Offence is the best defence.
The best use and brief strategies on attitude, movement, and shooting style.
X-Com agents on the battlescape are controlled by an Attitude system (similiar to craft attitude) which, depending on the level of autonomy, may perform actions without direct input from the player. The colour matching the selected attitude is displayed above the unit (or grouping of units) in isometric view of the battlescape.
- If an agent who is unarmed or has no ammo for the weapon they are carrying is given a new destination to move to on the battlescape, the agent will always run when they see a hostile unit, then resume their original command once visual contact is lost.
- An agent within fire or stun gas will immediately try to escape by running (regardless of movement or attitude settings). When the area is safe, they will automatically return to their original position.
The agent with a Safe attitude will seek cover from a hostile as first preference, may break visual contact in doing so, and then may engage in combat. This is similar to how a panicking hostile acts. As avoidance is paramount, this mode may be unhelpful because your agent may ignore your movement commands (ducking into cover before reaching their given destination, and staying there).
This mode is primarily used if you want your unit to avoid hostiles.
The agent with a Cautious attitude will engage a hostile unit, will try to find cover when under fire and then return fire when the incoming attack ceases. When seeking cover behind an object such as a wall, the cautious agent will side-step (strafe) to face the enemy and fire, quickly moving back to avoid incoming fire. Your agent remains aware of enemy positions by trying not to break visual contact for too long.
This mode is primarily used if you want your unit to engage a difficult enemy.
The agent with an Aggressive attitude will not seek cover and will fire towards hostiles disregarding any civilians and neutrals in the way.
This mode is primarily used if you want your unit to obey your command.
- A grenade being thrown may prompt safe and cautious agents run from it. This is dangerous if they run from a Boomeroid.
- If agents are in position to attack hostiles at a choke point, safe and cautious agents may start moving about to get to cover once the hostiles are engaged. This is dangerous since weapons aren't being fired when Brainsuckers and Poppers are near. Don't do the blue chicken dance.
An agent who has stopped moving will replenish Stamina at maximum rate.
The most common movement method for most of the game. A white arrow appears above units who are forced to run, and will expend Stamina until almost empty, then will walk.
- Quickly scout the battlescape.
- Move rapidly to cover.
- Escape dangerous environs.
- Cannot fire weapons when running.
An armed agent is able to fire a weapon when moving, but at reduced accuracy. Stamina is neither drained or replenished.
- Fire as soon as a hostile is spotted.
- A hostile may seek cover instead of returning fire as your attacking agent moves closer (typical known as "Suppressing Fire").
- An over-encumbered or tired unit.
An agent crawling (moving) or prone (not moving) presents the smallest target for enemy fire. Space is needed to lay down (two tiles).
- Very slow movement.
- Accuracy is increased considerably when prone.
- A brainsucker stuns themselves when trying to attach to the head.
- An agent may not resume crawling in certain situations.
Note An agent will momentarily kneel to face a new direction, exposing themselves to the brainsucker threat.
An agent will drop down on one knee.
- Accuracy is improved.
- Slight delay before being ready to fire, after moving.
- Needs to stand first, then will move.
- Turns on the spot to face a new direction.
- A unit waiting for another to move out of the way will not kneel.
- The kneel command may over-ride the selected movement command (crawling) when an agent is stationary.
An agent may automatically jump when moving, or forced to via J+LMB.
- Path decision when moving throughout the battlescape may be 'optimised' by any entity, automatically.
- An X-Com agent commonly vaults, climbs, shuffles over furniture on the same level if it is quicker (a shortcut).
- Any unit with bi-pedal legs may jump over a one-cell hole, if running, if the other side is on the same level.
- A human (specifically not an Alien lifeform) may jump across a two-cell hole on the same level, if running in a straight line and of high speed, falling unconscious briefly when landing on the other side.
- Jumping down one level is not the preferred option when an X-Com unit optimises their movement automatically, however, all others may do so if faced with an enemy, as a means of escape. An X-Com agent may often jump off the side of a ramp instead of moving down it normally.
- When jumping off a building onto the ground below, the unit usually drifts away from the building one cell 'further away' per five levels dropped. The emcumbrance or the movement setting is irrelevant.
- Some locations may not be valid when an entity is forced to jump. They will attempt to reach the given destination using other movement methods.
- Entities may jump off anything if forced to, disregarding their own safety. Any railing will be vaulted over if present.
- Chest armor protects against falling damage, not legs.
- Injury may result when landing if any X-Com agent has jumped off from a height of more then three levels difference.
- Fatal injury or death is common when landing, if the height difference is typically five or more levels.
- Removing Marsec Armor chest piece when an agent is airbourne will cause the agent to fall to the ground.
- Note: Manipulating the chest armor for any reason in the equip screen will cause the airbourne user to fall (when returning the battlescape screen). Nothing can change this outcome.
- Stun (gas, grapple, smoke or mind-games) may disable a flying unit, which then falls to the ground.
- Shielded units may jump off full height structures (normally being nine levels maximum) without injury.
- Mind controlled units will obey!
- Any entity will be knocked unconscious briefly if they landed onto, or fallen into, the space occupied by another unit. No injury will result to either!
- Note: If it is possible to land on another unit, jumping off a building or removing Marsec chest armor irrelevant of height is a quick and safe way to evade or escape hostile actions.
All items on the battlescape may be thrown but how far will depend on the thrower's strength.
- Any explosive device may be thrown to explode-on-impact by RMB clicking on the image in the agent's hand.
- Size of the item is irrelevant, only weight matters.
- Any object readied to be thrown does not need to 'targeted at the impact zone' since it may be thrown just by LMB clicking in the air somewhere above and beyond the agent. The impact zone does not need to be in-view, or even known, but accuracy may suffer due to these 'blind' throws.
- Accuracy of the throw will be improved if the impact zone is known and 'targeted' by placing the mouse cursor exactly where the thrown object should land.
- If an agent can throw any item but they are very close to the maximum distance versus their strength, throw-accuracy may suffer. Light-weight objects are thrown more accurately for the same distance.
- Grenades with an active, but short, timer may air-burst before impact.
- Thrown active mines will not activate their proximity trigger or timer until impact with something (not necessarily the ground).
- The furthest distance which any object may be thrown not only depends on its weight and the thrower's strength, but the height difference of the thrower to the ground. The optimal height for a long distance throw is at level seven with items landing at level one.
Note: Trajectory will limit distance if thrown from a battlescape height higher than level seven due to an invisible ceiling at level nine *.
* Battlescape levels are ten levels maximum but only nine levels are commonly accessible.
The two Formations control how groups of agents move in the battlescape.
The default selection. Agents will move to new destination and position themselves in a chequer-board formation.
- Agents move their maximum allowable speed.
- Automatically spaced apart relevant to the obstructions at the destination.
Note: single file does not work well. See discussion page.
- Agents used in single file formation do not have any icon to denote that they are a member of such grouping.
- If another unit that was not part of the orginal single-file formation is selected, the button remains 'on' and will confuse that group that was supposed to stay as single-file.
- Single file grouping does not deferentiate between 'yellow border' leader and 'orange border' passive members as it does with vehicle groups. The member who is closest to the destination when moving becomes the 'leader'.
- Single file formation will try maintain a four-cell distance between agents when moving. If the moving ceases, the agents will try to keep a one-cell distance from each other.
- Dynamic adjustment of speed of the 'leader' to obey the four-cell distance (from a very slow walk to bursts of speed faster than "Run") completely ignores the selected movement command for any member of that grouping.
...however, this works.
- Small target cross-section when moving forwards.
- A group moving at an angle (flanking) to a hostile will allow all agents to fire without accidently shooting the one directly in front.
Armed X-Com agents have one of four shot types available. Any firing mode can be used for any weapon!
Note: All weapons have different firing ranges and rates of fire. An agent's own attributes (Accuracy) wll determine a successful hit. Use the best weapon for the task. (eg: a Law Pistol is useless at very long range).
- Weapons which track their target disregard the accuracy skill of the firing unit.
- Weapons which track will be fired more often if using less accurate fire modes.
Weapons are "Hold Fire". Prevents the agent from firing any weapon:
- Prevent injury to alien lifeforms which are to be captured.
- Unloaded weapons in the agent's hands will be 'safe' after picking up its ammunition.
- No firing of weapons other than when allowed, via forced fire.
The slowest and most accurate of the Shot Types. When using this, units will (take a longer time to) aim carefully at the selected target to have the best chance to hit. Aimed-Shot is typically used from long distance to the target with a suitable weapon. (eg: laser)
The standard Shot Type. The middle ground between Aimed Shot and Auto-Shot in regards to the agent's time-to-aim before firing the weapon. Snap-Shot is usually used at medium distance to a target when using a suitable weapon (eg: autocannon)
The least time-to-aim and least accurate of the Shot Types. When using this, units will shoot almost constantly at the target to deliver the most impacts from a preferably shorter range (eg: M4000).