I'm a bit busy with other things right now, so I'll be taking a break from playing X-COM for the most part. However I still enjoy talking and writing about the game occasionally.
Stuff I'm working on:
An X-Com 3 Beginner's Log: assorted observations and trivia within
I'm going to organize my ideas a bit here before moving them to the main wiki...
- Your initial base layout will be randomized, and you can get one of several starting bases. It's a good idea to restart the game a few times to see what you can get, though this can get a rather annoying. The main annoyance with this method is that the game places all the buildings randomly, so it's quite common to get a layout that will a pain to defend later. Sometimes you do get lucky with good placement and a properly situated repair bay though. Of course, you can in theory do a few stun raids here to get some funds to pay for a renovation if you don't mind cheating a bit.
- The minute you start, there will already be an alien infiltration in your city. The question is whether you want to save and reload and cheat to find them, or wait for an alien sighting. If you wait for a sighting, you should also watch the graphs and be prepared to investigate neighboring buildings as the alien infection will probably have spread a bit by the time an alien is spotted.
- Hoverbikes! Nothing beats hoverbikes! Buy some hoverbikes and sell your ground vehicles, which aren't of much use early on.
- Other trivia: There's a few decent initial bases in Novice, some really bad ones in Easy, and some hard to defend but large rectangular ones in Medium. The S-shaped building in Superhuman also looks nice.
- Your starting agent setup is less than ideal to say the least. Actually it's awful. The guy with the Mind Bender needs a new weapon immediately, as do the units equipped law pistols and stun grapples.
- You should immediately hire an android, and perhaps a mutant for psionic attacks.
- Sending a lone android in for the first encounter is probably a safe bet since you'll mostly be facing Arthropods with mindsucker launchers. I like to equip him with a machine gun, a sniper rifle, two clips of ammo for each gun, four gas grenades and two high explosive grenades. A motion scanner and a medikit round things out.
- 56 seems to be the average speed of agents after loaded with equipment for some reason.
- Immediately assign them to research. The game really should do this for you. If you see any particularly skilled ones, go ahead and hire them now. You don't pay salaries until the end of the week, so you can wait til Saturday to fire people (unconfirmed however).
- Week 1 is quite easy. All you need is a fleet of hoverbikes with laser cannons (cheapest way to take down UFO since lasers require no ammo), and an android soldier for brainsucker immunity.
- The hardest part is probably getting your system set up. Your troops, but mainly your base will probably need to be reconfigured slightly. You will want to decide where you want to keep your aircraft hanger and will need to make room for security stations around that hangar and at the base entrance.
- Don't do what I did and try to use the APC. While it is nice and large, it can't get to UFO crash sites, which makes it of limited value.
- Ditto with the Stormdog or other road combat vehicles. If the road gets blown up under your vehicle, you lose it. If the road gets blown up in front of your vehicle, it gets stuck and can't move. However if you are inclined to experiment, you can install the Roadwar mod which makes roads invulnerable. It also seems to make air vehicles more expensive however, which is a bit of a disappointment.
- Valkyrie or better is essential for UFO captures. Roger Wong's guide does recommend selling the Valkyries to buy Hovercars. If you feel you can capture Transporters with just 4 troops, this can work. But you'll need that Valkyrie for anything bigger. Also there's the problem of the Hovercar only having room for either a cargo hold or a bio-transport module.
- Stun raids are fun. But watch the tactical points. Too many points and aliens will bring vortex mines and shields to the party. Vortex mines are not fun. :(
- You can actually pick up and drop off troops from other bases with your vehicles. In fact, you can even station troops at a base that they do not live at. So you do have some extra flexibility with where you put your living quarters this way. Where do your troops sleep and shower if their barracks are halfway across town? Who knows? Maybe androids don't need to sleep or shower anyway.
- I am finding disruptor guns when I raid Diablo's slums now. Weird. It's not like they have been infiltrated by aliens. Where are they getting them? Anyway, my tactical score is about to hit 5000 soon. I hope those extra labs get online soon. Six bio labs now, but not one of them is large enough to research Toxiguns yet. Two more physics labs came online today, which is good. Mixing physicists and scientists is confusing. I am wondering when I will get to build large physics labs too.
- Base organization is a huge deal. Having mixed bio and physics labs and engineers in the same base makes life more confusing.
- Transferring stuff around is a annoying too.
- However establishing separate bases for bio, physics and engineering requires a ton of money. Thank goodness for stun raids even if it is cheating.
- To misquote GI Joe: Organization is half the battle. Setting up your soldiers with enough weapons, especially grenades can be a pain in the neck with a large squad.
- I currently have 12 Soldiers in 3 squads of 4. This might be a bit much. Maybe 3 squads of 3 or 2 squads of 4 is sufficient.
- More soldiers means more micromanagement. :(
- Current troop setup:
- 4 Androids as shock troops. 2 Plasma Guns each. 4 Stun grenades, 2 HE grenades, 1 medikit. They can take more hits, and they like Brainsucker sushi, so they go in first.
- 4 Humans as regular troops. Same gear as the androids. I could go with HE autocannons or something more interesting, but that would require too much micro.
- 4 Humans as snipers. Dual wielding Laser Sniper Rifles seems like a good way to go. With aimed or snap shot, they should still have good accuracy and a decent fire rate from dual wielding.
- Marsec armor for all the troops. I tried skimping on the medikits to save on some weight. But the extra micro isn't really worth it. Having to play pass the medikit when someone gets wounded is a bad idea when they are bleeding badly. Plasma guns are great though. Great accuracy, good damage, dual wieldable with no penalty. What's not to like? Lack of ammo. Thank goodness for stun raids. If you don't want to cheat, I guess you could raid CoS, maybe in turn-based so they don't blow you up with rockets and grenades so quickly. I guess it would be fun to bankrupt them anyway. :)
- Hoverbikes are still fairly effective, but more bikes means more micromanagement. :( It's probably time to upgrade to Hovercars soon. They are almost as fast as hoverbikes with upgraded engines. I could also go with Hawk Air Warriors, but they are even more expensive.
- The maximum number of vehicles you can put in a group is 13. Why 13? Who knows? But not being able to set up persistent groups for your vehicles makes managing hoverbikes a lot of work. Sure, I could send 39 odd hoverbikes into battle, but not if the game requires me to click 39 times every time some UFOs show up. What ever happened to click and drag and square to select your forces? Or Ctrl 1-9?
- Running into problems with tougher UFOs now. Switching from Laser Cannons to Plasma. Thank goodness for stun raids for those elerium pods. I could use Janitor missiles, but they are rather expensive. Using Janitor missiles against Type 1 and 2 UFOs seems like a waste though.
--Captain Foo 10:26, 31 August 2008 (PDT)
- Just downed a rather large attack wave and captured the first alien assault ship. Current tactical points are about 5400 and total points over 111000. I kinda wish I had heard NKF's advice regarding stun raids sooner. However, I'd picked up a shiny power sword in my last major stun raid and didn't feel like giving it up.
- Things are getting interesting with the latest assault ship I stormed. Tactically it was a piece of cake, since doing a quick perimeter sweep and camping outside the front door with plasma guns and laser snipers works amazingly well. NFK's advice was useful here too. Dual-wield seems to work best on slow firing weapons. Four snipers with two rifles each can lay down a very nice volume of fire and when lying down, their shots are still quite accurate.
- The aliens are bringing more interesting toys. Devastator cannons, gas grenades and something nasty that causes big purple explosions. Hanging out in the elevator of the assault ship is a bad idea in general. Camping outside is probably best. Actually, there are two Chrysalises in the Assault Ship, but they seem to be auto-captured once you kill everyone else.
- Aliens always seem to appear in groups of 5, at least in Novice mode. Maybe they send more in superhuman.
- They vary the attack waves quite a bit. Last turn it was a transporter and a handful of scouts, then two assault ships and three fast attack ships, and then this turn an assault ship, a transporter and three scouts. Weird since I'd expect their forces to steady escalate, especially since I am racking up more points with each wave.
- Laser and plasma weapons are particularly useful when dealing with Poppers, since they do not detonate the popper when killing it.
- I saw my first pair of skeletoids. At least that's what I think they are. Yellow guys that jump around. A perimeter sweep around the far side of the assault ship was a good idea, since they were already on their way out. Nothing like getting ambushed from behind while you are camping to ruin your day.
- There appears to be only one exit for the assault ship, which makes things very convenient for you since you only have one exit to cover.
- I standardized on Plasma Guns and Laser Snipers. I suppose I could add autocannons to the mix, but I'm not convinced about the usefulness of using explosive ammo. It does kill headsuckers better, but they are hardly the most serious threat at this point. Also, explosions tend to destroy equipment, and while I'm not sure about the particulars, I prefer to capture stuff intact and research it at this point. Perhaps when everything is researched, I can safely use huge explosions to wipe out the enemy instead. I sure would like something to punch a hole in one of the UFOs the next time I need to storm it. Beats using the front door in general.
- Ship to ship combat is getting rather tricky. I think reloading plasma weapons for 14 hoverbikes cost something like 1400 elerium. I'll have to check the numbers again. I'm considering just using 20-25 hoverbikes with janitor missiles to get the job done instead. Maybe add some hovercars to the mix. Either way, I'll need more cash, so it's time to raid for psiclone again.
- I wonder if I should leave the other four UFOs alone and let the aliens do whatever they do when they disappear. I'm paranoid they'll leave the ship and infiltrate the surrounding buildings, but I'm pretty sure they just vanish or go home. I think I do need to keep my score down a bit, and I don't really need another assault ship for now. The loot would be handy, but I think I already have all the tech. Capturing a live skeletoid would be handy, but on the other hand, I probably have a bunch of stuff to research as it is. I can't wait for Toxiguns though.
- The plantation slum map is probably the quickest map for grabbing psiclone. There's only four, but the handy thing is that you can get them all easily. Go the second floor first. While enemies do spawn there, there is only one way out, so you can just stun them all and grab the psiclone if someone has picked it up. Afterwards, you can get the psiclone in the two sheds. Enemies occasionally spawn near the SW shed, but usually only one or two and he doesn't wander too far.
- The plantation map is the 05 series in the slum folder. Here's the other maps I have tested so far:
01: Central Elevator 02: Bridge 03: Grasslands 04: U Shaped Building 05: Plantation
Hmm, I am not sure what to do about extra aliens in alien containment. I wish the game would just auto-destroy them when it's clear that you no longer need them? Can some aliens be researched twice, or can you dump them once they've been crossed off on your research list? --Captain Foo 19:49, 31 August 2008 (PDT)
Amazing how much can happen in 15 minutes of game time.
- Camping out at the front of the assault ship works, but aliens managed to get out of the ship somehow. I guess it was because something kicked up a smoke cloud in front of the exit. I tried using a stun grenade to dispel it. I wonder exactly how much smoke or stun gas cuts down visibility exactly. Anyway, a pair of skeletoids charged me and got taken down promptly.
Also, a pair of poppers and a brainsucker somehow escaped, perhaps their morale broke and were trying to flee. The AI is still pretty limited, but it has interesting features like that. They snuck out and tried to get away from the back rather than charging headlong into my ambush. But then the poppers charged when they saw me. Strange. Aliens also retreat when they get wounded or are under heavy fire. Too bad they're not smart enough to avoid winding up under heavy fire in the first place.
- Sniper rifles are okay, but I can't wait until I can swap them out for dual devastator cannons. The cannons are 20% less accurate, but they hit a lot harder. Perhaps toxiguns would work too.
- If you are setting up research bases, you will notice that each Living Quarters always houses 10 units and that each lab can support five or ten scientists in the case of advanced structures. The typical research base will probably have four small labs and one large lab, which is probably the maximum amount the game will let you have. That's a total of 30 scientists and they will completely fill three Living Quarters. So if you want to station a few soldiers at each research base (you need at least one, or you automatically lose a base defense mission), then you should keep all your soldiers at one base, and send a few over the your research base. I'm not sure exactly how training works in this situation. Maybe the soldier can using the training facility at the home base, or perhaps you'll need to build training facilities at the research base if you want you troops to be able to train while guarding the base. In any case, you can send your androids off to perform guard duty. They're more durable anyway, which is good if you need a base defender, and you can send them off on solo psiclone stun raids which means won't have to fiddle with equipment setups on your main troops, unless you want to use stun raids to boost your stats, but that's another story.
- Hoverbike strategy is getting more complex. I'd really like to be able to assign fixed squadrons. Also, micromanaging seems to yield some improved results. You can reduce casualties by pausing at the right moments and having your bikes and surround the aliens.
- Friendly fire seems to be a big issue with hoverbikes. At least with the Bolter lasers. The bikes in front tend to get shot by their comrades behind them. Rather embarrassing really. I guess the solution is to split your forces up and attack from multiple directions. If you really wanted to go nuts on micro, you could even have parts of the same attack squadron fight from different altitudes. Impractical unless the game helped you manage this though.
- Disruptors do not fit on hoverbikes, hovercars or Valkyries. I wonder what the optimal loadout for the hoverbikes are. Perhaps the Lineage Plasma Cannon, if you can afford the elerium.
- I wonder if upgrading hoverbike engines is worth the trouble and expense considering you'll lose some anyway.
- Perhaps it's better to save the big plasma cannons for hovercars, preferrably shielded hovercars. There are never enough plasma cannons for sale, and the hoverbikes often get killed in one shot if they get hit.
To Cheat, or not to Cheat...
To Cheat, or not to Cheat, that is the Question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the minde to suffer
The Slings and Arrowes of outragious Fortune,
Or to take up Questionable Tactics against a Sea of Hostile Boomeroid-chucking Alien Hordes,
And by Cheating end them: to Play, to Cheat
No more; and by Cheat, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Naturall shockes
That X-COM: Apocalypse is heir too?
The original words have been crassly abducted from Hamlet's Soliloquy.