First off, I'm loving the hell out of this game. I love how hard and unforgiving it is, and I love losing the game as much as winning as I'm always happy to start over, try harder and do better. I always play Ironman on normal difficulty.
The problem i keep running into is that after a while I always seem to become exceedingly ill-equiped to effectively battle the enemies the game throws at me, generally around the point the mutons start showing up in numbers. If I try really hard I can still successfully fight the mutons (with the odd casualty thrown in) but then when the spinning discs start showing up I'll always be riding the downward spiral of getting wiped in the field, losing income, nations leaving the alliance and all sorts of bad things. Since I feel like I'm handling the fieldwork rather well, or at least know my mistakes when things go tits up, I think my problems are due to poor decisionmaking in the metagame.
My question therefor is if any of you feel like you got the base development, research and panic control worked out to something that works in the long run. What are your research priorities etcetera. To me, there seem to be too many things that give too great a benefit to pass up on, but research takes a long time and cash is limited so I can't have it all. When i focus on armor the lack of firepower seems to get me, and vice versa. Meanwhile i feel like getting satellites up and interceptors stationed across the world is critical as well, nevermind capturing and interrogating aliens. I'm juggling so many things that all seem awesome, and could probably do with a more cohesive plan.