Talk:Squad Composition and Tactics

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Snipers

Concerning the Blaster Launcher as a sniper weapon, I beg to differ. Vehemently. Sure, it has the best listed firing accuracy in the game at 120%, but when you look at the game files and the executable it's clear that the weapon is the least accurate based on an aimed shot type (IIRC 50% between waypoints). Placing many waypoints close together takes some of the accuracy problems out of the equation as does proper waypoint selection, but when you boil it down, it's a waste of talent for a sniper with already good firing accuracy stat to use it since a rookie soldier who has the crappiest FA possible can use it just as effectively. And for soldiers with bad FA, blasters allow them to improve rapidly by potentially hitting lots of targets. So the Blaster Launcher is a great tool for training up snipers from the ground up, but not so much for actual snipers. --Zombie 19:42, 7 March 2009 (CST)

If we take a very ballistic approach to sniping, it certainly is. By itself it is not accurate (so has nothing do with the listed accuracies), but the waypoint system works around that to ensure you can try to at least guide the projectile around obstacles and hit the target.
From a pure skill point of view: definitely not. That's why I mentioned it requires no skill on the part of the user (meaning the user of the gun). It doesn't matter who uses it - if you can guide the wobbly missile to its destination and take down the target, then you'll have sniped it. Lacks finesse, but there you go.
-NKF 21:42, 7 March 2009 (CST)

It's still baffling why the Blaster Launcher is touted on the article page as the "ultimate sniper's weapon" when all the other weapons are lots more accurate on aimed. Even the Laser Pistol's aimed shot (which is the worst in the game) is 18% more accurate. I guess my point is that the word sniper is synonymous with accuracy. The Blaster removes any soldier skills needed to fire it (an idiots weapon) and instead relies exclusively on the battlefield scouting and surveying performed by other soldiers in the squad. So it's not individual sniping, but a group effort. Suppose that's still sniping per-se, but the accuracy is still preventing me from agreeing with the articles assessment. --Zombie 00:21, 8 March 2009 (CST)

Standard sniping is already a group effort, as the snipers rely on the visual confirmation relayed to them by the scouts. From a technical point of view, you are right. It's not the most accurate - especially not in a straight line.
Though, few weapons get to shoot a projectile that can correct its own course as it travels by re-firing itself. Think of it like the odds of hitting something at least once with snapshots against aimed shots when you're at 50 firing accuracy (ala sniping with the plasma rifle). The accuracy values favour the aimed shots, but the snaps have a better of chance to hit at least once since they get more tries. In the blaster's case it's by way of the projectile re-firing itself from waypoint to waypoint. Then there's the fact it is area-effect in nature, so even a near-hit might might still hit the target. Definitely the Sniper's ultimate cheap shot weapon.
Hmm, ultimate mortar? -NKF 01:48, 8 March 2009 (CST)

Aye, mortar is a much better term to describe it. (Or a tactical nuke). Neither actually require marksmanship to fire. ;) --Zombie 03:09, 8 March 2009 (CDT)

It's very accurate in 1 sense: If you set the waypoints correctly, it has the best % chance of hitting (and killing) the target. And it's a sniper weapon in the sense that you can use it to shoot someone from very very far away, with a very very high chance of killing the target. ... mortar? Call a spade a spade. A Blaster Bomb is a Guided Missile Jasonred 03:21, 8 March 2009 (CDT)
Dust off and nuke the site from orbit. Its the only way to be sure. ;) Arrow Quivershaft 03:45, 8 March 2009 (CDT)
Too right! Heh heh. For what it's worth, I agree with NKF and Zombie, the Blaster Launcher is not a weapon for any Sniper worthy of the name. It's more akin to an artillery or aircraft forward observer calling in a napalm strike or artillery barrage. Think of that big bulky blob as a big tactical radio and you get the idea - the operator can be hidden away safely in any hidey-hole with an open window, more or less impregnable inside the transport, etc. Or like the Predator drones - yes they are used for long-range assassinations, but that doesn't mean the kids driving the joysticks are Snipers! Spike 09:32, 8 March 2009 (CDT)


Starting Sniper Weapon

I reckon the Heavy Cannon with AP is the best starting sniper weapon, better than the Rifle.

  • Rifle is 2/9ths more accurate (+22%) in Aimed, with the same volume of fire (1 in 80% TUs)
  • Rifle has 4/3rds volume of fire (+33%) in Snap, with the same accuracy (60%).
  • If you assume some TUs for maneuver (realistic), Rifle has 3/2 the volume of fire (+50%) in Snap.
  • But HC-AP has 56/30 = 187% damage. This also means the kill probability per hit is 1.87 times better on an unarmoured target. On armoured targets, this ratio increases in favour of the HC-AP.

If finesse is unimportant, HE rounds can be used. The combination of near-miss damage, under-armour damage and the option to inflict up to 4 times damage on terror units, makes HC-HE arguably even more effective than HC-AP. I'm not sure I would call that sniping though!

Spike 22:56, 7 March 2009 (CST)

In a power race, the rocket launcher would probably be better suited to that task. Heavier stopping power, superior aimed shot. Chance at wiping out several enemies at once (or allies). It's let down by its ammo limitations - limited, cumbersome and demanding on your item limit.
It's a bit sad how the favour is shifting away from the rifle lately. -NKF 23:14, 7 March 2009 (CST)
I agree, it's a shame. The Rifle needs to have a bit more accuracy (or more accuracy per TU) to give it the niche it deserves. "Telescopic laser sights", indeed! It ought to be the most accurate of the standard weapons, in overall terms (i.e. accuracy per round fired per turn). A buff to the ammo capacity wouldn't hurt either, though that's already one of its strengths. It's not really possible to buff the damage much without encroaching on the AC-AP. It's just a shame the tender for the X-Com Pistol specified that it be chambered for 20mm aircraft cannon rounds! (I guess they weren't sure what X-Com were going to be up against - the monsters might've been tough!) But we know what happens when you nerf the Pistol - you get a TFTD Dart Gun (yuk), the biggest waste of space that ever breathed. As the Great Pistol Cheerleader I expect you'd be against it, but I would see a Pistol with Damage of 20, 8 round magazine, as more realistic for a "high powered pistol" compared to the Rifle's capabilities - and still impressive and useful in its own right. Oops maybe this should be in "Rifle vs Pistol". :)

Heavy Weapons

It's not realistic to require Strength of 40 for heavy weapons teams, as that is the max starting Strength, you very often don't get anyone with Strength even near to that at the start. Nor is it necessary. At the start of the game, you just need to make more use of Loaders/Mules working in pairs with the heavy weapons "shooter", and also distribute extra ammo around the squad wherever you can fit it in. This works fine. You are also helped by the ammo weight bug that doesn't include the weight of the round the AI loads into the weapon prior to the Equip phase. This usually means AP or Small Rocket, but if you eliminate unwanted ammo types, or use XComUtil to force your default equipment, you can take advantage of a significant weight gain. However even Soldiers of normal starting strength can carry a loaded heavy weapon with a single reload. Teamwork is the key to handle the ammo logistics problems, until your troops get stronger.

I also take slight issue with the statement that Firing Accuracy is not that important. I think it is crucial for heavy weapons teams. You only have one or two shots and you need to make them count - battles will be decided by their success or failure. You also are firing dangerous rounds that don't tolerate mistakes or friendly fire. I use my best shots in these teams. They will gain experience and kills, and become the nucleus of future Sniper groups, once better weapons are available.

Spike 09:32, 8 March 2009 (CDT)