Spike, re the effectiveness list you added and the stun bombs.
Don't forget that stun bombs (including HE) work against under-armour on direct hits, and this also counts for all adjacent tiles that it affects. Directional armour only comes into play beyond ground zero + 1 tiles, so direct hits on the Sectopod are obviously the most effective.
The higher the difficulty level though, the less effective the stun bombs become as the armour increases. On easier difficulty levels you can often knock them out with just one bomb with a fair amount of regularity, even with non GZ+1 attacks. On superhuman, you have to make direct hits, even then you might need several tries. Still, I suppose it's a lot better than whittling them away slowly with the other weapons.
- NKF 22:31, 3 September 2008 (PDT)
Armour and Explosions
Thanks NKF! I had forgotten the mechanics of directional armour and explosions. I will definitely review in the light of that. Are you sure about armour level and difficulty though? The Ufopaedia article Alien Stats that I checked for this note says the armour is halved at Beginner but otherwise constant at all difficulty levels. Obviously Health (damage capacity) does increase with difficulty so this will affect the numer of hits required to kill, but not whether the weapon is effective/totally ineffective. Spike 01:53, 4 September 2008 (PDT)
- A combination of higher health and armour is the most likely result. I don't remember ever comparing mid-level aliens to see if their armour levels matched their beginner/superhuman counterparts. -NKF 02:50, 4 September 2008 (PDT)
OK right you are! With armour mechanics working that way, impacting Bottom armour for all squares of the Terrorist with a direct hit... you'd get about 50 total penetrating damage from a typical Stun direct hit, around 200 total from a Blaster Bomb direct hit. The Large Rocket enters the equation, albeit with a negligible 5 points for an average hit. I can't compute the actual averages because I haven't modelled the step function of HE damage reduction in my averaging function. This compares to 30 points per turn of fire from a (standard) Heavy Laser (74/turn from an XCU Heavy Laser) - assuming hte 130 point side armour is the 'typical' target of the Heavy Laser. I'll tweak the rankings - thanks for the input! Spike 14:14, 4 September 2008 (PDT)
Checking the Explosions page, I see the Under Armour rule applies to thrown Explosive weapons as well as fired/launched Explosive weapons. So I've added in the HE Pack as well (average 10 points/explosion, plus a small splash effect I haven't calculated). Spike 13:00, 5 September 2008 (PDT)
Laser Vulnerability Explanations
Jasonred : The game explains that its "Sensing circuitry is particularly vulnerable to laser fire".
[--X-COM:Turcocalypse 14:26, 15 April 2006 (PDT)] : Bad sci-fi idea,I laughed when I saw it first.Laser is after all,radiation stimulated super-dense light.If it's vulnerable to this,how can PLASMA,matter with 15000 Grad Celsius shrugged off?
- I guess that it's armor is thick enough that neither plasma's nor laser's heat would effect it. But spark from laser make it's sensor circuit mess-up and since it's quite powerful, Ethereal program it to shutdown the system once sensor damaged to prevent friendly-fire.
Actually, lasers were planned for use in anti-ICBM space weapons platforms not because of the heat damage from a laser blowing up the missile, but because of the effect it has on sensing equipment. That makes this based in reality, though it should have also applied to all other sensing apparati as well. We have less of a clue how the alien weapons work since they are most certainly not a literal 'plasma' gun, so it's very possible the sensing circuts are shielded to common alien weapons but not to relatively rare lasers. Only other sectopods use lasers, afterall. Covenant 19:13, 11 December 2008 (CST)
- Actually, I just assumed that the "sensing circuitry" referred to the OPTICS of the sectopod... does it make sense that the optical systems would be sensitive to light? (makes no sense why it does more damage when it is shot in the ass though) Similiar to how daredevil is susceptible to sonic attacks, and such. Jasonred 02:27, 28 February 2009 (CST)
- Good comments there Covenant. Here's a related possibility: since the Ethereals suppress the intelligence of the Sectopods, maybe they fear a "Revolt of the Machines". In which case, since Sectopods are very hard even for Ethereals to stop, it would make sense to make them vulnerable to their own weapons (only). In this way, "loyal" Sectopods could take care of any "rogue" Sectopods. As for the physics of it, we must conclude that the material properties of Sectopod armour are highly resistant to heat (plasma) but much more permeable to light (lasers) or the damage efffects of lasers - in addition to being sensitive to laser damage once it penetrates the armour. Not so impossible.Spike 02:54, 12 December 2008 (CST)
- It seems that if they feared a revolt among the secopods, they should have made their control center a muton brain with brain implants, which means they can be controlled by the leader and commander types in the area. That'd give the secopods a decent psi defense because you have to kick the ethereal leader/commander out of the system.--(name here) 09:40, 13 December 2008 (CST)
- Sectopods already have a psionic receiver that can be manipulated by any Ethereal, even from millions of miles away(listed under general information). In addition, It is EASIER to Mind Control an Ethereal Commander than a Sectopod. In fact, Sectopods are one of the two most difficult units in the game to Mind-Control(they're tied with the Cyberdisc). Arrow Quivershaft 11:24, 13 December 2008 (CST)
Weapon Rankings Vs. Sectopods
Average %TUs per kill (at Firing Accuracy=50):
Blast Bmb 38 HE Pack(XCU) 58 HvyLas (XCU) 132 Stun Bmb 237 HvyLas 534 HE Pack 614 HvyPlas 1084 LaserR 1390 RocketLg 1598 Alien Grd 5985 ALL OTHER NO EFFECT
Tanks (at standard Firing Accuracy):
Tk Fusion 123 Tk Laser 204 Tk Plasma 2068 Tk Rocket 9855 Tk Cannon NO EFFECT
It's possible that Incendiary weapons are comparatively effective vs Sectopods, since they ignore armour and may cause multiple damage to large units. However the mechanics of Incendiaries are not yet well enough understood to do exact modelling.
Spike 18:56, 11 March 2009 (CDT)
[...] due to the 80 item limit, it looks like it is impossible for their to be enough alien grenades on the field to kill 1 sectopod? Oh... and [list] the stun rod too please, since I heard rumors that it could be used effectively against sectopods, though I have personal doubts about it. Jasonred 04:19, 1 March 2009 (CST)
- The Stun Rod has no effect on Sectopods, at least not against Front Armour (which is what I use for modelling - worst case analysis). The throwing rate for grenades is one per turn, so 6000% TUs implies 60 grenades - just about possible, especially if some are scavenged from the enemy. Another way of looking at it is that chucking an Alien Grenade at a Sectopod goes 1/60th of the way toward kiling it. This value is based on a typical starting Throwing Accuracy of 65; with TA=100 you would be 50% more effective, so 40 grenades throws per kill. Still not a particularly effective tactic, but marginally better than doing nothing. Spike 09:16, 1 March 2009 (CST)
- The Stun Rod has no effect on a Sectopod's front armor for one reason: The maximum damage of the Stun Rod is 130, and the front armor of a Sectopod is 145. Its not that the weapon won't work, its simply the armor is too thick to punch through. Used on the BACK of a Sectopod,(which, let's face it, is the only place you should ever be approaching them or shooting them if you have a choice) you can deal up to 30 stun damage a turn. Admittedly, the chance of a result of 0 is still rather high, and there's no reason to stun Sectopods or Cyberdiscs since they can't be captured. If you've got to the back of it, you should hoist that Heavy Plasma and fire away on full auto. Arrow Quivershaft 19:37, 1 March 2009 (CST)
- Assuming you HAVE Heavy Plasma by that time. ... Actually, if you are point blank at the back of a Sectopod, firing a full-auto burst might actually get you killed... their reaction fire is deadly. True personal story. As for alien grenading them, typo there, I meant it is HIGHLY unlikely there will be enough grenades on the field to kill one... and it's impossible to have enough to kill 3 of them. And they appear on the battlefield in quite high numbers... Jasonred 21:15, 1 March 2009 (CST)
The alien can't reaction fire until your auto burst is finished, so it might work. It should also be noted that if you're stuck at point blank behind a Sectopod and still alive in the first place, something went wrong somewhere. ;) Usually your soldier will be at a greater range to shoot it. Arrow Quivershaft 21:25, 1 March 2009 (CST)
- One on noob run on Beginner, I had Ethereals during my Base Defence, and the stupid game item manager gave me a bunch of stun rods... there was MUCH hiding in closets and behind doors EN MASSE, and whole teams of mad beserkers emerging and swarming the Sectopods from the sides and rear, jabbing them over and over til they dropped. ... It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Jasonred 21:45, 1 March 2009 (CST)
Not to drag this discussion on and on, but I went up against a Sectopod with a Stun Rod a while back and didn't fair too bad. Of course, I ganged up on it with a group of men too. The nice thing about the Stun Rod is that if you come up from behind and stun it but don't move the stunning guy around afterwords, he will not suffer reaction fire from point-blank range. You can safely move up another guy and stun the other rear quarter. But it's not for the faint of heart. The best weapon against a Sectopod is the Sectopod's own weapon since it is extremely powerful and is a laser. This means a good Psi trooper is all you need: MC one quarter of it, then target another quarter with it's own weapon. Second best weapons are the Laser Rifle, Laser Tank and Heavy Laser, though not many people use the latter two. --Zombie 21:48, 1 March 2009 (CST)
- Of course, Sectopods are a robot and thus tied with the Cyberdisc for the hardest unit to Mind Control. This isn't to say it can't be done(it's very easy with properly trained Psi Ops) but its not necessarily an available option. In fact, it is easier to Mind Control the Ethereals (even any Ethereal Commanders, if present) in the level. If you can't break into the control loop yourself, try Mind-Controlling the various Ethereals and having them shoot at the Sectopod for you. They're carrying Heavy Plasma, not lasers, but if they get killed its not a huge deal. The only risk is that your morale will go down slightly if the Sectopod guns your mindslaves down, but in the end it makes the mission easier, because MCed Ethereals aren't trying to MC or shoot at you, and ones that get killed in MC-induced infighting don't need to be cleaned up later. Arrow Quivershaft 21:55, 1 March 2009 (CST)
- When you can MC the Ethereals, the game is as good as over. When you can MC the Sectopods, the game should have been over some time ago, you're just torturing the poor aliens. :) Jasonred 22:06, 1 March 2009 (CST)
- I prefer to call it "Payback" for all those cowering soldiers in the early game getting shot to pieces by superior alien forces. I've got one game I keep for stress-relief with 30 Avengers as my interception force, 2 Avengers as my dropships, all bases having 10 soldiers in Flying Suits as defense along with several Hovertank/Launchers and one of the dropships having a Psi-ops division where everyone scores above 90 Psi Strength and every other stat(barring throwing accuracy) is maxed out. It's fun! Arrow Quivershaft 22:09, 1 March 2009 (CST)
- I think everyone does that, lol. But my point is, once you reach that stage, tactics discussion is unimportant anymore... it's slaughter time! Jasonred 22:41, 1 March 2009 (CST)
- Yeah, tactics become less important at that point...it's more for fun and laughter! Remember, you can't spell "Slaughter" without "Laughter!" Arrow Quivershaft 22:46, 1 March 2009 (CST)
Incendiary vs Sectopod
This was prompted by Jasonred's proposal and also some questions from Arrow Quivershaft, and some recent testing I did. I hadn't quite realised that Incendiary effects are not reduced by armour levels (though they are blocked by certain armour types, e.g. human armour).
Thinking about it, if you fired Auto Cannon Incendiary at a Sectopod, each round that hits (or missed by less than about 2 squares) will cause Incendiary effect on all 4 squares. This means an average of about 6.4x4=26 damage per round that hits. If you hit with even 4 out of 6 rounds, that's enough to kill the Sectopod (96 Health). You are also almost certain (1-(1/7)^4= > 99.95% each square) to set all four squares on fire with 4 Incendiary impacts (assuming the adjacent squares count as an "impact" and not "being in fire"), which will cause on average an extra 27x4=108 damage over 1-5 rounds - again, enough to kill it. I think Jasonred is right, AC-I might be one of the best weapons against Sectopods (And probably against Cyberdiscs too. As for Reapers, with 170% damage from Incendiary, they're toast!)
Because fire doesn't do property damage to loot, it's also a much safer way of clearing out an alien bridge or control room than HE, especially on autofire. Shame there isn't an Incendiary grenade.
It would be good to test this Sectopod theory I think. If this is true, then yet again I'm impressed by how well balanced this game can be! Spike 14:36, 8 March 2009 (CDT)
- Man... just remembered the good old Incendiary Grenade in Apocalypse. Product of Diablo gang. ... I wish someone would mod this into Xcom. And they should cost $10 to manufacture or purchase, since they are essentially Molotov Cocktails. How much can it cost to buy a bottle, petrol, and a rag? hahaha. This would be NICE to toss over those hedges, through the hole in the roof of crashed UFOs, etc etc. ... Instead, the only way to spread fire in Xcom is through rockets and man portable cannon shells??? What sense does that make? Jasonred 15:26, 9 March 2009 (CDT)
- How about the fact that Incendiary Round DO NOT TRIGGER REACTION FIRE if the alien is not facing you? So, if you are wearing Personal Armor and sneak up on a Sectopod, you can just auto-fire Incendiaries at him point blank. ... It's an exploit, but if you have 2 fire teams, and they both meet a sectopod at the same time, you will likely inadvertantly benefit from the IC damaging anything on fire bug. Jasonred 23:54, 8 March 2009 (CDT)
- Good point about the reaction fire and the bug. Personally I would never want to use this tactic unless the IC damage bug was fixed, or I was scrupulously avoiding firing at more than one live target at a time. Spike 06:29, 9 March 2009 (CDT)
- In all honesty, Spike, I've never had a problem taking Reapers down with any sort of heavy weapon. Their armor values, while decent, are not incredible; Heavy Plasma on full auto slices through 148 health and 28 armor like a knife through butter. Not to mention the Reaper has a pitiful 4 Underarmor, meaning you can easily nuke it with pretty much any explosive, since its a Large unit. Arrow Quivershaft 01:23, 9 March 2009 (CDT)
- Of course, Reapers are never a problem. It's the Sectopod angle (and to a much lesser extent Cyberdisk) that is interesting. Spike 06:29, 9 March 2009 (CDT)
Incendiary Weapon Rankings
Results just in! Incendiary weapons vs Sectopods are now rated 3rd and 4th! The order is: Blaster Launcher, Small (Stun) Launcher, AC-IN, HC-IN, then Heavy Laser. Incendiary Rocket tucks in just behind HE Pack, and way ahead of Large (HE) Rocket. So if you're off to Cydonia in March '99, pack some AC-IN! Spike 15:38, 9 March 2009 (CDT)
- It looks like, if you include "being on fire" damage, the effectiveness goes UP... I estimate under 200% TU for the AC-IN. That pushes them up 1 rank... Jasonred 01:31, 10 March 2009 (CDT)
- I can't really agree with your weapon rankings Spike, particularly the incendiary autocannon coming third, compared with the blaster launcher at first. I can only assume that you didn't factor in the possibility for an incendiary autocannon to deal damage despite rolling a 'miss' (either because the 'miss' trajectory was plotted through the target, or because the target is already on fire), and the blaster launcher's figure is misleading.
- A blaster launcher can't be fired more than once per turn, so stating that it takes 38% of a turn's TU's is highly misleading. Overkill doesn't count for anything in ufo, so it takes a full turn, minimum.
- Using up a full turn firing a blaster launcher will kill about 0.97 sectopods on average. Your figure suggests nearly 3 per turn! If we assume a gauranteed hit, then it's a simple matter of damage vs 'under' armour and resistance.
- 90 'under' armour, and 20% resistance to high explosive, means that a pretty average blasterbomb hit of 200dmg will be reduced to 160 by resistance, then down to 70dmg after armour is considered. Obviously it hits 4 times per shot, so that's an average of 280dmg vs the 96 health of a sectopod... With 280 as our 'average' damage per shot, and a pretty pointy bell-curve going from 0 to 600, there is about a 3.5% chance for a sectopod to survive a blaster bomb. Of course, such a wounded target is pretty much gauranteed to be killed next turn...
- Regardless of whether you want to call it 0.97 or 1 kill per turn, we can compare it's results to the incendiary autocannon:
- (Taking some real examples as I type:)
- shot result damage total
- 01 miss:
- 02 hits: 05+11+09+10=30dmg 030
- 03 auto: 07+10+05+00=22dmg 052
- 04 hits: 05+06+06+06=23dmg 075
- 05 auto: 09+09+07+09=34dmg 109 (1 dead sectopod)
- 06 luck: 00+07+05+10=22dmg 022
- 07 hits: 07+06+09+00=22dmg 044
- 08 hits: 05+10+08+07=30dmg 074
- 09 auto: 05+09+08+11=33dmg 107 (2 dead sectopods)
- 10 miss:
- 11 luck: 10+05+00+06=21dmg 021
- 12 auto: 09+05+__+10=24dmg 045
- (note - 'luckymiss' is a shot that rolled a 'miss', but whose random trajectory was plotted through the target, resulting in a hit! 'Autohit' is a shot that misses, but since the target is already set on fire, the resulting incendiary explosion stills deals it's damage. Note that shot 12's autohit only effected 3 squares, because only 3 squares caught fire from shot 11)
- When we continue these calculations over a 1.5 million(!) shots, a firing accuracy: 63 soldier (pretty average) manages to kill 321,084 sectopods in this test. Since he fires 6 shots per turn, this translates to 250,000 turns, and a final average of 1.28 sectopods killed per turn.
- This is without taking into account end-of-turn burning damage from being on fire, because, typically, you want to kill a sectopod before he tears your team apart.
- A second test yields 320,014 kills, again 1.28 kills per turn...
- Given these numbers, I can only imagine that your calculations did not take into account the possibility of 'luckymiss' and 'autohit'. When these are factored in, the incendiary autocannon is far superior to the blaster launcher for sectopod hunting, and far and away the best weapon for the job.
- When you think about the other advantages of the incendiary autocannon - not provoking reaction shots, being able to attack using any soldier, whether they can see the sectopod or not, etc, it's even more potent.
- Sylph 12:37, 25 January 2010 (CDT)
- Fair point about the ranking value. Yes, first time out I didn't include any of the IN weapons because of the uncertainties in modelling them, and most of my other rankings tables around the site omit IN weapons. In general these weapon rankings are not intended to be per-turn rates, they are per TU rates over a short period of time. They also ignore running out of ammo, and reloading, because that is not constant, it varies hugely with the TUs of the soldier. If I only show one table, it tends to have these assumptions. I should make them explicit though!
- So I'm in no way suggesting you can simplistically divide by 38% and get nearly 3 kills per turn. Though since it only takes you 66% TUs to Launch the blaster, you can do other stuff as well as killing the Sectopod. Like moving out of cover and back into cover. :) But probably I should not report less TUs to kill the Sectopod than it takes to fire the weapon, fair point! This must be one of my earlier weapon ranking tables because in later versions of the underlying spreadsheet I eliminate 'overkill' from my calculations, i.e. you can't kill a target more than 1.0 times per shot! (I also give options to check the actual fire rate per entire turn, and/or limit the fire rate per turn to the magazine capacity of the weapon). Eliminating 'overkill', a better value for the Blaster Launcher ranking would be 66%TUs / 96.5% kill probability = 68% TUs/kill. Your testing puts the AC-IN pretty conclusively at around 130% TUs/kill at FA=63, corresponding to about 161% TUs/kill at FA=50, which is definitely ahead of my score for the Stun Bomb (and I probably made the same questionable assumptions with the Stun Bomb as I did with the Blaster).
- My weapon rankings in general also ignore near miss for area effect weapons and auto weapons because it's extremely hard to model, we don't know how the accuracy function works. Even if we did, there are a huge number of variables due to terrain, range, target size and shape. You could take a featureless terrain as a limiting case (best case), totally blocked terrain as another limiting case (worst case), but even then, how do you interpolate, what is a 'typical' tactical situation? And if you are modelling the positive effects of misses, you should also model the negative effects, i.e. friendly fire and loot damage. I just ignore both.
- My numbers are not just per hit or per shot, but are calculated as damage done per TU expended. So I also include weapon accuracy and rate of fire, taking a base Firing Accuracy of 50. If your soldiers have better accuracy you can just scale the values linearly.
- I also ignore the damage caused when an IN round misses, because it's a bug/exploit. In fact, it's likely that the IN damage mechanics, as far as we understand them, are a bug. Seb76's loader has a fix for the presumed bug, though it's difficult to 'fix' it and keep the IN weapons balanced. In general, my view is that using AC-IN in combination with the bug/exploit is unbalanced. It quite possibly is highly effective against Sectopods, and other tough enemies, but I personally wouldn't use it, as it's based on a bug/exploit. So I wouldn't go along with the point about attacks from soldiers who can't even see the target, or who fire at a tree, are who are sitting in the Skyranger, etc - that's just cheating!
- As noted above there is a lot of uncertainty about the IN damage mechanics still, in particular how the damage level is generated, whether it varies based on tile characteristics, how random it really is, etc. There was also a lot of uncertainty over whether IN damage actually does damage 4 squares of a large unit or not. There's a discussion in Talk:Incendiary#Incendiary_vs_Large_Units and Talk:Incendiary#Incendiary_Research. From my testing I was getting the impression it only damaged the unit once, not 4 times. Looks like you have some hard data showing each hit taking health off all 4 parts of the Sectopod? That's very valuable data, it resolves an open question. I'm not sure how you got that data though? I was only able to see a total health for the Sectopod, not individual health levels for each part. So how did you get your 4 damage numbers per shot? Sounds like you have a cool tool there. Please contribute to the discussion in Talk:Incendiary! Spike 19:19, 27 January 2010 (EST)
- Sylph, what's all this "lucky-miss" stuff? Where's the documentation/discussion on it? Could you please provide some links on the subject? I've performed thousands of in-game tests, and fully believe it never rolls to see if a shot will "hit" - merely to see how far the angle of the shot will deviate from the angle required to hit the dead center of the target. However, I'm not able to read the game's machine code, nor can I work out a practical way to perform 1.5 million tests without dedicating a computer to the cause for months on end... - Bomb Bloke 02:34, 28 January 2010 (EST)
Sectopods from behind
A sectopod's incredibly high armor means that direction of attack makes a HUGE difference, and changes the weapon rankings very significantly.
Laser Rifle from front does an average of (sum 0 to 40) /180 = 4.5 per shot. However Laser Rifle from back does an average of (sum 0 to 80) / 180 = 18 per shot. Heavy Plasama front = (s0to44) /184 = 5.4 HP back = (s0to84)/184 = 19.4 Heavy Laser Front = (s0t115) / 255 = 26 Heavy Laser Back = (s0t155) / 255 = 47.4 Tank/Laser Front = (s0t220) / 360 = 67.5 Tank/Laser Back = (s0t260) / 360 = 94.3
18 per shot means that, from behind, the Laser Rifle will on average kill the Sectopod in 6 shots, the Heavy Plasma in 5... this means that, if you manage to creep up on a sectopod which has no TU left, 2 auto shot bursts from the rear with these weapons will usually kill it.
Scarily enough, that Tank/Laser will kill a Sectopod from the front in 1-2 hits, and it 1 shots it from behind about half the time! OUCH... the fact that the Tank's laser can do up to 260 damage on a rear hit on a Sectopod is significant...
Also, the fact that it is very rewarding to sneak up behind a Sectopod means that weapons that do a lot of damage in 1 single shot/ auto burst are more useful than the kill/TU comparison would lead us to believe, since it seems like a good idea to hit the sectopod as hard as possible before it spins around to fire reaction shots...
Jasonred 16:28, 23 March 2009 (EDT)
I erased some parts in the 'Autopsy' not appearing in the in-game Ufopedia and replaced them with the original text. Were these fanfiction or from another source? If fanfiction, I can readd this in another header or another page... (I actually would like some fanfiction here, as long as its clearly separated from the 'real' in-game data). If not, would anyone please mention the source so I can readd these to the autopsy header?
P.S. "5 to 10, to even 20 times as powerful as standard Earth processors" is actually quite low given Moore's law. That would mean the aliens aren't too advanced... Cesium 17:07, 14 January 2010 (EST)
- I don't remember the source for those descriptions, but it might have been an attempt at making the official entry sound more original. Either way, the official entries should stick to the in-game text so that was a good decision. Our own descriptions on the other hand allow some artistic license to the prose as long as we don't go adding more than what was there. Say the Sectopods run specifically with Microsoft CP/M as their OS on a Commodore or Apple IIe! Then again, I wouldn't be overly surprised if they did. -NKF