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Criticize My Vehicle Approach


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#1 Pherdnut

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 04:50 PM

Just curious what other people start with. I've started to get a great deal of enjoyment buying every Valkyrie I can through excessive raiding. The extra speed is very nice for running those aliens down.

I always use guns for anything larger than a hovercar. When you take ROF into consideration guns are much more powerful. The only use for missiles seems to be the ability to fire from a wider arc while evading. Since Valkyries on up are completely useless at evasion and only waste shots, I always set them for aggressive and equip them with guns.

In the first week it's lasers. You don't need anything better and Elerium is in short supply unless you start stun raiding Marsec and other corps. I still like having hovercars around with bolters to round the fleet out a bit for better coverage. Seriously, even with just a couple Valkyries and six cars you have to be careful to avoid destroying the UFOs outright and in my last game I had to reload when I forget to let one of them actually infiltrate a building so I could get my bio research rolling.

Sadly the Valks don't do so well in week 2 when the Fast Attack ships show up. They just can't take the hits to make up for their lack of evasion so I upgrade to as many Hawks as I can get for the money. Multi-System plasma is awesome not just for its incredible ROF but also its wide firing arc which comes handy when a lumbering Hawk decides to turn away from its target for no discernible reason. I always put these in the noses of my Hawks until the Medium Disruptors come along. If you're still feeling the need to conserve Elerium, the only shortcoming of the autocannons is their limited range. Their ROF is so insane they're actually roughly on par with the Rendors for damage IIRC. At this point it's best to downgrade the hovercars to Prophets. The Janitors obviously have the edge on total damage potential for all that extra ammo but the Phoenix launchers get enough extra range to make it much easier for the cars to dodge on defensive and its rare that the outcome of a battle isn't already determined by the time the cars start running out of ammo.

When week 3 rolls around Lineage cannons replace the autocannons or Rendors (if there's enough of them, grrr). The cars would probably do alright with Prophets until the first thing bigger than a Transport Ship shows up but I usually start equipping the cars with Justice missiles. Yes, Justice Missiles fit on cars and bikes. If something big needs softening up, 12 Justice Missiles or so is usually just what the doctor ordered. You have to be careful to avoid friendly fire though as the cars will frequently attempt to fire through each other and large buildings. I find it's best to keep all their weapons locked until they've got a clear shot, let loose, and then send them home before they get close enough to anything nastier than a fast attack ship. That's pretty much the final role for my cars. Pop-up turrets with a nasty one shot long-ranged attack, essentially. If I ever play a game where I'm filthy stinking rich I'm tempted to see how much of a difference the same number of Valkyries with Retribution Missiles makes.

The next and final upgrade for hawks is Medium Disruptors in the nose and then the race is on to the first Retaliator and then Annihilators with as many medium and huge disruptors as can be placed on them.

If you want to try the prophets and Justice Missiles approaches to the cars (or even bikes), make sure you buy out all the missiles you can before the end of the week starting from week 1.

As far as miscellaneous gear goes: Every targeting unit I can get my hands on. These are only useful for guns so the cars never get them unless there are more than enough units to go around after the Valkyries get theres. The Valks get most of the hits in with their superior speed and the Lancer's superior range anyway. Always the best engines. I've seen one too many UFOs make a very narrow escape to not value the difference a second or two can make. Shields of course, the second they become available. I never waste putting these on hover cars though. A single shield depletes so rapidly it's just a waste of money. All Hawks get at least two shields. Ones with less stay at the back of the pack.


Stuff I don't use:

Bikes - Less than half the hovercar for more than half the cost, IMO. They're awfully hard to hit but they'll get hit eventually. No thx.

Missile Evasion Matrix - never tried these to be honest but missiles were never really that scary, although maybe a good idea vs. those stun missiles.

Plasma Defense: These actually work great! If you put them in 3 slots and cram every spare space you can with targeting gear. Fun to watch, but not a very useful tradeoff, IMO. Three Medium disruptors will help bring down a target much more quickly. Although a much better choice for the Biotrans than a small disruptor I guess.

Stealth: It takes up HOW much space? I'll take the shields thank you.

Teleporter: You're trying to shoot the aliens down, not run away from them. Good for cars maybe?

Janitors: I'll take the whopping megaboost to my early game finances after selling all that ammo in favor a superior ammo-less weapon thank you very much.

Retribution: A Valkryie seems awfully expensive for a pop-up turret.

Small Disruptor: The laser cannons are better and they don't use ammo either.

#2 NKF

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 11:53 PM

You can check the ship's speed in the ship inventory screen to get an idea of how fast it can go. But even then your ships never fly at their maximum speed. You can achieve top speed with manual control, however. Also equipment weight doesn't change your ship operation. I'

Regarding the missile evasion matrix, you're better using it to avoid the Disrupter Inversion Missiles, which pack a punch. The stasis bombs aren't too much of a problem. You can manually operate your ship's guns even while the ship is frozen in mid air, so don't let them get you down. I like to have at least one of these in a wing. It's especially amusing to watch the missile overshoot and spin around your ship in circles. I've noticed this a lot when my ship is stationary.

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I mainly use the Valkyrie as a transport. I like to stick with the default engine. That is, the cheap rubbish you're given on your free valkyrie, not the default engine that you get with new Valkyrie. Cheapskate that I am - I only need it to get my troops there. I still upgrade to twin lancers - might as well get a few good potshots in while tracking the transports, right? Until I get a Biotrans, this is the main troop transport.

I use hoverbikes and hovercars as my main assault force early on. They get a mix of miniguns, bolters, janitors and prophets. I prefer to mainly use bolters for preference, if only to reduce the micromanagement. Their default engines work very well for me - it's 1 point speed difference, and most transporters are slow enough to catch up to. Their numbers allow me to station small wings all over the city, so the default engines don't have to work too hard. Also, because they can crash and burn when hit, it's easy enough to replace them.

The hovercars sometimes take missile evasion matrixes, and if I'm feeling generous, I give the hoverbikes an accuracy mod - only to fill the space rather than to make use of the accuracy bonus.

The Janitors are far superior in numbers, and a swarm of hoverbikes and hovercars can launch a lot of them at the same time. But I'm more of a Bolter death-by-a-thousand-pricks person myself.

Once the Hawks become available, I buy one or two to start with and attempt to get more as money comes in. Each gets fitted with the best engine unless funds limit this. They then become the leader of each hoverbike/hovercar wing, or go together when tackling Fast Attack Ships. For equipment, I just slap any old decent weapon I've got on them. Primarily lancers and anything else that'll fit the forward hardpoint. Lineage plasma cannons, medium disrupters and shields go on to replace old equipment as they become available. I might keep the lancers if elerium supplies are low. These slowly get decomissioned once their hybrid aircraft near-equivalent starts to roll off the assembly line - the Explorer. For me, the Explorers mark the beginning of the end of the alien dimension fleet, and they're the third fastest ship in the game (The annihilator is 2nd, the Dim. Probe the 1st).

For miscellaneous equipment, the ones I don't use include the teleporter. That is a "out-of-frying-pan-into-fire" device. It only activates once your ship has taken significant physical damage after the shields have gone, and you have no control over where you teleport. Just imagine landing right in front of a Fast Attack Ship wing.

I don't use the cloaking device (which is just a more advanced missile jammer - the partial transparency is eye candy) if only because it's too big. I'd rather have the shields thank you.

I don't use the accuracy modifiers for much except as space fillers. I suppose they'd work brilliantly for the miniguns, but I've found my ships to be just as effective with or without them. I suppose I've always felt that the accuracy modifiers only help with hitting a stationary target. Most of the later UFOs are huge and easy to hit, so they're needed even less by then.

The plasma missile defence array is an unusual one that I don't use very much. It makes for a fantastic manual control weapon against shields, earth vehicles and some of the weaker UFOs, but is absolutely useless against capital ships. For the purpose they were intended, they need to be combined with a jammer and require a bit too much luck to function well. As you said, it's better to arm an extra medium disrupter and get the job over and done with. But that doesn't stop me from having a dedicated anti-missile Annihilator later on. If only for laughs.

I also don't use the one-shot missile launchers too much. But I do admit that the Justice packs a fair punch over a great distance and have used the pop-turret strategy you mention before.

Dimension Probes - They would've been brilliant if they were cheaper and you could build them faster. You don't even need one to explore the alien dimension. They're the fastest ship in the game and have a useful hardpoint, but otherwise are redundant.

Multi launchers - These were built as anti-swarm missiles. Because the aliens don't come in swarms, and the ones that do tend to get defeated by a light breeze, the multilaunchers aren't terribly useful. The disrupter inversion missiles are far superior (a medium disrupter's better, but the launcher does offer the advantages of a homing projectile), and the stassis launcher is tactically useful to temporarily switch off a UFO's weapons and turn it into a sitting duck.

Rendor plasma - Not a terribly efficient weapon. Certainly better than a bolter, but as it inefficiently uses its elerium, I'd rather stick with the bolters and save the elerium for the Lineage and multi-system.

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#3 Pherdnut

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 07:35 AM

I did a lot of experimenting with the stasis missile (as well as just about every other weapon in the game) and about five annihilators vs. a single battleship. In all cases, it seemed best to arm everybody to the teeth with disruptors as they always took the UFO down faster and it didn't seem to make a huge difference in how much damage they sustained. Although I'll bet those missiles are nice against multiple fast attack ships.

I hate the fast attackers. Just a royal pain and a good argument to keep a significant missile-based fleet around. Otherwise the damage to the city gets a bit obscene. That and the cloaking.

If the cloaker works the same on X-Com ships as it does the alien's I'm certain it affects guns. I only put it on my troop transport as I prefer my attack ships to be firing constantly anyway. I always wished they hadn't made it so big or at least provided a miniaturization topic when you research something seemingly trivial.

I did have some fun with an anti-missile retaliator but it was only effective if you kitted out the entire retaliator for that specific purpose which kind of made the point moot. A small chance of taking out alien missiles isn't as useful as more disruptors.

Agreed on the teleporter. It's a rather silly device. If you could at least turn it on or off somewhere, that would be nice.

#4 NRN_R_Sumo1

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 09:13 AM

I trade off a car engine with the Valk and buy the second car a Valk engine too.
The Valk doesnt need to be fast for transporting xD!

I have to say though, the Retribution can be Very useful.

I really only use my hawk for blowing up large targets.
I once again put a little engine in it, since speed isnt needed with the huge range.

I can always just put it back into the base to reload.. XP
that large damage pay off works wonders against a mother ship, which BY THE WAY has no chance in attacking you from that distance.

There is Definatly a trick to using these long range black powder rifles.
Its the fire line tactic.
More guns
More shots
More Damage

I also use this for machine guns in Tactical :o
put them on Aim and they rifle snipers.. ^^'
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Eight Ball: For the love of God, would you stop jiggling me! How can I predict the future when I'm about to throw up?!

#5 Steelion

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 03:38 PM

I keep my hovercars for a bit of durability, and because they have the firepower of 4 hovercars together. But I buy hovercars whenever I can. Armed with janitors, justices, and Lineages, they are monsters.
What is a drop of rain, compared to the storm?
What is a thought, compared to the mind?
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#6 Pherdnut

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 05:17 AM

I tried starting with Rendors now that I know how easy it is to raid for elerium. Holy cow does it make a difference in the first week. Half the UFOs never even hit the ground in one piece.

#7 Steelion

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 03:14 PM

Rendors are inefficient, and i hate them. They use 2 ammo with each shot. Use missiles till you get lineages, i say. :P
What is a drop of rain, compared to the storm?
What is a thought, compared to the mind?
--
I R A SILLY GOOSE, apparently. Go figure.
--

I'm not dead! Really!

#8 NKF

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 11:26 PM

I prefer Bolters to Rendors to start with, mainly because I'm lazy ;). Elerium is best kept for the Lineage and Multi-Plasma. You do have to admit that the Rendors do pack quite a punch for a minigun sized cannon.

On a less related note, If I'm not mistaken, the Multi-Plasma is even more inefficient. Despite this, its superior firing arc advantage is worth the inefficiency. The plasma missile defence guns on manual is even more frightening and the rate of fire is very impressive. It even rivals the multi-plasma's firing arc and doesn't use any ammo. Unfortunately it has a ridiculous weapon shape, short range and the weaker damage isn't strong enough to punch through capital ship armour. Still fun to have a retaliator armed with either of these two weapons rip the smaller and some medium UFOs to pieces.

- NKF

Edited by NKF, 28 June 2007 - 11:35 PM.

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#9 NRN_R_Sumo1

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 11:53 AM

Thats just a waste.
Use a Retaliator instead! :P
Me: Magic Eight Ball, do alien beings inhabit the earth?

Eight Ball: For the love of God, would you stop jiggling me! How can I predict the future when I'm about to throw up?!