Talk:Alien Colony Attack Mission
Evil or Awesome?
Alien Colony Assault? Evil!
Don't get hurt, don't get mind controlled, do take it thorough, do throw flares like hot potatoes, do take 30!!!! Don't hand-to-hand Tentaculats, do take 14 soldiers (or more). DO NOT go unless you have Thermic Lance and MC knowledge and Disruptor Pulse Launcher, and do edit this post!
- If you don't have the Thermic Lance and/or DPLs, take Thermal Tazers. Rush the lift, taking out as many aliens as you can (particularly the lift garrison), and be very, very sneaky in the second part - avoid contact as much as possible, stay out of the Lobstermen's line of sight, and whack them from behind with the Thermal Tazers if you can. Also, Ion Armour. Bare minimum protection, Ion Armour.
- Depending on the Difficulty level, it is do-able at reasonable Difficulty levels with only Plastic Aqua Armour, no offensive MC, no drills, no DPLs and no Thermal Shok launchers. It is possible (though hard) to do this on Superhuman. However extreme caution must always be taken with troops who are not already proven as M.C.-resistant. But the Colony seabed raids themselves offer a great opportunity to screen troops for M.C.-resistance. (Yes, it is a lot less hassle if you have M.C. Labs). See below... Spike 07:42, 24 October 2012 (EDT)
Alien Colony Assault? Awesome!
The presence of an Alien Colony can be a great boon to a Commander with the determination and nerve to exploit the situation. No longer is X-COM at the mercy of the aliens schedule, or X-COM's detection ability, base coverage, craft interception capabilities, and strike team reaction time. The Commander can generate a Colony raid mission whenever it is required. As soon as a strike team has recovered from the previous mission you can launch a new one. Multiple strike teams can easily engage in back to back missions. Strategically, this offers X-COM an unending source of (real, hazardous) experience training, loot to use or sell for cash, in-field testing of M.C. resistance, and improved standing with the funding nations (i.e. extra score). A few successful or even semi-successful raids per month will easily compensate for the negative score the Colony generates: 5 points per day to the aliens, plus 50 to them for founding the Colony, plus the alien score for running its supply missions - call it a few hundred a month, which you can easily achieve in a single raid. Colony raids can even supply a fair proportion of the specimens and items you will need for research. But for as long as the Colony continues to exist, X-COM are assured of a tactical mission every few days, or as often as daily if there are no casualties, for every strike team. In fact, if you can perform the mission with low or no casualties, it is financially viable to hire a second transport simply to decrease mission turnover time and increase the rate of missions per month. It is definitely advisable to move your primary strike team to the base closest to the Colony, and it may be appropriate to build a new forward strike base close to the Colony, depending on how long you plan on keeping the Colony around. When you finally decide to destroy the Colony (probably due to pressure from higher up the X-COM chain of command), it may be a bittersweet moment. Spike 07:42, 24 October 2012 (EDT)
Low Tech Colony Raiding
OK, so I am replaying the game on Veteran with no battlescape game-saving. I've lost 10 killed so far on about 6 missions. It's March and my only alien technology is the Sonic Pulser.
I've detected Alien Colony 1 in the Barents Sea. If I want to attack this colony, I will for the first time in this campaign be going up against Tasoths, Flying Cauliflowers, and Lobstermen. My guys will be armed only with gas cannon and sonic pulsers. I have no armour.
It is probably impossible to load / carry enough GC ammunition to destroy all the aliens I'll encounter. My options appear to be:
1/ attack the top level, loot it, and retire. Repeat when short of money. 2/ attack the top level, access the lower level, ignore everything except the Synomium Device, destroy it and retire. 3/ don't attempt this mission yet.
Tactically I think all I can do is try to get into one or other of the access tunnels that leads into the exit area. This would mean the one to the north, south, or east. Once in there, any oncoming melee attackers will face four shooters, two kneeling two standing. Any attacking from behind will have to cross the minefield of PD grenades they will drop behind themselves. Of course, the risk of MC attack is there all the way through, and very dangerous in a confined space.
Once on the exit grid, I then go to the second level. I would need to send 2 or 3 guys to find the Synomium Device and to destroy it. The other soldiers would provide a moving defensive perimeter, secured with reaction fire and PD grenades. Once the SD is destroyed the whole force would then need to retreat the same way they came.
What does the panel suggest? 4th Cuirassier 09:05, 29 March 2011 (EDT)
- I've been in the same situation and it's a rough ride. I would suggest option 1, loot 'n assault the top level, withdraw 'n repeat until you've built up the extra capability to assault the lower base. But, if you go for it, attacking the Synomium level with just Gas Cannon, Sonic Pulsers, and wetsuits - then I salute you, Sir! Spike 16:23, 29 March 2011 (EDT)
I am retrying this in early March with a Colony founded at the end of Feb. So the only advances I have on starting equipment are Plastic Aqua Armour, Gauss Rifles (not much use here) and Sonic Pulsers.
The key tactical differences this early in the game, versus the suggestions on the main page, are what to do when you lack offensive MC and DPLs. These are the two biggest tactical equalisers with the aliens (tactical advantages over the aliens, really). My mix and tactics look something like this:
- Loadout: GC-HE, Tazers for everyone, 2 HJC and a lot of HJC-P (6 reloads?) for illumination, some GC-AP. Don't bother with Gauss Rifles, they are not the best way to kill anything you need to worry about down here. Sonic Pulsers are your main kill mechanism, bring plenty. GC-HE is also good vs Tentaculats/Hallucinoids/Aquatoids.
- Initially disarm everyone and stay in the transport holding only tazers. Peek out to expose to MC attacks, as this is the first encounter with any major MC. If there are aliens outside the transport doors to be dispatched, firers must return to the transport after firing and drop any lethal weapons on the transport floor. Anyone who succumbs to an MC attack is stunned, dragged back inside if necessary, and left on the transport floor. They will be labelled psi-weak in their name, and sacked or relegated after the mission. Be sure to make an immediate note of the full name of anyone who succumbed, and what effect they succumbed to (Mind Control, Berserk, Panic).
- If you have enough MC-strong survivors, continue. If not, return to base, hire some more Aquanauts, and come back.
- Once you have a stable group of survivors who can resist MC at this range, cautiously move out. Don't move out too far too fast as you will be getting closer to the MC aliens and so becoming more susceptible. At this stage you do need to carry lethal weapons but be sure everyone is also carrying tazers, so if one aquanaut freaks out his buddies can stun him asap. Auto weapons are not a good idea. It might be smart not to use GC-HE yet either.
- First of all try to clear the area in front of the transport doors, and just post high-reaction guards at the front and back of the transport, hiding behind it. They will need GC-HE but you will also need to be firing HJC-P as well to provide illumination. The terrain never burns for more than a couple of turns, so you will need quite a bit of ammunition. Some fires on the ground will also help you see Hallucinoids or Tentaculats above you. Work your way carefully back from the transport doors with small movements and lots of covering fire. Use illumination rounds to reveal aliens and then engage them with Sonic Pulsers or GC-HE. Your firepower is weak, so hold most of it in reserve, using only a few expendable scouts and everyone else ready to fire. Don't bunch up!
- Now clear the other side(s) of the transport in the same fashion.
- If you are just attempting a raid, carefully retrieve loot, just one or two strong and expendable gophers, with everyone else covering. Just do one sector at a time, don't risk becoming engaged on more than one front.
- Approach any cover deliberately and carefully. Use Sonic Pulsers into any concealed areas before you move up. Use a lot of cover and stay down, concealed as much as possible.
- If anyone else succumbs to MC, stun them, pull back, get the stunned body in the transport, re-evaluate whether you are strong enough to continue, or should abort to go and get more troops.
- Sweep the outer areas of the map so you are sure of your escape routes if you need to fall back to the transport.
- You are now ready to assault the Colony buildings, IF you still have sufficient troops and ammunition. If not, abort, and come back next time. Eventually you will have a full complement of MC-resistant troops to tackle this mission. Until you are strong enough to enter the lower levels of the Colony and destroy it, the score from a steady series of successful raids will hopefully offset the score penalty for leaving an Alien Colony active.
- I'm not sure how it's going to work out, assaulting the Colony buildings on the sea bed, so I will let you know if and when I've done it. ;)
- Any other suggestions?
Spike 10:13, 25 September 2012 (EDT)
With an MC-resistant squad proven on the first raid, since I have Plastic Aqua Armour all round I'm going to go for HJC-HE as the standard weapon for assaulting into the seabed buildings, especially given that HE is a good choice for pretty much all the enemies on the Seabed level of a colony. Safe firing distance against my own front armour is 2-3 squares with HJC-HE. With GC-HE I need 5 squares of safe distance, which is slightly trickier to achieve inside the alien structures. Of course, I still stick to the policy of no HE weapons, much less HE auto weapons, for aquanauts who have not previously been shown to be resistant to MC. Newbies carry Tazers, period.
In practice this worked pretty well. I was able to test the MC resistance of the newbies while sweeping outside the alien structures. The alien structures were entered by the stronger newbies carrying HJC-HE and Tazers. More experienced troops remained outside, sniping through the openings in the T-shaped structures, and the doors. Rookies then entered to retrieve loot. Overall I lost 3 rookies but captured valuable research material such as a live Aquatoid Squad Leader (and assorted new Corpse types) and about a million dollars of other loot. And by the end of it I had a confirmed strong squad of 11 MC resistant Aquanauts. The HJC-HE was very effective inside the structures, while the GC-HE was more effective outside the structures and for sniping into the structures. Sonic Pulsers in the hands of strong aquanauts with good throwing accuracy were the best way of dealing with aliens detected in the terrain outside the structures. Most Pulsers had to remain on the transport due to the danger of having them in the hands of MC'd aquanauts, so the rear commander also had the function of starting off the sonic pulser relays.
HJC-HE was not so helpful with Zombies / Tentaculats, so I may experiment with some kind of Phosphor weapon in the mix. Having said that, HJC-HE was fine for killing them, it just didn't prevent Temtaculats from spawning from Zombies. Maybe it's better to have a weapon that will definitely kill the spawned Tentaculat, rather than a weapon that might prevent one from spawning?
Spike 09:57, 30 September 2012 (EDT)
Repeatable and safe Colony Raiding of the Seabed level with low-tech weapons is definitely feasible. Aqua Armour works very well with a mix of HJC-HE for general use and GC-HE for harder targets (Tasoths). Sonic Pulsers are really only necessary for tricky situations. Lacking Aqua Armour, a lot more care would be needed, but the offensive firepower is still sufficient. Also, it's not necessary to field DPLs to be able to create new entry points into the seabed buildings, as for some reason they are much weaker than USO hulls. Sonic Pulsers or Sonic Cannon are certainly sufficient to create breaches in the outer building walls, and probably lesser weapons such as Magna-packs or even Large Torpedos (to be tested). After a number of raids I have a very psi-hardened squad and can complete a full sweep of the Seabed level with only one or two Rookie casualties, netting a million dollars in loot and several hundred points of positive score per raid. As an existent Colony only costs 150 per month in negative score, this is a winning proposition. In fact, while I would not relish it, and a considerable amount of painstaking caution would be required, I believe that effective Colony raiding on the Seabed level could be conducted using only starting weapons & equipment - meaning no Aqua Armour and no Sonic Pulsers. Spike 20:27, 13 October 2012 (EDT)
The diagonal wall sections of the main Seabed building that face southwest (i.e. facing bottom left in map view) can be destroyed reliably by Large Torpedo, 90 HE (and therefore also by Magna-pack Explosive, 100 HE). This then gives direct access to the interior double doors of the main grav lift area, which can also be destroyed easily by Large Torpedo / Magna-pack Explosive. Most of the other exterior wall tiles seem immune to starting weapons (but not Sonic Pulsers).
Most of the towers have openings at L1 above the seabed, through which rounds can be fired (i.e. HE) or grenades etc thrown. There are similar openings on L1 of the T-shaped secondary part of the main Seabed building, allowing rounds / grenades to be directed at aliens waiting above that T-shaped area's grav lift. Grenades etc can also be thrown up into the L1 gallery above the central grav lift in the main building, without entering line of sight of that gallery, by approaching within the building from the southeast. Spike 22:16, 13 October 2012 (EDT)
Low Tech Colony Destruction
There comes a time when you have to bite the bullet and stop raiding the Alien Colony, and actually destroy it. This is bittersweet, since by the time you are able to contemplate destroying the Colony you will have become adept at 'milking' it for artefacts, experience, and score. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
To tangle with the lower level, the Alien Base proper, is a tough challenge if using only low tech equipment. While the HE weapons that you used on the seabed level work fine against the Tentaculats, they are almost completely ineffective against the Lobstermen. The best starting weapons against Lobstermen are Thermal Tazers, and the next best starting weapon is possibly a Large Torpedo. Both of these weapons have significant tactical challenges to their use. You are looking at 4 to 5 direct hits from a Large Torpedo to bring down an ordinary Lobsterman soldier. That's an exhausting logistical requirement if nothing else - it would require having around 50 Large Torpedoes left, after completing the Seabed level. Thermal Tazers are far superior as they don't use ammunition, and should take down a Lobsterman or Tentaculat in two hits. But of course the tactical challenges in getting into melee range with either of these two aliens are considerable. Nonetheless, the Tazer is the best weapon to use against the Lobstermen, you don't really have time to kill them with any form of HE unless you're just encountering a single alien with a large squad.
Out of the low-tech non-starting weapons, Sonic Pulsers will make the fight against the Lobstermen easier, though it can still take 2-3 direct hits for a kill, with or without 'finishing' fire from direct fire HE weapons. The Thermal Shok Launcher of course is the weapon of choice - taking an Alien Base armed with Thermal Shok Launchers does not qualify as a "low tech" option, it's practically the preferred option (much less property damage and collateral damage than DPLs). Some Medi-Kits are very useful on this level because of the use of Thermal Shok Launchers by the aliens, and the need to awaken stunned Aquanauts. This can also be caused by friendly fire or aiming errors with XCOM Thermal Shok Launchers of course. If you don't have Sonic Pulsers, you should bring some Magna-Pack Explosives, though not that many. You will not be using them for combat - use Tazers and direct fire HE weapons for that - but they will be very helpful as breaching charges.
Prior to transitioning to the Alien Base level from the Entry (Seabed), load up fully with all the equipment you need and don't worry too much about Encumbrance. You can dump and cache excess equipment once you have transitioned to the lower level. You need to have three weapons ready - Thermal Tazer, Sonic Pulser (or Magna-pack if you lack Pulsers), and an HE direct fire weapon. Sadly you only have two hands. It may be best to hold an HE direct fire weapon in one hand (for Tentaculats or Zombies at a distance) and have the other hand free, ready to pull a Thermal Tazer against short range opponents, or a Sonic Pulser against Lobstermen at a distance.
Tactically your first move must be to regroup. More powerful assault forces can afford to be more adventurous, but the low-tech assault really needs to be cautious. First bring all your forces onto the same level. Use the map to identify those who are on a lower level. They will be near to an ascending grav lift (with bubbles rising over it) - head up to the same level as the rest of your forces. Establish a defensive area in one or both of the main grav lifts. This is your ticket home, your staging area for loot, casualties and excess equipment / supplies. Bring the outlying aquanauts into the defensive area, expanding your defensive perimeter cautiously in the direction of the outliers to help bring them in. Then once you are all grouped together, dump excess supplies, get properly kitted for mobile combat, then move out. Outliers can dump all but minimum supplies on the first term to help them stay mobile and make it back to the group. Dropped supplies can be recovered later.
Make your way as directly as possible straight down to Level 0, the lowest level. You want to avoid a fight as much as possible and just get to the Synomium Device chamber. Make a note of your route and in particular which grav lifts you use, as you may be heading out in a hurry, pursued by angry Lobstermen!
The Synomium Device, which looks like 2 loops rotating above a dais, is located under a sort of altar enclosed within what amounts to a ditch on the lowest level, L0. On the map you are looking for a green rectangle, open on the north side, about 15 squares by 15 squares, shown in the map in light green. Obviously this will only become visible on the map once your aquanauts have seen parts of it, but it often helps to see the pattern on the big map. The three green lines are three galleries that overlook the chamber across the 'ditch'. From the gallery on the south side of this chamber, you can see a staircase that goes up to its roof. The staircase can be destroyed by a Large Torpedo or better. This will reveal a wall which can be destroyed by a Magna-Pack Explosive or better (Large Torpedo won't work). You can then see the Device directly, so you can direct-fire from the gallery into the Synomium Device chamber and destroy the Synomium Device as well as mildly irritating the Lobsterman guards. To accomplish the wall-breaching unharmed from the gallery you will need at least Aqua Armour - or throw multiple Magna-Packs and fall back out of blast range. As noted, it is also possible to drop a grenade in from the roof on L1, via a 2 x 2 hole directly above the chamber, but the approaches to this area on L1 can be more heavily guarded. The alternative is to storm the chamber through the various doors using Thermal Tazers, but that is likely to be carnage at close quarters with the Lobstermen guards.
Once the Synomium Device is destroyed, run like the wind and get out of there. Don't bother engaging anything unless it's in your way of escape or catching up on your rear. If necessary, sacrifice a few aquanauts to allow others to escape. It's crucial at least one aquanaut makes it back to the Seabed, or all the loot from both levels will be lost. Even so, you will get a terrific score, and eliminate the Colony. Which is a shame, since you were having so much success 'milking' the Colony for cash, loot and score.
Spike 19:09, 14 October 2012 (EDT)
- I'm replaying the game on a high level but I can't remember which one. It's October in game time, I have Sonic Blasta Rifles and Sonic Pulsers, but I have no MC, no armour and the only close range weapon I have is the Taser. I explored Gauss technology, but only to get the guns to sell. Gas cannon firing HE have almost the same attack value as Gauss Rifles, but the blast radius of the HE shell allows you to kill some aliens without the direct hit necessary with a Gauss weapon. So after one or two experimental sorties with Gauss weapons, I went back to gas cannon.
- So far, I have destroyed four alien colonies using only terrestrial weapons and alien grenades. I destroyed a fifth after getting Sonic Pistols, a sixth after getting Sonic Blastas and I'm currently assaulting the seventh. So I have Sonic Pulsers and Sonic Blastas, but that's the lot.
- The first five missions, I just bundled in as many guys as I could, went to the second level, and then blew up the Synomium device before retreating. I took a tank to scout ahead and typically lost six or seven of my ten guys, mostly to MC attack.
- The sixth assault was the first colony where I won by killing all the aliens downstairs. I have yet to win by clearing both levels.
- What works best, if all you have is alien grenades, is to plaster the area around the Triton with these immediately on disembarkation, and then rush the nearest exit. The best place to land is the north-west or south-west corner, because you then have a short walk into the main building. I reserve 4 TUs for kneeling, but in fact normally use them to have the aquanaut turn around and face outwards or behind, so the squad advances in a gaggle behind the tank and relies on reaction fire and all-round defence.
- Once underground, the tank can be useful to bottle up aliens in one-square-wide corridors, and also for picking off Flying Cauliflowers. The main tactic underground though is simply to wreck the Device, then retreat. So it can be done, but basically, having poor weapons and no MC guarantees casualties; you just have to be prepared to accept these. 4th Cuirassier 09:56, 3 December 2012 (EST)
Loot and tactics
It is possible to hunt down every single Alien in both stages and dismantle the base without destroying the symonium device. The loot is similar to a dismantled Artefact site. However this is by no means an easy feat(harder and more annoying then a ship lane mission where you can at least systematically comb the level.). The first stage(surface) which always has a similar layout can be considered a warm up. Consider putting one alien unter constant MC while you deal with the rest. Then collect the ammunition to use it during the second stage. Kill the last alien to proceed.
The second stage is the ultimate tactical nightmare. There are 4 levels. Each has a 5x5 (or was it 6x6) basic grid - 2nd stage layout is random. Some modules cover more then one square/cell of the basic grid. The are plenty of interconnections between the levels. So if you form a search line and sweep one level enemies can move in our rear by changing the level using an elevator, stairs or a hole in the ground. Clear level 1 put aquanaut in each cell and then simultaneously move to level 2? Good ideas if there were not these cells/modules which can not be declared clean by one glance because they contain small closets or secondary walls which divide the cell in away that a aquanaut needs a lot of its TU to move from one half to the next and/or secondary walls forming long narrow corridors along the wall - I think you get the picture - perfect tentaculat territory. In my experience these secondary walls limit the usefulness of DPL. It tears down the secondary walls but not everything is rubble if a DPL torpedo hits the center of a room. So even with the large supply pillaged from the first stage one finds oneself hard pressed to shell everything(in order to clean out the obstacles and an tentaculats and soften up the lobsters). This tactic also greatly diminishes you loot. So usually I find my scouts trailing behind my lobster or tentaculat pet going from room to room killing all additional aliens I come across, or switching them for my pet and killing it when its energy runs too low. Meanwhile the MCs huddle together in the staging areas only contributing to the killing with an occasional DPL strike if the situation calls for it. Which it rarely does since it is usually more efficient in terms of TU to take over the offending Alien(s) and have the scout drill it/them later or have them shoot each other. Try to reveal the entire base. Any aliens left at that time should be close to panicking which might help to locate them. However expect the entire endeavor to take plenty of time. If anyone has a good plan/system for a systematic sweep I would be most interested in it.
For the 80 starting items I would mainly pack MC disruptors, tazers/drills, medikits, maybe 2 flares. Everything else can be picked up from the alien corpses. I'm not masochistic enough to attempt a base recovery without 10 MC troopers(MCstr 80+,MCsk 80-100+, TU 75+) and everyone else featuring MCstr 70+. But there is a chance to win every battle(single soldier, termal tazer, no offensiv MC use, diving suit, no reload anyone ;) ) --Tauon 18:58, 11 October 2010 (EDT)
Can you dismantle the base without destroying the Synomium Device? Sure, you just kill all the aliens, although I don't recall ever recovering a Synomium Device as loot.
The challenging aspect of bases is that you can discover them before you have done any MC research (in fact I have won the campaign before now without MC research ever reaching the top of the priority table). This means the top level is very tough, and the survivors then face the Lobsters and Flying Cauliflowers. If you are short of firepower at this stage, the best bet is to send a handful of guys to find and destroy the Synomium Device and then bug out. 4th Cuirassier 09:10, 29 March 2011 (EDT)
I thought this note from silencer_pl on StrategyCore was worth copying here for inclusion into the eventually to be revised main page:
don't forget to scout top floor for 100 Zrbite. You must find engine room. 2 of the engines has this yellow thing on the right corner - destroy the engine and pick 100 Zrbite (50 each). If you pick it up, the After Action Report will not mention that you had taken it, but it will be added to the stores
Spike 20:08, 22 October 2012 (EDT)
Info for future rewrite
I'll get around to rewriting this article one day, but for now just some info on alien numbers. Veteran difficulty, used X-Com Hack v3 to check. Sample size was 6 missions.
- Tasoth Soldier x9-13
- Tasoth Squad Leader x3-7
- Tentaculat x5-9
- Aquatoid Soldier x3
- Aquatoid Squad Leader x2-3
- Hallucinoid x5-6
- Lobster Man Commander x3
- Lobster Man Navigator x2
- Lobster Man Squad Leader x4-6
- Lobster Man Technician x4-6
- Lobster Man Soldier x4-5
- Tentaculat x6-9
Yeah, there's a *lot* of aliens down there. So by the way, this means I'm very skeptical of anyone who claims to have cleaned out a colony without Sonics/Drills/MC.