Talk:Best Starting Weapons (TFTD)

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General Discussion

Excellent article, NKF. Spike 02:51, 10 December 2008 (CST)

Not trying to be nit-picky, but you left out the hand-held Torpedo Launcher. Muton commander 11:52, 21 December 2008 (CST)

As was the thermal tazer and grenades. It was intentional. Torpedo launchers are not weapons that you'll be wanting to arm the entire team with - at least in most normal games. The two stronger weapons that I do cover tend to be more medium-weights than heavies like the torpedo launcher. -NKF 22:48, 21 December 2008 (CST)
You COULD include your reasoning for the torpedo launcher in your discussion... actually, in TFTD, arming the entire team with torpedo launchers doesn't make a lot of sense... but it makes more sense than arming an entire team with Dart Guns. Do you believe me?
Also, Gauss weapons are terrible because YOU HAVE TO MANUFACTURE AMMO FOR THEM. It really screws up your production line. In addition, placing a Heavy Gauss among your starting weapons, but not putting Sonic Pistol in there is a bit weird. I mean, by the end of the first few weeks, you should have a sonic pistol and clip ready for research, maybe a blastaa rifle. So, given a choice, should you research Heavy Gauss, or Sonic Rifle... I would choose the sonic rifle! The heavy gauss is hardly a "starting weapon"... in XCOM, you would research Heavy Laser for 2 reasons. 1. Sectopods. 2. Laser Cannons.
As you said, gas cannons ability to be used above ground bumps them up many notches on the weapon rankings.
Why do you mention ION ARMOR as part of your combinations for STARTING weapons??? Jasonred 02:05, 4 April 2009 (EDT)

The minute you go on a land mission with nothing but torpedo launchers... I didn't include grenades as starting weapons either, even though I often encourage others to try out grenadier campaigns.
The gauss weapons' ammo manufacturing isn't as bad as it seems - at least for the pistol and rifle ammo. It's like buying the ammo - only it takes less time to arrive. The increased power of the gauss weapons (relative to the darts) easily make up for the higher cost, and selling a few recovered items every mission easily covers the cash invested. You won't get back the engineer time, but you'll still be able to crank out adequate quantities of gauss pistol or gauss rifle ammo very quickly at 20 and 45 tech hours needed for each. Even your starting 10 engineers can crank out ammo at a consistent enough pace to keep a few aquanauts well stocked for each mission until better stuff arrives.
The default Heavy Gauss just doesn't cut mustard, but is mainly included because you get it without gathering any equipment from the field.
As for the Ion Armor it was never a main topic of discussion and was merely mentioned once in the context of something that could assist the player use Hydro Jet Cannon in close quarters. That can be done any time during the game. -NKF 07:19, 4 April 2009 (EDT)
Hmm.. maybe. But I recall going on terror missions with Gauss and having huge ammo problems... ah shit, now I remember. The 80 item limit really hurts on those 2 part terror missions. It really makes the PAYLOAD factor kick in. ... One more reason to rush sonic weapons I guess.
As for manufacturing time, it is not a crippling amount of engineering time, but it is still pretty significant, especially on higher difficulty levels. You can easily burn through 15 clips per mission, if Gauss is your main armament. Admittedly, 4 missions a month only comes to 60 rifle clips, which is 2 days for 30 engineers, so it's not that bad... as for cost... gauss ammo is cheaper overall than Sonic ammo, right?

On the very first mission or two I may have Jet Harpoons. It works excellent on aquatoids. Unfortunately, Gill Men are refuse to die unless taken three (sometimes two) harpoons. Torpedo Launcher is cumbersome. It could have been great if it was mortar!. Or if aliens walked in compact groups by 3-4. Hydrojet Cannon is heavy and underwater only. Most articles says "There should be balanced set of weapons". Well, for me the most balanced set was everyone wielding Gas Cannon (and Magna-Blast Grenade). My GC+MBG equipped squad have proven reliable and capable. Meanwhile I research Sensor, Medikit, loot alien sub and research Sonic Rifle. And again, have balanced set of weapons including Sonic Rifle for every operative. Not least, uniform weapons for entire crew gives advantage of uniform ammunition, so I usually take 15 clips for 10 guns. --Wasd 09:25, 20 July 2009 (EDT)

Unfortunately with TFTD, A general balanced set of weapons doesn't really count the first two harpoon weapons. Much. If at all. They don't really have the same life span as UFO's pistol and rifle thanks to the tougher aliens.
The Gas-Cannon has an advantage as it does a bit of everything, and grenades are always a good addition to any direct fire weapons. That's already makes for a very good mix of weapons to start with. The only thing missing is rapid fire support until you get the Gauss and sonic weapons. But this is X-COM - it lets you get away with a lot of things. -NKF 03:10, 21 July 2009 (EDT)

All righty, thanks to recent discussions, I've inflicted some changes to the main article. I don't know if that's improved the article any bit, but hopefully it's a bit more objective than it was. Oh well, as is the nature of our wiki articles, they're ever being improved. -NKF 06:05, 7 April 2009 (EDT)

Jet Harpoon

I use the Jet Harpoon early on basically as a secondary weapon - in effect, as a pistol - for aquanauts who are carrying a Torpedo Launcher, or who are absolutely too weak to carry a Hydrojet Cannon / Gas Cannon. This means I throw almost all the Jet Harpoons (and ammo) away as soon as my shipments of extra Hydrojet Cannon and Gas Cannon arrive on base. Until that time, of course, you're more or less forced to use the Jet Harpoons as primary weapons since otherwise you just don't have enough weapons even to arm 8 aquanauts. Quite often, you don't get any mission before the extra heavy weapons arrive to replace the Jet Harpoons. But maybe this is a bit hard-core. For land missions (such as Base Defence), it might be good to have a weapon around that's a bit more fast and flexible than a Gas Cannon.

Dart Guns I just throw away immediately. As mentioned above, I used Jet Harpoons as "pistols" instead.

Spike 18:02, 5 April 2009 (EDT)

Hydrojet Cannon vs Gas Cannon

I actually disagree with the main article statement that says HjC and GC are more or less equal underwater for ranged combat. Until you start fighting enemies with high AP/HE resistance and high armour, the HjC (on auto) is more effective, even at range. I tend to go with the view that you routinely equip mostly HjCs, but switch to GCs for land missions (terror missions and base defence, both of which are advertised in advance). I should make it clear I'm talking about HjCs firing on auto, which means they chew through ammo - basically you need to reload after 2 turns of continuous fire, vs 4 turns for the GC. So you can count on shipping twice as many spare clips into the mission, which is not great. In Aimed and Snap fire the GC is hands-down better, so unless you use the HjCs on auto all the time, don't bother with it. Spike 18:14, 5 April 2009 (EDT)

The fact that GC has an extra 33% ammo compared to the Heavy Cannon... is... HUGE. And 65 HE power??? WTF. It is SO GOOD. ... Would like to point out that the HjC gets only 3 AutoShots, and 2 Snap Shots, due to it's ammo of 14. Compared to the GC with 8 snap shots... hmm.
I had a hilarious experience with the HjC once.... one of my scouts spotted 3 aquatoids in a loose cluster, so my HjC guy goes full-Auto on them. And kills 5 aquatoids in 2 bursts. 3 I was targetting and 2 hiding off screen somewhere. 1 of those was REALLY far off screen, I didn't find his corpse til near the end of the battle. Being outnumbered = Target Rich environment.
Ammo logistics can be a hassle but at the end of the day lethality is more important. I'd rather have a battlefield of dead aliens and troops short on ammo, and figure out how to get some reloads to them, vs the alternative. The alternative is dead troops with full clips. :) The HE damage of 65 is good, but the HjC gets nearly twice as many hits per turn, on average. Unless your target has a lot of resistance/armour, the HjC will do more penetrating damage. For Lobstermen, yes, you want the GC.
Nonetheless the point you made elsewhere about reaction fire is a good one. For that reason alone you need to keep some Gas Cannons in the mix - even before the Lobstermen show up. Spike 21:09, 5 April 2009 (EDT)

The GC and HjC are just like the Pistol and Rifle in UFO. One is designed for single shots and excels at it very well. The other is very poor at single attacks, but excels really well at autofire - even though it is the slowest auto fire weapon in the game. Never implied that it was a bad weapon to use - it's actually very good. My note at the end that it was on par with the GC was really in that both weapons are fairly good at that range, but that the HjC was the dominant weapon for close range combat (especially when wearing armour). Just wish it didn't have that stupid under-water only restriction.

One thing the under-water only limit does really well is limit the Disrupter Pulse Launcher. I'd willingly give that up if the aliens did too. With so many tough land missions, it's just as well each side can't use it. Hang on, would reaction fire work though? DPL reaction shots are so rare that so hard to test too. Oh well. -NKF 02:06, 6 April 2009 (EDT)

NKF, I still think the main article underplays the HjC and overestimates the importance of the "underwater only" drawback. It's true, isn't it, that missions involving land can always be anticipated, and so HjCs can be replaced with GCs ahead of time. In a Base Defence mission there might be no warning sometimes, but as GCs are ahead of HjCs in the list I guess they would be preferred to survive in the 80 item limit for Base Defence? So really the underwater only aspect is only a disadvantage in terms of using more Stores space, and more money, to maintain two sets of weapons - an underwater set and a land set. I doubt this additional cost would exceed $50K - $100K. Plus I guess it's a hassle to change loadouts for a land mission if you are using XComUtil to remember aquanauts' loadouts.
Until you encounter very heavily armoured targets, HjC on auto is more lethal in normal offensive use. The GC is more lethal in defence (reaction fire) and for certain types of sniping (not all). I would put it at least equal to the HC, if not better. In fact the truth is, a mix of both is good - which does complicate your ammo logistics, to be fair. I'm not saying you can't make do with GC only, it's a fine strategy. But in forgoing HjCs you are forgoing higher firepower/lethality against all but the hardest targets.
I agree with you that the GC effectively makes the Torp Launcher irrelevant. Also, in fairness (re my Gauss Rifle comment below), one advantage that standard weapons such as GC and HjC do have over the Gauss Rifle is the use of area effect rounds, HE/IN.Spike 12:45, 7 April 2009 (EDT)

I don't know if you can always anticipate every land mission. I have some dreadful memories of a base attack where a good part of my squad could only use HjCs because I thought it was the bees knees as a weapon, and did decide to do a bit of ammo juggling to accomodate them! But as I've often said, I don't think it's a bad weapon at all. But, do you really need to undertake the hassle of having to maintain two sets of equipment? There are other high firepower alternatives at your disposal early in the game, and much of your early opponents can easily be dealt with by most explosives you can obtain early into the game. By the time you do need superior firepower, there will be even more alternatives available to you.
But I guess that's where the broken record of a comment keeps proving itself to be right: A mix of weapons is often the better solution. I know having one HjC on the Triton and perhaps some spare weapon isn't going to hurt you that badly and will introduce minimal ammo juggling. Since TFTD has increased the silly 80 item limit restriction a little, you do have room to carry a spare weapon and some reloads. This is especially handy if you decide to tough it out with Jet Harpoons until you get something better. 3 - 4 clips can be carried per Jet Harpoon with no trouble.
The GC being a better Torpedo launcher is Jasonred's analogy of it - but I can't reallly really disagree with it! I've always thought of it as a mini torpedo launcher for land based missions myself. The only place where the Torpedo launcher would trump the Gas Cannon is for aimed shots, when underwater, when carried by a crack marksmans and for raw firepower. That 110% accuracy isn't as good as its original counterpart, but still a most welcome accuracy boost. The extra trials offered by the GC (and HjC) does make it more preferable. -NKF 14:48, 7 April 2009 (EDT)
My statistics tells that on very rare occasion HjC will perform better than GC. In fact, my first move in new game is ordering GC for entire crew. And dumping all other as soon as it arrives. --Wasd 09:23, 20 July 2009 (EDT)

Gas Cannon with HE used to down Lobstermen

It can? ... It can??? OMG, IT CAN!!! Though it looks like by the time you manage to kill it, it's under armor might get reduced to zero, lol. Jasonred 20:55, 5 April 2009 (EDT)

It's slow, but it jolly well works. That's why I like it so much. However you're going to end up with very little ammo after taking one or two of the crustaceans down.
Hang on, something just occurred to me. Recalling your favourite current strategy of using the Incendiary bug in UFO - does it apply to the Hydrojet as well? That would make it a very effective anti-lobstermen weapon in underwater fights. -NKF 01:59, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
I don't actually use the bug in UFO... I tend to kill my enemies one by one, not spread my squad out across the map and share out firepower... my current favourite strategy to burn aliens involves the fact that Incendiery ignores armor, does 4 times damage on large units, and does not provoke reaction fire. ... the trouble with Lobstermen is that they have 90-125 health, and 70% fire resistance, so it takes like 50 hits to cook them in the shell... VERY ineffective. Sigh. Jasonred 04:08, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
I've been doing some research on Incendiary vs Large Units and it looks like they probably don't take x4 damage from IN (though more work is needed to confirm this). Incendiary is still good for bypassing armour - especially on autofire. As long as you just have one target or set of targets on fire, and your rounds more or less land near the target(s), it's probably not cheating to do this. Spike 12:22, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
Ah... well, if you just have one target, it effectively increases your accuracy to 100% perfection... which is bad, but if you're using deadshot soldiers anyhow, it's not THAT bad... Hmm, Incediery damage is a weird creature it seems to do more damage when used on flamable ground vs inflamable ground??? Jasonred 15:18, 6 April 2009 (EDT)
Yes that's the hypothesis. Some more testing is needed but it looks like the MCD flammability rating of the tile might add to the damage per turn / per impact. 'tis indeed strange. Spike 15:56, 6 April 2009 (EDT)

Gauss Weapons vs their Contemporaries

The standard non-Gauss weapons share a few advantages over Gauss.

1. They do not require research. So you can use them right from the very first mission. Theoratically, you could fail to perform any missions until Gauss technology is developed, but this depends a lot on playstyle and strategy. 2. They can be purchased in bulk, instead of requiring manufacture. This tends to come to fore under several situations: a) When starting a new base. Or, like some players do, several bases at once. b) When production queues are very busy. If you have not created several Gauss cannon factories, it is possible that your production queue will be fully occupied making stuff like armor or MC disrupters. If you had only 1 large workshop base and it is halfway building a Leviathan, you will not be producing any new Gauss Ammo for quite some time... c) When you lose troops and their armaments. In TFTD, losses can be quite heavy early on, and the aliens seem to be more aggresive in the grenadiering and PWT use. If you actually lose a squad, outfitting a new squad with Gauss can take a while... d) After a Shipping Lane Mission. These super long missions can burn through over 50 Gauss Rifle clips quite easily. BUT, any standard equipment would have run out of ammo completely by comparison... it just should be noted that after a mission that uses a lot of Gauss, one might have to switch to Gas Cannons for a few days while manufacturing replenishes Gauss supplies. 3. They cost less. Not a major factor due to how UFO economics works despite what some penny pinchers may feel.

Gauss Pistol.

Defensively (reaction fire), the Gas Cannon is significantly better (in terms of firepower/lethality). Offensively (on auto), the Hydrojet Cannon is within 10% better (HE) to 10% worse (AP). The Gas Cannon is a better sniper weapon in some ways. So this one is not a slam dunk. You're going on some of the minor advantages (clip capacity etc) and also the one-handedness advantages.

Gauss Rifle.

This is more of a clear winner. The death-dealingest direct fire weapon in the game, bar none, vs lightly armoured targets. (Yes it's the sub-aquatic AK-47). Clearly outclasses all standard weapons in defence (reaction fire), offence (auto), and sniping. It gives ground to Sonics of course as the stronger aliens with high armour levels and damage type resistances are encountered.

The Gauss Pistol excels primarily with its compact size (it's a hip clipper), weight, high ammo capacity and damage. I see it mainly as a complete replacement for the Jet Harpoon - except for its awful accuracy which is compensated for by its high rate of fire. The Gas Cannon is still the best bang for your buck on a shot-by-shot basis - it's a high powered cannon or grenade launcher after all. A single autofire burst with the HjC and HE shells would definitely be much more effective than a single Gauss Pistol burst, except it's much slower to perform. It's not too powerful, but it's a light and fast weapon (good for finishing off or interrupting). The one-handed feature lets you compensate for the gun's weaker stopping power by letting you handle some other high powered weapon in the other hand, such as a magna-pack. It's not as good as the Laser Pistol as you have to add in the whole ammo conservation factor. -NKF 03:25, 7 April 2009 (EDT)

Weapons not covered

I was actually thinking of putting the weapons that weren't covered into a separate category. Support weapons or something along those lines. The article mainly covers basic ranged firearms at present. -NKF 01:44, 16 April 2009 (EDT)

NKF, Either you have access to some math that I don't, or you made an error. Looks to me like small and large rockets only have a 25 point difference, not 50!

Jasonred 14:04, 17 April 2009 (EDT)

It's an error. Fridayitis - and a long day at work are part to blame - being rather baffled by the small torpedo (not having really examined it this closely before) also contributed. -NKF 15:44, 17 April 2009 (EDT)

Question: any difference between the GC-HE at clearing terrain compared to the Large Torpedos? Jasonred 23:40, 17 April 2009 (EDT)

Good question. Basically anything of an HE nature is good at clearing terrain. The Large Torpedo has a blast diameter of 13, while the GC-HE has a blast diameter of 9. So one will create a really big ring - the other two medium rings - which you can set apart at any range you wish. Which of the two weapons is better to use will depend on what shape you want to carve out in a single turn.
Coincidentally, I just did a test earlier. Stared a new easy game, dumped all the weapons off the Triton and armed one GC (5 HE clips) and one Torpedo Launcher (5 Large Torpedoes). Wiped the first mission's map clean with these two weapons with only two spotters lost - one to a misfire. The GC-HE's pretty good at slicing through chunks of volcanic map terrain. -NKF 03:29, 18 April 2009 (EDT)

Thermal Tazer

Contrary to the article I recall Xarquid being rather resistant against tazer attacks. They will go down eventually but take several tazer attacks. --Tauon 14:44, 31 January 2011 (EST)

What happened to the laser weapons, Part 2

Thinking about the fairly poor starting weapons in TFTD, the Dart Gun and Jet Harpoon, got me thinking again about the mysterious disappearance of X-Com's laser weapons developed 40 years earlier. We know that the other X-Com weapons depended on Elerium, and that is no longer available. But the laser weapons were pure Earth tech. What happened?

How about this then for a mod: instead of Dart Gun and Jet Harpoon, we have Laser Pistol and Laser Rifle, assuming some modifications for underwater use. Definitely there would be a reduced effectiveness underwater. You could cut the damage in half for the Aqua-Lasers, relative to the UFO land-based lasers. You could reduce accuracy and TU efficiency. You could have limited, rather than unlimited shots, due to overheating or something similar (I think the X-Com designers realised unlimited ammo was a bad idea). You could even nerf the laser weapons right down so much they had identical stats to the Dart Gun and Jet Harpoon, differing only in the picture and description in the UFOPedia entry (and the damage type, see below).

Potentially the mod would allow the Laser Pistol and Laser Rifle to have normal (UFO) stats on land missions. But if this was a technical problem, or deemed to be a game balance problem (since an unnerfed Laser Rifle would be much better than a Gauss Rifle, on land), you could state that the modifications required for underwater operation meant that the laser weapons effectiveness on land was equally reduced. Sort of reasonable, as excuses go.

If the stats were fully nerfed down to Dart Gun and Jet Harpoon level, all you have is a description change that helps to keep the X-Com "canon" a little more self-consistent. If you don't fully nerf the Laser weapons, you have the opportunity to make the TFTD starting weapon mix a little less useless and a little more versatile. Either of those is a good thing.

One problem you have in implementation is that you would not want Aqua-Lasers to use the AP damage type, and the Laser damage type is not available in TFTD because it's been usurped by the Gauss damage type. Possibly use the Electrical damage type? You'd have to look at all the vulnerabilities and resistances to see if that was balanced. Actually, using the HE damage type (but non explosively) would not be unreasonable, that's probably something similar to what happens at the target with an underwater laser.

Assuming 50% less damage than in UFO, here's a quick comparison of proposed underwater Aqua-Lasers vs the existing sharp, pointy TFTD starting weapons.

Weapon            Dmg Ammo Snap: Aimed: Auto:   Dmg/ Best  Dmg/  Best
                           TU Ac TU Ac  TU Ac   %TU  Mode  Turn  Mode

Dart Gun          16  12   20 40 50 80  -- --   .24  Snap  24    Snap
Aqua-Laser Pistol 23  12?  20 40 55 68  25 28   .58  Auto  58    Auto
Jet Harpoon       32  10   35 60 70 90  40 40   .72  Auto  58    Auto
Aqua-Laser Rifle  30  10?  25 65 50 100 34 46   .91  Auto  62    Auto

FP/%TU - average damage per 1% TUs ("instantaneous") FP/Turn - average damage per single full turn ("cylic")

This isn't a specific suggestion, it's just thinking-out-loud at this point.

Spike 20:23, 6 September 2012 (EDT)