus Reach.

I think the semi randomized roster on mission start (well, it is not really randomized, but it is still unpredictably shuffled) makes it much less LP worthy.
Chaos Gate runs well now on XP Compatibility mode (at least, it ran flawlessly for me, but I only played 3 story missions)
Well, I already did most of the missions and then lost the save.

Rosters aren't semi-randomized in Sanctus Reach. Each campaign have .txt files that set up the lists. In fact I'm editing in Codex posters for the unit names because it's just in txt form. There's a CSV table, and the army lists look rather static..

Unless you mean there are too many names that it rotates, yeah, we'll have to live with that lol. But I think I got 20 or so names down from when I "started" the LP 4 years ago.
 

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Have they released any pics of new Chaos Gate yet?

Nah, just the 'not representative of gameplay' hype thing they did for Skulls this year. There's a trailer due to be released some time this month but doubt that will have much, if any, gameplay footage in it. They're obviously signalling that they're doing a story to it by bringing on the Helsreach author to write but the last Necromunda also had a black library author writing a narrative and even the narrative campaign was utter dross.
I feel like it'll be dumbed down a la X-COM to XCOM. Which isn't terribly bad, the games work pretty well if designed accordingly. Then again, there are more than 4 unit types in Chaos Gate I'd bring in one mission so.. it needs large squads. Actually, if I only were allowed 4 units, I'd never bring an Assault Marine. The way I've used them is to jump at least 2-3 of them to protect from being flanked/swarmed/outnumbered. Not to mention I get to set up my preferred positions.
 

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I feel like it'll be dumbed down a la X-COM to XCOM. Which isn't terribly bad, the games work pretty well if designed accordingly. Then again, there are more than 4 unit types in Chaos Gate I'd bring in one mission so.. it needs large squads. Actually, if I only were allowed 4 units, I'd never bring an Assault Marine. The way I've used them is to jump at least 2-3 of them to protect from being flanked/swarmed/outnumbered. Not to mention I get to set up my preferred positions.

Yeah, I was pointing similar out about Gears: Tactics with it not really mattering too much how many different classes the fodder characters could be, although that was made worse by having the narrative characters needing to be levelled. I don't know with Chaos Gate, I'd expect it to be much closer to nu-X-Com than what Slitherine are doing. Slitherine's license used for Battlesector is broadly on the same terms as it was for Armageddon and Sanctus Reach, so far as I understand it, so I do wonder whether genre type is part of the license. At least in broad terms. See where it's at with Chaos Gate, like Galdred said it's another small dev doing it so scope and scale is going to be a question to that too - something has to give on this level of budget if you want those pretty models. Personally, I'm happy enough throwing money at the Trese Brothers for some things at the moment.

My suspicion is that Battlesector will drop some content to go with the console release but that's informed guesswork rather than it being specifically said yet, which will slowly claw back some of the criticisms over amount of units/content. One good thing is that Black Labs are hiring, a 3d artist and additional programmer, to take their team to all of 9 full time staff. So they already see at least a year's work (which would be 2 paid DLC at past rate of working) ahead, if not longer.
 

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Got too lazy to do Sanctus Reach. Maybe I'll retry Sanctus Reach.

I think the semi randomized roster on mission start (well, it is not really randomized, but it is still unpredictably shuffled) makes it much less LP worthy.
Chaos Gate runs well now on XP Compatibility mode (at least, it ran flawlessly for me, but I only played 3 story missions)
Well, I already did most of the missions and then lost the save.

Rosters aren't semi-randomized in Sanctus Reach. Each campaign have .txt files that set up the lists. In fact I'm editing in Codex posters for the unit names because it's just in txt form. There's a CSV table, and the army lists look rather static..

Unless you mean there are too many names that it rotates, yeah, we'll have to live with that lol. But I think I got 20 or so names down from when I "started" the LP 4 years ago.
Yes, I know it is not randmized, I meant that you have no way to know before hand which units will be deployed where (well, it kind of works like One third of the units will do each "branch", but still, it is a pain to play with, and creates some disconnection).

You could also try Deathwatch 40K. It has F2P mechanisms that make it bad (very low chance to get equipment. "Card drops", but the tactical element is vert solid, on par with Incubation I would say.

Oh, nvm, Deathwatch has been withdrawn from the store.

There is also the 40K open X-COM mod which seems quite good.
 
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Mefi

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NDA isn't over for this patch but there's no untruth to the Dev Diary, although unsurprisingly the bit where there's lots of beta feedback saying similar got missed out.

https://steamcommunity.com/games/1295500/announcements/detail/2976303615854390689

It’s hard to believe it’s almost a month since Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector was launched!

We’ve received a lot of feedback and feature requests from you since the game was released. In this diary, we’ll talk about some of the most common requests, and what we are doing about them.

The most common request we’ve seen is for more units and factions. Everybody has a favourite faction and wants to be able to deploy their preferred units on the battlefields of the 41st millennium. The good news is that we are already hard at work on adding more factions. We always expected this game to grow and evolve over time, and adding factions is a part of that plan.

It’s important to us to maintain the quality level of the base game, and creating a faction takes a lot of work. We really look forward to being able to show you the new units we are working on soon!

Two other feature requests have come up quite a bit, and they are a veterancy system and a more in-depth unit management system in the campaign.

It’s true that in the campaign, losing units doesn’t really matter much because you can easily add replacements without cost. This was a design choice we made during development, as we wanted the focus of gameplay to be on tactical decisions in battle, over RPG-like systems and trying to keep units alive.

We are adding systems that fit with our design goals for the game, whilst providing both a lightweight Veterancy system and an opt-in Requisition Actions system that adds more decision making outside of battles.

The Veterancy system will add 1% accuracy and 1% crit chance for each mission a unit survives. This benefits units that survive, without making them disproportionately more powerful than their initiate brethren.

0eeef4978109029eba922414dd7fde6bd0370e18.png




Requisition Actions is a new campaign difficulty setting, which is enabled for higher difficulty campaign settings, and disabled by default for Initiate difficulty. You’ll be able to enable or disable it to suit your preference when starting a new campaign and adjust reinforcement rates.

In this system, you’ll be given a number of Requisition Actions when a mission is completed. Each unit you add to your army uses a Requisition Action. Furthermore, most units will have a limit on the number of units that can be requested before each mission, and a cooldown before they can be requested again. For example, Librarians are less common units than Aggressors, so an Aggressor squad has a short cooldown, whereas a new Librarian can only be requested after a few missions.

e248d191aeca039aa0e705e243b11b3032654dd4.png


Requests for Intercessors and Assualt Marines are only limited by the number of Requisition Actions available, to prevent scenarios where your army is depleted, but can’t add units due to cooldowns.

We’ve seen users request more control over graphics settings, so we are adding the options to change or disable shadows, anti-aliasing, ambient occlusion and bloom, as well as more control over v-sync settings and frame rate caps.

And of course, we are also working on fixing the most pressing bugs that are being reported to us.

Finally, if you are a console player waiting for Battlesector to come to your favourite console, we want you to know that we are still working on console versions. Whilst we don’t have timeframes yet, we want you to know we haven’t forgotten you, and want to make sure the consoles versions are as good as we can make them before release. Thanks for your patience.
 

Galdred

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Two other feature requests have come up quite a bit, and they are a veterancy system and a more in-depth unit management system in the campaign.

It’s true that in the campaign, losing units doesn’t really matter much because you can easily add replacements without cost. This was a design choice we made during development, as we wanted the focus of gameplay to be on tactical decisions in battle, over RPG-like systems and trying to keep units alive.

It is great that they are adding requisiton limit and veterancy (and new units/factions!), and the way they are doing it sounds fine, but in what kind of bizarre universe does trying to keep units alive detract from the tactical decisions in battle?
 
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Mefi

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It is great, that they are adding requisiton limit and veterancy (and new units/factions!), but in what kind of bizarre universe does trying to keep units alive detract from the tactical decisions in battle?

Think that's a callback to what I was saying I'd been told about feedback early on over nu-XCom overwatch crawl shaping how people play games. So game ended up with a Reserves tab which was functionally useless but for storing overflow from 20 units after a mission gave you free units you could get for free anyway.
 

Galdred

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It is great, that they are adding requisiton limit and veterancy (and new units/factions!), but in what kind of bizarre universe does trying to keep units alive detract from the tactical decisions in battle?

Think that's a callback to what I was saying I'd been told about feedback early on over nu-XCom overwatch crawl shaping how people play games. So game ended up with a Reserves tab which was functionally useless but for storing overflow from 20 units after a mission gave you free units you could get for free anyway.
That is true, but Space Marines vs Tyranids is a matchup that encourages overwatch crawl. Space Hulk was about Overwatch crawl after all, and it featured Blood Angels vs Tyranids.
Maybe if it had been Space Marines vs Taus, Imperial Guard, or Eldar, long range overwatch duel would not have seemed like a great idea to anyone, and it wouldn't have required any additional mechanic, other than opponents are better than you at range.

Edit: After all, it is the way it worked in Chaos Gate: The reason you sent your assault marine hack these chaos traitors was because it was much safer for your marines than playing lascannon duel against them.
 

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That is true, but Space Marines vs Tyranids is a matchup that encourages overwatch crawl. Space Hulk was about Overwatch crawl after all, and it featured Blood Angels vs Tyranids.
Maybe if it had been Space Marines vs Taus, Imperial Guard, or Eldar, long range overwatch duel would not have seemed like a great idea to anyone, and it wouldn't have required any additional mechanic, other than opponents are better than you at range.

Edit: After all, it is the way it worked in Chaos Gate: The reason you sent your assault marine hack these chaos traitors was because it was much safer for your marines than playing lascannon duel against them.

Absolutely. The solution to no-one seeing the point of some of the hero units was to give them splash damage on their melee weapons which altered how some of them were used. I know the setting was chosen very early on, it's intended to cover a couple of weeks which is handwaved in a novel, but not seen anything publicly (or privately) said about why the two factions were chosen. I do know that they wanted melee to be a significant part of the game to get the TT feel and so designed around the idea that both Blood Angels and Nids would benefit from being up close. I'm kind of 'meh' on how successful that has been with the absence of other pressures on the player during a mission. The whole is a little disjointed there.
 

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I'm glad that the veterancy is coming in, even if it is a bit uninspired, although by no means weak. +1 Accuracy +1 Crit sounds like it's going to make Hellblasters with Heavy Plasma even more OP.

Also on the topic of Chaos Gate: I always found melee to be suicidal and lame. I never got it to work well. Shooting Chaos scum always gave me the best results.
 

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I'm glad that the veterancy is coming in, even if it is a bit uninspired, although by no means weak. +1 Accuracy +1 Crit sounds like it's going to make Hellblasters with Heavy Plasma even more OP.

Also on the topic of Chaos Gate: I always found melee to be suicidal and lame. I never got it to work well. Shooting Chaos scum always gave me the best results.
I answered in the Chaos Gate thread here.
From battlesctor Thread:

I'm glad that the veterancy is coming in, even if it is a bit uninspired, although by no means weak. +1 Accuracy +1 Crit sounds like it's going to make Hellblasters with Heavy Plasma even more OP.

Also on the topic of Chaos Gate: I always found melee to be suicidal and lame. I never got it to work well. Shooting Chaos scum always gave me the best results.
There are basically 2 ways to make melee work:
Jet Packs on turn 1 (because no overwatch), and a total disregard for fuel consumption:
Locate 2 of the heavy weapons (and hope your devatastors and termies are able to take out the remaining threats), jump 2 marines to each, CTRL+ATT them (so that you only eat a single counter attack, instead of 1 per marine).
That is usually sufficient to get them out, and leave you with enough AP to either fly back to safety, or blind grenade the hell out of the location (and move inside the smoke cloud as the AI will grenade the last known location of your marines).

Jumping in without blind grenades (or jumping out, but it is even worse for the fuel) is suicidal, because your marines will die to plasma/Krak grenades otherwise (or even bolter/las pistols).

The other way is to use Displacement or Gate on your Librarian (Displacement is much better), and teleport your squad of Terminators in the face of the opponent. Doing so doesn't trigger overwatch, but the first action you'll do after will, so it'd better be to not miss the main threat with whatever you planned to use.
60 AP Marines with very high ballistic skills are rarer than suitable candidate for the assault squad, so I don't mind losing a few ASM as much as one of my 2 Devastator with heavy weapon.
 

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I like the changes to veterancy, however, the missions still feel like a slog, and I really dislike the short line of sights, that make advancing feel too random. I usually like Fog of War, but here, your visual range is similar to the opponent move range, which encourages the overwatch spam they said they wanted to avoid.
For the same reason, fielding assault marines when you cannot be sure there are not a bazillion of opposing units behind the ones you see is really unsound, while their AI will ususally let you only fight a small subset if you stay at range (because the AI will sometimes random walk the ones behind, as they are blocked by their friends, then move the ones forward....).
 

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Hadn't thought of it like that, although I've got to assume that we're not using the land speeder to scout, let alone giving it upgrades to increase the combination of its base visual range and safe movement.
Increasing scouting range is not something I can afford. It already takes forever to clean maps after the objectives are complete (that's really a baffling decision btw. The pace is good during the first phase of the mission, and then, they all end up as uninteresting mop up slogs...).
I think the game would be much better if the missions stopped when you complete your objective. There is usually really little risk and interesting decisions past thi point.
Actually, I noticed that the vision of most units is directional, and changing facing costs 0MP. That is a bit dumb, because now, I just turn the LS in every direction every turn... It is really a weird decision because it makes the slow pace even worse.
I don't get what they did with the testers feedback...
 

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Increasing scouting range is not something I can afford. It already takes forever to clean maps after the objectives are complete (that's really a baffling decision btw. The pace is good during the first phase of the mission, and then, they all end up as uninteresting mop up slogs...).
I think the game would be much better if the missions stopped when you complete your objective. There is usually really little risk and interesting decisions past thi point.
Actually, I noticed that the vision of most units is directional, and changing facing costs 0MP. That is a bit dumb, because now, I just turn the LS in every direction every turn... It is really a weird decision because it makes the slow pace even worse.
I don't get what they did with the testers feedback...

Agree with you on the mission mop up and made my feelings known pretty clearly on feedback in detail for each one. For how they used feedback, you saw a patch within a month of release from a small team while we'd been testing within a couple of weeks from release. The bigger picture to it is the feedback they were getting from 'influencers' and early testing which baked in decisions which I don't think were helpful. Especially around complex missions, although Black Lab aren't the best with seeing why they need to explain things clearly at times, and reducing them down to bare essentials. I definitely don't think it will work to go 'to the last X' for Eldar or Guard or whatever if their argument is also that it's thematic for the nids to need the mop-up.

Yeah, visual range is halved from the 6 squares for in front of the unit and 3 squares to sides and back. You can fiddle about with facing to reassure yourself there's nothing hiding but units automatically turn to the direction of travel and direction of fire/overwatch so I rarely find myself needing to do it. With safe movement (ie half of total movement value before AP), you get a visual range of 8 squares in front of you. Max nid movement is Hive Tyrant of 6+2AP (ignore surge for momentum at that distance to give the extra point) or gargoyles which are 6+1. For me, it's less the actual distance than terrain which prevents me seeing something coming into attack without time to deal with it other than overwatching.
 

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https://www.slitherine.com/news/war...evelopment-diary-3-news-from-imperium-nihilus

Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector - Development Diary #3 - News from Imperium Nihilus

++Thought of the Day++
There is no justice without the Emperor’s will; there is no victory without His might.



Welcome, Battle Brothers and Battle Sisters, to the latest Warhammer 40,000: Battlesector dev diary.

This one is a bit overdue, largely because we’ve really busy lately. Quite a lot is going on, so we wanted to share some of what we’ve been up to over the last couple of months.

First, for console players waiting for news about the launch of Battlesector on their preferred systems, we can say that good progress has been made. Getting Battlesector into your hands has been the main focus of the engineering team lately, and we are close to submitting the game to the respective console manufacturers for certification.

We can’t control the outcome of the certification process, so we don’t have release dates yet, but rest assured we’ll share news of release dates as soon as we can, and that every effort is being made to get the game ready for you.

As well as getting the console versions primed for release, we’ve been working on numerous balancing changes, and bug fixes. We expect to release a new patch on all PC platforms in the coming weeks with these changes. Numerous units for both the Blood Angels and Tyranids armies have had adjustments made to their stats, including special abilities and weaponry.

We have adjusted how our combat model calculates low scoring damage rolls. This will be most noticeable when attacking high armour units with low damage weapons; you should now expect to see a lot more Blocked! shots. This results in armoured units being able to fulfil their roles better as damage soaks versus low piercing weapons. We’ve also addressed a lot of bugs that players have reported to us. Full details will be in the patch notes when these changes are released.

Tyranid players know that keeping your swarms together is valuable, as the bonuses from being near a Synaptic Leader are powerful. We’ve added a quality of life feature that visualises the connections of Synaptic Leaders with Connected units. Just click on the Synaptic Leader or Connected status icon to see the range of the network.

synaptic_network_smallest.gif


For our multiplayer-focused players, you’ll be happy to hear that we’ve been working on adding support for tournaments. Warhammer, generally, is designed at its core to be a competitive multiplayer game. Adding tournament support is part of the work we’ll be doing in the coming months and years to build and support the multiplayer scene. (Of course, adding more factions to the game will also help grow multiplayer!) There is still work to be done, but we hope to release the first version of the tournament system before the end of the year.

Speaking of factions, we are hard at work on more units and a new faction. We are aiming to have a number of new units for the Tyrannid and Blood Angels armies available before the end of the year, and a completely new faction early next year. We’ll share more details about these closer to when they are ready.

For the Emperor and Sanguinius!
- The Black Lab Game Team
 
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Fun game, not very far in yet. I do really hate hunting the last enemies down. IMO, at this point at least FOW should go away to speed things up.
 

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waiting for a train at Perdido Street Station
I'm waiting to see how large the new unit pack is. Seems to be more models than the handful they were initially suggesting. Slitherine are suggesting something similar to how Proxy Studios have been doing Gladius where there's the smaller packs of additional units and then the main new faction release. Obviously still questions, which no-one is willing to answer yet, on how new factions are going to be handled (new missions in SP?), how new models are integrated into existing campaign - if at all, and they'll have to offer a fair amount of new models in each pack to make it worth people paying for. From the hints which have been dropped, I'm kind of expecting Sisters of Battle. There's not very many other nuns Slitherine would need voice acting scheduled for....
 

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