Artillery/ Firing Blindly
This strategy is pretty much the complement of Scouting. In the event that you can't see any enemy aliens... you could go look for them.
Or... you could just bombard the area, and kill anything that MIGHT be there.
Just aim at the ground, trees, buildings... blow them all up with impunity. Also, the clouds of smoke you kick up are a good defensive shield. If you manage to kill something, hurray! If you don't... oh well, that's what spare clips are for. Cheaper than your soldiers lives by far. If you fired off a Large Rocket or Auto-Fire AC-HE, and got multiple kills in one salvo, feel jubilant the first few times, then come to realise: this actually happens with alarming frequency.
A Heavy Rocket costs $900. A full clip of Auto Cannon Heavy Explosive rounds costs $700. A grenade costs $300. These are probably the 3 most effective weapons for area bombardment, other than Blaster Bombs, which I deem to be near priceless. A heavy Rocket also has better terrain destruction capabilities than any explosive other than the High Explosive and the Blaster Bomb.
Obviously, the Heavy Rocket is the most effective and powerful option. 100 explosive power. Scary. Trouble is, it takes up a lot of space, uses up a lot of TU, is very heavy, and is expensive. However, it blows up a pretty huge area, and does a lot of damage. Also, a Heavy Rocket will almost always One Hit Kill a Cyberdisc. Sadly, the Heavy Rocket has a high chance of blowing up a lot of loot, because those alien guns can actually withstand explosions from AC-HE, but not these things.
The AC-HE rounds are very very economical, both in TU and cost. You get 14 shots with 42 power each. Not bad at all. For comparison, the Heavy Cannon is 6 shots with 52 power.
The grenade costs $300, and has 50 power. It is quite TU consuming to prime and toss a grenade, but they have very useful arcs of fire.
Later in the game, once your soldiers become very strong, Heavy Explosives 110 power is still unutilised, since Alien Grenades have 90 power and are much lighter and half the inventory space.
Jasonred 10:09, 21 February 2009 (CST)
- As long as you're using Grenades, you might look into your friend the High Explosive, which is far better for clearing areas; I often use it to level farmhouses, especially when using XComUtil's weapons edits. You should note that if you only use one explosive, the loot will survive, since loot that's not on the ground can't be destroyed by a single explosion(though the alien corpse sometimes can).
- As the High Explosive is rather bulky, some people might prefer to use the Alien Grenade instead. It's as light as a regular grenade, and has almost twice the firepower. It also is standard gear for most aliens, and after you get about midway into the game, you'll be hard pressed to get rid of all the alien grenades you're finding.
- The Rocket Tank is another option for this, especially once you get the Avenger, since it's hard to equip 26 soldiers with 80 items. The main disadvantages are the ammo limit(8) and the cost of the tank and ammo. The major advantages are free repair if not killed, excellent ability for suppressive fire, no energy limit(tanks start each turn with full energy), and the fact it doesn't count against the 80-item limit.
- You might also consider the use of the Small Launcher as a substitute or replacement for the Rocket Launcher against many aliens. Ammo is easy to find on mid to large UFOs. The Small Launcher has a rather impressive blast radius and stun damage, and will NEVER destroy loot. It's also very accurate. As a bonus, the aliens are only stunned, not killed, which is useful if you're trying to get some informants. Even if you aren't, any unit that's stunned will drop all its gear. The aliens are too stupid to pick up their own weapon, so as long as you're not using it against psionic aliens or small terror units, it still works fine. (Large terror units never wake up from stun.) The major disadvantage here is that you don't know if you stunned anything in the area, since stunned units don't scream, and there's the potential for the aliens to wake up later and make you need to hunt them down at the end of the mission. The fact the Small Launcher can only hold one shot at a time and its moderately sluggish rate of fire also is a limit. Arrow Quivershaft 13:56, 22 February 2009 (CST)
- We really ought to avoid using the main article as a talk forum - but then again some of our best articles started off as chats. We'll get round to it.
- High Explosives have 120% more firepower than the standard grenade in exchange for twice the weight and bulk, and five times the price. The key here is that you'll need twice the amount of strength to throw it around reasonably. 40 strength (which brand new rookies can get or start near) is the magic number to aim for as they'll be able toss the high explosive a reasonable distance away. Once it goes even higher, your soldiers will be tossing them around like ordinary grenades back when they were rookies! Perfect for blind shelling. Save your precious alien grenades as a last resort or for training up new recruits. It's almost a tradition to wipe out the top level (and bottom level if you want to be really thorough) of barns with high explosives.
- By the way, don't forget the grenade hit attribution bug when using high explosives. Not really a problem when used with blind shelling, but lots of folks tend to prefer dropping it rather than throwing it as it's easier to use this way. Particularly with flying suits. For example, it's easy to hover over a hole (on top of a UFO) and then dropping the High Explosive right down so that it lands exactly where you want it. Mind you, this is a good way to conserve your blaster bombs. -NKF 22:48, 22 February 2009 (CST)
Personally, I think that XComUtil's edit of the Heavy Explosive is very imbalanced. The unmodified Heavy Explosive is quite well balanced in regards to the normal grenade, the modified HE is quite ridiculous. Personally, I think that for 200 power, the HE should have a weight of 10. It's Earth technology, you can BUY it, it doesn't use Elerium or anything... of course you can get a bigger boom, but only through building a bigger bomb! As for using Stun Bombs for Artillery Purposes... it doesn't really work, except for firing around corners and stuff... It's more like when you are fairly certain that there is an alien camping there and you want to get him. In the case of my artillery fire tactic, I would say that, on Superhuman difficulty, ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT, I spam my AC-HE ammo to rather extreme extents (alien reactions and accuracy too high!)... I would say that my hit/miss ratio for blind fire is 1 kill per clip of AC-HE... on average. Some missions I don't hit a single alien with my bombardment attacks... ouch. My Terror Missions often end up with none, or maybe 1 civilian still alive.... hahahaha. Jasonred 03:38, 24 February 2009 (CST)
- Sounds like a good compromise. At least it seems easy to do in OpenXCom: Just adding "weight: 10" to XcomUtil_High_Explosive_Damage.rul should do the trick. Medinoc (talk) 10:03, 1 January 2016 (EST)
- Also, this would make HWP Fusion Bomb look EVEN WORSE than it already is (BB's knock-off weaker enough to lack hull-breaching ability, but more expensive to make). =) However, in OpenXCom you could also reduce HE pack's blast radius - which would make it fit the niche as a dedicated demolition charge, rather than an oversized frag grenade or air-to-ground bomb. -TBeholder (talk) 20:40, 1 January 2016 (EST)
- Nah, the High Explosive is a grenade and is thus limited to a 6-square radius anyway, while the Hovertank/Launcher's weapon counts as a guided missile and as such is only limited to an 11-square radius. In all honesty, the Hovertank/Launcher does fill an important niche: it's the only heavy artillery (besides the Rocket Tank, which it strictly outclasses in capability if not in cost) that's psi-immune and doesn't eat 1 of your 80-item limit per shot. As such, I almost always bring two to the Cydonia mission. Jasonred's right, though; the High Explosive is decently-balanced to begin with and doesn't need to be hacked to 200 power. Magic9mushroom (talk) 00:44, 4 January 2016 (EST)
- Still I like the idea of a dedicated wall-breaching charge that would be available in the early game. In fact, making its radius small enough could make it safe enough to handle by simply laying it down and running rather than throwing, which means it could be even heavier. Could probably raise its cost, too. Medinoc (talk) 14:25, 12 January 2016 (EST)
This is a great tactic to use when you don't feel your soldiers are confident enough to face the current level of alien threat. In the US Army euphemism this might be called "control by fire" or "preparing the battlefield". It's an approach used very enthusiastically by the Russians in Afghanistan and Chechenya. It's a nicely game-balanced tactic to use in this game because you reduce risk to friendly forces but pay the price in terms of lost loot, lost prisoners, and civilian casualties - all of which give reduced score. But, on the positive side of the register, you survive and live to fight another day, older and wiser. And, as noted above, the munitions are pretty cheap. You could probably fire off all the rockets and AC-HE your squad could carry into battle and still not expend the cost of replacing a couple of soldiers. In the interests of destroying a bit less loot, it is better to use fewer, bigger warheads rather than many small ones. For this the AC-HE is maybe less than ideal. If clearing a battlefield, maybe it's best to use it one handed, so that the rounds spray around more and don't fall on the same location (destroying loot). Also you will find AC-HE won't penetrate light building cover, where aliens can lurk unharmed and ambush you when you move in. For this reason I prefer rockets, or at least a judicious use of HC-HE / HC-AP to open holes in buildings first. Then by all means, fire AC-HE through the holes. Now, by the time you have Alien Grenades and Blaster Bombs, this tactic is highly unsporting. Though it might be understandable the first time you meet Ethereals. But then, you really don't want your guys running around with a lot of rockets and HE when that happens! Spike 16:34, 25 February 2009 (CST)
- (This isn't entirely a response to the person immediately above; it's just indented to be easily distinguishable.)
- Firing blind doesn't necessarily have to be done with explosives. Doing it with Laser Rifles is also quite possible. When you find a building, an orchard, or some other cluster of cover, instead of moving your scouts to the entrance, just move them out of the line of fire and target the cover itself with automatic fire from your snipers. You might reveal aliens with the barrage, but! Since the ones doing the firing are your snipers, from outside their own visual range, there won't be any reaction fire. So you can just target the revealed alien with the next couple of bursts. You'll probably also get some blind kills from the sheer volume of fire you're directing at the area; it's entirely possible to blast down a wall with one shot of a burst and kill the alien hiding behind it with the second shot. The advantage of doing it with lasers is, of course, that you don't waste ammunition or destroy loot; the trade-off is that you'll need a lot of snipers to lay down that much fire. Magic9mushroom (talk) 18:24, 1 January 2016 (EST)