After getting my ass handed to me a few times by a blaster bomb during alien base assaults, I decided to experiment with new tactics. I tried having everyone stay in the "green rooms", and sent a scout down every turn who spun around and came back up if he didn't see anything. I also dumped a smoke grenade below for a little extra cover.
If the scout saw any alien, I had everyone go down the lift to take a single autoshot each until the alien(s) were dead. I used a Mind Probe to figure out if the aliens had TUs left, and to use stun ammo if I spotted a Commander.
It worked really well. Those lifts are a regular duck blind. Twice they sent a blaster bomb my way; one circled around in the room below me before exploding, the other blew up in adjacent room. The first one might have missed due to the vertical-movement waypoint bug, although if that was the case, I think it would have just blown up, not gone through several waypoints like that. It may simply be that they were aiming for where they had seen my troops on the lower level, having never spotted the team on the upper level.
Right towards the end the Commander finally came at me. He had panicked so he wasn't carrying his weapon, but I wanted to capture him and none of the soldiers near him had stun weapons. I had my troops turn their back to him so they wouldn't kill him with reaction fire and had the other team make their way across the map. However, it turns out the Commander still had an alien grenade. He came up the lift, tossed it, and killed two of my soldiers as well as himself. Heh.--Ethereal Cereal 01:20, 9 March 2007 (PST)
I tried it a second time, it continued to work well. I should note that it was a Snakeman base on Superhuman. With other races, and maybe other difficulty settings, this technique might not work too well.--Ethereal Cereal 04:07, 9 March 2007 (PST)
- I actually do this all the time. I wait at the entrance, plugging the upper landings with soldiers or a tank to prevent sneak attacks and let the aliens approach the lifts. Ever turn I lower a scout down, look around and when anyone's spotted, I have other soldiers drop down, open fire or perhaps drop or throw a grenade and then flee back upstairs. If I'm daring enough, I attempt an angled blaster bomb attack (with everyone fleeing to the far end of the room - even this doesn't protect them 100% of the time). I keep this up for a while until I feel it's safe to venture out. The CE vertical blaster bomb bug also helps heaps with mass self-inflicted kills. I wouldn't count on it for the dos version.
- However, it's not a foolproof strategy and a spanner can easily be thrown into the works if the aliens get just one lucky break.
- A mini-camper strategy involves having soldiers hide up those small lifts that lead to small isolated areas. In the CE version of the game, this ensures that you're 100% blaster-bomb and chryssalid/reaper proof. Of course, you'll need a grenade or some other explosive to clear the landing if the aliens get smart(or dumb-depending on your viewpoint) and plug the lift so that you cannot descend. - NKF
And it works for all types of lifts. From 1x1 to 3x3, as long as you plug it the aliens can't send a Blaster Bomb up there. Only true for the CE version though. The Playstation version doesn't have BB waypoint problems and thus it forces you to play without exploiting a bug.--Zombie 08:53, 9 March 2007 (PST)
- If you stay out of sight though (using smoke and avoiding "visible" edges of the lift), can they see you up there? Will they attempt to send a bomb up if they've only seen troops on the lower level? (If not, then this is potentially an AI exploit, which is more legit than a bug exploit.)
- Incidentally, do you really want to "plug" the lifts (I assume by putting a soldier/tank on every upper lift square)? I tried it where everyone was adjacent to the lift, staying away from positions that might be visible from lower-level corridors. If any alien made a mad dash for the lift, they'd be so out of TUs that reaction fire would take care of them. But again, so far I've only tried it with snakes/chryssalids, and only on CE.--Ethereal Cereal 15:50, 9 March 2007 (PST)
- Okay, I tested it on a Muton base this time. It works (occasionally you'll get shot at while coming down the lift), but I saw several blaster bombs lobbed at me and they all made a beeline for the lift, then went straight south. So that's the CE vertical movement bug all right. It doesn't look like you need to "plug" the lifts, though.--Ethereal Cereal 17:25, 10 March 2007 (PST)
The article states "Alien bases start dim and remain dim, so bring electroflares." They certainly appear dark in certain parts, but it seems to me I routinely see aliens more distant than 9 squares away, even when they're not near a source of illumination and appear quite dark. This ought to be tested. Even if it is true, the short corridors and multiple sources of illumination make bad lighting a fairly limited hazard in alien bases.--Ethereal Cereal 00:46, 14 March 2007 (PDT)
These are the items which produce light in an alien base: All of these items produce 10 for light except for the "bloodshot eyeball on a stem" which pumps out 12. BTW, the 4th container isn't used in the game. And with the containers, only the SE corner pumps out light - the other quarters are unlit.
Basically, the modules which have light are UBASE_00 (command center), UBASE_02 (storage room with tower) and UBASE_03 (maintenance/storage facility). The other modules do not have a light source. In the alien base on Cydonia, the modules which have light are UBASE_12 (power source with 4 plasma conduits along the outside), UBASE_13 (4 plasma conduits in the middle with 4 small storage containers on the outside) and UBASE_15 (the brain room). --Zombie 09:48, 14 March 2007 (PDT)
Just for completeness' sake, you left out UBASE_10 and UBASE_11 (plasma conduits & alien entertainment rooms). It took a fair amount of testing until I was able to find a situation where I knew where an alien was but couldn't see it due to darkness. (Would've been easier if I had just used MC.) "Personal" lighting produced a few false results. But I was finally able to confirm alien bases are "dark" maps, lighting sources not withstanding.
However, these tests just confirmed to me that it's pretty rare that an alien goes unspotted due to darkness. There's too much cover for long-distance sighting to be common, lighting or no. Electroflares aren't great for bases either, since you're limited to about 12 squares throwing distance with the low ceiling overhead. AC-IN works okay but at that point I'd rather "illuminate" a room with a rocket or Blaster Bomb.--Ethereal Cereal 20:22, 14 March 2007 (PDT)
Right, forgot about UBASE_10. But the UBASE_11 alien entertainment module is not illuminated. The walls tiles certainly aren't lit and neither are the floor tiles.
I have a suspicion that if I edit all the modules in an alien base not to throw out light that the base would be as dark as a night time mission. In this case, Electroflares would be somewhat helpful if you could throw them far enough. A problem with incendiary is that the fire will only stick around for 3 turns max in an alien base for most items. The vats mostly remain lit longer than this (4-7 turns depending on type) but those locations do not need any extra lighting since the items around them throw off so much light. I guess incendiary is helpful in those garden areas as anything which isn't green stays lit by fire for quite a while. But a Blaster can fix any type of illumination problem you may be having in an alien base. Carpet bomb the garden area to flush the aliens out and use saturation bombing on the command center to make sure nothing is moving and the command tables are destroyed in case you need to dust off in a hurry. ;)--Zombie 21:15, 14 March 2007 (PDT)
One of the reasons I love this game after playing it for ten years is that it still can surprise me.
I tried out the Base Camper tactic last night on a Snakeman base. It work great on the first base in Siberia so I thought I'd take a bunch of rookies for some training on another Snakeman base in the artic. After killing two soldiers they stopped coming. I sent a guy down and he got blasted by a Snakeman hiding in a hall. I waited several more turns but the snakeman didn't come out. I sent another guy down and he managed to survive a direct hit. He then finished off the sniper.
I figured that now the aliens would head for the lift but no one showed for 20 turns! I moved my guys around figuring the movement would make them react. Nothing! I sent a guy down. Looking around a corner he spotted a crysalid down a dark hall. Several times I popped down then back up but the bug just stared at me. So I had a rookie shoot it. Behind the crysalid was a medic and he stunned my rookie on a reaction shot. Luckily he knocked himself out as well. I pulled the rookie back up the lift and revived him.
Then I waited and waited turn after turn but still no one came. THEY WERE LEARNING! I got goosebumps! It did not seem like a game anymore but as if I was really there. They knew what I was doing and were ambushing me instead. I have never seen this in any other game before. But I have seen it in X-Com time after time. Just when I think I know the game it scares the #@$% out of me.
So I sent down a good squadie and he saw a similar ambush; a crysalid hiding in a long dark hall next to the lift. He shot on autofire and nailed the bug on the first shot. But to my horror behind him was a bunch of aliens waiting to shoot. The second autofire burst killed another bug and the third killed a Snakeman. Three with one autofire! I never saw that in ten years of play. I quickly got him up the lift where the squad was cheering at his shot.
And then I pushed the next turn button. All the Snakemen in the base panicked! The three for one shot broke their moral. Finally they crowded around the lift and my guys had a turkey shoot. Unfortunately the base commander came to his senses before I could stun the leaders and drag them up the lift. He fired a blaster shot that killed them all and wiped out the equipment.
I am half afraid to try the base camper tactic again. Who knows what new strategy they will try next. And I definately will not take rookies next time.
Validity of Page
I was reading through the article page today and noticed a lot of issues concerning validity. This is probably due to lack of knowledge/experience or just plain carelessness.
Issue #1: Just because Mutons do not have Leaders or Commanders, it doesn't mean that the base will not have aliens carrying Blasters. See, Mutons substitute soldiers for the missing ranks and those soldiers are equipped as if they are the original rank. Commanders (or the substitute rank) do not carry Blasters in an alien base mission either. They only carry a Heavy Plasma, 2HP clips and an Alien Grenade.
Issue #2: Not really an issue I guess, but an addendum. Aliens do not carry Blaster Launchers in base missions in the early-mid part of the game. Ever. Later on, yes, then they start to show up. So what this means is that you can be a little more aggressive on base missions early on since you don't have to worry about one of those silver footballs flying out of the blue and ruining your day.
Issue #3: According to recent research into the game files, an alien base is equally as dark as a night time mission. And besides those objects/rooms I mentioned in the talk page which shed light, the base is basically bathed in darkness. You really don't need Electro-flares or fire to light a base since most rooms are small and offer some level of concealment, but they are helpful down long corridors leading to the command center.
Issue #4: On Superhuman, Commanders rarely spawn in the command center. Reason? There are 4 spawn points upstairs which are reserved for Leaders and/or Commanders, but on Superhuman, 4 Leaders are slated to spawn. Since Leaders spawn before Commanders do (it goes according to the pecking order in the alien loadouts section of the executable) they will usually occupy all those slots (it's not guaranteed, but there is a very high probability). Since there isn't a reserved slot for the commander anymore, it gets placed anywhere it is allowed. This makes it important to have Mind Probes along to identify (and capture) rogue commanders wandering around the base.
Issue #5: Building on #2, leaders always carry Blasters later in the game, so on Superhuman skill level it's fairly safe to storm the upstairs part of the command center with nothing more than a group of guys wearing T-shirts carrying Stun Rods. Due to self-preservation, the leaders will refrain from firing on your men since they are going to be caught within the explosion. The Small Launcher works fine too, but you may have to back up a bit or fire from below to prevent from being caught in the splash.
Issue #6: If the UBASE_03 module is present (that's the one with the Power Sources), alien engineers are guaranteed to be upstairs as there are 4 slots reserved just for them. With a maximum of 2 engineers slated to show up (usually it's only one on the lower difficulty levels) and with 4 slots available... you do the math.
That's all I have time for at the moment, but I thought I'd better toss some of these issues down before I forget. --Zombie 22:12, 25 November 2008 (CST)
- You can't go in with stun rods because reaction-fired blaster bombs seem to ignore self-preservation. Getting them to reaction fire is my primary base-destroying technique. --(name here) 05:56, 26 November 2008 (CST)
I tried to get aliens to reaction fire the Blaster Launcher a long time ago with no luck. Today I revisited it again. Dropped reactions of my soldiers to 0 and ran a soldier in front of a Sectoid Leader with full TU until my soldier ran out of TU himself. Nothing. Might be a version specific issue (I'm using the CE version). --Zombie 07:34, 26 November 2008 (CST)
- Maybe, I generally use DOS. Try it with multiple commanders, and try it with shooting. --(name here) 12:22, 26 November 2008 (CST)
Alienly Inconsistent Floor Plans
(Testing with CE/UFOExtender)
I tried start-scumming to force a UBASE_03 module. This was eminently successful. More interesting is that the alien base layout is randomized even on repeat visits.
That is, there doesn't appear to be a Geoscape savefile representation for alien bases.
--Zaimoni 07:48, 24 December 2010 (CST)
- The only consistent alien base layout is the Cydonia base map for the Playstation version. But even then, it's probably not storing the base layout information. What's probably happening is that the game is seeding the random number generator with the same value when generating this map, resulting in an identical layout. -NKF 13:49, 24 December 2010 (EST)
I think this should be split into one page for the alien mission (named Alien Base) and one for the X-Com mission (named Alien Base Assault). Opinions? Magic9mushroom (talk) 22:32, 30 March 2015 (EDT)