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amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 1st 2019 at 3:01:56 PM

Why would you want to deal with the accuracy penalty on Overwatch?

Because the aliens aren't in cover yet. So I'd rather deal with the overwatch penalty than high cover.

shigmiya64 Somebody get this freaking duck away from me! from a settlement that needs our help, General Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Somebody get this freaking duck away from me!
Sep 1st 2019 at 3:59:23 PM

You just use your available move actions to flank them.

In general, I don't like to use Overwatch to attack aliens on my turn. Usually just shooting aliens isn't enough, but that's all Overwatch can let you do, and it's especially suboptimal in EU where every soldier can burn their Overwatch on one alien even if only one or two would be enough to kill it.

Edited by shigmiya64 on Sep 1st 2019 at 8:46:47 AM

amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 2nd 2019 at 3:19:03 PM

You guys know what I was thinking of?

How difficult would the game be if on Classic/Impossible, the AI knew the result of every single RNG roll ahead of time and basically savescummed, only ever taking actions that would succeed and never taking any that wouldn't? The RNG calculations themselves aren't fudged in any way, the AI simply sees the potential result ahead of time and acts accordingly.

Sep 2nd 2019 at 4:09:04 PM

Impossible play probably wouldn't change all that much. It's already too much of a risk to sit out there trying to trade shots at all, so it'd be the same old LoS shenanigans, trying to bait the AI into moving out of position in the early game, then abusing the crap out of LoS scouting and Squadsight. Classic would probably have to move toward play that's more similar to Impossible's.
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 4th 2019 at 3:22:43 PM

Did some more Classic today. Game dropped me into an abduction with Thin Men. Did a tactical error and placed my Sniper next to low cover while no aliens were visible; come the alien turn, lone Thin Man runs out into the open, dodges overwatch from the entire squad at once and flank instakills the Sniper. Reloaded, put him behind cover, Thin Man still repeatedly sniped him right out in a single shot. Reloaded again, game punished me for the savescumming by throwing a second Thin Man pod at me and no matter what I tried, half my squad died before I killed more than one.

Reloaded back to strategic, this time the game gave me the highway mission with two pods right next to the drop zone and no high cover anywhere.

Took me nearly half an hour to get through because there's no high cover anywhere and low cover seems to provide no defense whatsoever against Thin Men (they miss extremely rarely and every single hit is lethal).

Now I'm struggling against Confounding Light.

  • Thin Men still cannot miss anyone not in high cover.
  • My Sniper, on the other hand, consistently misses Mutons standing out in the open. So does my Support with her new laser rifle, for that matter. Zhang is the only one consistently able to hit anything.
  • Thin Men also spam overwatch like crazy, resulting in me only being able to activate the penultimate transponder with 4 turns left and running out of time.
  • Further slowing me down is the fact that I can't kill Mutons in a single turn. Even when I blow away one's cover and overwatch him to abuse the AI freeze glitch, instead of freezing he throws a grenade that kills half the squad.
  • And let's not forget when my Assault misses a 96% flanking shot and gets critted in the face in return.

Speaking of Zhang... on the mission where I picked him up, my full-health Heavy took 1 damage from poison and panicked, which caused my Assault to panic and shoot the Heavy with her pistol, which caused ZHANG to panic. Why does one soldier rolling for panic cause the entire squad to roll for panic? Because this is just ridiculous and smells of the devs not caring whatsoever for rhyme or reason and just throwing shit in for the lulz.

Edited by amitakartok on Sep 4th 2019 at 12:35:38 PM

Sep 4th 2019 at 3:45:47 PM

Thin Men have 75 Aim and the ability to easily get to high ground, so shoot outs are going to get ugly with them. That's 55-75% hit against low cover and with how much damage their rifles deal, yeah, it's gonna seem like they can roll right over your squad without stopping. I really advocate for multiple Heavies on higher difficulties, because being able to rocket away these guys and Floaters in one action is a huge boon.

As far as the transponder thing goes, SHIVs are great for getting the objective done in a timely manner. Unfortunately, EU makes it more costly to get one in play.

And as for the panic, to be fair, it's realistic for one person freaking out to freak everyone else out. That said, yes, it's a brutal game mechanic and why it's very important that your squad take as little damage as possible (if you think this is bad, check the Impossible chain panic rates). Also, also, this is a mechanic they more or less imported wholesale from 90s X-COM. The panic chains at higher difficulties in that game could be legendary (imagine, if you will, multiple soldiers with rocket launchers and/or auto-cannons losing their shit and firing those at each other).
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 4th 2019 at 4:10:07 PM

I never had panic chains in the original. Individual panic, sure. Chains, never.

Sep 4th 2019 at 4:17:02 PM

On Superhuman, if one of the higher-ranking officers dies, most of the rest of the squad will flip their shit, since the morale damage is so huge.
Sep 4th 2019 at 5:50:35 PM

Are you using enough explosive? One big difference I find between Normal and Classic is how much more you need to use explosives in Classic. Alien behind cover? Throw a grenade and then shoot his coverless ass. You need to kill that alien and you only have one soldier's turn left? Throw a grenade instead of taking a 80% shot.

Forget about what Vahlen says and just blow everything up.

Tacitus Watching Troy Burn from year 2016-IV
Sep 4th 2019 at 9:12:41 PM

Well that was a first. Got a Protect the Device mission in some sewers with the "Savage" sitrep, and the first thing that happens on the aliens' first turn is a Berserker - full health, unengaged, right next to the objective - KO-ing a Stun Lancer. For the next two turns a Chryssalid keeps slashing at the transmitter, but I didn't see it doing any damage to it, maybe because it was an inorganic object?

Anyway, I'm able to get my strike team right up to the objective, which is in one of those tunnel nexus rooms with pipes and catwalks, and it turns out all three pods are in different corners. And the Grenadier on my team had the "Toxicologist" RPG Squaddie perk. And I'd researched improved grenade launchers and improved explosives.

Good thing everyone had Warden armor and helmets, because I basically gassed the tunnels and then shot the three Chryssalids that didn't get poisoned. And while I couldn't target that Stunned Lancer with ranged attacks, the mission still ended when everything else was dead.

Current Earworm: "The Sound of the End"
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 5th 2019 at 2:06:57 AM

[up][up]Can't get into grenade range due to overwatch and lack of high cover between me and the target (that is, lack of cover an alien can't flank within one turn).

Sep 5th 2019 at 8:42:01 AM

One full turn or 1 AP? If they have to dash to flank, then it shouldn't be a problem. And the AI generally won't even consider doing that if they can take a shot—they'll often prefer to shoot at that guy hunkered behind high cover than dash forward.

Incidentally, this range issue is part of why I advocate Heavy spam. Rockets can reach farther and often wipe 2-3 members of a pod in one go. Even once one or more Snipers get Squadsight, they're still more than useful thanks to wide-area cover removal and a flat 6 damage. I realize there's not always a choice in the roster that way, but it's something to keep in mind and lean toward if you can help it.

Also, low cover can be worth going to for a key grenade toss (usually against the last alien of a pod). This is where falling back and trying to overwatch trap can also bear other fruit. While fog you've already revealed isn't 100% safe, drawing the enemy back to familiar ground still makes it much less likely you'll trigger another pod going for a more aggressive finisher like that. Alternatively, make use of breaking LoS to hide the soldier you want to grenade with so that said soldier can walk up to the corner and feed them a ball of pain.
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 6th 2019 at 9:04:38 AM

1 AP.

At this point, I'm considering a restart and going with a "take the same four guys on every mission" approach rather than spreading the experience like I've been doing, thinking that maybe a few highly-experienced guys will serve me better than thrice that number with low experience. Out of my 12 guys, the highest-ranked is Zhang at lieutenant, but everyone else is at least a corporal. No rookies, no squaddies.

I also don't have an OTS yet, nor the money for it, as I spent it capping a steam vent on level 3 that's right next to the elevator shaft. Nor will I have spare cash for at least another month or two, as I'm concentrating on rushing satellites (but am already behind my capacity by 1 sat due to not having enough money for a third one this month).

Also, an unrelated question for the second game. On timed hacking missions, does hacking the objective break concealment?

Edited by amitakartok on Sep 6th 2019 at 6:17:46 PM

Sep 6th 2019 at 9:36:00 AM

Yeah, on Classic and Impossible, you want to at least have a couple highly ranked officers who go on every mission. It's not a good idea to absolutely go all in on just one squad, though (because things potentially start death spiralling as soon as someone gets injured/killed and replaced by a rookie). Two squads' worth of soldiers is usually sufficient (though not always, as I've mentioned with that one run where I ended up with my third-stringers as my only capable squad...). Run your top 6 on all the hard, important stuff, and if you see a crappy small UFO or easier abduction, take 3-4 of your best and 2-3 rookies/squaddies to get them going. Alternatively, use SHIVs for filler, though EU makes that a lot less viable than EW.

I'd recommend still prioritizing the OTS, even if you're otherwise doing a satellite rush. The extra squad slots are too valuable.

Doing anything with an interactable objective breaks concealment. This includes hacking, setting bombs or picking up certain story items. You generally want to engage before you'd get into that situation, though, as the entire map will descend upon the objective once you do that (and 90% of the time, winning a map will include routing the enemy).
RainingMetal from Eagleland Canada Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Sep 6th 2019 at 10:32:37 AM

Certain SITREP bonus-related objects will also break concealment. You can get away with meeting civilian contacts, but if you open a box, the whole map will know about it.

Waifu fans need a life(u).
Tacitus Watching Troy Burn from year 2016-IV
Sep 6th 2019 at 9:17:16 PM

So... I mean, the good news is that the D-Team, the four saps I keep around for emergencies, leveling as little as possible in case a "Low Profile" sitrep pops up, managed to, with the help of a Magus PsiOp and veteran Templar, capture a VIP in a battle that involved two Spectres, two Heavy MECs, and in the end a Sectopod squatting on a third-story roof. The only "casualty" was the Andromedon that got mind-controlled to act as a scout.

Bad news is that between the acid bombs, Blaster Bomb, and Sectopod's death explosion, the building the extraction point was on ended up catching fire in the process of getting everyone up there. Including the tile at the top of the ladder, the only roof access. Two of my poor corporals were trailing flames as the Skyranger reeled them in. Going Out Hot, if you will.

At least they extracted before their turn officially ended, so they didn't actually take any damage, just a hit to Will from being, you know, on fire.

Current Earworm: "The Sound of the End"
shigmiya64 Somebody get this freaking duck away from me! from a settlement that needs our help, General Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Somebody get this freaking duck away from me!
Sep 6th 2019 at 9:50:40 PM

Man, how'd a Sectopod get on the roof? I think that's literally impossible to do in-game. They must've built it up there, like a ship in a bottle.

Tacitus Watching Troy Burn from year 2016-IV
Sep 6th 2019 at 10:00:17 PM

Now, the scary part is that I knew there was a Sectopod on the map because I could hear it stomping around on the first alien turn, and even heard terrain come crashing down. Yet when I got eyes-on, it was squatting on the rooftop of an intact building, the damage came later.

Sectopods are fey and mysterious creatures.

Current Earworm: "The Sound of the End"
RainingMetal from Eagleland Canada Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Sep 7th 2019 at 7:02:04 AM

Fuck Low Profile. I actually installed a mod that disables that unfair SITREP.

Waifu fans need a life(u).
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 7th 2019 at 10:09:11 AM

Reading up on it, yeah, it does sound awful. It's like the devs decided to punish those who level up everyone rather than only a handful of soldiers.

RainingMetal from Eagleland Canada Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Sep 7th 2019 at 10:32:19 AM

That, plus they can't trust players to not always use their A-team all the time. I sometimes flip between teams A and B, and sometimes C. I have no patience for rookies.

Waifu fans need a life(u).
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 7th 2019 at 11:16:39 AM

And that's why you level up your rookies early... it'll make the early game hell, but late-game you can take casualties you couldn't if you had only ever leveled up six guys.

That aside, fuck the devs for punishing players for not playing a certain way.

Edited by amitakartok on Sep 7th 2019 at 8:35:13 PM

RainingMetal from Eagleland Canada Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Sep 7th 2019 at 12:02:59 PM

Yeah, once I reach rank Sgt. or so, or have extra space on my squad, I go out of my way to level up rookies that I actually care about (ie pool characters I start out with), after assigning them to a class.

I also installed the no fatigue mod. I actually wouldn't mind fatigue if it wasn't so damn severe, but it appears that even with my tinkering of said mod, my soldiers are still immune to fatigue. Oh well.

Waifu fans need a life(u).
Sep 7th 2019 at 12:22:08 PM

I find XCOM 2 has me regularly rotating soldiers by necessity. That is, with the divide between Impossible and Legend, usually if someone gets shot in XCOM 1, they're just dead (MECs notwithstanding). This means I end up with a small squad of vets where lowbies rotate in and out via body bags, eventually resulting in A and B teams where the sole survivors are all I ever use. In the second game, units often survive one shot and then get benched for a month and some change by injuries. This then results in a couple veterans leading a rotating hospital list of Squaddies and Corporals until I can get to a point where I'm locking down the enemies every turn with Mimic Beacons and Freeze Grenades. Still, if anyone gets hurt, I typically end up with a pool at least ten deep of Corporals I can draw from (which is more than good enough if I just need to run Grenadier spam). Of course, this is just vanilla experience, so if I ever get around to Chosen, I'll probably have to figure out something to get around fatigure for my handful of vets (probably by just having twice as many vets).

I should also note, that XCOM rookies can actually make plays if their tech is good enough, too. I had one run where my alpha got mostly wiped, with only a veteran Sniper left to keep us going. I'd just gotten enough resources for a full set of laser rifles. Cue one Major Sniper, a Squaddie Assault and four rookies actually managing to win a mid-game terror mission. And it wasn't just the Sniper doing all the work, either. Granted, the AI was being really dumb and just flying Floater ups over the tank yard wall (letting my rookies skeet shoot them at nearly point blank), but still. I guess it's the same principle as the aliens spamming Sectoids—it's less about them being good units themselves and more about them throwing a crap-load of throwaway weenies with good gear at the player.
Tacitus Watching Troy Burn from year 2016-IV
Sep 7th 2019 at 1:34:58 PM

Of course, this is just vanilla experience, so if I ever get around to Chosen, I'll probably have to figure out something to get around fatigue for my handful of vets (probably by just having twice as many vets).

You're not too far off the mark from what I've been using over seven WotC campaigns now. I tend to get a Sergeant ASAP and rush the Guerilla Tactics School for a squad size upgrade, then divide my roster into three ad hoc squads of four soldiers, who are joined by whatever faction hero is relevant for the local Chosen of a given mission. Later on the sixth slot is filled by whichever PsiOp isn't in training at the moment, though of course a SPARK works too. As I mentioned, a D-Team is kept around for emergencies or "Low Profile" missions, and it also helps to have a pair of soldiers you can send on Covert Ops without cutting into one of your main squads.

If you keep going through your three line squads sequentially, then ideally you'll always have one team ready for discretionary missions, with a back-up team to handle any sudden Guerilla Ops or Retaliation missions, while your third team recovers Will and HP. Since this is XCOM, that never quite happens. Instead you'll take some damage during an Avatar project mission that leaves the A-Team out of action for a while, the B-Team gets fatigued after being called in for a Council mission in Lost territory where the Warlock summons horde after horde with his psychic suicide bombers, and your C-Team is half-strength because you got greedy and sent two soldiers from it on a Covert Op because you really wanted the stat rewards, only for them to have to fight their way out of an ambush at the end of it. And then the game notices you're low on Alloys and offers a Supply Raid with only your D-listers around to answer the call.

Also, something I wished I'd noticed earlier - soldiers only recover Will when they're idle in the Avenger, so putting a PsiOp back in the learning tank right after a mission, or sending a soldier on even a non-combat Covert Op and then immediately putting them on a strike team, is a good way to end up fatigued.

Current Earworm: "The Sound of the End"

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