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#1 hybrid24

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 05:32 PM

Whats a good way to start the game? I'm brand new to X-Com and I need some guidelines on what to build first, and what to purchase on January 1st. Also, whens a good time to start your second base?
Thanks in advance.

#2 gufu

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:20 PM

Build:Large radar, Alien contaiment.
Buy:2 more soldiers, 10 technicians, 10 scientists.
Research:Laser Weaponry

This is my basic list... yet - I believe other members can give more in-deep tactics and hints.
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#3 NKF

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 12:55 AM

There's lots of ways to start out, as you can play the way you want to play. I'll try and throw out a few good all-rounders.

Soldier equipment:
There's so much to pick from, but here are a few that I highly recommend you get right from the start.

Buy some large rockets. You'll need them for fighting Cyberdiscs, which are one of the tougher enemies you'll meet very early into the game. Large rockets knock them out very easily. High explosives are good for throwing too if you've got someone with 40 or over strength. Carry at least some of either or both the large rockets and high explosives on your ship at all times. Since you're just starting out, I recommend the rocket launcher for preference since it's the easiest to use, and its aimed shots actually boost your accuracy.

Buy a few stun rods. They're hard to use, but they're essential for capturing a navigator early on to get one of the most coveted (and expensive) pieces of technology you can use in the Geoscape. You don't need many, 4 or so should be more than sufficient.

Unless you choose to skip the night missions, consider getting some Electro flares. I recommend at least 4 to 8 flares. You can also substitute flares for autocannon or heavy cannon incendiary shells. The cannon shells have a shorter life span though while the flares last the length of the battle (until destroyed). So it's your call which of these you'll use.

Base management

What buildings you build will vary depending on what you want to do. It's normally recommended that a containment (to store captured aliens), living quarters and a general stores be amongst the first facilities you build.

Other additional facilities you might want to add include an extra lab or a large radar. The extra lab helps you get research done much faster. Seasoned players can make do with one lab , but two labs are often recommended.

The large radar combines with the small radar to provide the best radar detection you can get until you hit the Hyperwave Decoder, which blows both of the other radars out of the sky. Note, only one of each type of radar functions at a time, so don't be fooled by the base information screen's radar ratings. Those are there only to show how many facilities you have, not their detection strength.

In either case, the containment is probably the most important facility you'll want to build. It's up to you what other facilities you build. Just remember that facilities are expensive, so the more you build, the more money you'll spend on the initial cost and their maintenance - which you probably can't afford on your starting income. I recommend no more than 3 or 4 starting modules to start with. More as you earn more money.


You might want to start redesigning your starting base so that it's easier to defend.

The starting base is set up to be one of the worst possible bases ever to defend. Enemies will be coming in from three different directions. You can start to rearrange the base by building two hangars on each side of the north-most hangar. This can be expensive, but it does mean that all the aliens will be on one side of the map while all of your soldiers will be on the other.

Building two extra hangars might be a bit expensive for day 1, so it might be an idea to do this after a gathering up a bit of extra cash. You only need to do a few missions and sell off the excess loot to build up the funds quickly.


Aircraft weapons

You start with all the basic aircraft weapons you'll need right away. You'll quickly do away with them if you jump right into the Plasma Beam research, (or if you're really bold, the Laser Cannon). But until you do, a good mixture of rockets is all you really need to get by until you get better tech.

The Avalanche is generally the most popular weapon followed next by the Stingray. Get a supply of rockets for each launcher and use a mix of dual Avalanches or Avalanche/Stingray combos. Just be aware that the Avalanche is strong enough to destroy a small and medium scout, meaning there'll be nothing to recover.

With any of the rockets, remember that when the last shot is fired and you've run out of ammo, your ship will pull back into stand-off range. This can cause your last shot to miss, so briefly enter aggressive to keep the missile within its range.

As for the Cannon? I'm about one of the only people that really enjoys using the Cannon! ;) It's the range drawback that puts most people off them - otherwise they're very economic on ammo. If you do use them, don't go after anything larger than a Large Scout with a solo ship, and be sure to have a secondary ship on hand that can handle UFOs during the down time you'll need for repairs.


When to build a new base?

As soon as you can afford one. That's it, really.

The new base doesn't have to be a perfect base that has everything in it. You should easily be able to start off by building a radar outpost - which is dirt cheap. Just getting the base to start detecting and tracking UFOs that have been spotted is more than sufficient. Even if the aliens find it and destroy it, it's cheap to rebuild.

When more funds become available, expand it to be able to hold and arm a small garrison of troops. Basically one stores and one living quarters. Later on, install at least one hangar for an interceptor.

After that as you play the game, expand the base to accomodate any function you like. Add more interceptors, or turn it into a manufacuturing facility. Your call.


New Staff

Soldiers - From day 1, I'm usually quite happy with the number of starting troops, but if you feel you'll have lots of casualties and want quick replacements, buy a few for reserves. I'd recommend waiting for the new living quarters to be built before considering this. Again, your call.

Engineers - you're probably best leaving them as they are until you get more living quarter spaces. They'll have nothing to build from day 1 anyway until you've done a bit of research.

Scientists - get as many as your quarters and lab space will hold. I often go for 22 right off.

HWPS - technically not staff. ;) These are quite expensive, but well worth it if used well. If you've got the cash to spare, a rocket tank is one of the favourites a lot of players go for. The Cannon Tank is less popular for obvious reasons, but it carries more ammo. More ammo allows it to last longer against Cyberdiscs even though it's really no better than the rocket HWP in terms of how much damage it can deal to them. Cost however is an issue at the start, so don't use too many of these or just buy more rookies.

Note, if you're buying them solely for base defence - don't worry about buying ammo - they'll always come armed. A really good made up excuse for this is that base insurance covers the cost of the ammo. ;)


Research

Go for laser weapons as soon as you can. The lasers are very popular weapons and you'll probably want to immediately replace your basic pistols and rifles with them. They're average in strength, but are very fast and have unlimited ammo and can kill practically any enemy in the game (except perhaps the Sectopod on superhuman difficulty).

Of the three lasers, the laser rifle is the one that causes the least fuss amongst players. It's the most popular, and best balanced of the three.

The laser pistol is best used as a sidearm for a scout, grenadier or as an emergency weapon for rocket soldiers. It's role is that of a light (pun) submachine-gun, so it's incredibly inaccurate but makes up for it by being very fast. Very useful for reaction training.

The heavy laser is a specialist weapon for taking out tough enemies like cyberdiscs and the dreaded sectopods. Best used in sniping roles despite being the middle of the three lasers in terms of accuracy.

As for other early research, try to concentrate on getting personal armour and the plasma beam.

Personal armour can be researched after completing alien alloys. It's not much, but it's vastly superior to what you start with - and stops you from getting knocked out by smoke. Also has good protection against fire. It's also the first step to getting Power Armour and the Flying Suit, so it's well worth the investment.

Plasma Beam - this can be obtained by researching either the plasma rifle and clip combo, or the heavy plasma and clip combo. Not only does this line of research net you a fantastic alien weapon (rifle or heavy plasma), you get an aircraft weapon that'll turn your lowly interceptor into a ship that'll shoot all but the most powerful alien ship down without taking any return fire.

Both alloys and a plasma rifle/heavy plasma are available from the first couple of missions.

Other useful tech that can be handy early on include medikits and alien grenades.

If you manage to nab an alien navigator of any race early on - drop everything and research it right away for the Hyperwave Decoder. You will not be disappointed.

Try reading Starting Your Shadow Paramilitary Organisation. It restates much of what I've already said - but read it anyway. There are a few other guides in the see-also section at the bottom for you to look through.

Also, if there's anything specific you need to know about, don't hestiate to ask.

- NKF

Edited by NKF, 12 November 2007 - 01:51 AM.

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#4 Rainier

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 01:28 AM

Well, a lot depends on the style of play you choose - namely, how often do you wish to reaload.

- On thing that can really mess up a good starting game is an early alien attack on you base. This happens sometimes, and there is virtually nothing you can do about it. Sometimes it comes really early. You can lose the whole game in this. If you want to prepare for this, instead of just starting a new game - a valid choice, since this seems to be a totally random thing, and absolutely unfair at that - I suggest buying two Rocket HWPs and keeping them in the base at all times. This consumes money, but it's a good insurance. (Note: You need also soldiers in the base to be able to fight! The tanks won't fight alone.)

- This is relevant also regarding the starting amount of soldiers. I often buy 12 extra soldiers at the beginning, so I have a chance to defend it even in the case the aliens attack my base when my Skyranger is out on a mission Of course I'd need weapons in my base too, so I tend to keep a few reserve wepons behind. Note: You always have the possibility of reloading to have your Skyranger at the base during the attack, which is sensible (see above).

- But extra soldiers are important in the beginning for other reasons. When you are learning the game, you are bound to lose a lot of soldiers. It's okay, it's a good learning experience and a great thrill. Usually getting the alien ufo is still worthwhile, even if your losses are great. Now, if you have extra soldiers in your base, you won't run out of men and thus avoid the risk of abandoning a ufo recovery mission. In the beginning every single ufo is important. If you have only 8 men, you'll have to wait for a couple of days for replacements to arrive.

Have fun! UFO is definitely at its best when you are learning the game.

#5 stewart

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 08:09 AM

newbie just starting

1 put base in eastern europe
2 14 guys with autocannon 2 HE 1 AP (for indoors
3 dual avalanche
4 terror mission are overated
5 remember if you havent lost you're winning
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I'm starting to like the heavy cannon more and more.

#6 erasmus_b_dragon

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 04:49 PM

Buy some large rockets. You'll need them for fighting Cyberdiscs, which are one of the tougher enemies you'll meet very early into the game. Large rockets knock them out very easily. High explosives are good for throwing too if you've got someone with 40 or over strength. Carry at least some of either or both the large rockets and high explosives on your ship at all times. Since you're just starting out, I recommend the rocket launcher for preference since it's the easiest to use, and its aimed shots actually boost your accuracy.

- NKF


I find hand held rocket launchers very frustrating. I have one in the skyranger at the start, but don't have anybody carry it unless it's a terror mission. Even then, the hand held launcher slows down the bearer so much that he/she can't keep up with the other troops. I find a tank/launcher more effective in destroying 2x2 aliens, even though the heavy rockets from the hand held launcher does more damage, because a tank is faster, has decent armor, 8 shots, and doesn't get tired. Usually the bearer can't move and fire on the same turn because the launcher seems to consume most of the TUs that the soldier would normally have.

One problem is I don't know what stats a soldier would need to make carrying a launcher and 2 extra rockets a reasonable option.

I'm not saying there is only one way to play, but I just don't know how to use a hand held launcher.

I have read some of the documents but have not found an answer. I don't think I need a hand held launcher (or other "heavy" hand held weapons); in fact, because of the TU problem, the only time I have been able to use one is to shoot at something near the ship.

Later in the game, soldiers have more TUs, but by that time, better weapons should be available.
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#7 stewart

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 10:53 AM

The other thing you can do is just live with it all being too heavy to carry. Be over burdened; you're allowed. It just means you advance slower, that's okay. If everything on the map except your soldiers die (civies and the bugs) you'll do well enough. So don't feel under pressure for time to save mere civilians, they're the least of your worries.

I've said this before I'll say it again, don't be afraid to just ignore terror missions (if you show up and leave right away its even less of a penalty than totally ignoring it, if its floaters then stick around awhile and enjoy yourself). But if you are going to fight terror missions they are best fought in the sky. Two interceptors with dual avalanche will do it for you. Before you have a visual or hyperwave decoder the tell tale sign to look for is the ship speed. Terror ships unique travel at IIRC 1800 knots. So if its near the end of the month and you see a large UFO going 1800 Knots. Then send your two dual avalanche mounted airplanes after them. Once the thing is shot down, don't visit the crash site; let the farmers take care of them.
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I'm starting to like the heavy cannon more and more.

#8 NKF

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 12:52 PM

Watch the encumbrance levels. You need exactly 42 strength to carry a launcher, 1 large rocket loaded and 3 large rocket reloads without suffering any TU loss. Since that's not easy to do at the start, have an ammo bearer share the load and carry the spare missiles. Toss the missiles over as needed.

There is a bug that negates the weight of the first rocket if it's loaded from the start, so you could get away with a soldier with 34 strength.

You can check the various item weights on the wiki:

http://www.ufopaedia...tle=Item_Weight

- NKF

Edited by NKF, 18 October 2010 - 12:54 PM.

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#9 erasmus_b_dragon

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 03:02 PM

Watch the encumbrance levels. You need exactly 42 strength to carry a launcher, 1 large rocket loaded and 3 large rocket reloads without suffering any TU loss. Since that's not easy to do at the start, have an ammo bearer share the load and carry the spare missiles. Toss the missiles over as needed.


Thanks!

I tried your suggestion, and that was indeed my problem.

However, one unfortunate side-effect was that the launchers plus extra rockets in base inventory made all my heavy plasma clips unavailable for base defense (80 item limit), and when the aliens attacked I could not use any hand held shooting weapons except the rocket launchers. It wasn't a problem on skyranger missions, of course, because you can see everything in the Equip Craft menu.

I had heavy plasmas but zero clips, LOL!

I suppose this is one advantage of a HWP launcher, since the HWP rockets in the general stores are not counted in the 80 item limit.
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#10 SaintD

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 04:19 PM

Watch the encumbrance levels. You need exactly 42 strength to carry a launcher, 1 large rocket loaded and 3 large rocket reloads without suffering any TU loss.


My favorite early loadout, especially for early terror missions, is one rocket tank, 10 agents with the following.
  • One rocket launcher loaded with a heavy rocket.
  • One smoke grendade
  • one pistol (laser prefered)
  • One High Ex strength permitting.
That's 50 items. Then I stock some flares and a couple of stun rods.

Turn 1, pop 2 smokes (one inside, one on the ramp) and deal with any immediate threats.

Turn 2, tank clears the area around the craft. Two agents kneel down by the back landing gear.

Turn 3. Next two agents debark and fire rockets at the nearest cover then drop the launchers.

Turn 4. Pistol weilding agents switch to scouting role using high-ex to remove cover or as grenades. Rocket carrying agents use aimed shots to snipe spotted enemies.

Whenever you use up a rocket, drop the launcher and get another one agent out. Keep some launchers with a good line of site on scouts.

If the enemy is floaters, use the rockets to remove cover/reapers and the pistols to kill aliens. If it's Sectiods, save rockets for the cyber-discs and use high-ex to remove cover.

If the enemy is snakemen, retreat if you can't afford to lose the Skyranger.

#11 Admiral Harkov

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 07:43 AM

let the farmers take care of them.


Best quote ever! :D

I personally hate the rocket launchers, even when I assign them to my strong men, they still end being too slow. In theory that wouldn't be a problem, since I tend to move slowly; but even so they cause me frustration, among other things because they tend to be one of the last in the skyranger queue so I usually find that when I would have use for them, they're not in the front and others have to take the job they were meant to take, because they won't arrive to a proper place in time.

And if I think to give it to one of the frontmost men, sharing the load as needed to avoid encumberance, it ends being too restrictive for my movements. I may move slow and careful, but still the need to keep in throwing range is disrupting to my operations.

Edited by Admiral Harkov, 01 January 2011 - 07:45 AM.


#12 NKF

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 07:14 AM

It's a long range weapon, so you don't need to move about with it much. It hurts when there is a lot of terrain nearby obstructing the view. Though if you have plenty of rockets you can clear the way easily. ;)

If you want to get it to the front of the Skranger quickly, remove it from the soldier during the initial equip phase and leave it on the floor. That'll place it in the equipment pile where anyone at the front can quickly grab it when they need to.

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