It sounds like you’re where I am, @Grenyes. Getting accustomed to all the new stuff in this world, now that it’s gotten so much DLC.
The Festering Skies stuff is quite a lot, and I’ve by no means mastered it, but it seems to me that it’s a balancing pass to assist the aliens. Previously they had to crawl onshore from out of the mist, which was always rolling in from the sea, so settlements were always attacked from a fixed front. You could always see where they were coming from, and it was always the shore that was threatened, and you had a convenient way of shutting down the threat by whacking alien nests.
But Festering Skies is a way to let the aliens strike deeper inland, more persistently, and more predictably. Early on, you won’t be able to do much about it. Don’t try! Just stay out of the way! You are going to lose large swathes of territory and population, so just accept that it’s going to happen. In the words of that Disney movie about snowmen and princesses, just let it go!
The trick is figuring out when you’re tough enough to start hitting back and fighting the recon, supply, and raid flights to drive the Behemoth back into the sea. You might not know when you’re ready, but it will be painfully obvious when you’re not ready, in which case, try again later. :)
But until that happens, until you can reliably shoot down the Behemoth’s flights, just let it do its thing. It’s just a way to give the aliens a fighting chance by letting them strike at population that would otherwise be effectively invulnerable.
Are you winning? Because if you’re winning, “boring AF” is good! But I’m guessing you’re not into the full aerial game yet (I might be wrong about this, but I think the Behemoth’s first appearance might be a gimmie; you can just drive him back into the sea after shooting down a couple of non-committal recon flights). But there will eventually be difficult decisions about weapon loadouts, countermeasures, and breaking off! It’s never going to be as hearty as an actual ground fight, but air combat should involve actual difficult decisions and risky choices once it comes into its own.
Snapshot was certainly true to their word to flesh out the vehicle gameplay! I was already a big fan of how vehicles worked (a must for scavenging missions!), but now they’re even more badass with the Kaos market upgrades. In fact, that Kaos marketplace basically violates the entire game progression! I love it. If you’re willing to pay the resources – it’s not cheap – you can break Phoenix Point in some very interesting ways with careful use of the Kaos market.
Otherwise, it seems like the DLC is basically fleshing out side options for developing your team, right? With mutoids, bionic advancement, and the forsaken body mods as three separate “threads” of squad development. I’m guessing you could ignore any of these if you wanted?
In my current playthrough, I’ve been “crafting” mutoid scouts to great effect. Basically, semi-disposable drones with high perception values that I can send out onto the map before venturing out with my higher-value teammates. I feel like the DLC is full of options for this sort of creative expression, and it’s an absolute joy to discover how it all fits into the Phoenix Point world.
Thanks to the DLC and Snapshot’s post-release support, I’m in love all over again!