So I just started playing XCOM. I need some advice from the vets...

Just like the title says I finally got around to playing it in the free time I ended up having before Bioshock: Infinite launches. I must say, I'm surprised by how "difficult" it is. I say that in quotes for a few reasons. 1) I royally screwed up my first game on normal difficulty by getting all my snipers killed early and not realizing where exactly the aliens can shoot from. I also didn't know satellites were that important. Add to those things not understanding the research methods and going ahead too far in the story to fight the sectoid commanders, and all my good troops died. 2) I feel like the game is difficult because it forces you into making tough choices. Now, I haven't beaten the game or even tried classic yet, so I won't render judgment on that just yet, but I do have mixed feelings.

I've since started my second attempt and things are going much smoother. So here are the questions.

1) Where do people usually like to put their bases. I've gathered that taking advantage of certain starting bonuses can be worked into a strategy like a "build order" in RTS games. I started in US both times

2) I'm trying to stay away from forums and do things myself, but I get the feeling that I should ignore lasers and just go straight to plasma. But i feel that leaves a large gap between upgrades. Plus I like to have my snipers and supports well armed.

3) Alloys are important, how do you get them? Just by shooting down alien ships and raiding their bases? If thats correct then should I be focusing on teching up my interceptors?

4) The shiv, I just built an alloy shiv and it seems to be working great for now. I did it with the intent of fucksmashing the sectoid commanders since they can't be mindcontrolled..but other than that are they a good investment?

5) Just how much should I be capturing aliens? I try and get the obvious ones and collect their weapons.

I think thats just about it for now. I'll come back add more if I need to.

1. The noob friendly spot is generally the USA (WHOO! U-S-A! U-S-A!!). That's where I put my base and most people recommend that spot for first timers.

2. That's a great idea...until you get to the Chryssalid (AKA Purple Zerg fuckers). I've heard people recommend skipping lasers and going right to plasmas but I don't know if you want to try that on your first go round.

3. Alloys you get for completing UFO missions and not blowing everything up (their around in the environment or something so that grenade might blow up something useful). You also get them from mechanical enemies that you'll fight later in the game.

4. You're on your own with the Shiv. I did a "Let's Play" with my first XCOM game here on The Escapist and adding a SHIV meant that one of my canon fodder Escapist soldiers didn't get to go on the mission.

5. It's not terribly important. If you get a relatively high chance, go for it but it's not a must.

It's a great game, but it is indeed difficult.

1. I like to build in Africa for the bonus to income, but I've heard good arguments for other countries. Mostly just avoid South America and Asia.

2. It's definitely possible, and I've done it myself. Your primary goal should be to neglect lasers but keep up with your armors to compensate. Stun as many thin men as possible for their light plasma rifles, and research their usage 'fairly early'. Hopefully you'll have that done before the aliens get too difficult. Light plasma rifles can be used by both assault and support, who can make up the majority of your team (definitely get a good sniper though) until you can outfit the rest with plasma weapons too.

3. Yes, you get them primarily by shooting down alien ships. You only see alien ships in countries that you have satellites over, though. Try not to let any get away, since alloys become very important.

4. I never really used the Shiv very much, so I can't say. I have heard it makes a good, distracting punching bag.

5. You only really need to capture one of each race for interrogation, unless you want their weapons. Definitely stun thin men for their light plasma rifles, but you can also get large plasma weapons from mutons as well as alien grenades. These are tougher to stun, though, so approach carefully.

shivs can be alot of fun but they destroy and cant capture so there is there

basically the best advice i can give is to take your time. you have no time limit for missions so keep using cover, keep using cover, oh and keep using cover

Newtonyd:

1. I like to build in Africa for the bonus to income, but I've heard good arguments for other countries. Mostly just avoid South America and Asia.

Asia is right up there competing with North America for the best starting location. The discount on foundry and squad upgrades really add up over time, the main drawback being that you are pretty strapped for cash early on. Europe on the other hand is completely worthless (since you'll never need to build a laboratory and workshops are completely optional).

Ishal:
1) Where do people usually like to put their bases. I've gathered that taking advantage of certain starting bonuses can be worked into a strategy like a "build order" in RTS games. I started in US both times

The US is a safe bet. Africa and Asia are also both good. South America is a bit meh. Besides, if you can get satellites over ever nation on a continent then you get that continent's bonus and SA only has two nations, therefore it's easy to pick up later.

My personal favourite is Asia, good savings and it has four nations, making it one of the hardest bonuses to get without starting there.

Europe is useless. Fuck Europe. (Except Russia, because they give good money.)

2) I'm trying to stay away from forums and do things myself, but I get the feeling that I should ignore lasers and just go straight to plasma. But i feel that leaves a large gap between upgrades. Plus I like to have my snipers and supports well armed.

I imagine you could get away with that on normal difficulty. You'll find yourself struggling in the mid-game though.

3) Alloys are important, how do you get them? Just by shooting down alien ships and raiding their bases? If thats correct then should I be focusing on teching up my interceptors?

Yeah, just from ships and bases. As for interceptors, you can actually skip a lot of the weapon upgrades, even on classic difficulty. I usually just bridge the gap with dodge and aim powerups, which are cheap.

4) The shiv, I just built an alloy shiv and it seems to be working great for now. I did it with the intent of fucksmashing the sectoid commanders since they can't be mindcontrolled..but other than that are they a good investment?

SHIVs will never be as powerful as soldiers. A lot of people recommend against them.

Personally I like them because they're expendable. They don't level up, so if you lose one you haven't lost anything except the resources it cost to make it. I use them to breach rooms and work as bullet sponges. If one of your soldiers is in trouble you can roll a SHIV out into the open and all the aliens will focus on it.

The immunity to mind control is definitely a nice bonus.

5) Just how much should I be capturing aliens? I try and get the obvious ones and collect their weapons.

Capture one of each alien. It's actually quite important. Interrogations give some great upgrades and can half your research times.

Be aware that robotic enemies and Chrysalids cannot be captured.

...

Free TIp: Don't use half cover unless you have absolutely no choice. Half cover is distressingly similar to no cover at all.

Ishal:

1) Where do people usually like to put their bases. I've gathered that taking advantage of certain starting bonuses can be worked into a strategy like a "build order" in RTS games. I started in US both times

You need all nations covered with satelites, so one of the 5 nation continents is the obvious choice. And Europe's bonus is pretty meh.

Ishal:
2) I'm trying to stay away from forums and do things myself, but I get the feeling that I should ignore lasers and just go straight to plasma. But i feel that leaves a large gap between upgrades. Plus I like to have my snipers and supports well armed.

Lasers are a pretty large upgrade, and I tend to need them before I get enough plasma weapons. This might be because I'm just bad at the game though.

Ishal:
3) Alloys are important, how do you get them? Just by shooting down alien ships and raiding their bases? If thats correct then should I be focusing on teching up my interceptors?

UFOs and Bases, yeah. I mucked up on my first playthrough, spent all my alloys on other things, none left to upgrade interceptors, no chance of killing more UFOs. Alloy-broke :(

Ishal:
4) The shiv, I just built an alloy shiv and it seems to be working great for now. I did it with the intent of fucksmashing the sectoid commanders since they can't be mindcontrolled..but other than that are they a good investment?

I'm still not convinced to Shivs are worth it, some times I try using them, sometimes I ignore them.

Ishal:
5) Just how much should I be capturing aliens? I try and get the obvious ones and collect their weapons.

Try to capture at least one of each for the research bonuses, after that it can be worth it to capture some for equipment, but don't put your guys in danger to do so.

I still haven't finished the game, I've restarted 25+ times though, I've got the start down ;). Playing Ironman adds a lot of fun and a lot of ragequits...

Ishal:
Just like the title says I finally got around to playing it in the free time I ended up having before Bioshock: Infinite launches. I must say, I'm surprised by how "difficult" it is. I say that in quotes for a few reasons. 1) I royally screwed up my first game on normal difficulty by getting all my snipers killed early and not realizing where exactly the aliens can shoot from. I also didn't know satellites were that important. Add to those things not understanding the research methods and going ahead too far in the story to fight the sectoid commanders, and all my good troops died. 2) I feel like the game is difficult because it forces you into making tough choices. Now, I haven't beaten the game or even tried classic yet, so I won't render judgment on that just yet, but I do have mixed feelings.

I've since started my second attempt and things are going much smoother. So here are the questions.

1) Where do people usually like to put their bases. I've gathered that taking advantage of certain starting bonuses can be worked into a strategy like a "build order" in RTS games. I started in US both times

2) I'm trying to stay away from forums and do things myself, but I get the feeling that I should ignore lasers and just go straight to plasma. But i feel that leaves a large gap between upgrades. Plus I like to have my snipers and supports well armed.

3) Alloys are important, how do you get them? Just by shooting down alien ships and raiding their bases? If thats correct then should I be focusing on teching up my interceptors?

4) The shiv, I just built an alloy shiv and it seems to be working great for now. I did it with the intent of fucksmashing the sectoid commanders since they can't be mindcontrolled..but other than that are they a good investment?

5) Just how much should I be capturing aliens? I try and get the obvious ones and collect their weapons.

I think thats just about it for now. I'll come back add more if I need to.

I'll give you my usual set of tips: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.392446-I-find-XCOM-really-difficult#15829154

For more precise answers to the 5 questions here:

1. Anywhere but Europe. NA is the best starting location for a new player, and will provide you with the fastest/optimal start.

2. Uh...no. Don't do that. It'll leave you with a long stretch during which you will be at a desperate tech handicap. If you're feeling masochistic or confident you could give it a go, but as you're here asking for advice I suspect you are not.

3. Yes, from ships. No need to "tech up" interceptors. You'll want something better than the missile launcher a month or so into the game, and eventually you'll upgrade to a...Firewhateverthey'recalled. Damage on UFOs is persistent, so you can swarm most UFOS up through mediums and take them down via attrition. Investing in one shot bonuses is a waste of money. Don't do it.

4. SHIVs are indeed ideal Sectoid Commander scouts if you have no high willpower soldiers, but as they don't level up and (historically) were subject to a number of awful bugs, you're better off just using soldiers and finding other ways around the psionic enemies.

5. ASAP. There's no reason to put it off. You get some nice tech bonuses from captures that slingshot your research.

BloatedGuppy:

Ishal:
Just like the title says I finally got around to playing it in the free time I ended up having before Bioshock: Infinite launches. I must say, I'm surprised by how "difficult" it is. I say that in quotes for a few reasons. 1) I royally screwed up my first game on normal difficulty by getting all my snipers killed early and not realizing where exactly the aliens can shoot from. I also didn't know satellites were that important. Add to those things not understanding the research methods and going ahead too far in the story to fight the sectoid commanders, and all my good troops died. 2) I feel like the game is difficult because it forces you into making tough choices. Now, I haven't beaten the game or even tried classic yet, so I won't render judgment on that just yet, but I do have mixed feelings.

I've since started my second attempt and things are going much smoother. So here are the questions.

1) Where do people usually like to put their bases. I've gathered that taking advantage of certain starting bonuses can be worked into a strategy like a "build order" in RTS games. I started in US both times

2) I'm trying to stay away from forums and do things myself, but I get the feeling that I should ignore lasers and just go straight to plasma. But i feel that leaves a large gap between upgrades. Plus I like to have my snipers and supports well armed.

3) Alloys are important, how do you get them? Just by shooting down alien ships and raiding their bases? If thats correct then should I be focusing on teching up my interceptors?

4) The shiv, I just built an alloy shiv and it seems to be working great for now. I did it with the intent of fucksmashing the sectoid commanders since they can't be mindcontrolled..but other than that are they a good investment?

5) Just how much should I be capturing aliens? I try and get the obvious ones and collect their weapons.

I think thats just about it for now. I'll come back add more if I need to.

I'll give you my usual set of tips: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.392446-I-find-XCOM-really-difficult#15829154

For more precise answers to the 5 questions here:

1. Anywhere but Europe. NA is the best starting location for a new player, and will provide you with the fastest/optimal start.

2. Uh...no. Don't do that. It'll leave you with a long stretch during which you will be at a desperate tech handicap. If you're feeling masochistic or confident you could give it a go, but as you're here asking for advice I suspect you are not.

3. Yes, from ships. No need to "tech up" interceptors. You'll want something better than the missile launcher a month or so into the game, and eventually you'll upgrade to a...Firewhateverthey'recalled. Damage on UFOs is persistent, so you can swarm most UFOS up through mediums and take them down via attrition. Investing in one shot bonuses is a waste of money. Don't do it.

4. SHIVs are indeed ideal Sectoid Commander scouts if you have no high willpower soldiers, but as they don't level up and (historically) were subject to a number of awful bugs, you're better off just using soldiers and finding other ways around the psionic enemies.

5. ASAP. There's no reason to put it off. You get some nice tech bonuses from captures that slingshot your research.

Copied that list, I had forgotten you created it. Many thanks, and yeah... the bugs. I've only had a few bugs so far, the worst one was during a terror mission where a chrysalid was on top of a building and I used the battlescanner to see if it was still up there. When it was the aliens turn the game froze :/

Thanks everyone for the tips. Things are progressing smoothly now.

Last night I absolutely owned a terror mission, it was my second one. Somehow I managed to get all the aliens to focus on my squad in an alleyway between two buildings. At one point I had 7 chrysalids, 1 cyberdisc, and 2 drones all on the map at once trying to kill me. I decided to research some laser weapons so my troops were outfitted with light plasma rifles and everyone else had some type of laser gun, including the sniper. And JAYSUS CHRISTO did the sniper save my ass. Squad sight is a life saver. I had him in skeleton armor so he grappled up on top of the building overlooking the entire alley. It was just beautiful, walked away with a perfect score reducing terror everywhere and best part was that it was in Brazil so I don't think South American countries will leave the project this month..but probably next month, oh well.

Now I'm researching Titan armor and Plasma weapons.

Angel armor + a sniper with the squad vision upgrade = dead aliens. It got to the point where I had three of them in the air simultaneously on overwatch and they just slaughtered everything.

Kinda sucks when you gotta go inside, though.

Oh, and the...erm..I think called terror missions suck ass. Least favorite moments are from those mission.

Oh, and I never needed to upgrade my jets until I got the spaceship looking ones. They generally did the job for me.

Ishal:
Just like the title says I finally got around to playing it in the free time I ended up having before Bioshock: Infinite launches. I must say, I'm surprised by how "difficult" it is. I say that in quotes for a few reasons. 1) I royally screwed up my first game on normal difficulty by getting all my snipers killed early and not realizing where exactly the aliens can shoot from. I also didn't know satellites were that important. Add to those things not understanding the research methods and going ahead too far in the story to fight the sectoid commanders, and all my good troops died. 2) I feel like the game is difficult because it forces you into making tough choices. Now, I haven't beaten the game or even tried classic yet, so I won't render judgment on that just yet, but I do have mixed feelings.

I've since started my second attempt and things are going much smoother. So here are the questions.

1) Where do people usually like to put their bases. I've gathered that taking advantage of certain starting bonuses can be worked into a strategy like a "build order" in RTS games. I started in US both times

2) I'm trying to stay away from forums and do things myself, but I get the feeling that I should ignore lasers and just go straight to plasma. But i feel that leaves a large gap between upgrades. Plus I like to have my snipers and supports well armed.

3) Alloys are important, how do you get them? Just by shooting down alien ships and raiding their bases? If thats correct then should I be focusing on teching up my interceptors?

4) The shiv, I just built an alloy shiv and it seems to be working great for now. I did it with the intent of fucksmashing the sectoid commanders since they can't be mindcontrolled..but other than that are they a good investment?

5) Just how much should I be capturing aliens? I try and get the obvious ones and collect their weapons.

I think thats just about it for now. I'll come back add more if I need to.

1. I put my base in Europe. It worked well for me, but I think they're all fairly viable. Europe seems to be easiest though.

2. Don't skip lasers. Plasma weapons are crazy expensive and you'll probably only be able to buy a few at a time. Laser weapons are very effective, so don't skip them.

3. If I remember correctly, you got them simply by doing missions right? Also, it's best to minimize the use of grenades as grenades leave nothing behind for you to collect from the enemy.

4. I really liked using the Shiv, and although it wasn't as effective as a trooper, it still was good to use as a backup. It's worth using them though so don't worry. They're especially useful if you're doing iron man as you can always use them to scout an area instead of a soldier.

5. I mainly capture new species of aliens, and after that I only really bothered capturing the guys that carry the plasma weapons, as it's waaay easier to get stuff like the gattling plasma weapon (whatever it's called) from them then having to buy it/make it.

tippy2k2:

4. You're on your own with the Shiv. I did a "Let's Play" with my first XCOM game here on The Escapist and adding a SHIV meant that one of my canon fodder Escapist soldiers didn't get to go on the mission.

I still didn't die, hah, delusions of grandeur, etc.

Ishal:

1) Where do people usually like to put their bases. I've gathered that taking advantage of certain starting bonuses can be worked into a strategy like a "build order" in RTS games. I started in US both times

2) I'm trying to stay away from forums and do things myself, but I get the feeling that I should ignore lasers and just go straight to plasma. But i feel that leaves a large gap between upgrades. Plus I like to have my snipers and supports well armed.

3) Alloys are important, how do you get them? Just by shooting down alien ships and raiding their bases? If thats correct then should I be focusing on teching up my interceptors?

4) The shiv, I just built an alloy shiv and it seems to be working great for now. I did it with the intent of fucksmashing the sectoid commanders since they can't be mindcontrolled..but other than that are they a good investment?

5) Just how much should I be capturing aliens? I try and get the obvious ones and collect their weapons.

1. North America because air forces and satellites can be a mite expensive, especially early game, but you need them.

2. I ignored lasers, everything was fine. The only thing I did with lasers was give everyone laser pistols until I had enough materials for plasma pistols after I got my main gun plasma versions. It saved me a lot of resources.

3. UFO missions, which means shooting down UFOs. It'd actually be better to go forward in the story to unlock the better interceptors instead of buying stuff for the jets.

4. SHIVs are terrible. Instead of making troops that can't be mind-controlled, have a troop that can kill the sectoid commander before he can move, and just give them the upgrade so they can't be mind controlled.

5. You actually don't need to capture aliens. All it does is give research credits, and you have ample time to research stuff anyway. There was a stint half-way in my game where everything was researched and my scientists were doing jack shit.

Easton Dark:

tippy2k2:

4. You're on your own with the Shiv. I did a "Let's Play" with my first XCOM game here on The Escapist and adding a SHIV meant that one of my canon fodder Escapist soldiers didn't get to go on the mission.

I still didn't die, hah, delusions of grandeur, etc.

One thing I can offer is "don't use cover that can be blown up." ie: you position your soldiers behind a log -- then a Muton destroys said log with a grenade -- soldiers are now NOT behind cover ... and then the other aliens proceed to perforate them.

Patience is key, but sometimes a good strategic rush can help too. The enemies can't shoot you if they're dead. (NOTE: NOT RECOMMENDED FOR IMPOSSIBLE. F@*#ing Impossible.)

 

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