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Dragon573 Sanity not included from Sitting at a bonfire Relationship Status: Wishfully thinking
Sanity not included
Sep 8th 2019 at 10:59:40 PM

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.

Mark the date down on you calendars, folks. Amitakartok has seen the light.

It's kind of funny. Sufficiently advanced stupidity is like sufficiently advanced science; eventually, you find something you can't solve.
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 9th 2019 at 3:59:56 AM

Don't pop the champagne yet. I'm currently a bit burned out after putting the finishing touches to an Easy campaign and completing a Normal campaign in a few days, not helped by binging Galm's LP of XCOM 2 while doing other things, so I need some time off to rest my tactical muse which I plan on doing with another oldie game I'd very much like to see a HD remaster the way XCOM got one.

amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 9th 2019 at 2:43:09 PM

...or not, seeing as the other game keeps crashing 1+ hours in and every save I make beforehand is corrupted and makes the game crash a few seconds in. Oh well.

So then. Restarted. First mission, I start next to a truck next to a two-room building. First soldier moves next to the truck in high cover, activates pod on the other side. Second soldier moves into high cover. Third soldier moves into high cover. Fourth soldier moves to the other end of the truck in high cover, activates the other pod. Both pods were on the same side of the map as I and right next to each other. Game's trying to intimidate me, I think.

Ended up restarting before I even fired a single shot because everyone had only 25% chance to hit and one Sectoid kept overwatching, so I couldn't even get to a better position. Which is pathetic, I know, but I'm beyond caring. There's absolutely no way I can complete Classic without savescumming, no way.

So then. I move the fourth soldier in the opposite direction in preparation for opening a door to flank them. Alien turn starts, one Sectoid initiates a mindmeld, the recipient fires a shot that brings one of my soldiers down to 2 HP. Soldier panics and shoots at the mindmeld initiator, killing both Sectoids. Another soldier panics and shoots the first but misses, except this noise attracts the other pod who come charging right in. Out of the frying pan and into the fire...

Abusing line of sight and overwatch, I eventually managed to whittle down the Sectoids with only one more injury and no fatality (the one time someone dropped because I put her in low cover while trying to maneuver into a better firing position, I reloaded). The single Sectoid hid at the rear on the building but finally got dropped by a flanking shot.

All four rookies got promoted, although the Heavy and the Assault both got injured, with the Assault being laid out for two weeks. When I went to engineering, however, the game finally decided to be merciful on me because it gave me TWO steam vents on LEVEL 2 and a third on level 3, all on the left side in a V shape. Granted, both of the level 2 vents are in the way of the satellite uplink cluster but I still have enough room on level 1 and 2 for four uplinks in a T shape with 14 satellites total.

So to celebrate that, I immediately saved before doing anything else. This is where I will make my stand. Next time, because it's 11:43 PM over here and I have work tomorrow.

amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 11th 2019 at 4:12:16 PM

Next session. Things are going much better now. Have about 5 or 6 lieutenants including Zhang, the OTS with Squad Size I and Rapid Recovery bought, just rolled out laser weapons, have a second satellite uplink with four satellites under construction (I had the wisdom to wait until the first abduction and grab the engineer reward, which brought down satellite costs from 100 to 77) which will completely lock down Asia (I put my first satellite over India when they got to level 5 panic in the first month and another ignored abduction put Australia and Japan into the red zone as well, so I'm seizing the opportunity to lock down the continent) so that I no longer have to take cash reward abductions and can focus on panic management. No workshops or Foundry yet, I need the cash for other things. Only have one rookie left, everyone else is trained. Two fatalities so far.

For the month's first abduction, I took two snipers and two rookies. Game placed us ringed by four enemy pods in line of sight of each other, so I couldn't even leave the drop zone, nor maneuver for flanks against any pod without activating another. One rookie dropped to a flanking shot from a Thin Man, another got blasted out of high cover overwatch at close range by a Floater (the pod's other Floater was on overwatch as well and both snipers missed their shots that turn; pity because this rookie got two kills, one of them a flank shot on a Sectoid, before getting dropped himself) and one of the snipers got gravely wounded (actually killed before I reloaded because the snipers repeatedly kept missing 70% shots against the last remaining Floater standing out in the open for several turns, both with rifles and with pistols).

For the next abduction, I brought two more rookies but with laser rifles and nanofiber vests this time, both survived (though one got hurt down to 1 HP by a flanking shot, panicked and took cover). Almost (read: savescum almost) lost a support on the same mission to a point-blank shot by a Sectoid I couldn't flank. Luckily this mission only got a single Thin Man pod and they got activated at the very end; neither Thin Man could get a shot off before dying to the same rookie, one from an attack, another to overwatch. This particular rookie was quite the badass, got something like five kills during the mission. She became a support which is just fine because I decided to give my supports suppression rather than revive in this campaign in order to make them actually do something other than healing and taking low-accuracy potshots during a firefight.

Heading to a landed UFO next time. Confounding Light hasn't come up yet but we're better prepared this time and hopefully one of my snipers gets promoted high enough for Squad Size II before Gangplank. Still, I'm not letting my guard down until I've got armor (which will be early next month) and advanced laser weapons (probably the end of next month or early the month after that, depending on how many scientists I get in the meantime).

Tacitus Watching Troy Burn from year 2016-IV
Sep 11th 2019 at 9:54:43 PM

You gonna run with Carapace Armor, or go the mobility route with Skeleton Suits? I hear that the latter is a viable alternative to standard armor, but I found when I tried them I kept forgetting that grappling isn't a free action in XCOM 1.

On the topic of XCOM 2, cleared Waterworld again, only savescumming because I forgot how big the blast radius of a dying Gatekeepr is. And I have to say, it was a ridiculous fight. I got the "double Ability Points" Resistance Order early on but didn't really spend any during the campaign, so I just went nuts for the final mission. My clearing team was:

  • Two Magus-level PsiOps with every psionic power
  • A Colonel Sniper with Serial, Death From Above and Damn Good Ground
  • A Major Riflewoman/Sentinel who could shoot twice in her turn if she didn't move and then go on Guardian-enhanced Overwatch, shredded armor with her rifle, and in once instance killed 5 enemy MECs in one Overwatch rampage
  • A Brigadier Assault/Scout who automatically shot at anything within four tiles of her, was refunded an action after breaking concealment, was refunded an action after her first shotgun kill each turn, and went back into Concealment whenever an enemy didn't have line-of-sight on her at the start of her turn
  • A Brigadier Ranger/Gunslinger who Bladestormed any adjacent enemy on top of making a free pistol shot at any newly-activated enemy in her sight range

Mushashi's RPG Overhaul can get a little crazy. And the scary thing is, I just realized I never bought Reaper for that Ranger, so she could have been even more overpowered.

Current Earworm: "The Sound of the End"
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 12th 2019 at 1:52:12 AM

You gonna run with Carapace Armor, or go the mobility route with Skeleton Suits?

Both, actually. My usual modus operandi is Carapace for Assaults and Heavies, Skeleton for Supports and Snipers, then Titan for Heavies, Archangel for Assaults, Ghost for Supports, as they become available. Now, however, I'm thinking of Carapace for Supports and Skeleton for Assaults on the basis that Supports already have Sprinter so they don't need the mobility boost and giving the boost to the Assault would instead help the Assault in keeping up during scouting. On the other hand, Skeleton's dodge bonus plus Tactical Sense means the aliens would consistently have a higher hit chance on the Assault than on the Support, which is undesirable due to the Assault being able to tank better due to Extra Conditioning.

Sep 12th 2019 at 2:02:40 AM

You can get around that by having the Support hang back far enough or hunker down. Or you could just kill the enemy's ability to hit them both at all. Drop Dense Smoke on top of both of them in high cover. Nothing on any difficulty has more than 100 Aim, so 100 Def basically makes you unhittable from normal shots (even if you somehow make a habit of giving Impossible Muton Elites high ground on you, their hit rate is... 20%).

The extra mobility is also amazing because the AI is not programmed to compensate very well for that, so getting flanks is very easy (especially when stacked with Sprinter). You could completely ignore the grapple, as those bonuses alone make Skeleton borderline overpowered.

http://www.twitch.tv/kuroitsubasatenshi http://www.fimfiction.net/story/120195/the-necromancers-ambition
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 12th 2019 at 8:35:58 AM

From what I've seen so far, flanking is more or less pointless in abductions because the maps are so small and the alien pods are so many that attempting to close in for a flank (or even to grenade away their cover) is guaranteed to activate another pod. UFO assaults are better because the aliens are scattered enough, but abductions? Nopenopenope.

That being said, I still flank if I have the opportunity.

Edited by amitakartok on Sep 12th 2019 at 7:22:05 PM

Sep 12th 2019 at 10:22:44 AM

It really depends on the map. Yes, flanking does tend to get risky, but it's generally quite safe and abusable with roof tops. As I've mentioned before, the AI is really bad at dealing with LoS shenanigans and attacks from above, so with just the right positioning, you can lure the enemy into bad cover, then have someone from the opposite end of the roof approach from out of sight. It won't trigger overwatch and the enemy will be wide open with your guy scoring the highground Aim bonus. If you're aware of the general pod count for a given map and mission difficulty, you can also use the extra movement to aggressively flank the final pod (allowing for aggressive use of explosives against other pods).

A good example of where to take advantage of this is the bar abduction map. Approach along the rear via the overwatch conga line until you're within reach of the ladder. It's extremely rare for aliens to be on the roof and only fliers will be there if they do (99% of the time, they'll path into the first floor of the bar). Enemies will inevitably path into that back alley and you can shimmy along the roof to the edge that will give you the best shot. Another good one for this is the map with the big alley in the middle of a laundry mat and an electronics store. I had one early abduction on that map where I aggroed all 12 Sectoids at once, but killed them all without a single loss or injury because roof-top shenanigans are that busted.

Of course, if you can help it, Squadsight Sniper abuse with one scout engaging in LoS shenanigans is generally the safer approach.

http://www.twitch.tv/kuroitsubasatenshi http://www.fimfiction.net/story/120195/the-necromancers-ambition
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 12th 2019 at 3:39:35 PM

Okay... Confounding Light. Took a few reloads to complete and I ended up ignoring two full-health Mutons within sight range of my rearmost Sniper in order to score the final objective with just two turns left, but I did it. Highlight of the mission was a panic chain where one of my Heavies got dropped by a Thin Man, which caused my Support to panic, which caused my Assault to panic and fatally shoot Zhang with her shotgun. And let's not forget the time where the aforementioned Sniper missed an 88% Headshot on a Muton standing out in the open. The autosaving was iffy as well, with zero saves between mission start and half-time. Of course, the half-time save was right after my Support got dropped by a Thin Man while in low cover and under a smoke grenade.

Problem is, the injuries are starting to pile up. To such an extent that I had to undertake Gangplank with three Snipers (one captain, one lieutenant and one corporal) and three Supports (one lieutenant, one corporal and one squaddie) because literally everyone else was in the infirmary. Nobody was carrying explosives: the snipers all had scopes, the captain Support had a medkit, the other two supports had nanofiber vests. Took me about half an hour and a couple more reloads. Highlights include the Cyberdisc appearing out of the fog of war and instantly one-shotting the Support farthest from it without anyone getting overwatch on it; reloaded and rearranged my scouts a bit, Cyberdisc now dash-moved straight next to my closest Support and triggered the entire team's overwatch, which took it down to about 1/3 health and one of my Snipers scratched it out with a Headshot the next turn.

Another highlight was a Muton charging through a closed door right into flanking position of a Support it never saw until that point, dodging overwatch fire from the other two Supports and instakilling her. Reloaded.

So. Good news, Gangplank done with no fatalities and I can finally get back to more casual Council missions.

Bad news, the first terror mission popped up literally two days later and I have four combat-capable soldiers because everyone else is in the infirmary, including about 3-4 soldiers with one day of downtime left each. I'm getting the feeling the timing is deliberate, either on the game's part or the devs' part.

Also, question. Does Sprinter apply to the Archangel Armor in flight mode?

Edited by amitakartok on Sep 12th 2019 at 1:00:17 PM

Sep 12th 2019 at 5:29:35 PM

That's a really good question. I want to say, "yes", because I'm reasonably sure flying still retains your normal movement range, but I can't say with absolute certainty.

http://www.twitch.tv/kuroitsubasatenshi http://www.fimfiction.net/story/120195/the-necromancers-ambition
Tacitus Watching Troy Burn from year 2016-IV
Sep 14th 2019 at 5:24:26 PM

Huh, even after I turned off RPG Overhaul and Community Highlander, I was able to activate salvage beacons after a dash move during a Supply Raid. So between that and the final pod deciding to take a walk in the woods on the literal edge of the map, behind a building, I just got every goodie during a Supply Raid for the second time. But the lack of loot from dead aliens is a downer, and it's hard to get excited for magnetic weapons when only a quarter of the roster is able to use them - compare to an RPG campaign where at least 2/3rds of my soldiers had rifles in their primary weapon slot.

Going back to "vanilla" (ha!) XCOM 2 from RPG Overhaul is quite an adjustment. Everyone's just that more incompetent and interchangeable due to the lack of manually-leveled stats and character-defining Squaddie perks, but it feels like Will is recovering a lot faster even if it's not increasing very much each level-up, so I've been able to alternate between two squads for a few missions now.

Also, the "Use My Class" mod is dangerous, in that while it forces the game to respect the class saved to the character pool when a soldier makes Squaddie, it doesn't take those classes into account when picking your starting roster. I ended up with five would-be Assaults, three Sharpshooters, two Specialists, and one Grenadier. If it had been five Snipers, I could say it was as bad as XCOM 1.

Highlights include the Cyberdisc appearing out of the fog of war and instantly one-shotting the Support farthest from it without anyone getting overwatch on it; reloaded and rearranged my scouts a bit, Cyberdisc now dash-moved straight next to my closest Support and triggered the entire team's overwatch, which took it down to about 1/3 health and one of my Snipers scratched it out with a Headshot the next turn.

Fuck the Gangplank Cyberdisc. No other enemy in the game gets to come out of the fog of war with an action, with the possible exception of the aliens during Ashes and Temples. Changing the rules like that isn't challenging, it's cheating.

Hear that, Alien Rulers?

Current Earworm: "The Sound of the End"
amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 14th 2019 at 6:16:38 PM

Did a very long session today. Highlight was a terror mission where three of the enemies were Floaters and literally everything else was Chryssalids. I'm not kidding, I had something like four pods of Chryssies on the map and about six or so zombies. It was BRUTAL, as even though I brought two Heavies and three Snipers, the Heavies kept running out of ammo and the Snipers repeatedly missed 80%+ headshots. Took a few reloads.

Another highlight was a terror mission with one Cyberdisk, one pod of Chryssalids and three pods of Heavy Floaters. The Cyberdisk showed up on turn 2 and I managed to nail it with a Disabling Shot at maximum range, but the bastard immediately launched a grenade from a ridiculous range. Which I answered with a Shredder Rocket (which killed 3 or 4 civilians due to Danger Zone plus the civvies all being huddled up next to a car). Couldn't even get closer because the moment I tried, I found out there were half a dozen Heavy Floaters literally lined up at the edge of the fog of war. So I pulled back and played the waiting game, picking off the heavies one by one as they tried pushing at us. Unfortunately, two eventually got through and the resulting double grenade very nearly killed two of my guys (one had 1 HP left, another had 2). Final tally was 12 out of 18 civilians dead.

Oh, and there was that abduction mission where I activated a three-Muton pod who all moved into high cover, I blew away the high cover of two of them with a rocket, both Mutons simultaneously popped Intimidate which caused the Heavy who fired the rocket to panic (she was a Captain) and hunker down, I gunned down both exposed Mutons and told my two last people, who both had <40% chance to hit, to smoke grenade and hunker down... and the Muton promptly ditched its cover, ran out into the open and grenaded four guys at once because nobody was on overwatch.

Anyway. I'm nearing the point where I have to finally get going with the plot, as I'm currently researching EMP Cannon as literally the last remaining research option other than Xenobiology. All the Heavies are decked out in Titan Armor, all the Supports in Archangel Armor, every continent has a Firestorm with a Fusion Lance, I just finished researching the Blaster Launcher, all but three countries are covered in satellites (the US and Canada are abduction bait and South Africa withdrew because it was either sacrificing them or losing one of Russia, the UK, Canada or Mexico), about half of my forces are Colonels, the other half Majors. Also, just met the first Sectopod in this playthrough, it only got off one missed shot before getting annihilated with a BVR barrage of a HEAT Ammo Shredder Rocket which also set off the UFO power source it was right next to, a regular HEAT Ammo rocket and a Headshot.

On the other hand, I'm completely out of alien alloys. As in, I have two (22 until China suddenly asked for 20 in exchange for a pittance of money). I did, however, shoot down a Small Scout over Mexico just before I quit, so I'll get some soon. Am thinking of gifting my Snipers with Archangel Armor as in the last Council mission, the Sniper on the mission almost got killed by Thin Men who shot away his cover despite him having been on high ground and only his Skeleton Suit saved him. Speaking of which, this was the mission where my Supports did their test run of their Archangel Armor and the result was highly satisfactory. First Thin Man pod that got activated had one who ran all the way up to the top of the building they were next to and into high cover. One of my Supports swiftly flew to an even higher part of the roof and picked the bastard right off with her laser rifle, getting something like 86% hit chance despite the Thin Man being in high cover and not flanked. A few turns later, she jumped off the roof to heal a Heavy who got grazed by a Thin Man, then flew right back up to heal the aforementioned Sniper. So yeah, Archangel Armor definitely rocks with a Support and lots of high ground to navigate, especially with me having decided to use Deep Pockets to give Major/Colonel Supports a SCOPE for increased lethality.

The builds I'm using for this playthrough, by the way:

  • Assaults: Tactical Sense, Lightning Reflexes, Rapid Fire, Close Combat Specialist, Resilience
  • Supports: Sprinter, Field Medic, Suppression, Dense Smoke, Savior
  • Heavies: Bullet Swarm, Shredder Rocket, HEAT Ammo, Danger Zone, Mayhem
  • Snipers: Squadsight, Damn Good Ground, Disabling Shot, Opportunist, Double Tap

Edited by amitakartok on Sep 14th 2019 at 3:19:32 PM

amitakartok Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
Sep 15th 2019 at 5:26:27 PM

And with today's session, I've finished Classic difficulty. After all the swearing and raging I went through, the game finally decided to be merciful and rolled me five psionic soldiers including Zhang, who I designated as the Volunteer. The final assault team thus consisted of Zhang, an Assault, two Supports and two Snipers. One of the Snipers was the only non-psionic guy on the team, everyone else was in Psi Armor, both Supports and the Assault had Mind Shields and these three all had Mind Control (Zhang had TK field and the Sniper just got Mindfray). So you can imagine how surprisingly little difficulty I had with the final mission; I'm not exaggerating when I say that the team killed more aliens with Mindfray than with weapons fire.

In fact, just before the final mission, I got the Council mission where you have to evac that Hutch guy. After all the raging at the weapon accuracy of Thin Men in my first session, it caused me perverse sadistic pleasure to tear the fuckers to shreds with Mindfray, Panic and Mind Control from four guys at once. And in the final mission, my team got hit by weapons fire a grand total of TWICE (once from the Sectoid Commander, once from a Muton that just broke free of mind control).

Took my time with this playthrough too. Final tally stated I got my first psionic 300 days in and assaulted the Temple Ship in late January. By the final months I was having trouble fully outfitting everyone due to a constant shortage of alloys and cash (Psi Armor is expensive); even shooting down and assaulting a Battleship only gave me enough alloys for about a week.

Edited by amitakartok on Sep 15th 2019 at 2:33:47 PM

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