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Aimed Shot vs. Autoshot


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#1 peachadelic

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 12:59 AM

I started playing again recently after a veeery long time. When I played the game before I was a little kid and always lost badly, as well being totally scared of the aliens that might lurk around the next corner. =)

Well anyways, I've read up on some of the game mechanics now and what really surprises me is that there is no real range penalty to shots. There seems to be kind of a bonus to being real close, as shots that stray off little enough to still pass the enemy square still count as hits. But the actual to hit chance taking that into consideration can't be found anywhere and does depend on the range.

If you know for example Fallout, it displays a percentage once you hold the cursor over the target, but the number it displays there is not the actual to hit chance, because armor class of the target is considered afterwards (or something like that). Since X-Com displays the % when you select the type of shot, I always assumed that range was applied afterwards but couldn't be read anywhere in the game.

Now if it says 20% to hit chance for an autoshot, that means 20% for each of the three shots, right? Which means there's roughly a 50% chance of hitting with at least one of the shots.
I guess a soldier with around 20% to hit on an autoshot would have somewhere around 40-50% on an aimed shot.
But then take into consideration that the TU cost of autoshot is about half that of an aimed shot and there's also the chance of hitting more than once. So instead of making one aimed shot, you can make two autoshots, which means 6 shots with a 20% to hit chance each, which means around 75% chance of hitting with at least one of the 6 shots, possibly even more.

So what's the real advantage of an aimed shot? I can only think of two cases right now where I would use an aimed shot: When I want to conserve ammunition and when I don't want to take the risk of a stray bullet hitting one of my own soldiers or a civilian.
Am I missing something here? When do you use the aimed shot?

In the "UfoLoader" or how that software is called, there's an option that allows to add a range penalty for autoshots and snap shots that reduces accuracy by 2% per square after a fixed amount of squares. It seems to be there to balance the different kinds of shots, which seems to suggest that there is an imbalance and autoshot is indeed superior.
I'd use that because it feels much more natural to me but I'm not sure if the penalty gets applied to aliens as well. I don't really want to tone down only my own soldiers... the aliens have enough advantages with seeing in the dark as it is I think. =)
But I often catch myself thinking something like this: "Oh there's an alien and I don't have enough TUs to get to a cover... ah, nevermind, it's so far away it won't hit me" and then I remember it won't even make a difference whether the aliens next to me or 20 squares away.

I do really like the spotter/sniper possibility though.. it's so cool to snipe an alien from halfways across the map. I feel aimed shots ought to be used for that, but the game supports autoshots.

#2 SoxSexSax

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 06:40 AM

You are correct: there is never a reason to used Aimed shot. Auto/Snap are always better. (If you were playing a special-rules gme where the objective was to use as little ammo as possible that may not hold true, but in a "I just want to win" sense, I never use it, ever)

Remember: UFO was written by 2 guys, a programmer and an artist, in the programmer's garage. Don't expect perfect balance...

Up to you whether you use XCOMUtil to rebalance auto shot, but I assure you that on the highest difficulty there is nothing OP about it. Mind Control > Auto Shot!!!

#3 NKF

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 03:04 AM

Aimed shots are much better when your soldiers' accuracy is naturally high and the weapon's aimed mode compliments it. When you have low to middling accuracy, the number of chances offered by auto, and to an extent snap, are much more favourable of at least one hit hitting. Granted, the auto and snap modes will benefit from high accuracy too, but aimed mode can reach the fabled 100% hit a bit sooner.

If you're guaranteed a one-hit kill, say with a rocket launcher which is geared for aimed shots and has the damage potential to deal a one-hit kill, then you would fire it with an aimed shot to ensure a hit from any distance on the map.Otherwise if the victim was standing next to a wall that you couldn't possibly miss, then you may as well launch the rocket as a snap shot and conserve the TUs.

You will still find yourself using snap and auto shots a lot more than aimed shots. But if the conditions allow it, then aimed shots do come in handy.

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#4 SoxSexSax

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 04:21 PM

Every time you used Aimed shot, there is a between ~30 - 70% chance you'd have got the precise same outcome with Snap.

Which is why I never use it...I guess it comes down to risk aversion, but I've never struggled to win on Superhuman without it, so it is perfectly VALID not to use it.

#5 Estyn

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 05:53 PM

Well, for what it's worth, I tend to use aimed shots as distance and perceived rush allow. Hostiles 20+ tiles away spotted on turn 1 of a Floater crash? No worries, pull up a sniper. Running into a Snakeman as you round a corner in a Terror Mission? Auto shots at point blank tend to make up for graduating from the Stormtrooper Academy.

#6 jaakes

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Posted 24 April 2010 - 05:06 AM

Every time you used Aimed shot, there is a between ~30 - 70% chance you'd have got the precise same outcome with Snap.


72.98765% of all statistics are made-up.

#7 Sorrow

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 05:53 AM

Too bad there's no option for an aimed auto-shot. It has a 3 round burst anyway.

#8 Tristan c

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 07:43 PM

Niche when shooting powerful, accurate ordnance (plasma, rockets) at a mid/far alien when it is facing you, so as not to actually be "seen" by the aliens and trigger psi, or to provoke reaction fire from a failed sequence of auto/snaps. Good squaddies will never miss an aimed Heavy Plasma shot, though the jury is out on whether the auto or aimed is more likely to kill the target.

Also when instructing an agent to shoot past fellow agents. Auto shots will eventually hit agents in the back.

#9 NKF

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 08:53 PM

The sad thing is, the same can happen with aimed shots. It's just easier to make some very spectacular slip ups with snap and auto. :D

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#10 Istrebitel

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 11:28 AM

Good old discussion :)
Well, since every non-HE weapon in the game does 0-200% damage, one cannot rely on aimed shot for a "guaranteed" kill. Even if you have >=100% CTH with aimed shot, you are not guaranteed to roll enough to kill an alien. You still have to roll armor+health of the alien to kill it in one shot. That's at least 1/4 chance to fail even with heavy plasma vs weak enemy.
Therefore, it is indeed a niche when firing Rockets only. Since rockets will do 50-150 (right?) % of damage, you can rely on at least 50% of the damage if you hit.

#11 NKF

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 01:43 AM

True, there's no certainty with the damage. One certainty you do have is that you have to hit the target to get this chance of uncertainty, otherwise you will certainly do no damage. :D

Most of the time you have to put your faith in the fact that the damage rolls will probably land closer to the average damage rather than to either of the extremes. This is where high base damage helps a lot.

Besides working out the probabilities, the choice to use an aimed shot (or any other shot) has a lot of other variables involved. Such as the current weapon's properties, the shooter's skill, number of shooters, current troop positions, current state of the target, immediate safety/threat levels, etc.

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Edited by NKF, 05 August 2011 - 01:44 AM.

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#12 Istrebitel

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 12:23 AM

Yes, well, the point is about "if you can make your chance to survive 100%, do it, if not, aim for max chance". And max chance is like always on the side of auto shot EXCEPT if aimed shot brings you 100% chance to hit, PROVIDED minimum damage you may deal is enough for the kill. Therefore, only explosive weapons will do, but as far as i know, at 50% only rocket launcher is a guaranteed kill (canons are not)?

Edited by Istrebitel, 06 August 2011 - 12:23 AM.