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Early game tactics for recoverying medium scouts


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#1 slickrcbd

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 05:36 PM

I just tried superhuman difficulty. It surprised me as the main difference compared to "experienced" is that you get more aliens, but otherwise seems the same. The gap in difficulty seems less than between "beginner" and experienced", mostly due to the heavier armor for the aliens. Then again, I'm only in the second month. There seems to be slightly less of a cash crunch due to being able to hock more alien loot.


I've got some questions though, as I'm having a harder time doing "ufo recovery" missions with medium scouts than large scouts.

The first is, if I set off a grenade or high explosive near the engine, will I destroy the elerium even if I fail to destroy the engine itself?

Related to that, in the early game, before I get any armor and to a lessor extent after getting personal armor, it seems that on superhuman difficulty, the best way to attack the inside of the UFO is to use kamikaze rookies:
First I load them up with two primed grenades, high explosives, or alien grenades with counters set to zero. Then I charge in, get near an alien, and try to throw a grenade at the aliens on the opposite side. Most of the time the rookie will get shot with alien reaction fire and the second grenade will detonate.

It seems that even if I don't get near the aliens, just opening the door and throwing a grenade gets my soldier shot with reaction fire better than half the time, hence why I just accept the loss of one solider instead of several and do a kamikaze attack with an expendable rookie.

Can anybody suggest some less heartless tactics or a way to reliably flush them out without destroying the elerium or putting my soldiers in severe danger (such as trying to throw a grenade from the door)?

I'm not sure I like adopting suicide bomber tactics, but it seems the best way to cope with medium scouts.

I can usually toss a grenade into the engine core of a large scout, and I haven't gotten to assault any larger ships yet. The one terror ship I spotted managed to land before my interceptors could get in place, and i got a terror site instead.

#2 NKF

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 06:59 PM

You'll find that as you increase the difficulty levels, the aliens will get better firing accuracy, reaction, time units, energy and psi abilities. Protection-wise, they're the same on all levels except on beginner, where they only have half of their armour. TFTD handles armour differently and scales it up based on difficulty, making some otherwise easy large terror units quite tough to handle.

Elerium is a little purple pod that sits at the base of the power units. If you look at the overhead map, you'll see an item on the ground on the same tile as the power units. Any explosive set off near them will destroy this even if the unit itself survives.

You should never rush into a UFO you know is fully loaded with aliens like the Medium scout. It's especially dangerous because of the concentration of aliens that tend to start inside. The same goes for the left entrance for a supply ship if you've passed a number of turns - the aliens tend to bunch up there.

The easiest way to deal with it at first is to let some of the aliens leave the UFO. Wait a bit and they'll come out. I recommend waiting after turn 20 to let the aliens get their free 'look' at your troop positions. This often encourages them to start heading for you.

After a safe number have been dealt with outside (if not all of them), then you can consider rushing in.

For actual entering, beyond having high reaction high TU soldiers walk through the door with full TUs at the start of a new turn, a few things you could try is to have someone check with a motion scanner to see if anything has moved, or use a smoke grenade on the door and let some smoke drift inside before entering. Either way, make sure you have some soldiers behind that can shoot through the door if the person that entered manages to run back out to safety or was gunned down.

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#3 Sorrow

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:46 AM

Isn't there a bug where all difficulties are Beginner?

#4 yarrow

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 09:13 AM

yes, medium scouts are the most bloody of all ufo crafts :D

the main trick to xcom is to avoid reaction fire
high reaction, full time units ( and line of vision ) are the key
details you will find there:
http://ufopaedia.org...#Reaction_Level

I personally use stun rods, cause grenade and HE ammo destroys precious loot
especially elerium which is in short supply until supply ships becomes ... errr ... available ^_^
I also hate to wait for turn 20+, as NKF do :)

so my tactics is:
first soldier that enters medium scout
has stun rod in one hand, and laser pistol in the other
if alien stands right after the door zap it with stund rod
sometimes if soldier has high reactions ( 55+ )
you can also walk one square and zap another alien, even when he is facing you!
( or even walk outside the ufo safely )

smoke grenade can help a lot if used properly, cause it blocks line of vision
just drop smoke grenade in front of ufo door, a turn before you start storming ufo
( so the smoke cloud has the greatest blocking strength )

why stun rods?, cause they do NOT trigger reaction fire!
( unless you trigger it in other way )
I think you will find some useful info there:
http://ufopaedia.org...n_fire_triggers
http://ufopaedia.org...e=Smoke_Grenade

I also used following tactics with good results:


you can also abuse incendiary ammo quirks combined with not perfect ufo wall collision detection
like incendiary rocket through external ufo wall damage, but that is considered cheating
and not so powerful as I expected ... unless you get power suit :D

Isn't there a bug where all difficulties are Beginner?

yes, it is ^_^ ... depends on version of the game you are using
http://ufopaedia.org...#Difficulty_Bug

yarrow

Edited by yarrow, 20 June 2012 - 09:24 AM.


#5 NKF

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 12:27 PM

I find it safer to not run into a room with six or more aliens, no matter how well armed your troops are. The amount of reaction fire you can draw just walking through the door tends to be quite hazardous for your health. ;)

The difficulty bug is in the dos version, and can be fixed by hex editing the right offset or running the XComutil installer at least once. The windows version has it fixed.

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#6 yarrow

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Posted 21 June 2012 - 11:45 AM

I find it safer to not run into a room with six or more aliens

me too :)

unfortunately this rule is not applicable to undamaged medium scouts :(

I just prefer offence, when I can use the advantage of mutual surprise rule

to me, 2 : 1 lost ratio is perfectly acceptable
because 2 alien corpses earns money for 1 new recruit
( I just assume that, 4 out of 14 soldiers, will be killed in each mission )

additionally
elerium pod or live navigator have more value than even 6 soldiers
( to me of course )

you just have to accept the higher losses than ... ZERO :D

the difficulty bug can also be fixed by using ... Collectors Edition LOL

which also has the advantage of much better ingame music



yarrow

Edited by yarrow, 21 June 2012 - 12:00 PM.


#7 NKF

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 05:22 PM

unfortunately this rule is not applicable to undamaged medium scouts :(


I don't know. You'd only want to rush in against the entire crew if if you wanted to end this mission fast. Say vs. Ethereals. Even so, whether you want to do it defensively or offensively, you still have to do it smartly and not just hand your soldiers over to them More haste, less speed.

Mutual surprise helps a lot in a breaching situation, but in a medium scout there's often aliens off to the side that won't be affected by if. You'll either get shot when walking through the door, or your very next action will. That's why I feel it's better to let a few of them leave on their own first.

In the later game you have the option to fire a small launcher and stun the person in the doorway to break a doorway standoff situation. It might save the soldier's life and might take down a few aliens too without doing any damage.

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#8 yarrow

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 06:16 PM

against ethereals?
hmm ... I don't remember early game ethereals
early game tactics is the title :D :D :D

hmm ... against ethereals
the most likely scenario:
I would just ignore the crash site and wait for supply ship :P

if I really have to, than I would use a team of small launchers only ( + hovertank spotter )
just to catch one alive

for 'complete' missions, I would also use basic anti psi-tacics
like dropping ALL weapons at the end of my turn
and skip reaction fire oportunity completely
than pick them up in the beginning of my next turn

and if I wanted to train my psi-team, than I would go of course
( If I have my psi team, game is basically over ^_^ )

I agree completely with you NKF =b
smartness is MUCH more important than unnessessary haste
( I would also add patience and methodical preciseness to the list )

Mutual surprise helps a lot in a breaching situation

it helps in ANY situation! :D :D :D
it is virtually the mostly used method to avoid reaction fire
( line of vision blocking with smoke being the second )

when I started to prefer to take much more risk and losses
to get faster those few critical 'items' ( including aliens :) )

I found ( to my surprise ) that games becomes easier
when I take the offensive, combined with smoke grenades and stun rods
rather than defensive ... 'reaction fire' approach
( I could say that the losses are the 'cost' of getting the 'criticals' faster )

I still use either of those methods ( storming and waiting for them to come out )
so to me, they are both valid and very comparable to each other

if losses are to be minimal, than I choose defensive
otherwise I take the offence with smoke, stun rods and laser pistols
( instead of grenades as slickrcbd seems to prefer ^_^ )

and since the losses are no more an issue to me ... you got the point :D

yarrow

Edited by yarrow, 24 June 2012 - 06:43 PM.


#9 slickrcbd

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 06:43 PM

Am I understanding that if I detonate a smoke grenade on the square outside the closed door, the smoke will permeate the inside of the UFO? It hadn't occurred to me to drop a smoke grenade.

The same question goes for firing an incendiary weapon at the door. Are you saying the flames will go inside?

Those aliens don't appear to be wearing spacesuits, I wonder how the smoke and fire gets into a craft designed to travel through vacuum when the door is closed.



As for the other tactic of waiting for the aliens to come out, I usually try to look around and eliminate all the aliens outside the UFO first. Should I then line up with all my soldiers facing the door so I can ambush the aliens instead of walking into an ambush like I'd been doing, or will they hesitate to come out if they know that they are walking into a firing squad?

#10 NKF

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 01:37 AM

You can indeed reverse the situation and let them come into your ambush. I generally like to set up a team around the UFO entrance as soon as possible, then take my time clearing out the rest of the map. By the time I'm done, a good number of the aliens will have been dealt with, and making it safe to breach and mop up the remainder. I tend to get lazy in the later game and let the campers do most of the work on the more routine missions.

But don't line up firing-squad style, as that attracts grenades. Try a wide broken semi-circle around the entrance. Position soldiers off to the sides and at a respectable distance from the door. Have them all kneel. Try to avoid any location that aliens just inside the door may be able to attack. That is, keep a clear wedge from the doorway.

If it's dark, toss a flare on top of the UFO. Those with flying suits might want to elevate a little as well. If you have proxy mines, you can use a few at the start but don't over-do it.

against ethereals?
hmm ... I don't remember early game ethereals
early game tactics is the title :D :D :D


It's evergreen - good UFO breaching skills work all year round. ;)

Of course, to be honest, if it were an ethereal medium scout before I got the pis labs, I'd skip it too. I would probably go for a damaged one, since it's the next best thing to the ethereal small scout.


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Edited by NKF, 25 June 2012 - 01:46 AM.

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#11 yarrow

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 05:02 PM

generally I do similiar to what NKF has written, sweep the rest of the battlescape
while leaving 2-3 of my best ( in reaction ) soldiers, to keep an eye on the ufo door

NKF already described it very well
so I will just give you a link to the example picture ^_^
http://ufopaedia.org...Troop_positions

when I finish the sweeping, I gather all troopers near ufo entrance
and storm the door, no matter what turn is B)

firing an incendiary weapon at the door. Are you saying the flames will go inside?

not to the door, but to the diagonal external ufo wall
http://ufopaedia.org...Wall_not_a_Wall
http://ufopaedia.org...ium_Scout#Notes

as I have writtern earlier, it is not as effective as I was expecting
( it IS for sectoids, but only if aliens are standing in a few very specific places )
personally, I just skipped that method completely

you can achive better results with Auto Cannon kamikaze ( with incendiary ammo )
and burn every alien inside ufo with ... auto shots
aimed to power unit or other 'terrain' inside the ufo ( NOT the aliens )
( personal armor or better completely blocks fire damage, so this is not safe method with unarmored soldier )

Am I understanding that if I detonate a smoke grenade on the square outside the closed door, the smoke will permeate the inside of the UFO?

I don't know if the smoke explosion penetrates ufo, but ....
the graphics shows some smoke inside ufo, when I enter it in the next turn
and the line of vision blocking is very high
so if you ask me ... I would answer: yes, it does :)

you seem to have no problem to accept some losses
so the stun rods, or the incendiary are the way to go ... NOT the grenades
because ... you can potentially get MUCH more, for the same cost
( and most ofter you do ... well at least I do :P )

yarrow

#12 slickrcbd

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:56 PM

==snip==
you seem to have no problem to accept some losses
so the stun rods, or the incendiary are the way to go ... NOT the grenades
because ... you can potentially get MUCH more, for the same cost
( and most ofter you do ... well at least I do :P )

I don't like accepting losses, but without using suicide bombers I found I was taking even greater losses trying to get the cowards hiding in the UFO. Sending in the suicide bomber meant I could complete the mission with only the loss of a single weakling of my choice (like the guy with 23 strength and 32 reactions with firing accuracy of 47) instead of losing several good men.

Strapping a primed high explosive to the aforementioned weakling and give him a grenade to throw at the aliens. Then have him charge the UFO, go up to the biggest concentration, then throw the grenade to the other side of the room. Odds are he'd be dead from reaction fire, which would set off the high explosive, which would probably finish off the aliens and end the mission.

The purpose of the thread was to find a way to avoid taking even that one loss, so he could have a chance to spend some time in the gym and on the firing range, then maybe once I get psi and power armor give him some reactions training.

#13 NKF

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:13 AM

Well, unless you're playing a personal challenge and must complete the mission in X turns, let them come to you.

Speaking of training, that reminded me of something. Having lots of troops surround the entrance serves a second purpose.

Without boring you with the intricate details, the short of it is when several soldiers are able to react against an alien simultaneously, but the alien was killed before they got to fire, the game will treat them all as having reacted (with no TUs spent). Which they did, but the game is limited by the fact it does everything serially. This an excellent way to train a bunch of otherwise weak soldiers. Arm them with fast snapshot weapons like the laser pistol or laser rifle for the best results.

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Edited by NKF, 28 June 2012 - 12:14 AM.

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#14 yarrow

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 11:46 AM

The purpose of the thread was to find a way to avoid taking even that one loss

than you MUST go the 'laser squad' way, and wait for them to come out
no other way is more safer ( except for incendiary rocket cheat of course )

yarrow