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Old 12-10-2014, 05:33 AM   #21
kirant
I (somehow) evolved Ditto
 
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Zap!
Spoiler: show
Sorry. I used to play Pokemon TCG a whole lot and I remember that one of the original theme decks from that game was called "Zap!".

But what really happened was that Vahlen and company developed a way to shock aliens.



Basically, the weapon they made for stunning aliens for interrogation are Arc Throwers. As I think I've mentioned before, Arc Throwers are extremely short ranged weapons…3-6 feet at a maximum. Also, they have a maximum success rate of about 50%. Using one is pretty much an exercise in rolling dice. I also forgot to mention that you need to ensure that the square the alien is stunned on also doesn't get hit with explosives. That kills them.

But if you manage to capture one (and you have to do at least 3 if memory serves), you can stuff them into that Alien Containment Facility until they are interrogated. They never survive the interrogation *shudder*.



The next project is to figure out what, exactly, the Meld stuff is. Turns out the aliens we've look are have lots of it. Now to find out what it does.



So I do the most obvious thing: Ask Shen to make one of these Arc Throwers for me. And, while you're at it, make me one of these Targeting Modules I've never tried out before.




Holy shit! Aliens!



At this point, I actually, only have on interceptor on standby that could deal with it. And it's only a scout…so I'm not too concerned about it. I let the UFO go.



Then, right after, another one pops up. But delivery men dropped off my requested interceptor at the door so I have two to work with. Out goes one.



To be honest, the battle could have gone better too…



Maybe it's because I didn't re-name it. Well, let's do that now.



I found out their intentions as my interceptor limped back to base too…



Certain UFOs try to "touch down" and land. When they do, it's much like a UFO crash battle, except the UFO is in better condition and there are generally way more aliens in the battle.

Anyways, the battle has very little cover apparently. My thought was to bring along a couple soldiers really effective for long distance combat. And a rookie to mentor.



Operation Fading Hero, Part 1 - Let's Recycle This Joke: Alien Tactics Include Tentacle Rape (Custom Characters: Hermann, Armenta)
Spoiler: show
You read that right.



So here we are. We landed in a frickin' RIVER. Was there seriously no better plan?



Anyways…the plan was to march forward while having soldiers on higher terrain to prevent everyone from getting stuck in a firing zone should a fight breakout in this riverbed.



A turn later though, we spot exactly what we're looking for. Now, why they just don't take off when spotted is beyond me…but they stay.



So, I launch a Scanner inside. That worked last time, right? I shoot one in, see the Outsider, and avoid it for a while.

I didn't see much this time.



One thing that's pretty interesting is how the ship faces me: there are two doors that are close. So I think "it'd be a decent idea to go through two and force them to cover more area when I break into that ship.

So we go mountaineering.



Dr. Shen comes up with a (very unhelpful) comment. That green thing? That's the engine for the UFO. Hitting it with weapons will cause it to explode and hurt units in the area.



Were we supposed to go alien hunting? I guess so. Anyways, aliens finally show up.

The large squid-like thing is a Seeker. Seekers are quite possibly the biggest gameplay balance fix that the expansion pack offers. You see, they are very specifically designed as anti-sniper units (Snipers being absolutely devastating end-game in the base game).

Seekers are mobile and flying mechanical units, like Drones. They have low HP and weaponry on the level of Sectoids. None of that is dangerous.

What is bad though is that they vanish. Early. They generally vanish as soon as they appear. Once they do, they cloak themselves and seek out isolated units on your team. They then appear right in front of them and have sexy fun times with strangle them. Strangled units take damage every turn and cannot act until either you can shoot the Seeker enough to convince it to flee or the soldier dies. This takes away a Sniper's power as the old set up was to plant a Sniper in a corner, alone.

Seekers aren't traditional threats…I have to keep units in Overwatch while they exist as they can get shot through Overwatch before attacking their target. Additionally, Seekers alone aren't really threats…they're easy to hit while strangling units. The biggest threat is mixing them in with other dangerous enemies as I need to balance shooting my enemies and waiting around for a Seeker to try an attack.

Other than Overwatch, there are other workarounds…Scanners will pick them up, even when invisible. Soldiers with artificial breathers and mechanized soldiers are not viable targets for them. And if they have no viable targets, their firepower is pathetic and honestly are even weaker threats than Sectoids.



Here's the layout of where everyone is…we have Armenta in the back, Philiko and Sondra on the left, and the rest on the right. Coming down the right are two Drones and two Seekers.



One quick shot though kills a Seeker. This is why they're not even a threat when out in the open.



I'm not one to not press this advantage of exposed Seekers. Our general soldier drops a grenade on them.



And now the Seeker vanishes.



The AI isn't all that smart. Gee…I wonder where that Seeker went.



Oh…and while we're shooting them…Sectoids start appearing in the ship.



The Seeker appears next turn. Three soldiers fire at it. Two hit and kill it.




So…we have this…I've moved soldiers over to the right side of the ship to clean up the Seeker. There are three Drones with everyone in pretty good cover.



Two Drones die real quick. As an interesting note, that shot by Armenta was so good that it didn't even cause the Drone to explode…just fail to function.






Let's go three-for-three. Shoot the Drone, Hermann!



Or…hit the tree.

So...I have bad memories of Drones trying to flank. I ask Sondra to keep it down. Period.



The Sectoids, for whatever reason, now start shooting. After all their allies died…

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Old 12-10-2014, 05:34 AM   #22
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Operation Fading Hero, Part 2 - Crystals Are Hard
Spoiler: show
After all that, most of the soldiers have moved to the right side.



Sondra cleans up the Drone…but what I thought was pretty cool was the fact that the game attempted to beg the leg against the branch. I'm not sure I've ever seen that before…interesting little detail. By the way, the second image has blue diamonds in the background. That's the holo-targeting system.




Next turn, we actually have a nearly empty map. Just a single Sectoid in the picture.



I try to get it weakened by a grenade. Turns out it worked a little TOO well.



That actually works out pretty well though since the next Sectoid that attempts to get over gets shot.



The last one learns its lesson…and just calls for help instead.



Though that doesn't help. It gets shot by Tomo right after. Sectoids aren't very good at fighting.




The map is as empty as it can get now…so I move Hermann and Sondra to the left entrance once again and attempt the same breach I wanted to go for.



Inside is only a single Outsider…



Now, one thing I did during all that time is re-position Armenta for a clear line of sight into the ship. His shot hits for 5.



Next turn, Sondra hits with her SAW. A pretty cool visual effect is the deflection of some landing bullets on impact. I think that's unique for Outsiders.



Philiko just lands the killing shot from inside the ship. Turns out I really didn't need to enter the ship at all.




Operation Fading Hero, Debrief
Spoiler: show





Hermann grabs Executor. I love the skill so I might give it to all my Infantry.



Tomo gets Damn Good Ground, which gives an further +10% hit and evade if you're on higher ground than the relevant opponent. This might not always be useful, but for a hybrid scout/sniper like Tomo…



Philiko gets Covering Fire. This lets him to activate Overwatch attacks if an enemy shoots in addition to the standard movement triggers. Taking this skill also provides additional Aim. I'm not sure how often Covering Fire will actually help aside from last ditch situations, but he, as a character, makes sense as a hybrid soldier/medic so he takes it.



And, finally, our new soldier.



Character Notes: Gaelan Philiko and Diane Tomo
Spoiler: show
Philiko confuses me. He never seemed content with anybody at our base…every day I'd see him chatting up a new person. I honestly think he probably knows the base team better than I do.

Conversely, Tomo is the exact opposite. I struggle to think of a time where she talked to someone for anything but business. I'm not even sure she's said more than two consecutive words to me beyond answers while I've been trying to get through these review papers with her.

Philiko sat down in front of us. Apparently he needed a place to sort out his outgoing mail. It would be nice if he knocked next time. Oh well. We're in an underground bunker; counter space is hard to find period.

He eyed me and spotted a letter in my pocket.

"Oh no. What happened?" he quivered.
"Philiko. I have no clue what you're talking about."
"That another condolence letter?"
"No. It's the background of our new beaker head. I need to give the guy's history to Vahlen."
"Phew. That's good. You have me for a second there, Commander". He gave me this half-hearted laugh.

A minute or two passed before he broke the silence between our two groups…interrupting the paper work again.
"You remember Ted?"
"Who?"
"Ted Hawkins. Big guy, had a German Sheppard back home."
"Sort of…". I'll be honest, I had no idea.
"Oh c'mon. The poor guy was killed a little while back. Rin told me all the details…I'm not sure I could handle seeing that myself."
"Maybe Ted wasn't that good a soldier." Tomo abruptly quipped, not shifting her focus from my papers.

Silence. Then Diane faced.

"You have anything else for me to fill out?"

Another minute passed and Philiko opened his mouth.

"By the way. Diane. I had a question for you."
"Yeah?"
"I've always wanted to ask you about your name. The name on your armour doesn't match that on the official dossier. Why is--"

Tomo stood, towered over the two of us. Her face said it all, lips pursed and eyes closed.

"Commander, I'll have to complete this another time, okay?"

She left without answer.



I'm never going to get any of the record keeping stuff done, am I?
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Old 12-11-2014, 08:27 AM   #23
kirant
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Surrender Monkeys
Spoiler: show
A small list of things that happened before the mission…

First, the second layer of the base is under construction. Nothing terribly interesting.



Oh, and as I waited…Shen built a prison. It's going to be the last home of a few of the alien foe. In hindsight, they'll actually likely prefer that to what happens to them after…




Then…the alert came out.



The unit choice has a pretty clear objective in mind: I've picked nearly all close quarters arms…weapons that are fine with tight turns. No snipers here.



Operation Swift Bell, Part 1 - I Assume "Swift Hell" Wasn't Approved or Something (Custom Characters: Tahimik)
Spoiler: show


Hey look, Meld!



That building was…way larger than I thought. The building is a large hotel or something. Anyways, this changes up my tactics slightly…I was expecting something with an easier entrance but here there's quite a few options for aliens to hide along the outside…so I have to check the perimeter first.

…Wait. Where did the Meld go?



And within seconds…Miyamoto makes contact.



You can see exactly how confused I was trying to cover both fronts by the landing zone (bottom left) - the solder in the top right of the formation (Isandra) is way outflanked as I searched down the right side of the battlefield…so the Floaters that came down the top caught me off guard.

I decide that I need to clean out the Floaters as fast as possible…so in go the grenades.




Keep in mind that Tahimik, who shot the HE grenade, has Sapper and really damaged that truck.

Miyamoto kills another one of the Floaters.




Remember when I said keep that HE grenade in mind? Well, damage one of those cars enough and their engine explodes. That's right: every car is a Pinto.



But there's an opening…so I grab Isandra and pull all the Overwatches before getting a kill in. You can see the absolutely destroyed truck in that area. Keep that in mind: a single grenade from Tahimik did that.




Next turn has a much less concerning situation…just a single Floater.



Let's bombard it again!

It didn't go as expected…no damage.



Combined arms did bring it down thankfully.




And that cleaned up this map. So I line up everyone at the side entrance of the building.



As I pass through the building, the first thing I have to ask is "What the hell happened here?". Rubble down everywhere, human bodies left on the ground, and benches for some reason.



The silence lets my soldiers detect the general direction of the remaining aliens…apparently on the opposite side of the building.



I do the logical thing and ask my Scout to scope out the area with a Scanner. You can barely see in, but by the police car there are a few Floaters.



My next movement triggered them.



The next thing that happened was HOLY CRAP THERE'S WAY MORE FLOATERS NOW.



One thing you might notice in that I've still got one of my soldiers inside…well, my plan is to send generic soldier Pettachi through the building and have him hide at an exit there…wait for a good time to open the door and open fire on flanked Floaters. In other words, he'll be gone for a while.

Of course, now I'm just left with the problem of a whole lot of Overwatched Floaters. I keep using Isandra and hoping that she doesn't get hit.




So far, so good.

The Floaters do the exact same damn thing next turn. So I need to pull away all their Overwatches yet again.



And you know what that means right? Baptism by fire, Isandra.





I won't bore you with the next couple turns, but it's pretty much the same. A few stray bullets land…and that's all I'll show. All the while, Pettachi is just waiting on my order to come in.


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Old 12-11-2014, 08:27 AM   #24
kirant
I (somehow) evolved Ditto
 
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Operation Swift Bell, Part 2 - Ardor and Diligence
Spoiler: show
The Floaters actually seem quite content on just keeping everyone locked down. I don't know why.



At some point, their luck just runs out. Down goes another one.



And then I spot the dirty little surprise they have: they're slowly on their way to the roof. From what I can tell, there's no way for me to get to even ground and their plan is to just abuse the height different to keep a permanent high hit/high evade stat compared to my units. You can see the Floater with 7 health already decided on that.



One more round of roulette.



Aaand…I slowly realize that I'm in a bit of trouble - those Floaters are really trying to scramble up the building. Two are really difficult to reach now.



So I figure this is a good a time as any to spring my trap and ask Pettachi to open the door and join in. Pettachi has spend the last few turns keeping his weapon steady so he's got a great hit rate and gets one of those Floaters before it makes its way up.




I figure at this point I need to start getting a move on: get into a decent position to shoot the Floaters. I send Miyamoto out to get into better cover.

Now if you look above, you probably realize what I forgot to do.



Crap. That was a beyond stupid move. I'm actually quite annoyed by my move so I just ask open fire on that turn…it does next to nothing (aside from a light grazing below), but I feel better after..



Turns out turn stalling actually did help out. One Floater ran out of fuel (aliens have that too apparently) and landed in the field. Completely exposed.

For the curious, Miyamoto died at the top right corner of the burned out vehicle.



At this point, I'm feeling better as mentioned before but I really want blood. I just keep asking soldiers to shoot and shoot hard on the Floater that made a mistake.




That leaves only the two camping on top of the structure.



I make no mistake this time and have Isandra dodge the Overwatches. Luck favours me too as she gets a critical and kills one of the Floaters.





I group everyone behind the non-destroyed cruiser and just shoot. Some bullets land eventually. The Floater dies.





Operation Swift Bell, Debrief
Spoiler: show
Well, if there's any good news out of that, it's that the Officer Training School is available. This area lets me promote my soldiers into higher ranks and leaders (a tree separate from experience and skills). Leaders provide different bonuses to soldiers such as decreased fatigue time, bonus evade to all soldiers in their line of sight…etc.









Flor got another promotion. With that I gave her Paramedic, which lets her use a Medikit once per turn without using either action slot. This is quite useful as she's very fragile and I don't want her anywhere near combat at the moment unless the enemies are trivial. Such as skill would allow running in, healing, and getting back out.



You likely noticed that soldiers of this Third Tier get nicknames. I tend to nickname my OCs. Flor's is Leto.



The memorial updated.

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Old 12-13-2014, 09:08 AM   #25
kirant
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Nothing Much Happened
Spoiler: show
Honestly, the next few days were VERY quiet. Mostly just getting the Targeting Module in. I later found out what it does: improves critical rates of the soldier it's equipped to be 7%. Someone let me know if they want this attached to them.



I then learn that Australia is under attack. This is actually quite a huge shock to me; doesn't the Australian wildlife make a perfect alien deterrent?



Eh. Whatever though. I send out a small arms squad. Buildings typically aren't conductive of open warfare and aren't really beneficial to heavy weapon or snipers.



Operation Blind Chant - Sometimes We're The Hero, Sometimes We're The Princess (Custom Characters: Hermann)
Spoiler: show


So we land in a place that seems surprisingly Australian. Correct me if I'm wrong but there are a lot of observatories in the nation and.



Anyways, the Skyranger drops off in…a back alley. Way to go. I don't even know how it did that…but it did. Anyways, this area provides little to no cover, so the first objective is to GTFO out this area. And fast.



Moving a bit to the rightward path exposes crates to hide behind. There's not a great deal of cover though so I split the squad in two: a small number go into the nearby building and the rest continue progressing down towards the Meld.



Now I do something I typically don't want to do: facecheck through doorways. It's inevitable on certain missions (boarding large alien crafts), but I generally dislike it since aliens can curl in nice and close to your soldiers when they activate from you spotting them through this method.

I had sufficient backup this time so I wasn't too concerned…

Luckily all that exists in there is just a computer network. What I wouldn't do for a set up like that.



Floaters appear after this…coming from outside.



So that leaves everyone in a little bit of a compromised position. You can see that I didn't manage to get my main force where I wanted quickly while only McKenzie, Paige, and Brodie found decent cover…and Brodie is close to being surrounded.

McKenzie, who's inside the building, is an Assault though. And remember that Assaults can blitz a map and make devastating game changes? Well, that's what I ask for here. Activate Run and Gun, and shoot a Floater from the truck zone. It's about as crazy and free a battlefield as you can get and Assaults excel in such territory.





Of course, the next biggest fear of mine is that the Floater on the far right side of the screen moves and threatens Brodie. So I take the temporary solution of a Flashbang.



And by sheer and absolutely random luck, Paige kills the Floater threatening my main battle unit.

So things are looking alright.





A couple quick movements later and the Floater is flanked and down.




The next few turns are a montage. I marched the troops slowly down the field and I find…nothing. I know the aliens are hiding somewhere in the next building over so I have time to prepare my break in strategy.

I line up 3 aside for the next attack: Paige, Hermann, and Brodie on one, Philiko, McKenzie, and Tomo on the other.







Then I break my fairly soft rule again…and open the door to 6 enemies…3 Drones and 3 Sectoids.



Philiko and McKenzie only provide a small look inside but what I see is two Drones ready to come on out. So I layer lots of protection on shooting them should they escape out the door I just opened.

On the other side, I prepare to make the battle a bit cleaner by bringing the soldiers into the opposite end of the room. The entrance they're at? It feeds into that main area.



But all good plans rely on something important. Namely, that the soldiers stay level headed. About that last part…?



Hermann is a consistent soldier. He doesn't typically fall for that. But that rare chance occurs here and the Drones sense an easy kill.



The words "go hot" never took a more serious tone than when I heard some of the soldier chatter bringing it up. Here's the issue: where Paige was, she couldn't help him at all. I looked for a decent position move and shoot from and there wasn't a good position for her to clean up those Drones. In essence, it was on the far side to come over and save Hermann.

That's heavy armour for you.

But let's give it a try. Tomo is light enough that she repositioned herself and got a clean kill on a Drone…2 more to go.




Then I was out of options. I moved McKenzie to clean another but that left a single one and McKenzie was 100% exposed. So my plan? Open a Smoke Grenade around her and mask the fact that they had a free shot.

And Drones are idiots. It worked.

They even missed the shot they should have hit.



The Sectoids aimed to suppress and lock down the soldiers in the area…but that's a whole lot of a better situation than having a dead Infantry to deal with.



The last Drone goes down and there's only the Sectoids left,



Actually, this part becomes a bit better since the Suppression attacks aren't that good. McKenzie easily finds her way out and the Sectoid in the middle gets flanked and killed.



The other one looked like an easy kill (85+% hit)…but no. It gets a clean escape.



The Sectoid fled out the window to where the other Sectoid currently stands. You can see them both in the images below.




How does this story end? Well, I ask my soldiers to jump outside. By smashing through the windows. Apparently that worked very well…

The first was a victim of Executioner.





And the second made the same mistake as the first.


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Old 12-13-2014, 09:09 AM   #26
kirant
I (somehow) evolved Ditto
 
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Operation Blind Chant, Debrief
Spoiler: show
Hardly textbook execution…but good results.





Paige gets Tactical Sense, which improves her ability to dodge attacks based on how many she can visually spot, up to 20% aim debuff against her. This makes it easier to throw her into troubleshooting situations. Basically, the same crap I already put my Infantry in.

The nickname, Night, comes from a somewhat description I gave of combat style for the character. It takes a little bit of explanation so I'll leave that out. Just figure I'd give background on that fairly esoteric nickname.



McKenzie gets Close Combat Specialist, another part of the Assault's all-or-nothing toolkit. Specifically, this lets the Assault get a free shot, without using up Overwatch, on any enemy that enters within 4 squares of them. Rounds of shotgun at that range are typically 100% accurate. This is a godsend against melee enemies since 5-6 damage to the face is a hard thing to overcome…but typically ends up useless against the ranged foes.



…And, new soldier!



Character Notes: Alie McKenzie
Spoiler: show
That was a long call. I can't believe he went on THAT long about it.

Well, I guess I can understand. If my kid ran away to war, I'd be pretty steamed as well. Still, I'd expect a military general to have a bit more poise about him.

Apparently such behaviour isn't her for her. I get that sense too…our base's regulations really don’t restrain her at all. She's probably the closest thing we have to Hollywood around here; if the rule doesn't fit her, she ignores it. It's absolutely frustrating since they exist for a reason.

Whatever though…I guess they're more guidelines than anything else. I mean, we're humanity's final line of defence and everything is fine provided we do our job no matter the situation…again, just like Hollywood.

It's not like I'd bother actively removing her from the squad since she's fully carrying her weight with the X-COM project and isn't disruptive of our practices. Plus, the first time it happened, it took months for the generals to sort out all the behind-the-door dealings she had going on. Bribes, blackmail…anything. You name it, she had it on her record.

It just seems kind of…immoral though. I mean, she outright lid to the recruitment team about who she was and what her past was; falsifying your ID is bad enough. Falsifying it a second time after being caught is worse.
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Old 12-15-2014, 02:04 AM   #27
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
Welcome to Hell, Leave Your Souls at His Feet
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This is about the only good news to come from this day…Shen is done building an Arc Thrower. In future battles, you may notice that soldiers deploy with it. If so, I'll be going for an alien capture.



Now, the rest of this post is pretty much a copy of this cutscene. Watch whichever you like more. You know the drill.



I walk in on the base situation room. We're watching the news. Because that's how we find out about the world.

It doesn't look good.



…And holy shit. That's Moscow (probably what it looked like before). And the India-Pakistan ceasefire is holding.

Things must be terrible.



In all seriousness, the aliens are frustrated. They're now just assaulting the earth indiscriminately. That last number? The 340? That's the number of confirmed deaths for DC, the latest victim of an attack.



Everybody's watching this. CO Bradford even brings up a great point. This is a message: Nothing can stop them. They can blast us to pieces without even trying.




We then transfer perspective to the battle in DC. The man standing there? He's staring at that massive shadow…of an alien battleship.



The battleship is just pounding the streets. It's a fairly worthless battle strategy but is a completely effective way to terrorize the populace. The guy we're following comes to his senses after seeing a flaming car come his direction.



It almost gets him…thankfully this kind Samaritan pulls him away from trouble and into a quiet alley.



While there…this happens.




This is a new subset of missions known as Terror Sites. This is probably the second worst or absolute worst mission to hear go off because there is absolutely no winning this battle. The worst you can do is have the situation stay exactly where it was…it's either a stalemate, loss, or pyrrhic victory.

Unlike abductions, the standard missions, terror sites are NOT clear of civilians. They are actively in field and require saving. In fact, the success or failure of a mission greatly depends on how many civilians you rescue. Aliens will actively aim to kill civilians as well - civilians are treated as 1 HP units with virtually no ability to dodge (-20% whereas soldiers average at +0%). The mission, therefore, is to charge in and kill aliens/rescue civilians as fast as possible…without losing too many soldiers.

Yeah. That's a huge issue.

The only good news is that conducting Terror sites drains alien resources a great deal.

So where are we going? Belo Horizonte.

This actually changes my long-term strategy a great deal as there are only two nations in South America in the X-COM project. I don't want to lose the entire continent to aliens, so focusing on South America forces me to fast track them as my second base.



Here you can see how I've focused on swift soldiers. Some are fairly heavy (Sondra, Armenta), but sending two shotgun assaults and the AoE heavy Tahimik out provides a great burst damage.



Terror Operation Fallen Fear, Part 1 - Apt Name (Custom Characters: Tahimik, Armenta)
Spoiler: show


Well…this is bleak. I don't even know how this happened…but what a mess.



One of the first thing I noticed was a civilian standing on the roof. So I begin moving the squad that direction.



Incidentally, WHAT THE HELL? Why are they skinning people?



…And that's when it all starts. When this game really gets fun. Or horrifying. Take your pick.



Those purple things? Chryssalids. Previously recognized as the most horrifying enemies in all X-COM games, it comes damn close here. Let's start with what they look like. No longer are they bipedal but are now four-legged spider-things. And that's just the start. Those giant mandibles and claws rip and shred. Hard. They could one-hit kill any of my soldiers currently (up to 9 damage). Anything that survives has a chance of taking the Poison debuff.

That's not enough terror though. If you die, they go Alien on your body and slash your throat…then stuff an egg down your neck. That egg puts you on auto-pilot and turns you into a Zombie for a very short period of time. Then it's over. Wait. No it's not. A baby Chryssalid pops out of your body.

Did I mention they're fast and agile as well? No? Well, they are. They clear buildings in a single leap and have a tendency to go from visible to in your face after a single turn.

I also can't capture any of them for interrogation.

The only good news? They have no concept of living. They just charge straight towards enemies. They do not take cover and typically are easy to hit. Though they also have a naturally high evade and resist critical hits with a vengeance.



This seems very apt at the moment.



You see what I mean? They entered the area last turn and instantly surrounded Laron.



Because it's so hard to land critical hits, it's also a good to note that those moderate HP values are much higher than they appear.

To be honest, the correct answer is to turn them into Chryssalid shreds. That is, hit the pod with grenades. Killing one took too much time so the rest got blasted.





Even one is hard to kill. Assault rifles can't get 4 damage on it.




But…now I know there's at least one more Chryssalid left out there.



Now would be a good time to explain the top right characters a bit more: one terror missions, there are 18 civilians. They are in one of three categories: undetermined (blue), rescued (green), or killed (red). Rescuing a civilian occurs by moving a soldier within 1 square of them. They will then flee to the Skyranger…by magic. While on the map, they tend to stand still unless an alien is within a couple squares of them. So, they tend to die.



With the coast clear, a couple civilians evacuated.




Remember what I said about Zombies? Well, here they are. Zombies are, luckily, more of a secondary threat. They move slow, hit just about as hard as Chryssalids, and have no "hardened" protection to prevent critical hits. But they're also a little fatter and if I'm not aware of their turn count, they might pop into Chryssalids.



Oh crap…as a note, I can't target the dead civilians (or dead X-COM soldiers in the even of death by Chyssalid) until they rise as a Zombie. And that placement is right in the middle of where I actually need to place soldiers right now.



So my first objective is to kill the Chryssalid and the Zombie before anything else happens. I ask Tahimik to blow open the walls around the Chyrssalid to prevent obscured vision issues.



That at least gives room to open fire.



Laron cripples the Zombie and Amernta, well, ends the reign of that Chyssalid. Thankfully.




Next turn becomes one of those turns I had to think long and hard before coming to a satisfying decision.
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Old 12-15-2014, 02:05 AM   #28
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Terror Operation Fallen Fear, Part 2 - Never Work With This Paper Company
Spoiler: show



So…that happened. Tahimik got himself cornered by two Zombies. Actually, I gave him the orders that resulted in him getting cornered, but the point is pretty clear.

Oh, and there are Floaters coming in, so terrain is an issue.

The turn overall is fairly defensive as it's mostly repositioning and the like. But, as typical, shotguns work very well on Zombies and an manage Tahimik's freedom.



Though…that comes at a cost. Floaters basically get a free turn to shoot civilians. Yes, that is blood splatter mixed in with the weapons connecting.



So we've got a set-up conductive of attrition warfare. But we don't have the time to go slow.



Good news and bad news: good news is that a couple of Floaters go down easy.




Bad news is that more of them show up and one of them already there opts to take off and land behind formation.



So…I ask Tahimik to do what he always does: blow stuff up.



That makes it real easy pickings after.



Regarding the main battle though… the Floaters still have free reign.



Only a couple remain in vision…they're far away so sniping is the best option while the lower range weapons get closer.

One lands at least.




To be honest, at this point I think the Floaters knew they were in trouble and focused on mass casualties instead of surviving. They don't engage a great deal until the end.



Nalda and Tahimik go back inside the building to clear out civilians. They do a good job of it as well.







And it all comes down to clearing aliens. There are two Floaters left, 1 HP, same area.

That should be an easy kill, right?

Well, no. Turns out you can screw those up.





That's where the screw ups end though…the rest pick them off well.



Terror Operation Fallen Fear, Debrief
Spoiler: show
Lots of promotions. Damn well deserve it as well…as terrible as that mission was, handling Chryssalids is reward worthy.






Here's the rub: every civilian which dies on a Terror site mission contributes to Terror in the continent. The continent as a whole suffers a terror gain but the country under attack suffers even worse.




Armenta promotes by taking Precision Shot. This is a very strange and unique skill which replaced the Sniper's original signature skill, Head Shot. For sniper rifles, it allows for a +30% critical boost in addition to removing the -30% critical debuff on targets viewed through Squadsight. For other rifle types, it allows an infinite range shot. For comparison, the original Heat Shot only gave a +50% critical boost on the next shot.

The nickname is standard given as none was provided.





Sondra gets Shredder Ammo. I likely described this with Strongbad but Shredder is a designate for attacks which debuff the enemies hit and they take 1 additional damage for the turn. Shredder Ammo causes any targets hit by Sondra to take that debuff. The nickname, Blade, is a reference to her namesake. If you figure it out, you're pretty good at this nerd stuff.





Both Nalda and Laron get Close Combat Specialist. I love that skill.




Neale gets Executioner. That's also a favourite…so…



Character Notes: Ray Laron, Bruna Nalda, Karla Neale
Spoiler: show
"Hey, dad. You're safe?



Great! Good to hear that. Try to get out as soon as possible though, okay? I always worry ab--



Oh! I forgot! I've been promoted. Yup! Guess I'm Corporal Neale now.



Okay then…talk to you soon."

Neale returned my phone and passed through the medical ward. I swear it's a weekly tradition for her …

She passed through the medical ward where Laron and Nalda shared a conversation. Neale said nothing and left.

I get up and walk over to Laron. I really do need a break anyways…

"Nalda." I interject.
"Sir." She turns and smiles warmly. "Nothing much. Just going over that last battle with Ray."
"Oh? What were you thinking about, Laron?"
"Nobody needed to get hurt". He threw the words right at me. "There's no reason Bruna had to go in right away. Take our time and we'd have done that without any injury."
Bruna turned to face him. "That's alright". I could have sworn there was a laugh in there. "I get the commander's thinking here: no guts, no glory. Isn't that right?"
The question surprised me though I think I managed to stutter out a "Yeah".
"Regardless of what she thinks, it's important that we keep our losses down… we can't go around losing soldiers, either temporarily or permanently, to careless mistakes". Laron efficiently strode from the vicinity. I think I might need to explain this to him later…

"…Anyways. Nalda. I just had Neale in the office and she called her father."
"Is that right?"
"Yeah. We're giving all our guys a chance to check home after those attacks. Can I get anyone on the line for you?"
Her response was a flat "No…I'm fine.".
"Alright then. Let me know if you'd ever want to drop a line though."
"Nah…I'm good."
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:37 PM   #29
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Well, That Didn't Take Long
Spoiler: show
Not much to say. Saint Petersburg is under attack.



I felt a temptation to bring a Sniper despite the fact that it's a single building. The rest of fairly self-explanatory: just bringing some rookies to train up and I brought in a standard contingent of solders. Oh, and Strongbad is back finally.



Operation Soaring Hawk, Part 1 - It's Damn Quiet (Custom Characters: Strongbad, Hermann)
Spoiler: show



Uh…another back alley? Really, pilot? Wow.



One move in…Sectoids and Drones.

Where do they get all these Sectoids anyways?



Basic explanation on the Gunslinger skill: Secondary weapons (namely, pistols and machine pistols) have terrible accuracy at a distance. They suffer a huge range penalty. Gunslinger does away with that and basically makes it viable to shoot them.




Why is this relevant? Well, I use Tannen as the first strike on the Sectoid. It's still not amazing damage (2, 1 prevented by terrain), but is enough to make a Sniper "mobile". Flor's SMG takes care of it after.




The other Sectoid? Well, it ran. And died. They're not good at this fighting thing.



The Drone approaches…poorly.






At this point, there's enough space to being splitting the squad. Pettachi and Strongbad go into the building. The interior of the building is filled with tight terrain and heavy armoured soldiers benefit the most.



Next turn, the exterior group stumbles upon more Drones. There's a huge centre area is pretty clear so everyone moves to create a firing area near that fountain.



The Drones fall straight for the trap and approach.



It's pretty much a clean sweep after: Tannen takes down one, Hermann takes another, and Strongbad removes the last.









It gets really quiet after.




Operation Soaring Hawk, Part 2 - Bill Me
Spoiler: show
So I have a sneaking suspicion that the final enemies are in the building across the park. Tannen remains parked on one end while everyone else closes in.



Out of luck…I was right. Thin Men in the top right corner.



The Thin Men are in some pretty tough terrain to bypass. So what happens? A rocket to the face. And a lot of destroyed stuff.




Two things: Apparently Flor can use garbage cans as cover. And she misses this.



Now, I'll let you figure out what's going to happen based on this capture.



The correct answer is flanked attacks. I've been sneaking Pettachi and Hermann through the area. They popped up in just the right spot to open a door and massacre everything.






The last one tries to flee. But this is X-COM and aliens don't get that right.





Operation Soaring Hawk, Debrief
Spoiler: show
Effective execution. Pretty easy enemies though so that helps.






Hermann promotes and I give him Tactical Sense as well. Infantry, remember, do go through a lot of garbage when I deploy them so this should keep him going.



Tannen gets Precision Shot because I don't think it's in character for her to take either other ability.



And two new soldiers! The second was requested by a friend of mine.




And now the Officer Training School is under construction. Expect 7 and 8 soldier deployments in the future.



Well, That Was Short
Spoiler: show
Alright. That was quick. Here's a quick note of will happen next time.




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Old 12-16-2014, 08:28 AM   #30
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Location : Wars World, Black Hole HQ
The Future of Warfare
Spoiler: show
Remember what I said before? Well, here we go.

Here's the video version. You can use that or see below.



So, Vahlen took a close look at Meld. Turn out, the stuff is a hybrid organic/mechanical mixture. Inside are nanomachines which can quickly assemble mechanical structures and create structures of unprecedented strength and mobility. They are some damn powerful machines. Vahlen even admits calling them remarkable.





Dr. Shen points to the idea that these machine can direct the construction of mechanical suits in ways never seen before: create a suit that interfaces with humans. An power suit built for battle.







On the other hand, Vahlen sees the same technology and thinks it can apply to modifying human structure with genetic structures of alien genetics. That is, make a genetically modified human.

Incidentally, she does a great derp face.








Bradford, as always, defers the decision to me. But he asks if there's anything these two can agree on.

And they only see one thing: that this is technology is Meld.

Two new research divisions open. And the report leaves me thinking only one thing myself.

The face of warfare has forever changed.



Okay, So What The Hell Was That?
Spoiler: show
This started because the research department finished Xenogenetics.

This opens up two new tactical edges for the X-COM project: genetically modified soldiers and MEC Troopers.

Genetically Modified Soldiers are soldiers with structures adapted from alien abilities altered after days in the Genetics Lab. Analysis of aliens from autopsies will allow the Genetics Lab the ability to "improve" soldier combat skill by giving them advantages found in the enemy genetics. Kind of a LEGO genetics effect. Anyways, these can range from small bonuses (+5% hit/critical on enemies on lower terrain) to extremely beneficial (regenerate HP while on missions or do the infamous leaps that Chryssalids and Thin Men do). Genetic Modifications gives you one of two options for the slots they have: Brain, Eyes, Chest, Skin, Legs. In all, soldiers can take up to 5 modifications at the cost of money, time, and Meld. Additionally, the stress of having modifications causes fatigue to rise in the soldier, up to 39 more hours after a mission.

The other route is the development of Mechanical Exoskeleton Cybernetic Suits. The soldiers that wield them are MEC Troopers. MEC Troopers wield these massive Suits into battle. They cannot take cover but instead get the typical mechanical bonuses (bonus defence from attacks, huge critical resistance) as well as insane armour stats (typically up to 18 HP before even being injured). They also get their own class of high power weaponry and, in end-game models, can equip 4 weapons (1 primary, 3 secondary), 2 accessories, and a host of insane skills. MEC Troopers also gain the ability to act as full cover. On the other hand, MEC Troopers are still human and are vulnerable to Psi attacks like Mind Fray. They also cannot field without their Suits, which are huge investments themselves (I think a top-tier one costs 1000 credits, whereas my current funding per month is 500). MEC Troopers also need a development facility and additional research to even get the program off the ground.





The next step is beginning an autopsy. I need to stop hording Sectoid corpses.



According to Vahlen's initial observations, the name they have given them (that I use) is Sectoid. This is because their organs are divided into "sections" as a result of intense genetic modification. They also have that mind raping thing going on for them as well.




On more regular notes…my Satellites came in. Now if only I had the Engineers to build more Uplink facilities…that situation in South America does NOT look good.




New Abduction time…South Africa.

If you're curious as to why no Arc Thrower, it's because I don't trust it in the hands of those raw recruits…the only units on this squad even likely to close in on an enemy.


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