It's true, victory is subjective. Just a quick - well, a long-ish word on victory.
Technically speaking, dusting off from a site that's still manned with aliens can also be counted as a success if you were able to get whatever it was in the battle that you came for (be it experience, an abduction of a really difficult alien (such as an Ethereal without the convenience of the Psi Lab), capturing a certain weapon, etc). What you do not win is the loot outside the Skyranger and the UFO Alloys and its remaining components.
A fine example of this is Zombie's patented Smash-And-Grab technique with alien bases, where a base is raided, one alien is left alive and the rest are dealt with. Once cleared, all the equipment (and corpses) are then carted to the entry platforms and all troops head back to the entry points and the dust off command is issued.
The mission will read as a failure, but the score, experience and loot will reflect a successful mission. As it is a base and the victory condition for the base destruction has not yet been met (destruction of the command tables or all aliens), the base will remain on the map.
Other missions types are a lot less permanent and tend to vanish (crash sites/terror sites) or take off (intact UFOs).
So, don't read in too much to the status on the tally screen. Let the score, experience and goods that you were able to come away with tell you whether you've won, or lost.
"What happens if you hit Lift Off with NO units in the dropship? - BB": From article page.
All units are MIA and the craft is lost. --Zombie 11:55, 21 January 2007 (PST)
What if you mind control an alien, and lift off while only he is in the ship? - BB
Nothing, except the craft is lost. (MC'd aliens are not in Soldier.dat and cannot be considered a true X-COM unit). --Zombie 19:49, 21 January 2007 (PST)
Just copy and pasted the discussion from main article - plus a thought of my own:
What happens if you hit Lift Off with NO units in the dropship? - BB
- You will end the scenario immediately. Chances are, you will not have killed enough aliens to cover the loss of all the soldiers missing in action. Yeah, you will still have the transport though!--Vagabond 02:40, 7 March 2007 (PST)
- That's basically admitting defeat. Don't forget you lose the ship if you abort an alien base attacks as well with no troops in the exit. By the way, lifting off from a site does not always count as a loss. You may very well have come for what you came for and didn't want to bother cleaning up the rest of the aliens. For example, in a typical smash-and-grab scenario, or if you've stolen some artefact or abduct a specimen from an alien race you're not ready to fight (like the ethereals before you learn your psi strength). The game tells you you've lost, but you've technically won if you've accomplished what you came for. Just pointing out the silver lining. - NKF
- Yeah. If I manage to stun a Sectoid Leader in an early mission (especially if it's the first Terror Mission), I'll grab him, pile into the ship, and dust off. Woot, Psi Lab.--Ethereal Cereal 12:10, 7 March 2007 (PST)
To-do list: 1. Inventory screen. (Already uploaded an image, but needs compressing) 2. Motion detector Radar screen. 3. Map screen.
- Are they necessary? For one thing, I know I am still quite at odds on how to use the motion detector properly (maybe a separate article/tutorial for it?) I am quite sure that there would be others as well. As for the Inventory screen, I think it is a must, and well, the Map screen, we can skip that as I think it is self explanatory... Well, I think that by doing all the screens and explainations, we might get the wiki article a tad too big...
--Vagabond 20:08, 7 March 2007 (PST)
- They should probably each be on their own page.--Ethereal Cereal 02:33, 8 March 2007 (PST)
I am wondering about this way of naming everything in the article, it means it is inconsistent with pretty much every article it will link too, which I think won't help people understand. Its not too bad when just reading this article itself, but it someone comes into one of the later sections, or is coming in and out of other articles it decreases the clarity I think. --Sfnhltb 21:44, 7 March 2007 (PST)
- It's a good way of describing the playing area and the playing units on the field and so on. It ties it in with chess analogy (which I think is mentioned in the manual at one point) but I don't think we should use it all the way through the site. - NKF
- I'd just go with "map" and "units", which are more concise terms anyway. A little bit of metaphor or humor is nice, but never at the expense of clarity, IMO.--Ethereal Cereal 02:33, 8 March 2007 (PST)
- To be honest though, I believe that there's no issue over using an analogy to describe the battlescape. This portion of the game is turned based and I believe it makes quite good sense to describe it as a game of chess. Some of us spend more time thinking between the turns than they ever did at a game of chess. I don't think there is any loss of clarity, but if you want to make the article more succinct by 'map' and 'units', that would be no problem.--Vagabond 03:04, 8 March 2007 (PST)
Slight wording question
"Most of the units left behind will be listed as MIA and will be unavailable for the rest of the game."
Does this mean it is possible for a unit to be in an area where it would normally be tallied up as MIA and still be returned to the base roster? I've heard vague references to 'rescuing' MIA soldiers on the X-COM forums, but never seen it happen myself. If someone would clarify, I would be MOST appreciative. Arrow Quivershaft 21:25, 20 December 2007 (PST)