Are the hit percentages predetermined?
I was playing a Terror mission last night where after my unit would enter an area, a Cyber Disc and two Drones would come around the corner of a building. All four of my other units were in a position to shoot. My sniper with DoubleTap showed an 85% chance to hit the Cyber Disc. So I fired missing once and hitting once. My heavy missed twice, and my two assault guys hit once and missed once. I wasn’t able to kill the Cyber Disc. I then reloaded from a save point and tried again, and again, and again.
Every time I got the same scenario, sniper miss, then hit. Heavy miss, miss. Assault hit, assault miss. I tried different weapon modifiers, but after five attempts I decided either the game was cheating or I was just so unlikely that given an 85% chance to hit I missed 5 / 5.
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It’s not cheating as such; the game preserves it’s random seed on re-load. Reloading a turn and repeating the same actions in order will produce the same results. This is because the game saves the seed it’s using for the random number generator precisely to prevent this kind of constant reloading. Jake Solomon, the creative lead for XCOM was quoted in this article:
We use synchronous random in combat so the player can’t just reload when they miss a shot. Now, obviously there are ways around this, but this is a decent way of ensuring that the player’s choices do matter.
You can “game” this, if you like, by taking different actions and changing up your order. Assuming you are shooting at the cyber disc, try [something to miss], sniper, [something to miss], [heavy or assault to hit].
Bear in mind that the actually aim-scores will impact here. It’s possible someone less skilled, or with an inaccurate weapon, would be unable to hit in actions 2 and 4. Likewise, your sniper could hit in actions 3 and 5, because he’s got the most accurate weapon. And yes, if you do different things on these actions (aim at different targets), you may not get hits where you expect it. The sniper using action 2 might hit the Cyber Disk but miss the Muton in full cover you decide to aim at instead.
According to this article at PcGamesN, the X-com expansion will include an option to reset the random seed on loading!
At the begining of each game, a random kernel is generated.
To put this simple, the game generates a more or less random line of numbers, ranging from 0-99.
So lets say the line is 46, 58, 99, 0 and you are about to fire using your soldiers.
The first shot will have to have better chance than 46% to hit. The second shot will need to be better than 58 and the third one will have to be a 100% hit. Fourth shot will be a hit even if it’s a 1% chance to hit.
The AI doesn’t base its behavior on this. It will always take the most likely shot.
The kernel will reload only if you restart the whole level.
This method isn’t any different than generating random numbers on the spot but players cannot cheat by reloading their saves. Well, technically, they can by performing different actions and getting different numbers, but they can’t keep reloading the game until they hit all their shots.
I had a similar problem where I didn’t want to lose my best medic, she was the only medic I brought and got shot down while retreating.
After picking him off with my sniper I reloaded the save, and had the sniper try to shoot the muton first…and repeated that like 8-10 times missing every time.
Then I decided to try and see if I could get the game to seed me a new number by first shooting at the muton with my heavy, the heavy missed him too but right after that my sniper was able to take him down just like that snaps fingers.
But I still think the game is cheating, I miss 80% of the time for some reason, I can be standing on an elevated surface, right next to the guy, shooting and get all misses, CONSTANTLY. I had a Rocket fly off a full explosion-radius to the left and kill two of my own guys when the heavy had a 90% chance to hit during one mission. 3 missions ago I spent 15 turns trying to kill 2 Mutons when 6 guys focused their fire on them, nobody hit them for 14 rounds, I was lucky as he** nobody died (+my medic helped).
Frankly, I think their percentage engine is meaningless, and they simply set some Boolean flag before each turn which decides if you hit or miss. I just found this question, because I wondered about the same issue on reloading. It is merely an 1/0 issue and not an 0 to 100 percentage question as they display it.
The most annoying thing is, even if the seed remains the same when you reload, improving your position (or trying to attack someone else) should somehow change it, but not in this game it wont. I spent 20 minutes now on trying different combos with reloading each time, and the game showing different hit possibility percentage, ranging from 40% to 95% and i missed at all the retakes I took. This leads me to the unavoidable conclusion their “seed” simply decides before the turn if the soldier is going to hit or miss in that turn, no matter what. For me, this ruins the game completely, but that’s just me.