X-COM: UFO Defense
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Strategy Guide and FAQ
XCOM: UFO Defense The UN-official Strategy Guide and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions works great as a Supplement to the Official Strategy Guide! Updated May-01/95 Maintained by Kuo-Sheng (Kasey) Chang 0.1 Introduction Thanks for the tremendous response all over the net! The guide was uploaded to practically to wherever XCOM and UFO are sold (and probably beyond), and many people have provided helpful feedback that were incorporated into this revision. XCOM:USG is now available in many more places! It's available on almost every on-line service (though AOL will remain an "official" distribution site) and can be found in many places on Internet. The Feb-01 revision marks a major change in what is now known as the "XCOM Unofficial Strategy Guide". That was a total rewrite compared to this, which is just a revision. 0.2 Did you know about the OFFICIAL XCOM Strategy Guide? Now that the official strategy guide is out in stores (XCOM : the Official Strategy Guide, by David Ellis, Prima Publishing, ISBN 1-55958-764-4, US$19.95, hereby known as OSG), this UNofficial strategy guide (USG) is now patterned after the official one, with similar table of contents. You can use this guide along with the official strategy guide (OSG), or you can use this by itself. While OSG has all the neat charts and tables and stuff only available from the source, I've found its tactics and strategy section sorely lacking. In fact, all the the strategy and tactics are condensed into ONE chapter, with the rest of the book as simply a reprint of the manual and UFOpedia and the underlying mechanics. That's where USG come in. USG will help you make informed choices. Instead of showing you a table of numbers, I'll actually show you what is recommended by fellow XCOM players. After you read each chapter in the OSG, read that chapter's supplement here. You will understand more about how the game runs and the tactics to beat it. You do NOT have to have the OSG to use this supplement, but you will get more out of both if you do. 0.3 Credits where credits are due Thanks to MicroProse and Mythos Games for bringing us such a nice game. It surely deserved CGW's "Game of the Year" award! Thanks to all the people who have contributed to previous editions of the XCOM:USG, whom include but are not limited to: William Kang, CMDR; Tim Chawn, CMDR; Doug Osborne, SG; Stuart Lamble, SG; Seth Cohn, SG; Bill Soo, SG; Jeff Shaffer, Economist; Rob Eiben, SG; Jim Muchow, SG; Menachem Pasteich, architect; Paul Close, publicist and simulation expert; and fellow XCOM players all over the world discussing the game on USENET, America On-line and elsewhere. Some strategies and tactics here first appeared in Computer Gaming World and Computer Game Review magazines' strategy articles on XCOM. Thanks to Jeff James (CGW) and Kevin Perry (CGR), we honor you as XCOM Strategists. 0.4 Note ot UFO: Enemy Unknown users UFO: Enemy Unknown users should be able to use this supplement with minimum changes. Most tips will apply to both versions, esp. the tactical tips. The charts on the other hand may have different numbers, so compare it carefully please. See 0.5 if you have the Amiga version of UFO: Enemy Unknown. 0.5 Notes on the USG New/Improved sections since last update are marked by @. PLEASE let me know if there's a confusing or missing remark so I can fix them! If you find an question about the game that is not covered in the USG, I'll include it in the next update. The USG should be available at the Game Domain WWW WWW : http://wcl-rs.bham.ac.uk/GamesDomain @ Any quick updates can be found on my own homepage http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~kschang Paul Close (pdc sgi.com) has graciously converted this into HTML format so you can use a WWW browser! Check it out at WWW : http://reality.sgi.com/employees/pdc Tommy Iversen (Norway) has graciously accepted the task of converting the USG for Amiga. (Yes, there is an Amiga version) His e-mail address is --> If you are on America On-Line, look in the PC Games Forum (keyword: PCGAMES). Go into the file library, and search under XCOM. If anyone knows of other "permanent" archive sites (somewhere in ftp.netcom.com?), please let me know so I can include the information in future updates. If you REALLY can't find it, don't have FTP or WWW, not on AOL, can't read news, etc., (i.e. there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY you can get to it) (how did you know about this in the first place?) then send me e-mail (see below) and I'll try to get back to you. Please don't just mail me and ask "it's nice and do you have an update and if so please send it to me". If I have an update I can release I would have released it already. I maintain this at home on my PC and I only have a UNIX shell account which this won't fit with other stuff I need. So don't expect too fast of an answer if you request this by e-mail. 0.6 The author I? I am just a game player who didn't like the existing FAQ's and strategy tactics collection available out there, and decided to write my own. You can contact me at: Internet 1 : kschang sfsu.edu (preferred) Internet 2 : ksc1 aol.com (only if you must, see below) America On-Line : Ksc1 US Mail : Kasey Chang, 2220 Turk Blvd. Apt.6, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA WWW Homepage : http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~kschang If you contact me via Internet e-mail I usually reply within two working days. Please use the preferred e-mail address if possible, not BOTH. I only sign onto America On-Line (2nd address) twice a week so you won't get a prompt reply if you contact me there. Table of Contents 1.0 X-COM General Information What is this game? What about bugs? Patches? Expansions and future versions? How do I win or lose? 2.0 The GeoScape Screen How do I use GeoScape? Any tricks or tips? 3.0 X-COM Bases Where do I put my first bases? How to I build bases that are easy to defend? How much defense do I build? 4.0 X-COM Hardware What kind of weapons are available? Which ones are the best? 5.0 Finance How do I make more money? How do I spend less money? How do I cheat and get more money? 6.0 Research and Manufacturing What do I research? What do I build? 7.0 Intercepting UFOs How do I intercept UFOs? What weapon should I send up against UFO type X? 8.0 Soldiers, Movement, and Combat Who do I send on missions? How do I avoid casualties? 9.0 The aliens Who are these & *#%*!? How do I kill them most efficiently? 10.0 Ground Assaults What do I do in UFO assaults and recoveries? What is the best way to defend my base? Assaulting alien bases? 11.0 Mastering Cydonia -- The Final Assault How do I win the "final confrontation"? 12.0 Misc Stuff Any other questions? (if information you are looking for is not listed, e-mail me and I'll give you an answer, and I'll include it in next update) BEGIN XCOM Unofficial Strategy Guide 1.0 X-COM General Information 1.1 What is XCOM: UFO Defense? [Excerpt from XCOM manual page 6] It is the year 1999. Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have started appearing with distrubing regularity in the night skies. Reports of violent human abductions and horrific experimentation has truck terror into the hearts of millions. Mass public hysteria has only served to expose Earth's impotence against a vastly superior technology. [...] On December 11, 1998, representatives from the world's most economically powerful counties gathered secretly in Geneva. After much debate, they decision was made to establish a covert independent body to combat, investigate, and defeat the alien threat. The organization would be equipped with the world's finest pilots, soldiers, scientists, and engineers, working together as one multi-national force. This organization was named the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit. [end excerpt] You are in overall command of XCOM. You will launch and control interceptors to attack marauding UFOs, send soldiers to attack crashed or landed UFOs, raid alien bases on Earth (if you can find them), keep the sponsor nations happy and UFOs out of their skies, buy the ammo and weapons you need in the war, research and build better weapons as your troops bring in captured alien artifacts for analysis and eventually manufacture our own copies, pay for everything by contributions from sponsor countries and selling stuff, and eventually figure out the alien threat's origin and end the threat once and for all. (Whew! That's a mouthful!) 1.2 How does XCOM play? The game is divided into two main segments: GeoScape and BattleScape. GeoScape is a 3-D view of the globe, rotate-able and zoom-able. This is where you control your various bases around the world (with radars), your fighters and transports (carrying your soldiers), your inventory at each base, the UFOs and alien bases currently in sight, and so on. Once ground contact is made (transport landed next to UFO, you attack alien base, aliens attack your base, etc.), the game switches to Battlescape. Battlescape is an isometric tile-based 3-D combat with viewpoint similar to SimCity 2000 and Transport Tycoon. The combat is turn-based with opportunity fire on the opponent's round (provided you have enough TimeUnits [TUs] and reaction), with plenty of weapons and terrain to choose from. Everything is mouse-driven so game is very easy to learn yet hard to master. 1.3 What is UFO: Enemy Unknown? UFO: Enemy Unknown is the European version of XCOM. The game was designed by Mythos Games, and was distributed by MicroProse UK. It was imported into the US later as XCOM. XCOM is equivalent to UFO V1.2. In fact, XCOM installs into \MPS\UFO directory. :-) 1.3.1 Why the name change? OSG has no explanation, but I believe that SubLOGIC (the original Flight Simulator people) had a game called UFO, and MicroProse couldn't register the same name, so they picked XCOM. XCOM will now be the official name of the series. XCOM2 will be sold as XCOM2 in Europe. 1.3.2 What is this UFO V1.3 Patch? Recently there's a UFO V1.3 patch floating in Internet somewhere. (ftp.cdrom.com in /pub/games/dresden?). _Computer Gaming World_ listed it in their patches page, so it appears to be official. This is ONLY for UFO, NOT for XCOM. The "real" patch is XCOM V1.4. 1.3.3 So what is the difference besides the title? Quite small, mainly price changes for items (esp. "armour"). 1.4 What type of PC do I need? Is a Demo available? Requirements listed on XCOM is: 386/486 (Pentium?), 4 MB RAM, VGA, Mouse, MS/PC-DOS 5.0 (or higher?). (There is an Amiga and CD32 version of UFO, see 1.6) One person reported that he was able to run XCOM with 2 MB RAM, though it is SLOW. Your mileage may vary. It comes on 3 3.5" HD disks, and needs about 12MB of hard drive space to install (double that if using disk compression software such as Stacker or DoubleSpace). There's a CD version which is the same except only the saved games reside on the hard drive and all of the data files stays on the CD. You CAN install the CD version onto the hard drive if you have enough space. Contact MicroProse for detailed instructions. The game uses 32-bit protected mode, so it would not run under Windows. No compatibility claims was made to any other versions of DOS such as DR DOS, Novell DOS 7, or even OS/2. Note that Windows may be necesary if the DOS4GW extender refuse to run on your computer. See 1.5.7. There is a playable demo available on most on-line services such as America On-Line in the MicroProse forum /SIG/ roundtable/ whatever. There WAS a demo at ftp.std.com, but another user reported that it disappeared sometime during November '94. In the meanwhile, you can try ftp.cdrom.com under /pub/Games/Demos. (if anyone found it, please let me know so the info can be included in the next update) 1.5 What about any bugs? Any patches? The OSG has no list of bugs, so here is a list of bugs that are known to exist in XCOM/UFO. MicroProse is aware of most of these problems. It took MicroProse about six months, but the patch is finally here! V1.4 patch is available from MicroProse BBS and www/ftp site. 1.5.1 Green Text Bug Symptom: Game suddenly displays 40-column Green text [DOS Extender Error]. Usually happens right after a battle, and after a bit it takes you back into the battle you just finished (infinitely), sometimes the computer hangs. Cause and Solution: This is usually caused by attempting to save a game while an UFO interception is in progress. Another possibility is you have multiple crafts in the air and one of the is intercepting while another is land- ing and attacking a downed UFO or base. Unfortuantely, the saved game is corrupt. You must restore from an earlier saved game. [OSG only mentions this as "trust me, don't save when intercept minimized"] Further info: someone commented on the net (I'll find the original message I saved somewhere) that usually there is this ONE UFO that you did not shoot down before XCOM crashed. If you do NOT destroy it after you reload the game, the same thing will happen again. Another has reported that by not maximizing the GeoScape screen before going into combat cuts down the chances of Geen Text bug, but this is unconfirmed. 1.5.2 16-bit Sound bug Symptom: Game has compatibility problems with most 16-bit sound cards such as SoundBlaster 16 and PAS-16 (and Gravis UltraSound as well). Music and sounds are often played as static, or no sound at all. Cause and solution: remember that the setup asks for the DMA channel, NOT the interrupt as most setup programs do. If it still doesn't work, it's a program bug. You can always play with the sound off, but it's not as much fun having no alien screams when they got hit and die... The V1.4 patch should fix this. WARNING: If you have a SoundBlaster 16 and the Waveblaster daughtercard, do NOT select 16-bit digital sound with General MIDI. Select 8-bit sound instead. 1.5.3 One-shot blaster bug Symptom: Once you fired off a blaster launcher, sometimes there's still a shell in there so you can't reload it, but you can't fire it either. Cause and solution: This is caused by programming only one waypoint for the blaster bomb. If you program two or more waypoints for the bomb this won't happen. You can also UNLOAD the "empty" shell. See manual. 1.5.4 Flying Frozen bug Symptom: a unit near the edge of the map was hit by the enemy. When it is their turn to more, their pointer shows them off the edge of the map (totally outside). They can move up/down, but not back onto the map. They can still shoot, and they recover if you win the battle. Cause and solution: no idea, this seems to be random. Don't put your units near the edge. 1.5.5 "SMOKBIT.DAT not found" Symptom: the game complains that a SMOKBIT.DAT cannot be found in your saved game directory. Cause and solution: no idea, since the file is not in all of the saved games directories that I have (I have it only in 2 of 10 saved games). MicroProse has no idea either and currently chalked it up to computer incompati- bility and recommends a refund if you run into this problem. (saved game during combat?) 1.5.6 Stacked Equipment bug Symptom: When you access the alien's inventory (see 8.5) you found that they have multiple items stacked in one location (usually one of the legs). If you do not have enough TU and you tried to move one item, you cannot put it back, and you are TOTALLY STUCK. Solution: just don't do it, or you'll have to reboot. No other way around it. Maybe that's why we were not supposed to access alien inventory? 1.5.7 Cyrix incompatibility Symptom: when starting XCOM/UFO, the program freezes after the title splash animations finished. Cause and solution: you probably have a Cyrix CPU. The version of DOS4GW XCOM used (version ends with a 5) is somehow incompatible with Cyrix CPUs. The fix is very simple: run DOOM or another DOS4GW program (Raptor, Heretic, Descent, ROTT, etc.) before XCOM. 1.5.8 Can't find a leader!?!? This is also known as the "Alien Containment Bug" Symptom: when at a crucial phase of the game, when one needs a captured alien leader, the leader was successfully captured but never was available for research. Maybe the alien containment is full? Cause and solution: no idea. Many people have reported this problem, but MicroProse have no idea, and neither do I. This appears to be more prevalent on higher levels. Someone reported that UFO V1.3 patch solves this problem, but this is unconfirmed. Note: this is NOT related to "cannot research a captured commander from UFO". That is NOT a bug. You have to research one that was nabbed from a BASE. 1.5.9 Unsaved proximity grenades Symptom: if you save a battle in progress with proximity grenades on the ground, and later restore the game, the grenades are gone. Solution: none... 1.6 Any plans on sequels? Mission disks? Other computers? 1.6.1 Sequel -> XCOM2: Teror From the Deep Here's an actual message posted by MicroProse on AOL: ---- XCOM 2: Terror From the Deep The war continues... XCOM: Terror From the Deep brings the alien terror into a totally new dimension... Seeking to take advantage of a weakened Earth, XCOM's deep space foes unexpectedly change strategy and launch a powerful second front against planet Earth. In the dark depths of vast oceans, long sleeping forces are awakened by re-animation signals sent out across the galactic silence by their interstellar brothers and sisters. Slowly but surely, and army of hibernating alien sea creatures awakens. Your combat now extends to the strange new world of the deep where superior alien technologies threaten the very survival of the planet. Your planet: Earth. * Sequels the hugely successful XCOM: UFO Defense * Actual undersea geoscape mapping system with rich topo- graphical detail * Full array of undersea military technology * Rich graphics feature water coloration and wrecks * Multi-level tactical maps featuring both underwater seascapes and buildings * Alien encyclopedia features mutation technology and new watery denizens -- Brian/MicroProse ------------------- XCOM2 is already out in the United States and should be available elsewhere really soon. XCOM3 is in embyonic stages will will be more radically different from XCOM/XCOM2, according to MicroProse. 1.6.2 How about Mission Disks? None are planned at the moment. 1.6.3 Other versions? There is an Amiga version. No other ports are expected in the near future. 1.7 How do I win? How do I lose? You win by finding the source of the alien threat and "deal with it" once and for all on a "final mission". (See 11.0 if you REALLY want to know) You can lose by several ways: 1) You were in debt for over $1,000,000 for two months. Your sponsors had had enough of your mismanagement and terminated the XCOM project. Earth was conquered by aliens not long after. 2) You had two consecutive "badly losing" months (big negative score), and your sponsors had had enough and terminated XCOM project. Just how bad is a "badly losing" month depends on your score and difficulty level (Scoring is explained in OSG Chapter 1 and 1.8). 3) You lost all of your bases to the aliens. 4) You failed to complete the "final mission" (see above 1). 1.8 How is scoring calculated? Score is kept for both sides. You get positive score for conducting successful research, capturing and/or killing aliens, grounding and/or destroying UFOs, destroying alien bases, grabbing alien equipment, and more. You get negative score for losing XCOM soldiers, crafts, HWPs, and civilians. (for exact numbers, see OSG) Aliens score points by overflying Earth, lands on Earth (whatever purpose), build and keep bases on Earth, conduct terror raids and hoping that you ignore it (so NEVER do so since this REALLY scores big for them!), sign pact with funding countries (which means those countries don't pay you any longer!), conduct harvest and/or abduction mission on Earth. (for exact numbers, see OSG) Your net score is (your_score - alien_score), which is the score you see on the monthly performance report (and the graph). The funding changes are affected by your total score, and are explained in OSG:Chapter 5. 2.0 The Geoscape Screen The GeoScape screen is where you will control the interceptions and provides access to the BattleScape and the base controls. 2.1 Air Intercepts Always attack an UFO over land. If you shoot it down over water no one can get to it (unless you are playing the sequel, see section 1). If you are over water, minimize the window, and select 1 minute step until you get back over land, then switch back to 5 seconds and start attack. [Whether you want to attack smaller UFOs is up to you] If you send multiple crafts after one UFO and the UFO gets shot down or destroyed, the shooter will go home, but other crafts will continue onto the crash site, THEN return to their base. So make them return to base manually. They will return faster, and thus be refueled/rearmed/repaired for next sortie faster. Click on its icon on GeoScape and select "return to base". If an UFO has landed, keep a fighter on top of it. That way, if it takes off before your transport get there, you still have a chance of taking it down. Since the best weapons have a chance of blowing a smaller UFO totally to pieces, you may want to keep one fighter armed weaker than the rest for intercepting smaller UFOs. (Assuming that you even WANT to go after small UFOs) 2.2 Finding Alien Bases XCOM agents have a chance of finding an alien base for you, but chances are pretty slim. So do not rely on that. Watch for high alien activity (check the graphs) yet no interception: there's probably a base in the area. Send something slow like a Skyranger to patrol the area. An empty Skyranger has excellent range and therefore is perfect in spotting alien bases. Watch UFOs, esp. where they land. If you see a "Supply Ship", do NOT attack it. Trail it and follow it to their base. After it lands, patrol nearby and you'll see the base. Hyperwave decoders can find UFOs on supply runs. Follow that will usually lead you to a base. Of course, you do NOT have to take out that base... You go after the supply train instead. 2.3 Base Management [also see 3.0 for XCOM Bases] Since it takes several weeks before additional modules to the base can be brought online, you need to build them ahead of time. See the base status to see how full are your facilities getting. If they are getting close, start building additional facilities so that they'll be ready by the time you need them. Examine base status at least twice every month, check living quarters, workshops and labs, etc, and determine your expansion schedule. Dismantle extra stuff before end of month so you don't pay maintainence on them. Hire engineers and scientists at the last hour of the month so that they get delievered early NEXT month, so you get maximum research from them while not paying an extra penny in salary. 2.4 GeoScape Tricks and Tips Many people don't realize that click on the UFO icon will bring up all known info about the UFO. If you detected it via Hyperwave Decoder, you'll know A LOT about it. UFO Crash Site susually disappear in a few days. If you have no soldiers available, you can let it sit for a day or two. Landed UFOs will take off in a few hours (less than a day). Terror Sites disappear in less than a day (which mean you have to get to one ASAP, even if it means skipping UFOs and landing at night!) Landed/crashed UFOs still has info, such as size. Check your graphs regularly to determine where to build your next base. Watch for sponsor countries with high alien activity with high-paying sponsor(s), then check how much did they pay you via the Funding screen and see if they are worth defending. Areas with high alien activity and high XCOM activity probably have an alien base. 2.5 Target Selection If several targets presents itself, which one should you attack? Here are some of my general guidelines: 2.5.1 UFOs in flight Attack the biggest UFO you can handle. Supply ships are easy, terror ships are okay, battleships are death unless you have Firestorms and Avengers and can attack with multiple crafts simultaneously Launch from the closest base FROM UFOs INTENDED TARGET if it is known or can be deduced from UFOs path. Launching from the closest base at the time of contact will result in a tail chase, resulting frequently in lost tracking and waste of fuel and time. If the landing site is on the dark side, you may want to patrol nearby and wait for light. Of course, in the meanwhile the landed UFO may take off again. Keep a fighter on top of a landed UFO in case it takes off before your transport can get to it. 2.5.2 Downed/Landed UFOs Attack the biggest UFO you can handle. Terror ships have annoying terrorists (esp. Chrysalids!) and Battleship simply have lots of enemies (and terrorists, depending on mission). Supply ships are okay if you watch the grav- lifts closely Larger UFOs have more aliens and more artifacts to recover, so risk and reward are proportional. If you have a choice, attack a landed UFO instead of a shot-down UFO. Landed UFO are undamaged and therefore have more artifacts (plus 50 units of E-115 per engine) but of course have also more aliens. Some veterans have reported that they can finish game faster by attacking landed UFOs only. While score may not be as spectacular, they also have less risk of retaliation and can get more research done and have more money (from the extra booty) Don't follow an UFO around with a loaded transport (with soldiers and equipment). They are wasting fuel and time and they may not have enough endurance to finish the race and not able to respond to a different emergency (such as a terror site suddenly popping up elsewhere) 2.5.3 Terror sites Attack one ASAP, no exceptions. Divert from other UFO or base attacks if necesary, and definitely attack at night. The penalty for ignoring a terror site is simply too large to ignore. 2.5.4 Alien bases Depending on your soldiers, you should attack a base as soon as you are able to (don't take rookies though). You should not allow more than one alien base on Earth since you can't really afford the penalty. You may want to consider leaving a base alone nearby so you can keep attacking the supply UFOs that drops by. Just make sure you can handle the alien retaliation. 3.0 X-COM Bases 3.1 Where should I put my first base? Additional bases? There are several things to consider while placing your first base. Keep in mind that your first base will be your only base for a while, so make sure you place it where you get maximum coverage of the sponsoring countries, who also pays the most. The problem is how to maximize the country coverage WHILE maximizing the covered countries' total payment. We know that the US pays the most (always), and second most is Japan, while Europe has a lot of sponsor countries in a cluster. Third best paying is, believe it or not, South Africa. According to OSG's Chapter 5, the finance changes depend on your score. If your score is positive, and you did a lot of stuff in the sponsoring country (see XCOM Activity in Graphs), then they will raise their payment by a random percentage. Now, would you rather have 10% of $100,000, or 10% of $800,000? OSG recommends Northern US as a good starting place, which is okay, since US is the largest paying XCOM sponsor. On the other hand, a base in US can only cover US, and Canada. A base in Central Europe can cover UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and a piece of Russia (though most of Russia would need a base in Asia, covering Japan, China, and maybe India as well). My vote is a toss-up between Europe and Northern-Central US. Both can work quite well. If you build your first base in Northern-Central US, build your second in Europe, and vice versa. The third base should be near Japan to cover Japan, China, Russia, and hopefully India (maybe not), and fourth base should be in Africa covering Nigeria and South Africa (an important contributor). If you build a fifth base, it should go in South America, covering Brazil. If you want a sixth base, built it in New Zealand or NorthEastern Australia to covering most of the Pacific (covering Australia). Check your graphs regularly to determine where to build your next base. Watch for sponsor countries with high alien activity with high-paying sponsor(s), then check how much did they pay you via the Funding screen and see if they are worth defending. Do not build additional bases until you have enough money in the bank to pay for its initial construction AS WELL AS the first month's maintainence. Negative balance for two months means the end of your XCOM tenure! 3.2 How should I name my bases? I personally name bases based on the continent they are on, plus the COM suffix (stands for Command), except for the US base, which is CentCom. Europe is EuroCom, South America is SoAmCom (or SouthCom, if you want to be authentic), Asia is AsiaCom, Africa is AfriCom, and so on. Sounds military. :-) Naming bases is important because it means less confusion on the Intercept screen on choosing which base to launch the fighters and transports. Launching from the wrong one means the craft will not get there in time, run out of fuel before getting there (never get there since it will come back first), etc. 3.3 What types of bases should I build? The OSG recommends that you build every base to be as full fledged as possible, as to be ready in the unlikely event that all other bases fell to the aliens. While I can sympathize with the approach, it is very difficult to implement. The main problem is in research. Each base research independent of each other. Decentralized research slows discoveries and makes duplicate research possible (efforts are NOT cumulative). The only way to make things work like recommended is limit yourself to about three or four bases, covering North America, Europe, East Asia (Japan, China, Eastern Russia), and Africa (South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt). Your bases will evolve in stages as follows: 3.3.1 Radar base The radar base just have radars, and later, hyperwave decoders. Remember to put in a storage space (for HWPs and their ammos) and a living quarter (for expansion and a few guards). Stock it with several HWPs (plasma hover- tanks are ideal) for defense, add one defense station when you can afford it. Each radar has a 5 percent chance of detecting an UFO within its detection radius (just like the UFOpedia says), so you don't need both small and large radars, just large will do (unless you run out of money!). Ten radars means 50% chance of detection, etc. Later you can replace all the radars with ONE hyperwave decoder. One of those detects 100% UFOs in range. Dismantle the radars to save on maintainence (see 5.4) 3.3.2 Intercept Base Radar base with a hangar housing a fighter (Interceptor or Firestorm). Watch the storage space since fighter needs its own weapons and ammo. Add one if needed. Consider adding defense now (or assign more guards and HWPs) since aliens may get mad seeing their UFOs getting destroyed in your area. 3.3.3 Strike Base Intercept Base with a second hangar housing a transport (Skyranger, Lightning, or Avenger). Remember to add storage (weapons and ammo, plus loot) and alien containment (prisoners) when needed. Consider adding more defense, esp. when the aliens will get really mad as you attack more of their UFOs and/or bases in the area. 3.3.4 Research Base / Manufacture Base Base should specialize in either research or manufacture, not both (doing so is putting too many eggs in one basket). Add living quarters and either workshop or laboratory as needed. Manufacture base needs more storage space or an empty hangar (if building crafts) so make you have enough or use TRANSFER a lot. You shouldn't have to build a lot of defenses here, esp. if you build the 3.3.5 variant. 3.3.5 Special Research Base or Manufacture Base As OSG mentioned, UFOs will start looking for your base if their brethrens keeps getting attacked and destroyed in the area. This suggest that if you build a base at North or South pole, only stock it with soldiers and needed equipment (no crafts or radars, or maybe a hyperwave decoder), and wait until UFOs enter a different zone before attacking them, you can keep a base pretty safe. Many people have employed this tactic and it seems to work quite well. This is also great for psi labs. 3.4 How do I design secure base easy to defend? The most secure base design that I can think of is this one: XXXXXX This base has only ONE access point: by the lift. X.XXXX Any other way (such as through the hangar) actually X.XXXX takes LONGER. And the long corridor spanning FOUR A..... sections makes EXCELLENT choke points and impromptu HHHHHH minefields with proximity grenades are great for HHHHHH defense in this kind of situations. If you don't need three hangars, you can trade the right one for three more structures down the right side. Basically, put the access lift off to one side of the map and try to isolate that and hangars from the rest XXXXXX of the base. X.XXXX X.XXXX There is one catch: sometimes, there's a bug in A....X the game that eliminates some doors that leads you to HHHH.X the rest of the base. Without rockets and blaster HHHH.X bombs to "dig", you can't kill the aliens in the other section and thus cannot finish the battle at all. 3.5 What should I add to my base at first? Later? Initial modifications you need for the main base are: alien containment (prisoners), general stores (ammo and captured artifacts), and long range radar (detection). Later, with more money, add living quarters, labs, workshops, and defenses, in approximately that order. Defenses comes last usually since you can defend with soldiers and HWPs. Of course, don't clog up the 80-items list. Try to keep an hangar available so you can build more crafts. Remember that transferring crafts is free. 3.6 How should I defend a base? How much defense is enough? WARNING: previous versions of this guide listed that HWPs at an empty base (i.e. no soldiers) can defend. I copied this hint from _Computer Game Review_'s strategy article. I have received at least two angry statements telling me that this is NOT so. Each have lost at least TWO "undefended" bases. Defending a base against alien raids is tough. Fortunately, unless you are doing terribly well, aliens usually don't bother your bases for a while. But near the end, alien battleships will come after your bases, then you have a problem... To defend against that, you need a high defense rating. I would recommend over 3000, maybe 3500, plus grav shields, if you don't like fighting inside your own base. Three fusion ball defenses plus grav shields is usually enough. During a month, only one out of ten battleships made it through my 3500 defense, and its remaining landing parties are easy to wipe out with only HWPs. On the other hand, if you don't have equipment to fight battle- ships in the air, you may want to let it land and take it out on the ground (i.e. at your base). Remember you will see A LOT of aliens on a base raid, I hope you have a lot of USABLE equipment (i.e. GOOD stuff in the first 80 items)... Small UFOs usually scout ahead of the large UFOs that will actually raid your base. If you can destroy the scout before it detects your base, you can prevent the base attack. In V1.0 of UFO (not XCOM and not later versions of UFO), you can gain hundreds to thousands of units of Elerium if you win a defend base action. Clean out old inventory! Old inventory will prevent you from getting to the GOOD weapons since you are still limited to 80 items during base defense, and base have lots of stuff... The 80 items are pulled from inventory in the order on the SELL screen, top to bottom in order. So if you have lots of lasers you'll never got to plasmas and blaster bombs. If you really ran out of space and do not want to conduct a fire sale, stuff the extras into the transports, though selling them is much easier and gains you money. Proximity grenades are vital in base defenses. Dump a few near entrances and doors, and get ready for the alien death screams. 3.7 Base modules Name DaysBuild Cost Maint Usage Access Lift 1 300k 4k (Entrance to underground base) Alien Containment 18 500k 15k (Holds 10[!?] live aliens) Fusion Defense 36 1800k 14k (Def value 1200, Accuracy 80%) General Stores 10 150k 5k (Holds 50 units of equipment) Grav Shield 38 2300k 15k (Gives defenses an extra shot) Hanger 25 200k 25k (Maintains 1 craft) Hyperwave Decoder 26 2000k 30k (Evaluate UFO missions) Laboratory 26 750k 30k (Allows 50 research) Large Radar 25 800k 15k (450nm range, 5% detect/10mins) Laser Defense 24 900k 10k (Def value 600, Accuracy 60%) Living Quarters 16 400k 10k (Sleeps 50) Mind Shield 33 1300k 5k (Minimizes aliens finding base) Missile Defense 16 200k 5k (Def value 500, Accuracy 50%) Small Radar 12 500k 10k (300nm range, 5% detect/10mins) Plasma Defense 36 1200k 12k (Def value 900, Accuracy 70%) Psi Lab 24 750k 16k (For troop psi training) Workshop 32 800k 35k (Allows 50 manufacture) Fusion Defense, Grav Shield, Hyperwave Decoder, Laser Defense, Mind Shield, Plasma Defense, and Psi Lab require respective advances to be researched before they can be built, see 6.X for more information. NOTE 1: In a workshop, the object being manufactured takes up some space. So you will not be able to cram all 50 engineers in there. NOTE 2: You can dismantle a facility, even when it is under construction. Simply click on the facility, and the program will ask you do you wish to dismantle it, select OK or Cancel. NOTE 3: To dismantle a base, you must remove all facilities (transferring all people and equipment elsewhere if needed) then finally remove the access lift itself. NOTE 4: What the manual does NOT tell you is Hyperwave Decoder detects 100% of the UFOs within its range, and it has a range LONGER than Large Radar. Once you have this, you don't need any radars. 3.8 Base startup costs, compiled by IrwinNY aol.com base location lift cost Covers ---------------------------------------- Africa, South 550,000 South Africa Africa, North 650,000 Nigeria, Egypt Atlantic, North 500,000 (Really Greenland) America, North 800,000 USA, Canada America, South 600,000 Brazil Antartica 900,000 Arctic 950,000 Asia, Central 500,000 Western China Asia, South East 750,000 Japan, Eastern China Australasia 750,000 Australia Europe 1,000,000 Eastern Commonwealth, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain Pacific 600,000 (really Hawaiian islands) Siberia 800,000 Western Commonwealth, India 4.0 X-COM Hardware Here's the comprehensive list of all the toys you get to play with. Of course, most of them requires research. 4.1 XCOM Crafts and their weapons XCOM crafts comes in two flavors: traditional, and UFO-based. traditional, besides using conventional jet engines, also requires MONTHLY RENT, so replace them with UFO-based crafts as soon as possible. XCOM weapons also comes in two flavors: built vs bought. 4.1.1 XCOM Crafts Speed Accel Fuel Weapons Hull Cargo HWPs Note Skyranger 760 2 2000 0 150 14 3 Interceptor 2100 3 1000 2 100 0 0 ----Research required---- Firestorm 4200 9 20(E) 4 2 500 0 0 (1) Lightning 3100 8 30(E) 6 1 800 12 0 (2) Avenger 5400 10 60(E)12 2 1200 26 4 (3) (E) Uses elerium-115 for fuel (1) new fighter (2) new fighter/transport (3) ultimate craft Speed : maximum speed of craft, determines if it can keep up with UFO during interception. Accel : maximum acceleration of craft, determines whether UFO will stay in range Fuel : amount of fuel carried, endurance terms Weapons : number of weapon pod mounts available Hull : amount of damage the craft can take Cargo : number of "spaces" craft can carry. Each soldier is one space and each HWP is four spaces (see HWPs also) HWPs : maximum number of HWP this craft can carry. Note : for the Elerium fueled crafts, you need to divide by 5 for the actual units used. Avenger takes actually 12 units of E-115 for refuel, instead of 60 as written 4.1.2 Craft General Advice Replace Skyrangers and Interceptors ASAP to save on monthly lease. OTH, Interceptors have longer range than Firestorms, and with twin plasma cannon, can attack anything except battleships. Lightning is almost useless and usually do not get built by most players. Just forget it and research for Avenger. Lightning has four ONE-space doors which means it cannot carry any HWPs. Do NOT use Avengers exclusively since you put too many eggs (soldiers and equipment) in one basket. 4.1.3 Craft Weapons Damage Range Accuracy Reload Shots Cannon 10 10 10% 2s 200 Stingray 70 30 70% 15s 6 Avalanche 100 60 100% 20s 3 ----Research required---- Laser Cannon 70 21 70% 4s 99 Plasma Beam 140 52 140% 6s 99 Fusion Launcher 230 65 230% 25s 2 Damage : damage done to target if hit Range : max range of weapon Accuracy : hit probability when fired Reload : second needed to fire next shot Shots : number of shots available NOTE 1: Match the weapon to the target. You want to force the alien to land so you can board it and recover artifacts and prisoners, not blow it into smithereens (though it might make you feel good) NOTE 2: The long range weapons, like Avalanche, Plasma Beam, and Fusion Ball Launcher, gives you advantage since UFO usually do not fire back until you are quite close. See 7.5 for UFO weapon ranges. NOTE 3: It is possible to miss with weapons that have accuracy > 100%, esp. when target moves out of range. 4.1.4 Craft Weapons General Advice You don't want Stingray missiles and cannons. They can handle only very small or small UFOs. Only keep them around on ONE fighter in case you want to go after small stuff. Use Avalanche missiles in the early game to take on medium or large UFOs. With two to three interceptors you can take down terror ships or supply ships easily. Switch to plasma cannons later in the game and forget fusion ball launchers (not enough damage overall, only 2 shots each) Forget laser cannons except for selling (see section 5) 4.2 XCOM Ground Weapons Ground weapons accuracy is further modified by free hands, kneeling /standing, and soldier's shooting accuracy. Time Units used is always expressed as a percent of a soldier's total TU. Also see 8.6.X on battle notes for each type of weapon. (Accuracy / TU% needed) Aimed Snap Auto Dam Type Ammo (Capacity) Pistol 78/30 60/18 26 AP Pistol Clip (15) Rifle 110/80 60/25 35/35 30 AP Rifle Clip (20) Heavy Cannon 90/80 60/33 56 AP HC-AP (6) 52 HE HC-HE (6) 60 I HC-I (6) Auto Cannon 82/80 56/33 32/40 42 AP AC-AP (14) 44 HE AC-HE (14) 48 I AC-I (14) Rocket Launcher 115/75 55/45 75 HE Small Rocket 100 HE Large Rocket 90 I Incendiary Rocket Grenade 50 HE Smoke Grenade 60 Smoke Proximity Grenade 70 HE High Explosive 110 HE --Research required--- Laser Pistol 68/55 40/20 28/25 46 Las Laser Rifle 100/50 65/25 46/34 60 Las Heavy Laser 84/75 50/33 85 Las Plasma Pistol 85/60 65/30 50/30 52 Plas PP clip (25) Plasma Rifle 100/60 86/30 55/63 80 Plas PR clip (30) Heavy Plasma 110/60 75/30 50/35 115 Plas HP clip (35) Blaster Launcher 120/80 200 HE Blaster Bomb Small Launcher 110/75 65/40 90 Stun Stun Bomb Alien Grenade 90 HE AP = Armor piercing HE = High Explosive I = Incendiary Note 1 : Accuracy for two-handed weapons is decreased 20% if other hand is not empty (i.e. holding something like grenade, psi amp, etc.) Note 2 : Accuracy is increased 10% if the soldier is kneeling, which takes only 4 TUs Note 3 : Grenades and Blaster Bomb have 3-D explosions (despite what many people claimed) General Advice: Get laser pistol and rifle ASAP, then research heavy plasma, skipping plasma pistol and plasma rifle (go back later when you have time), then blaster launcher. Forget heavy cannon and heavy laser as they are not worth the weight without auto (three-round-burst) mode. Autocannon would be your "heavy" weapon early on, along with a rocket launcher. Replace them with laser/heavy plasma and blaster launcher. 4.3 HWP Types Cost Shots Dam TU ArmorF/S/R Health Tank/Cannon 450K 30 60 70 90/ 75/ 60 90 Tank/Rocket 480K 8 85 70 90/ 75/ 60 90 --Must research-- Tank/Laser 500K 255 110 70 90/ 75/ 60 90 Hover/Plasma 850K 255 110 100 130/130/100 90 Hover/Launcher 900K 8 140 100 130/130/100 90 General advice: HWPs should be your scouts, extending your visual range and keeps your soldiers out of enemy's visual (and lethal) range Get the latest and greatest ASAP, buy/built them. You need the extra TUs and ammo the provide early in the game. When you have lots of veterans HWPs lose their importance, but is still important as just a scout. You must buy enough ammo for HWP that requires them for them to be available for deployment. Tank cannon, Tank/Rocket, and Hover/launcher each require their own ammo in the quantity indicated under "Shots". Make sure you get the right ones. 4.4 Armor Fr/Sd/Rr/Bt None 5/ 5/ 5/ 5 --Must research-- Personal Armor 50/40/30/30 Power Suit 100/80/70/60 Flying Suit 110/90/80/70 General Advice: personal armor just need "alien alloy", so research that ASAP. That will improve your chance of survival by quite a bit. After that, research UFO power source and you should get Power Suit, and finishing a hovertank should get your flying suit. Power suit is the most "efficient" amor. Flying suit requires a lot of elerium, so reserve them for scouts and officers. 4.5 Equipment Equipment are non-combat items that you may need to use in BattleScape. 4.5.1 Equipment list TUs Usage Electroflare 25% Use at night for illumination, reusable --Must research-- Medikit 10 heal fatal wounds, raise morale, revive unconscious people (see UFOpedia) MotionScanner 25% registers movement within 8 squares radius Mind Probe 50% allows you to see alien's status screen (ID, TUs remain, health, + other stats) 4.5.2 Very General Advice Carry one electroflare and one medikit on each soldier. You need the light at night (just in case) and the medikit means no more bleeding to death. Medikits are not quite as useful when you don't have good armor, because even a weak hit becomes a kill with bad armor. Before then you can distribute less medikits. You can pick up a thrown electroflare and throw it again. So you don't need to carry too many of those around. Mind Probe and Motion Scanner are optional items. Motion Scanner are useful to look behind doors or for hunting down that last alien. Mind Probe is for knowing who to capture. Take them if you have room, but they are not essential to a ground battle. 4.5.3 How do I use... Check your UFOpedia. Below are some additional tips: Electroflare You can pick up an electroflare on the ground and throw it out again, illuminating another area Chuck one inside the building through a window to see inside. You may have to kneel to angle one in. Medikit Heal fatal wounds first, worry about unconscious and morale later. If necesary, use TWO people's medikits. To revive a person, keep administering stimulant until s/he no longer shows up on the ground in the inventory screen. Should appear next turn at an adjacent square. Motion Scanner Remember the top of display is always north (like the overhead map) and YOUR facing is the middle arrow. Use this to look around corners and behind doors. Aliens hardly ever stay still between rounds. Mind Probe Usually you would use this to ID a target for capture but here's a trick that you can use if you do NOT have one: try to pick up the unconscious alien on the ground will also identify alien's rank and position. 4.6 Stuff that can be bought, hire, or leased These are the stuff you can buy, usually not very interesting. Item Category Cost Note --------------------------------------------------------- Soldier Personnel 40000 monthly salary Scientist Personnel 60000 monthly salary Engineer Personnel 50000 monthly salary Skyranger Craft 500000 monthly lease Interceptor Craft 600000 monthly lease Stingray l'cher Craft Weapon 16000 6 rounds Stingray missile Craft Ammo 3000 Avalanche l'cher Craft Weapon 17000 3 rounds Avalanche missile Craft Ammo 9000 Cannon Craft Weapon 30000 Cannon Ammo (x50) Craft Ammo 1240 Tank/Cannon HWP 420000 30 rounds HWP Cannon Ammo HWP Ammo 200 Tank/Rocket HWP 480000 8 rounds HWP Rocket HWP Ammo 3000 Pistol Weapon 800 20 rd/clip Pistol Clip Ammo 70 Rifle Weapon 3000 25 rd/clip Rifle Clip Ammo 200 Heavy Cannon Weapon 6400 6 rd/clip HC-AP Ammo 300 HC-HE Ammo 500 HC-I Ammo 400 Auto Cannon Weapon 13500 14 rd/clip AC-AP Ammo 500 AC-HE Ammo 700 AC-I Ammo 650 Rocket Launcher Weapon 4000 Small Rocket Ammo 600 Large Rocket Ammo 900 Incendiary Rocket Ammo 1200 Grenade Weapon 300 Smoke Grenade Weapon 150 Proximity Grenade Weapon 500 High Explosive Weapon 1500 Stun Rod Weapon 1260 ElectroFlare Equipment 60 4.7 Stuff that must be researched and manufacturered See 5.4 for profitability study of these items. Keep in mind that UFO have a different set of prices. Engineer Workshop Alien Sale Hours Cost Space Elerium Alloys Price [Equipment] Motion scanner 220 34k 4 - - 45600 Medikit 420 28k 4 - - 46500 Mind probe 1200 262k 4 1 - 334000 Psi amp 500 160k 4 1 - 194700 [Armor] Personal armor 800 22k 12 - 4 140000 Power suit 1000 42k 16 5 5 310000 Flying suit 1400 58k 16 16 5 420000 [HWP] Tank/laser 1200 500k 25 - - ? Hovertank/plasma 1200 850k 30 30 5 980000 Hovertank/launcher 1400 900k 30 25 8 1043000 HWP fusion bomb 400 15k 25 5 8 31500 [weapons] Laser pistol 300 8k 2 - - 20000 Laser rifle 400 20k 3 - - 36900 Heavy laser 700 32k 4 - - 61000 Plasma pistol 600 56k 3 - 1 84000 Plasma pistol clip 60 2k 4 1 - 4440 Plasma rifle 820 88k 4 - 1 126500 Plasma rifle clip 80 3k 4 2 - 6290 Heavy plasma 1000 122k 4 - 1 171600 Heavy plasma clip 80 6k 4 3 - 9590 Blaster launcher 1200 90k 5 - 1 144000 Blaster bomb 220 8k 3 3 - 17028 Small launcher 900 78k 3 - 1 120000 Stun bomb 200 7k 2 1 - 15200 Alien grenade 200 6.7k 2 2 - 14850 [Crafts] FIRESTORM 14000 400k 30 - 65 -* LIGHTNING 18000 600k 34 - 85 -* AVENGER 34000 900k 36 - 120 -** [Craft Weapons] Laser cannon 300 182k 6 - - 211000 Plasma beam 500 226k 8 15 - 267300 Fusion ball launcher 400 242k 6 - - 281100 Fusion ball 600 28k 6 4 - 53300 [Misc] Alien alloys 100 3k 10 - - 6500 Elerium-115 - - - - - 5000*** UFO power source 1400 130k 22 16 5 250000 UFO navigation 1600 150k 18 - 3 80000 * needs 1 UFO power source + 1 UFO navigation ** needs 2 UFO power sources + 1 UFO navigation *** Elerium can ONLY be captured as parts of UFO or base, which makes it extremely valuable, so NEVER sell or waste any of it 5.0 Finance 5.1 What really eats up money at XCOM? The answer is: maintenence, and salary. If you have 100 scientists, their monthly salary is $6 million (!). Add that to your bases (the BARE MINIMUM radar base costs over $1 million a month to maintain!), and you will go broke pretty quick. Sponsors' money will barely make a dent in your expenses, as they only pay you a few million, probably not even enough for base maintainence. 5.2 How do I earn more money? Three (real) ways to make money in XCOM: Make your sponsoring countries happy -- so they will increase their payments. The problem is: they don't pay much to start with, and their increase is just enough to sneeze at. Their payments may be enough to buy some ammo and stuff, but don't expect much of an increase. Manufacture arms for sale -- 5.4 shows you what to make to really make money, but usually you need the weapons and other stuff for yourself, so that leaves us to: Sell captured/surplus equipment -- most of your money will be made this way. Dump off all your obsolete equipment (pistols, rifles, etc) and surplus and you will get LOTS of money. You will usually end with with plenty of surplus heavy plasma, and those fetch very good prices on the market. :-) Doing this also means you need less storage space (and less maintainence) and more "real" weapons on base defense (due to the 80 item limit) Keep only one item of each type for research, sell the rest. You need the money and the space for more useful stuff. As a last resort, you can always cheat. See the last section for how. 5.3 How do I cut expenses? * Cut Maintenence -- dismantle any unused facility (see 5.6) * Build your own crafts -- Skyrangers and Interceptors have a monthly rental fee, your own crafts do not. Of course, this means you have to research UFO construction and things. * Minimize salary -- use the salary transfer trick! (see 5.5) 5.4 What do I manufacture to make more money on the arms market? X-COM Profitability study -- by Jeff Shaffer [edited] Recently, we at the XCOM Business Institute (our motto: "If it's worth doing, it's worth analyzing to death") spent all last night to bring you the following table. The basic assumption is that you are willing to support engineers long-term in order to make a profit. I calculated results for a hypothetical 2 workshop operation. You would get slightly better results with larger facilities, due to the economy of scale. [some numbers are rounded to the nearest 1000 (K) for space] Work Eng Raw Sale Unit|Monthly|Net Item Space Hrs Material Cost Price P R O F I T ----------------------------------------------------------------- Motion Scanner 4 220 - 34K 45K 11K 3765K 1275K Medikit 4 420 - 28K 46K 18K 3146K 656K Psi Amp 4 500 1E 160K 194K 29K 4242K 1752K Personal Armor 12 800 4A 22K 54K 6K 491K - Power Suit 16 1000 5E+5A 42K 85K - - - Flying Suit 16 1400 16E+5A 58K 115K - - - Alien Alloys 10 100 - 3K 6K 3K 2343K 3K Elerium 115 - - - - 5K - - - Laser Pistol 2 300 - 8K 20K 12K 2916K 376K Laser Rifle 3 400 - 2K0 36K 16K 3049K 534K Heavy Laser 4 700 - 32K 61K 29K 2958K 468K Plasma Pistol 3 600 1A 56K 84K 21K 2586K 71K Plasma Pistol Clip 4 60 1E 2K 4K - - - Plasma Rifle 4 820 1A 88K 126K 32K 2787K 297K Plasma Rifle Clip 4 80 2E 3K 6K - - - Heavy Plasma 4 1000 1A 122K 171K 43K 3078K 588K Heavy Plasma Clip 4 80 3E 6K 9K - - - Blaster Launcher 5 1200 1A 9K0 144K 47K 2797K 332K Blaster Bomb 3 220 3E 8K 17K - - - Small Launcher 3 900 1A 78K 120K 35K 2846K 331K Stun Bomb 2 200 1E 7K 15K 3K 1166K - Alien Grenade 2 200 2E 6K 14K - - - Mind Probe 4 1200 1E 262K 304K 37K 2202K - UFO Power Source 22 1400 16E+5A 130K 250K 7K 310K - UFO Navigation 18 1600 3A 150K 80K - - - Fusion Ball L'cher 6 400 1A 242K 281K 39K 6836K 4396K Fusion Ball 6 600 4E 28K 53K 5K 617K - Laser Cannon 6 300 - 182K 211K 29K 6760K 4320K Plasma Beam 8 500 15E 226K 267K - - - Tank/Laser Cannon 25 1200 - 500K 594K 94K 4371K 2406K Hovertank/Plasma 30 1200 30E+5A 850K 980K - - - Hovertank/Launcher30 1400 25E+8A 900K 1043K - - - HWP Fusion Bomb 25 400 5E+8A 15K 31K - - - First six columns are just basic information from my version of XCOM. (Note: I have seen posts stating that UFO has higher sale prices for some items, notably armor!) The 'Unit Profit' column is sale price minus cost, minus the cost of any E-115/Alloy used in manufacture. A '-' means a net loss, no further analysis. 'Monthly Profit' column is based on an "XCOM Month" of 24*31 = 744 hours. The calculation is number of engineers that fit in two workshops times 744 times unit profit, divided by the hours required to make one item. For example, the monthly profit for Motion Scanners is 96*744*11600/220 = 1275993 (1275K). The 'Net Profit' column is the bottom line. Monthly expenses are the salaries of as many engineers as fit in the workshops times $50K, plus the maintenance on 2 workshops and 2 living quarters. As you can see, Fusion Ball Launchers are the winner, narrowly edging out Laser Cannons. A profit can be made early in the game on motion scanners, however. One final note: It costs roughly $7M to hire engineers and build the facilities, so you'll need to 'borrow' some money (preferably from alien supply ships :) to get started. [Editor's note: don't forget the "transfer salary trick" below] 5.5 The "Transfer Salary Savings" trick As explained on page 131 of OSG, if you sack scientists and/or engineers before the end of the month, you don't have to pay their salaries. However, there's ANOTHER way to do this. Have two bases approximately equivalent to each other, like both research (or manufacturing), about same living quarters, and scientists (or engineers). Just before end of the month (last day, last hour), transfer ALL of the scientists (engineers) to the other base, and do the same on the other base (i.e. they swap their contingent). When the end of month comes along, NEITHER side has their scientists (engineers) (they are in transit), no salary is paid. If you have like 100 scientists moving each way, you save $60,000x100x2 = $12 million! 5.6 When do I dismantle unused base facilities? The OSG was rather unclear on what to dismantle. Basically, you should do the following: * When you get hyperwave decoder, build only one at each base, and dismantle all the radars there. One hyperwave decoder detect 100% of UFOs within range, so no radars are needed. * When you no longer need alien prisoners (i.e. you are ready to undertake the "final mission"), zap the alien containment (though by that time, it doesn't matter any more, unless you are waiting for your Avenger to be built) * When you no longer need more research or manufacturing (i.e. you are ready for the "final mission"), lay off all the scientists and/or engineers, and zap their living quarters and working modules. 5.7 Aliens signed pact with XXX who stopped paying me! Nothing you can do. One of the Infiltration UFOs got through. (See 9.8 UFO Missions) and now the country stopped paying you. Consensus on the net is you can NOT get them back (i.e. nullify the pact). The OSG confirms so. On the other hand, some UFO players have reported that certain countries (very few though) have returned. Any XCOM players have their countries coming back from an alien pact? 6.0 Research and Manufacturing 6.1 What should I start researching first? OSG and I have different priorities on research... I recommend laser weapons, medikit, laser rifle, and alien alloy (which allows personal armor) for the starting projects. Pistols and rifles are pitiful against plasma rifles and alien grenades. Laser rifles, which does not use ammo, should even up the odds a bit, and personal armor should save you from a grazing shot (which would have killed with no armor). Medikit will save you from the grazing shot that caused fatal wounds. The rest is up to you, but I recommend researching heavy plasma, small launcher and stun bombs, then heavy blaster and blaster bombs. Then research Elerium, UFO power source, so you can build nice armor. 6.2 Overall strategy Keep roughly 100 scientists in your employment. You need that much research to discover things in reasonable time, though you can probably get by with 50-75. Due to the way research works, concentrate on one project at a time so you can start on later topics faster. Research prisoners ASAP. See 9.3 for benefits you can gain from each type of prisoners. Grab a navigator would mean that you can reap significant saving in radars (after you get the hyperwave decoder, of course) and better interception. 6.3 Research Tree [OSG has chart on man-hours needed for each discovery] Laser Weapons Heavy Heavy Plasma Plasma | Plasma Plasma Clip Rifle Rifle Clip Laser Pistol |___________| |__________| | | | Laser Rifle | | | |__________OR___________| Heavy Laser | | | Laser Cannon Plasma Cannon (Laser Tank) (Hovertank/Plasma)* | | Laser Defense Plasma Defense Alien Alloys Blaster Blaster | Launcher Bomb Elerium 115 Personal Armor UFO Power Source |___________| |_____________|_________________| | | Fusion Ball | (Hovertank/Launcher)** Power Suit UFO Navigation | |_________________| Fusion Defense | Flying Suit Alien Elerium UFO UFO Alloys 115 Power Source Navigation |___________|___________|______________| | UFO Construction | | New Fighter Craft (Firestorm) * = [Hovertank / Plasma] | New Fighter-Transporter (Lightning) __________|____________ | | Grav Ultimate Craft Shield (Avenger) * Need "New Fighter Craft" before you can build the plasma hovertank. ** Need fusion ball launcher before you can build the fusion ball hovertank. 6.4 Any hints on manufacturing? Only manufacture thing that you REALLY need, like crafts, etc. almost NEVER manufacture ammo since most require Elerium, which is always in short supply. Captured ammo is much cheaper and don't use your precious E-115 supply. NEVER let any engineers go idle. If you don't need anything built, build something that makes money. 7.0 Intercepting UFOs Don't forget to check section 4 for info on XCOM crafts. Some of these hints and related hints are also listed in Section 2. Also see 12.2 for UFO recognition chart (and floorplan) 7.1 Tracking UFOs Remember that UFOs have specific targets and they do NOT change missions in mid-air ("Chicago's covered, let's go for Havana instead"). They also head STRAIGHT for their targets on the inbound leg. So if you see an UFO and lost tracking, try to extrapolate its course and send interceptors to their estimated NEXT location instead of going toward the last known location. [Interestingly, they sometimes abort their mission (just leave), esp. in cases where they can't find your base to attack.] If you have hyperwave decoder, you can see UFO destination directly as it comes into range. 7.2 Air-to-air attack methods Once you got a craft in range of the UFO, it's time to attack. While the OSG explained what the different attacks REALLY mean, it STILL doesn't explain what good is each for. Here's my version... Cautious Attack: causes least damage per attack but remains at the longest range and therefore has the least chance of getting counter-attacked. Useful when you want a not too badly damaged UFO (just enough to crash it). Normal Attack: average damage per attack, enough for most attacks if your weapon outranges the UFOs. Aggressive Attack: close to point-blank and let them have it in the face! Causes the most damage per attack, but exposes craft to counter-fire. Good for brave/suicidal charges (toward an alien battleship, for instance) 7.3 Weapons OSG has a typo: Table 7-2, Fusion Ball Launcher holds TWO, not three shots as stated. Section 4.1 is correct. In case you haven't noticed, Plasma Beam is the BEST craft weapon in the game. It has 100 shots, 70 damage per shot, AND range of 52 km, which outdistances almost all UFOs except battleships. Even though Fusion Ball Launcher causes more damage per shot, you only get two shots for each launcher. In any case, try to replace Stingrays and regular cannons ASAP, since they are worthless once you see large UFOs. 7.4 Special note on Alien Battleship Battleship is THE most dangerous UFO, period. It outranges ALL XCOM craft weapons. Only Firestorms and Avengers can stand up to it, NEVER use Interceptors (or you WILL lose them). ALWAYS attack Battleships in groups to minimize damage and the resultant repair time, and use aggressive attack, since you don't want the UFO to fire back that often. I've found that aggresive attack reduces damage against Battleships. 7.5 UFO Size Classes and weapons range If you read table 7-3 in OSG or the UFOpedia, the Weapon Range of the UFO is a rather large number (ex. Battleship = 520). That number means nothing by itself. To get a more meaningful number, divide that by 8 for the range in kilometers. (EX. Battleship is 520/8=65 km). That forms the revised weapons range table below. Revised range table: UFO TYPE Weapon Range (km) Small Scout 0 Medium Scout 15 Large Scout 34 Harvester 22 Abductor 20 Terror Ship 42 Battleship 65 Supply Ship 28.5 Plasma beam, with 52 km range, can attack any UFO except battleship with impunity. UFO Battleship, with range of 65 km, can shoot back at even crafts armed with Fusion Ball Launchers (which also has a 65 km range). 7.6 Methods of Attack The safest way to hit large or very large UFOs is to have multiple Firestorms and/or Avengers to converge on them. UFOs are dumb and does not concentrate on one target, so the more targets you present, the less damage each will receive. Of course, if you send up Interceptors against Battleships, don't expect many to come back, since Battleships can destroy an Interceptor with ONE shot. Plasma beams will make your Interceptors useful again, so get them ASAP. Replace them with Firestorms ASAP though to save on monthly "rent". 7.7 Go Home Early When you send multiple crafts after one UFO and the UFO gets shot down, the shooter will go home, but other crafts will continue onto the crash site and THEN return. Instead, click on them and turn them back early (Return to base). They will return earlier, thus be refueled and rearmed faster for the next mission. 7.8 Keep Landed UFOs covered Even if UFO has landed, keep an interceptor on top of it until your landing craft arrives for the action. That way, if the UFO takes off, you still have a chance to shoot it down. 7.9 Weapon vs UFO analysis Before attacking, click on the VIEW UFO button to take a look at your target before deciding whether to attack or not. Attacking with wrong weapons means either the loss of the interceptor or the UFO totally destroyed so that nothing can be recovered. For this reason, if you WANT to go after the smaller UFOs, keep a fighter around with "wimpy" weapons. 7.9.1 Very Small / Small UFOs Interceptors with Stingray missiles and cannons can only handle very small or small sized UFOs. Attacking larger UFOs means heavy damage or even destruction. Laser cannons are not much better, sharing the short range flaw. 7.9.2 Medium UFOs Interceptors with Avalanche missiles or plasma beams can handle medium UFOs easily. On the other hand, one Avalanche will blow a very small UFO into pieces. 7.9.3 Large UFOs Interceptors with Plasma beam and/or Avalanche missiles can handle large UFOs, but not VERY large UFOs. Plasma beam may blow small UFO into pieces. 7.9.4 Very Large UFOs Multiple Interceptors with plasma beam and/or Avalanche are needed to attack very large UFOs, and you'll probably lose a few, since one shot from battleship will at least cripple an interceptor. Just don't do it. The only way to "safely" attack alien battleships is to use Firestorms and Avengers (the more the better!) with twin plasma beams. Even then you will probably be heavily damaged (as in 20% to 60% damage), which is not a good trade. Many have suggested that you should let them land and attack them on the ground. 8.0 Soldiers, Movement, and Combat 8.1 Soldiers 8.1.1 Soldier Statistics We recommend that instead of using the default names, you adopt a naming system for your soldiers that will help you to know at a glance who to take on a mission. System One reflects a trained specialty, such as scout (SC), heavy weapons (HW), demolitions (DM), psi combat (PS), sharpshooter (SS), etc. For example, "Steve Rogers HW/PS" has lots of strength and nice time units for carrying the heavy weapons (and shooting them). His PsiStr and PsiSkl is also pretty high so he also carries a PsiAmp for psi combat. Here's some suggested specialties Scout (SC) -- carry motion sensor Medic (MD) -- carry Medi-Kit Intelligence (IT) -- carry mind probe Heavy Weapons (HW) -- carry "heavy" stuff PsiCorp (PSI) -- carry psi amp for psi attacks * * PsiCorp is named after the organization in Babylon 5 You can also cross-train, of course. There's no limit in the number of spots each person can hold... And real-life SEAL teams are all cross-trained any way. System Two just places the numbers in the name. For example, "Steve 64/44/36/71/46/62/16", for which the numbers are Time Units, Health, Reactions, Firing Accuracy, Strenth, Psi Strength, and Psi Skill. You'll probably need to update after this every mission. (contributed by Seth Cohn) To change the name, go to the soldiers screen (the one base display) that displays their stats. Click on their name, and a cursor comes up, allowing you to change them. 8.1.2 Recruiting soldiers Sack weaklings ASAP. You want high strength, reaction, morale, and shooting accuracy, and when you get psi, psi strength. So recruit lots of rookies, use them for scouts (they are cheap when compared to HWPs). If they survive, keep them, else, oh, well, they've done the world a great service. :-) Why those traits? High strength means they can carry more (and heavier) stuff. High reaction means they can get opportunity fire (reaction shots) while enemy is moving. High Morale means they are less susceptible to panic, and shooting accuracy is obvious. :-) Other characteristics are not as important. Soldiers only get promoted if there are enough of them to warrant a promotion. So hire a lot of rookies, send them out to missions. The ones that survive are squaddies, and when you have enough squaddies, you have officers. Feel free to sack the bad squaddies later to save on salary. 8.1.3 How do I improve stats of soldiers? Try to always take a couple of rookies along to give them experience to boost their stats. In XCOM, you learn by doing. You want more strength? Carry heavy stuff. More accuracy? Take more shots. Soldiers with kills gain more than those without kills. 8.1.4 Dividing up specialties Assuming 10 soldiers and 1 HWP (normal for a Skyranger) you should have the following: 1 scout 2 soldiers heavy weapon squad 3 soldiers squad A 3 soldiers squad B 1 officer 1 HWP The two highest strength soldiers should be the heavy weapon folks, who would be carrying autocannon and rocket launcher in the early game, and blaster launchers later. The scout should have the highest TU (low strength is okay) and will be carrying pistols and grenades and maybe stun weapons. The two squads can go after different targets, one squad lead by officer and supported by HWP, while the other squad supported by scout and heavy weapons. 8.1.5 How do I get more officers? Officers come from Squaddies, and squaddies come from Rookies who survived a mission and gotten at least one kill. Section 3.2.4 Promtions of manual explains how many soldiers you need for officers to show up. 8.2 Movement 8.2.1 Deployment from Transport into Battle The OSG fails to mention that you CAN see the outside through the Windows in your transport. If the last soldier turn around in the Skyranger or Avenger, you can see A LOT beyond the cockpit. Of course, since you are on Level 1, (Level 0 = ground) you can't see things that are right next to you on ground. After that, send out a HWP just on the ramp, turn to face right. If there's no enemy, turn to face left, and you've just cleared the surrounding area. If there is enemy, get off the ramp and start shooting. Prime a grenade for most soldiers and be ready to throw it as you get off the ramp. Move the initial soldiers a few squares away before deploying the next two so you don't invite grenades and/or blaster bomb. 8.2.2 Use the terrain! You can use the terrain in other ways than just hiding behind something. Use secondary explosions to your advantage! If alien is standing next to volatile object like fuel drums, gas pumps, those red things in UFOs or bases, etc, blow THAT up (DOOM players love doing this). Aliens DO shoot through each other, so if you have NOWHERE to hide, hide BEHIND an alien and pray. (It was reported that one alien shot itself when attempting to shoot down the gravlift) Kneel whenever possible. It increases your accuracy and decreases the enemy's (make you a smaller target) Always hide behind something; it could mean the difference between a wound vs. death! Of course, that also means that you have to have enough TUs If you have flying suit, do not stay in mid-air unless you have something to hide behind also. 8.2.3 Alien Movement and visual range Do the aliens have better night vision? Answer: They do NOT. Why they can shoot at you but you don't see them? Answer: depending on difficulty level, they "remember" where you are from previous turns for several turns (on higher levels they remember longer). They can ONLY shoot at you IF they had seen you before and still "remembered". Aliens capitalize on this by moving forward, spot you, then move back out of range. Then for next X turns those aliens in range shoot at you out of your visual range. visible range A-----|-->A | | YOU A<-|---+ This is why soldiers may get mind-blasted even if no aliens are in sight. 8.2.4 Listen and watch Watch carefully in alien movement phase. Sometimes you CAN spot them moving around. TRY to remember the surrounding terrain, then go to overhead map and see if you can spot where that was. Watch carefully where the shots came from. Sound can give you important clues to alien locations. If you hear door sounds, you know alien moved in/out of a door. Different door makes different sounds. Aliens also have no manners. They leave doors open after they go through. Watch farm houses carefully. The length of the alien movement phase is proportional to the number of hostile aliens left on the map. Just keep in mind that stunned aliens can wake up. 8.2.5 Spread out and cover each other Bunch up invites enemy attack you with grenades, or worse, blasterbombs. Stay about four to eight squares apart. Aliens DO attack from behind sometimes, so try to have two troopers who can watch each other's back. This is ESPECIALLY important when going up against Chryssalids, who moves extremely fast [~120 TUs!] It will turn your soldiers into zombies in a blink of an eye... One player reported losing the entire squad to a single Chryssalid on a terror mission! It pays to watch each other's back! Here's a simple demonstration with a four person fire team: A A C C ===>> B B D D A and B moves forward, leapfrogging C and D. C and D would look forward when A and B move, ready to shoot at any spotted enemies. When A and B has stopped, C and D would turn around and watch the backs of A and B, who would also turn facing outwards. 8.2.6 Retreat (Tactical withdrawal) Sometimes you can't win and it's time to cut your losses. To retreat from a landing assault (UFO recovery or assault, terror site), move any many units as you can back into the transport, then hit the dust-off button. Any units left behind are "missing in action". If the only solider onboard the transport is unconscious and you select dust-off, s/he's also missing in action, and you lose the transport. To retreat an attack on an alien base, you must pull every one that you can back into one of those green-floor rooms that you came down in. Soldiers on gravlifts (even if they are in the green-floor room) as well as soldiers elsewhere are MIA when you select dust-off. To retreat from a base defense mission, just hit dust-off. You will lose the whole base to the aliens, of course, including the crafts (no home elsewhere for them) 8.3 General Combat Tactics 8.3.1 HWP usage HWPs should be used for "beating the bush" and flush aliens out for soldiers to shoot. That makes rocket launcher tank and fusion ball launcher hovertank more useful than their cousins. Hovertank is even more useful since it can go high and thus cover more ground. They can also hover in mid-air and thus avoid hand-to-hand attacks. Use their shots to take down walls of orchards, barns, and stuff like that so you don't have to go inside and clean up every room. 8.3.2 Grenade usage Grenades should be used for temporary boost in firepower and for clearing obstacles in view. Blow a hole in the walls instead of going through the door. Rookies can be effective grenadiers since grenades are area weapons and grenades don't miss by very far. High Explosive is just a very heavy grenade, and you will have problems tossing it. Toss it a short distance or drop it on ground, then RUN away from the area. They are great opening up houses and barns, and may be able to punch through inner (maybe outer?) UFO walls. Proximity grenades are great for traps. Use them to prevent aliens coming up behind you, and/or pin aliens (toss one on either side of it and it can't move without setting one off) Just remember where you threw them (check the map) and don't walk near them yourself. You can toss grenades to upper levels and through windows, though you may have to kneel down to do it. 8.3.3 Blaster bombs usage Blaster bomb and launcher is the second best weapon in the game (the best is heavy plasma). It can shoot around corners, has wonderful damage (200 points!) and is very effective. Of course, it is also EXPENSIVE, and so is its ammo. So, use them carefully (don't save them either). Use them to take down cover is a waste, use grenades instead (unless you got bombs to waste) Remember that blaster bomb do NOT explode when they reach their last waypoint. They explode when they actually HIT something. If you just fly a BB into an empty field, it will NOT explode. Blaster bombs is great for UFO attacks. Use them to punch holes in the UFO's outer hull for a new door. Target square next to main door to enlarge door for HWPs. One shot will clear most of the corridor. Unfortunately, aliens love to shoot blaster bombs down gravlifts. 8.3.4 Rookie Plasma Fodder One possible if cruel tactic is to use rookies instead of HWPs as scouts. It is a smaller target, though have less armor and a lot less TUs. On the other hand, they cost about 1/10th as much. 8.3.5 Leave opportunity for shots To make opportunity shots in the enemy movement phase, you need TU's left unused, as well as a high reactions rating (over 50 preferred). So leave enough for a shot while moving and still get in cover, or don't move at all. Have soldiers kneeling close to UFO doors is a good way to get better reactions, if they have plenty of TUs left to shoot any aliens who comes out. 8.3.9 Saving ammo XCOM has a peculiar way of counting ammo usage: any clip that was fired (even just one round!) is consider "spent" at the end of the scenario UNLESS unloaded from the weapon. So, if you just fired one round, unload it when the end of battlescape is near (you DID time the alien movement phase, didn't you?) Interestingly, the same thing applies to the aliens as well! If you panic the aliens and they drop their weapons, you should pick them up and unload them, toss the ammo clip aside. That way you gain a clip independent of the gun you got (plus clips the alien was carrying). 8.4 Capturing Aliens 8.4.1 How to I capture an alien? You can capture aliens in four ways, so let's discuss advantages and disadvantages. Shoot an alien and hope it drops stunned instead of dead: Since smoke inhalation produce stun damage, if alien had inhaled smoke for a while, and you shot it later, it may drop stunned. This is too much of a guess work though, and is dangerous if alien is armed. Use stun rod on the alien: Dangerous since stun rod is a hand-to-hand weapon, but it's all you have early on. Remember to stand RIGHT NEXT to the target, and DIRECTLY FACING the target, or you cannot stun! Use stun bomb and small launcher: safest way to capture an alien, shoot and scoot. Keep dumping smoke grenades on an alien. After it inhaled enough smoke, it'll drop stunned: takes too long. 8.4.2 So what's your recommendation? Several ways to make captures safer: Double/triple-team on capture: at least two soldiers should carry stun bombs and ready to fire in salvoes in case the alien does not drop after one hit. Combine psi combat with capture: Panic it with psi to make it drop its weapon (repeat if necesary), then stun it. Be careful since alien WILL pull out any other weapon that it has on it. After it is out of weapons, and if it does not have HTH attack, you can use stun rods on it safely. WARNING: release mind control on the alien (wait one full turn), THEN stun it, or otherwise it is NOT captured! (somehow computer counts mind-controlled alien as "friendly" and not "captured") (confirmed by Bill Soo) If a stun attempt fails, shoot the alien with a light weapon like a pistol. The addition damage may cause the health to drop below stun damage, which ALSO counts as "stunned". Just don't kill it (yet). 8.4.3 Stunning aliens without stun weapons Found an alien that you need to capture but have no stun weapons? You have to use smoke. Hopefully the alien had panicked and droped its weapons (if not, and you have psi, panic it). Keep him in an enclosed space (a room?), dump a smoke grenade into the room, and keep something to block the door (rookie, HWP, whatever), and wait for choking sounds. :-D As you can probably tell from the pictures, Power Suit and flying suit are immune to smoke damage (has built-in environmental helmet) 8.4.4 Other uses for stun weapons At a terror site, Chrysalids turning civilians into zombies? Stun the civilians if you see them near Chrysalids! Stunned civilians will not be attacked. Unfortunately, many have reported that the civilians get MAD when they wake up and you have to kill them, so finish mission fast if you do stun one. 8.4.5 Do you HAVE an alien containment facility? Does the home base of the transport have alien containment facility available? If not, all aliens you captured will DIE upon end of ground battle. 8.5 Psi Combat To gain psionic power, you must capture a Sectoid Leader or Commander, or any Ethereal, and successfully research (interrogate) them. Then you need to build psi labs and send your soldiers to be assessed and trained. Then you can use your psi powers in combat with psi amps. General observation: aliens do NOT pick up dropped weapons. Offensive tips: Panicked aliens drop their weapons (just as panicked XCOM soldiers) Of course, they will pull out anything else they got left on them as well as use their natural abilities (HTH or Psi attacks) if any. Aliens under mind control then stunned does NOT count as captured. One player reported that he saw a commander but had no stun weapon, so he threw a smoke grenade and kept the commander in the smoke (with mind control) until it passed out. He was NOT captured. It appears that the computer counts mind- controlled aliens as "friendly", which they sort of are. You can access inventory of an alien under your mind control even though the inventory button does not work. Select one of YOUR soldiers, then use scroll button on top to scroll to the alien. (Watch out for the 1.5.6 bug/feature!) To get more ammo, mind control an alien, and have it throw its weapon toward you or drop everything on the ground. Panic has a much better chance of success than mind control. Psi strength is more important than psi skill. PsiStr determines resistance to psi attacks as well as potential with training (actual formula is in the OSG) Defensive tips: The only way to protect yourself against psi attacks is to kill the attackers quickly. While some soldiers at the beginning may be more resistant to psi attacks (i.e. high psi strength), without psi labs to help you identify them it is a all by chance. If a solider was mind-controlled more than once in a battle and s/he survives, sack him/her immediately after. S/he probably has low bravery and/or low psi strength. Get rookies with high bravery ensures they are more resistant to alien panic attacks (though they may not be as resistant to mind control, that has a inherent lower chance of success) 8.6 Battle Notes on weapons 8.6.1 General Weapon Notes Most pistols and rifles holds 20 rounds or more, so ammo is usually not a problem unless you fire a lot on auto or you carry something like autocannon (14) or heavy cannon (6). Usually one extra clip should be enough. In case of plasma or laser weapons one/none is enough. Use HWPs (and rookies?) to "beat the bush" and spot enemies. THEN shoot them. Once an alien is visible, everybody can take a shot as long as there's nothing in the way. If you can, take a aimmed shot while staying in cover. You want a kill, not spraying shots all over the place. "One shot, one kill" is not a bad motto. On the other hand... If you have the ammo, use auto shot whenever you can. Why? It ensures a kill. Let me explain: Auto shot fires three rounds, but is the least accurate of the three shots. On the other hand, when you use the laws of probability, you actually come out ahead using an auto-shot, since each shot is calculated independently. For example, let's say chance of hitting in auto shot is 25%, and snap shot is 30% (average). The chance of getting at least one hit out of three is 1-(chance of no hits). So 25% hit prob AND no hit in three tries is 0.75 * 0.75 * 0.75 = 0.42 Chance of getting at least one hit is then 1 - 0.42 = 0.56, or 56% Which is much better than 30% (but no higher than the aimed percentage). When your accuracy improves, you increase your chances of hitting the target multiple times, which ensures a kill, and you use less TUs than ONE aimmed shot. It is not unknown to see three aliens line up in a row, you fired auto, and each shot killed one alien. 8.6.2 Pistols and Rifles Use them only when you have to, sniper style. Dump them for lasers as fast as possible. They use clips and doesn't do much damage. They may be enough to use against Sectoids, who has very little armor, but not against tougher enemies (and Reapers/Cyberdiscs). 8.6.3 HeavyCannon and AutoCannon HeavyCannon is slightly more accurate than the AutoCannon and slightly more damage, but a lot less effective with only six shots and no auto-fire mode. I'd rather use the AutoCannon. AutoCannon is probably the most effective weapon in the early game, with auto mode, three types of ammo, and 14 shot magazine. Still, 14 shots is not much in auto-mode, and three magazines can run out on you pretty quick. It is also VERY HEAVY. (more than twice of heavy plasma) 8.6.4 Rocket Launcher Rocket Launcher packs your biggest punch in the early game, and being an area weapon makes it invaluable in dealing with nasty Reavers and Cyberdiscs. On the other hand, you can only carry three reloads, and they only fly in straight lines. Try to have another team member carry reloads. When you got to a good firing point, have that guy drop the reloads on the ground, then you stand on top of the reloads. Don't give rocket launcher to rookies with low morale. If they go berzerk, you may lose a lot of people. 8.6.5 Laser Pistol, Laser Rifle, and Heavy Laser Forget the heavy laser. The 35% more damage that it does is offset by having no auto mode and decreased accuracy. You can probably forget the pistol also, but you need to research it to get laser rifle. Laser rifle is arguable the best squad weapon in the game, needing no ammo, with decent accuracy and damage. True veterans prefer heavy plasma, of course. 8.6.6 Grenades and High Explosive Get alien grenades when you can, but regular grenades would do. Use them to flatten small buildings and take down walls so aliens have nowhere to hide. Proximity grenades should be used to block off doors and stuff so nothing can sneak up behind you. They appear to have a 2-square blast radius and 1-square sensing radius, so do NOT throw them next to the door! Throw them one square away from the door so when the alien have to come out before it blows up. For example: (D=Door P=Proximity Grenade A=Alien) Alien just behind door, does NOT trigger the grenade since not in radius of 1. Then Alien steps through the door, and BOOM! | | AD P DAP | | [Jim Muchow's variation] Throw one in front of medium/large scout's exterior door, one off like above, then hide near the doors in the shadows so you are not visible. | X = YOU Just stand there, keep others out of | sight. After a few turns, alien | will come out and take a peek, \----\ wondering where did you go. And as | soon as it steps out the door, BOOM! | D P = Prox Repeat as needed. They are dumb... | Grenade I haven't found smoke grenades to be that useful. I've tried it in covering my deployment, but it doesn't seem to work that well. You can try to use it as a stun weapon alternative, but it's bound to be slow. I've yet to use any high-explosive in any of the games I played, but [NET] has reported that they are very useful taking out Cyberdiscs in tight urban settings, due to more blast power, useful before you get alien grenades. Sometimes kneeling down will allow you to throw where you cannot before 8.6.7 Plasma Pistol, Plasma Rifle, and Heavy Plasma Plasma weapons are good weapons, and the heavy-plasma is the only heavy weapon in the game with auto mode. On the other hand, Heavy Plasma is , like its name says, "heavy". Heavy Plasma should only carried by a few select members, due to possible shortages in clips early on and its weight (later you'll find PLENTY of reloads so no problem). Heavy Plasma can punch through inner walls of UFOs when auto- fired a couple times, useful for pincer attacks in Supply Ships, when one lift goes straight to third level while another lift goes only to second. The guys take the high lift can punch through the walls on second level and attack both sides at once. [see 12.x] 8.6.8 Blaster Launcher Blaster launcher is probably one of the greatest weapons in the game. It is expensive, its ammo is expensive, but it is VERY useful. You can blow up things in ANY direction, turn around corners, go up and down stairs, flatten entire barns, even punch a hole in UFO's outer hull! Each solider can carry up to 5 reloads (2 on belt and 3 in backpack). [NET] One trick is to leave the soldier and the launcher inside the craft kneeling on top of the ammo on the floor. That way there's more than 5 rounds available. Or you can have other soldiers carry more ammo, drop them on the ground, then have the launcher guy stand/kneel on top of them. You can use this trick on rocket launcher too, but it's not as useful. [NET] You can also blow open parts of UFO and go in that way instead of through the door. Many have reported that wrecking the bridge first with a well-placed blaster bomb or two into the upper level will decrease casualties by a large amount. [KSC] Use blaster bomb to enlarge a standard door so you can fit a tank through by targeting the wall next to the door. You can also try this with heavy plasma as those can sometimes punch through walls. This is great for battleships since the large central lift allows tanks to go up to any level, and they also have 2-space corridors wide enough for tanks. 8.6.9 Small Launcher This is the only weapon that gives you standoff stun capability. Get this when you need to stun aliens and do not rely on stun rods. Try to back this up with another stun bomb or a pistol. Stun damage counts against alien's health, and a hit can drop its health low enough so it gets stunned. 9.0 The Aliens Most information here can be accessed via the UFOpedia. 9.1 Average Alien Stats (on easiest level!) ------ Armor ------ TUs Ene Hea Bra Rea Fir Thr Str PSt PSk Fro Lft Rgt Rer Und Sectoid 55 90 30 80 65 30 60 30 40 * 2 1 1 1 1 Reaper 60 90 145 80 60 0 0 90 35 - 14 14 14 14 2 Floater 50 90 35 80 50 25 60 40 - - 4 3 3 2 6 Cyberdisc 60 90 120 110 65 30 0 90 - - 17 17 17 17 17 Snakeman 40 80 45 80 45 30 65 50 - - 10 9 9 8 6 Cryssalid 110 140 95 100 70 0 0 110 - - 17 17 17 17 17 Zombie 40 110 85 110 40 0 0 85 - - 4 4 4 4 4 Ethereal 70 100 60 80 75 40 80 50 50 40 17 17 17 17 16 Sectopod 60 90 95 110 65 30 0 90 - - 70 65 65 50 45 Muton 58 90 90 80 60 30 60 70 - - 10 10 10 10 5 Celatid 70 90 70 90 40 50 0 70 60 - 10 10 10 10 10 Silacoid 40 80 115 100 40 0 0 70 - - 25 25 25 25 5 TUs = time units Ene = energy/stamina Hea = health Bra = bravery Rea = reaction Fir = firing accuracy Thr = throwing accuracy Str = strength PSt = Psi Strength PSk = Psi Skill Armor = front/left/right/rear/under * Only Sectoid leaders and commander have Psi Skill, with avg of 55. NOTE 1: you can get info on particular alien stats by using a mind probe on them. Leaders and commanders are 10 to 20% higher, and there appears to be random modifiers, depending on rank and position. Stats are also higher on higher difficulty levels NOTE 2: higher rank aliens also have higher "intelligence", which means they will remember your location longer. Some alien species are also more intelligent than others. For example, Ethereals and Sectoids have higher intelligence than Mutons and Reapers. 9.2 Alien attack/defense summary Alien Attack Defend Vulnerable ------------------------------------------------- Celatid Acid Spit none none Chryssalid HTH none IC, stun * Cyberdisc Plasma beam AP, HE none Ethereal Psi,weapons IC,stun none Floater weapons none none Muton weapons AP psi Reaper HTH none IC Sectoid Psi,weapons none none Sectopod Energy beam PL,HE laser Silacoid HTH IC HE Snakeman weapons IC none Zombie HTH Psi,AP,Las,Pl,HE none ** HTH=hand to hand combat IC =incendiary/fire AP =armor piercing PL =plasma HE =high explosive Las=laser Alien : alien name Attack : attack method Defend : resistance to type(s) of attack Vulnerable : esp. vulnerable to type(s) of attack * When Chryssalids succeeds in HTH attack, the subject attacked becomes a Zombie ** Zombie in a few turns becomes a Chryssalid. If killed, the new Chryssalid hatches from the zombie IMMEDIATELY. 9.3 Alien specialties and information possible from them Alien Soldier ----- mission (harvest, base, etc) Alien Medic ----- Species information * Alien Navigator ----- Hyper-Wave Decoder Alien Engineer ----- UFO stats (of that UFO) Alien Leader ----- The Martian Solution Ethereal/ Sectoid Leader ----- Psi Lab, which leads to or command psi amp and mind shield Alien Commander ----- Cydonia or Bust ** * alien medics can give information on species other than their own ** commander can be found in bases, or UFOs on Base missions 9.4 Alien Missions Research Generally small vehicles, least threat Harvest Great concern to governments, usually cattle abduction Abduction Abducts humans, causes great alarm Infiltration Infiltrates countries and try to make pact with government, big threat as countries that sign pact cease to fund XCOM! Base Survey and establish alien base, may contain alien commander, esp. higher levels Terror Creates terror sites when lands at city, so get them fast! Retaliation Scout / attack XCOM base, greatest threat Supply Supply alien bases. Trail them and patrol nearby to find alien base 9.5 Battle Notes on individual aliens Chrysalid, Reaper, Silacoid, and Zombie are hand-to-hand only, which means if you have flying suit, take off and shoot them from the air. They cannot attack things in mid-air nor through a window. Reaper, being double-wide, cannot attack through single-wide doors. Celatids are VERY dangerous and causes A LOT of damage if you don't have good armor. Kill them ASAP. Kill Chrysalids ASAP at a terror site. Kill them ASAP, even if it means wiping out the civilians near it. Use rockets and blaster bombs and grenades on it freely. If you are REALLY worried about Chrysalids, have everyone carry a PRIMED grenade around (prime it first). If your soldier got turned into a zombie, all equipment gets dropped, and the grenade should go BOOM at the end of the turn Usually you only find floaters flying (i.e. on higher levels), so if you can fly, you do gain an advantage, esp. if you go on top of buildings and start sniping. You cannot stun a Cyberdisc. Just destroy it. 9.6 UFO floorplans Following floor plans are approximately 1x1. Approximate only, so no complaints about precision please. KEY: D/Dr = Door Gr = Gravlift (Up/Down) Gu = Gravlift Up Gd = Gravlift Down P/Pw = Alien Power Unit S = Alien Surgery F = Alien Food X = Alien Examination Small Scout 123 Looks like an Apollo Capsule... (Very Small) /=\ 2 level, 1 square each UFO |===| Medium Scout (Small) 123456789 /=======\ |_______| /--------\ | | | | | Pw | | | | | \---Dr---/ Large Scout (Medium) 123456789012 /==/====\==\ |__|____|__| +--------+ | | | | D | // | \\ // | \\ +----/ +---------+ \----+ | | | | | D P | D | | | | +----\ +---------+ /----+ \\ | // \\ --D--| // | D | | | | +--------+ Terror Ship (Large) 123456789012345678901234567890 /--------------\ /------| |------\ |____________________________| Level 0--Menachem M. Pastreich (mpastrei email.ir.miami.edu) ______________ /// \\\ /// ______ \\\ +--------+ /// __| |__ \\\ +--------+ | | | __| |__ | | | | | | __| Pw |__ | | | | |____| | | |____| | | | | | | | Pw Gu Pw | | | ____ | | ____ | | | | |__ __| | | | | | | |__ Pw __| | | | | | | |__ __| | | | +--DrDr--+ \\\ |__Dr__| /// +--DrDr--+ \\\ /// \\\______________/// Terror Ship Level 2 -- Pastreich ______________ /// | | \\\ /// D D \\\ ///--| | | |--\\\ | | |____Dr____| | | | | | | | | ____Dr____ | | | | | | | | | D | Gd | D | |____| |__________| |____| | | | | | E NNN NNN E | \\\ NNN NNN /// \\\ /// \\\______________/// Battleship (Very Large) 123456789012345678901234567890 /----------------------------\ |----------------------------| \-------==----------==-------/ |-------||----------||-------| Battleship Level 1 -- Pastreich /------\ / \ | Gu | | Pw | | | \ / \------/ /------\ /------\ / \ +------+ / \ | | |GuGuGuD | | | GuPw | |GuGuGuD | PwGu | | | |GuGuGu| | | \ / +DrDr--+ \ / \------/ \------/ /------\ / \ | | | Pw | | Gu | \ / \------/ Battleship Level 2 -- Menachem M. Pastreich (mpastrei email.ir.miami.edu) ./------+----------+------\. ./ | | | \. ./ D | Gd | _____\. ./ | | | | \. //----- --| +--+ +--+ | \\ ./ | | | __| \. ./| +------| | | \. ./ | | | | \. / | +--------| | D \ | +--Dr--+ | | | | | | Gu | | | | |____ | | | D | | | | +------+ | | +--+ +-- | +------+ | | | | | | | | | | +------Dr------+ GrGrGr +--Dr----------+ | | Gd GrGrGr Gd | | +--Dr------Dr--+ GrGrGr +--------------+ | | | | | | | | +------+ |___ +--+ +--+ +--Dr--+ | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | \. | | | __| ./ \. D | | | ./ \. | D | __ ./ \. | | | | ./ \\ +--Dr----+--+ +--+-------+ // \. | | | ./ \.| | Gd D ./ \. | | ./ \------+----------+------/ Battleship Level 3 ./------------------------\ ./ | | \ ./ | | \ ./ | +---Dr---+ | \ // | | | | \\ ./| | | | | \ ./ | D | | | \ ./ D | | | | \ / | | | | | \ | | | | | | | | Gd +----------+ +--------+ +-----Dr---------| | | | |______|__________ ___________ | | | | +---Dr---+ | | | | | | | GdGdGd | | | | | D | D GdGdGd D | D | | | | | GdGdGd | | | | | |___________| +---Dr---+ |___________| | | | | | |-------+ + -----+ +---------+ +----------------| | | | | | | \. | | | | ./ \. | | | | ./ \. | | | | ./ \. | | | D ./ \\ | | | | // \. | +----Dr---+ | ./ \. | | ./ \. | | ./ \------------------------/ Harvester 1234567890123456 (Medium) (?) /---|------|---\ |---|------|---| |---|------|---| \---|------|---/ Level 0 Level 1 /----------\ /----------\ / SS \ / | Empty | \ / SSSS F \ / | Room | \ / \ / | Up to | \ / FF F F \ / Gu | this | Gu \ + + +___DD___ | level |___DD____+ | +----------------+ | | +---DD---+ | | | Pw Pw | D | FF | | +-------------DD-+----+ | F F +------+__________| + | | + + F F | | + \ F F | Gu | Gu / \ F D Gd D Gd / \ F | | / \ | | / \ | | / \ +--DD--+ / \--+--DD--+---/ \---------+---/ Level 2 /-+------+-\ / | | \ / +--DD--+ \ / | | \ / Gd D D Gd \ + | | + +----------+ +----------+ |N | |N NNN NNN | + NNN NNN + \ / \ / \ / \ / ----------- Supply Ship (Large) 123456789012345678901234567890 /--------+---+-+---+---------\ /----------|---|-|---|-----------\ \----------|---|-|---|-----------/ \--------+---+-+---+---------/ Level 0 /----------\ /----------\ // Gu \\ // Gu \\ // \\ // \\ / --------- \+--+/ --------- \ | | | | | | | | ---------------- | | | D Pw Pw Pw D | | | ---------------- | | | | | | | | \ --------- /+--+\ --------- / \\ // \\ // \\ // \\ // \----DD----/ \----DD----/ Level 1 /----------\ /----------\ // ------ \\ // ------ \\ // | | \\ // | | \\ // F | Gu | \+--+/ | Gr | F \\ / | | | | \ | F F --DD-- ---DD--- ------ F F | | | S | | | F F F F | | F F F F | | | S | | | F F --DD-- ---DD--- --DD-- F F | \ | | | | / \\ F | | /+--+\ | | F // \\ ------ // \\ ------ // \\ // \\ // \----------/ \----------/ Level 2 /----------\ /----------\ // \\ // | Gu | \\ // \\ // --DD-- \\ / +----------+ \+--+/ \ | | | | | | |------+------+------DD------+---| | D NNNN | | | | | | | NNNN | D | D | | | | | +--+ +--+ | \ +----------+ /+--+\ | | / \\ // \\ +--------+ // \\ // \\ // \----DD----/ \----DD----/ Abductor 1234567890123456 (Medium) (?) /---|------|---\ |---|------|---| \---|------|---/ Level 0 Level 1 ^ +----+ ^ ^ +----+ ^ // \\ | | // \\ // \\ | | // \\ // \\/ \// \\ // \ / \ / \\ / \ / +-+ \ \ / \ +-DD-+ / \\ ______DD______ // \\ +---+ +---+ // +--/ | | \--+ +--/ +-+N N +-+ \--+ | | | | | | N | | | Pw | XX XX XX | Pw | | |N N| | | | XX | | | | | | +--\ | | /--+ +--\ +-+ +-+ /--+ // |_____DD_____| \\ // +---+ +---+ \\ / | | \ / +----+ \ \ Gu | | / \ Gd / \\ / \ / \ // \\ //\ /\\ // \\ // | | \\ // \\ // | | \\ // V +-DD-+ V V +-DD-+ V 9.7 UFO speed, range, etc. Max Hull Weapon* Ship Max** Size Speed Damage Power Range Width Crew Small Scout VS 2200 50 0 0 3 1 Medium Scout S 2400 200 20 120 9 9 Large Scout S 2700 250 20 272 12 13 Harvester M 4000 500 40 176 16 21 (1L) Abductor M 4300 500 40 160 12 18 (1L) Terror Ship L 4800 1200 120 336 30 14/10 (1L) Supply Ship L 3200 2200 60 288 30 20 (1L) Battleship VL 5000 3000 140 520 30 22/6 (1C/1L) * Weapon Range should be divided by 8 for range in KM, see 7.5 ** Maximum crew is absolute maximum reported in one mission. Number is in format of X/Y (Z) where X is host race (race the UFO belongs to), Y as terrorists and Z as number of leaders (L) or commander (C) in the host race. Any 4-space creatures counts as 4 aliens for this. 10.0 Ground Assaults 10.1 Packing Advice The 80-item limit is always a problem, especially on an Avenger and Lightning when you can carry LOTS of soldiers. While the OSG gave some hints on what to take, here's a couple more hints to see you through the 80-item Crunch: * If you are short on ammo clips, use laser weapons, which require no ammo at all. (Also see below) * Carry only ONE clip for your plasma weapons. You should be able to find plenty of reloads during battle, esp. for heavy plasma (which seems to be used by all aliens near the end of the game) With 20-35 rounds in each clip, your should not run out unless you use auto-fire a lot * Carry uniform weapons. Don't mix pistols and rifles, plasmas and slug-throwers. Instead of a pistol/clip and rifle/clip, bring an extra clip for the rifle. * Bring less misc. equipment such as mind probes, medikits, motion detectors, psi amps, and so on. You don't need everything on every person (except Medikits) * Bring HWPs if you can. HWP is one item yet has plenty of firepower. Too bad it takes FOUR soldier's space. Still, they are quite useful in the early parts of the game * Don't fight at night so that you need to take along all those stupid electro-flares which you end up throwing all over the place (exception: Attack Terror Sites ASAP) 10.2 The Great Pistol vs Rifle debate Pro Con Rifles more powerful use more TUs more accurate two-handed weapon Pistols uses less TUs less powerful one handed weapon less accurate As you can see, they are exact complements of each other. Very often, using a pistol is called for, since using a pistol would mean you still have enough TUs to duck into cover. Give pistols to heavy weapons people for when they ran out. 10.3 The Great Pistol vs Rifle debate II (by Paul Close) Not being ad handy with theoretical statistics as I am with discrete simulation, I wrote a very simple program to simulate 100,000 turns where each weapon was used in as many times as possible, up to 80% of the turn. Since the time to use the weapons is also a percentage of the turn, simple subtraction sufficed. :-) In each case where an auto mode was available, it was used instead of snap shot. I felt that 70-80% was a good compromise between some movement, but still inflicting maximum damage. TU average +/- 1 std dev A/S % hits dmg hits damage Pistol 0/4 72 2.4 62 1.4-3.4 36- 87 Rifle 2/0 70 2.1 63 0.9-3.3 28- 98 Heavy Cannon 0/2 66 1.2 67 0.5-1.9 28-105 Auto Cannon 2/0 80 1.9 80 0.8-3.1 32-128 Laser Pistol 3/0 75 2.5 115 1.2-3.9 53-177 Laser Rifle 2/0 68 2.8 165 1.5-4.0 92-238 Heavy Laser 0/2 66 1.0 84 0.3-1.7 24-145 Plasma Pistol 2/0 60 3.0 155 1.8-4.2 92-219 Plasma Rifle 2/0 66 3.3 263 2.1-4.5 166-361 Heavy Plasma 2/0 70 3.0 344 1.8-4.2 203-485 A/S : number of shots taken, Auto/Snap TU% : TU% used for the shots taken +/- 1 std dev : average +/- one standard deviation, roughly covers 66% of the possibilities Conventional Weapons : Pistol is a tie with rifle. The pistol can be shot one-handed, but in the early stages of the game, you're not likely to have anything in the other hand :-) The rifle holds more ammo, but is slightly less accurate. Each has a clip that will last three rounds at this firing rate. Take your pick. Cannons : This seems like a no-contest, but the higher damage of the heavy cannon makes it not so simple. The lower accuracy of the auto cannon in auto mode make it a more erratic weapon. Still, it's more satisfying to shoot off six shots instead of two :-) The clip holds 14, which will only last two rounds at this rate compared to three of the heavy cannon (which holds 6 shots) With only one shot, the three shots of the auto cannon imporve the odds of at least one hitting to 69% vs 60% for one snap shot of the heavy cannon. One final consideration is that the auto cannon takes 80% TU for its two auto shots, compared to 66% for the heavy cannon. With weaklings early in the game, you may need the extra time... Lasers: As you may expect, the heavy laser sucks due to the lack of an auto fire, and a rather slow snap shot. The pistol and rifle get about the same number of hits, and the rifle does 30% more damage. The rifle gets the nod in this case. Even with a 20% penalty for one-handed use (not shown in table) rifle gets 1.0-3.4 hits and 62-204 damage, still better than the pistol. So forget th elaser pistol and the heavy laser. Plasma: What can you say? The heavy plasma is king! With pretty much the same accuracy and firing time as the rifle and pistol, over 40%/120% more damage (respectively), and bigger clip, there's no reason not to use the ehavy plasma. The only down side is the ammo takes 3 elerium to manufacture, but with careful unloading of weapons, you'll get all you need during recoveries and assaults. [Editor's note: the advantage of heavy plasma is even greater when you realize that it weighs exact the same as a regular rifle. Perhaps that why even those Sectoid weaklings can tote one around...] 10.4 Basic Loadout for Transports Skyranger : 2 HWPs / 6 soldiers or 1 HWP / 10 soldiers The HWPs early on carry more firepower and has more TUs than soldiers, which makes them good scouts, and more survivable. Switch to more/only soldiers later. Lightning : as many soldiers as you can fit Lightning doesn't take HWPs, too bad. At least you can deploy from all four sides at once. Send rookies out first... (Commander's prerogative) Avenger : 14 soldiers / 3 HWPs or 18 soldiers / 2 HWPs As the end of game draws near, your best soldiers should be as fast as HWPs and carries just as much (if not more) fire- power. HWPs are there to simply scout ahead. Feel free to add more soldiers if you can distribute 80 items okay. 10.5 General Combat Notes There is no penalty for destroying civilian property, so go ahead and wreck the whole place like "The Dirty Pair" (anime). If the only person inside the craft is unconscious and you abort mission, s/he's MIA and the transport is lost as well. In the early game, you want rocket launchers and/or autocannon as your heavy weapons, and plenty of greandes (mix of regular and proximity). Later in the game, you want almost exclusively heavy plasma (except for the heavy weapons people carrying blaster launchers, who would carry plasma pistols) 10.6 UFO Recoveries and Assaults [Definition: attack on UFO shot down is "recovery", attack on landed UFOs (not downed) is "assault"] HWPs CAN enter an UFO with a single-width door if you help make the door wider with a blaster bomb. Just target the panel beside the door for a blaster bomb, and make sure no one is near the impact point. HWP is very useful in a Battleship on the third level, where the corridors are wide enough for HWPs except the doors leading from the elevators. Open one up with a blaster bomb, send another one or two down each end of the corridor, then send up the HWPs to scout, then send in your troops. In UFO navigation centers, there's usually some octagonal purple "tables" that EXPLODES when hit. If you can catch aliens standing next to them, hitting THAT is a lot of fun. Blaster bombs and/or high explosives can be used to punch a hole in the outside wall of an UFO, creating an alternate entrance. This will allow you to surprise the aliens inside since usually they gather by the doors waiting for you. Corollary: on a multi-level UFO, attack from TOP down by blasting a hole in the roof or top level, posting guards near the UFO doors or use proximity grenades. Post guards outside an UFO when attacking inside. Any aliens outside will attempt to return, and getting shot from behind is not fun. If the UFO Power Units exploded, and UFO's ceiling may be damaged (single-level UFO have top blown open). In that case, stand on the edge and kneel will allow you to see inside. In larger UFOs, holes in the ceiling will allow you to see above, but you may have to kneel to get a good look (someone may be hiding up there!) One trick you can pull is ALLOW an alien base on Earth once you've pinpointed its location, and keep assaulting the supply ships that comes to keep the base supplied. They just keep coming and coming, and the UFOs you take out more than offsets the "base on Earth" penalty, not to mention all the Elerium and other goodies you get that you can sell later. Of course, watch out for the retaliation missions... Consider using blaster bombs and flying suits to attack from TOP DOWN instead of bottom up. Blow a hole in the ceiling, send another bomb inside the hold, go in and spread out, work your way down, pick off aliens coming up one by one. When attacking battleships, consider going up one of the engine "legs" instead of through the central elevator. On assaults, you may need a blaster bomb to punch through. 10.7 Base assaults The trick in base assaults is use a lot of grenades and blaster bombs. Use grenades to clear corners, proximity grenades to block corridors so no one can come up behind you (esp. Chryssalids!), blaster bombs to open walls so you don't have to go extra distance around things. Once you find the control center, you have pretty much won the game. While base layouts differ, base command center always look like this: (D=door, WW=window, ground/level 0 only) +-----WW--------WW-----+ | +--------------+ | | +-+ +-+ | | | | | D | D | D | D | D | D | | | | | | +-+ +-+ | | +--------------+ | +-----WW--------WW-----+ ^ Instead of going through the doors, go through one of the SIDE walls (^) with a blaster bomb, send a couple grenades through the hole for the guards inside the door (or another blaster bomb). Charge in, leaving proximity grenades behind to cover your back, go in the inside door, and you'll find a huge grav-lift taking you to the second level of command center. The base commander (and his deputy leader) should be there. 10.8 Anti-Terror Missions Your top priority is self-preservation. Killing 9 out of your 10 soldiers to save a city is NOT worth it. If given a choice to save your soldier or to save a civilian, save the soldier. Consider stunning the civilians. Stunning the civilians makes them "unpalatable" to the alien terrorists, and they count as saved at the end of the mission. (WARNING: when they wake up, they count as ENEMY and you must kill them!) Do NOT mind control any of the civilians. They count as ENEMY after you release control and you must kill them! Kill Chryssalids ASAP. If necesary, kill the civilian near it so that the civilian will not be turned into a zombie that will attack you. Have two persons watch each other. If necesary, carry a primed greande one each person. If the person becomes a zombie, all equipment are dropped, INCLUDING THE LIVE GRENADE. (boom!) Aliens that use HTH (hand-to-hand) combat only such as Reavers and Chrysallids cannot attack someone in mid-air (by a flying suit or hovertank). They also cannot attack someone through a Window. Reavers cannot attack through a one-space-wide door (they are two-wide). Feel free to blow up gasoline pumps, esp. with aliens next to one. They make great secondary explosions. 10.9 XCOM Base Defense You DID plan your base as mentioned in Chapter 4, didn't you? First priority is blockade the lift. Dump prox grenades near the doors (close enough so that there are no spaces in between to walk through) and wait back for aliens to emerge. Second priority is clean out the hangars. Fusion Bomb Launcher Hovertanks and/or blaster launchers are great for this, but a rocket launcher will do if you hit explosive stuff like fuel drums and so on. Third priority is reclaim your base module by module. Use prox grenades to guard your back. Proximity grenades are priceless here, great for blocking corridors, limiting movement into kill zones, etc. 11.0 Mastering Cydonia-- The Final Assault For those of you who watch shows like ENCOUNTERS or SIGHTINGS, there IS a Cydonia on Mars, and there are "pyramids" and a face there... And there's a big rumor of a NASA cover-up and recent Mars probe going there ALL malfunctioned... Hmmm... 11.1 Preparation Don't bring any psi-weaklings. You'll be meeting a lot of Sectoids and Ethreals, who will be mind-blasting you a lot. Bring your best weapons and all of your blaster launchers and blaster bombs, plus rockets and all the grenades you got. This is not time for captures, so leave all stun stuff at home. This is a fight to the death, preferably theirs. Bring a pair of electro-flares each for the Mars surface battle. It'll be dark there, so toss a few of those around. The doors at each face of the pyramids are especially important as Sectoids may come out and play. You also want to spot Cyberdiscs as far away as possible. 11.2 Pyramids of Mars Lots of Sectoids and Cyberdiscs around in this one. Soldiers with flying suits are nice for recon, just don't leave them in the air for Sectoid target practice, use pyramids for cover. Move slowly, toss electroflares at base of each pyramid, esp near exits so you can see if a Sectoid comes out. Use grenades and/or blaster bombs on the cyberdiscs. 11.3 Base Interior You do NOT want to clean out the whole base. Find the distinctive command center (see below, NOT to scale), run for it (sacrificing HWPs and rookies in the process), let blaster bombs and rockets fly, protect your back with prox grenades. [not in scale!] +----------------------+ | | | _ | | | | | |__________________|L| | D__________________ | | | |L| | | |_| | | | | | +----------------------+ Once you found it, send a blaster bomb to hit the end, then one more up through the grav lift (either side) to get rid of the Ethereal Commanders (the elite guards), then ONE MORE on the top, and it's all over. 12.0 Misc Questions and their answers Equipment * Why do I lose ammo that was fired only a few times? After combat all clips that had been USED in the battle and left in their rifles/pistosl/cannons are lost, no matter only 1 round fired or totally empty. UNUSED clips are NOT affected (even if they are loaded), as are clips separate from weapons. HINT: You should unload any weapons that had fired and use valuable ammo before the battle ends. HINT: You can tell when the battle is almost over by judging how long the alien movement phase takes. HINT: You can get MORE clips if you unload captured alien weapons that you come across * How do I reload weapons? How do I unload ammo from weapons? See section 2, Chapter 3.1 of XCOM Manual. * Why should I need grenades when I have autocannon? Autocannon weighs A LOT. For the same weight you can carry a lighter weapon plus a couple grenades, and move faster and further as a result. * How do I wake up unconscious soldiers? See UFOpedia on Medikit. HINT: Heal any fatal wounds first before attempt to revive. HINT: After applying shot of stimulant, exit medikit screen and check your inventory. If "body" is still on ground, apply another shot of stimulant until the "body" is no longer on ground. S/he should appear in an adjacent square at beginning of next turn. * How do I use Medi-Kit? See UFOpedia on Medikit. * How do I use motion scanner? See UFOpedia on Motion Scanner HINT: They are useful to detect that one last alien you can't find, esp. at night when visibility is less, or city blocks (but there you have civilians) HINT: They are somewhat useful for looking behind closed doors that you would like to enter. * How do I use Mind Probe? See UFOpedia on Mind Probe NOTE: ANY one can use a mind probe, no psi power is required. * How do I use the Blaster Launcher/Bomb or Fusion Hovertank? When you select Launch Missile, you can specify a series of up to 9 "waypoints" which can go around any thing, climb and dive, even fly in circles. The final waypoint is the explosion point, UNLESS it runs into something solid first. NOTE: There MUST be something solid at the last waypoint or the "missile" will NOT explode! HINT: You can UNset a waypoint by right-clicking Movement * Some of my soldiers have TU's used before I moved them. Why? Each soldier has a physical weight limit to the amount of "stuff" he or she can carry, usually known as "emcumberance". If you carry less than or equal to the emcumberance, no penalty is assessed. For each weight unit over the limit, you get a TU penalty. Carry too much and you can't move at all! OSG has the complete weight chart for all items (Table 8-4). Interesting observation: heavy plasma weighs the same as a regular rifle. * How can I fire on aliens in their movement phase? This is called "opportunity fire". Leave enough TU's after your move for at least a snap shot, then if your trooper saw an alien and has good enough reactions s/he will fire at the alien. HINT: Use the 4 icons near the bottom left of screen to reserve the TUs. Reactions usually need to be above 50. * How do I open doors? Target your soldier to move to the "square" behind the door and s/he will then automatically open it (using some TUs) and move to the square you specified. HINT: Do not open doors without plenty of spare TU's or expect to DIE. Using a motion scanner will help to see if any aliens moved beyond the door. HINT: When you are not sure, create another door! Either shoot a hole in the wall or blow up the entire wall with grenades, HE, HPlas, or BBomb. Psionic Combat * How do I get psi power? See Section 8.5 * What is psi strength and psi skill? Psi strength is a person's physical talent for psi (esper sensivity) and cannot be improved. It is also a measure of resistance against enemy psi attacks. Psi skill is a person's skill at USING the psi strength. It can be improved with usage and training at a psi lab. * Help! My soldiers kept getting mind-blasted! Fight harder, make more kills. Low morale invites more psi attacks. If you survive the fight, sack the ones who's not very good and kept getting panicked or controlled. Soliders * What's with troops missing in action (MIA)? If one of your troopers in under alien control at the end of a battle s/he counts as MIA; therefore try to wait until s/he is no longer in control before finishing off aliens. If you abort a mission, any soldiers you leave behind is MIA. On missions with a transport, any one not on the transport is "left behind". On an alien base assault, any one not in the green rooms (on the gravlift does NOT count) is "left behind". Yet another way to get people MIA is to try (abort mission) with only an unconscious soldier in the transport. You'll lose that person as MIA as well as the transport HINT: use MediKit to wake them up (stimulant) then march them in if that happens to you. * How do my soldiers improve? By doing things. They improve firing accuracy by shooting at things, strength by carrying more things, and so on. Those getting kills will improve more than those who did not. Therefore, try not to let HWP get a kill since you will lose a chance to let a soldier improve, and leave the easy shots (against panicked aliens, for example) to the rookies. Psi skill also improves with use. * How do I get more officers? See Section 8.1.5 Miscellaneous * How do I cheat? If you REALLY want to cheat, here's how to add TONS to money into your accout. Yes, you are embezzling the world to support XCOM. You are twisting arms, and it is for a GOOD cause. :-D Use a sector editor (such as Norton DiskEdit) and edit LIGLOB.DAT in your saved game's directory. Overwrite the first 8 bytes with 64 64 64 64 00 00 00 00... You should get about 1.68 billion dollars. (In case you are wondering, 64646464h is a hexadecimal number. In decimal it is 1,684,300,900.) You can also use FF FF FF 7F 00 00 00 00... Which will give you about 2.1 billion dollars. (7FFFFFFFh = 2,147,484,647) * How do I bypass Document Check Copy Protection? Sorry, you won't find the info in there. Yes, I do know how, and no, I will NOT tell you. In fact, I don't use it myself. So don't ask me. This is a STRATEGY guide, not a game crack guide.