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Coolguye
Jul 6, 2011

Oy Space marines your fiance ain't so easy to kill!


X-COM: Enemy Unknown is a strategy game for PC (on Steam), 360, and PS3. It is effectively a sequel to the franchise started by Microprose in 1994. It was developed by Firaxis and released on October 7th, 2012, much to the rejoicing of neckbeards everywhere.


GENERAL QUESTIONS
I never played the original. What's this all about?
First of all, the original is still an amazing game, and if you consider yourself at all a fan of strategy games, you should grab it on steam. It's a mere 5 dollars, and it runs in a specially configured DOSBox instance, so it is pretty much guaranteed to work on any modern machine.

That said, in X-COM: Enemy Unknown, you take the role of the commander of a secret, multinational military organization that is tasked with repelling an alien invasion. UFOs will crawl over the skies with an unknowable, inscrutable purpose. When they land, implacable aliens deploy with strange, powerful weaponry to follow the shadowy agenda. Your job, as the X-COM commander, is to stop as many alien operations as possible, develop your force, and eventually defeat the aliens for good.

In short, the movie Independence Day seems like it was inspired pretty heavily by X-COM.


How does it play?
Simple answer is: Great, if not for the bugs.

The game's design is very intuitive and smooth. It is very much a 'minute to learn, millenia to master' sort of game. The strategic map (known as the Geoscape) allows you to build your headquarters carefully to suit your needs, prioritize your research and manufacturing, customize your soldiers, and make decisions on where to focus your monitoring and air power assets on the globe. The tactical map (known as the Battlescape) is where individual combat takes place between your soldiers and the aliens. Soldiers need to be moved from cover to cover, put in tactical modes, and guided on how to make their attacks most effective. As soldiers gain experience, they gain special powers that help them be a more badass murderer, a bigger asset to the team, and more.

The game has a roughly 30 minute tutorial that is enabled by default when you first start the game. This will explain pretty much all the salient basics and is extremely effective overall. X-COM veterans probably won't even need it; simply read up on the new Cover mechanics and you're pretty much good to go.

However, the game has been plagued by a few extremely obnoxious and occasionally mood-killing bugs since release. It is probably best to simply read the last page of the thread to see current bugs; mileage and specifics seem to vary a lot from person to person, and X-COM is such an immersive, intense game that a bug is a serious downer. As a result, bugs tend to get posted about A LOT. Here are a few of the known ones though:

  • Teleporting enemies: When not 'activated' (e.g., the aliens haven't seen you yet), the game saves resources by simply teleporting enemies from one area to another as they move. Unfortunately, it doesn't always properly register what your squad can see and what it can't see while it does this. So, occasionally, you'll get a pack of aliens 'moving' right into the center of your squad, which is a real problem when the aliens tend to be so much stronger than you.
  • 100% 'miss': Occasionally, when a unit has a 100% chance to hit, the game will fail to allow the soldier to take his shot. The soldier will step out, look like s/he's about to fire, the game will seemingly freeze a moment, and then the soldier will step back into their cover with no shot taken and no damage done.
  • Berserker freeze: There is a certain enemy called the Muton Berserker that has a special animation and ability that triggers when it is shot. Sometimes this animation can bug out the game and cause it to hang.
  • animatorZed posted:

    Don't use disabling shot against sectopods.
    Or if you do, don't move or only move with ghost afterwards.

    Disabling shot is bugged and gives them infinite overwatch shots.
    Per person.
    Per tile moved.



Aren't they fixing them? Isn't it getting supported?
Yes and no. Firaxis has released a few patches for the game, and also a few DLCs. However, every time they want to release a patch on the console platforms, they have to pay the owners of the various console marketplaces (Microsoft, Sony) to certify their patch before it is ever released. This is in stark contrast to PC, where Steam simply lets developers push out a patch without bothering them.

The release of Enemy Within saw a lot of attempted fixes for the above bugs. Some users report full fixes, with no real disruptions at all, at any time. Others report that there are still packs of teleporting enemies ruining your buzz. Your mileage may vary. However, it is generally accepted that the game is not really that terribly buggy, and the reason the bugs are considered such a big deal is precisely because this game sucks you in and does a great job of immersing you. So, bugs tend to feel like a real downer.


How detailed is everything? Especially compared to the original?
The Geoscape is mostly macro-management, and does not have a ton of detail. It lost a lot of its little semantics from the original. You only have one base now, and base attacks do not happen. However, certain buildings give bonuses if built next to eachother, so planning is still an important thing to do. UFO detection has also been simplified a lot. On the up side, you are now guaranteed at least one UFO to shoot down per month. On the downside, a lot of the mystery around hunting and killing UFOs is now gone.

The Battlescape is generally more detailed than its predecessor. Most things on the battlescape are destructable like the original. The new Cover mechanics (nearby terrain can reduce your chance to be hit) make planned demolitions even more important. Soldiers evolve into specific classes now, and you have a number of choices for the development of each soldier. Using your soldiers' skills properly is key to success. This is significantly different from the original, where you simply gave everyone Heavy Plasmas and sent some poor, clueless rookie out to spot aliens while everyone else shot at it from a mile away.

The salient point here is, Jake Solomon is a huge X-COM fan. He's described working on this game as 'his life's dream job'. He knew what he was doing, and it shows in the design.


So what exactly was changed from UFO on the Battlescape?
  • Instead of TUs, units have two actions per turn that allow them to move, shoot, or take other actions. Shooting normally ends a unit's turn immediately, but some classes have skills that allow them to get around this a bit.
  • Squads are now smaller. It starts at 4 soldiers, and with research can go up to 6.
  • Soldiers are now promoted purely based on the number of kills they have, instead of the cryptic way they were promoted in UFO. Classes are assigned completely randomly.
  • Alien weapons now explode into fragments when they are killed. To retrieve weapons whole, you must capture the alien alive. This is done by a researched stun gun called the Arc Thrower, and it is generally a pretty big deal to get a weapon back. Plasma weaponry is among the best in the game, and tends to be very expensive to manufacture.
  • There's a lot more stuff you can customize now. Out of the box, you can customize everything about a soldier's face, voice, etc. You can still customize their name as well. When they reach Sergeant rank they also get a nickname that you can assign or leave to one of the defaults. The random nickname generator knocks it out of the park more often than not.
  • Classes use very different weapons now - no more outfitting everyone with the 12 of the same rifle. Only the Heavy class can use the larger guns such as LMGs, Heavy Lasers, and Heavy Plasmas. Heavies also carry rocket launchers. Snipers are the only ones who can carry sniper rifles, and are the only class that can shoot outside of their visual radius (and even then they require a skill to do it). Assaults can optionally wield shotguns. Supports only use assault rifles, but come with powerful defensive abilities that are critical to the long term survival of the team.
  • There are a few more mission types now. Occasionally you will be asked to retrieve a VIP or something similar. Terror missions are also still a thing. However, all missions can still be won by butchering all aliens in the area, so the difference here is almost academic.


What about the Geoscape?
  • You only have one base now; Interceptor hangars are alloted for free by continent. You cannot have an Interceptor in Europe respond to a UFO sighting in northern Africa, even though it might technically be in range.
  • Monthly funding is not directly tied to your performance as it once was; now you simply get a fixed amount of money if you have a satellite over a member nation. You only start with a single satellite deployed, so supporting more is a very high priority indeed.
  • Member nations no longer withdraw due to arbitrary alien missions in their airspace. Member nations have a 'panic level' that indicates how unstable the population is. Panic is raised by alien activity not being stopped (particularly abduction and terror activity) and lowered by efficient X-COM responses and satellite deployments. If panic is maxed out at the end of a month, the game rolls some dice to see if they will withdraw from the X-COM project. If 8 of the 16 original countries withdraw, the game ends in defeat.
  • In addition to money, fully covering an entire continent gives you a unique bonus. For example, fully covering Africa gives you a 30% increase to your gross funding every month, across the board. If a country on the continent leaves the Council, that bonus is lost forever. The only exception to this is the bonus from the continent your headquarters is on; you will always have this bonus.
  • Interceptor combat is generally more simple now. There is no types of attacks, the interceptor merely engages to the best of its abilities. You can still help it by activating one-use equipment back at base, but generally you have less involvement.


So, just straight up: is the game fun?
Yes. Yes, yes, yes. A thousand times, yes. This game is fun the first time you play it. It's fun the 5th time you play it. I am up to ~75 games as of the time of this posting and I'm still having a ton of fun tweaking my macro strategy and shaking my fist as aliens pull off seemingly impossible shots to murder the poo poo out of my most promising soldiers. And this is just with the basic options. The game also has an Ironman mode that restricts your saving, and Second Wave options that let you turn optional rules on and off at will. The craftsmanship of this game is generally very good, and it's obvious that Jake Solomon loves the poo poo out of this game.

That's cool. So what about Enemy Within?
Enemy Within is much like an expansion in the late 90s and early 2000s style. It is fundamentally the same game, but the game has been refined, polished, and improved. There is really no sense in getting the game without Enemy Within. It is a fundamentally better and more interesting experience than vanilla. It is worth it.

Coolguye fucked around with this message at May 8, 2014 around 01:00

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Coolguye
Jul 6, 2011

Oy Space marines your fiance ain't so easy to kill!

GAMEPLAY QUESTIONS
Before doing anything else, you should enable the Autosave. Go to the Options and look for it. Trust me, when you're learning the game it saves you all sorts of heartache.


I think the numbers in this game are fake, I've reloaded and taken the same 75% shot 43 times and it always misses. What gives?
The RNG seed is saved with your game. If you reload and try the same action, you will always get the same result. This is intentional, as Jake Solomon considered 'savescumming' to make sure you hit a specific shot to be cheating. And quite frankly most people agree with him. If you want to reload because you missed 5 shots rated at 75% accuracy and then the aliens shot and killed 3 of your men in full cover then that's your business. But you will have to change history by changing your tactics.

That said, playing the game this way is not the way the game is intended to be played, and if you learn to let go of individual situations, lose soldiers, lose missions, etc, it is the finding of pretty much everyone that the game is more fun for it. Embracing the is much better than fighting it, both for your own sanity playing this game, and the overall experience.

A certain forums user came up with a beautiful quote illustrating this:

Don Tacorleone posted:

“Learning to let go should be learned before learning to get. Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.”
― Ray Bradbury

edit:

loving Xcom!
-Me


Can you stun Chryssalids, Cyberdiscs, or Sectopods?
No, you cannot. You also cannot stun your own soldiers who have left your control for whatever reason. If you ever have any questions on whether or not you can stun something, select a soldier carrying the Arc Thrower and mouse over the unit you want to stun. If the circle indicating the Arc Thrower's range pops up, you can stun it. If it does not, you cannot.


Speaking of stunning, how the hell does it work exactly?
Basically, to use an Arc Thrower on the enemy, you need to be within 3 squares of it. Shooting the Arc Thrower at an alien gives it a basic 'chance to hit', that it displays to you. If the Arc Thrower 'hits', the alien is disabled and that's that. There are no partial stuns or multiple hits required like we did back in UFO Defense. The 'chance to hit' is increased the lower an enemy's health is, with a very sharp hit up at 3HP. Plinking away at enemies with ballistic Pistols is a great way to weaken enemies without killing them. Later on, you can upgrade the Arc Thrower to be a little more useful above 3HP.


What does the Tutorial do?
In addition to the obvious (forcing you to move and lose almost your entire squad in the first mission), it forces you to home in North America (not a bad move) and gives you a few free buildings at your base. However, the layout of said buildings is pretty bad for the long term, so really you should turn off the Tutorial once you've got the game's basics down.


Why can't I build a Workshop or Laboratory?
You have to get an Engineer or Scientist (respectively) added to your staff via a reward. Prioritize missions that give you Engineers or Scientists.


I keep losing! It's impossible to keep up with panic! I can't respond to all these abduction missions!
Trying to keep panic down through Abduction missions is a losing proposition. The secret, however, is that Abduction missions cannot occur in a country with a satellite.

If you keep losing via panic, you are not building satellites fast enough, or you are not deploying them properly. Wait until the end of the month to get a full picture of what's going on. Occasionally you will get a panic-reducing Council mission in a country with maxed panic, which will save you from the Sophie's Choice of having too many panicking countries and too few satellites.

If you're building too few satellites, first remember that you can build more than one at once! Dr. Shen's Engineers are very industrious sorts that can handle incredible workloads. You can actually queue up like 50 Satellites all at once, or one at a time. Building them one at a time for later cancellation is a common way of 'ear marking' money for specific projects.

In Classic and Impossible, you may further consider that since abduction missions cannot occur in places with a satellite, you might have to prioritize covering an entire continent to keep a country from going BACK into maxed out territory with a satellite on top. Choose carefully.

Be aware that the immunity from Abduction missions only kicks in at the start of each month, so if you deploy a satellite over France on the 10th of June, it can still get an abduction mission on June 20th. You should avoid these regrettable scenarios by deploying satellites on the last few days of the month - this is the best practice for a lot of other reasons, anyway.


What do the difficulty levels change?
Most noticeably, enemy health, aim, and critical chances. Specifics vary from unit to unit. Check the X-Com wikia for these specifics if you want - just check individual enemy types.

There are also more aliens on each level on higher difficulties, most noticeably on Impossible. You can generally expect to see 50% more enemies on Impossible, with relation to Classic. So on the first mission, where there would normally be 6 enemies, you can reasonably expect around 9.

On Easy and Normal, the game also 'stealth cheats' for you, as well. Every successive shot you miss will give your soldiers hidden bonuses to Aim, so if you keep plinking away at those 45% shots you will almost certainly see one hit. Aliens are less likely to hit you successively in the same manner. It's generally not a good idea to spend a lot of time on Easy/Normal for this reason, since it will give you bad habits that won't translate well to higher difficulty levels.

Also, the AI is handicapped on Easy/Normal. Basically, before moving any of its units, it has to roll a die to see if it suffers a bout of boneheadedness. This chance is small, roughly 10-15%, but the consequence of failure is making a random and extremely stupid move, such as moving a unit out in the open to be shot.


Is there any way to game the aliens so they don't upgrade?
Not really. The aliens respond to the amount of pressure humanity is throwing back at them - this is what prompts them to deploy progressively heavier and heavier assault forces. Simply by existing, you are throwing pressure back in their faces. But, that said, certain technology beelines will delay the appearance of tougher alien species by a few weeks (early armor), while others will actually accelerate it (early light plasma rifle).

That said, the progression of 'commander' aliens (Outsiders, Sectoid Commanders, Ethereals) are determined by the status of story missions, so you can make like one or two enemies easier on UFO missions by not doing the story past certain thresholds. Which is kinda cold comfort when you're fighting half a dozen angry Mutons on the way there.


Are there any cheats? I just want to blast some fool aliens!
Any time after the Tutorial ends, if you rename a soldier to one of a couple static 'hero' names, that soldier will be transformed into a nigh-immortal god of war that will absolutely demolish the poo poo out of any punk-rear end X-Ray unlucky enough to be caught in the way. Note that if you use any of these heroes, achievements are disabled for that game.
  • Sid Meier - The legendary game designer and the big boss at Firaxis
  • Ken Levine - Another game design deity, worked on Thief, Bioshock, and System Shock 2.
  • Joe Kelly - I believe this is supposed to be the Joe Kelly of Deadpool and X-Men fame, but I can't be sure.
  • Otto Zander- Named after the X-Com commander in GuavaMoment's spine-dominatingly awesome Let's Play of UFO Defense. If you're going to cheat, I recommend this one.
  • Chris Kluwe (PC only) - I have no idea who the gently caress this is supposed to be, Google claims he's a punter for the Vikings who's a gay rights activist and plays too much World of Warcraft. Also I guess he beat an X-COM dev in the multiplayer recently or something, whatever.


I'm stuck after firing with Double Tap! I don't want to fire again!
You can just immediately end your turn (Backspace on PC).


Are there any further guides that I can read?
Better believe it!
1stGear explains Overwatch and how to make it work for you.
Here's a print-out of the tech tree, to help you plan your research.

Coolguye fucked around with this message at Jul 27, 2013 around 21:52

Coolguye
Jul 6, 2011

Oy Space marines your fiance ain't so easy to kill!

MULTIPLAYER
While I generally would recommend that people not bother with the multiplayer on this game since it tends to be a bug-ridden, unbalanced mess. However, some goons are pretty enthusiastic about it, so post here for games!

How does it work, basically?
Essentially, you build a squad of up to 6 men spending buy-points, much like tabletop war games. Then the two sides go into a Battlescape combat and everyone brawls until one side is dead as poo poo.


Point-buy? Is there a calculator to help me plan?
There sure is!


Wow this seems kind of obtuse. Is there an introduction guide I can watch/read?
You'd better believe it! Courtesy of goon Edgecase: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dq_WfXnOTy8


MODDING
The Nexus has opened a subsite for Enemy Unknown here. There are really only two mods worth talking about, however, and those are Implassic, and The Long War.

Implassic - Made by one of our own goons, this mod allows you to have the increased number of enemies of Impossible, while still keeping the Classic settings for health, aim, and crit rate on all the enemies. It's a nice middle ground between Classic and Impossible. This is effectively what most people wanted after their first few plays of the game - Impossible Battlescape, Classic Geoscape. It does not fundamentally change the game mechanics and is relatively low-impact, but it's a great thing to behold.

The Long War - Be sure to download the latest beta, under the Files tab, and read ALL the instructions!
It is difficult to even call this a mod since it changes pretty much everything about the original game. There are now 8 soldier classes, with 8 MEC classes, a swarm of new equipment, a completely overhauled tech tree, and much, much more. Pretty much everything about the base game got changed in Long War, some for weal (larger squad sizes, difficulty curve fixed to make the early game generally harder than the late one, fatigue requirements to encourage the use of more than a half-dozen soldiers) and some for woe (there are now a lot of time sinks and development traps that are almost completely nonfunctional for the overall game, many things are completely inscrutable without a guide, and the developers' insistence on changing everything at once leads to tons of bugs/unintended behavior and a very uneven, choppy experience).

Will you like the mod? That's hard to say. There are certainly a ton of things to be very excited about with Long War. It gives an experience that's much like the old UFO Defense - the game is asymmetric, and each mission is pretty unique with the sheer amount of content that the developers have installed. You will be unable to go on an eternal victory streak. Just stop trying, it is practically impossible. This makes the game, at its soul, much more interesting than vanilla. The difficulty is also ratcheted up several notches, with each month more harrowing than the last. This is refreshing for those of us that have beaten Impossible/Ironman and are now looking for an even greater challenge. However, the mod is highly unpolished and has a lot of extraneous niches in it. "Fixes" were applied to items that were never broken in the first place. New, kludgy features were added to systems that already worked very well. Other systems that were perfectly functional before have been expanded to the point of being overwrought. The improvements that were added are rarely tested in conjunction with one another, so even if two things are objectively a huge improvement over vanilla, when taken together they can sometimes create a very bad experience.

All that said, if you have beaten the vanilla game an enjoyed it, you owe it to yourself to at least give Long War a try. It's a wild ride and a definite work of love on the part of some extremely devoted developers. It's a free download, so even if you end up hating it, it's a fun way to spend a weekend. Also, with the release of XCOM Complete, vanilla is pretty much dead, so this is the best way to get your hardcore XCOM fix until Xenonauts releases something substantial (which they may never do).

So, that was a lot of , but trust me when I say that they are needed to properly communicate the bigness of Long War. I have seen entire indie games go up on Steam with less overall effort than has been put into this mod. With that in mind, it'll be good to have a few FAQs right here for those getting into the game:

A country left in the first month! Its panic was low! This is bullshit!
Calm down. This is part of the macro-narrative of the game. You will have an opportunity to get them back later. Focus on your fundamentals, and don't sweat it.

My fundamentals aren't working!
Yeah, they might not. The satellite rush of vanilla is substantially de-emphasized due to a number of the new mechanics with Long War. You would be better served by beelining a lot of Laboratories. You have a lot of work to do, and unlike in vanilla, the aliens are not going to wait around for you to step your game up.

My soldiers are constantly in bed! How am I supposed to keep up with missions?
The simple answer? You're not expected to. You absolutely will not have the resources to keep up with every mission that you're offered, especially early on. You will need to pick your battles, and learn to let some things go. There is no penalty for ignoring some missions, such as Council missions or a shot down UFO, so if launching an operation to one of those two would fatigue your last soldiers, think long and hard before launching that operation. That said, SHIVs have no concept of fatigue, and are very reliable once produced (no messing around with a ton of kit or skill progression) and are thus substantially more useful than they were in vanilla, where they were already pretty darned cool.

Holy gently caress this is hard!
In line with one of the developer visions, yes. Swallow your pride and start on Easy or Normal. There is no shame there, unlike in vanilla where it meant admitting you needed a computer to cheat for you to win.

Why is everything regenerating all its health every turn!?
Bug. There are a lot of them. Buckle in.

What the hell happened to explosives?
Damage from explosives is now heavily randomized, to the point where many people feel the change was excessive as hell. Cover now gives a substantial amount of damage resistance and is generally harder to destroy. You will need to re-evaluate explosives as a part of your gameplay from scratch.

How do I research X?
The skill and research trees are completely revamped and the research tree in particular resembles the Maze of Theseus. Use these links, provided by the developers themselves, for reference:

Skills: http://home.comcast.net/~johnnylump/LW3pt.jpg
Tech: http://home.comcast.net/~johnnylump/LW3tt.jpg

Coolguye fucked around with this message at Jun 19, 2014 around 23:56

Cleretic
Feb 3, 2010

Fighting Rikti forever, That's just what Giant Robo CoX do.

Oh cool, I didn't know Otto Zander was an LP reference. In fairness I haven't read the LP, I got this game completely blind.

Re-asking a question I asked right before this thread went online: I finished this game on Normal, what should be my next step? Turning on Ironman, Classic, or some Second Wave options?

Coolguye
Jul 6, 2011

Oy Space marines your fiance ain't so easy to kill!

Cleretic posted:

Re-asking a question I asked right before this thread went online: I finished this game on Normal, what should be my next step? Turning on Ironman, Classic, or some Second Wave options?
Of these three I'd probably recommend stepping it up to Classic. Classic is where the game really starts to come into its own as one that punches you in the face and leaves you asking for more. The wikia only claimed that Easy has the stealth cheating, but from my limited experience in Normal I suspect it's in force there as well.

darthbob88
Oct 13, 2011


Coolguye posted:

GAMEPLAY QUESTIONS
[*]Chris Kluwe (PC only) - I have no idea who the gently caress this is supposed to be, Google claims he's a punter for the Vikings who's a gay rights activist and plays too much World of Warcraft.

Apparently he's also quite fond of XCOM, and got added to the list of heroes after he beat one of the XCOM devs in a multiplayer match.

Mirdini
Jan 14, 2012



Nice to have a new thread, solid OP Coolguye.

Now to continue waiting for Firaxis to get around to making map DLC

Tommofork
Dec 25, 2007

This is where I begin to speculate what being a
man of my word costs me


Nice work on the OP!

Coolguye posted:

Of these three I'd probably recommend stepping it up to Classic. Classic is where the game really starts to come into its own as one that punches you in the face and leaves you asking for more. The wikia only claimed that Easy has the stealth cheating, but from my limited experience in Normal I suspect it's in force there as well.

I can never find the link but it is confirmed that normal gives you a stealth bump to your to rolls (due to players having problems understanding random chance with their PRIMITIVE MONKEY BRAIN). The AI is also handicapped on Normal and below.

Also, the PGS thread for the Xcom multiplayer is closed.

Tommofork fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2013 around 08:59

Brainamp
Sep 4, 2011

Ambition cannot be stopped.


Not sure if it's :files:, but plague dynasty found a fix for people that didn't pre-order the game so they could get the armor colors a while back.

Here's the post in question.

Athenry
Apr 2, 2008

I've seen everything.
I've seen it all.


Brainamp posted:

Not sure if it's :files:, but plague dynasty found a fix for people that didn't pre-order the game so they could get the armor colors a while back.

Here's the post in question.

Is this any different than having both of the DLCs?

jfjnpxmy
Feb 23, 2011

by Lowtax


To add to the list of bugs in the OP, there's also the thing just now where activating one group of enemies activates them all, and invisible Chrysalids wandering around mauling civilians in terror missions.

Awesome game, but holy jeez what a hot mess of programming.

DrManiac
Feb 29, 2012


I remember in the last thread somebody posted a mod that removed the Hit percentage and crit bump enemies got on classic, anyone got that?

Hellburger99
Jan 23, 2006

"I don't like that mooch...
or her pooch!
"

Anyone else like playing dress-up with their soldiers? Here's a couple of mods for that:

Customizable Special Soldiers: I'm assuming most people are familiar with this mod already, but throwing out there just in case. This allows you to customize Zhang and the special soldier from the next DLC, assuming they haven't scrapped it based on the backlash from Slingshot. It seems to undo a lot of the ill will towards Zhang, as now you can have your super bad-rear end heavy character and personalize him, too. Just know that if you alter his face (and maybe his voice) it won't give you the achievement for taking him on the final mission.

There's also this thing: 23 Additional Heads, which adds in heads from NPCs, etc. Nothing super noticeable, until you get a RNG soldier with Sid Meiers' face, Guile's hair and a neon handlebar mustache.

coffeetable
Feb 5, 2006


Getting this in on page one:

ANY ISSUES WITH THE PRNG ARE IN FACT ISSUES WITH YOUR lovely MONKEY-BRAIN PATTERN RECOGNITION ABILITIES

Coolguye
Jul 6, 2011

Oy Space marines your fiance ain't so easy to kill!

Tommofork posted:

I can never find the link but it is confirmed that normal gives you a stealth bump to your to rolls (due to players having problems understanding random chance with their PRIMITIVE MONKEY BRAIN). The AI is also handicapped on Normal and below.

Also, the PGS thread for the Xcom multiplayer is closed.
Updated both posts, thanks for the help!

Azzip
Oct 22, 2006
Something really profound

Great new OP, answers to questions that people ask all the time.

Might be worth linking to or quoting the best post in the other thread, afaik this stuff is all still valid. The overwatch stuff in particular is something I think many people will not realise.

ulmont
Sep 15, 2010



Coolguye posted:

Updated both posts, thanks for the help!

I think you should copy the "quick satellite guide" from the previous thread here...

NESguerilla
Jun 5, 2005

Clunk Clunk Clunk clunk


The #1 player on Xbox "Rockstar Chris" is seriously the biggest stinkyhole I have ever seen in a video game. 300 wins, 24 losses, 105 disconnects. He is an absolutely terrible player, and I have literally beat him every single time I have played him and he pulls some loving disconnect right before he gets killed that doesn't count as a loss, every single loving time. Naturally, being the mature adult that I am, I called him out on it last night and got into a half hour long flame war with him. The toolbag literally put "#1" as the first word of every message to me. Rot in hell Rockstar Chris you absolutely worthless no skill cheater.

Dush
Jan 23, 2011

Mo' Money


NESguerilla posted:

The #1 player on Xbox "Rockstar Chris" is seriously the biggest stinkyhole I have ever seen in a video game. 300 wins, 24 losses, 105 disconnects. He is an absolutely terrible player, and I have literally beat him every single time I have played him and he pulls some loving disconnect right before he gets killed that doesn't count as a loss, every single loving time. Naturally, being the mature adult that I am, I called him out on it last night and got into a half hour long flame war with him. The toolbag literally put "#1" as the first word of every message to me. Rot in hell Rockstar Chris you absolutely worthless no skill cheater.

Friends and fun await you in XCom Enemy Unknown Multiplayer!

So, soldiers don't get experience just for completing a mission, do they? It's based purely on kills? I've been wondering about that. I've also been wondering about why heavies seem to kind of suck a lot. Bulletstorm is okay, but you tend to need to move your guys before you fire on anyone. Suppression chews through ammo (and combat support can do it anyway), and my heavies seem to always loving miss. The rocket is nice, but you only get one of them until the heavy is Colonel (iirc), so it's not *that* useful. I dunno. I think they're less useful than Assault, who are tough as nails and complete loving slayers, but I am an idiot.

Pomp
Oct 9, 2012



Holotargetting will do more for you than a second 40% chance to hit. Come mid-late, Heavies become irreplaceable with Heat Ammo, and at that point I start taking two on every mission. The 2-4 rockets that come with them work as a nice "reset" button as well. 2 support/1 support+rookie, 1 assault, 1 sniper, 2 heavies got me through end-game.

Brainamp
Sep 4, 2011

Ambition cannot be stopped.


Athenry posted:

Is this any different than having both of the DLCs?

It's only the armor colors, so the DLC's would give you more.

ChronoReverse
Oct 1, 2009


coffeetable posted:

Getting this in on page one:

ANY ISSUES WITH THE PRNG ARE IN FACT ISSUES WITH YOUR lovely MONKEY-BRAIN PATTERN RECOGNITION ABILITIES

Anyone who has issues with the PRNG simply are Pattern Recognition Not Good types.

*rimshot*

Okay I'll show myself out now.

HelmetCheese
Dec 1, 2003


Dush posted:

Friends and fun await you in XCom Enemy Unknown Multiplayer!

So, soldiers don't get experience just for completing a mission, do they? It's based purely on kills? I've been wondering about that. I've also been wondering about why heavies seem to kind of suck a lot. Bulletstorm is okay, but you tend to need to move your guys before you fire on anyone. Suppression chews through ammo (and combat support can do it anyway), and my heavies seem to always loving miss. The rocket is nice, but you only get one of them until the heavy is Colonel (iirc), so it's not *that* useful. I dunno. I think they're less useful than Assault, who are tough as nails and complete loving slayers, but I am an idiot.

I've seen rookies with no kills rank up a couple times after like two missions, but they tend to start racking up kills for me after that.

Heavies tend to have lovely aim so a lot of people throw a SCOPE on them. Suppression is extremely useful for keeping your other guys safe at the end of a turn; I look at the high ammo use as the cost of that safety. Yeah the small clip they have blows, but the Foundry's ammo conservation project negates that once you get it. The rocket makes for a fantastic 'oh poo poo' buffer -- a 90% chance to do 6 damage to a fairly large area is huge on classic mode. Heavies kick rear end if used properly, I like to roll with two of them. One with suppression, one with shredder rocket and you've got three rockets a mission. I've found exploding the poo poo out of everything you come across is probably the safest (and most fun) way to go through classic mode. Only downside is that you lose out on some of those precious weapon fragments.

Slashrat
Jun 6, 2011


IIRC, if you dont have any casulties on a mission, every soldier gets some bonus xp regardless of whether they killed anything or not.

amanasleep
May 21, 2008


Another great include is http://www.thatgoblin.com/xcom_calculator.php. This is an MP calculater that is great for theorycrafting MP builds out of game. It has a few bugs and doesn't reflect the most recent changes to MP point costs, but I find it very useful.

Also, FWIW I find MP incredibly fun even though I agree that it is a buggy, unbalanced mess.

Dr. VooDoo
May 4, 2006

O, for a muse of fire

So I haven't had a chance to play multiplayer since the game came out. Is it really that unbalanced and buggy? I was hoping for something that'd be really intense and not boiling down to One True Build. Was hoping it'd be my next Dawn of War II

amanasleep
May 21, 2008


NESguerilla posted:

The #1 player on Xbox "Rockstar Chris" is seriously the biggest stinkyhole I have ever seen in a video game. 300 wins, 24 losses, 105 disconnects. He is an absolutely terrible player, and I have literally beat him every single time I have played him and he pulls some loving disconnect right before he gets killed that doesn't count as a loss, every single loving time. Naturally, being the mature adult that I am, I called him out on it last night and got into a half hour long flame war with him. The toolbag literally put "#1" as the first word of every message to me. Rot in hell Rockstar Chris you absolutely worthless no skill cheater.

He keeps registering new profiles on the 2k forums, shitposting, then getting immediately slammed/banned by the mods. To avoid derailing onto some well deserved hate for that guy, I will try and draw you into an erudite discussion of the merits of XCOM multiplayer for the benefit of goons who haven't tried it out yet.

What are your top 5 favorite things about XCOM MP?

NESguerilla
Jun 5, 2005

Clunk Clunk Clunk clunk


Dr. VooDoo posted:

So I haven't had a chance to play multiplayer since the game came out. Is it really that unbalanced and buggy? I was hoping for something that'd be really intense and not boiling down to One True Build. Was hoping it'd be my next Dawn of War II

I don't even know where to start. It's really fun but completely hosed.

amanasleep posted:

He keeps registering new profiles on the 2k forums, shitposting, then getting immediately slammed/banned by the mods. To avoid derailing onto some well deserved hate for that guy, I will try and draw you into an erudite discussion of the merits of XCOM multiplayer for the benefit of goons who haven't tried it out yet.

What are your top 5 favorite things about XCOM MP?

I'm glad someone else is aware of that poo poo head.

In regards to your question, The MP is just fun. It's broken but drat fun.

NESguerilla fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2013 around 16:31

Clockwork Rocktapus
Mar 29, 2010


^ just put a scope on your heavies and that fixes it pretty well

Dush
Jan 23, 2011

Mo' Money


ulmont posted:

I think you should copy the "quick satellite guide" from the previous thread here...

I'd really like to see this, if anyone has it. In my last game I managed to lose like four countries and it was only on normal

Skyl3lazer
Aug 27, 2007

Eyes open for bad postin'



I'm glad to see that this game got a new OP, it deserves it

Klyith
Aug 3, 2007

DID YOU KNOW: A ruddy duck produces huge eggs. A full clutch of eggs can weigh more than the hen that laid them!

~SMcD

DrManiac posted:

I remember in the last thread somebody posted a mod that removed the Hit percentage and crit bump enemies got on classic, anyone got that?
Those would be Normal .2 or Normal .5 at xcom nexus, but they haven't been updated for any of the subsequent patches. It wouldn't be difficult to recreate those tweaks though.


Dush posted:

I've also been wondering about why heavies seem to kind of suck a lot. <snip> I think they're less useful than Assault, who are tough as nails and complete loving slayers, but I am an idiot.
The problem people have with heavies is they see the big guns and think that the heavy is a big damage dealer. He's not. The guys you want shooting aliens are the assaults and snipers. A heavy is more of a utility class, and that's where holo-targeting starts to make sense. Don't get me wrong, bullet swarm is also a very good skill. But Holo combos with suppression and his rocket launcher. That's right, shoot a group of aliens with a rocket and everyone else gets the aim bonus. Using your heavies as a guy with a LMG who shoots a lot, needs a scope to hit anything, and fires a rocket once per mission is missing the purpose of the class, and you might as well use a rifle assault instead.

XCOM Classes, in MMO terms:
Assault = Tank / DPS
Sniper = Artillery DPS
Support = Healer / Buffs
Heavy = CC / Debuffs


Here's a thing I wrote about scopes on heavies in the last thread:

Klyith posted:

Heavies definitely appreciate the scope if you want to hit things more consistently with their guns. On the other hand, if you use suppression a lot with your heavy, a scope is not very valuable. AI won't move when suppressed, so an aim bonus is useless in that circumstance. Basically, a scope makes a heavy into an assault with no run and gun and no item slot. The way I'd describe it is a completely reasonable option that should never be an unthinking default, because you are compensating for the heavies' weaknesses instead of playing to their strength.

I put scopes on heavies not infrequently myself, but I always keep in mind the purpose (mostly trying to get more kills for leveling). In the mission I think: this guy is a shooty-heavy, I'm going to keep his gun hot and have him take as many shots as I can. Then I take the scope off when the mission's done.

1stGear
Jan 16, 2010

What?


Azzip posted:

Great new OP, answers to questions that people ask all the time.

Might be worth linking to or quoting the best post in the other thread, afaik this stuff is all still valid. The overwatch stuff in particular is something I think many people will not realise.

I'll go ahead and post this on the first page with a slight addition so its easy to find.

Overwatch and You or How You Are loving Up Playing XCOM

This post is about Overwatch and using it properly. This is because Overwatching correctly is one of the most fundamentally important parts of playing this game on Classic and Impossible and the aliens will destroy you every single time if you don't do it right.

What is Overwatch?

Just so we're on the same page, Overwatching is the act of having your soldier reaction fire on any enemy that makes a move action within their field of view. Overwatch shots cannot crit, are made at an Aim penalty, and the Overwatcher must have line-of-sight on the victim. Overwatch shots do not trigger on any action except for movement. Choosing to Overwatch ends your soldier's turn entirely, regardless of how many actions they had left. I'll interchangeably refer to Overwatch shots as reaction fire.

I know that and I use it all the time, what's the problem?

The using it all the time is the problem. Its a common refrain in this thread that should always end your turn on Overwatch and that's a false statement that will result in the death of a lot of soldiers. This is because of something incredibly, unbelievably important that the game does not directly tell you:

An alien that knows it is being Overwatched will not move for any reason (Short of panic). This is for the same reason that you try to avoid moving when you're being Overwatched: the AI doesn't want to give you the free shot and potential kill. However, a human player has the capacity to judge the risk of taking reaction fire against other potential risks, like being flanked or a car about to explode. The AI does not. Again, if the AI knows a unit is being Overwatched, it will not move that unit under any circumstance. Instead, it will fire at one of your units. On unmodded Classic, this is super-bad because the aliens receive bonuses to their Aim and Crit chance, meaning their chances of hitting and killing one of your soldiers is significantly higher.

This is why you are loving up using Overwatch. By always choosing to Overwatch if you can't think of anything else, you are essentially forcing the AI to make more shots on your soldiers, significantly increasing the chance of those soldiers dying.

So Overwatch is useless then.

No, Overwatch still has two primary uses:

1)The AI in XCOM is not omnipotent. If it doesn't have line-of-sight on you, it legitimately does not know where you are and what you are doing (This appears to extend even further than a human player's lack of knowledge in that the AI doesn't seem to cohesively use all of its units' vision, meaning that the AI might move Sectoid A into an Overwatching soldier's LOS even though Sectoid B already had LOS on the Overwatcher). This means the AI will walk into Overwatch fire if the Overwatcher was in the fog of war. This is why, when you are in the initial scouting phase, you should be ending every turn on Overwatch in case an alien pack runs into view. This is also useful for Overwatch traps, where you pull your soldiers back, Overwatch them, then let Muton Berserkers charge in and get hosed up by a criss-crossing plasma disco.

2) The refusal of the AI to move while it is Overwatched is as much as a risk to them as it is a risk to you. This means they won't shift out of half-cover, they won't run from being flanked, and they won't move from an exploding car. Using Overwatch is a way of 'fixing' an alien in place if that alien is in an advantageous place for you or if you are moving soldiers to flank it. Keep in mind that the pinned alien will continue to shoot at your people, so make sure that the potential gain of pinning it is higher than the potential risk of injury or death. Its honestly better to use Suppression for this particular use.

An alien ran into my field of view while I was Overwatching and didn't get shot! SOLOMONNNNNNNNN!

There's like a one-tile space at the edge of a unit's LOS where you can see them, but Overwatch fire doesn't trigger. This applies for both the player and the AI, but the AI is a lot better at exploiting it. It doesn't happen that often, its just super loving annoying when it does.

Also this:

coyo7e posted:

That's a lot of words to never mention that when you move forward soldiers while scouting in the beginning of a mission or when opening up new map areas, you shouldn't be overwatching until you've already gained an advantageous field of fire and you're ready to send that final rookie out a few squares ahead into the "risky" area. Overwatching just because you used your first move phase is really a bad habit to get into, until/unless you've moved most/all of your other squadmates halfway or fully as well.

To say it an a different manner: layering your troops' movement is just as important as fields of fire and overwatch order.

I'm a goon, break it down into bullet points

- Overwatch when you are scouting and not certain what you'll run into.
- Overwatch when you want to keep an alien pinned down to flank it/shoot it/whatever.
- Overwatch when you know the AI doesn't have LOS on you and thus doesn't know what you're doing.
- DO NOT Overwatch if you will gain nothing from this alien's current position. Either take the shot if its >40% or Hunker Down.
- AVOID Overwatching while in half-cover. Half-cover is not hugely useful on Classic and it is almost always better to Hunker Down than doing anything else.

People who say you should always end by Overwatching are straight-up wrong. I followed that particular advice and was losing 1+ soldiers every mission. When I learned how the AI responded to Overwatch and began thinking about my use of it in that context, I started using it a lot less while using Hunker Down or taking shots I wouldn't have taken before. Abruptly, I start winning more missions with no casualties. Overwatch is a very powerful ability when used correctly and its is an anchor around your neck if you use it without thought.

1stGear fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2013 around 17:13

1337JiveTurkey
Feb 17, 2005

Baby, I'm hot, just like your oven...

So if aliens won't move when they know a soldier is overwatching, does this make Rapid Reaction and Sentinel comparatively worthless? Or does Covering Fire + Sentinel make some sort of sense?

ChronoReverse
Oct 1, 2009


1337JiveTurkey posted:

So if aliens won't move when they know a soldier is overwatching

Luckily the aliens don't share information. So if one ran in and got killed, then the next one will run in and get killed too.

Sentinel still kinda isn't worth it.


Plus Chryssalids don't care and just run in anyway.

ChronoReverse fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2013 around 18:13

Fister Roboto
Feb 21, 2008



You should probably mention in the gameplay section that you can build more than one satellite at a time, since that seems to be a big stumbling block for new players.

Klyith
Aug 3, 2007

DID YOU KNOW: A ruddy duck produces huge eggs. A full clutch of eggs can weigh more than the hen that laid them!

~SMcD

1337JiveTurkey posted:

So if aliens won't move when they know a soldier is overwatching, does this make Rapid Reaction and Sentinel comparatively worthless? Or does Covering Fire + Sentinel make some sort of sense?
A little bit. It's not like you will never fire an overwatch shot. Aliens will still move into overwatch shots, they just have to not see the soldier that shoots them before they take the move. The AI is fair, it only makes that decision based on what the the aliens can see. Overwatch traps are a great tool to wipe out a pod quickly (shoot them on their turn as they advance, clean up on your turn).

Rapid Reaction is pretty meh just because heavies have low aim and they have to hit the first shot in order to get a second. I never take it because HEAT ammo is just so good against the two bitchiest enemies in the game. I'd put Sentinel on a pure tactical/scout support who doesn't have either of the other medkit skills. I've built guys for that, but never leveled one all the way to Colonel level though.


1stGear posted:

An alien ran into my field of view while I was Overwatching and didn't get shot! SOLOMONNNNNNNNN!

There's like a one-tile space at the edge of a unit's LOS where you can see them, but Overwatch fire doesn't trigger. This applies for both the player and the AI, but the AI is a lot better at exploiting it. It doesn't happen that often, its just super loving annoying when it does.
Since that was originally written people found out why this works: to take an overwatch shot, your unit has to see at least two squares of movement. Things that frustrate overwatch include showing up on the last square of sight range, moving to the corner of a full-cover object that blocks LOS, and moving one square at a time while in full view. It's a bigger deal in multiplayer, but you can exploit this yourself against AI aliens in overwatch.

This is also why you frequently don't get an overwatch reaction shot on thin men in council missions, who drop from the sky into nasty flanking positions. The thinman is spawned on a square at max elevation, then moves 1 space and drops to the ground level. Quite often that initial square is out of LOS unless your units are out in the open.

Klyith fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2013 around 18:15

Operant
Apr 1, 2010


Xcom tip: gently caress suppression, take 2 heavies with HEAT ammo and shredder rocket, make it rain every battle. Heavies are MASSIVE damage dealers with bullet swarm, a heavy plasma and two rockets (like 20 damage a turn massive).

Also half cover is a death sentence and your soldiers should not go within a mile of it without hunkering down.

teethgrinder
Oct 9, 2002

Nurse?

You know what really sucks? Having your full-cover crumble away between your turn and the aliens. I didn't need that assault anyway.

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RBA Starblade
Apr 27, 2008

Going Home.


Is there any way to handle supply barges that doesn't suck? It's one big open area. I inch forward, and trigger 3 heavy mutons, cyberdiscs, and drones at the same time, moving one tile. I have 6% chance to hit anything. They one shot my sniper. This was my one shot at getting more alloys in two loving months so I can maybe, possibly, build a firestorm or anything that is better than carapace armor and lasers because God knows my ravens aren't doing poo poo against the apparent fleet of battleships that flew down at the same time I saw the overseer. I'm swimming in cash, but alloys are nowhere, and I can't shoot anything down because its nothing but battleships or the rare barge which beats my rear end down. Looks like I'm finding out what aborting does!

e: Oh, good, I need to be at the skyranger. Sorry Vampire, turns out my support doesn't have revive any more for some reason!

e: Thank God a small scout.

RBA Starblade fucked around with this message at Jan 19, 2013 around 19:28

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