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Old 11-24-2014, 10:22 AM   #11
kirant
Just another Friday night
 
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Operation Vengeful Fog, Part 2 - That Was My Bad
Spoiler: show
I knew that was a mistake the second he started panicking. That move by the Sectoid was a little too obvious. Ugh. I hate losses, even if they are practically unavoidable in this game.

Well, I guess it's a good idea to keep having "Vengeful" in mission names now. Let's get some vengeance. Luck managed to get that quite quickly. Stray shots got one of the Sectoids on the right side of the map.



It was at the end of this turn that I had to stop playing for a minute. It's a minor graphical glitch but damn this is creepy.

Look at the soldier I just lost. Holy shit, it looks like they destroyed his head cleanly. I legitimately can't see Hawkin's head anywhere.

I like to play from an actual commander's standpoint. What the hell do I say to his family? "Hey, I was commanding your son and his face got melted off by an alien. Will send back the remains"?



So here we are. I think we're close to winning this thing as I think they're running out of men…things…if my math is correct.



But I don't want to take risks. The injured Fisher? Heal him up. Now.



Bar-Lev earned a gold star in my book right after this. She tagged the sucker who killed Hawkin.





On the other side, Martina Lang, who replaced Fisher so he could get healed up, starts cleaning house.




It's at this moment I realized "holy shit, there's still a Sectoid paying for their waffle cones".



Hopefully that's all of them.

The plan here is to keep the one on the street corner locked down. That one in the shop is open for flanking.



Fisher, now healthy enough to aim straight, gets that easy kill.




And that skill of Merumi's is still proving useful.



Next turn, I suppress again (in case I miss) and Bar-Lev gets the honours of ending this battle.





Operation Vengeful Fog, Debrief
Spoiler: show
For the first time, the Skyranger comes back with less men than I sent out…




We found out about Alien Alloy out of the battle. This, in conjunction with the Meld and Weapon Fragments of the aliens, are key to the effective research and development of more effective combat for the X-COM mission.




More Soldiers
Spoiler: show
I wasn't too satisfied with the idea of two more medics at the moment (as I don't think I'll need more Engineers). So I rolled the dice.

Neither name rolls very well but one felt far too meaningful and the other one was because I don't have many names for that class.






General Notes
Spoiler: show
I felt the need to hire more soldiers after this battle to fill out the ranks a little if I need to.



Also, there's memorial set up now. The screenshot doesn't really do it justice as the music changes instantly when you open it. The link to the music is below.

What really gets me though is that this screenshot not only gives you details of your soldier but also evolves; if you hit certain thresholds, the background increases in the number of screenshots. I really hope I don't see those.



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Old 11-27-2014, 10:54 AM   #12
kirant
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Alien Hunt
Spoiler: show
So, yeah. The next few days were a little quiet…until…



I send out "King" Kong, fully expecting nothing to happen. In the end, he takes a single shot but lands a few of his (her?) own. Fuel becomes the primary concern and Kong returns to base with a slightly scuffed interceptor.




This is excellent news though - I rarely get even shots at a shoot down so I immediately sent out "Buck" Rodgers (from the 25th Century) and tell Rodgers to go hard.



Crazy as it sounds, it downs the spacecraft. Bad news is there are no survivors and nothing worth salvaging from the wreck. But I did a good job so the counsel rewards me with pretty cash.



Commander, We Have a Suicide Mission We'd Like To Talk About
Spoiler: show
This is entirely taken from a cutscene (below), so if you don't want to read any more, just watch the cutscene instead. It's about 70 seconds long and starts at 4:00.



I walked in on Shen, Vahlen, and Bradford today. This sounds like the beginning of a cheesy fanfic, I know.



But they were actually discussing a very serious matter - Dr. Vahlen suggests something that sounds insane. Namely, she wants us to capture live aliens for research (despite us not even conducting autopsies yet!). But she's convinced that we're at the limit of researching dead aliens.



CO Bradford is less than convinced on the idea. Namely because it sounds crazy. And it does.



Apparently aliens are just like humans in their physiology. They have a Central Nervous System similar to ours and tazing them will work just like us. But I'm the cop this time so it's all good.



Anybody remember how tasers work though? They are effective for, like, 20 feet. 10 feet if you have clothing on. And these would be worse since the aliens we're capturing HAVE PLASMA GUNS.

Bradford feels the same way. But apparently, in a rare move (later on, you'll see Shen and Vahlen really disagree on matters like this) Shen feels the same way. We know nothing and must further understand how to defeat aliens. He claims he can find a way to enclose our foes after capture while Vahlen figures out how to "communicate with it".

Poor guys.

Bradford decides to talk it over with me. By walking away from me.

I'm surrounded by idiots.



This marks the first major "storyline" in the game though. Alien capture is the first of many required objectives to beat X-COM. Alien capture is a high-risk, high-reward even since you must be within 2 squares (2 metres) to hit them. And it rarely works. But an interrogated alien also provides "research credits" which automatically grant you specific projects. Interrogating specific aliens will advance the storyline further…but that's a topic for later.


Hello Commander. We Also Have a Suicide Mission We'd Like To Talk About
Spoiler: show
So, where did all that come from? Well, Vahlen finished the research on Xenobiology. I'll be posting everything that such research grants.

And we're officially given our new objective.




But we have to look at the upsides here, people. We got a wall of text.




Oh. You want an actual upside?

Well, there's these bonuses: We've got new options. I can ask Engineering to build Targeting Modules (I honestly don't even know what they do since I've never seen one before this play through) and build a facility to house live aliens. By the way, Vahlen gets hilariously frustrated if you decide to capture live aliens without such a device.




Next objective: Figure out how to capture one of these damn things. Reinvent the taser.



Now I finally get a NORMAL objective. France, well, a French company calls me up and wants Sectoids. I think this is how Cradle Pharmaceutical started but what the heck.




And we get more Fission generators.



Then less common things happened. Namely, the Council phoned in.

As a note, when this happens, it's either the end of the month and they want to grade me…or BAD things are going to happen.



And holy shit it's bad. Aliens planted a bomb in a cemetery and it's up to X-COM to stop it.

These are Council Missions, because X-COM is known for its originality. These missions have much more complex objectives than alien abductions and require more than just shooting everything in site. They are rare but pay well and typically also reduce Terror in the area. But they're also hard.

I don't screw around with Council missions. I pull out the A-team for this battle.

This squad is built for speed. I need to act fast to find that bomb.

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Old 11-27-2014, 10:55 AM   #13
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Council Operation Blinding Mother, Part 1 (Custom Characters: Strongbad, Tahimik)
Spoiler: show


Let me explain Bomb Disposal missions a little: The objective is to find and disarm a bomb before time runs out. The time is found in a red circle in the top right. You must search the full map for it and the Skyranger is never in close proximity to the bomb because the Skyranger pilot has a horrible landing ability.

Failing to disarm the bomb results in an impossible to stop countdown, you have a few turns to GTFO or else anybody left on the map dies.



But thankfully you have more than 3 turns to get all this done. The aliens are really sloppy in their bomb design (which I assume is ACME made) and they have power sources lying all around. Because everybody is an instant expert in power destruction, I can disable them by getting a soldier in one square and asking them to disable. Each time I do that buys me a turn to find and disarm the bomb (also just as easy to disarm).



So, for example, I go for the low hanging fruit here and disarm it, bringing my turn limit from 3 to 4.



So with that out of the way, here is where we are. It's exactly as described: a graveyard. This map has a mausoleum in the centre and a whole bunch of weak cover in tombstones.

I see the power node to the right so I run everyone that direction.



And look! More power nodes :D



And, as expected, my enemies weren't too happy with my screwing around of their equipment and come to investigate.



This leaves us with a couple Sectoids to deal with. Nothing major.



The plan here is quite clean - I use most of my soldiers in a direct confrontation while Laron, the Assault along the side to flank them.

First is the direct confrontation.




Then I move Laron…to grab two power nodes in a single turn?




You see, this is where Assault's Run and Gun comes into play. After that second move, he'd either have to shoot or move. Run and Gun gives me the option to do both for a single turn (with 3 turn cooldown).

I move Laron right behind the benches and ask him to open fire with a Shotgun. The expected happens.



One Sectoid, injured, decides it's time to call for help. You know, because they're getting slaughtered.



Then it promptly dies.




If you've been reading the counter, you'll know I've been taking this very cautiously - I'm back down to 3 turns.

Time to pick things up a little.

I move Flor up a few spaces to grab one node…then see another.



Then, this happens.



That right there is the bomb we're looking for. If I disable that, the bomb time limit is no longer a concern and cleaning house becomes my final goal.

But next turn, my soldiers hear aliens approaching from a flank (if you're using the original map as reference, the left side of the mausoleum, opposite of where I marched). I figure now would not be a good time.



And little do I realize that the sound they're hearing is troops coming my very direction this very second.

A Drone, a couple Sectoids…



And whatever the hell that is.



That is another enemy called a Thin Man. Dr. Vahlen suggests that they are infiltration units because they are humanoid and she is right. At a distance, they look like…well, thin men. They are a bit reptilian though and this hybrid really makes them an enemy I'll concern myself a lot.

Thin Men are more dangerous than everything I've faced so far. They have better weapons (equal to that of the alien's frontline soldier), are better aimers, better dodgers, move further, and spit acid. Literally. If they have nothing else, they'll shoot clouds of acid at your soldiers. These clouds will give the soldiers a long-term status during the battle which can injure them if they move, shoot, go into overwatch, reload, hunker down, or take any other action. Yeah. They are reduced to doing nothing each turn to avoid damage. Medikits will remove the Debuff but that's a pretty steep price. Also of note: Thin Men are very reptilian. They jump enormous heights like nothing.

The only good news is that Thin Men are fragile and their HP doesn't get that high. Yes, despite the fact that they wield that frontline soldiers carry two-handed like pistols, they die pretty easily. But they also explode into a ball of acid when they die. So if I have soldiers standing close, I better have Medikits handy.



The current influx of enemy changes my focus - let's clean up the map first.



Strongbad basically says "screw the Drone" and kills it.



The other Sectoids decide it's a good idea to start a fight through mausoleum doors and such fighting gets nowhere.




Tahimik? Well he's guarding flank. But he also sees a Thin Man coming through and fires. The images below shows the ball of Acid I described above.




So we're down to a fight through the mausoleum. Flor is within reaching distance of the bomb but right now I'm not too keen on that since aliens are still about and I don't think they'll run just because I stop that WMD.



One quick shot with Tomo though and we're down to one enemy.




But bad news is that out of the shadows comes a Thin Man I wasn't aware of before.

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Old 11-27-2014, 10:56 AM   #14
kirant
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Council Operation Blinding Mother, Part 2: It's Raining (Thin) Men
Spoiler: show
Flor pesters the emerging enemies. Well, wounds.



And we've broken effectively into two groups: one to hunt a well protected Sectoid and the other protecting our stake at the bomb and hunting Thin Men. And apparently a Sectoid in the mix.



First, the Sectoid at the mausoleum. My answer to fortification is grenades. And, to my dislike, that's also the alien's response later. But for now, let me revel in it.

Paige has an HE grenade which absolutely wrecks the Sectoid's cover. If you're curious, the blue shield represents absorbed damage - damage that should be dealt but the terrain or other effects protect the unit.



This forced it to hide further away and we get into a grinding battle until Tomo's Marksman Rifle again lands clean.






On the other side, I take huge advantage of Tahimik's Grenadier ability. I have two HE grenades and two AP grenades at my disposal. I use the HE grenades to tear up a Thin Man and expose the other Sectoid.




Then I try the same thing with Laron to…much worse results. Are his explosives firecrackers or something?




Then I try again with Tahimik. Turns out both have firecracker grenades.




Screw it. Laron runs in close.




And NOW I disarm the bomb.



But that isn't the battle. Bradford alerts me that now hostiles are approaching my position.

What he means by that is that Thin Men are approaching my position as they're the only units to do this on alien maps. They'll drop in and put up an Overwatch. Luckily I know this in advance and I prepare a surprise for them by putting my own units in Overwatch so that they'll shoot at Thin Men that suddenly appear inside their range.

And that fails horribly. All misses, all the time.





So we now have another fight - 6 soldiers against 3 Thin Men.



So I call in the big guns.

I call in Strongbad.

The Rocket ability is a huge boon here. This is where Rocketeers make their money. If I paid them that is. To help understand this, note that Rockets are treated as manual projectiles. They fire and I can to pick where they're going. There are a lot of numbers here. The +/- by the target is the scatter that the Rocket may have. They can scatter in the x and y axis (and maybe the z) by that many tiles. This number is much worse than 0.4 if a soldier is hurt, under stress, or just sucks at aiming. The scatter number is how far the AOE is.

So, bombs away.




I'm quite upset with 3 Overwatches though so I call on the Scout's key ability. Lightning Reflexes makes the first Overwatch it triggers 90% less accurate and every other one it calls 75% less accurate. So it should be no surprise that it blows right by all three shots aimed at it.





This lets my other troops move freely. And that results in 2 kills.



[img]http://s5.postimg.org/e2o0obl5j/2014_11_24_00105.jpg[//img]

This results in the last one slowly backing up onto the wall (I told you they're good at jumping!) and getting flanked for a kill as well.






Council Operation Blinding Mother, Debrief
Spoiler: show
I call that a very successful mission. No injuries, a promotion, and lots of loot.






And a kind word from Council (who actually quite decent people)



Flor promoted and I picked Revive for her. Revive is one of my favourite skills. Typically a soldier who is at 0 HP and isn't technically dead can be restored to 1 HP and cannot move or do anything for the rest of the fight ("Stabilized"). Revive will allow them to continue fighting and will bring them back to 33% of their HP instead.




And other notes - I got a Satellite Uplink facility ready. Time to spy/perv out/monitor more nations for alien activity.




Character Note: Nicola Flor
Spoiler: show
As part of the fact that these are OCs, I'll post little tidbits on the OCs that I create once they promote to the 2nd rank.

-

I passed by Flor today. I had a few questions for her since she never really completed our paperwork.

Namely, she never told me what to do with her salary. Most soldiers have us forward payments directly sent to their family in case anything happens to them…but she never mentioned her plans and apparently angrily told the staff bringing her in to shut up about it. We dropped it at the time since we needed her on the project first and foremost. But now the bosses up above are leaning on me to get it done.

Figured I might have a little more leeway, seeing as I'm her superior and all.

I brought the topic up over lunch. She specifically stated to donate all of it to hospitals and victims of war. I protested - this is the only thing she'll ever get from us. God knows the pension plan is non-existent for our specialized force. But she insisted and gave me some well-worn look. I knew right away there was no changing her mind on this; she must deal with this crap a lot and mastered her escape.

"Donate it or I'll burn the cheque". I never saw it coming. She was gone before I even processed the thought.

So here I am…calling Council to find out if I can stop paying one of my soldiers.

I kind of hope they say no.
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Old 11-29-2014, 10:45 AM   #15
kirant
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Lots of Sales, Hell Freezing Over
Spoiler: show
First, the boring sales. Mostly, people want Sectoids. I don't want them. They can take them if it speeds up the research process and gives Dr Vahlen more test subjects assistants.

I'm sure I'll absolutely, positively not regret this decision. No sir.






Anyways, another ship appears.



Out goes an interceptor.

And holy crap.



Now I'll put a video here an you can view that or read below. They are effectively equivalent in terms of information.



The entire base is ecstatic because blowing it up with no survivors apparently isn't good.



But CO Bradford isn't convinced. And tells some poor guy (I'd like to assume the same guy in later cutscenes) to get him visual on the crash site while doing his best Byakuya Togami pointer stance.



And we're treated to a pile of smoke…



Which they apparently filter enough to get this out of. I don't get it.



And from THAT, they determine there is still movement and there. So Bradford asks me to send down some soldiers to investigate the crash.

This is the first of hopefully many UFO Crash Site missions. UFO Crash Sites take place after you shoot own a UFO and there are still salvageable parts. This map is typically very beneficial as you'll get damaged UFO parts (which you should sell directly to the Grey Market) and will engage a fairly small number of aliens. It's a good mix of experience and money.

Plus, you just shot down their ship. Trade insurance information with them. Be a good man.




The map suggests little vegetation. That's generally a decent open map. Supplementing my rookies are some heavy troops designed for a straight up fight without much moving.



Operation Dark Future, Part 1 - Nice Job Being Positive There Guys… (Custom Characters: Armenta, Hermann)
Spoiler: show



Objective is to find the crashed UFO, right?



I found it!



Naturally, the first thing I request of the land team is to approach.

And we get to see the wreckage. That scan from HQ lied - this thing is in way worse condition than suggested. But it's still damn tough though if it lived through that sort of crash landing.



Armenta is equipped with a Battle Scanner. I think this is the first time I've used one so I'll just state that it's basically League of Legend's Wards - for a short period of time, it's treated as vision.

So Ward up that ship Armenta.





Vahlen comments that if our readings are correct, that's a being of pure energy. I have no clue what she's talking about so I peer in the UFO a little more.

And all I see is a freakin' crystal. Thanks for the help there, Vahlen.



Turns out the aliens were none too pleased with the crash landing…between the death, the loss of a ship, or the fact that they're on our inferior soil or something, they are out here and want to kill me.

Like those two Sectoids.



I figure they're really mad so half the team is in Overwatch.



…Then I remember my team is rookies.



So here we are…in a fairly straight up fight. There's a tonne of terrain and cover. It's just going to be like old Fallout games…keep shooting until someone dies and explodes.



Turns out, in one turn, Hermann gets two hits (~31% each shot). I'm happy.




The Sectoid realizes they're up against the all-mighty Anna and asks for help…



And we've had a very slow line crawl there. But that Sectoid is hiding in a whole of the ship…it's very easy to flank there.



During the turn, Vahlen actually gives a decent comment - she notes that the ship must be using material several orders of magnitude stronger than any material we know.

God knows we'll be using that for our armour later.



By the way…that Sectoid? It just cowered.



You can guess what happened to it.



So now I've started spreading out my soldiers. We're going for a [s]Pinsir[s] pincer strike with two going in the close door (the blue wall) and the others going in the whole the Sectoid just died in.



And then I saw it on approach.



That guy hiding? That's an Outsider. Outsiders are commanders of alien ships early in the war. They are stronger than most enemies at this point in the war (and have exceptionally good accuracy with that rifle)…but what makes them really dangerous is their inability to be ground down to death. They recover HP every turn. Something about that body of energy. So I have to hit it hard, fast.



And the plot to kill that Outsider is…well…down the draw?



So here we are. Drones are flying in to save their boss and got soldiers prepared to invade the ship while actually needing to start a firefight right away.



Oh well. At least I got Meld.



And, shockingly, in this position, lots of shots hit the Outsider.




…But…

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Old 11-29-2014, 10:47 AM   #16
kirant
Just another Friday night
 
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Operation Dark Future, Part 2 - The Thing That Just Won't Die!
Spoiler: show
So, here we are. Forces coming in from the left, regenerating thing I have to take care of on the right…



Screw that Outsider. That's the plan. I pulled out one of the free Flashbang Grenades a soldier had in stock. Flashbangs aren't my favourite tool but they work here…they disorient organic life. Disoriented troops have virtually no accuracy or movement for a turn.



Then friggin' Sectoids appear. Guess they have a connection to that Outsider. It's almost like I'm killing it.



Thankfully one dies right away.




And so I move into the next phase of "kill that Outsider": Bombarding it with Grenades. Because that works, right?

Nope.

It lives at 1 HP.




And now it starts running for better cover. FML.



Good news is that Armenta is alleviating the Drone issue. As a side note, flying units are typically excellent targets for Shotguns (at close range, no cover and short range weapons hurt) and Sniper Rifles (no cover, can be spotted far away).




Round 3, vs Outsider: Fight!




And I've got a clean shot for killing it! Go!




…This couldn't get any stupider if I tried, huh?

So we, again, have a 4 HP Outsider.



Let's get a Sniper shot in on it.




Holy crap.

By the way…there's a creeper on the map. Seriously. That Sectoid has been sitting away from the fight the whole time…watching us.



Oh, and there were two Drones. I didn't even realize that until this one came flying into the base.



This is where things get kind of silly.







I guess it's just one of those days for Armenta, huh?



Operation Dark Future, Debrief
Spoiler: show
EXP gains are weird. Sondra was pretty useless that map (low movement) and gets a promotion.






First to the Grey Market. Those damaged things? They are worthless to Vahlen. I just sold them for quick and easy cash. Apparently we're TOO good at shooting stuff.




But now the Promotions.

Armenta takes Low Profile. This makes him treat any cover treated as Full Cover. That's a pretty nice advantage if your Sniper is under fire. And he's a heavy sniper so I think that'll come up from time to time as mobility becomes and issue.



Sondra gets Holo-Targeting. This is a great support skill - any unit they target through fire or suppression gets marked and other soldiers shooting at it get +10% accuracy against that unit for a turn. That basically makes the soldier a great initiator since it works well through cover…sadly, it doesn't stack…



More Soldiers
Spoiler: show



And this one my brother asked for.


Big News!
Spoiler: show
Satellites just arrived! That means more coverage.



I have 2 satellites. My plan is currently to fortify my grasp over Asia first and foremost as I already have interceptor coverage here and don't need to get more of them yet (as they have upkeep per month).





Building Stuff
Spoiler: show
Construction is an ongoing process. But I'd like to show you that the main screen updates the "anthill" with what I've built. Such as these two generators.



But we're running our of space on this current layer…I've asked Shen to start digging…well, down. This costs money per month to do but I can't build the base out much any more.



And just a cute little note - I saw Hermann chatting it up with Tannen at the bar.



Character Note: Gisela Sondra
Spoiler: show
Today was supposed to be my day off. Well, morning off, but you know what I mean. Bradford was supposed to take over command while I finally got some sleep.

But I guess things just weren't meant to be.

It must have been early…quarter past 3 in the morning? Anyways, I get a call while I'm in bed. Security wants to seem me.

I'm greeted Specialist Sondra in a uniform, currently restrained at the arms by two not-too-pleased guards.

It took a few minutes for me to gather information. Seems she walked off base to stare at the night sky. Well, that's a strike but hardly her first. That's all standard and I can deal with it…but then I notice blood on uniform. I inquire, of course.

Apparently there was an incident in town. Thieves are pretty common these days. A loaf of bread, a bottle of water, anything is worth it since everything is sparse. Apparently one such man was getting, well, violent with a shopkeeper - she won't tell me exactly what he was looking at or what exactly he was doing. All she'll tell me is that it was across the street from her. Anyways, she runs and near beats the consciousness out of him. Police come by and drop her off at the front of the base. It's our problem to deal with now.

The worst part? The other guy? He's another soldier. Also in uniform. Not our group, thank god, but now we've got questions about what two uniformed soldiers were doing beating the crap out of each other in public.

She's completely remorseless about the situation, of course, saying he "deserved it". I add this incident to her already thick records folder and crawl back to bed.

Maybe I should just get someone else to do all this for me…
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:40 AM   #17
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
March Wrap-Up
Spoiler: show
Oh no. Something's happening!



Well, the good news is that X-COM staff are kind enough to decrypt it for me.

Wait. Aliens can hack our systems? Why do we need to encrypt it?



At the end of each month, the counsil will submit a report card which reflects how they feel about my performance. They are very results oriented. That is, the number of soldiers I lose it not a concern to them…but stopping alien attacks is their main concern. Every country still in the project gives some additional funding and each country with a satellite over it will give scientists and/or engineers to better fund my support team.

Something I haven't stated until now: I get an additional bonus if I have satellites over every country in a continent OR if it houses the X-COM base. As of right now, I have Asia's bonus, which is "Future Combat". That makes research into combat much cheaper.

And this becomes a huge drain of my money: more satellites :D.



Oh No! More Stuff is Happening!
Spoiler: show
Really. It is.



This, on this run through, is the first time I've encountered a medium sized ship in satellite territory. They pose a pretty big threat and, really, my interceptors aren't built to handle it.

But I figure, what the hell, give it a shot.

First is "Bender" Rodriguez.



The battle was more or less aimless shots. For aggressive combat, nothing actually happened.



So I have two interceptors left.



So I send them both. Because I'm insane.

And holy shit. I clicked the button just in time for the first one. Note to self: don't do that again.




…Wait. WHAT? That worked?



Wow. I guess it did. It's actually a pyrrhic victory though since I have no interceptors capable of fighting for a couple of days.



But it's time to loot a bigger ship.

This is one mission I'm not screwing around on. Like the Counsil mission, I think this one is not in any way suited for rookies so I send some of the best I've got available. I figure I need massive firepower in heavy vegetation since there will be a lot of hiding places.



Operation Dying God, Part 1 - What a Mess (Custom Characters: Tahimik, Strongbad, Merumi)
Spoiler: show
I can tell it's a mess. Just look at that screenshot.

Also, where in Southern China do they have that type of forest?



Again, this is one hell of a crash landing. Trees are burning quite well still.

[img]http://s5.postimg.org/mbhz352af/2014_11_29_00019.jpg[img]

The burning trees mysteriously vanished. But the map itself bothers me: I have no visual indicator of where to go this time. I guess the first obvious direction to go is straight forward.



You can see this formation kind of panning out here: I've sent Tahimik down the valley. He's the swiftest soldier who isn't reliant on sniping (Tannen) or as fragile as stressed glass (Flor). Other soldiers took the high ground and would provide fire should anything appear in the valley. That's not likely to happen though.

You actually can also see a hint of fire in the top right corner…this is an indicator to me that we're going the right direction. That is, to the craft.



A little more marching and I found…well…the ship. It's trashed, again. But it already looks larger than the last one we boarded.

Tahimik, when requested, had "Crazy Ivan" as a visual descriptor. The only thing I can think of right now with him staring at it is him laughing and yelling to comms "Get them down here. We've gotta check this shit out."



So everyone else hides behind a fallen tree and we get our first look. That whole area we can see? That's about a quarter of the ship's size and about the same dimensions as the first ship. I would expect a LOT more resistance this time around.



And what do you know. Two Outsiders come to greet us. We've got a couple of entrenched positions and I'm not sure I'm willing to risk Tahimik to flank them since they can move quickly and flank him back.



So the gunfight starts right here. With low % shots.

Actually, that's a lie. One of the two is fairly exposed (~45% chances to hit). So I ask everyone to open fire on those. And holy crap. It works.






Now, anybody keen-eyed back there probably saw some Meld. I sent Flor to retrieve it.

Yeah. Not a smart idea. Actually, there's a game flaw here that I could nitpick but I won't.



So here's the situation…on one side, we have a single Outsider which I think we could reasonably restrain.



But on the other side, we have a little 1v4 against Sectoids going on here.



So first thing's first. Get the Meld and GTFO. You can see Flor in the second shot starting to fold back into the current formation.




Thankfully too Merumi could provide some fire to save difficulties later. Down goes a Sectoid.




On the other side though, things aren't so lucky. All we're doing is trading shots back and forth with the Outsider.

By the way, that's so gonna hurt in the morning, Strongbad.




At least there's good news - Drones showed up. Wait, that's not good news at all.



This shows just how far I sent Flor out of position: those Drones STILL flank her.



So I go for the jugular on both of them. It worked with a Sniper Rifle…not so much with a Light Machine Gun.





Another turn of re-adjustment by the Drones though and…well…they're flanking the main force now. As in, all of it since I've sent Strongbad back for repairs.

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Old 12-03-2014, 10:41 AM   #18
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Operation Dying God, Part 2 - So You Have No Plan…
Spoiler: show
Well, first thing's first. Let's get some patchwork done. This is pretty much why you bring Medics with you…Red Fog option makes it so much more important to get these guys back into fighting condition after injury…or else they just can't hit anything.



Next, take out that Drone that's flanking. I've started to notice that Snipers are really good at that. I'm pretty sure that conversation also included the words "Merumi, move your gun.




Also, Merumi cut down a tree. What is this, Predator?



This situation actually feels a little under control at this point. There are three Sectoids running around…and I can deal with that. The single Outsider is suppressed.

Then…more Sectoids. And Drones.




Oh, and the other Sectoids from before just appeared again.



So…to summarize: there's a battle with two squads coming at me, Drones are attempting to flank this force, and the useful cover purely consists of a fallen tree. The best I'm hoping for on the left front, which has Tahimik pretty much suppressed, is to keep the enemies at bay. I can deal with the rest at the moment.



The great news is that Strongbad forced some damage on the Drone already. That means a quick SMG round takes it out. What is that? Humans 3, Drones 0 now?



So overall, things improve slightly by next turn. Getting flanked isn't a concern…at the moment…and we've got a decent front forming.



Time to knock out one side. Strongbad is healthy enough that he can aim a rocket decently…so I ask him to fire away.



I don't honestly expect a direct hit because of that staggering 5 square variance in accuracy. It hits a little too far left than requested but is enough to make the Sectoids a target.



So, unlike other uses of the Battle Rifle, this one is an easy shot.




On the other side, it's a slow grind.



Then the Sectoids pull out a new card: Psi-Panic. It's a much more specialized attack than Mindfray in that it doesn't deal damage or damage accuracy. It is meant very specifically to target quality soldiers and get them to panic for a turn or two…if it works (which happens more frequently than Mindfray). In this case, I guess they got tired of being sniped.



The Outsider on the left front realizes that the rocket altered the conditions and ran for better cover. Paige, in Overwatch, attempted to intercept. It failed. Then he gets a bead on Merumi. That one will also hurt tomorrow.




Oh, and I learned that more flying Zubats existed.



That is a massive depression pill since last turn. A soldier is cowering, one is hurt, and there are things ready to attempt more flanks and charge themselves to buy their allies more time.



So, first I decide "screw the flying jerks" and ask the Drones to die. Paige turns on aim bot mode for this. How else can you describe that?




Next step: Get Merumi some health. He's a pretty solid fighter in these stationary battles and all those hits on him (he took another, by the way) do stack those accuracy debuffs a little too high. And he could die.



And also bomb the shit out of the Sectoid. It eventually died to that.



But that hardly stems the rush: two Drones are in risky territory and I'm just barely keep that Outsider in a duel with Tahimik. The five man rush on the right side is a bit scarier than I'd like and the left flank is pretty much left between two soldiers right now.



Operation Dying God, Part 3 - Throw It All At The Wall And See What Sticks
Spoiler: show
So, again, I ask Tannen to pick off another Drone.



And after another quick patch (he didn't need it apparently…Flor's exact words were to "rub some dirt in it"), Merumi takes care of the other.




This leaves a much, much cleaner battlefield.



This map is practically built for picking off Sectoids now. Tannen's Sniper Rifle cleans up another one. The green beams you see in the second image is the feedback that injures the other Sectoid that it is assisting (and dealing 2 damage because these guys are in no way as durable as the Pacific Rim pilots).




This cleaner field also allows me to distribute the load off Tahimik from containing the Outsider (quite an amazing job, by the way!). Merumi keeps it locked down. As a note, that spot is its grave. Spoilers.



It's on my next turn that I decide to throw every explosive and shot at it to kill the Outsider here and now. First is a Shredder Rocket, an accessory I gave Strongbad. It deals a little less damage and doesn't savage the terrain but also confers +1 damage this turn to any other strike against targets hit by the Rocket.





There weren't enough hits still though…damn that thing's tough. So Merumi keeps suppressing it.



We haven't heard anything from the Medic in a while, huh? Well, I've been trying to get a clear shot at the Sectoids and reduce this to a one front fight. And she gets one of them exposed.



It's down to a 6-on-2. I'm actually breathing a sigh of relief at this point since I know I can clean up this one pretty well without any more injuries.



The Sectoid's the easy one. It dies to random fire. Near a fire.




The Outsider is much tougher though. Tahimik keeps lobbing grenades. Thank god he carries four.



I'll give the Outsider credit though: it did not surrender. It kept shooting until it died.



And here comes the kill shot…




Or not. It seriously took all that, emptying another clip on it, then a grenade to finally put the Outsider down for good.





What a day…
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:42 AM   #19
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Operation Dying God, Debrief
Spoiler: show
This is the first major battle and I think this squad passed with reasonable ease. I mean, 17 aliens, a metric tonne of flanking, and 2 reasonably difficult Outsiders…coming away with just two to the hospital isn't too bad. Plus, virtually everyone gets a promotion so most people are happy.



And then…the recovered material. It's a huge list.





Tannen promotes for Gunslinger. One thing you've likely noticed is how rarely I use the secondary weapons…there is a reason for this: they have terrible accuracy. At typical combat distances, they're in the 20% hit range. Gunslinger assists the soldier by improving that accuracy over these long combat ranges as well as buffing their attack damage from it. For Snipers, it makes it somewhat viable to move and fight without dropping down to Marksman Rifles.




Paige gets Executioner. This is a simple yet wonderful ability that makes combat much easier in my mind: units with Executioner which target an enemy with less than 50% HP get +10% hit and critical rates. In essence, they make a bad situation worse and this works very well when you're dealing with the garbage part of combat like Paige does.



Tahimik gets Sapper, which basically makes the grenades better for damage and for terrain breaking. Very useful since that's pretty much what I use Engineers for.



Merumi, like Sondra, gets Holo-Targetting. Seeing how much support he provided on that last battle should be good proof of how much it'd be worth.



Strongbad gets HEAT Warheads. HEAT is the designate for anything that will deal additional (+50%) to machines. Warheads specifically describe it for Grenades and Rockets. Currently, that's only Drones and that sounds kind of overkill. But this is a skill that pays off in the long haul as enemy robots get scarier and scarier.



Market Time
Spoiler: show
The obvious first step: Sell all my damaged garbage again. 105 Credits is great value.



And from that, I order another Interceptor. 4 simply isn't cutting it in Asia.



Character Notes: Elizabeth Tannen and Shea Paige
Spoiler: show
They told me I had to do it.

Every incident requires a follow-up within 12 hours and I needed to talk to the witnesses so we could file this properly…a young boy, apparently around 6, just outside the fence with a bullet in the chest. There were only three individuals at the time. The third, Ray Laron, dismissed me; he was too far away to give specifics and all he knew was that there was a gunshot. Upon further investigation, he saw Paige walking away while Tannen dropped to her knees…he left without further incident.

We first scoured the cameras for any signs or indicators. Nothing out of the ordinary…people like to come near the base all the time but there were no shootings on any of the footage.

Tannen gave her testimony that evening. Well, if you could call it that. She gave it over a drink, probably her first while here, and mumbled half of it. All I could make out of it was that the kid sat there and stared into the base. He looked hungry and was asking for food rather loudly. Her and Paige detected him by the fence and Tannen brought over one of our many MREs. They're pretty disgusting but must taste great when you're starving.

But that's all I got. She turned her head away from me and teardrops rippled in her glass. No words followed. I figure I'd pursue that later if I needed to.

Finding Paige after was quite easy. It was always either the treadmill or the firing range. The former didn't work and I asked her for a moment once she emptied another clip.

Familiar frozen brown eyes glazed through me as I described the situation. Her voice cut through all my words to the answer I needed.

"The boy ran under a rock for shade and ate. He waved to us. Another young man came by and fought for it. The man pulled a gun and shot him once. He took the rest of the meal and fled. The boy died a minute later. I left."

Paige turned and continued shooting as I scrambled to capture all the details.

The details are…to be honest, unbearable to submit. I sat in my desk for a while trying to compose the incident report. I really hope Paige's account is untrue but it's all I can bear to hear on this.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:45 AM   #20
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Welcome To The "I'm Done My Finals" Edition
Spoiler: show
And there's not even rest in the game. This happened 6 hours after downing that other UFO.



There's not much to say here. The description notes that it's a close combat area, so I bring along some rookies and soldiers equipped to handle a close in battle…an Assault to shred enemies within moving distance and an Infantry to provide distance cover.



Operation Glass Chant, Part 1 - Graves Everywhere! (Custom Characters: None)
Spoiler: show


So here's the map. It's a city block sized graveyard it seems. The walls are pointlessly low here and I don't know what point they serve. It's probably just iron fences that were destroyed in the ensuing chaos of people apparently running away from an alien attack…I don't know where there are so many people here though.

Either way though, it makes a good entry point instead of walking in the main entrance.



And that's when Vahlen and Shen both express their disgust over Comms.



Those enemies are called Floaters. The very first thing Vahlen states is that these enemies are…disturbing to say the least. They are a horrifying mixture of metal and organic material. A closer inspection of the bodies (viewable on Google) reveals it's about half and half. with the organic material unceremoniously fused with metal. They only have arms and move by the engines plugged on their back. They act as a mixture of a troop and robot as well; HEAT ammunition doesn't deal extra damage and they can take cover behind terrain, but their primary desire is to float into the air like a Drone. They are armed in a similar manner as Thin Men and as such are a bigger threat that Sectoids. They have a great deal of mobility and are likely to take advantage of it to reposition themselves behind good cover while getting into effective firing range. They also have this annoying habit of using their (full) turn to take off and land behind your formation.

Thankfully, they're low HP and generally just act as improved Drones. But the ability to instantly flank is hella scary and means I can't leave my Snipers alone or else they'll meet a messy end.

The more disturbing part in my mind is that Floaters, even if you don't attack them, seem to occasionally cough up vomit.



Just a little proof of their terrain advantage:



Oh…and all that engine noise set off the Sectoids to investigate. They found us. But they decided "Nah. Let's just go hiding again."



So here we are. I'm beginning an incursion, using the more expensive tombstones as cover while trying to get an actual foothold in this area.



The fun part about Floaters is that, without cover, they're pretty weak. And they really don't like cover all that much.




And this lets me get another soldier in…I've got three in the graveyard itself and 3 providing exterior support.



One thing that I'll say about Floaters is that they do really love to eat your Overwatches since Long War Floaters have a buff when flying and movement typically qualifies it as a flying movement. This one just eats through two Overwatches without even trying.




And another Floater appears…and moves into the dumbest location possible.



No surprise what happened next. Good job, red shirt guy.



My next thought was to expose the Overwatched Floater with a Grenade and blast its terrain apart. That didn't go as planned, unfortunately.



It came back yelling something. I don't know. Those Bane masks make it hard to hear their speech.



Operation Glass Chant, Part 2 - Ludicrous Gibs
Spoiler: show


Well, one thing I might not have explained yet is that hitting a unit that is suppressing a target will actually end the Suppression skill and let it move freely. So that became my #1 priority. And that turned out to be a very easy process.



With that done, I felt I should isolate this stronger Floater. So one of the Flashbangs go out.



Turns out I didn't need it. The next shot kills it.

Also, Floaters explode on death. I assume I hit their fuel and ignite their body or something…

Actually, that sounds very painful.



The one Floater left rears back and calls for help. Probably something along the lines of "I am NOT in control of this situation, guys!". But he's calling for Sectoid support…so that's his own damn fault.



Actually, I lied. Sectoids do come to back him. I took this screenshot to show you just how impossible a shot I was asking this guy to cover. He's aiming for a moving Sectoid. I'm not sure how they ever land these…but they do from time to time.



So here we are again…I think this is a pretty empty map and that Floater is a good distance from some of my soldiers…so I'll get one to pull his Overwatch and hit him with a grenade.

It works a little too well and shreds the body into ground beef/scrap metal.





I end up spotting the other Sectoids after grabbing some Meld. They try some long shots.

I think this is a clean victory at this point.

Sectoids…do they ever learn?





The right flank right now is actually quite vulnerable because of an Assault. Confused here? I don't blame you…there is a great distance between McKenzie and the enemy…let's break this down.



No. First, grab the Meld.



Then activate Run and Gun to get into point blank range.



And tear them a new one. Assaults are some of the scariest units you'll ever face in a one-on-one situation for this reason…if they have no reason to risk retaliation, they are some of the best burst attackers in the entire game. I'm pretty sure damage on that order qualifies as part of Fallout's Bloody Mess perk.




Anyways. That’s leaves us with one Sectoid on the map. Let's lock it down again.



…Or not.



The little coward ran into the nearby building…

It stands no chance to a shotgun to the face a couple turns later though…





Operation Glass Chant, Debrief
Spoiler: show
Not much to say…light mission, easy clean up.





Soldiers, Requests, and Shen's Musings
Spoiler: show
First are some more soldiers.




Next, I just found out that Japan wants more Sectoids.

Dunno why, but okay.




Some of the keen eyed probably saw Shen in that last capture. Well, I visited him after that last mission. And he was wondering about the Floaters. More specifically, he seemed troubled about their existence. Are they truly human? At what % metal are they not really people anymore? He hopes that, at some point, we'll see this problem and draw a line in the sand because we could easily lose our humanity to the gears of machines.

Which is funny when he ends up being the champion and supporter of making mechanized soldiers.
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