Alien Ship Combat (Apocalypse)
Tactics in no particular order:
- Your craft DO NOT need to be at your own base building once you have equipped them! Spread you craft around the cityscape buildings (make them land at buildings which have multiple launch tubes). When you have an alien ship come through the gates, you'll have a little welcoming party very quickly close nearby (if you have your craft based at a building with multiple launch tubes, they will launch in such a way to use all available tubes - even if the yellow craft icon doesn't appear over an actual tube. Try it at the Transtellar space port with its 12+ tubes using 10 X-Com vehicles). You'll have to fly back to base however once the engagement is over, if you need to rearm. Send them out again afterwards.
- If you use hoverbikes, then three stationed at the middle of each quadrant of the cityscape works best. (All sports engines with loadouts: 1xRendor, 1xBolter, 1xProphet + Weapons control)
- If you use hovercars, then two work well. (All turbo engines with loadouts: 1xRendor + 1xProphet + 1xMedium weapon control)
- One valkyrie can easily be overwhelmed. Use more (6xHoverbikes per quadrant, or 4xHovercars, or 2x Valkyries) if you can afford it.
- Using agressive combat controls can sometimes be worthwhile when up against a difficult enemy, because your ship(s) is concentrating on downing the enemy instead of trying to avoid its guns/missiles. It can get to the point where your ship rarely fires its armaments due to constant evasiveness. Be offensive not defensive.
- If your craft has sustained massive damage, try to land at the nearest building instead of trying to run back to base. Sometimes the best option, though, is a nearby and not the nearest building so that the enemy craft do not get a potshot at the landing vehicle, which are always easy targets. You'll have to judge this yourself.
- Lower flying heights are important if you want to limit damage to the cityscape. Corporations get pissed more quickly if you hit the buildings when you miss in combat, relative to the aliens hitting them. The added bonus is that sometimes the corporation will launch its own craft to combat the alien menace. This also can make the corp hostile to the aliens. Use it to your advantage (Transellar and Cultists), but remember the city damage will lower your score that the end of the month. WHY?? When flying lower, you'll have to shoot upwards at the alien craft. If you miss, then the shots just go into space and not into a building. It should be noted that large vehicles (Valkyrie Interceptor, Hawk Air Warrior, Retaliator and Annihilator) have slightly weaker top armor so they will sustain more damage when flying low once their shields are gone.
- Running low on powerful engines? Giving lower powered engines to missile launching craft can help the overall battle because these craft will be slower to get to an engagement (if you have to fly long distances across the cityscape quadrant). Hence, they will be able to lauch missles directly at the hostile craft instead of getting up close and personal and hoping that the missile can turn sharp enough to hit the hostiles. If you aren't lacking powerful engines, then this could be an option you'd may like to keep using.
- Hoverbikes are very weak. Use them as a swarm. 2xBikes Vs 1xAlienship only works in very early game. You'll need more.
- Hovercars can mount small shields later on. Remember this when you think you should have used hoverbikes instead.
- A mixed force of hovercars and hoverbikes are best. It can work well either way! If you want quick evasive bikes up close and personal with the hostile craft, then give them guns and give the hovercars missile weapons. You don't need to give shield to the cars, just weapon control modules. since then should be near a standoff range. If you want the opposite effect, give shields and guns to the hovercars for up close combat, and missiles to the bikes.
- Changing combat attitudes of your attacking craft throughout the battle can help immensely. Fly to the alien craft using evasive control (don't waste missiles on hostile human cars), briefly switch to standard agressiveness so that everyone fires once (mainly for missile launching), change to full agression for craft with guns, change to cautious for craft with missiles. If a craft takes heavy damage, change to evasive control and disengage this craft. PAUSE BUTTON WORKS WELL!
- A good tactic, although slightly uninspired, is to buy as many hoverbikes as possible and attack in swarms of 5-8 bikes per alien craft, set them on the second lowest height and set them to evasive. You should expect to lose one or two hoverbikes in each engagement in the early and middle stage battles. When fighting the larger alien craft it is better to barrage them with guided missles to soften them up before the hoverbikes get there, otherwise they will be dropping like flies.
- Also when employing the "Swarm" tactic, try to break up the groups of hoverbikes so they dont all get destroyed by a hail of missiles and cannon. Try to have 3-4 max coming from any one direction. It may be a bit of work but it pays dividends in the end.
- This point cannot be stressed enough: make sure that you remove your agents from their vehicles/aircraft before sending them to engage Alien ships. If your craft is destroyed, the agent piloting it will perish too along with his/her equipment. Isn't that irritating?