Let's Sperg Let's Play XCOM UFO Defense (Completed) - Heavy casualties expected.

TerribleIdeas™

Master of Cunt-Puppets
kiwifarms.net

I knew I was going to die with grenades, look at that throw accuracy, coupled with substandard strength, and just enough bravery to dumbly charge the biggest alien critter in sight!
👑

Exploding myself?
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Flipping shit and turning my gun on my squadmates, then myself?
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Mooger Meng

kiwifarms.net
Holy shit, I really hope this iteration doesn't use Psi strength for a unit's defense as well as its offense - though it might be a Good Thing™ to be the team's psionic whipping boy if you set it up correctly.

Protip: Robots can't brain laser very well.
 

Catgirls are Love

Make Catgirls Purr Again
kiwifarms.net
Is the AI smart enough to not take the bait if you have an unarmed low psi rookie on every mission?
I don't know about OpenXCOM, but I'm fairly certain that in the original game the AI tended to target your lower psi strength/bravery units deliberately so that was totally a viable tactic. When the AI is using psionics it does not require line of sight.
 

Mary the Goldsmith

kiwifarms.net
Who am I kidding? I can't sing.
hahahahahhaha, this hits to close to home, I have a friend who can turn just about anything into an improvised song that sounds nice, but if I try the same I sound like a dying Walrus.
Ponchik will be in charge of all rookie operations for the foreseeable future.
oh fuck no.... I mean sir, yes sir

I love how my clone made it to Sergeant without being mentioned meaning my clone is just fucking around doing jackshit, well at least the clone is doing better than the original.
 

L50LasPak

We have all the time in the world.
kiwifarms.net
Is the AI smart enough to not take the bait if you have an unarmed low psi rookie on every mission?
I honestly don't remember the first time I played the OpenXcom version, but in this playthrough it seems like the aliens will begin targeting other soldiers the moment they successfully mind control a unit and find that they are unarmed.

TFTD had some kind of system where two to three psionic aliens would each pick a favorite soldier to target and split their attacks as evenly as possible between them. I remember sometimes the victim would get killed by enemy fire and the aliens would just mysteriously stop trying to mind control my troops.

I don't know about OpenXCOM, but I'm fairly certain that in the original game the AI tended to target your lower psi strength/bravery units deliberately so that was totally a viable tactic. When the AI is using psionics it does not require line of sight.
This is mostly how it went when I played the DOS version.
 
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wtfNeedSignUp

kiwifarms.net
I honestly don't remember the first time I played the OpenXcom version, but in this playthrough it seems like the aliens will begin targeting other soldiers the moment they successfully mind control a unit and find that they are unarmed.

TFTD had some kind of system where two to three psionic aliens would each pick a favorite soldier to target and split their attacks as evenly as possible between them. I remember sometimes the victim would get killed by enemy fire and the aliens would just mysteriously stop trying to mind control my troops.


This is mostly how it went went I played the DOS version.
This just means you need the intended mind rape target have a generally mediocre resistance, carry a really shitty gun and first order of business will fuck off to the opposite end of the map from where your guys are.
 

L50LasPak

We have all the time in the world.
kiwifarms.net
16. Kreskin's Bastard Children

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We've hit kind of a slump, not gonna lie.

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Insert your choice of Christchurch jokes and memes here. Yeah yeah I know Wellington isn't even on the same island.

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I decide not to load up the Skyranger with my best troops yet. Most of them are still undergoing Psionic Training. For some reason I forgot that your troops can't use any psionic powers at all until they've completed at least one month of Psi training. This means I had to reorganize who was going to get to be on Scanner duty a little, but I'll get to that when it becomes relevant.

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The Floaters have prepared a dastardly ambush for Ponchik and his squad!

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Nothing we can't handle. Another reason Floaters aren't all that difficult to fight is that they rarely ever spawn floating in the air on a mission. Which means at the start they're all still sitting on the ground and vulnerable to explosives as you can see here.

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Our team of amateurs may not have the fancy ranks that the senior officers do, but they are still quite well trained from their many missions of experience.

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Squad leader @Ponchik is killed when a Floater wanders out of the darkness and snipes him. Reaction fire from Corn Flakes takes care of the alien.

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MikeFoxtrotTango gets this amusing shot of a Reaper poking just its head out of the darkness like Ceiling Cat.

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Reapers are so absolutely useless that I honestly cannot figure out why they were added to the game. Reapers have no advantages at all. They are huge, taking up four spaces, but they have no armor, are vulnerable to conventional explosives and conventional firearms, they have very low psionic resistance, their melee attack is terrible, and more often than not they don't even try to attack your forces because they get confused wandering around somewhere. On top of that they just look stupid.

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The rest of the Floaters give us no trouble.

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Despite my reckless use of grenades that one civillian death from XCOM came from someone plugging one in the back while doing reaction fire. I wasn't quick enough to catch it.

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The Firestorm is a physically weak aircraft based on the alien designs. Its only real advantage is its speed, and I think it also has a lower maintenance cost than the Interceptor. You see the Interceptor and Skyranger aren't actually owned by XCOM, but apparently are leased by some government organization. Thus, in addition to paying a maintenance cost, you also have to pay rent on the damn things. Why XCOM doesn't have to shell out a ton of cash if one of these aircraft is lost is never explained. Maybe they're insured.

All XCOM-manufactured craft do not have the rent cost associated with the Skyranger or the Interceptor. However, every type of craft XCOM can manufacture uses alien technology, and thus must burn Elerium for fuel. On top of that a player may find the inital manufacturing costs high, but we have a nice nest egg right now to cover that. Being as stingy as I am, I prefer not to bother with any of the XCOM manufactured craft until I can unlock the final one.

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Speaking of interceptions, the Chrischan shoots down a large Scout.

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This is the part of the game where I should honestly be ignoring smaller missions like this in favor of larger targets like Battleships and alien bases, but I still don't feel comfortable with that until I can field more troops.

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You'll notice the alien in the first picture is holding a stun launcher. Judging by the loadout of this Scout, the alien have reached their final technology level. At the start of the game, aliens have a mix of light and medium weaponry. Navigators, Engineers and Leaders will carry Plasma Pistols, while Soldiers will mostly carry Plasma Rifles with the occasional Heavy Plasma mixed in. there is an inbetween phase where the loadouts become 50/50 split between Heavy Plasma and Plasma Rifles, while Engineers and sometimes Navigators will spawn with stun launchers.

At the final alien tech level the standard alien weapon is the Heavy Plasma. Leaders and Engineers will be equipped with either the stun launcher or the Blaster Bomb for heavy support. Generally speaking you won't see an alien armed with a Blaster Bomb unless you're fighting a larger ship, or on a high difficulty like Superhuman. Be aware that none of this applies to alien bases, which always have the best possible technology, so you will always face majority Heavy Plasma, stun launchers and Blaster Bombs when assaulting them.

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The bulk of the team sent to secure the UFO entrance is bogged down when they take fire from the buildings nearby. They deal with the aliens, but as @White Devil finishes scouting out the north and alien steps from the craft and kills him.

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Penne Dreadful is left mortally wounded with a sliver of health after taking a plasma shot. I expect to lose him by the time Genichiro deals with the aliens, but to my suprise he's still on his feet and I'm able to get him patched up.

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The UFO breach goes smoothly after that.

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I suppose it could have been worse, I expected to lose two people at one point after all.

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The monthly report confirms something I've been worried about for awhile now. You'll notice the Council is still satisfied with XCOM's performance and is even increasing the budget, but the overall score is negative. This means that the amount of alien bases on the map is generating such a large amount of points for the aliens that simply throttling UFO activity in the affected areas is no longer good enough.

An experienced player can hypothetically maintain this level of success indefinitely, as long as they keep their funding nations from falling to alien infiltration missions. This of course becomes harder and harder to do as there are more bases, more UFOs, and more terror attacks on a constant basis. Eventually even the neckbeardiest of players will simply be overwhelmed. I am nowhere nar that good at the game, so it will be time to change strategy.

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First order of business, I put some new laboratory space I constructed earlier to use. This should make research fly by. I said I was going to speedrun the game if I felt like I was in danger of losing, but at this point I want to get to the endgame since routine missions are getting samey.

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A player on a higher difficulty would of course be dealing with more UFOs than my two leisurely Interceptors could handle at this point.

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Just another routine UFO retrieval. Or is it?

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We sight our first alien on this mission. You can barely make out from its silhouette that its a Muton. Perfect.

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Psionic training for our first round of soldiers have finally completed. The first four soldiers to be equipped with Psi-Amps are Dear Leader, Dark Edea, Affluent Reptilian and wtfneedsignup.

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Psionic attacks are always 25 Time Units to commit to, and because the majority of your units top out at somewhere around 72ish TU at best, usually you're stuck only being able to make two attacks per turn with a third one just out of reach. Obviously our troops have zero experience and minimal skill with psionics at the moment, so all of our attempts to seize control of this alien fail.

I never bother with panicking alien units. For one thing, it like never fucking works, and for another the vast majority of the time they go berserk instead of panicking. Which usually means they just shoot my troops anyway. There's no real drawback to only using Mind Control attacks other than the simple fact that they have a somewhat lower chance of success. Each Mind Control attack still lowers the morale of the target though, so if you really sit there and pour attacks into one, they're liable to just panic anyway on their turn.

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No dice on the psionic attacks. The troops on the ground are ordered to take out the aliens the old fashioned way.

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Turned out there were really that few aliens that survived the crash. You may wonder why I opted to just kill them all when the psionic attacks failed, and the stats screen will give you your answer. XCOM soldiers will gain psionic experience when using attacks regardless of whether or not they succeed. Which means as long as you keep sinking every one of a soldier's turns into psionic attacks, they will always gain experience on the battlefield, and eventually will just reach a psi skill high enough for success through sheer perseverance.

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Research on the Lightning fishes up. Its a good craft, fast and relatively tough, but it still can't go toe to toe with the alien Battleships Besides, constructing one will take time and resources. We have 100 scientists we can put to work on the final craft design, there's no question that we should just wait.

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A few routine interceptions later,

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Now we're talkin.

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Work on no less than two Avengers starts right away at Deagle Nation, delayed somewhat by the fact that I needed to hire and army of engineers for the job.

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Interceptions coontinue. We haven't really managed to shoot down anything big yet.

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Smakemen this time. They have slightly better psionic resistance than Mutons, but that's not saying much. This first one proves too resilient and has to be killed.

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However, a second one slithers up to where the first one was. The morale blow from losing a comrade gives us a bitch of an edge, and we quickly take control. As you can see, once you successfully mind control an enemy unit, you gain total control over them with all of their time units.

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You also get access to their largely nonexistent inventory. Pretty much the only reason this screen exists is so you can suicide bomb with grenades. You'll notice the soldier image doesn't show up on this screen either. Some mods add in a new image, but the original game just had this empty space.

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Our new friend quickly betrays one of his comrades. Perhaps realizing what he's done, we fail to take control of him again on the next turn for some reason.

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Oh well.

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Only one soldier even had to step off the Skyranger for the whole mission.

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At least these tedious UFO recovery missions have a purpose now.

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Doesn't take much to control a Muton.

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Generally my strategy when using psionics is to always keep at least one alien unit in sight, as far away as possible from my actual troops. That way the alien will draw most enemy fire and can also do most of the killing, but if my troops can't take control of it again next turn someone is on the ground and available to shoot it.

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We're still in the stage where we can't rely on psionics for everything though. XCOM advances.

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The Mutons remind us that they are still an effective enemy by plugging @MikeFoxtrotTango during the advance.

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God damn there are a lot of them.

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Experienced officer @Chaos Theorist is killed leading the advance to the south.

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It seems to be a full blown counter-attack now. We lose @Prehistoric Jazz as well.

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Eventually a handful of grenades and some decent psionic attacks resolve the situation.

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The UFO breach goes well. I have psionic captures turned on since it only makes sense, so that last Muton is taken alive as its under our control.

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This mission unfortunately shows that our psionics are merely an advantage, not a silver bullet. Mutons have some of the lowest psionic resistances amongst the alien forces as well; had we been up against Ethereals there could have been even more casualties.

Next time: The endgame draws closer, and we take on some bigger targets.
 

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