Long War Experience: LoS Mod

So I recently did my second Alien Base Assault in Long War. The experience, summarized, went like this:

-Start mission. Immediately activate about three pods, end up restarting because everyone is out of position and even if I manage to pull through this the mission is liable to be basically impossible after a start like this. Okay, this happens sometimes, whatever.

-Tense, intellectually stimulating gameplay ensues on the second go-round. Awesome, Long War at its best. Eventually I drop a save, because I really don't want to restart from scratch if something stupid/buggy happens. (I've already run into gamestopper-scale bugs, including that my first Alien Base Assault inexplicably tossed me a 'confirmation screen' that I couldn't click through or escape from, forcing me to manually kill the program and try again. This is a very reasonable concern)

-Shortly after said save is dropped, I encounter a Cyberdisc with its two attendant Drones. Okay, cool. Time for careful play. That's exactly what I do, and it looks like I'm going to wipe out the Cyberdisc and its drones without them having a chance to even take a shot. (Among other things, I've made the Super Skyranger upgrade and this is my A-team, so this is 9 soldiers who can do things like make multiple attacks in a single turn)

-Then when moving someone into position, the Cyberdisc spontaneously Overwatch shots her, putting her into critical condition, in spite of every essentially-identical movement failing to trigger Overwatch. What. Okay, honestly, this isn't a big deal, I can Revive them and carry on, but no, this is stupid, someone died due to poor interface design, not due to an actual error on my part. Reload.

-I'm intending to very carefully avoid the exact specific sequence of events that inexplicably led to Overwatch fi- oh. The Cyberdisc decided to just take a potshot at my Alloy SHIV. Okay, that works.

-With that done, we return to tense, intellectually stimulating gameplay. Heck yeah.

-Then I get to the end-zone of the Alien Base. I drop a save, and initially things go well. Then I have three soldiers move into positions that I have every reason to believe would let them shoot at my desired targets, and inexplicably instead lead to them having LoF on no targets. What. Predictably, things come apart, and frustrated by the arbitrary stupidity of being punished by the game failing to provide me information I should have, and that the AI most certainly does have, I reload.

-Okay, try again.

Thus ensues a solid hour of me reloading to tackle the 'command center' whatever way can work that isn't me actively savescumming. Part of the problem is that there's three pods basically intertwined of high-end Aliens, admittedly, but the agonizing thing is that pretty much every single time things go wrong it involves one or more soldiers who have no line of fire on a target for no coherent reason I can determine, which due to the lack of any kind of preview function in the remaquel and the lack of an option for backing up one step or the like means I don't have any reasonable way to figure this stuff out beyond painful trial and error. A hard situation becomes basically impossible because the UI is unhelpful and a core game mechanic is utterly opaque, rather than because the situation itself is all that difficult.

Finally, I broke down and went looking for a LoS Mod, which thankfully was the very first Google result. There ensued a bunch of irrelevant issues with trying to figure out how to actually install the thing, but once I finally got a test result that gave me the little green circles around enemies... well.

Okay, I still ended up reloading twice more. The first time, I reloaded in disgust because my officer went down, and bled out the very turn after my Medic had gotten on top of them. There were other problems, but the sheer mockery of that was just... no. Especially since the officer was a high-end Scout, when my Scouts keep dying on me. (Which is bizarre, because I mostly use them as especially mobile Snipers, not in risky roles) The second time, things went wrong basically because I had someone in a position that led to the pods activating before I was actually ready to activate them, and things went downhill from there. (In part because I hadn't cottoned onto some of the exact fiddly mechanics of how the LoS Mod works, most pertinently that it's a bit slow to update in response to cursor movement)

But the third time, where I had a decent handle on the mod and no mocking-type experiences occurred? It was actually enjoyable. When I found myself frustrated with cases of a soldier just not being in a position to get to the units I wanted them to shoot at, at least I would end up shuffling them off elsewhere to do something useful, instead of walking them into a position they couldn't do anything. Nor was I having a trial-and-error experience wherein one non-mistake cost me five minutes or more of careful play; I'd just hover the cursor for thirty seconds or so, see the lack of options that did what I wanted, and move on.

I heartily recommend the LoS Mod if you're going to play Long War 1 yourself. It drastically reduces the opaqueness of various mechanics.

(As yet I haven't tested if it plays nice with Squadsight. Here's hoping)


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