Difference between revisions of "Survival Guide (EU2012)"

From UFOpaedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(The RNG, Save Scumming, and You)
m (1st month on Impossible: Build Order)
Line 173: Line 173:
*4-7d - Abduction Site (+4 engineer, for Workshop);
*4-7d - Abduction Site (+4 engineer, for Workshop);
*7d - Workshop ($130, 10d, +5 engineers for Satellite Uplink), excavate ($10, 5d, space for Power Generator) ;
*7d - Workshop ($130, 10d, +5 engineers for Satellite Uplink), excavate ($10, 5d, space for Power Generator) ;
*7d-10d - UFO (small scout, 1 interceptor needed), UFO Crash Site (sell as much as possible);
*7d-10d - UFO (small scout, 1 interceptor needed), UFO Crash Site (sell as much as possible); NOTE that if you let this go, you get a Medium Scout with more loot.
*11d - 3x-4x satellites ($77 each with 9 engineers; 20d) not in pack (1 by 1),  
*11d - 3x-4x satellites ($77 each with 9 engineers; 20d) not in pack (1 by 1),  
*12d - Power Generator ($60, 5d, power for Satellite Uplink);
*12d - Power Generator ($60, 5d, power for Satellite Uplink);

Revision as of 05:04, 12 January 2014

Miscellaneous Tips

Promoting Soldiers

Rotate lower ranked soldiers to use as "cannon fodder" while leveling up your higher ranks. Once your higher rank has reached the highest, leave him in base and continue to level up more promising ones. Don't bother hiring new soldiers unless they're needed.

This all changes after you research Iron Will and New Guy in Foundry research. At this point, you should have enough credits to hire soldiers by the bundle, and throw out the low Will ones. Your core team of high ranking officers are now your "cannon fodder" while you level up the new squaddies. You may also consider Psi screening them before choosing which new recruits to keep and promote.

Suggestion for Promotions

If you have no idea of what Abilities to choose during the first promotions, these are solid choices for the entire game:

  • Assault - Lightning Reflexes. Forces a miss on the first reaction shot fired at the unit. Can be used to trigger (and miss) alien Overwatch shots. This ability is essentially a life-saver for your soldiers when advancing against aliens on Overwatch, specially Sectopods.
  • Heavy - HEAT Ammo. After you first encounter a Cyberdisk without this ability, you'll know why. It also applies to the Rocket/Blaster Launcher, and grenades, and The Volunteer's Rift, besides the Heavy's primary weapon and you are almost sure to face Cyberdisks/Sectopods on most UFO or Abduction/Terror missions.
  • Sniper - Squad Sight. Snap Shot also has its uses but it requires Squad Sight to perform the classic 'Scout and Snipe' tactic of the original game, where your Sniper can just pick a spot where it covers the battlefield and drop any aliens seen by your squad.
  • Support - Field Medic. Never go to a battle without a Medikit. And never risk your only Medic getting killed or worse, critically wounded (and watch him/her die from the wound unless you are able to finish the fight first).

Simplified and Granulized Encounter System

Aliens now come in groups of 1 to 3. Some of these groups may patrol around the map by teleporting to random points around the map, but are tactically dormant (i.e. they will not open fire or take cover) until you "wake them up". Note that once awoken, aliens can act fully even when outside your visual range, including Overwatch (and in the case of Sectopods, the Cluster Bomb attack).

Similar to massive-multiplayer online game instances, "waking-up" multiple groups of enemies is just plain stupid. The best strategy is to wake-up and deal with one group at a time. When scouting for enemies, don't move too far ahead, especially with a 2-move dash. When a group is activated, it may be prudent to then back up and get into defensive positions to greet the enemy.

For behind the door situations, gather your soldiers in front of the door, around the corner or in a spot across the room facing the door. Next open the door to wake up the aliens inside. If no aliens are seen, have a soldier (preferably your assault with Run&Gun) move in. After the aliens run for cover, charge in and open fire at optimum ranges. If there are multiple entrances into the same room, split your team so that you can potentially get a flank bonus on some of the enemies. Depending on the situation, you also have the option of waking up an enemy behind a door, and then back out of sight to encourage the alien to run out and into a flurry of reaction fire.

For most outdoor situations and in large rooms, set up your snipers in the right place before waking up the aliens with one soldier. Use only one action point to wake them up, kill most/all the aliens with your snipers, and use one action point to pull back to completely avoid retaliation fire.

Enemy groups that randomly teleport nearby, or amongst your team, will not immediately open fire when they strike a pose and race for cover. They will actively attack once your turn ends. If this occurs when you are not engaging the enemy, you can often use this opportunity to get in close and take them down at close range. If you are in the middle of engaging another group or more, these re-enforcements could tip the odds in the enemy's favour. You will need to adjust your tactics accordingly. Prioritize targets, take defensive measures, make a tactical retreat to safety, use area-effect weapons, etc.

To be (an Angel) or not to be

That is the question. The answer may lie in your playing style but it may also lie in a game bug. Ghost Armour is the obvious choice for all classes (maybe Psi Armour for Psi), but for snipers you may want to equip with Angel Armor. Because of a bug in the game, Angel Armour grants you Height bonus and Damn Good Ground bonus even though the Angel Armor strictly says it shouldn't. With these bonuses plus a scope, your chance to hit jumps to near certainty even for aliens with full cover.

Satellites are Key

  • Plan ahead and cover the entire world with at least 8 satellites ASAP. This is the only undisputed rule in playing this game. It is more "economical" to panic management to launch satellites at the end of the month, to lower panic levels when they're highest, and to avoid an abduction mission invalidating the reduction. Launching satellites at the end of the month also gives you more flexibility to deal with unexpected alien activity at the end of the month. Additionally, any countries covered at the start of the month (ie, they're already covered when the Monthy Report comes in) will be off the list of Abduction Missions (but will get (less so) raised panic if another country on that continent gets an unanswered Abduction).
  • Order satellites individually, not in bulk. That way you'll be able to cancel satellite orders if you are in a dire/unexpected need of credits and still be able to launch the other satellites at the end of the month. Of all game items (Facilities, Craft, etc.) that require days for manufacture Satellites are the most flexible to cancel, if needed.

Mission Choices

You will be considering several things when deciding on which mission to choose. However your considerations should come in these orders:

  1. Panic level
    • Your choice differs vastly depending on difficulty level. For example, on easier difficulty settings, ignoring some missions can lead to increased panic for one country. In comparison, this could lead to increased panic in the whole continent on higher difficulty settings. Thus, consider panic level on the whole rather than individual countries. In some cases, continents with more countries should be taken care of first.
  2. Rewards
    • Before you have full satellite coverage, credits and engineers should be your preference. After full coverage, you will probably prefer engineers until you no longer need more for buildings or tech. Scientists and soldiers aren't that important, comparatively speaking.

Scientists, Laboratories and Research

Consider refraining from building laboratories, as they aren't really necessary even on higher difficulty settings. You can still complete research quickly by first researching arc throwers, and following up by completing all autopsies and interrogations. The biggest obstacle to research is not the duration, but the required alien artifacts that are gathered slowly. Building laboratories only serves to drain these precious resources. However, if getting gear for your troops is an urgency for your playstyle, 1 lab early on may be appreceable, especially if your Council/Abduction/Sattelite actions don't gain you any Scientists whatsoever.

Africa may be Key

As strange as this sounds, because of game mechanics and because you need full satellite coverage as fast as possible, the African bonus in credits is probably your most important reward. Consider this as your first base location.

Alternatively you may consider North America as your first and cover Africa afterwards, but this strategy may not be viable since satellite launches are generally dependent on panic level.

Don't sell like 1994 X-Com

For veteran players of the original X-Com that are new to this game, take heed that corpses and miscellaneous items are no longer useless junk. They are valuable resources used not only for research projects, but as resources for completing council member requests, foundry upgrades and as components for manufacturing certain advanced equipment such as Chitin Plating.

Generally, keeping about 10 corpses of the common species (Sectoids, Thin Men...Mutons, later) in storage should be sufficient if you need some quick money. Keep more if you know you'll need them for a Foundry project.

On the other hand, items that have no research value such as damaged UFO components and alien entertainment are clearly marked as such. These items can be sold freely.

Once you are familiar with the game and know how much of each is required for tech that is within reasonable grasp, only then should you consider selling valuable equipment and corpses to fund Satellite rushes.

The RNG, Save Scumming, and You

Without delving deep into computer programming and algorithims: the Random Number Generator is the digital 'die' who's rolls decide the fate of the internal mechanics, odds, and outcomes of XCOM. Different actions and events are manipulated at different times by the RNG, and learning when and how means you can manipulate the game through what is known as "Save Scumming." In Scumming, what is done is that, through save-state management, you can remember what did occur in one attempt at a round of engagement in the battlefield, or certain events in the Base, and take advantage of RNG results.

As it sounds, Save Scumming is usually used as a cheat. If cheating is not for you or if you have Enemy Within's Second Wave option of the same name toggled (although it affects shots on the battlefield only), you may still find this information to be informative. At least on the PC version vou can also cheat with this method in Ironman during tactical missions, since the game will only save the current mission at certain points during your turn: closing the game and reloading from the save will bring the last save and you'll be able to take again any shots.

To take advantage of Save Scumming you need to understand what is affected by when the RNG produces it's numbers. Basically, there are two 'sets' of the RNG: the RNG as itself, and "Seeded" outcomes. In the normal RNG actions, the die is rolled when the event occurs. In seeded outcomes, a series of die rolls are made ahead of time. Sometimes, the actions are decided as well, while in others just the number that comes up, but you can take actions (or the order of actions) to take advantage via save scumming. Either way: note that, just like good old fashioned die, the RNG is only statistically random, but that dice have no memory.

First, your Base, and everything that happens in it: Base layout (what's solid rock vs natural caves, and 1 to 3 steam vent locations) is decided when a campaign is started. Perhaps more importantly, your monthly 'schedule' is rolled for at the start of each month, when you get your Council Report (obvious exception: in the case of March, the first month, it's rolled alongside base layout), and are thus seeded. The schedule will plot out when the various missions and detected UFOs occur (and on what countries).

  • For Abductions, the countries are chosen, as said, at the start of the month (seeded), but the rewards each country gives (§, a soldier, scientists, or engineers) will be generated when the event 'popup' occurs (random). In the case of the "High Stakes" Second Wave option, the amounts are also random. With save scumming, while you cannot change what country is attacked (unless the savestate in question is before the end of the previous month), but you can change what reward (and how much/many) until a country you've prioritized to respond to gives the reward you want.
  • Terror Missions: starting in April, these missions tend to favor continents that have high panic, are also seeded.
  • UFOs are seeded, including the type, over what country, and landed or in flight. However, a UFO that escapes has a chance to summon a Battleship, which has it's own chance to shoot down a satellite. Of course, if a satellite is shot down, or a country withdraws due to a failed mission before the UFO is scheduled, this will change. For scumming purposes, what you can do is move and equip interceptors ahead of time (if you have enough time between a save state and a UFO appearance). The one exception is the Overseer UFO--- not the first appearance, which is seeded almost as normal (against when the Hyperwave Uplink's construction is completed), but subsequent appearances seem to 'react' to Interceptor placement (including if you move any around).
    • Once in Interception and Air Combat itself, it is wholly random: a UFO's flight path may change on a whim, moving it closer or send it fleeing from an Interceptor. Once engaged, when either ship begins firing, if either's shot hits or not: it is entirely at the mercy of the RNG. So, saving before it appears, and (if you need to send more than one Raven or Firestorm after a UFO) between launches may help (if the first ship did particularly well), if you find your aerial offensive capabilities lacking.
  • Enemy Within's EXALT Events: Due to their frequency, this may be confused for 'random'. In actuality, it focuses more on when was your last anti-EXALT action (such as Intelligence Scans, and/or sending out an Operative and following up on the accompanying mission), and will be seeded to that, but the effect will be random: Propaganda raises panic, Hacking drains all 'points' from research, or Sabotage taking your money. Note that Hacking will not occur if you have no ongoing active research, and no Sabotage if you're broke. Savescumming helps in that you can take note of which day an EXALT event takes place, reload, and time a Scan shortly before, extending the time between them, thus only needing perhaps 2-3 scans a month to keep EXALT off your back. If you want to take a "cheapskate" savescum route instead of spending money on Scans, either a) buy satellites/SHIVs/etc (anything that takes time to build), leaving a pittance of § for EXALT to Sabotage (and then cancel those items to get your money back afterwards), or b) start a new research project shortly before, and scum to let them Hack the few hours worth of research.
  • Council Events: the odd one of the group, in that (on average) two events are scheduled per month. By 'events', this includes either Council Missions (Bomb Disposal, Extractions, etc), Requests for items/artifacts, or nothing at all. Of these three options, for the one that's taken for the first Council Event, it will be one of the other two for the second. The exceptions are the Slingshot and Progeny mission sets, which have their own scheduling rules.

Note that the mission types are shown in the Situation Room. Once you set out and go to the mission site and get to the battlefield: for each type of mission, there is a pool of maps available. These are randomly chosen from said pool after you hit the "Begin Assault" button on the previous screen. Additionally, many UFO assault maps (both crashed and landed) have another 'roll' for where the Skyranger will land (and your troops will begin). For example, you may start the assault on a Barge or Abductor near the front of the ship instead of the back. There are a number of exceptions, such as certain Council Missions, and Storyline missions, that you can know from the debriefing what map it will be (eg: escorting Sgt. Carlock will always be on the pier map, tutorial maps are always the same). Alien composition numbers will also be decided at this point (though, at least in the case of UFOs, what species will appear, and total numbers, is determined by the RNG back in the Situation Room, as evidenced by the Hyperwave Uplink-- though how many of each listed species may change).

Battle: this may be your focus on any save-state/RNG manipulations, and where you can turn nearly any situation into a victory; this is where where the number Seeds become most apparent. In essence, for at least a whole turn (both yours and the aliens), the RNG has already completed a number of dice rolls, and stores it in memory. In this case, the 'die' is 100-sided (while zero is an integer, a 100% shot is always guaranteed, and 0% always misses), and thus comes in the "Chance to hit" probabilities (with an additional roll for critical hits, when available). For whatever the unseen roll is, what your soldier needs to have is a higher aim score (aim stat and any modifiers, like S.C.O.P.E.s raise or being poisoned or suppressed drops). Psionics and stunning behave similarly, and seem to use the same 'list' of numbers. AoE attacks, as you aim them manually, obviously ignore the RNG completely (save for the 10% chance of Heavy rockets going off course).

For example, the RNG seed may give something like 85, 50, 2, 99 (which you cannot see). You have 4 soldiers, with aim of 60, 90, 80, 80. Assuming all other aim modifiers even out, if the soldiers fire in that order, soldier A and D will miss their shots, but B and C will hit their targets. Reloading, you make B fire first, and he'll land the shot, A can take either the second or third shot, and also hit, and soldiers C and D can take the third shot equally and hit, but the fourth shot will always miss, unless something gives the fourth soldier to fire either a 99% or 100% hit chance. Or, to put it more simply: when savescumming, use the soldiers with high aim if that order in the shots was missed before, and with luck, when the soldier with the lower aim takes a shot in a different part of the order, the Seed number will allow them to land a hit. This is the basis of taking advantage of the seeded numbers when taking shots. In the alien's turn this in effect the same-- and you can deny them landing any (at least any important/critical) hits with a number of actions, such as suppression, killing the offending alien, or using one of the various defensive techniques (hunker down, smoke grenade, etc).

When savescumming in the midst of battle, you may find that sometimes alien squads (particularly unactivated ones) will 'teleport' from any locations where you know they were. Be cautious of this. As for any active aliens, their movement uses the AI package, and thus isn't under the rule of the RNG--- but still having predictable behaviour: if you take the same actions, so will they. So in a way, enemy movement is 'seeded', or at least manipulable.

Lastly, when returning to base:

  • Artfacts/resources for most missions depend on your actions (how you neutralize enemies). UFOs will have a roll for destroyed materials when shot down, plus any damage you do during the mission (less alloys if UFO walls are destroyed, less Elerium if generators explode, and generators and computers themselves), will equal what XCOM will recover, so these are more dependant on your actions.
  • Leveling soldiers: particularly if Hidden Potential is on (and can be supplemented by Not Created Equal, and the OTS's "New Guy" and "Iron Will" perks), your soldiers have a range of points each new rank can add to their stats. With Hidden Potential and Iron Will, your soldiers can get up to 13 points to their Will score each time they level. The increase to their Aim score is dependant on their class: 3 to 9 for Snipers, 2 to 6 for Supports, 1 to 5 for Assaults and EW's MEC Troopers, and 0 to 2 for Heavies. With Save Scumming, what you can do is save a state before the last action of a mission (usually shooting something in the face), and see the leveling scores in the Mission Results. To make it easier, you may want to make a logbook of sorts (eg: a .txt file, or handwritten notes), perhaps organized by class, so you can keep track of a soldier's Aim/Will scores as they level, reading from Base screens (since in-battle, the "Offense" score is their aim score plus any modifiers).
    • While you could go all out and scum for Health and Movement bonuses as well: that is far too much hassle, in light of how, say, the odds of getting the max Aim/Will bonus for a Sniper is 1 in 64. For health bonuses: it's not quite as important, as long as any damage they do receive doesn't get through their armor. And Movement bonuses are the largest hassle to keep track of, as it is unlisted (save for the rare few Mods that modify the Barracks screen).

Strategies and Build Orders

Satellite Rush Strategy

Build order and strategy for a satellite rush, tested on Classic. Aim of this build order is to launch 4 satellites in the first month (up to total of 5), 3 satellites in the second month (up to total of 8), and 4 satellites in the third month (up to total of 12). By the third month, you will have all continents covered except Europe or Asia, which will give you enough money to never more care about it, and still allow abductions to happen.

In order to succeed, it is crucial to not only consider the current month, but also the next one. Preparations for the month's facility construction must sometimes happen in the previous month. If you simply try to build 3/4 satellites and an uplink in the first month, you will most likely not be able to complete your next Satellite Uplink in the second month.

This strategy is not 100% reliable, which means, sometimes (rarely, but surely) you will not have enough loot to sell to build Satellites, Satellite Uplink or following facilities in the first month. Game CAN screw you up. Also, sometimes abduction mission will pop too late to build your first workshop in time. However, reloading in month 1 is not a big loss, and most of the times, you will be fine, and question will be, how many Alloys or Fragments you have to sell.

By going this route, you will only have Alien Containment up by 09 May (third month), and Officer Training School by 24 of April (second month), and will not have Foundry until later in the third month, or even later. You wont be building any Labs at all until month four.You will also not be getting any Medikits/Scopes/Vests or extra recruits (usually taken for bigger HP) in the first month and be limited on those in the second month. Also, you will have to sell most of the loot you get from missions. When selling corpses and UFO parts is not enough, you will have to sell Elerium, Alloys and Fragments. Sell Elerium first as it will be only required later in the game. When choosing to sell between Alloys and Fragments, pick you poison. Fragments are only required for research, but Alloys will be the limiting factor in getting out Carapace Armor and Laser weaponry. However, you will be bottle-necked by fragments for the rest of the game, so selling them early will hurt you later. General advice is to see how many fragments you need to finish crucial research topics (Beams/Precision Lasers and Carapace Armor, for example) and sell the rest, and only then start selling alloys, but your mileage may vary.

The absolute bottleneck of this strategy will happen in the first month, and that's why going with North America seems the best choice - you get most starting funds ($ 300). Another serious bottleneck is the second month, where you need to raise at least 1 extra engineer by day 6 (in order to have at least 15 required to build a second workshop). That is your two main concerns.

In the build order base tiles will be referenced using (1,4) notation, where 1 is row and 4 is column (1,4 here refers to the first Access Lift, while 1,3 would refer your first Satellite Uplink). To better understand the timings keep in mind that March and May have 31 days, April has 30. Building Power Generator, Access Lift and Digging takes 5 days, Workshop takes 10 days and Satellite Uplink takes 14 days. Satellite production takes 20 days.

Lucky Man's Build Order

If you don't hesitate to reload a few times on your first mission, this build order is much easier than alternatives, but requires either 1,5 or 1,6 (first or second to the right of the access lift) to be already excavated at the game start (which you will only know of after you complete your first tactical mission). Build order then goes like this:

NOTE: With Slingshot and Enemy Within DLC, it is possible to dramatically accelerate the below. In addition, ignoring the first small UFO that appears, brings out a Medium Scout. This can still be shot down with just one interceptor (very very unlucky, two), giving much more loot to sell. The build order generally stays the same, with more soldiers hired or a Laboratory/Alien Containment/Officer Training School thrown in, in the first month. End NOTE.

  • 02.03 Dig 1,5/6 (one that is not excavated)
  • 07.03 Workshop 1,6
  • 11.03 *** Satellite x4 (order them 1 by 1, not in bulk)
  • 17.03 Satellite Uplink 1,2
  • 27.03 Power Generator 1,5
  • 31.03 *** Launch Satellites (in the evening)
  • 01.04 *** Order Interceptors (2 is enough)
  • 01.04 Access Lift 2,4
  • 01.04 Dig 1,7
  • 06.04 Dig 2,5
  • 06.04 Workshop 1,7
  • 10.04 *** Satellite x3
  • 11.04 Power Generator 2,5
  • 11.04 Dig 2,3
  • 16.04 Satellite Uplink 2,3
  • 16.04 Officer Training School 1,1
  • 22.04 Dig 2,6
  • 22.04 Dig 2,2
  • 27.04 Power Generator 2,6
  • 27.04 Dig 2,1
  • 31.04 *** Launch Satellites
  • 01.05 *** Order Interceptors
  • 02.05 Access Lift 3,4
  • 02.05 Dig 2,7
  • 02.05 Alien Containment 2,1
  • 07.05 Dig 3,5
  • 07.05 Workshop 2,7
  • 11.05 *** Satellite x4
  • 12.05 Power Generator 3,5
  • 17.05 Satellite Uplink 2,2

Total money you will need in the first month is:

  • 130 for Workshop
  • 308 for Satellites
  • 150 for Uplink
  • 60 for Power Generator

Thus, you will have to raise $ 138 by day 11, and another $ 150 by day 17, and then another $ 60 by day 27. Crucial here will be getting the sum of money for the Uplink. This game is RNG based and sometimes it will surely screw you up by leaving you 1 or 2 $ off the sum. Then, you will have to restart, or cancel one of the satellites. However, most of the time, you'll be fine. If you're playing on Impossible, this is actually less of a problem, because more enemies means more loot to sell. Getting money for Power Generator is not a problem. Getting money for Satellites depends on having UFO show up before day 11. If it doesn't, you will only have enough money for 3. If it does, you will have enough money for 4. Generally, 4v3 is not THAT big deal, but still, you may want to fast-forward the time right after you finish your first tactical mission and see whether you will get your UFO in time, in order to save yourself time spent on doing the abduction mission, in case you absolutely want 4 satellites in the first month.

The fact that you want to get engineers on your first abduction goes without saying, since its obvious. But before the 06 day of the second month, you'll have to get an extra engineer on top of that. You can get it either by covering a continent that provides engineers for covering its countries, by getting them randomly as a reward from council mission, or from second abduction mission in the first month, or, if you get lucky with timings, for first abduction mission in the second month (however, this cannot be relied on, since it can as well happen after 06th - if you want to save-scum, save before council report, that's when time at which missions happen in the next month is determined).

Also, you should from the start consider which continent you will be covering first, and leave that continent unattended in the first two abductions. You only got three reasonable choices, that's Africa, Asia or Europe. Europe is the best money-wise (considering their bonus, which will save you additional $ 78 on workshops in the 2nd month), but will not give you engineers you need. Africa is better than Asia, since you get to cap another country (preferably Russia or some $ 100 one). However, its really your choice (and sometimes depends on how rewards for 1 and 2 abduction missions roll out).

When picking rewards for second abduction in the first month, if you're going to be covering Europe, consider getting engineers. If you don't get'em here, you're viable to screw-up by RNG who wont give you them as council mission reward and will place first abduction in the next month on day 7. Else - get money. You'll need all money you can get in the second month.

In the second month, it becomes a little easier. Still calculate amount of money you will need on crucial facilities before spending on non-important ones, or on squad upgrades like scopes and medikits. You want to get a second continent covered here, and that is Africa if you didn't get it already, or the continent you placed your spare satellite on if you did get it. By day 7 of month 3, you will need a total of 6 extra engineers from external sources, in addition to 4 you got from your first abduction mission. Since you cannot get less than 3 from an event, and get 4 from abduction mission, and you will be getting engineers from countries you cover, usually you'll be fine. However, still pay attention to this, since you'll need 25 total engineers to start building third workshop in month 3.

In the third month you are way less stressed, you can now afford juicy stuff like OTS upgrades and some nice gear. Watch out for large ship that comes early this month - you absolutely have to have one laser canon and one phoenix canon interceptor on each continent for that one (if you don't want to save-load).

Recommended research path to take is Fragments - Materials - Carapace Armors - Beam Weapons - Precision Lasers - Experimental Warfare - Heavy Lasers - stuff to capture a live alien

Unlucky Man's Build Order

What if you didn't get lucky with already excavated tiles and don't want to restart? In this case, instead of having Workshops on 1,6-7 and 2,7 you'll have to place them on 1,5 and 2,5-6, and Power Generators vice-versa. Problem is that Workshop takes 10 days to build, unlike 5 days to build a generator. Therefore, you will have to start excavating space for your second workshop on 01.04, and to do that you have to build your Access Lift on 27.03 and your Power Generator on 22.03. That means you'll have to get money for your Power Generator earlier, and you'll have to find additional $ 50 in the first month. Usually that will not be a problem (if you already got thus far, meaning you passed the Uplink bottleneck) but you will have to sell nearly everything, all your alloys and fragments, severely crippling your research and ability to field Carapace armor and Lasers by the time first terror mission happens in the second month.

If you don't want to suffer through that, you can build your second Workshop on 1,1 - this will take away your adjacency bonuses, but they aren't that great anyway (7% rebait that you only start to get in the end of the second month, and that's like several $ per completed facility, by the time it ramps up its already irrelevant). Therefore, you build first Workshop on 1,5 and generators on 1,6-7 and second workshop on 1,1 and your Officer Training School goes on 2,5. At this point, you'd better substitute your third or fourth generator with a Thermal one, so that you can place your third workshop on 2,6-7, but if you get even more unlucky, and have no available Steams, you will have to build third and fourth generators on 2,6-7 thus making you build your third workshop one level deeper, on 3,5 (which, again, will require you to build access lift one month earlier) or on 1,2 (will delay Alien Containment).

1st month on Impossible: Build Order

Build-order for 1st month (march) on Impossible difficulty - "Fast Satellite Uplink". No research/hire soldiers/production included.

  • 1d - excavate ($10, 5d, space for Workshop);
  • 4-7d - Abduction Site (+4 engineer, for Workshop);
  • 7d - Workshop ($130, 10d, +5 engineers for Satellite Uplink), excavate ($10, 5d, space for Power Generator) ;
  • 7d-10d - UFO (small scout, 1 interceptor needed), UFO Crash Site (sell as much as possible); NOTE that if you let this go, you get a Medium Scout with more loot.
  • 11d - 3x-4x satellites ($77 each with 9 engineers; 20d) not in pack (1 by 1),
  • 12d - Power Generator ($60, 5d, power for Satellite Uplink);
  • 17d - Satellite Uplink ($150, 14d);
  • ...
  • 32d - Council Report

2nd Abduction Site and Council Mission will be this month, but it usually goes after 17d.

From Normal To Classic

Making the transition from one difficulty level to the other can prove to be tough. The main differences to watch out for on Classic are:

  1. The +10 Aim bonus to the Aliens - suddenly Sectoids can be a lot more lethal.
  2. Soldiers have -1 HP than on Classic - crucially this means Light Plasma Rifles can one-shot soldiers with basic armor.
  3. Thin Men/Outsiders now have 4/5 health - Assault Rifles are not much useful against them anymore.
  4. No OTS at the beginning - stuck to 4 soldier squads for a while until you get a Sergeant promoted and the OTS built. (With the Slingshot DLC, you can get Zhang fairly early in the first month to satisfy this condition)
  5. Panic now spreads throughout countries - all the world seems to be turning redder and redder.
  6. No extra satellite at the beginning - and less funding/base power/etc making resources scarce due to all of the requirements (OTS, satellite, research, engineering, etc.)