User talk:Spike

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By any chance, have you taken another look at my talk page since your return?

Yes yes, I'm lazy and should really be able to interpret the data myself... But I can only really get as far as saying "that's not a linear distribution" and then my lack of understanding re what all the trig functions are for leaves me stranded. :/

- Bomb Bloke 09:20, 10 April 2009 (EDT)

Sorry what with starting a new job, moving, Easter, I've been a bit busy. Did you say you still had the original data? You sent me it in an Access database, is that right? It all seems a long time ago! Spike 16:28, 14 April 2009 (EDT)

I don't remember sending you the data specifically (I certainly haven't done so within the last year), but you can find it all linked on my talk page now. - Bomb Bloke 22:31, 14 April 2009 (EDT)

Do you post on Strategycore? If so, is your ID the same? Tycho 22:46, 17 October 2012 (EDT)

No I don't post, though I do read it occasionally. I thought I had an account there with the same name as here but Zombie checked for me and couldn't find anything. Or rather he found 3 "Spike"-etc accounts none of which were mine. So as far as I know I don't even have a strategycore account. I really should get one! After all there are so many good discussions on there. I guess in part not having a strategycore account is my way of limiting the amount of time I spend being obsessed by XCOM. :-) By the way, thanks very much for your latest patch with loads of nice fixes. So far I have only tested OBDATA.DAT but that feature works like a charm now. Cheers, Spike 00:42, 18 October 2012 (EDT)
FYI, the fix for the executable under the [loader] section won't be working until I release version 1.6.-Tycho 04:44, 18 October 2012 (EDT)

Apocalypse Blog QA

Uncle NKF to the rescue!

Don't ever unload troops at the mission site. To select which agents go into a mission, just highlight them before picking the attack or investigate button or click on the vehicle name to select them all. Get into this habit - always.

The reason why will become incredibly apparent if you play long enough to do an alien dimension building. The moment you complete the mission, the alien building will collapse and your ship will take off automatically (as per standard practice). However, the kicker is that you'll never be able to land at the building site again. This will result in forever stranding any troops that did not get killed by the building crashing down around them.

Alien's won't attack a dead body on purpose, though HE explosions caused by nearby combat will certainly destroy them. Watch where you are fighting. Also some enemies tend to pick up anything that's not bolted down, and may even carelessly wander towards one of the area exit pads. It happens - so be vigilant!

Dual-Wield does penalise your accuracy, and depending on some weapons, will slow you down considerably. The only reason to dual weild is as you say: to increase volume of fire. If you're like me and like close range combat (you'll find a lot of this in some buildings), then you want to get out as much firepower as you can because the enemy will have just as much of an advantage at such a close range as you do (and there's often more of them than you or they have one-hit big-bang weapons like the Poppers!). Out in the open, single weapons with aimed shots get better results - until you are so accurate that you don't even feel the penalty.

The game's super weapons are easy enough to be effective without dual-wielding as they're ramped up to be the best weapons available. In fact, most people make do with just one devestator or toxigun and cloak combo exclusively.

Apocalypse uses the volume of successful hits to determine accuracy improvements. The M4000 just gets lots of hits in, while the laser sniper rifle may hit a few times. By the way, aimed + dual M4000 garners more accuracy for a slightly slower fire rate than full-auto, allowing you to not waste as much ammo. Not as accurate as one M4000 on aimed or as fast as dual M4k's on full auto.

Plasma gun ammo is scarce at first, but you do have the option of attacking your enemies like the Cult of Sirius and win some off their fallen brethren. In fact, a lot of items that don't get released until a week or two in can be won off raiding enemy organizations. Better to get a good start than try to hobble along. I'd recommend stealing borrowing a power sword too.

The Autocannon with AP shells is one of the most powerful non-explosive ranged weapons you can buy. Stronger than the plasma gun and the ammo is easier to obtain. I'd actually recommend only carrying 1 HE and 1 Incendiary clip and carry AP as your primary clips. Beside, you don't want to do too much property damage with the HE rounds (companies don't mind the burning corpses of civilians - they could go hostile towards X-Com if you track too much dirt on their carpets). The HE and In clips are for special uses, like blasting brainsuckers off if you're on your own, or to wipe out hyperworm mobs. Incendiary can be break up tight mobs of enemies, etc. The AC will however be very slow in turn based - so if that's what you play then it may not suit you very well.

Psi is a long term investment in Apocalypse. You only earn 3 times your base Psi stats. Hence humans will only ever be useful for low level simple attacks like probes. Hybrids will be your core psi users. Even then they may not be able to do much at the start. They need plenty of uninterrupted practice time in the psi lab before their skills pay off (when I say uninterrupted, I mean: no health loss when the clock ticks over midnight).

Psi may not be immediately useful, but they come into their own once they've built up their stats and can easily strip enemy anthropods or human guards of their disrupter shields in a flash while setting all of their carried grenades to explode on impact with the ground and dropping them.

The only time I've ever got a neutral organization hostile towards me when doing psi practice was when one of my psi troopers mind controlled a gangster then made him jump off the building. When he hit the ground, the gangster was still under my psi trooper's control. The loss in health was attributed to X-COM, and they started shooting. However, if my psi trooper had broken the psi link before the gangster hit the ground, the gangster would've eventually died of critical wounds (or the impact), and the psi trooper would've been free to roam about the map as if nothing happened. A morbid way of killing neutrals and not getting blamed for it.

Stun attacks will have the same effect as you'd get with stun gas or a stun grapple (marvelous weapon by the way - bounces of shields but still great for conserving ammo).

Psi attacks require line of sight. Breaking line of sight breaks the link.

Yes, psi attacks expend Psi Energy, a rechargeable resource. In turn based, psi attacks are generally a one time expense. In real-time, you are charged by the attack attempt. If successful, you'll start paying maintenance costs for as long as you maintain the psi link. You can break the link by going out of line of sight or readying another psi attack. Check the mind bender's information panel for the psi energy bar. Stun and panic for example require you to maintain the link long enough for stun increase or morale loss to take place. Probe lets you access the enemy information any time you want as long as the probe is in effect. Mind control lets you control the unit for as long as you want, but is also the most expensive in costs and maintenance. To make the best use of it, try not to spend any maintenance costs at all. Pause the game, control the enemy, go to their inventory and wreak as much a havoc as you can (for example: arm grenade. Right click grenade, then 'drop' the grenade). Once done, break the MC link and let time run and watch the fireworks.

-NKF 00:47, 16 October 2008 (CDT)

Dual Wield is useless in Turn Based. And when it comes to the M4000, I play turn based! Switch to autofire, and you only spend 1 TU per shot! Wildly inaccurate? Then sneak in ninja style and shoot everyone at point blank! OWNAGE! Note: Might need grenades for when you round the corner thinking there's only 1 guy and find there's half the Cult of Sirius hiding in the room. One of my favourite Dual Wields in Apocalypse is Autocannon with HE ammo, autofire, and Marsec Flying Armor. Only to be used when collateral damage is not an issue. Or in the case of COS raids, collateral damage is preferred! Of course, in real life, dual wielding large weapons like that will lead to such a loss in aiming control that you are very likely to shoot yourself in the hands.

Realistic UFO Economics an Oxymoron?

... Trying to form "realistic" economics in UFO defense is just ridiculous. Capturing one intact Medium Scout should realistically give enough cash to outfit an entire platoon of elite soldiers with all the best equipment money can buy. The power source+Elerium should rightfully be worth enough to buy a fleet of Interceptors. Instead, it gives $250k+$250k... not even enough to rent 1 interceptor for 1 month! Jasonred 08:01, 28 February 2009 (CST)

Yeah you're right about realistic UFO economics. :) But we do try. It's still good to try to smooth out the more flagrantly illogical aspects, and to try and level out the game balance. Removing Exploits goes a long way to making the economic aspects of the game better. For improving realism, I think one of the best things we came up with - working with Hobbes - is the idea that X-Com has a fixed-price "tarrif" for all the alien loot it hands over to the Council, established in the X-Com Constitution. This explains why there is no "free market" in the prices of alien items, because as you say, the prices of certain items ought to be astronomical. The other 'hard problem' in UFO economics is one that you highlighted in a recent post - why aren't the resources of the whole world harnessed, budgets in the billions etc. This is harder to explain away, you need a mixture of reasons/excuses. Some of the more useful excuses are - need for secrecy keeps the operation small scale (and as you also recently pointed out, the aliens seem to 'conspire' to keep the conflict small-scale); Earth governments are playing a 'double game' and don't want to risk offending the aliens by funding X-Com heavily, in case X-Com loses and the aliens punish them for supporting X-Com; Earth governments are not convinced that the Alien threat is real. (Obviously they can easily be convinced the Aliens are real, and are violent, but are they really a 'threat' to governments, or can deals be done - in a way this is like the 'double game' argument.) Spike 08:51, 28 February 2009 (CST)

Weapon Analysis

While I'm sure I was wondering about something. When you do Weapon Analysis for HE, I'm guessing you figure a GZ attack against the Under Armor. However, do you also factor in that Large units take nearly 4x damage from an HE attack, since they get hit on every square they occupy? Arrow Quivershaft 19:40, 1 March 2009 (CST)

Indeed I do. I calculate the other 3 squares of GZ+1 effect in some detail, including getting the averages right (which as you know is slightly tricky). One thing I don't calculate is the effects of any near misses. So the figures I give should be taken as a minimum. In practice, HE effectiveness will be somewhat higher due to the near misses - but by how much? It depends on a lot of factors, some I don't know and some that are highly variable (terrain density etc). Spike 03:55, 2 March 2009 (CST)

Hi Spike, to quote you from your user page:

One more problem with modelling Near Misses: the benefit of lucky near misses - whatever its value - is inversely proportional to overall accuracy. A perfect shooter gets exactly zero benefit from near misses. Which raises an interesting possibility. Maybe the "near miss benefit" could be estimated using a repeated experiments with a logger and a shooter with Firing Accuracy=0. Any damage done to the target would be due to a lucky near miss. This would be the other limiting case - the opposite of the perfect shooter. Then extrapolate between those two extremes to find a "near miss benefit" for that weapon as some function of {TA, range].

You bring up some interesting ideas on near misses. But wouldn't the benefits of 0% accuracy (leading to unintended splash damage) be negated by the probability of the soldier shooting himself? I would think that would be a major consideration when taking stuff like this into account. I should also mention that a soldier with max firing accuracy (125%) can pinpoint where shots should hit, thus the shooter intentionally doesn't aim for one target but the center of a group of targets thus creating a "near miss benefit" scenario. What do you think about this? --Zombie 12:45, 2 March 2009 (CST)


Great points Zombie. On the soldier shooting himself, I was wondering if we could just assume, as a simplication, that 'bad misses' (friendly fire casualties, including self-inflicted damage) even out with 'good misses' (lucky near misses). That would be much simpler! I have no idea if it's true though. Certainly if doing this logger exercise, you would want to distinguish damage done to self vs damage done to target. Actually, it's not really adequate to just 'net out' friendly damage vs target damage. After all, we expect weapons to do more damage to the enemy than to ourselves! So you might want to subtract 2, 3, 4... 10 times the friendly damage from the 'target' damage when determining the 'net benefit' from inaccurate fire.

It's a good point about the marksman firing at a midpoint, and of course that's a tactic we probably all try to use from time to time. In fact it's often frustrating when the game won't let you target a certain optimum point just because there's no object or creature there. These situations are slightly easier to model mathematically - though still cumbersome - because with a super-marksman you know exactly where the shell is going to land. The bit I really can't get my head around in the normal case (average accuracty) is the probability of all the different squares where the round might end up. I know there is some experimentatal data around with error angles but... I guess I'm trying to talk myself into the view that the terrain features are more important than the error angles, therefore it's not worth doing all the heavy math to figure out the effect of the error angles. :)

For the time being I'm probably just going to add a Note to my weapon rankings tables saying "Does not consider the beneficial or harmful effects of misses, near-misses, etc".

Spike 14:51, 2 March 2009 (CST)

Stuff like this is always fun to ponder and debate I think. It brings up a lot of good ideas/tactics too. I was just thinking about the second part of your reply a little. For the sake of simplification, I think we should just ignore terrain for the time being. Yes, it plays a role (sometimes huge), but it eliminates quite a few variables to arrive at some sort of conclusion. What would you think about a testing scenario where a soldier with 0% FA (standing on flat level ground) fires at a static object (such as a soldier who can't be hurt)? I'm thinking about using Bomb Bloke's numerical tileset as the substituted desert terrain and then firing about 100 or so rounds and looking at the overall damage done to the terrain by inspecting the numbers. Then you could see any potential "hot zones" where shots may hit more often for example, or even just concentrate on the normal damage area of the weapon and look for hot zones in there. Might be an interesting trial to run. Your thoughts? --Zombie 15:22, 2 March 2009 (CST)

I think that sounds great! It would be great to build up a 2D (or even 3D) histogram of where the shots landed. Tweak an autocannon so it has 250 rounds for ease. Work it from a standard range of say 10 or 20. It would also be interesting to see the results at an accuracy of 50%. From data like that you could definitely get some kind of rule of thumb to estimate the good and bad effects of misses. Cool! Spike 15:39, 2 March 2009 (CST)

Rocket Launcher Firepower Incorrect

Hi Spike, on the Firepower Tables it seems the Rocket Launcher is incorrectly computed. This might have been fixed in the alien specific firepower tables, point blank, etc, I don't yet know (and I dont have an xls viewer at the moment, either). However, at skirmish range, when the Launcher is 45%, 75% TU for snap and aimed, respectively, and 55% and 115% on accuracy, how can aimed fire have more than twice the firepower of snap? I ran the numbers and both aimed and snap were run at 75% TU usage. Furthermore, damage on aimed, small and large rockets, is exactly 75% of the actual average. The damages should read 46 and 58 for small rockets and 61 and 77 for large. --Talon81 04:29, 15 May 2009 (EDT)

You are right and your numbers for the Rockets are correct, thank you! I have corrected the instantaneous values for all single shot weapons (both for skirmish and for point blank/shock). Spike 08:26, 21 May 2009 (EDT)

I bet I know why, talon. It's cause the Rocket Launcher can only fire once per turn, on snap. And once per turn, on aimed. Tadaa... Jasonred 14:00, 15 May 2009 (EDT)

That cannot be the cause because it takes 45% of TUs to fire snap (therefore can fire twice). Secondly, it SHOULD not be the cause because even if it could only fire once, that is something to apply to the Sustained Rates chart, and not the Instantaneous Rates chart. On the Instantaneous Rates chart, it is figured as if you could use every TU. --Talon81 14:17, 16 May 2009 (EDT)
You *DO* know that the Rocket Launcher has a max ammo of 1, and therefore it CANNOT fire twice in 1 round? ... to fire twice per round requires 149 TU minimum. 67 to fire snap, 15 to reload, 67 to fire again. ... also, corrected your link. Maybe you can view it now. ... I think this belongs to the firepower table discussion page, not here, anyhow. BTW, after careul consideration, I think you are right... depending on definition of Instantaneous Rate. Jasonred 14:51, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
You guys have figured it out and the Rate of Fire calculation I just put in to the Talk page is wrong, or rather incomplete (I'll go back and change it). Actually, what I do is I cap the RoF at the ammo capacity of the weapon - I don't attempt to calculate sustained fire rates including reloading. But I think Talon81 has a point, to be consistent, for the "instantaneous" rates I should probably ignore that cap. There may be other errors as well, thanks for keeping me on my toes guys. Spike 15:43, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
Thanks for the link fix, Jason. Yeah, for some reason I wasn't thinking about the reloading issue. However, taking that into account would come up with different numbers (obviously) than the ones that were there. While certainly it is not fair to ignore the need to reload (especially on the sustained rates table), it is also not fair to ignore that it can be reloaded (especially on the instantaneous rates table). Long story short, I wanted Spike to know about it and correct me where I was wrong, without alerting everybody that stopped by the firepower page, and now Spike has been gracious enough to answer. --Talon81 20:59, 20 May 2009 (EDT)
Yeah sorry for the late reply, work's been busy lately. Spike 07:21, 21 May 2009 (EDT)

Large Units and Fire

If I'd remembered earlier I would've piped up about this, but I recall years ago when I set up a savegame for Zombie to test damage done to sectopod quarters, I physically split a sectopod into its various quarters by moving its individual unitpos segment coordinates to different locations around the map. Blasting one quarterpod with incendiary rounds set fire to all the others, even though they weren't in the same locality. This referring to the unit sticky fire, not the ground fire. Can't remember if it uses the same "apply this effect to the next four segments" rule that messed up the mind control of large units in TFTD though. -NKF 02:20, 16 March 2009 (EDT)

Craft weapon balancing

One thing to note is that the chance for the UFO to run away is clearly based on difficulty (based on observations). I've tried to hunt down the initial automatically generated small scout mission, and on Superhuman I've never managed to get to cannon range before it gets away, and barely (multiple attempts needed) to stingray range (this was alot easier on Beginner). Given this, I doubt the cannon would ever be useful for anything - it just has too short of a range. Cesium 19:48, 21 February 2010 (EST)

Definitely agree with this, catching a Small Scout is hard. Interesting to consider using dual Cannon on craft that dont run away. But basically the firepower (or the cost effectiveness) needs to be buffed, given the short range and difficulty in engaging. Spike 14:23, 22 February 2010 (EST)
Small scouts have the highest probability of all the UFOs to flee (similarly: they are less inclined to flee the bigger they get). Combined with the difficulty level, it's not impossible but still very hard to get closer to them with the plain vanilla Interceptors.
Speaking as one amongst the proud and the few that regularly use the Cannon and Stingray, I've always found them to be great weapons for shooting Medium and Large Scouts. Anything larger is a bit problematic for a lone interceptor. But by the time those UFOs start to appear (on a regular basis) you should have access to some advanced weapons.
I've never been overly fond of the popular dual Avalanche combo due to its low ammo count. It's effective against single targets, but not good against multiple UFOs or if you get various combinations of low damage rolls and misses. I find a mixed approach works better, or you at least need a companion interceptor with short range weapons to finish the job. Then again, it's not good sign if you need to send two interceptors against minor UFOs all the time.
By the way, food for thought re: the Laser Cannon vs. Plasma Cannon: Consider what would happen if the Plasma Cannon were to drop its ammo count from 100 to 10 shots. -NKF 01:28, 22 February 2010 (EST)
Yes, interesting. Make it kind of lower-calibre Fusion Ball Launcher. By the way I am very impressed that you routinely down Small UFOs with the Cannon/Stingray combination on Interceptors. Spike 14:23, 22 February 2010 (EST)
The cannon/stringray setup has always worked fine. Plus if all goes well and luck is on my side, I can sometimes get away with not having to buy any extra aircraft ammunition by the time my first advanced weapon rolls out. A Scrooge-ism?
A 10 shot Plasma Beam would still be as effective as ever, but only in short bursts. Not a problem for your everyday Sunday UFO that shows up once in a while, but it would lose effectiveness against larger fleets. The laser cannon on the hand could last the duration. This might work well for advanced ships, but the good old interceptor would not fare very well. -NKF 23:50, 22 February 2010 (EST)

Realistic Demand

I have some disagreements. In particular, I think you underestimate the value of Laser Weapons.

  • Ammoless laser weapons should change the battlefield significantly:
    • No ammo logistic requirements.
    • Lighter so soldiers can carry other/less stuff. After all, NATO switched to 5.56 so that soldiers could carry more. Now there's no limit.
    • IFVs will require much heavier armour (I'm assuming they have somewhat less armour than X-COM HWPs), making the current models unpractical as APC replacement. Probably we'll get many more HAPCs. It's quite possible the IFV concept will be abandoned for the generation.
    • Much less noise. Excellent for some special ops (Than again, there's some noise if we accept X-COM sound effects as canon).
  • The anti-air defences might be even more useful than the craft if X-COM could sell the designs since these don't require Elerium:
    • Earth must have a suitable power source, but one that cannot be miniaturized easily (for the defences). Perhaps an entire power station is required? Still it's a great anti-missile platform. Also good to protect some strategic installations against the Avengers X-COM will sell to a country's enemies!
    • If someone could make a mobile laser-based anti-air platform (judging by existence of the laser tank, this is doable) it would render offensive helicopter obsolete against serious armies (arguably they already are), and make the life of close support aircraft (like the A-10) much harder.
      • The laser cannon should also work as an anti-missile: Anything powerful enough to (eventually) down an alien craft should be powerful enough to down an enemy missile. There used to be a Pentagon program to mount a laser on a Boeing to do just that.. If they only knew X-COM had the answer. The US must have signed a pact with the aliens before X-COM got the tech.
    • Overall, I suspect the value of air superiority would be reduced since it would be much easier to build the defences than the advanced aircraft. And the advanced craft require Elerium just to fly.
  • Medikits are obviously very useful.
  • I don't think Power suits will be all that popular - soldiers aren't valuable compared to likely price (and availability) of suit. Maybe it will be used to protect a politician... Not sure if it's practical, but it probably is (wearing a power suit not good for photo-ops. Can it be hidden? Also might be too heavy for unfit tics). Cesium 17:21, 14 March 2010 (EDT)


Thanks for checking in! Re Laser Weapons, I mostly agree with your assessment of their usefulness, but I assume that XCom will not have a monopoly on these weapons, since they are human-only technology, other major nations can make them and other minor nations can buy them from other major nations. It's a good point about Laser Defences. Probably laser weapons will be noisier than suppressed firearms since there is usually a 'thunderclap' from the evacuated channel. And if you don't make an evacuated air channel you usually get a less effective laser weapon. Re IFVs, I assume XCom HWPs are little things not much more than a mine clearing robot and I don't assume their armour levels are more than IFVs. If you take the Rocket Launcher as a Carl Gustav HE (not even a proper antitank weapon), and compare that to HWP armour, the starting HWPs are not that heavily armoured. Good point about the Laser Cannon potential anti missile role. It would depend on range and targeting capability but worth thinking about - anything to explain the popularity (=profitability) of the Laser Cannon. Medikits, again, non hybrid tech so I don't think they will be the best sellers, but of course they will sell for bread and butter money. The current yields on Medkits and Motion Scanners is probably fine.

For Power Suits I am not saying mass deployments but maybe more than just specialised use, because a unit equipped with them would go through regular infantry like, well, tanks through infantry. It would be like the introduction of tanks in WWI all over again. Infantry would have to be reorganised to be very rich in organic heavy support weapons, and/or a lot of close air support or very well coordinated artillery. The obvious response, like in WWI, is to start forming up your own "heavy infantry" units in company, then battalion, then maybe regimental strength, to use as spearhead or counter-spearhead forces. So you might sell some thousands of power suits where I doubt you would sell much over a few hundred flying suits, if even that.

Whether its easier to build air defences than air superiority aircraft depends on the coverage (range, altitude) of the air defence weapon and how many target locations you need to defend. Not to mention how effective it is. Laser Defence is only 44% more effective than Missile Defence which is existing Tech (Patriot missiles say, best case). If it works like alien attack on an XCom base, and we have to assume that, your laser defence gives you one chance of 60% at 600 damage. This means you have no chance to stop an Avenger or Lightning and only a 60% chance to stop anything else (with one Laser Defence anyway). Also it looks from the game like the range is only sufficient to engage something that's coming straight in on you, not something in the vicinity. Would an attacker be able to fire Plasma Beams or Fusion Balls from outside the range of the equivalent Base Defence? We don't know either way I guess. So that's a lot of Laser Defences you need to buy and build. But whether it would be cheaper to buy hybrid aircraft depends on the price, which we don't know since it seems the CFN doesn't allow them to be sold. But in general it's never worked that way in the history of air power, that it made sense to carpet your country with air defence weapons instead of trying to maintain air superiority through aircraft. I'm not saying it couldn't happen though. Apart from anything else, even if that approach was 'rational', there's a huge current vested interest in air superiority and the fighter jocks, who are very influential, would all be demanding the new hybrid aircraft. Who would be arguing for laser defences? Some ground pounding Army guys with no clout. But ultimately it would depend on the cost-effectiveness balance, which we don't really know without more information. Although a good question would be, from an XCom point of view, if you had X million to spend, would it be better spent by fitting your bases with Laser/Plasma etc Defences, or on buying combat aircraft to tackle the threat? In game I don't think many people spend their resources on the Base Defences, and I think that's because the aircraft are not just more versatile and flexible, but possibly more efficient. Take the Plasma example. A Plasma defence costs about the same as 2 Plasma Beams and does an average 630 damage. Impressive, but the 2 Plasma Beams dish out the same damage in 6 volleys. You would want, what, 5 Plasma Defences to reliably defend against a Battleship, and for that you get 10 airborne Plasma Beams, which should comfortably be able to cover multiple bases against Battleship attack, as well as harvesting huge amounts of UFO missions. The Elerium use issue is a fair point, but hence I show Elerium as one of the materials likely to be in highest demands. You want to be the one to tell the USAF they can't buy Elerium to operate hybrid planes? Spike 18:06, 14 March 2010 (EDT)

Under ordinary circumstances I'd agree with craft being much more important than the defences. But here there's a very complicating factor: Elerium. I just don't see all that much free Elerium around, especially since most X-COM commanders don't ever sell it. Given that, most craft would be normal craft, so that advantages of the cheap defences seems decisive. USAF can squirm as much as they like. They should be thankful X-COM Psi masters don't take over the chiefs and make them undress in public.
Come to think of it, I recall in Interceptor some pilots could use Psi to attack other pilots. Could this be useful here too? Probably a big boost (as if that's needed) to unmanned craft.
As for defending against Avengers, 3-7 shots from a laser defence would do it (5 is most likely). I forgot about the existing missile defences though. That's 3-10 shots for a single battery (7 is most likely). Given how expensive Avengers are to operate, they won't be used against normal targets. They would be very useful in a combined assault against a strategic target. Then again, these are exactly the targets which would get the big defences... Cesium 18:24, 14 March 2010 (EDT)
As for Power suits, it's true they're useful against other infantry, but it's not the best use for the Elerium. Probably not mobile enough to be decisive, and I guess artillery and tanks can still kill them. Tanks can (try to) ran them over if nothing else would work (A tank round is probably more powerful than the HWP Cannon, but not sure how effective it is against the Power suit).
I guess the big difference is that I expect it to be a lot less free Elerium around (especially with X-COM being stingy and the FTL research to come), so it would have to be strategically used for a few decisive weapons. Psi, (maybe) a few Avengers for a big conflict, possibly some sort of enhancement for nukes, etc. Cesium 18:33, 14 March 2010 (EDT)
I expect the big source for Elerium (to non X-COM groups) would be disassembling the spare Alien Grenades and Heavy Plasma clips X-COM sells. Why couldn't X-COM disassemble them themselves? If the weapon is inert than it should be possible... Maybe there's some Elerium quirk we don't know about. The more likely reason is that Mythos didn't think about it. Cesium 18:47, 14 March 2010 (EDT)
I think that's completely right, it all comes down the assumptions on how scarce Elerium is, and then what priority is placed on the Elerium-operated and Elerium-derived sellable items. What's missing (which they tried to do in Apocalypse) is a proper supply-demand mechanism which would probably send the price of Elerium soaring, and in turn that might tempt XCom commanders to sell more of it. If Elerium is nearly non existent outside of XCom then operating craft and weapons that require constant Elerium is extremely difficult, leading to low demand. On the other hand, for Elerium-containing items that don't need additional Elerium, such as Power Suits, it's up to XCom if they want to sell them I guess. Based on my scheme, the single most important use of Elerium to CFN governments would probably be building Psi-Amps. Outside the secret world of Psionics, I still think they would want some hybrid aircraft, even if fuel scarcity made operations and training almost impossible. I agree with you that, next to using Elerium to operate aircraft, using it for Power Suits and Flying Suits is a huge waste. If Elerium was as scarce for XCom as you suggest it would be for governments, XCom commanders would probably behave the same way. I guess that's an interesting thought experiment. If you had only 50 Elerium, or 25 Elerium, for the whole game, what would you use it for? You need 12 units to fuel your Avenger for Mars... what else do you build? I always thought the best way to set the "right" price for Elerium would be to somehow get multiple XCom players in the same game, and see what price they would be willing to buy/sell to each other at. Spike 19:33, 14 March 2010 (EDT)

TftD blog comments

I guess some of your problems come from spreading too thin too early. Since there is usually some activity close to your starting base you can get away without having the entire globe covered with trans resolvers and getting enough intercepts. And these eat a lot in terms of maintainance. I try to keep the initial zrbit around for ion/mag ion armor and sonic displacer production. I build the remaining 4 base in end june-july when a steady cash stream from captured sonic canons rolls in.

Yep those extra bases definitely cost me. On the other hand, they could be a great help in that I have a local base close to the alien Colony, so I can do base milking and eventually supply ship milking. This could pay for the extra bases many times over. Good idea about the Zrbite, I'm basically never selling any again in future games. Spike 21:48, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Regarding the VSmall usos keep a dual Ajax instead of a Ajax GC craft in your main base - it can easily deal with anything up to cruisers and need be even mediums. On dual sonic oscillator armed craft is usually sufficient to down anything else except dreadnoughts. But two barracudas have only a small chance against those anyway. There is only the refueling time where you can not respond. The extra missions may not be worthwhile financially but are easy sparring missions for your aquanauts - especially those MC troopers. You need every mission ypu can get where you can perform 11 actions to get the maximum skill increment and get them into the usable range asap. 30-40 skill(80+strength) can control aquatoid/gillman soldiers close to craft on occasions. If successful move it next to your MC trooper in order to increase the chance of success. Keep a fast weapon ready for the occasion when you fail. Otherwise take turns until all your MC troops got sufficient training. I switch to sonic oscillator only by end May/beginning of June - usually there are enough big targets by then to satisfy my financial and training needs.--Tauon 09:32, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Yes that makes sense. The training needs are a good extra reason to maintain a dual Ajax craft. Spike 21:48, 5 November 2010 (UTC)

Regarding the interception of supply runs - there is hope since there is variation in the approach pattern and sometimes they come in low or change their altitude. I'm puzzled however that you can't grab the uso once it has landed with your triton which is the preferable option anyway (ensures that the IBAs are unharmed unless you blast them during the fight). Is the site that deep?

However pray for the volcanic terrain and a decent species for these first assaults - otherwise it can be quite a pain.--Tauon 09:32, 6 November 2010 (UTC)

Actually you're right, the Triton should be fine next time around, first time it just didn't get there from its quite distant base before the Supply USO lifted off. But now it is based near the Colony that should not be a problem. So hopefully I can do Assaults vs landed Supply USOs, even if Crash Recovery missions are more difficult to get. Thanks! Spike 17:31, 6 November 2010 (UTC)