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Jade Star
Jul 14, 2002

It burns when I LP




Hello Commander

You are here to be taken under the wing of one of X-Com's greatest commanders. You will study, you will learn, and when you are ready you will command the next wave of soldiers to fight the alien menace. Take this opportunity to become the best commander you can, as men and women's lives will rest in you hands, and your ability to lead, to manage, to adapt to a dangerous and changing battlefield. Many are called upon to help fight this war. Few are chosen for command. Do not disappoint the Council.



Welcome to the Definitive X-Com Commanders Guide

The goal of this LP is show players how to improve their game, to learn and become better at it, and hopefully to teach viewers how to tackle the higher difficulty parts of the game. I have played the game inside and out and I want to bring a quality LP to you that isn't just fun to watch, I want you to learn from it. I have several friends who play the game and either stick to Normal difficulty or get wiped out on Classic. These are the kinds of people I want to get the most from this LP. Anyone who struggles or thinks the game is too hard in places, I am here to help. That is my goal. On top of this I of course want this to be an entertaining and enjoyable experience for everyone else, including people who do not own the game or those that have no problem beating the game on Classic.

Joining me through the LP will be GuavaMoment. I would like to think between the two of us no-one knows more about playing X-Com than we do. Between us we have beaten the game countless times. With normal settings or extreme second wave handicaps. Guava is of course a good friend and whom I mostly owe my entry in LPing to.

Departing from our previous X-Com LPs this LP will not be narrative driven. I will not be making up my own story to put on top of the game. X-Com Enemy Within actually comes with its own plot. The three main exposition characters will try to narrate the over arching story of the war and its effects. The story is there, it's nice, but it is not the strong point of the game. However I will not be trying to circumnavigate it to try and place this game within the story of the narrative Guava and I have built upon the previous entries.



The Settings

I explain most of this with the first video but the set up for the LP will be very plain. I am going to keep it very simple for the purposes of staying true to the game and for teaching the core of the game with out having to branch off into explanations of second wave options or mods. The game will be played on Classic difficulty. Iron Man will not be enabled in the options screen because I have a history of problems and technical failures. However I will play the game in the Iron Man spirit. I will not reload for deaths or failed missions.

Mods
- None

Second Wave Options
- Not Created Equally
- Hidden Potential

All I want is the base, normal vanilla game. Honestly I find it weird that Not Created Equally and Hidden potential are not the defaults. Maybe it is just me, but the idea that all of your rookies start at the exact same stats and progress identically feels really weird and lame to me. It feels like a handicap or easy mode feature that ruins the flavor of things. These are the only two advanced settings I will be using. This is a guide for how to play and beat the game. I will of course allow for supplemental videos where I may pull up other save files with things like Training Roulette on just to show that off. Because it can be cool. Very cool.



The Commanders Guide

There are a lot of things to go into detail about the game, and only so much time in each video. For those interested I will be using the second post as a posting ground for putting my thoughts and strategies into text. I will type out and explain my decision making process in detail and explain the significant choices I make through the LP and how and why of it. Everything from base layout decisions to soldier skill choices, anything I feel worth detailed analysis will go here.

If I do not cover something you have questions for, ask! By all means post and tell me what you are unclear about, do not understand, or even disagree with. The whole point of the LP is to answer these kinds of questions so post anything you want to know and I will do my best to cover it. Keep in mind some questions may have to wait until a later point in the game or something, but I promise I will do my best to answer and reader questions.






Sign Up & Participate

Yes, there will be sign ups for soldiers. After the first video I will rename all soldiers I use after viewer submissions. There will be a post below detailing how to sign up.

Here is the sign up post.

In my previous LP's I encouraged soldiers to write journal entries or character fluff bits about their soldier and their activities. While I will not be writing any narrative about the LP I do not mind if viewers do. Keep this in moderation though. I do not want to see fan fiction in the thread. If you have a soldier, go ahead and write if you want, or don't if not. If you write or not will not affect who I pick for sign ups. If you do not have a soldier, you may still write if you'd like but keep it short. Again, no fan fiction please. Writing fluff pieces does not mean I will be more likely to pick your sign up.


Spoiler Policy

I expect everyone coming into this thread to have played X-Com. I expect many of you to have beaten it at least on Normal difficulty. I do not think we need to worry about spoilers. However I do expect that maybe some viewers do not own the game and will not know everything the thread may discuss. So here are the very few things that I want no spoilers about;

No Spoilers About
- Plot Missions. You should know what this means. If it's a specific fight that has it's own cut scenes, isn't an abduction or randomly generated mission, don't talk about it till we get there.
- DLC Missions. Operation Progeny and Slingshot are cool mini-stories within the game. Do not spoil things about them.
- EXALT. Do not discuss EXALT until we get there. Once we are there, go hog wild with the exception of above plot missions.

A Little Restraint Please About
- poo poo we haven't gotten to in the game yet. I don't mean it to be overly strict like 'don't talk about gene mods, he hasn't modded a soldier yet'. These things are in the game and they are not spoilers. However I would like to save the big discussions on these topics until the LP has progressed to the point were the topic in question has been researched or used in the field. Essentially I do not want things like the In The Zone vs. Double Tap argument to pop up before I have a Colonel sniper.

If you are in doubt PM me or ask somehow. No black bars. I hate black bars. For more mundane things, let me get these things out of the way;

There are aliens you haven't seen yet. There are mutons. There are etherals. There are giant two legged walking alien metal gears that will murder you. Feel free to talk about all the regular aliens. It's X-Com, we know the enemies we will face. There will be lasers, we will reverse engineer plasma weapons. There will be a Firestorm. Humans can be psionic. These are all basic components of X-Com we all should know unless you are completely new to the game.


The JAIDS

I make no promises about anything. I know I am known for dragging LPs on forever. However I have a brand new computer on which to LP. It has zero parts taken from the old system and has been stable for months. I expect this to progress smoothly. I honestly do not have a time table though to give you for updates. Individual missions do not take long and commentary is only a matter of an hour or two assuming I can wrangle Guava for it. The back end of it, such as the massive writings I will be doing for this and the non-video update sections will have to be seen to know how long they will take me. I wish to see this done as well and soon as possible. It's been a very long time since I've been excited and felt I had the energy to do a LP.


Table Of Contents

Video 1 - Operation Blinding Shroud Polsy Full Post
Video 2 - Operation Rotting Shroud Polsy Full Post
Supplemental 1 - Base Management
Video 3 - Operation Shattered Empire Polsy Full Post
Video 4 - Operation Glass Summer Polsy Full Post
Video 5 - Operation Soaring Thorn Polsy Full Post
March Monthly Review - Full Post
Video 6 - Operation Final Grave Polsy Full Post
Video 7 - Operation Secret Bell Polsy Full Post
Supplemental Video - Talking about The Bureau Polsy Full post
Video 8 - Operation Crimson Savior Polsy Full Post
Video 9 - Operation Sacred Prophet Polsy Full Post
Video 10 - Operation Falling Thorn Polsy Full Post
Video 11 - Operation Vengeful Sleep Polsy Full Post
Video 12 - Operation Soaring Pyre Polsy Full Post
April Monthly Review - In Video Polsy Full Post
Video 13 - Operation Spectral Giant Polsy Full Post
Video 14 - Operation Fallen Pipe Polsy Full Post
Video 15 - Operation Blind Justice Polsy Full Post
Video 16 - Operation The Incredible Sodium Polsy Full Post
Video 17 - Operation Panicked Drink Polsy Full Post
Video 18 - Operation Final Illbleed Polsy Full Post
Video 19 - Operation Burning Pain Polsy Full Post
May Monthly Review - Full Post
Video 20 - Operation Operation Fortune Polsy Full Post
Video 21 - Operation Bloody Bookend Polsy Full Post
Video 22 - Operation Pretentious Trick Polsy Full Post
Video 23 - Operation Adamant Chemical Polsy Full Post
Video 24 - Operation Disappointing Prince Polsy Without Commentary Polsy
Video 25 - Operation Holla Holla Get Tears Polsy Full Post
Video 26 - Operation Insolent Barricade Polsy Full Post
Video 27 - Operation Forgotten Ring Polsy Full Post
Video 28 - Operation Blinded Me With Noun Polsy Full Post
Video 29 - Operation Drowned Buenos Aires Polsy Full Post
Video 30 - Operation Virtuous Apocalypse Polsy Full Post
Video 31 - Ashes and Temples Polsy Discussion post
Video 32 - Operation Deadly Canadian Polsy Full Post
Video 33 - Operation Noble Huscarl Polsy Full Post
Video 34 - Operation Agonizing Sand Polsy Full Post
Video 35 - Operation Naked Bullshit Polsy Full Post
Video 36 - Operation Deluge Polsy Full Post
Video 37 - Operation Caustic Warrior Polsy Full Post
Video 38 - Operation Fanatic Bollocks Polsy Full Post
Video 39 - Operation Reticent Impulse, Zealous Prophecy, & Deadly Interceptor Polsy
Video 40 - Operation Dystopian Soup Polsy Full Post
Video 41 - Operation Irritated Noun & Fearful Bollocks Polsy
Video 42 - Operation That 70's Discussion Polsy Full Post
Video 43 - Operation Uncaring Apocalypse PolsyFull Post
Video 44 - Operation Final Albatross Polsy Full Post
Video 45 - Operation Avenger Polsy Full Post

Bonus Video - Operation gently caress It, I'll Do It Myself Polsy



Extras

Guava is... amused
Guava is in pain?

Operation Spiteful Canadian Polsy Full Post

Che Jade Star, by Tasukiscool


X-Com Rookie Chris Salid, by Blind Sally



Boosh! by Travic



Rumrusher mixes X-Com and Long Live The Queen



Duuk postulates that Vahlen would prefer to take her own live captures.



Rum Rusher shows us the most important ShiV upgrade available.



RumRusher makes a SHiV called Fred.



Hopeford flings Thin Men our way



Then Hopeford provides us with a definitive Boosh



Let's see that again!



Fatbot mourns our lost heros.

Jade Star fucked around with this message at 16:20 on Jul 2, 2015

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Jade Star
Jul 14, 2002

It burns when I LP


The Definitive X-Com Commanders Guidebook

This post will contain all the information I wish to place here upon subjects I touch upon in videos. I can not cover everything as in depth as I would like during the videos, and while I do my best I will post everything I want to say here. I will update this as each update comes out and with discussion that comes from the thread. I make no promises to keep this orderly, neat, or sorted in any order than what comes up first in discussion or videos.




Starting Base Location


North America: Air & Space grants 50% off airplane cost and maintenance and 50% off aircraft weapon build costs. It doesn't strike many as a very powerful bonus, and maybe rightfully so. The bonus is nice, but not all together very powerful. At the start of the game it saves 20 X-Com bitcoins per month and the savings will only increase as you need to maintain more and more aircraft to cover the council countries. That means this bonus will save you 10 X-Com bitcoins per month, per plane. This adds up over time to be a lot of money. More so if you choose to stock each continent with two fighters. Redundancy is safety, but it is also expensive.

The primary reason I chose this as my base is the starting position it offers. The USA is the single largest funding country in the game. That combined with the cheaper monthly expenses Air & Space allow means an easier time in the first months having money to go around. You get the most funding, and least upkeep for the first month or two of the game. That said, and as I stated in the video, covering Africa with satellites is high on my early priorities.

Europe: Expert Knowledge grants a 50% reduction in the cost of building and maintaining workshops and laboratories. Guava and I feel this is the weakest bonus. Workshops and labs are nice, and having them cheap is better, but it pales in comparison to the raw usefulness of the other continent bonuses such as Africa or Asia. Even compared to North America it is weak. Air & Space will always be useful and will always be saving you money while Expert Knowledge requires building labs and workshops, something that isn't always a necessity.

Asia: Future Combat grants a 50% reduction to the cost of projects in the Foundry and the Officer Training School. This is a clear cut powerful bonus. The things you can buy in the OTS and the Foundry can have profound effects on how well you can combat the alien threat. While powerful, the OTS and Foundry projects are also very expensive and this bonus is very nice to have to cut into the step costs that you will encounter. This bonus technically has situational usefulness, its use is dependent on you investing a lot of money into the OTS and Foundry. Honestly though there isn't a real game plan that does not involve buying multiple projects from both the OTS or Foundry. It is a given that any player will spend there money there and Future Combat eases the weight of the costs and allows you to get potentially game changing upgrades that much faster.

South America: We Have Ways allows for instantaneous research of autopsies and interrogations. This isn't a particularly powerful bonus in my opinion, though Guava will offer different thoughts on the matter. Being able to shave a handful days off your research times is nice. It's a good ability that has a clearly measurable value. Not that I've calculated the research time of all the autopsies and interrogations to give you that exact number. As a starting location though, it is rather poor. The value here comes in that South America only takes two satellites to cover and thus gain the ability. It's worth covering South America with satellites at any point in the game when you are not using satellites to put out fires else where.

Africa: All In provides a boost of 30% to all monthly X-Com funding. This is the most powerful ability, hands down. The amount of money this can generate through the course of the game is massive. There is simply no debate needed than to look at it and understand of course you'd want 30% more money. As a starting point though, it is a little rough. Starting in Nigeria means you only earn 100 X-Com bitcoins to start with. It might still be worth starting here if you fell less than confident about managing global panic and still occasionally allow countries to withdraw from X-Com. I would not fault anyone for picking Africa first and foremost every time they played.



Meld

Meld will be explained fully once it is researched in the lab. For now all that is needed to know is that most missions come with two meld canisters somewhere on the map. Their locations are not immediately known, though the game does give the player a sort of 'Meld Sense' to keep the player moving in the right direction. All meld canisters except for the first one in the tutorial are on time limits. If you take too long the canisters will self destruct and the resource will be lost forever. Meld canisters are also fragile, and are very easily destroyed if you shot near them, use them for cover, or shoot at an enemy using one for cover. Each canister is worth 10 meld, which isn't much on its own. As we will see later serious application of Meld can cost 100 units easily.

To safely secure Meld canisters simply move a soldier to the canister and click on it. They work the same way the power nodes for the time bombs do with the important exception that Enemy Within does not allow you to collect a Meld canister if the soldier attempting to recover it has taken their entire turn. While collecting Meld is a free action it can not be done for example after a soldier has dashed to it.



'Control'

For lack of a better term, I mean control of a situation. Have an enemy in your sights with some action that is guaranteed to kill them. Have a sniper with 100% chance to hit, a grenade throw, or a rocket ready to fire. Once you are safe and certain you can kill your target try to find a way to kill it using the least expensive resource possible.

A simple example of this is having a Sectoid in cover who has a good or flanking shot on one of your soldiers. You don't want your soldier to die, so you need the Sectoid dead by the end of your turn. A easy way to establish control in this case would be to bring a soldier into range to throw a grenade at the Sectoid as a guaranteed kill. But before you throw that grenade see what else you can do. Maybe your other soldiers have 50% chance shots on the Sectoid. Go ahead and take those shots first if there are no other threats left. Ammo is replenishable but grenades are not. If you are lucky you may shoot and kill the Sectoid, saving you a grenade for later use in the mission. If you aren't lucky, well at least you tried and you still save your soldier.

Understanding this concept of control is a vital element to owning the flow of battle. When you can manage your troops and their resources like this you can save vital skills or resources for the most grave threats. This of course relies on being able to read the situation, assess the danger level, and make a judgement about the appropriate response, such as 'if I use X now, will I be more or less likely to need it later in the mission'. Putting this all together in your head and keeping track of things can be tricky but it's a great skill to have.


Aggressive and Defensive Strategies

Guava and I have very differing mindsets about the nature of our tactics. Guava explains his hyper aggressive strategy essentially as the best way to stay safe is to kill the aliens as quickly as possible. My mindset is that the best way to stay safe is to ensure the aliens have zero, or as near to zero, ways of harming your soldiers. While my way may including killing the aliens as a defensive measure, it also means I am happy with a situation where I do not kill everything I see the turn I see it so long as I make sure none of the aliens can harm me. They don't need to be dead, they just need to be ineffective at hurting me.

I'm glad Guava is alongside me to offer his perspective because neither strategy is wrong so long as they are executed well and I'm glad my audience will hear a more aggressive point of view during the course of the LP. Early on in the LP we see situations that can be handled either way. Guava will advocate moving forward to deal with the threat while I will sit back and brace the defense, or even fall back to make the enemy come to me on terms I can dictate. It can come down to a per cases evaluation if being aggressive or defensive will pay off the most. Each play will value their soldiers differently and assess the risks differently. There is no wrong way to go about this so long as you do assess the risks properly.

Ever player will have their own judgements to make on risk versus reward. Every player will have a different stand on aggressive versus defensive tactics. I won't say either is better, because if it gets the job done and no one dies, then it works. However my play style that will be seen in the LP will be very defensive. Just keep that in mind and if you have a more aggressive lean to things you will have to adapt your own preferences to anything you might learn in this LP.


The Overwatch Trick

The trick is to get your sniper to overwatch using their sniper rifle. This normally requires snapshot. Snapshot is a terrible skill. Don't ever pick it. To get a sniper to overwatch with their rifle is easy. First select their pistol. Then command them to overwatch. You then have about a half second to click on the lower right part of the UI where the weapon switch icons are. Just click on the picture of the rifle. Your sniper will go on overwatch and then swap weapons. This can be done with out the time sensitivity of the previous method as well. Switch to a pistol, and overwatch. Make sure your sniper isn't the last person to move on your turn so your turn doesn't end there. Switch back to your sniper who is now on overwatch and holding a pistol. Click or press the change weapon key. Your sniper will swap weapons and the game will immediately shift focus off your sniper and to the next solder with actions still remaining.

This bug/feature has been in the game since the first release. It is not new, and it has been known for a very long time and yet remains in the game. If Jake Solomon hasn't fixed this problem in all this time, I say it is now a feature.


Probability and Player Perception

Guava brings up mention of the percent chances to hit not being exactly directly related to actual results. It's important to know that Easy and Normal will cheat a little behind the scenes in favor of the player. Every time the player misses on these difficulty levels they get a small invisible bonus to hit for their next shot, cumulative until they do score a hit. This isn't what we were talking about, but it's still important to know.

Guava provided the following link to one mans blog on the probability of X-Com. The blogger keeps track of over 1,200 shots taken, their displayed odds, and if they hit or not. He plots the data and overlays it with what you'd expect from perfect percentages. He further applies some statistical math to see if his data falls within acceptable parameters. I am not versed in statistics, but the evidence looks very strongly compelling that X-Com is truly random and that the opinion that the RNG being broken is perception biased.


Council Missions

Council Missions pop up randomly, for the most part. Operation Progeny and Slingshot also come up as Council missions, but those are more specific and follow their own mission arcs. The regular Council missions come at random and almost always offer a good reward for completion. Early game they can be quite difficult as they usually feature air dropped Thin Men heavily. Early on Thin Men can pose a very real threat with their high mobility and the damage from the light plasma rifle can routinely one shot rookies and squaddies until you develop better armor.

The random nature of the rewards can be a hit or miss thing sometimes. Often Council missions will pop up in high panic countries, allowing you a mission to curb the panic and gain valuable rewards from doing so. The rewards are a bit like abduction missions but better, usually combining money with a random number of engineers, scientists, or a new soldier, all along with the panic reduction. Council missions can be ignored, but there is rarely a situation where that would be the best course of action.

There are a couple different types of Council missions as well. Target extraction can work in two ways. You can either start out with control of the VIP and work your way across the map to the Skyranger, or you start at the Skyranger and have to locate the VIP and then escort them back again. There are also bomb defuse missions that force the player to race a ticking clock to stop a bomb, while fighting the alien forces at the same time. In any council mission the added element can often prove difficult to manage.


Skill Selections

- Support

**Sprinter versus Covering Fire**

Before EW this was one sided as hell. Sprinter, every time all the time. EW has tried to buff Covering Fire by making it trigger first, so that when an enemy tries to shoot the covering fire support shoots first. Better than before, but still not by enough to make it worth while. I typically weigh my decisions by how often they are useful, and how much of an impact they can make. So maybe some pros and cons are in order to illustrate.

Sprinter
+ Useful every time you move. Supports are a class that greatly benefit from mobility. Reaching better cover is important. Getting across the screen to smoke grenade a vulnerable soldier is good. Being able to sprint the hell across the map to medkit or stabilize a dying soldier is absolutely critical.
- Only useless if you don't move on a given turn.

For the most part Sprinter is a skill that is going to have a small to meaningful impact on every single turn you take with the support. And since they are the guy running around with the medkits it's important that they can reach whomever needs their help.

Covering Fire
+ Usable if you use overwatch with an enemy you have line of fire on.
- Useless in any other situation.
- If you overwatch an enemy you could already see and they shoot before moving (the only way covering fire would trigger over a normal overwatch shot) then you could have shot them during your turn. Only you could have shot them on your turn with out suffering the -20 Aim penalty intrinsic to overwatch shots. This means that Covering Fire has only accomplished giving you the same shot you had before, but at worse odds.
- Covering Fire doesn't stop the alien from shooting you, unless you kill it. This might be a bigger deal early in the game when enemies have less health, but if you shoot an alien with covering fire and it survives then it will go ahead and continue to take its original shot. Covering Fire hasn't saved you anything here and you would have been better off taking the shot on your turn, with out the -20 penalty.
- Covering fire does nothing if the enemy uses an ability instead, like Thin Men spiting.
- Useless against melee only aliens.

In the end, Covering Fire just doesn't bring much to the table. Its use even in best case set ups is dubious. I just don't have a good answer for the question 'why would I use over watch and rely on Covering Fire when I could just take the shot on my turn?'. It still feels like a trap of a skill. If used and an enemy pops up to shoot you and you gun it down with covering fire you'd be excited thinking 'Ah ha! Got him before he could hurt me! Thank you covering fire.' but in reality you could have had that same exact shot only with 20 more aim had you just taken the shot on your turn, and you'd never think of it that way.

**Field Medic versus Smoke and Mirrors**

This isn't even a choice. Maybe, maybe someone out of there can get more usage out of smoke grenades than out of medkits, but I have yet to meet that person. Tripling the number of Medkits a single support can bring is a huge, huge, benefit. It absolutely kills the dilemma of only having one medkit and having to choose between healing a wounded soldier, or hanging on to your one and only medkit in case someone gets critically wounded. The smoke grenades are never a particularly bad option, but at the expense of massively expanding your medkit capacity it just falls far too short.

Field Medic
+ Three times the medkits. Just huge. The benefits range from just having more HP you can heal back mid-mission, to having ample supplies to heal wounds and still have a reserve kit in case of a soldier getting critically wounded and bleeding out.
+ Saves inventory space in case you are spreading multiple medkits over the squad to carry more kits total.
- Useless if you never take damage.

Smoke and Mirrors
+ Two more smoke grenades can offer protection to your squad. They can make impromptu cover, or help multiple soldiers in low cover.
+ Added synergy with later promotion level, in which both skill choices only effect smoke grenades. More smoke grenades, the more benefit from this future choice.
- Never particularly useless, but dependent on having your support with nothing better to do than lob smoke two or three times a map.


**Revive vs Rifle Suppression**

A close call between two defensive abilities that protect your soldiers in very different ways. Revive will allow you to bring a soldier back into the fight after being critically wounded at 33% of their health. Suppression works the same way as the heavy's suppression, -30 to the targets aim and grants an overwatch shot if they move.

Revive
+ Brings a soldier back into the fight, so that you don't have to continue the mission short a man.
+ Massive safety net.
- Usage requires things to have gone really wrong.
- Soldiers being critically wounded versus being outright killed is not a guarantee.
- Bringing a soldier back at 33% health is too low for safety. Would strongly recommend use of second medkit to keep soldier in fight, otherwise would have left them stabilized rather than revived.
- Pretty much requires Field Medic for above reasoning.

Rifle Suppression
+ Severely hinders one enemy unit, causing a -30 Aim penalty and grants an overwatch shot if the enemy tries to move first.
+ The AI doesn't always react well to suppression. Sometimes they will not move and do nothing if suppressed.
+ Can be an alternative to a Smoke Grenade.
- Uses two units of ammo.

Guava asked 'Why suppress something when you can shoot it and kill it?' when we came to this choice in the videos. That is an unfair question because there isn't a reason in that case. But that is making a lot of assumptions about the whole of every encounter your support will ever have in the future. Guava's question is assuming two things, first that you will hit the target, and second that if you do hit the target that you would deal enough damage to kill the target. Neither of these things are always going to be guaranteed. As an example, a full health muton will not die to a single hit from rifles or laser rifles. Imagine if I only have my support left at the end of the turn and I could shoot at the muton and wound it. I am guaranteed not to kill it and that leaves it free to do what ever it wants to do next turn unhindered. In this case the answer to 'Why suppress what you can shoot at?' is to prevent the enemy from hurting you during the next turn. A suppressed muton will be far less likely to shoot me, and will almost be guaranteed not to try to move forward and grenade me. I just wanted to clarify that bit about what Guava said as I didn't have the time for a full answer in the video.

Both of these choices are good. One is more regularly useable and a more reliable way to prevent your soldiers from being wounded. The other is the ultimate safety net in case the (almost) worst happens. Typically I will use two supports, or at least I always did before EW, and one would pick revive and one would pick rifle suppression. If you are only ever going to have one support at a time, then it becomes a tough choice. If you are more concerned with soldiers getting killed then I would recommend Revive. If you are perhaps more experienced or rarely face a situation with a downed soldier then pick Suppression.


**Dense Smoke vs Combat Drugs**

Either way you pick, this promotion is about buffing smoke grenades. It also means that this level is kind of an unimportant choice if you picked Smoke & Mirrors. And who would do that? Still, Dense Smoke makes the smoke grenade cover a wider area and doubles the cover bonus from the smoke. It is nice, turning the smallish utility of the smoke grenade into a huge cloud of free high cover for your troops. Combat Drugs tries to add an offensive component to the smoke grenade with additional critical chance. It just seems really strange and out of place to me. The purpose of smoke is to cover your guys up and not get hit, adding willpower and critical chance to the smoke just doesn't seem to add any value to it.

Dense Smoke
+ Covers more soldiers and protects them better.

Combat Drugs
+ Protection and Willpower boost.

To me, the only answer is Dense Smoke. Smoke Grenades are there to protect your guys so they don't get shot. Only one of these options helps the smoke grenade do that. Throwing Willpower and critical chance on the smoke is nice, I guess, but it doesn't help the smoke grenade do it's job any better. Some people have used the Willpower bonus to help with psioincs, which I suppose is a legitimate tactic but that seems like going really, really far out of the way for a minor boost to Willpower mid-mission. The choice is Dense Smoke, every time.



- Assault

**Tactical Sense vs Aggression**

This is a straight out offense versus defense skill pick. +5 Defense fro every enemy you see (up to +20 defense) or +10 critical chance per enemy you see (up to +30%). My thoughts are that defense keeps people alive. No Assault that is dead have ever landed a critical hit. I'm willing to admit this isn't an entirely one sided choice, +5 defense isn't a lot, but every bit helps, and when you see 4 aliens then Tactical Sense provides as much defense as low cover does. If Aggression was +10 or even +5 Aim instead of critical chance then I think it would have been a much harder choice between the two.

Tactical Sense
+ Useful every time you get shot at.

Aggression
+ Useful every time you shoot at something.

There isn't a whole lot to this skill choice. It's one of the very few plain and balanced options. For me it comes down to the fact I value 5 defense more than 10 critical chance. Players with more aggressive styles than me (Guava) may well want to choose Aggression to ensure the critical hit needed to kill a tougher enemy. My style is more defensive and I will favor the defense every time.


**Lightning Reflexes vs Close and Personal**

Ideally you would take both of these skills. They're both very good. Lightning Reflexes allows the assault to automatically dodge the first overwatch shot aimed at it. Close and Personal lets the assault take a standard shot at a target within 4 tiles with out costing an action. Close and Personal does not combine with Run and Gun sadly.

Lightning Reflexes
+ Safely drawing an overwatch shot off an alien can help in so many situations.
+ Great protect for scouting ahead.

Close and Personal
+ Allows your assault to do even more damage.
+ Free action. Take the shot, then do whatever else you'd like to do with your turn.
- Doesn't combine with Run & Gun
- Requires enemies be close already, or within a single moves range for use.


It's almost a hard choice. Both options are so good. It's hard to put into words how amazingly useful Lightning reflexes is though. It means you can scout forward and never worry about a hidden overwatch shot. It means you can intentionally draw fire off an alien in overwatch and then go about your turn as planned. It is just so useful that it beats out Close and Personal just by sheer value of use. Lightning Reflexes will not only keep your assault alive, it will keep the rest of your team alive because you'll never have to worry about being pinned down do to overwatch.

Close and Personal is still really good, and I've enjoyed it a lot on Training Roulette games. The only bad thing to say about it is that it doesn't work with Run and Gun. It also requires your assaults turn not to be over before use, meaning you can't dash the assault to within 4 tiles of a target and still get your free shot off. It's a bit of a bummer, because one way its a bit like a more limited Run & Gun that you could use every turn, and would probably be over powered. The way it is now is great for close quarters combat, but requires your assault to make a single move to get within 4 tiles for the free shot. It just seems rare to me that enemies are within single move range to get the full use out of this. Still though, a great skill.


**Rapid Fire vs. Flush**

Rapid fire is the clear winner. This is the most one sided choice in the game. Flush is so terrible that it hasn't even fooled people into thinking it might be good like Snap Shot has. Rapid Fire allows for two shots in one action, at a -15% aim penalty. The penalty to each shot isn't enough to discourage constant and continual use of Rapid Fire. Math proving that in the link below. All Flush does is force an enemy out of cover and take a short move into some other cover. They don't stand out in the open like you might hope. Its use is almost nonexistent, and what little value it has is so totally overshadowed by Rapid Fire that no one should ever consider flush for a moment.


Rapid Fire
+ Big addition to the killing power of any assault.
+ Use it every turn.
+ Seriously, almost zero situations to not ever use it.

Flush
+ Forces a enemy out of a particular piece of cover.
- They then move to a different piece of cover.
- Doesn't deal full damage.


Rapid Fire. Always. End of discussion. But if you want some facts behind it, this blog post details the mathematics behind Rapid Fire and why you should be using it almost every single shot you get.


**Close Combat Specialist vs Bring 'Em On**

Close Combat Specialist, herefor typed as CCS, grants a free reaction shot to any enemy target that moves within 4 tiles of the assault. Bring 'Em On adds 1 point of damage for every enemy the squad can see to any critical hit by the assault. The choice here is between two events that will only happen on occasion, a critical hit, or an enemy moving too close to an assault. One of them is more likely to happen, but receives the smaller benefit.

Close Combat Specialist
+ Free reaction shot. More shots on target is always good.
+ A great defense mechanism to melee enemies.
- Only activates at a very short range. Somewhat sparse usage of the skill.

Bring 'Em On
+ Adds damage to any critical hit scored.
+/- Requires a crit, depending on the circumstances and previous skill choices this could be a low occurrence or fairly high occurring thing.
- Damage bonus is minimal. Can be as low as 1 damage. Not significant enough for me to rely on it or expect it to impact planning.

CCS is less likely to activate compared to Bring 'Em On, but when it does it is much more likely to make an impact. It's also a 100% activate chance that can be planned around. If you're expecting melee enemies you can place the assault up front and plan accordingly, gaining a free attack to soften up or outright skill an alien trying to get into melee with you. The use of this skill versus Chrysallids for example is vast. Bring 'Em On in comparison seems like a minor occasional damage boost. When it would provide +5 damage, it sounds really nice. When it's only going to offer +1 or +2 it seems forgettable. It also requires critical hits, which mean this skill is heavily reliant on other synergy skills like Aggression or later Killer Instinct. Or second wave option Absolutely Critical. Over all I would have to say the utility and value of CCS far exceeds that of Bring 'Em On and I would pick CCS on every assault every time.



- Sniper

**Snapshot versus Squad Sight**

Not even a choice. Some people have tried to make a case for Snapshot, but this is one of the few times I am out right going to say that is a wrong choice. Squad Sight is so powerful that EW even nerfed Squad Sight and buffed Snapshot, and it still isn't even a close call.

Snapshot
+ Allows you to move and shoot with a sniper rifle.
- At a -10 aim penalty.
+ Potentially allows for a more mobile sniper.
- Means your sniper has to be with in sight of the enemy. Meaning they can see your sniper and shoot back at them.
+ Works well with Battle Scanner.

Squad Sight
+ Allows you to shoot at any enemy any squad member can see.
+ Lets you keep your sniper safe and in the back field.
+ Works well with future skill choices, such as drat Good Ground. Plant your sniper in an elevated location, get the bonuses from it, and don't move.
+ Works great with flying armor. Forget about things obstructing your line of sight, shoot over everything.
+ The overwatch 'feature' works great with Squad Sight.
- Reliant on clear, long lines of sight.
- No critical hits through Squad Sight, unless using the HeadShot skill.

The ability to plant your sniper somewhere that can cover a battlefield and let them shoot at any given target is amazing. Regular soldiers are limited by their sight range. A soldier might need help on one side of the map but help is on the other side too far away to shoot the threat. But a squad sight sniper can sit back and make that shot all day. They can effectively cover every ones back. Use Squad Sight snipers as a back up plan, the last action of your turn so that you know if you move a soldier up and they miss a shot then you have a sniper backing them up as plan B. With Snapshot all you have is another soldier with high aim, but that takes penalties if he wants to move and shoot on a turn like everyone else does not have the ability to shoot and cover the entire reveled battlefield like a Squad Sight sniper does.


**Gunslinger vs drat Good Ground**

This one could be another hot debate. Both offer useful bonuses, but to entirely different aspects of the sniper. Gunslinger lets you better operate a sniper in close quarters, and as I have said I think Gunslinger would be more preferable to Snapshot in close quarters. Gunslinger adds that little bit of extra flexibility to any sniper should they be forced out of a more comfortable position. drat Good Ground bolsters what snipers do best and are meant to do, get to high ground and kill everything. The added defense bonus to the skill is nice, but largely irreverent. The added aim though is of course the prize for any sniper. Another +10 aim is always, always a welcomed addition to any soldier.

Gunslinger
+ Make pistols less of a last resort and brings their damage up to respectable levels.
- Only affects pistols.
- Depending on play style and previous skill choice, snipers seeing enemies in pistol range may be exceedingly rare. Or are likely in events where the added damage isn't necessary to control the situation.

drat Good Ground
+ Boosts a snipers ability to do what they should be doing normally.
+ Provides defensive bonus for snipers whom usually have less HP or lighter armor than the other soldiers.
- Requires suitable elevated position to be effective.
+ Getting to elevated ground becomes easier with development of skeleton armor.
+ Elevation restraint becomes completely irreverent after the production of flying armor.

I think the critical distinction when picking between these skills is the following question; 'Do you want a sniper that excels beyond all others at sniping, or do you want a sniper that isn't as good at sniping but is more flexible?' That is really the whole sum of the choice to me. Personally I will always want my snipers being the best they can be at sniping. The added flexibility of slightly more damage with a pistol does not have nearly the same value to me. That is my argument for the choice here, but some people will prefer the flexibility and that is a decision that comes down to play style.


**Disabling Shot vs Battle Scanner**

A choice between two utility skills for the sniper where neither option leads (directly) to increased killing power for the sniper. Disabling Shot jams an enemies weapon and forces an enemy to use the reload command before using it again. Battle Scanner works a bit like a grenade that doesn't explode but instead gives you a line of sight coming from the scanner in all directions.

Disabling Shot
+ Very useful when attempting to capture a live alien.
+ Good stall tactic when you just can't kill an lien on your turn and you don't want it shooting you on its turn.
+ Can be used against your own mind controlled soldiers to buy time.
- Has an aim penalty compared to a regular shot.
- Does not deal full damage when it hits. Only about one or two points.

Battle Scanner
+ Risk free extension of a squads field of view.
+ Does not activate passive enemies.
+ Works great with Squad Sight
- Only get two of them a map.
- Travels about as far, if a little farther than a grenade, usually requiring the sniper to be up front for good use.

For me snipers are about killing. Shooting aliens is the number one priority in skill picks, which ever skill helps me shoot aliens most I take. Neither of these skills directly help with that goal. Both skills offer good utility though, and neither has much of a drawback. I can see Battle Scanners being a little easier to use with a snapshot sniper, as a snapshoter will be more mobile and closer to the front positions to throw the scanners from. At the same time though a squadsight sniper can throw the scanner and shoot at what it reveals with out being seen. Disabling shot can be great when trying to buy a turn for live captures. Zapping an alien so you know they can't shoot for one turn is great when having to rush an arc thrower forward. If the arc thrower is already within range zap them anyway just in case the stun fails.

I don't have a strong recommendation for either choice this time around. Both are useful, but neither are particularly powerful. Since I typically train two snipers up anyway it tends to be a 50/50 split and I will give Scanners to one sniper and Disabling shot to the other.


**Executioner vs. Opportunist**

Executioner is one of those skills that sounds nifty, but is just so overshadowed by the other choice to pick that no one should ever think of it. +10 Aim to half health units sounds great but when you count how specific it is, how many times are you going to be shooting at a less than half HP enemy with your sniper, that its perceived use falls away. Early game enemies go from full to dead in one good hit. While late game enemies offer some window of opportunity for it, it requires set up to see any use. Opportunist on the other hand is useful every single turn you don't actively shoot at an alien. It removes the aim penalty to over watch shots and allows over watch shots to score critical hits. It used to be better when you could crit through Squadsight, but it still offers way more value than Executioner.

Executioner
+ Slight boost to securing kills on wounded targets.
- Requires enemy to be under half HP.
- Requires set up and/or remembering to leave wounded targets for the sniper.

Opportunist
+ Big boost to effectiveness of sniper overwatch shots.
+ Even more valuable skill with the snipers overwatch 'feature'.
- No use if not on overwatch.

The answer is always Opportunist. It just does way more for the team than Executioner. +10 aim is nice, and I love my aim on snipers, but it's far to situational to bypass Opportunist and its effective +20 (or +40 on a dashing enemy) bonus. For me, any round a sniper isn't shooting at something then its on overwatch, and that means I get a lot of usage out of Opportunist.



- Heavy

**Bullet Storm versus Holo-Targeting**

Not even a close choice. Holo-Targeting sounds a lot stronger than it is, and seems to be a go to still for beginner players. The idea of giving yourself a +10 aim boost every round sounds great, but when you weigh out how situational that bonus will be useful Holo Targeting starts to fall apart. Bullet Storm on the other side of things allows for so much more. Shoot twice and do twice the damage. Shoot and reload. Shoot and grenade, shoot and use psi skills, shoot and then move. So many possibilities!

Bullet Swarm
+ Shoot twice in a turn. That ought to be enough.
+ Heavies suffer from low ammo capacity at the start of the game and bullet swarm can help with this. Regularly a Heavy will fire three times over three turns and spend the fourth reloading. 3 attacks in 4 turns. A Bullet Swarm Heavy will fire twice the first turn, once the second turn and then reload. 3 attacks in 2 turns. Bullet Swarm greatly enhances the damage dealing capabilities of an early game Heavy.
+ Adds a lot of flexibility to what you can do on your turn with a heavy. Shoot/Grenade, Shoot/Grenade, Shoot/Psi, etc.
+ To get the most out of Bullet Swarm your heavy must be stationary, this works well with preparing your heavy to in place and stationary if you choose to fire a rocket.
- Not useful if you have to move first, then shoot.

Holo-Targeting
+ Adds +10 aim to anything your heavy shoots at or suppresses, making it easier for following soldiers to hit the same target.
- Doesn't help if the Heavy shoots at something and kills it. Meaning most early game enemies if they score a hit.
- Doesn't help if you don't remember or are unable to use your heavy before the rest of your soldiers.
- Works with Suppression, but why are you shooting at something you've suppressed? Suppression is what you do at the end of your turn to deny the enemy a good shot on you during the aliens turn. Holo-Targeting wears off before you get to shoot again at the start of your next turn.
- Synergies with Danger Zone and Suppression, but as I just said, why are you suppressing at the start of your turn?

The conclusion that there are just way too many limitations on when Holo-Targeting will provide a benefit. On the other side of it Bullet Swarm can prove to be useful almost every time you take a turn with your heavy. A perhaps flawed way of doing the numbers could be that to imagine a Holo-Targeting heavy gives his squad +50% chance to hit, spread over 5 attacks. A Bullet Swarm heavy can just make another attack at 50% or greater odds. At the end of it Bullet Swarm is just more useful and allows for many more options and possibilities where Holo-Targeting actually restricts how you must operate in order to receive a benefit from the skill.


**Shredder Rocket vs Suppression**

This is another choice of offense versus defense. The rocket is of course a straight forward means of attack with the add bonus of debuffing any surviving enemy to take more damage over the next four rounds. Suppression imposes a -30 aim penalty on a target, and if they attempt to move then the suppressor gets a free reaction shot on the target. Both of these skills are good, and importantly both of these skills have skills farther down the tree that will modify or influence the ability you choose at sergeant.

Shredder Rocket
+ Another rocket per map. Only 4 damage but enough to kill Sectoids, Floaters, and Thin Men.
+ Causes the enemy to take increased damage if they survive. This is very handy against later game enemies that can have 20+ HP.
+ Becomes more powerful with later skill choices like Danger Zone.
- Usual rocket restrictions. Move or Fire.
- One use per map.

Suppression
+ Severely hinders one enemy unit, causing a -30 Aim penalty and grants an overwatch shot if the enemy tries to move first.
+ The AI doesn't always react well to suppression. Sometimes they will not move and do nothing if suppressed.
+ Is one way a heavy can be used to play defense. Suppression is a good way to keep an enemy from shooting one of your soldiers on the alien turn.
+ Becomes more powerful with later skills like Danger Zone and Mayhem. (And technically Holo-Targeting, but don't ever pick Holo-Targeting)
+ Can destroy the targets cover.
- Uses two units of ammo. Heavies only start with three, so this can be bothersome until the Ammo Conservation foundry upgrade.

Either of these are good choices. Again it's an offense versus defense choice and you will see me lean toward defense. Suppression keeps people alive, Shredder Rockets kill stuff. I can always kills stuff with regular gunfire, but you can never have enough insurance methods to keep your soldiers alive in my opinion.


**HEAT Ammo vs. Rapid Reaction**

HEAT Ammo gives a straight +50% damage to mechanized enemies, while Rapid Reaction allows a second overwatch shot for the heavy if the first shot is a hit. With heavies that is a big if. Heavies are the least accurate guys around to being with, plus the penalties to reaction fire on top of that means you usually wont get a lot out of Rapid Reaction. On the other side, mechanized enemies become more common later in the game and they have a lot of HP so anything to wear them down faster is a great help.

HEAT Ammo
+ Extra damage is always good, especially on high HP targets that are also very dangerous.
+ Affects rockets as well.
- Only good versus mechanized units.

Rapid Reaction
+ Extra free shot on overwatch
- Only activates if overwatch shot was a hit.
- Heavies aren't your most accurate troops, added reaction fire penalties make activation chance of Rapid Reaction dubious.
- Even if first shot is a hit then Rapid Reaction is still only useful if the target doesn't die from the hit. Or if a second alien offers an opportunity for a second shot.


**Grenadier vs Danger Zone**

Both choices are designed to enhance equipment the Heavy carries into combat. With the least aim it's not hard to find yourself putting grenades on your heavy instead of things like scopes and using them more as a fire support unit than a shooter themselves. Grenades can be effective too, striking multiple targets, blowing up cover, and never missing. Grenades are pretty great and Grenadier lets you carry two per slot, and the damage dealing types will deal additional damage. Danger Zone on the other hand makes the abilities of the Heavy hit a wider zone. Rockets will make bigger explosions and suppression will effect a small area instead of just a single target. Suppressing three aliens at once is pretty cool.


Grenadier
+ Increased item carry capacity.
+ Allows frag grenades to one shot Floaters and Thin Men.
+ More usage out of the new special types of grenades.

Danger Zone
+ Bigger rocket explosions means more kills per rocket.
+ Suppression can affect multiple aliens next to each other.
+ It's called Danger Zone.
- Still a 10% chance that rocket with an improved blast radius goes somewhere other than you aimed it.

Neither of these choices are bad. Both upgrade something your heavy is already likely to be doing. If they carry grenades, well now it carries more. If you like rockets a lot, well now your rockets are even bigger. There isn't even really a down side to either skill choice. It just comes down to which you think you will get the most mileage out of. Nine out of ten times though, I find that is going to be Danger Zone. The buff to rockets mean they can hit an absolutely enormous blast range and I find that to be much more valuable than having a spare grenade on hand. The damage buff is nice, but by the time you pick this skill you shouldn't be worrying over grenading Thin Men or Floaters. The usefulness of Grenadier might be better for someone who fancies the new EW grenades, like ghost grenades for example.


MEC Trooper

**Advanced Fire Control vs Automated Threat Assessment**

Both of these buff overwatch. One aims for offense and the other for defense. It's an interesting choice, and normally I'd lean defensively, but with it effecting overwatch I feel differently. Overwatch is for shooting thing. That's why you go on overwatch. Advanced Fire Control let's you shoot things on overwatch better, Automated Threat Assessment doesn't. ATA provides defense, which is nice, but if you were that worried about being shot after ending your turn you would be better off moving somewhere safer rather than ending your turn standing where you are and overwatching.

Advanced Fire Control
+ Ignores normal penalties for overwatch shots.
+ More lethal over watch means less things to shoot at you.

Automated Threat Assessment
+ 15 defense while on overwatch. Adds survivability.
- Ineffective if not shot at while on overwatch. If alien shoots someone else, if alien dies to overwatch shot hitting them first, etc.

It seems like a tough decision at first, but the more you think it through the less appealing Automated Threat Assessment becomes. Overwatch is for shooting things before they can shoot you. Taking away the aim penalties for overwatch really helps with that. Putting a little defense on your MEC that can not take cover is a nice thing, but if you're really concerned with your MEC being shot you had an action to move it somewhere safer rather than overwatch with it. Either skill would be nice, but the usage and value of Automated Threat Assessment falls short of the value in Advanced Fire Control. I'd rather my overwatch be better at killing things, its intended purpose, than to be a mixed bag of two different effects.



**Vital Point Targeting vs Damage Control**

Another offense vs defense choice to make. Vital Point Targeting adds 2 damage to any shot made against an alien you have autopsied. Damage Control reduces further incoming damage by two points for two turns after being hit by an attack. Both of these seem situational, but in reality you will always, sooner or later, have the autopsies done. That makes Vital Point Targeting more of a straight +2 damage boost instead of being a sometimes boost.

Vital Point Targeting
+ Straight forward +2 damage boost for the Mec.
- Relies on autopsies. Is such a minor requirement for the bonus.

Damage Control
+ Added survivability to the MEC
- Requires not only getting hit once, but getting hit again after that, within two turns to see any effect from the skill.

I don't favor Damage Control at all honestly. It requires a MEC to be taking a beating and being shot multiple times in a small time frame. If that is happening I think more things have gone wrong with the situation than a skill choice is going to overcome. However, on the off chance someone puts together an Assault MEC then maybe Damage Control plus the Assault MEC innate bonus might work well together to make a MEC that shrugs off significant amounts of damage. I have never tried this and probably never will, but I think that would be the only time I would consider Damage Control. The straight across the board added damage of Vital Point Targeting makes MECs absolute killers. They carry high damage weapons to begin with and adding two more points mean they will outright kill or seriously wound anything they hit, even late game when they are fully upgraded.


**Jetboot Module vs One For All**

A choice of mobility. Jetboot Module will let your MEC have unlimited jump height for one turn, and One For All will take away all mobility to turn your MEC into high cover for your other soldiers to use. Bother are interesting choices but One For All has some flaws.

Jetboot Module
+ Increased mobility.
+ Combines well with speed boost from Kinetic Strike.
+ Pretty much the only way to get a MEC on to roofs or other high ground locations.
- Not active every turn. Has a cooldown time.

One For All
+ Provides cover for soldiers.
- MEC can still be shot.
- Can not use arm mounted weapons while in cover mode.

The winner here is the Jetboot Module. One of the best things about MECs is their mobility. Because they can't take cover they need to be able to position themselves well to stay alive and deal damage. Being able to jump them onto buildings and other high elevation areas just gives them such an advantage. One For All falls short, it seems like a good idea in principle, but I think limiting the MEC from using its main weapon or flame thrower while in cover mode killed the deal for me. I'd like the idea of being able to set up a piece of high cover where ever I like on occasion, as there are times where all the cover has been exploded or is low cover you don't like, but because the MEC is then still a target with HP and no sort of damage mitigation while being a piece of cover and can't sue its main weapon even seems far too limiting to be worth passing up on the Jetboot.

Jade Star fucked around with this message at 02:05 on Mar 9, 2014

Jade Star
Jul 14, 2002

It burns when I LP



Polsy

Operation Blinding Shroud

This is the first mission the game gives us, and is a tutorial mission for the new resource introduced in Enemy Within, Meld. It also provides a lot of Shen and Valhen dialog that is thankfully removed from the LP via the Reduced Beginner Dialog. Typically this is useful information for first time players, but play enough and their intrusions into the gameplay become very annoying.



Topics discussed in this video:

Starting Base Location

I think a few people will be surprised that I picked North America. I understand entirely so let me lay out my reasoning behind the five options.


North America: Air & Space grants 50% off airplane cost and maintenance and 50% off aircraft weapon build costs. It doesn't strike many as a very powerful bonus, and maybe rightfully so. The bonus is nice, but not all together very powerful. At the start of the game it saves 20 X-Com bitcoins per month and the savings will only increase as you need to maintain more and more aircraft to cover the council countries. That means this bonus will save you 10 X-Com bitcoins per month, per plane. This adds up over time to be a lot of money. More so if you choose to stock each continent with two fighters. Redundancy is safety, but it is also expensive.

The primary reason I chose this as my base is the starting position it offers. The USA is the single largest funding country in the game. That combined with the cheaper monthly expenses Air & Space allow means an easier time in the first months having money to go around. You get the most funding, and least upkeep for the first month or two of the game. That said, and as I stated in the video, covering Africa with satellites is high on my early priorities.

Europe: Expert Knowledge grants a 50% reduction in the cost of building and maintaining workshops and laboratories. Guava and I feel this is the weakest bonus. Workshops and labs are nice, and having them cheap is better, but it pales in comparison to the raw usefulness of the other continent bonuses such as Africa or Asia. Even compared to North America it is weak. Air & Space will always be useful and will always be saving you money while Expert Knowledge requires building labs and workshops, something that isn't always a necessity.

Asia: Future Combat grants a 50% reduction to the cost of projects in the Foundry and the Officer Training School. This is a clear cut powerful bonus. The things you can buy in the OTS and the Foundry can have profound effects on how well you can combat the alien threat. While powerful, the OTS and Foundry projects are also very expensive and this bonus is very nice to have to cut into the step costs that you will encounter. This bonus technically has situational usefulness, its use is dependent on you investing a lot of money into the OTS and Foundry. Honestly though there isn't a real game plan that does not involve buying multiple projects from both the OTS or Foundry. It is a given that any player will spend there money there and Future Combat eases the weight of the costs and allows you to get potentially game changing upgrades that much faster.

South America: We Have Ways allows for instantaneous research of autopsies and interrogations. This isn't a particularly powerful bonus in my opinion, though Guava will offer different thoughts on the matter. Being able to shave a handful days off your research times is nice. It's a good ability that has a clearly measurable value. Not that I've calculated the research time of all the autopsies and interrogations to give you that exact number. As a starting location though, it is rather poor. The value here comes in that South America only takes two satellites to cover and thus gain the ability. It's worth covering South America with satellites at any point in the game when you are not using satellites to put out fires else where.

Africa: All In provides a boost of 30% to all monthly X-Com funding. This is the most powerful ability, hands down. The amount of money this can generate through the course of the game is massive. There is simply no debate needed than to look at it and understand of course you'd want 30% more money. As a starting point though, it is a little rough. Starting in Nigeria means you only earn 100 X-Com bitcoins to start with. It might still be worth starting here if you fell less than confident about managing global panic and still occasionally allow countries to withdraw from X-Com. I would not fault anyone for picking Africa first and foremost every time they played.



Meld

Meld will be explained fully once it is researched in the lab. For now all that is needed to know is that most missions come with two meld canisters somewhere on the map. Their locations are not immediately known, though the game does give the player a sort of 'Meld Sense' to keep the player moving in the right direction. All meld canisters except for the first one in the tutorial are on time limits. If you take too long the canisters will self destruct and the resource will be lost forever. Meld canisters are also fragile, and are very easily destroyed if you shot near them, use them for cover, or shoot at an enemy using one for cover. Each canister is worth 10 meld, which isn't much on its own. As we will see later serious application of Meld can cost 100 units easily.

To safely secure Meld canisters simply move a soldier to the canister and click on it. They work the same way the power nodes for the time bombs do with the important exception that Enemy Within does not allow you to collect a Meld canister if the soldier attempting to recover it has taken their entire turn. While collecting Meld is a free action it can not be done for example after a soldier has dashed to it.


'Control'

For lack of a better term, I mean control of a situation. Have an enemy in your sights with some action that is guaranteed to kill them. Have a sniper with 100% chance to hit, a grenade throw, or a rocket ready to fire. Once you are safe and certain you can kill your target try to find a way to kill it using the least expensive resource possible.

A simple example of this is having a Sectoid in cover who has a good or flanking shot on one of your soldiers. You don't want your soldier to die, so you need the Sectoid dead by the end of your turn. A easy way to establish control in this case would be to bring a soldier into range to throw a grenade at the Sectoid as a guaranteed kill. But before you throw that grenade see what else you can do. Maybe your other soldiers have 50% chance shots on the Sectoid. Go ahead and take those shots first if there are no other threats left. Ammo is replenishable but grenades are not. If you are lucky you may shoot and kill the Sectoid, saving you a grenade for later use in the mission. If you aren't lucky, well at least you tried and you still save your soldier.

Understanding this concept of control is a vital element to owning the flow of battle. When you can manage your troops and their resources like this you can save vital skills or resources for the most grave threats. This of course relies on being able to read the situation, assess the danger level, and make a judgement about the appropriate response, such as 'if I use X now, will I be more or less likely to need it later in the mission'. Putting this all together in your head and keeping track of things can be tricky but it's a great skill to have.

Jade Star fucked around with this message at 10:18 on Feb 5, 2014

Veloxyll
May 3, 2011

Fuck you say?!

Two new X-Com LPs in one day. OH MY. Definitely following this one to see what goes on. A few things in the new X-Com really bug me, so it'll be nice to see if I've secretly been doing it wrong all this time.

Heatwizard
Nov 5, 2009



Jade Star posted:

You are here to be taken under the wing of one of X-Com's greatest commanders.

Unfortunately, he called in sick, so you'll have to follow Jade Star around.

This game's good, I just recently got around to beating it sans expansion so I could feel a little less awkward about moving on to Enemy Within, though I ended up moving down to normal difficulty from classic to do so in a timely manner. Hopefully I can osmose some tricks, I stop by for your stream a lot but I'm kinda bad about paying attention.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



Normally, I'd feel sort of weird about having two LPs of the same game start up in the same day, but XCOM should have enough variety that both will be entertaining! Eagerly awaiting troop signups.

You and Ragny should do some multiplayer matches, too, for cross-thread competition.

Fellis
Feb 14, 2012

Kid, don't threaten me. There are worse things than death, and uh, I can do all of them.


Looking forward to this, especially all the neat mechanics, tactics, and overall strategies that I am completely ignorant of

I did a normal playthrough of Enemy Unknown pretty easily and when EW came out I did classic with a lot of the new second wave on and ooh boy, lost about 3-4 countries during the whole campaign.

Any plans to show off some Impossible in bonus vids or something? I'm guessing there will eventually be a multiplayer vs Guava also.

Jimmy4400nav
Apr 1, 2011

Ambassador to Moonlandia


Oh yeah! More X-COM, bookmarking thread for later. I can't wait to enlist to get a face full of plasma!

Jade Star
Jul 14, 2002

It burns when I LP




This is the one and probably only sign up post

Everyone wants to sign up. I am going to tell you all right now most of you will not get in. I would like to include everyone but the nature of the game says I can not. The new X-Com does not have a high rate of personnel turnover. I expect to need maybe no more than 12 good soldiers. If things are going exceedingly well I will recruit a third squad and have 18.

It feels anti-Xcom to say this, but I do not expect anyone to die. I take care of my soldiers and I expect them to live. Fatality rates will be low. Very low in comparison to the original game. I will likely attempt to build two squads of six soldiers, and then likely have a few substitutes on hand as well to cover for injuries. That makes for about 16 soldier slots for the entire thread to sign up for. I'm sorry that most of you will not get in.

Below will be the application forum. You will fill out all questions and email me the entire completed form, along with any and all necessary attachments to DieforXcom@gmail.com. Do not post sign ups in the thread. I will repeat this at the end of this post because someone will gently caress up. And If enough people gently caress up I will have volunteers for a Lemming Squad.


*** Copy from here on down. Trim my instructions out where necessary before returning the application. Deletable things will be in parentheses ***

Tell me your level of experience with X-Com. (Have you beaten it? On what difficulty level? Have you tried and failed to beat it on a harder difficulty level? What are the major stumbling blocks that have caused you to lose games?)

Have you played X-Com Multiplayer? (if so, are you competent? Do you play regularly? Against friends or in the ladders or open pools?)

Draw me a picture of your X-Com Soldier. (This can be MSPaint stick figures to however good an artist you are. I only ask it be of your X-Com soldier doing something interesting. Draw him/her doing something heroic. Draw him/her readjusting to life after the war is over. Anything you can think of that is interesting and pertains to your soldier and X-Com)

Do you own Open X-Com?

If not, why are you a sad person and why should I keep reading your application? (Seriously, go get it right here http://openxcom.org/ It's free)

I am a huge fan of Haiku. Compose for me a Haiku about X-Com Enemy Within.

Doctor Shen often speaks philosophically about the nature of the alien war. How that in adapting the alien technology to fit our means, we become more like the aliens. Do you believe that this alien technology will change us? And if so for the better or for the worse. Please compose a three paragraph essay about the moral implications that the sudden advance of technology will have on human kind.

In the event of your death, please specify any and all funeral arrangements you wish to have made.

Do you have a sufficient level of competence to stand beside myself and Guava Moment and offer insight into the alien war? If yes, please describe in length why I should consider you for this.

What country do you currently live in? (If they are not a member of the UN or NATO please ask for sign up extension form 8A. Fill that out and include it alongside this application along with a picture of your passport)

Please include your Something Awful user name. (So that I can credit you during the LP)

Please select from the following options below. Two templates have been constructed to enable you to pick the details of your soldier. Please follow the templates and the accompanying information carefully.

Low Effort Template

First name:
Last name:
Skin color: White / Black / Asian / Latino
Hair color: (This runs the range of the normal to things like blue, green, pink, what ever)
Hair/Helmet: Normal / Guile Hair / Beret / Fedora / Military Helmet / Sci-Fi Helmet
Facial hair: (Only applicable if assigned to a male recruit) Clean / Goatee / Stubble / Beard
Armor deco: Standard / Heavy Plate / Military Utility
Armor tint: (Name your color of choice. There are 37 options, so feel free to include if you want a light or dark shade, for example)

I will do my best to match up your desires. In the low effort template I will attempt to match your desires as best as possible. The options are simplified and I will pick at random from the options that fit your choice. As example Sci-Fi helmet would mean I will choose from one of about ten helmet types I deem fitting.

High Effort Template

First name:
Last name:
Skin color:
Hair/Helmet:
Facial hair: (If male)
Armor deco:
Armor tint:

For the high effort template you will provide me with the in game numbers for these options. You will have to have access to the game and go into the soldier customization options and tool around to find exactly what you want. I have all the DLC, please try to have the same options I have as I have not tested to ensure my numbering will line up with someone that does not have all available DLC.

Alternatively you may include a screenshot of your desired soldier. Take them out of any armor for this and include the UI box that contains the following information:



Important: If you choose the High Effort template I will need two sets of numbers from you. One if you are assigned male, one if you are assigned female. Label these carefully. Or you may choose to fill out a high effort template for your preferred gender and a low effort template for the other gender.

Thank you for having the bravery to sign up for the X-Com project. Your courage and the courage of others like you will be needed to win the war against the alien menace.

*** End of sign up form ***

Do not post your sign up in the thread. Email me the entire completed form, along with any and all necessary attachments to DieforXcom@gmail.com. If you have any questions include them in the application and I may address them if you are selected. I will leave sign ups open for as long as I feel like. Selections will be made largely at random, but the more you either make me laugh or impress me with the application the better your chances are. Good luck to you.

Jade Star fucked around with this message at 05:30 on Feb 7, 2014

Sloober
Apr 1, 2011


quote:

South America: We Have Ways allows for instantaneous research of autopsies and interrogations. This isn't a particularly powerful bonus in my opinion, though Guava will offer different thoughts on the matter. Being able to shave a handful days off your research times is nice. It's a good ability that has a clearly measurable value. Not that I've calculated the research time of all the autopsies and interrogations to give you that exact number. As a starting location though, it is rather poor. The value here comes in that South America only takes two satellites to cover and thus gain the ability. It's worth covering South America with satellites at any point in the game when you are not using satellites to put out fires else where.

It's really useful early game due to how long it takes to research anything, since what you get from corpse/interrogations is vastly more powerful the earlier you do it since it's no longer just the fighter pilot one use items, and being able to interrogate immediately will net you that research discount immediately. So in essence it comes out as a massive research rate improvement and turns into a great power bump for your soldiers. I'd probably try to get the bonus asap after start, since man do those corpse researches help out a decent amount early game.

Sloober fucked around with this message at 13:52 on Feb 5, 2014

Drakenel
Dec 2, 2008

I'll gut you like a cornish game pyjak!


Finally pulled the trigger on your sperg hard lp, eh? Sure. We'll see how this goes.

Coin flip on chrysalids raping your squad anyway.

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


Finally got around to installing Enemy Unknown last night, and spent several hours marveling at how much it felt like X-com despite the fact that all of my soldiers weren't dying horribly.

And just as I was thinking I'd love to watch a competent video LP of an X-com game...

Mordaedil
Oct 25, 2007

Oh wow, cool. Good job.
So?


Grimey Drawer

Yesssss... I've been waiting for this thread for so long.

Jade Star
Jul 14, 2002

It burns when I LP


Sloober posted:

It's really useful early game due to how long it takes to research anything, since what you get from corpse/interrogations is vastly more powerful the earlier you do it since it's no longer just the fighter pilot one use items, and being able to interrogate immediately will net you that research discount immediately. So in essence it comes out as a massive research rate improvement and turns into a great power bump for your soldiers. I'd probably try to get the bonus asap after start, since man do those corpse researches help out a decent amount early game.

This is all quite right. The faster you research interrogations the sooner you have the research bonus for a subject, and thus the faster you research future items. This means the benefit from We Have Ways is best applied early. However the nature of the bonus means it is only best applied if you can capture an alien early. This isn't always possible. There is a very real potential with We Have Ways that the great benefits Sloober describes go to waste simply because live captures can not be made, or can not be made in a timely fashion.

However something to point out is that even if you do get the interrogation early and research bonus from it We Have Ways doesn't speed up any of the following research. When I see Slobber write "So in essence it comes out as a massive research rate improvement" I think he is over looking the fact that the bonuses he is gaining will come with out We Have Ways or not. I think the best way is to illustrate this in an example.

Let's imagine we have a Live sectoid capture on Day 0. Let's then imagine Laser rifles, heavy lasers, and precession lasers have a research time of 10 days each, so 30 total. Let's imagine interrogating the sectoid takes 3 days. Let's try to calculate the bonus We Have Ways is really giving us.

Our goal is to research the three laser techs given above. If we:
- Don't research the alien (ignoring We Have Ways entirely) the time to research is 30 days. (10+10+10)
- Research the alien with out We Have Ways and then research the three laser techs we take 18 days. (3 for the sectoid, which gives us 50% faster research on lasers. And then 5+5+5 for the laser techs)
- Instantly research the Sectoid with We Have Ways and then research the three laser techs, we take 15 days. (0 for the sectoid, which gives us 50% faster research on lasers. And then 5+5+5 for the laser techs)


We can see we only save 3 days from 18 day work load. This diminishes the longer the other techs take. For example a muton vs the time it takes to research the plasma equivalents. Saving a 3 day interrogation is far less rewarding when the following workload is say 30 days instead of 15. It's still 10%, but that's not very impressive to me.

The reason I spell it all out like this is because of Sloobers statement "So in essence it comes out as a massive research rate improvement". Because, well, it isn't. You save the time of the autopsy or interrogation. If that is what he means by a massive research rate then I disagree. But I hash this out because it is phrased to me to sound like the earlier access to the research credit bonus is some how attributable to We Have Ways or some how accelerates the process, which it does not. If you capture an alien you will research him and get the 50% acceleration for the relevant tech with or with out We Have Ways.

The benefit from We Have Ways can be measured thusly:
-Add together all the saved research time it would have taken to get the interrogations and autopsies in the game. This is time you have saved via We Have Ways. Of course this assumes a lot. Such as never preforming an autopsy or interrogation with out the bonus, if you didn't start with it.
-Weigh the value you as a commander feel you gained from having all future techs a few days earlier than had you not had We Have Ways.

Jade Star fucked around with this message at 15:07 on Feb 5, 2014

Drowning Rabbit
Oct 28, 2003

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

I look forward to becoming not poo poo at this game.

I almost always end up losing support and being shut down.

Drowning Rabbit fucked around with this message at 15:36 on Feb 5, 2014

Sloober
Apr 1, 2011



I don't consider the research credits too importantly; usually by the time I get to them i've already done most of it. The biggest benefit is at the start with autopsies; they add considerably more in EW than they did in EU and not having to spend time on them while you try to acquire lasers as fast as humanly possible is somewhat handy. I also tend to not bother with SA in my own games, since offhand there is more immediate uses from other coverage at the start, with money being a huge contender - although of course usually you're at the whim of covering wherever it looks like you're going to lose from the council if you don't.

Overall in the game though I'm pretty much just as successful not bothering with SA as other continents. Money is much more important in EW since costs were jacked up considerably on late game tech - I am usually fond of starting off in Asia for the OTS savings to get extra squaddies that much quicker. But you can do pretty well anywhere so in the end it usually just comes down to a preference.

Looking forward to the LP though since XCom is A Good Game.

Sloober fucked around with this message at 15:23 on Feb 5, 2014

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Jade Star posted:

The reason I spell it all out like this is because of Sloobers statement "So in essence it comes out as a massive research rate improvement". Because, well, it isn't. You save the time of the autopsy or interrogation. If that is what he means by a massive research rate then I disagree. But I hash this out because it is phrased to me to sound like the earlier access to the research credit bonus is some how attributable to We Have Ways or some how accelerates the process, which it does not. If you capture an alien you will research him and get the 50% acceleration for the relevant tech with or with out We Have Ways.

No what he said is correct. Its just that he worded it a bit weirdly. To make a long short gaining access to early game corpse research is infinitely more important than it was in the base game.

Speedball
Apr 15, 2008



Rushing lasers isn't quite as important (or as possible) as it was in the base game since there's one…other… thing that comes much earlier that has a lot more punch now. Plus I'm pretty sure research in general takes more time now, to encourage you to actually get scientists in addition to engineers and nothing but engineers.

SpRahl
Apr 22, 2008


I got a question, you mention in the video wanting to avoid soldiers getting grave wounds because they would suffer a will lose, I was under the impression that soldiers only got a permanent will penalty if they were critically injured (downed but not killed) during a mission. Have I just never noticed a will lose from grave wounds or were you talking about something else?

I know battle fatigue or whatever its called causes a will lose but I think thats temporary.

Jade Star
Jul 14, 2002

It burns when I LP


SpRahl posted:

I got a question, you mention in the video wanting to avoid soldiers getting grave wounds because they would suffer a will lose, I was under the impression that soldiers only got a permanent will penalty if they were critically injured (downed but not killed) during a mission. Have I just never noticed a will lose from grave wounds or were you talking about something else?

I know battle fatigue or whatever its called causes a will lose but I think thats temporary.

Ah yes, a good question!

Soldiers that are reduced to one HP will in fact suffer the same kind of will loss that a soldier that is shot to incapacitation and faces the three turn bleed out timer suffers. It is most easily noticed on a post mission screen where it lists the status of your agents, Active, KIA, wounded, or Gravely Wounded. I even had a case of this in my first sand castle'd video which I scrapped. Any Grave Wound from either method will cost your soldier permanent will damage.

This was a sort of sneaky thing that never got explicitly stated anywhere I remember.

FairGame
Jul 24, 2001


What?

That's not true at all.

I have a game right now where a squaddie got shot in the face and taken down to 1 HP, and he has the same amount of Will after the mission as he did before.

You only get a permanent will loss if the dude goes into the bleedout condition (and doesn't have the requisite gene mod that nullifies said loss)

Sloober
Apr 1, 2011


Jade Star posted:

Ah yes, a good question!

Soldiers that are reduced to one HP will in fact suffer the same kind of will loss that a soldier that is shot to incapacitation and faces the three turn bleed out timer suffers. It is most easily noticed on a post mission screen where it lists the status of your agents, Active, KIA, wounded, or Gravely Wounded. I even had a case of this in my first sand castle'd video which I scrapped. Any Grave Wound from either method will cost your soldier permanent will damage.

This was a sort of sneaky thing that never got explicitly stated anywhere I remember.

Yeah they don't mention it anywhere. Late game your starters tend to have poor will vs new guys due to the OTS anyway, kind of a bummer.

Coolguye
Jul 6, 2011

Required by his programming!


Yeah you are mistaken on that one Jade, unless something changed with EW and nobody at Firaxis bothered to talk about it. 1HP shows up as 'gravely wounded', but doesn't incur a Will penalty. Incapped/Bleeding out will incur a -15 Will penalty. It's a branding problem.

Jade Star
Jul 14, 2002

It burns when I LP


I just want to say to all the people that have submitted applications so far, that I love you all. They have really made my insomniac night wonderful.

Except for yours Drakenel.


I will certainly take another look at the grave wounds issue to prove it one way or another. I will run a few quick tests.

Jade Star fucked around with this message at 16:41 on Feb 5, 2014

heenato
Oct 26, 2010

We wish to communicate with you!


I'm glad to see this LP up and running, because I do struggle with enemy within myself. I did finally manage to beat classic a few weeks ago, but this was after countless attempts where I just ran into brick walls. I honestly just think I lucked out with that playthrough anyway.

Wild Knight
Mar 27, 2010

Foul villain! I do not flee. I will never turn my back on you and run away!

[he says, running away]


Yeah, I really love XCOM EU and I'm loving EW, but I am so bad at it. In my latest game I'm still struggling to play research catch-up and as a result, my guys still have normal human guns and we're already up against Mutons.

Looking forward to the LP! Even though I enjoyed the narrative of the UFO Defense LP I'm glad to see this informative style being done.

Jade Star
Jul 14, 2002

It burns when I LP


So I did a quick test which gave me some interesting results. Inconclusive at best but it shows that there is something inconsistant with how the game deals with solders at one health.

I got a team of rookies shot up on the first mission. All soldiers start at 40 will power without second wave options and progress at a known rate. So we should be able to measure this.



So here is the team after the first mission. I did well to get three soldiers hurt to 1 hp. More data points, hurray. But then something strange shows up in the barracks view.








Do you see it? Two of the soldiers are listed as Wounded. Regular normal wounded. That isn't what the mission debrief screen says. But one is still listed as Gravely Wounded. They all earned a promotion, so they get a little more will than 40. Sadly I do not see the snipers will below 40 here to prove my thoughts on the matter. So I may well be wrong, or given a few more tests I might come back with a wounded rookie with 39 Will. The problem being will increase on rank up is a small but random range and I was hoping to see soldiers that fall below that range. What is still interesting to me is that the game handles two of the rookies one way, and one of them is treated differently.

Coolguye
Jul 6, 2011

Required by his programming!


Jade Star posted:

I will certainly take another look at the grave wounds issue to prove it one way or another. I will run a few quick tests.
I did it for you.


Fresh game, Enemy Within, no second wave options. First mission, I bait an Overwatch shot and get this soldier knocked down to 1HP.


Rest of the mission goes easily. No issues whatsoever.


As you note, the game marks her as gravely wounded in the mission results screen.


But her will is 44 - that's 4 points higher than the Rookie stock of 40, and completely in line with the Squaddie rank-up.





Here are 3 Rookies who did not take part in the mission, to illustrate.

e: The variations you're seeing in your tests are due to the fact that Will is random even without any second wave options. In EW I believe it's +1 +1d6. Checking.

ee: It's something of that nature. By default the range is 2-6 (source), but there is an ini value you can mod to mess with that (iRandWillIncrease).

Coolguye fucked around with this message at 17:19 on Feb 5, 2014

Jade Star
Jul 14, 2002

It burns when I LP


I will certainly lean toward a 'standing grave wound', for lack of a better term, not causing permanent will loss in EW. I'm still curious that in your example your soldier is listed as Wounded in the info screen like two of mine and why my sniper seems to be a stand out case with his Grave Wound in the info screen.

e: oh I'm not concerned with the variations between the three. It is as I, and you said, a small range of the values, given a 2-6 range with out Iron will and I believe a 3-10 range with Iron will.

Jade Star fucked around with this message at 17:20 on Feb 5, 2014

Coolguye
Jul 6, 2011

Required by his programming!


I'd need to check again but I think the barracks readout simply references how long they'll be out. I'd not be surprised if your 22-day guy, 13 days later, simply read as wounded.

e: Actually that's what it is. It is because your sniper is at 1 HP. The other guys read as Wounded because they are at 2 HP. Snipers don't get a health point at Squaddie, but Support and Heavy do. This is also why he is out for so much longer. 1 HP -> 2 HP is handled differently than all other recuperation, due to the presumed serious nature of the wounds. I forgot about that for a bit.

Coolguye fucked around with this message at 17:32 on Feb 5, 2014

Drowning Rabbit
Oct 28, 2003

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

So I feel silly asking.. but all this discussion of Will has prompted it.

What is Will for and how does it affect the game?

Onmi
Jul 12, 2013

If someone says it one more time I'm having Florina show up as a corpse. I'm not even kidding, I was pissed off with people doing that shit back in 2010, and I'm not dealing with it now in 2016.


KGBAgent185 posted:

So I feel silly asking.. but all this discussion of Will has prompted it.

What is Will for and how does it affect the game?

Will determines a bunch of things, resistance on Psychic attacks, abillity to use psychic attacks, panic in the face of damage/a terror skill. I'm sure there's more that I'm not properly recalling but those are the major ones.

A low will soldier is likely to panic if they get hurt, which is why a gravely wounded soldier will panic more than one who isn't. And they're more suceptible to mind control.

Coolguye
Jul 6, 2011

Required by his programming!


Psychic aptitude is part of it, yeah, but that's still far off in this LP - it's probably best to get into the nitty gritty of that as we get there.

For the immediate future, basically any time your soldiers take damage, EVERYONE has to roll a Will check to avoid panic. Light 2-3 strikes are unlikely to make even the person who received it panic, but big crits and people getting killed will scare the poo poo out of people in a hurry. It's totally possible to have someone 10 feet away go into a panic because someone near them got nicked on the elbow, though.

If people take HP damage during a mission, they take temporary Will damage as well. To illustrate, in the above example I had where my Rookie had 40 Will, she had 30 effective Will after she had taken that 4-damage hit. This makes her more likely to panic even if she's not the next one who gets shot.

You don't need a massive pile of Will to have an effective soldier, though. Many missions are very completable without taking any damage at all, and the missions that aren't you can definitely complete deathless. Essentially, if you play cleanly enough, you won't get many Will tests during normal play. My very first game had a Heavy called Xenia "Strobe" Gonzalez who got KOed so many times her Will was 43 even when she was maxed out in rank (you usually expect 90+ by that point). She required a little bit of babysitting but was still perfectly effective. So yeah, it may only be something you pay attention to when psionics come into play.

Coolguye fucked around with this message at 18:16 on Feb 5, 2014

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable



KGBAgent185 posted:

So I feel silly asking.. but all this discussion of Will has prompted it.

What is Will for and how does it affect the game?

If you get a string of bad luck, you can experience the phenomenon I like to call The Panic Chain, where a soldier panics, shoots another one of your soldiers, panicking the second soldier. the process continues until your squad is dead, your rip out all of your hair, or the RNG takes pity on you. Whichever comes first.

Speedball
Apr 15, 2008



Green Intern posted:

If you get a string of bad luck, you can experience the phenomenon I like to call The Panic Chain, where a soldier panics, shoots another one of your soldiers, panicking the second soldier. the process continues until your squad is dead, your rip out all of your hair, or the RNG takes pity on you. Whichever comes first.

Though with the smaller squad sizes this happens less often in this version of the game than in Original X-Com.

ulmont
Sep 15, 2010

IF I EVER MISS VOTING IN AN ELECTION (EVEN AMERICAN IDOL) ,OR HAVE UNPAID PARKING TICKETS, PLEASE TAKE AWAY MY FRANCHISE


Jade Star posted:

South America: We Have Ways allows for instantaneous research of autopsies and interrogations. This isn't a particularly powerful bonus in my opinion, though Guava will offer different thoughts on the matter. Being able to shave a handful days off your research times is nice. It's a good ability that has a clearly measurable value. Not that I've calculated the research time of all the autopsies and interrogations to give you that exact number.

1220 scientist-days, if UFOPaedia is to be believed. So assuming an average of 20 scientists and no labs, 61 days.
http://www.ufopaedia.org/index.php?title=Research_(EU2012)#Research_Point_Cost

Speedball
Apr 15, 2008



ulmont posted:

1220 scientist-days, if UFOPaedia is to be believed. So assuming an average of 20 scientists and no labs, 61 days.
http://www.ufopaedia.org/index.php?title=Research_(EU2012)#Research_Point_Cost

Does that factor in the research credits from live captures?

Coolguye
Jul 6, 2011

Required by his programming!


No, none of that factors in any bonuses. But you don't get any bonuses for conducting autopsy and interrogation projects, and those 61 days are spread over more than a dozen projects, and very few of them are important at all.

Plus if you don't build any labs your rear end is asking for trouble.

FairGame
Jul 24, 2001


I'd also point out that one of the more annoying things about Will is that later enemy types who are rather common have an "intimidate" ability that they get to use as a free action whenever they take damage.

Intimidate forces a will check even without damage to the soldier making the check, so you can have dudes panic even without anyone on Team X-Com getting hurt. I think it's a very easy check, and the only time I've seen someone fail it is if they're a rookie. The hypothetical 43 will veteran soldier would also have problems, though, since 43 will is roughly the equivalent of a rookie.

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Chard
Aug 24, 2010






Yeah but then sometimes that panicked soldier takes an extra shot and puts one right between the Intimidator's eyes, it's a very moment.

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