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#1 Sharp

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 11:53 AM

I think it would be good if aliens have the abilty to escape while in battlescape the same way that XCOM can, however they can only lift off the UFO if there is a concious alien in the control room (or specifically at the navigation desk) and there are no concious XCOM Agents in the UFO and the UFO is a landed UFO not a crashed one.

Also mabye it could work on alien morale so the less morale they have (or the morale of the aliens currently in the ship) the more chance they will escape leaving other aliens on the surface. Or alternativly the Alien Navigator has to be in the control room, makes it like a race to stop the Navigator getting into the UFO, or if you manage to destroy the navigation console they cannot lift off.

If the aliens manage to escape by lifting off they will appear on the Geoscape and you are able to shoot them down and then go to the crash site.

The factors which will affect whether the aliens choose to flee or not should be
  • The Alien Mission - If its a recon they will want to run, if its setting up a base then they will want to stay more.
  • The Alien - Greys may run away more easily while mutons will never surrender.
  • Alien Morale - If morale is low of the aliens inside the ship then they will run away, if its high they will continue fighting.
  • Aliens Outside The Ship - If there are lots of aliens outside the UFO (specifically the navigator) they wont (cant) flee.
  • XCOM inside the UFO - If there are concious XCOM in the UFO then they will not flee (though would be cool having a battlescape battle in midair and you need to get to the control room quickly to subdue the aliens and somehow manage to pilot it back to earth), if there are unconcious/MC'ed XCOM in the UFO then the aliens will flee and makeoff with your agents and equipment.
  • Status of UFO - If the UFO has been crashed, its not going to be able to fly away, if the navigation console is destroyed it will be unable to lift off, also if more then half of the xenium reactors are destroyed then it will be unable to lift off (would be tactical then, aliens have to defend the key areas off the UFO while XCOM have to destroy them).
Just imagine how it would be though, everytime a UFO lands its a race to get inside quickly and safely and either disable the UFO or...disable the aliens. It would make those landed UFO battles much more exciting, landed UFO's are rare and offer precious xenium, but risks with more aliens, and if aliens do manage to escape it can cause you to loose more points.

#2 Sporb

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 05:53 PM

i like this idea , but it needs to be a time based thing IE only after 5 turns

#3 Blood Angel

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 01:39 PM

Finally, someone who thinks like me. I really do like the idea of hiding soldiers on the UFO. Maybe it would be done so that when the aliens are ready to take off, they have a quick sweep round the UFO to see if any Xcom are onboard. If they don't see anything after three turns, they take off. If you have managed to sneak onboard and evade the sentries, then they take off, and the soldiers can:
  • Sneak about, kill the navigator, when the ship crashes, rest of the Xcom land and help take out the crash site, with the added intel of having the location of the ship and the layout, also any aliens within.
  • Sneak about, kill all aliens stealthily, kill the navigator, ship crashes, Xcom land immediately and do the crash recovery.
  • Sneak about, destroy the power sources, the ship crashes with you still onboard, you assist with recovery as described in 1.
  • If you have researched Alien Navigation, sneak about, kill the navigator, regain control of ship, land at Xcom base, where every troop in the base can attack soldiers within or stun them and put them in containment.
  • If you have researched Alien Navigation, sneak about, kill entire crew, kill navigator, land at base.
  • Sneak about, open the doors while in midair, and radio to Xcom craft to dock, they do any of the above. If this goes awry, you stand to lose the entire crew and the craft.

Edited by Blood Angel, 30 October 2005 - 01:40 PM.


#4 Sharp

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 05:59 AM

I generally think that your soldiers in the field are probably not trained to fly UFO's, therfore if they did manage to somehow take off with the aliens then if they manage to destroy the power source(s)/navigation then the ship will crashland, there will be a chance that your soldiers will be killed/injured in the crash.

I dont think if the aliens were panicking they would bother to do a sweep as they would be to afraid and be more concerned with running away.

#5 Blood Angel

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 06:55 AM

If you have researched Alien Navigation then they will have been. And of course, there is always that risk of injury in the crash, but I was assuming that the damage done to aliens in crash sites was because of the weapons of your ships.

And even if the aliens are panicking they're not stupid. If they just took of without checking for aliens inside their own craft then that's just daft. Suicide, even.

#6 Snakeman

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 07:10 AM

This is why I'd like to see pilot units in the game and give 'em a robust role later on. To be able to operate an entirely alien craft, its going to come down to research (from taking apart a particular class for so long) and simulation training time when those results are in (when you get that knowledge, you can adapt your pilot training module(s)).

In this way, we can manage what pilots stay with crafts they're good at, or sacrifice them some time by pulling them from a craft they're good at to learn something new.

#7 Sharp

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 07:32 AM

Having pilots would solve that case, mabye you can get something a bit like XCOMUtil like as well and you can use interceptors to investigate crash sites.

Could also become a basis of another mission type, when your craft gets shot down by a UFO there is a chance it can crash land, and the aliens may choose to land to destroy all the soldiers (depending on Alien Type, UFO Type and Mission), then you have to defend your crash site against incoming aliens, depending on the damage done to your craft will set a roll for your injuries/fatalaties of your troops, the equipment they have will be what the default is (i.e. what they are carrying), and depending on the damage done and the craft type affects how far your items (and mabye soldiers/corpses) are laying about.

If you manage to successfully defend your crash site (either by killing all the aliens or making them flee), you then have to send in a recovery craft to recover the troops and equipment, and you may possibly salvage your own craft as well of weapons or if it is from UFO design then alien composites or xenium may be recovered.

#8 Blood Angel

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 12:28 PM

Hmm, quite right. I did think it rather strange that only the Lightning actually had any method of operating. I think it should be vital that the Xcom craft have control panels and zones, so that you must have one Xcom team member at these controls to retreat.

#9 Level

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 01:16 PM

I think it would be cool to use a small scout in battlescape, blasting the alien with plasma cannons, but if the alien gets back to it first...

You would have to disassemble it innless you had a ship large enough. It could be used like a HWP or XCAP that takes 9 squares and requires someone to pilot it.

Would you have to have the ship researched also or just Alien Navigation.
In a 3D world is there a diferance between these: bdpq|\-/?

#10 tubby

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 01:57 PM

would the pilots skill also effect the outcome of intercept missions? making it possible or even probable that a really rubbish pilot could lose an intercept mission no matter what craft they are chasing

#11 Blood Angel

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 02:22 PM

Hmm. Cunning.

Level, you would only need to research Alien Navigation.

If pilots are implemented, you could make a decision: do you crew your avenger wth one pilot and 24 soldiers, or two pilots and 23? The extra pilot could come in handy if the first is killed, or if you want to hijack a UFO.

Pilots would be just like soldiers, but with lower stats.

#12 Snakeman

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 03:24 PM

would the pilots skill also effect the outcome of intercept missions? making it possible or even probable that a really rubbish pilot could lose an intercept mission no matter what craft they are chasing


I would think a brand new pilot might have this trouble in the beginning. However I would think that the longer that pilot unit is flying one type of craft, the manifestation of his experience with it could be such things as:

- Times to Intecept, Return Times to Base & Deployment Speed (i.e. arrival time to a given waypoint). Over time, the craft would take the most direct line to those targets at best speeds possible (it might even look like he's not intercepting, but he is - i.e. a HWD alert might show a UFO starting in US with a destination in Europe, so rather than chase the UFO from your US base, you sent a ship from a location in S. America, Africa, or China to meet it there first).

Basically I look at it as making the best use of your technology on hand with the unit performing a little smarter. To help us know as well which interceptor to send, the interception screen you see when you click the Intercept button (showing your entire fleet) could highlight by color, your best ship deployment options for the UFO in question.

This method though may mean that you'd have to have "centered on UFO #" and then clicked the Intercept button to evaluate this, but I think its fairly sound. If you wanted to target a different UFO after this, select it, center on it, then click the Intercept button again for your next best available ships.

Red highlight could mean that the ship would never catch it based on that ship's abilities and the UFO selected, Yellow could mean that the ship of yours that you selected could get to it but it'd have to traverse much of the globe to do it to get in range, and Green could mean that that particular ship of yours has an experienced enough pilot that he'd deploy himself a little smarter. i.e. Meeting the enemy at the target destination to fight rather than chasing it down first, burining all that fuel then fighting it.

Anyway, just something I thought might be helful with all this, to know at a glance what ships got what kind of pilot with whatever type of tactical know how. Essentially it translates to pathfinding routines of your ships on the Geoscape.

- For air to air combat, I was thinking that over time, the pilot could get good at targetting specific points on a UFO. Otherwise it would do things as before in a much more generalized fashion in terms of damage potential.

- An interesting angle in relation to the above point I've talked about before and rather like...If precision targetting of UFO systems is in, have those damages and alien deaths translate its self on the battlescape. If you did significant damage to its weapons systems, you see less foot soldier regulars. If you did significant damage to bridge, no high ranked aliens present (Navigators, Leaders or Commanders), damage to engines - no Enginner ranked aliens, damage to life support systems, no medic units etc.

---

Pilots would be just like soldiers, but with lower stats


I'd agree, although theoretically, if you can sometimes use them on the battlescape to suppliment your forces in the rear, its not unreasonable to give them the same kind of chance at upgrading their fighting stats on the ground as do your soldiers. I think that it should be a gamble to use them in this way, as to lose 'em should delay your ability to evacuate. (Probably the thing I'd do is have them man whatever turret systems your craft could use on the ground, and if not, have 'em guard the ship).

And that's another angle. Having the pilot unit would make having an evacuation aspect to missions have more meaning. It also imparts the notion that our parked ships on the ground should be damagable or destroyable. (For that matter, repairable if only damaged - see my thoughts on repair kits, the thread's around here somewhere).

For either evacuating in your good craft, being picked up, or for repairing the ship then taking off, the manifestation of the function before then could be a grayed out "dust off button". Until one or all of those things happen, then its clickable again - either ending the mission or "continuing it" so to speak (your guys could be airborne in the alien craft with aliens still in it after all).

What's more, if pilot training facilities are in along with the unit, and if it has a respectful limiting classroom space (I'd go with 2-4 max), this lets us juggle whether we'd want them in their classroom, the generic combat simulator, or psi training.

Also, most of us usually have 3 or 4 ships at any one base, so if they all require a pilot and co-pilot, you see my meaning. Managing troops, pilots, ships and base modules should remain part of the endeavour in my opinion. The question just becomes in what ways can these kinds of things be managed better to minimize micromanagement?

#13 Guest_Azrael_*

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 09:52 PM

Having pilots would solve that case, mabye you can get something a bit like XCOMUtil like as well and you can use interceptors to investigate crash sites.

Could also become a basis of another mission type, when your craft gets shot down by a UFO there is a chance it can crash land, and the aliens may choose to land to destroy all the soldiers (depending on Alien Type, UFO Type and Mission), then you have to defend your crash site against incoming aliens, depending on the damage done to your craft will set a roll for your injuries/fatalaties of your troops, the equipment they have will be what the default is (i.e. what they are carrying), and depending on the damage done and the craft type affects how far your items (and mabye soldiers/corpses) are laying about.

If you manage to successfully defend your crash site (either by killing all the aliens or making them flee), you then have to send in a recovery craft to recover the troops and equipment, and you may possibly salvage your own craft as well of weapons or if it is from UFO design then alien composites or xenium may be recovered.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The only problem is that Alien Navigation does not "teach" your pilots (be them units or just imaginary) to fly UFOs, it's a research topic that explains how UFOs are flown, but once the StarFire, Vengeance and Eclipse ships are developed, the pilots are only trained to use the hybrid interface the new ships have, not the completely Alien UFO Interface, so they wouldn't really be prepared to fly an UFO, and I don't really see it likely, unless it's a Probe UFO, which are small and in most cases have only 1 crewman/alien.

#14 Moriarty

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 02:27 AM

also, afaik, the human-used navigation system is a modified one. I don't think humans should ever be able to actually pilot UFOs, because if they can, you could use landed-and-captured battleships yourself. if you could just use captured ships, the game would become something entirely different, I think.

so it would probably be best to leave it at the explanation that the UFO navigation system is "tuned" to alien brain wave patterns and simply does not work for humans, who have to make some heavy modifications to it before it can be used in human ships.
I doubt, therefore I might be.

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#15 Snakeman

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 06:21 PM

I agree on the issues related to navigating the alien UFOs. If the idea is to have a reason to use their ships for specfic mission objectives (sneaking into a base for example), then the ship would certainly have to "look" like its partners.

The ship's old navigation would have to be ripped out to put the new ones in that you could use (possibly among other components). It ought to take significant refit time as well depending on the class you were to use.

An altnerative way around such costs (or situations where you were on a an alien ship with survivors trying to flee) would be to find a way to keep an alien Navigator under Psi while it pilots you wherever you needed to go rather than kill it right off. Unless you didn't need the ship and you planned to bail out to save your men - then you may want them equipped with flying suits and parachutes.

#16 Sharp

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 12:09 PM

I think midair battles are far too hard to program, and doubtful to steal alien craft. But having pilots sounds like a great idea, would also be great with my XCOM Craft Crash site idea as well, just imagine it, interceptor pilot takes on a terror ship, gets shot down and crashes, the aliens decide to finish off the pilot and land.

The pilot is only equipped with a laser rifle/pistol and some grenades and must singlehandedly (or doublehandedly(is that a real word) if there is a co-pilot) defend themself from the aliens, hiding in the trees and trying to pick off the aliens one by one, or the pilot might succumb to panic or mindcontrol from the aliens.

Or if Snakemans repair kit idea is implemented and if the craft is not severly damaged then a race against time and aliens to repair the craft and escape (then you might be able to get UFO's chasing your craft instead of the other way round)

#17 Blood Angel

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Posted 02 November 2005 - 01:03 PM

Of course, it would just be easier if, instead of getting outside the craft, you just take them at the massive chokepoint that is the entrance.

#18 sir_schwick

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Posted 05 January 2006 - 05:43 PM

From everything I see here is how this all can work......

- Autopilot Alien Interface - This is a device(built by the engineers, takes 1x1 space and weight 3lbs) which is attached to the Navigation station and allows basic flight/landing/take off. It takes 80% of a turn to attach and a couple more to activate.

- Full Conversion - This would allow an alien's navigation system to be a converted to be used by the human pilots. Yes, this means you can collect a fleet of alien craft, some useful for landing in alien bases.

- Psi the Navigator - This is always a viable option, especially if you want to capture a navigator as well.

- Mid air battle - whoever is left on the ship continues to fight, as each turn the position of the craft changes.

#19 Sectopod

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 01:12 PM

From everything I see here is how this all can work......

- Autopilot Alien Interface - This is a device(built by the engineers, takes 1x1 space and weight 3lbs) which is attached to the Navigation station and allows basic flight/landing/take off.  It takes 80% of a turn to attach and a couple more to activate.

- Full Conversion - This would allow an alien's navigation system to be a converted to be used by the human pilots.  Yes, this means you can collect a fleet of alien craft, some useful for landing in alien bases.

- Psi the Navigator - This is always a viable option, especially if you want to capture a navigator as well.

- Mid air battle - whoever is left on the ship continues to fight, as each turn the position of the craft changes.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'm thinking the bigger the UFO the more time it takes to convert the craft to X-Com standards. I'm also thinking upgrades/cannon swaps, becuase lets say for few reasons that the alien weapons were blown up or something.

I'm also up for the idea of a Self-Destruct Device. If the aliens have landed and see you onboard the ship, the aliens on board will initiate a self-destruct. Only Commanders and Leaders know how to Self-Destruct a UFO/Base. This course of action is to prevent X-Com from capturing their UFO's and technology, as well as screaming a death that will take them with them. Shortly after Commanders (yes only Commanders) have been researched, I'm thinking of Alien UFO Code Override as a research option, which will allow X-Com troops to bring in a device or have some hacking knowledge to shut the countdown. Like what's been said before, it depends on various reasons:

1. Type of Alien: Mutons will gladly kill themselves to take as much of their enemy with them as a last resort option, unlike Grays who may take some more time considering the option.

2. The Rank: Terrorist are too dumb to use it, whereas Leaders? and Commanders have full clearance.

3. Type of Mission: Depends, Alien Infiltration missions may self-destruct to prevent knowledge of their existance.

4. The right time to use it: Aliens will use Self-Destructs as above, if there are 2 X-Com operatives who manage to kill all aliens except for the Commander, then he may initiate self-destruct depending on no.1, which may take some more turns for the alien to initate the sequence. Once it is sequenced, it depends on 2 things:

1. Does the X-Com's still onboard have a hacking device and equipment after all aliens are killed? If not the game ends with the UFO as a destroyed UFO (no recovery). The X-Com soldiers have died an obliterating death at the explosion of the Elerium Reactor going overload. Points are lost for the X-Com onboard (as well as gaining some points for the downed craft).

2. If the X-Com's have hacking equipment, or a Skyranger is docked, either they must shut the sequence down, or leg it to the Skyranger!!

The sequence may take up to 3 turns to shut down. If the mission isn't aborted and the sequence is complete, any Skyranger docked blows up as well. If the mission is aborted, the Skyranger undocks as fast as possible, closes it's doors and leaves any soldiers inside, there's no choice.

If a soldier has good Psi abilities they could take over the commander to shut the code down, but this could be cheesy as everyone would be doing this. We could make it harder to shut the code down, such as 6 turns instead of the usual hacking 3 or something, due to the alien fighting back and his resistance to not stop the code.

I've also toyed with the idea that the soldiers could leave the ship via Flying Suits. The soldiers would then have to be picked up, or just contact the local government for $5 to ship them back to base :)

Edited by Chmmr, 06 January 2006 - 01:16 PM.


#20 Snakeman

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:36 PM

I'm thinking the bigger the UFO the more time it takes to convert the craft to X-Com standards. I'm also thinking upgrades/cannon swaps, becuase lets say for few reasons that the alien weapons were blown up or something.


I think this is probably the best approach to handle this, at least the illusion from the aliens' perspective, that we can use their own craft to slip through their lines as if we were one of their own. i.e. to handle only those missions where your hybrids, even if capable of handling the mission, requires a more cautious strategy (though the approach is always open ended in terms of what the player can send regardless - exploring all the possible outcomes of something is always fun).

Agreed that some alien technology should just be over X-COM's heads. This is why I'm in favor of utilizing the outward design specs of the alien ships but putting them on refit delays by class type to get them to human specs. Any class should be up for grabs, however this should also require that you've made the appropriate space sacrafices at the bases those would be housed in.

This would change especially hanger scales and orientation at our bases that they're kept in the larger the ship is - and most assuredly, how you arrange things there to defend it.

What I find potentially interesting in this, is that once one of these ships is refitted, there could be an entirely different interior room & corridor layout depending how much we can influence those designs for a given mission role. If modules once placed onboard can be rearranged or swapped out for something else, that should also take an additional refit period.

This would leave the craft at risk, and when a base defense mission were to happen there during those periods, it would not be among those capable of fleeing. I think this would be a good risk to take in the balance of the war especially if we can take the fight to the aliens - either to Mars or wherever else they may have strategic locations within our solar system.

As for the alien self destruct, agreed it should be on a "turn" timer and if the aliens suffered a certain amount of losses before the leader took action. This would leave things open ended as to when he took that action, even if there isn't a mystery as to how many turns it takes to set it off.

#21 sir_schwick

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Posted 06 January 2006 - 04:48 PM

Maybe once the aliens know you are using Psi troopers, they will also toggle the self-destruct device to be one-way. That is once it is activated it cannot be deactivated to prevent the scenario you described. This means once you have Psi you better make sure no one communicates or makes it out alive on their side.

#22 Crucible

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 01:29 AM

Crucible, here. I'm new to the project, but I'd still like to add that I LIKE the idea of Aliens trying to retreat (or not if they're Mutons), and seeing which ones are willing to leave some behind (Snakemen). I like even more the idea of lobbing a grenade into the reactor room and saying "Ha! Now you're stuck here!"

Infiltrating a retreating UFO sounds REALLY complicated, but could be resolved with a min-game like the Intercept or the boarding operations in Master Of Orion II.

But you guys face one problem with the highjacking thing.

All of us have capped a fully intact UFO. It's not hard. Making an Avenger or ordering a Skyranger or Intercepter has always been a huge issue. We're talking about rewarding a simple recovery mission with a whole new craft.

Seriously, how far into the game were you when you took out your first Battleship? If you had any HWPs this was not a tall order. Now imagine crewing one of those and throwing it back when only yesterday you had a Firestorm. On the other hand, if the ships start self-destructing, I can't imagine how you'd capture any. I mean, I wouldn't go near a gigantic Xenium bomb if I were an operative.

If you want this to happen, you may have to do one of two things, you have to either ramp up the number of UFOs the Aliens send to Earth to compensate for the number of free craft X-Com will inevitably get, or make it so they can't be repaired or maintained by normal means (to simulate the fact that true, unconverted alien technology is somewhat beyond us).

Of course, it's not hard to imagine the idea that, eventually, an organization like X-Com, with the job it has, would have its own air force. Consider the possibility of sending craft not just individually, but in squads.

#23 Mad

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 01:55 AM

Well I guess you could make it really hard to research once you have recovered it, so that it would be a considerable scientific effort to get this thing flying again. (could be retrieved with helicopters ("Taken" Style :P)
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#24 Snakeman

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Posted 13 January 2008 - 09:09 AM

Absolutely, whichever ways you could go with it tactically, it should definitely involve a nice chunk of game time. I've always viewed it as a reward the longer you play, but not a requirement to beat the game with. Interesting too Crucible that you bring up squads. I've been away from here for awhile but check in from time to time, and one of the new games taking up that time was Company of Heroes. I love how they handled squad usage and promotion (at the squad level, not individual level), though I wonder if something similar could equally be transferred over to the air/space layer of a game like this.

Although, whichever craft has your separate smaller foot soldiers to do most of the work, maybe that should remain the exception to the rule since they're the ones that'll be coddled the most.

#25 Blood Angel

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 11:21 AM

Two and a half years later, I'm changing my mind :P

I personally think that from the view of the Grand Jar-Dwelling One, the little guys would be far too expendable to bother retreating. Just fight to the death - they are mere drones, not highly-trained and highly-expensive XCorps operatives.

Asymmetric strategies are the name of the game, people. The Aliens and XCorps operate in very different ways.