Talk:Making the Game Harder

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Realism of selling advanced manufactures and alien items

I removed (edited down) this statement:

:This not only adds some realism to the game (seriously, who would pay 334,000$ for some metal ball that lets you know the stats of your wife? And which government on earth would allow the possession of plasma weapons to other nations, or even civilians?), it also makes it significantly harder.

As I have no doubt that governments scientific and intelligence agencies would pay huge amounts for mind probes. They would be incredibly useful to reconnaisance units, covert surveillance, and (just as with X-COM) their greatest use would probably be to positively identify important / high ranking targets. Alien weapons sales would most likely be to the Council of Funding Nations governments themselves. Do you think they would be able to resist the temptation? No way. The only 'unrealistic' element is that the advanced technologies (especially aircraft) and alien items don't sell for more. This is purely a game balance thing: realistically, X-COM should be able to sell Firestorms and Avengers for hundreds of millions of dollars each. Spike 20:14, 15 November 2008 (CST)

X-com should be able to sell an alien Power Plant + Elerium for several hundred million each. Ha. It makes little to no sense that the Mind-Probe would be more expensive than the Psi-Amp though. Anyhow, Spike is right over here. The Council Of Funding Nations most likely just "informed" X-com that they would "allow" sale of any and all gear... to the CoFN. Nor do they allow you to hire $100 beggars from India or convicted murderers to use as cannon fodder. Let me tell you, if I were allowed to hire really cheap Rookies with shit stats and let them be front line Stun Rod wielders, I wouldn't care if they had shit for stats... actually, they don't even need the stun rods, I just want bodies to use up alien reaction fire... The CoFN is as corrupt as any other government in this world, I guess. Full of red tape and officials taking their cuts along the line, eh? ... Anyone find it hilarious how someone is paying this high price for the Heavy Plasma... but they can't fire any of them cause X-com refuses to sell the Heavy Plasma Ammo? XD well, I was stockpiling those for my own use, anyhow, ha. They can't MAKE clips either, they have no Elerium.

Jasonred


The Mind Probe allows you to take information from brain waves, which would likely mean surface thoughts. They'd be very useful in police interrogations, court cases, political debate, polygraph testing, market research, and stalking, among other things. Also, the Psi-Amp is more useful than the Mind Probe...if you know how to use the Amp and have a Psi-Strength high enough to make use of it. Since X-COM controls all Psionic Laboratories, this would allow the Mind Probe(which can be used by anyone) to be more valuable to the lay person. Arrow Quivershaft 19:12, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Bozo the Clown

If you're going to do that game, you should probably copy a RESEARCH.DAT file over from a completed game so that he actually has weapons to use; doesn't matter how many aliens are dead if all he sees are "Alien Artefacts." Keep the ban on carrying weapons on the Skyranger, but at least give him the ability to use the ones he finds in the mission. Alternately, allow him to use certain clown-like weapons, like the "Slapstick" (Stun Rod) and "Confetti Bomb"(Smoke Grenade) to start with. Arrow Quivershaft 15:53, 18 November 2008 (CST)

Actually I already made a patch for this one (check "Directly Use Alien Weapons" in the "Hack" Section). Seb76 16:03, 18 November 2008 (CST)
Well, I haven't actually tried it out but when it seemed the logical end for the line of thinking of that section (Ironman, Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee). Anyone would have to be a bit crazy to try playing the game like this :) And can't soldiers use alien artifacts in reaction fire? I have the idea they can. Hobbes 16:18, 18 November 2008 (CST)

I don't know if they can. I'd be surprised, since you can't even THROW an alien artifact if it isn't researched. (Though this makes some sense in they don't know what is in them before they research it). In either event, amusing, and Seb, that works too, thanks for the suggestion. Arrow Quivershaft 16:21, 18 November 2008 (CST)

Someone claimed one time that you can use alien weapons for reaction fire if the clip has been researched prior. Not sure if this is true or if you can use the totally unresearched weapon for reaction fire. Anyhow, call me crazy, but I actually completed a "Bozo The Clown" scenario in a X-COM base defense mission one time. Of course, I had about 40 freshmeat soldiers to draw reaction fire from the aliens and finally got an alien to be in the way of the firing line. The big issue is dealing with the constant morale drop when wave after wave of your fellow soldiers die every round. Guess you could call this "Bozo The Clowns" instead. --Zombie 16:48, 18 November 2008 (CST)

Or "Clown Car" or "Clown Base" or "Clown School." Arrow Quivershaft 16:49, 18 November 2008 (CST)

"Clown Academy"? "Clown Academy 2" (etc)? "Send in The Clowns"? Spike 17:55, 18 November 2008 (CST)

Ok you clown, a little bit of testing. You cannot use an alien weapon for reaction fire if the weapon & the clip are not researched. If I get the clip researched, I'll try this soonish. --Zombie 18:33, 18 November 2008 (CST)

Limited Military

Jasonred: You'll probably go bankrupt very fast if you start the game with maximum hires...

That's a valid point. Perhaps Seb76 can incorporate reduced soldier wages in the next iteration of his Limited Military function of his patch. Since you can't get more, it's not a bad idea to keep the wages down a bit to allow the game to be completed. Arrow Quivershaft 17:36, 15 February 2009 (CST)
I can do that, but what should be the new salary - 5000, 2500? (default one is 20000)Seb76 13:16, 26 February 2009 (CST)

0, I guess? you're unlikely to use 250 soldiers during the course of a game of X-com, so there's the incentive to sack 100 soldiers right off the bat. Jasonred:

5000 sounds good to me, to be honest. It's enough to leave some bite in the salaries but not enough to make the number prohibitive. Arrow Quivershaft 19:01, 26 February 2009 (CST)
In the end I went for 2500. Also if you want only 150 soldiers, then you just specify so, no need to sack anyone. Seb76 13:51, 27 February 2009 (CST)
UWAAAAARRRGGGHHH!!!! Just realised a hideous flaw of this gameplay style. I'm playing on Superhuman and had been just hired a surplus of soldiers with my recent windfalls of alien loot. So, 35 soldiers on base, still using Earth weapons... and a Battleship lands on my doorstep. ... Equipping and juggling 35 soldiers was annoying. ... But. Nowhere near as bad as 250 soldiers would be. Or even 100. Can you imagine what would happen if you only had 1 base with a Living quarters, and you saw a battleship making a beeline for it... the thought of performing a base defence with 250 soldiers is... AARGH. ... OTOH, maybe the aliens will be unable to spawn any units at all, as you will take up all the spawn points. Jasonred 07:25, 28 February 2009 (CST)
Don't worry, your style is fine. There is a maximum number of units that can be loaded onto the map in a base defence. You will never have to fight with more than 40 soldiers, so if you've managed with 35 you have more or less mastered it. More details here. Spike 06:44, 28 February 2009 (CST)

Damn masochistic

If I find the game too easy, at leas I will know where to go for advice. Thanks guys --Boro 14:03, 5 May 2010 (EDT)

It's funny how a game that has such a steep learning curve for new players also leads to these same players coming up with all these harder ways to play the game once they've mastered it. I guess it's like what some wise chap, whom I've promptly forgotten (which could mean I'm making it up!), said: to push the bounds of human endeavours is to be human. -NKF 03:14, 30 August 2010 (EDT)

Flagged for rewrite

Just detected a few personal pronouns used in the text of this article. I propose this article is due for a rewrite.

Actually, it might be a good idea to create a 'ARTICLE FLAGGED FOR REWRITE' type inclusion page that is tacked to the top of all articles that need rewrites, like the ones found on Wikipedia. The advantage is that all pages have got a 'what links here' page that can help editors track pages that need editing. I'll sit on that idea for a bit. Might be useful. -NKF 03:14, 30 August 2010 (EDT)

Yeah, this whole page does feel a little... tacky. I don't really know how to express it. What do you think a rewrite should do? Magic9mushroom (talk) 05:44, 18 May 2015 (EDT)
Ah - so this is the seed that eventuated in the {{REWRITE}} template. Rather amusing that I completely forgot to apply it to this page after it was made. The page does come off as one big rambling wall of text. The original XComutil scenarios could go into their own page. Otherwise, general tidying up like simplifying and summarizing the explanations and rewriting some of the more chatty text to bring it in line with the main articles would do wonders.
On a second line of thought, the page does have that feel of being an informal user contribution area. Much like the guides. It is a guide of sorts after all. I'm thinking of moving it under that heading on the main menu. NKF (talk) 01:59, 19 May 2015 (EDT)
What I want to do is to put Scott Jones' scenarios on one page, the user-generated oddball scenarios on another, and have some community-recognised and simple challenges (no modding, simple rules) on the main page. But I sort of feel that would be stepping on everyone's fun, and I already feel like a bull in a china shop with the old part of the wiki as inactive as it is. Magic9mushroom (talk) 02:33, 19 May 2015 (EDT)
Rule 3 of Wikipedia: Be bold, but not reckless. I started this page a long time ago and I'd rather see it evolving than to be become static. If anyone disagrees with your changes then they better start participating in the discussions rather than be only lurking. Hobbes (talk) 14:45, 19 May 2015 (EDT)
Actually, subdividing the section like that isn't a bad idea. Having simple challenges separate from the more involved ones that require 3rd party tools (like XComutil) would certainly go a good way towards organizing the section. Other projects like the Extenders and OpenXCom could also get a brief plug as they do have some options that can be set to add that little extra challenge. NKF (talk) 02:01, 20 May 2015 (EDT)
There should be a way to add tabs to pages if you think it would be useful to split this page. It was implemented for EU2012 a while ago although it never got much use. Hobbes
Found it, Pete implemented this more than a year ago. Check the link for instructions on how to use it: [1](talk) 09:35, 21 May 2015 (EDT)
I'm done with my condensation of the main page. Certainly a lot shorter now... Magic9mushroom (talk) 03:29, 22 May 2015 (EDT)

No Starting Base

I tried one of these games, on Superhuman, using the saved game with only $4.4M in cash (so a deficit of about $8M on a regular game). It doesn't seem to be that much harder, though it is very interesting and different.

Interesting and different because you get to design your base how you like it, but you don't, because you need to get detect/intercept/strike capabilities up and running asap, and then start with research & manufacture etc. And also because you have to save money, be very careful with money. I ran only one Interceptor, and armed it with Avalanche & Stingray, to save money on ammunition (mainly due to them firing alternately, rather than simultaneously).

Not much harder, probably due to the "adaptive difficulty" logic that is believed to programmed into the Geoscape somewhere. In January I was building, I had no detection or intercept capability, I couldn't even react to terror sites. There were none. In February I had a 'strike base' - detect/intercept/strike. There was one terror mission and one UFO detect, too far & fast for me to intercept it.

I didn't handle the terror mission very well, got a slight negative score in it, but my overall score at the end of the first 2 months was only slightly negative. Alien activity had been very low. As mentioned previously, I think this is due to "adaptive difficulty". I think Alien activity remains low, and rises only in response to increasingly effective XCom activity.

So by March 1, I was in a position similar to a normal Jan 1st, slightly better in some ways. I had about $4M, 3 hangars, lab and workshop - similar to normal Jan 1. I also had alien containment, a better defensive layout, extra general stores and living quarters. I only had 1 Interceptor, and no scientists or engineers yet, a slight negative score and a slight reduction in funding (only a few hundred $K), but that was the only downside compared to normal Jan 1st. My next move, as at normal Jan 1st, would be to recruit extra scientists.

I will play on for a few more months to see if anything unexpected happens, but at this point I expect things will proceed pretty much as per a normal game would, from Jan 1st.

In conclusion I think this scenario is worth playing, definitely, but not necessarily 'harder'. In effect you spend 2 months getting to a slightly different 'starting line'.


Spike 15:13, 5 October 2010 (EDT)


You could think that it's almost like you get to experience the months that lead up to the point you'd normally start the game. Or a delayed start. For players that find it hard enough with the default base and funds, or even with all the buffs offered by the XComutil "enhanced" base, it could be quite a challenge.
One thing I liked about this scenario is that it gets you to appreciate what little you have in the vanilla game. Actually, if you think about it, you are given a very generous start - even with the really-hard-to-defend base layout.
Not sure about adaptive difficulty, but difficulty does ramp up slowly as new missions are scheduled as time goes by. There are two missions that are scheduled the moment you start the game. The first is a UFO sent to the zone you selected for your first base when you started the game. The other is a terror site - though as you've experienced, it may not necessarily happen within the month.
Here's an idea. An alternative to this scenario is to do it mid-game. Simulate a catastrophic loss by dismantling all your bases and edit your funds down to your desired difficulty level. Maybe lose a couple of funding nations. With the increased alien activity, this would be a bit more challenging. -NKF 01:49, 6 October 2010 (EDT)

Record for clock-time speedrun?

Is there a known record for a clock-time speedrun (beating the game on as early an in-game date as possible)?

Obviously save-scumming helps make it quicker, so there'd probably be separate categories for save-scum and iron-man runs.

I know you can do a psi-screen by June 1 (capture a Sectoid Leader at the end of Feb, research usually takes too long to get Psi-Labs up by the end of March but you can get many labs up by April 30, screen in May, get results June 1), and I think it's possible to also finish the Avenger and research Cydonia or Bust by then. I'm trying to get June 1 in my current playthrough.

You may be able to do a psi-screen in April (getting results on May 1) if you nab a Leader in January or get an early Feb terror mission + lots of scientists + good rolls on research times. I suspect you'd run into issues getting the rest of your tech done, though, so I think the best you could do would be mid-May, or perhaps late-April/early-May if you skip psi-screening and really skimp on non-essential tech (though that will make Cydonia harder).

Note that the game can be completed more quickly on Superhuman than on lower difficulties, because money is a limiting factor and you get more of it on Superhuman (more aliens per UFO = more loot, higher probability of spawning Retaliation missions). Magic9mushroom (talk) 06:41, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

I just finished a June-1 runthrough (my first Superhuman ironman). I got the Avenger done in early May and Cydonia or Bust around the 21st (I was waiting on a Commander, because I hadn't had a crack at a Battleship until early May, the first Battleship I saw escaped me during Skyranger downtime, and the Commander of the first alien base I assaulted committed suicide; I'd have gotten it a week or two earlier otherwise), but waited on the psi-screen.
I think finishing all the necessary tech by early April might be a possibility if you forgo psi-screening (an awful lot of funds went to my eight Psi-Labs that could have gone into more labs), though building the Avenger will probably push you to late April. I don't see any way to get a psi-screen before May 1, even if you get a Sectoid terror site in January (a single Laboratory isn't going to get you the Psi-Lab by Feb 2, which is the cut-off for a screen in March, and filling two Laboratories before the end of January is some arcane sorcery). So my guess at the earliest you could eke it out is mid-late April, and for that you'll have to do Cydonia without psi and recover almost every UFO that spawns (as I did), as well as planning well ahead in base construction and possibly accepting unsafe layouts (since Workshops have such an incredibly-long lead time and you need at least two, probably three to build the Avenger as well as all the other gear you'll need to have a remote chance at Superhuman Cydonia with no psi-screening). Magic9mushroom (talk) 12:33, 29 June 2018 (CEST)