Finished the game on Classic Ironman, here's some tips!

#1 Edited by Dredlockz (348 posts) -

Finally beat the game on Classic Ironman!

I lost three dudes on the last mission, but otherwise I think i'm ready to move to Impossible, here I'll share some tips and tactics to improve your game, hope it helps someone!

Please share stuff you have learned along the way too, specially if you've finished above normal difficulty.

  • Consider starting in Asia: Then get Africa, and then North America if you can. Don't start in Africa because it only takes 3 satellites to cover Africa and the bonus isn't as good in the first couple of months, it takes 4 to cover Asia so its worth having the perk right off the bat. Europe seemed like a good choice at first, but I went through my whole game without making any labs (until the end when I was raking in the big bucks), you only need more scientists, and you can get those from satellites on any country, or from mission rewards. You really only need a workshop or two tops to finish the game. When you build the officer training school, be sure to get Wet Work and Iron Will relatively soon, as they will increase the rate at which your dudes levelup and how much will they earn per level (increases psionic potential, and less panicking).
  • Satellites are always the priority: Always be building satellites or satellite uplinks, ALWAYS! until you have covered everyone on the map. Save money and excavate preemptively.
  • Don't assign satellites until 1D before the monthly meetup: Assigning a satellite reduces panic immediately on a country, but you only get the added bonuses and money until the end of the month. So you are risking their panic levels to rise again and losing them if you don't wait until the last possible day before assigning them.
  • Always use high cover: depending on the alien's aim, they have around 50% to hit you in low cover, and around 25% to hit you in high cover. So you should stay in high cover unless you're out of combat or flanking. Its better to bait aliens back to your high cover if there isn't any inbetween, don't ever fight from low cover.
  • Bring two snipers to UFO raids: UFO raids are full of open spaces, so bringing two snipers is key. If you bring assaults, don't give them shotguns either, otherwise they will be pretty much worthless until you're actually inside the UFO.
  • Consider Assault Soldiers with Rifles: Even tho popping run & gun and then hitting an alien point blank with a shotgun is pretty satisfying, that will make you lose a lot of soldiers. They will be open for attacks, or you could pull an extra group of aliens you hadn't seen before. Equipping your assaults with rifles is incredibly useful. You can also run&gun to a flank, and that will be just as deadly.
  • Never Dash on a single move: If you're planning on dashing in one action, always move in two steps. It's the same result, but with the added bonus of being able to backtrack to your original cover if you spot something you don't like.
  • Reload in turns: If some of your soldiers aren't fully reloaded, don't reload everyone on the same turn, even when out of combat and specially on terror missions. Keep half on overwatch and reload half, then reload the other half next turn. Don't miss out on shooting guys on patrol.
  • Bring a SHIV to escort missions: Escort missions have the extra mechanic of aliens magically falling from the sky, so even if you're placing your units according to your surroundings it may be that an alien drops somewhere you didn't foresee. Having a SHIV means you can add cover to the VIP on will so they wont get those cheaty flanks.
  • Consider not bringing snipers to escort or bomb missions: I always get squadsight for snipers, its incredibly powerful. This means that your sniper won't be able to move and shoot in the same turns, so they are not as useful for missions like escort and bombs, since they're all about moving your squad forward every turn, bring an extra Assault instead. NOTE: Once you research archangel armor, you can bring them every time usually, unless there are lots of buildings
  • Shoot with heavy with holo-targeting first: Also bear in mind that using suppression adds the holo-targetting bonus as well. Better to suppress if the heavy's hit chance are low, that will lower the alien's mobility and aim without having to do a roll. (props to )
  • Always bring a Heavy with heat ammo: Specially for the mid-game. Once those cyberdisks and Sectopods start popping, you'll regret not having this.(props to )
  • Use explosives sparingly: always have at least 1 dude with a grenade (or alien grenade) or a heavy, a single heavy with the shredder rocket and extra AoE radius is a huge boon for any mission to deny enemy good cover, secondly it's a force multiplier versus groups, thirdly not only are you denying the enemy cover you are also generally living them out of cover meaning extra crit% and with a shredder rocket even more dmg. Also a rocket that does not kill an alien does not destroy any of their salvage. (props to ).
  • Don't peek out of corners all the time: If there's a larger area of full cover available, it's sometimes beneficial to not stand at the edges. Like how a pick-up truck has 4 squares of full cover: if you stand in one of the middle squares the aliens wont have a shot at you at all. Specially when dashing, since you wont be able to shoot that turn anyway, and you can always move to the edge next turn and shoot. An exception for this is if you need to shoot a heavy rocket (as you can't move and shoot at the same time) or snipe. But it's risky. (props to )
  • Plan out your satellite deployment schedule:The income is only at the end of the month, but so are the expenses (so if you are constructing uplinks that you aren't using by month end they are simply wasting money). Satellite construction takes 20 days, and roughly half a month for uplinks/power. This results in a natural cycle: prep excavations before the month start, at the moth start build power, workshops, satellites, then about halfway through the month uplink, towards the moth end they are all ready, repeat.(props to ).
  • Abduction missions can't occur in countries with satellites over them: (and abduction UFO is not let through), this means two things: cover a continent in satellites and not only do you get the bonus but it's panic level cannot rise (assuming you don't fail missions) not even by proxy from other countries, because abductions you don't choose to do raise panic in countries of the same continent only; finally a faster+full world satellite coverage means no more abduction missions, meaning no need to worry about panic at all.(props to ).
#2 Posted by Vitor (2829 posts) -

@Dredlockz: I disagree with your final point. Always bring 2 sniper on every mission. With double tap and squad sight, as long as they're well placed initially, you'll dominate.

They're marginally less useful in areas with lots of buildings but if there's no open windows, stack snipers on doors before opening them and have them overwatch. You'll clear rooms easily that way.

Also, while shooting twice with heavies seems pretty good, I always give them holo-aim and have them shoot or suppress first before my sniper takes a shot. Really increases your chance for a hit. Basically, my entire plan revolves around my two snipers and as long as I'm not impatient and don't dash, classic is a piece of cake once you've fully levelled those guys up.

That being said, do get Heat Ammo for the heavies. I didn't and am really regretting it considering how often Cyberdiscs show up.

#3 Posted by psylah (2182 posts) -

You should make this an FAQ.

#4 Posted by kerse (2118 posts) -

@Vitor said:

@Dredlockz: I disagree with your final point. Always bring 2 sniper on every mission. With double tap and squad sight, as long as they're well placed initially, you'll dominate.

They're marginally less useful in areas with lots of buildings but if there's no open windows, stack snipers on doors before opening them and have them overwatch. You'll clear rooms easily that way.

Also, while shooting twice with heavies seems pretty good, I always give them holo-aim and have them shoot or suppress first before my sniper takes a shot. Really increases your chance for a hit. Basically, my entire plan revolves around my two snipers and as long as I'm not impatient and don't dash, classic is a piece of cake once you've fully levelled those guys up.

That being said, do get Heat Ammo for the heavies. I didn't and am really regretting it considering how often Cyberdiscs show up.

I feel like having one heavy with heat ammo with you at all times is pretty key, they take down robotic enemies so fast.

#5 Posted by Dredlockz (348 posts) -

@Vitor said:

@Dredlockz: I disagree with your final point. Always bring 2 sniper on every mission. With double tap and squad sight, as long as they're well placed initially, you'll dominate.

Good point, once you have double tap and archangel armor you should bring a sniper always. But before then, definitely consider bringing something else instead, its not bad if you get to position them correctly, but in the early-mid game you'll just bring them to be moving them each turn without shooting that much.

Also, the enemies are mostly thinmen on overwatch, so assaults with lightining reflexes are a good way to go instead, you don't benefit from using headshots against thinmen.

I'm gonna add your other points to the list!

#6 Posted by Yodasdarkside (291 posts) -

Good tips, and well done, sir.

#7 Posted by Sterling (2587 posts) -

I always use two snipers with team sight, and leave them a ways behind everyone else on higher ground if possible. And if they get too far back I burn a turn to move them up. They usually get about 75-95% on shots. Also helps prevent some of the flanking.

#8 Posted by RollingZeppelin (2069 posts) -

@Dredlockz said:

  • Start in Asia: Then get Africa, and then USA if you can.

I didn't know the USA was a continent...

Online
#9 Posted by Dredlockz (348 posts) -

@RollingZeppelin: lolshit. wow. edited.

I scewed up a bit since I always get the USA first in north america, since it yields the most money

#10 Posted by Chaser324 (6716 posts) -

Classic Ironman keeps smashing me over and over again, the council missions in particular tend to always result in a loss of the entire squad. I'll definitely try to take your "no snipers" advice on those missions from now on.

I just recently decided to try dropping down to Normal, and it is way freaking easier...almost to the point of feeling like cheating if you've spent a lot of time playing Classic. Free satellite and officer school, less panic, extra health on rookies, less health on enemies, and I'd swear that shots hit more often than they do in Classic as well.

Moderator
#11 Posted by RollingZeppelin (2069 posts) -

@Dredlockz said:

@RollingZeppelin: lolshit. wow. edited.

I scewed up a bit since I always get the USA first in north america, since it yields the most money

Ha ha, no biggie, we Canadians have a sore spot for being overlooked. It's cool that we are given some respect in this game.

Thanks for the tips, I was wondering how an assault with a rifle would be an effective unit. I'm just about to finish my first go on normal (ironman), so these tips are much needed for my next attempt!

Thanks.

Online
#12 Posted by IzzyGraze (852 posts) -

Man this game is getting stressful. I'm only playing on normal, non-ironman, and I'm still finding it really difficult. I think I have things figured out then X-com throws a curveball like cyber disks and aliens that can mind-control. Plus the only people that consistently survive are my snipers, so I have a ton of snipers, 1 support, 1 heavy, and a bunch of low level assault. It's fun but it's really annoying when I know my whole team is going to die and I have to reload, or suffer from a team of rooks next mission. Typical mission: "I think I got this! Man these things are going down super easy. Wait...what's that? A cyber disk? Ok I can take that out, no problem. Wait...what's....a team of crysalids. Ok, I can probably...zombies...and...oh god half my team. Just a sniper left. Fuck."

#13 Posted by Vitor (2829 posts) -

@oulzac said:

I always use two snipers with team sight, and leave them a ways behind everyone else on higher ground if possible. And if they get too far back I burn a turn to move them up. They usually get about 75-95% on shots. Also helps prevent some of the flanking.

Pretty much my strategy. I have had the game screw me over with some BS line of sight restrictions though leaving me with what appears to be a perfectly positioned sniper being unable to shoot... I do wish the game would display what your LoS will be on your next position sometimes.

#14 Posted by kerse (2118 posts) -

My advice is to try and not lose Japan, they give requests that are pretty easy and give almost a thousand samolians.

#15 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

These seem like some great tips. I finished my Normal playthrough yesterday and found the challenge to be a bit lacking. Definitely looking forward to a Classic Ironman run. Thanks for the pointers.

#16 Edited by Nux (2403 posts) -

@Dredlockz: I disagree with your point about not bringing snipers on escort missions. I always make it a point to bring them as I find having them in overwatch is very helpful. Once the aliens start poping out of nowhere an overwatch sniper should have very little trouble drilling guys if you give them the opportunist ability which eliminates the aim penelity on reaction shots and allows reaction shots to crit. Because of this my sniper can one shot mutons and bring other aliens down to atleast half HP on a reaction shot. This has been very useful for me because as soon as an alien pops out of nowhere during an escort mission they will die as soon as they show up because my sniper was in overwatch, this also allows my sniper to potentially kill or at least damage up to 2 more aliens on my turn because of double tap and then allows the rest of my team to mop up any other aliens that might of poped up. I've never lost an escort mission and it is largely do to the opportunist and double tap combo. I do however agree with you on the rest of your tips, they are very useful to keep in mind.

#17 Edited by Vitor (2829 posts) -

I guess another tip would be to keep 2 fighters in every hanger for every region. That should be enough to shoot down most UFOs if you occasionally buy some of those dodge and aim modules.

I find it cheaper to just add a third fighter instead of upgrading the weapons until I have either EMP or Plasma available. $20 gets you a new fighter or just a single weapon upgrade, and even with the $10 monthly maintenance fee, it's still worth it.

Also, always chase a UFO or it will result in a shot down satellite.

#18 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

@Vitor: How would having three fighters increase the chances of a shoot-down? You can only send one fighter after any given UFO, right?

#19 Posted by Vitor (2829 posts) -

@Kerned said:

@Vitor: How would having three fighters increase the chances of a shoot-down? You can only send one fighter after any given UFO, right?

Nope. If the first one fails, you can usually have the second catch up in time to try again. The third is just there in case you suffer a loss. The UFO will usually leave your air space by the time you send out a third but you can usually have two take a crack at it.

#20 Edited by sixpin (1302 posts) -

@Kerned: Nah, I've aborted an attack to save a fighter before and sent a second one to finish the wounded UFO off.

Great thread btw. I always enjoy reading other people's X-COM strategies. I'm a sniper friendly user myself. Usually have at least one in the back on overwatch, with a couple assaults leading the charge. I round out my team with one heavy and a support for mid-range support. I've had pretty good results with the SHIV so far, but I've only used him on a couple missions so far.

#21 Posted by mason (264 posts) -

Only played Classic w/ reloads and Normal Ironman so far. But I found most of these points to be true.

Especially this:

@Dredlockz said:

  • Never Dash on a single move: If you're planning on dashing in one action, always move in two steps. It's the same result, but with the added bonus of being able to backtrack to your original cover if you spot something you don't like.

This is the cornerstone of scouting and defensive play. It should be a no-brainer, but I think a lot of players use the dash prompt because it's there. It's a trap. Saving a move to retreat if necessary really does keep soldiers alive. Especially with aggressive aliens like Mutons. Get back into a reinforced position and let them come to you. Can't rely on this as much with terror missions, but even then one should never dash into an ambush with no way out. Even Run n' Gun should never be triggered as the first action. Move once, then activate RnG if needed.

@Dredlockz said:

  • Start in Asia: Then get Africa, and then North America if you can. Don't start in Africa because it only takes 3 satellites to cover Africa and the bonus isn't as good in the first couple of months, it takes 4 to cover Asia so its worth having the perk right off the bat. Europe seemed like a good choice at first, but I went through my whole game without making any labs (until the end when I was raking in the big bucks), you only need more scientists, and you can get those from satellites on any country, or from mission rewards. You really only need a workshop or two tops to finish the game

You're speaking of your preferred strategy here, but I also found starting in Asia, then moving on to Africa works best. Getting foundry and training academy perks cheap and early makes the first half of the game a lot easier. By mid-game, your research, interceptors and engineering barely require a continent boost to keep pace. All you need is more money rolling in, which is where Africa starts to shine.

#22 Posted by Breadfan (6590 posts) -
#23 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

@Vitor

Ahhhhhhhhh! That never became an issue on my normal run. Good to know.

#24 Posted by Grimhild (723 posts) -

@Dredlockz:

Bring a SHIV to escort missions: Escort missions have the extra mechanic of aliens magically falling from the sky, so even if you're placing your units according to your surroundings it may be that an alien drops somewhere you didn't foresee. Having a SHIV means you can add cover to the VIP on will so they wont get those cheaty flanks.

I also started to bring 2 SHIV units on Terror missions. That way they can be at the front when the Chrysilids pop into view and get their free move where they close the gap. You don't have to worry about them getting zombiefied, and then your assaults or snipers can take them out easily.

Also, I started playing an Impossible game last night, and so far it's living up to it's name. I expect it will be like Classic/Ironman where the early middle-game will make or break the playthrough. Once you get plasma going, it's all beer and Skittles.

#25 Posted by Vitor (2829 posts) -

@Nux said:

@Dredlockz: I disagree with your point about not bringing snipers on escort missions. I always make it a point to bring them as I find having them in overwatch is very helpful. Once the aliens start poping out of nowhere an overwatch sniper should have very little trouble drilling guys if you give them the opportunist ability which eliminates the aim penelity on reaction shots and allows reaction shots to crit. Because of this my sniper can one shot mutons and bring other aliens down to atleast half HP on a reaction shot. This has been very useful for me because as soon as an alien pops out of nowhere during an escort mission they will die as soon as they show up because my sniper was in overwatch, this also allows my sniper to potentially kill or at least damage up to 2 more aliens on my turn because of double tap and then allows the rest of my team to mop up any other aliens that might of poped up. I've never lost an escort mission and it is largely do to the opportunist and double tap combo. I do however agree with you on the rest of your tips, they are very useful to keep in mind.

This.

It's why I go for Opportunist instead of Executor on snipers. Once they've been positioned, they should always be on Overwatch until you spot the enemy.

Also, the fact that only half of the enemy forces show up on your approach to the target means that keeping some snipers in the rear with sight over your troops means you can blast the teleporting enemies before they can move. Snipers are a must for escort missions if you've got the right abilities researched.

#26 Posted by seannao (231 posts) -

Here's something just to supplement everything that's been said! The rest of the channel is good stuff too! Great, amusing commentary + casually informative

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh26HyUe3po

#27 Posted by clush (428 posts) -

I think I disagree with pretty much every single point you make :D

@Dredlockz said:

  • Start in Asia: Then get Africa, and then USA if you can. Don't start in Africa because it only takes 3 satellites to cover Africa and the bonus isn't as good in the first couple of months, it takes 4 to cover Asia so its worth having the perk right off the bat. Europe seemed like a good choice at first, but I went through my whole game without making any labs (until the end when I was raking in the big bucks) you really only need a workshop or two tops.

I always start in South America, which saves a lot of research time. Saving 3 days on an interrogation or autopsy might not seem too great, but it adds up.... to about 2 months of research time. You can't always control which continents you'll be able to give full coverage.

  • Satellites are always the priority: Always be building satellites or satellite uplinks, ALWAYS! until you have covered everyone on the map. Save money and excavate preemptively.

Agreed, IF you can build them. You'll need a LOT of engineers to get all your satellites up, so I'd say early on engineers are even more of a priority, as a means to an end.

  • Don't assign satellites until 1D before the monthly meetup: Assigning a satellite reduces panic immediately on a country, but you only get the added bonuses and money until the end of the month. So you are risking their panic levels to rise again and losing them if you don't wait until the last possible day before assigning them.

While i guess you're technically right, in my experience this doesn't matter that much. The risk isn't that high. I have lost one country that already had a satellite, but that wasn't in the same month.

  • Always use high cover: depending on the alien's aim, they have around 50% to hit you in low cover, and around 25% to hit you in high cover. So you should stay in high cover unless you're out of combat or flanking.

Full cover is definitely preferable to half cover, but there's a lot of other factors to consider. I sometimes choose to have no cover at all if that will give me a better shot at an enemy. You don't need cover if the enemy is dead. This is very situational.

  • Bring two snipers to UFO raids: UFO raids are full of open spaces, so bringing two snipers is key. If you bring assaults, don't give them shotguns either, otherwise they will be pretty much worthless until you're actually inside the UFO.

Just as snipers are great in the open field, assaults are great in more confined spaces. Also snipers are more useless inside a UFO than assaults are outside. If you're bringing 2 snipers, surely you can get away with bringing 2 shotgun assaults as well... as the outside area shouldn't be any problem.

  • Consider Assault Soldiers with Rifles: Even tho popping run & gun and then hitting an alien point blank with a shotgun is pretty satisfying, that will make you lose a lot of soldiers. They will be open for attacks, or you could pull an extra group of aliens you hadn't seen before. Equipping your assaults with rifles is incredibly useful. You can also run&gun to a flank, and that will be just as deadly.

There's no way an assault with a rifle will be 'just as deadly' as a pointblank shotgun. Like you said, there's risk involved so you need to be careful as to when you run up with your shotgun, but if you're not going to equip your assaults with shotguns you're probably better off bringing supports and heavies instead.

  • Never Dash on a single move: If you're planning on dashing in your first move, always move to your first action's limit, and THEN dash. It's the same result, but with the added bonus of being able to backtrack to your original cover if you spot something you don't like.

This is true if you're going to be uncovering new terrain. If you already have vision a first move dash can be preferable because you might end up not being able to reach your destination if you don't move to exactly the right square on your 1st move.

  • Reload in turns: If some of your soldiers aren't fully reloaded, don't reload everyone on the same turn, even when out of combat and specially on terror missions. Keep half on overwatch and reload half, then reload the other half next turn. Don't miss out on shooting guys on patrol.

I always reload everyone without moving anyone after every fight. This works fine.

  • Bring a SHIV to escort missions: Escort missions have the extra mechanic of aliens magically falling from the sky, so even if you're placing your units according to your surroundings it may be that an alien drops somewhere you didn't foresee. Having a SHIV means you can add cover to the VIP on will so they wont get those cheaty flanks.

I haven't used SHIVs yet, but if your VIP is getting shot at I'd say you're doing it wrong anyway. The extra cover might save your ass in a situation like that, but it's more damage control than sound strategy imo.

  • Don't bring snipers to escort or bomb missions: I always get squadsight for snipers, its incredibly powerful, specially once you get the archangel armor. This means that your sniper won't be able to move and shoot in the same turns, so they are not as useful for missions like escort and bombs, since they're all about moving your squad forward every turn, bring an extra Assault instead.

Snipers are incredibly useful on any mission. The good thing about squadsight is that you won't have to move them up every turn, even on escort missions. I'm perfectly happy leaving them stationary for 3 turns while the rest of the squad moves up. It really isn't any different from approaching a UFO.

I'm guessing my playstyle is just a bit more aggressive than yours. My philosophy is aliens can't kill you if you kill them first. Some tips of my own:

  • Alien corpses are one of the last things to worry about. You should never not use a grenade or explosive because you want to recover a body or some piece of alien tech. The game points you in the wrong direction on this one.
  • Level the playingfield, literally. Blowing up aliens' cover is incredibly useful. It will give your squaddies better shots, do a bit of guaranteed damage and persuade aliens to move to find new cover instead of shooting at you.
  • Don't be afraid to go balls out when you need to. This applies to fighting sectopods and chrysalids more than anything. Rather than hoping to hit your 35% shots from cover and hoping said cover will save you on their turn, get right up in their faces and throw everything you got at them. If you need to leave cover to finish off a sectopod, that's almost always the way to go.
  • Know thine enemy. Killing a sectoid that's buffing his ally will take out both sectoids. Melee mutons will move towards the shooter when hit. Thin men will explode in a cloud of poison when killed (the poison also applies to aliens), etcetera. All of these things can be exploited. Like the melee mutons: rather than getting your shotgun assault close enough for a shotgunblast, you could consider switching to pistol and hit it from a distance to pull it into a certain direction so your sniper or heavy can take a more damaging shot at them.
  • If there's a larger area of full cover available, it's sometimes beneficial to not stand at the edges. Like how a pick-up truck has 4 squares of full cover: if you stand in one of the middle squares the aliens wont have a shot at you at all.
#28 Edited by Tennmuerti (8172 posts) -

Finished ironman classic myself over the weekend, some counter tips (from a different perspective):

  • I prefer Europe as a starting position, because it allows you to rush build Workshops at half the cost and half the monthly expense. This in turn allows you to get satellite uplinks and satellite coverage faster and cheaper, boosting the income faster. And later on your surplus Workshops can be saving you a bunch of limited materials. This has a snowball effect and you can cover the entire globe in 3 months, 4 at most
  • While useful, an assault equipped with assault rifle will never be quite as deadly as a shotgun assault, simply due to all their buff and crit stacking assault performs best almost point blank considering aliens are in cover almost all the time ending a run and gun also in cover is trivial, for long range a plasma pistol works just fine
  • LIke someone posted earlier bringing snipers on escort and bomb missions is perfectly fine, in fact it's great considering the aliens zone in, you can get a good % overwatch shot at them unlike the rest of the team, and then a double tap straight after, a sniper in a good position can cover huge parts of the map with squad sight and without needing to relocate.

Some extra tips, from my own experience:

  • learn to love your explosives, always have at least 1 dude with a grenade (or alien grenade) or a heavy, a single heavy with the shredder rocket and extra AoE radius is a huge boon for any mission to deny enemy good cover, secondly it's a force multiplier versus groups, thirdly not only are you denying the enemy cover you are also generally leaving them out of cover meaning extra crit% and with a shredder rocket even more dmg. Also a rocket that does not kill an alien does not destroy any of their salvage.
  • a good support is your oh shit guy, when a single rifle shot might not make a huge difference a well placed smoke grenade can, likewise for those juicy buffed up triple medkits
  • the sensor grenade for sniper class can be got fairly early on, and is extremely useful for safely scouting areas ahead of your team, also giving a sniper something useful to do after a move, even in early game a sensor grenade can be used to hit the enemy before they get a chance to seek cover, either with sniper fire or with rockets
  • plan out your satellite deployment schedule! The income is only at the end of the month, but so are the expenses (so if you are constructing uplinks that you aren't using by month end they are simply wasting money). Satellite construction takes 20 days, and roughly half a month for uplinks/power. This results in a natural cycle: prep excavations before the month start, at the moth start build power, workshops, satellites, then about halfway through the month uplink, towards the moth end they are all ready, repeat.
  • abduction missions can't occur in countries with satellites over them (and abduction UFO is not let through), this means two things: cover a continent in satellites and not only do you get the bonus but it's panic level cannot rise (assuming you don't fail missions) not even by proxy from other countries, because abductions you don't choose to do raise panic in countries of the same continent only; finally a faster+full world satellite coverage means no more abduction missions, meaning no need to worry about panic at all.
  • mission priority should be judged on the merit of either engineers if you need a boost for more sat uplinks, or money, an extra $200 in early game can be a huuuge boost compared to the measly monthly income; secondly memorise what 3 countries got the abduction missions, back out to look at the continents and see what continents will be affected by the panic fall and panic rise because abductions you do not do will raise the panic in countries of the same continent
  • alien base, while may be scary is a huge boost for your finances and lowers panic levels, the salvage from it can be of great help in order to speed up that satellite pipeline, also the longer you wait the tougher the enemies will be (to a point)

I'm not really gonna bother with basic tips. Otherwise this list could be a mile long :)

#29 Posted by EmuLeader (558 posts) -

I found snipers to be the single best class in the game with team sight and double tap. Can take out any enemy in one turn with one sniper. I would use my heavies more, but they NEVER have a good hit rating, unless they are flanking someone and one space away, even with a scope. Are heavies always this inaccurate?

#30 Posted by Apocralyptic (164 posts) -

@Dredlockz: Did you ever find Ironman frustrating from a interface/control point of view? I tried to play my regular game as though it was Ironman mode (i.e. w/out reloading), but every once in a while a glitch or control issue would make me glad I could re-load my save game, like having a soldier not go where I meant them to. This especially would happen from time to time on boards with multiple floors where the cursor jumps around a lot between levels.

Also, sometimes the enemy does things that are totally bullshit--for example, once I had an alien just sit there and not respond, and then when I got closer, it decided I had "seen it", and went through its rushing-for-cover animation. The problem was that it rushed for cover right past my guys, ending up totally behind my defensive perimeter and flanking all my guys. I don't think anyone took their reaction shots because that initial animation doesn't trigger Overwatch. Not exactly what I would call fair.

#31 Edited by Dredlockz (348 posts) -

@Tennmuerti:

@RollingZeppelin:

Set an assault with a rifle (specially a light plasma rifle as it adds +10 aim), and a scope, and you'll have a dude doing +70% shots or more from a distance against guys in cover. You can combine that with run&gun for getting flanks without going head-in into being surrounded by enemies. Also, that perk to shoot guys out of cover is way more useful from a distance, in my opinion.

Anyway, the point is survivability, of course the shotgun is way better in terms of damage, and going all in and being aggressive can give results, but it's all risk vs reward. Most of my tips are focused on not getting your dudes killed.

I would bring one assault with a shotgun and another with a rifle. The shotgun one as a scout, and with ghost armor and arc thrower. But I wouldn't risk it without the ghost armor, otherwise be ready to lose the soldier on that role often.

@Tennmuerti said:

  • I prefer Europe as a starting position, because it allows you to rush build Workshops at half the cost and half the monthly expense. This in turn allows you to get satellite uplinks and satellite coverage faster and cheaper, boosting the income faster.

I was going for Europe for this very same reason, the timing for that workshop is crucial. So what I end up doing is just selling the nav computer or whatever comes from the first UFO raid mission to get the money for that workshop to be rushed. You don't really need those until the mid game anyway. This way you can rush that workshop, and still get the asian and african benefits first which are more substantial. And I added a bunch of your tips to the list!

#32 Posted by Dredlockz (348 posts) -

@Apocralyptic said:

@Dredlockz: Did you ever find Ironman frustrating from a interface/control point of view? I tried to play my regular game as though it was Ironman mode (i.e. w/out reloading), but every once in a while a glitch or control issue would make me glad I could re-load my save game, like having a soldier not go where I meant them to. This especially would happen from time to time on boards with multiple floors where the cursor jumps around a lot between levels.

Also, sometimes the enemy does things that are totally bullshit--for example, once I had an alien just sit there and not respond, and then when I got closer, it decided I had "seen it", and went through its rushing-for-cover animation. The problem was that it rushed for cover right past my guys, ending up totally behind my defensive perimeter and flanking all my guys. I don't think anyone took their reaction shots because that initial animation doesn't trigger Overwatch. Not exactly what I would call fair.

holy shit yes. It took me like 10 retries to get that result from the screenshot.

And that final run, I finished it with a bug that wouldn't show the cover values of terrain. So I couldn't see the half shields or full shield symbols at all. And restarting the game wouldn't help. But I had a good sense of which were which, so I got used to it at the end. It really sucks when something goes wrong because of a fault of that sort.

#33 Posted by mason (264 posts) -

@clush said:

  • Don't be afraid to go balls out when you need to. This applies to fighting sectopods and chrysalids more than anything. Rather than hoping to hit your 35% shots from cover and hoping said cover will save you on their turn, get right up in their faces and throw everything you got at them. If you need to leave cover to finish off a sectopod, that's almost always the way to go.

Normally yes, if I see a big baddie that has to die ASAP, I may get in its face for better accuracy and shoot until dead. I'll even do it outside of cover if there's no other way.

But it should be said that rushing in all of your soldiers is a bad idea (unless you're absolutely sure it's the last enemy on the map).

It's imperative to leave a couple of soldiers in that can cover you while the rest of the team bum rushes. As your attackers close-in there's a risk of stepping on an unrevealed portion of the map and thus triggering new enemies. If you use up your final soldier going for a killing blow, and happen to reveal enemies, then next turn your dudes are sitting ducks.

#34 Posted by pyrodactyl (2274 posts) -

@mason said:

You're speaking of your preferred strategy here, but I also found starting in Asia, then moving on to Africa works best. Getting foundry and training academy perks cheap and early makes the first half of the game a lot easier. By mid-game, your research, interceptors and engineering barely require a continent boost to keep pace. All you need is more money rolling in, which is where Africa starts to shine.

You get perks from the academy on a discount to? That changes EVERYTHING! I'm starting a new playtrough now!

#35 Edited by Tennmuerti (8172 posts) -

@Dredlockz said:

@Tennmuerti:

@RollingZeppelin:

Set an assault with a rifle (specially a light plasma rifle as it adds +10 aim), and a scope, and you'll have a dude doing +70% shots or more from a distance against guys in cover. You can combine that with run&gun for getting flanks without going head-in into being surrounded by enemies. Also, that perk to shoot guys out of cover is way more useful from a distance, in my opinion.

Anyway, the point is survivability, of course the shotgun is way better in terms of damage, and going all in and being aggressive can give results, but it's all risk vs reward. Most of my tips are focused on not getting your dudes killed.

I would bring one assault with a shotgun and another with a rifle. The shotgun one as a scout, and with ghost armor and arc thrower. But I wouldn't risk it without the ghost armor, otherwise be ready to lose the soldier on that role often.

I agree that with a rifle and staying further away is safer, we're just that with a shotgun they are much much more deadly. A shotgun assault can run up point blank to a dude and have 100% to hit 100% crit, with extra crit dmg, and then use double shot. A Berserker/heavymuton can be killed in one turn by 1 assault with no relying on dice rolls practically. The only real risk you're taking is revealing more units, but this can be simply mitigating by not doing a run&gun into fog of war.

It's a difference of playstyle I guess. I find 0 use for flush, because when enemy cover is an issue a heavy can deal with that more efficiently with explosives. I leave assaults and snipers as my guaranteed killers, they are almost never the first to move, if the enemy survives other attacks by my team the snipers and assaults are there with near 100% shots to clear the remaining forces. With this mindset I am also ensuring that I have available an overwhelming firepower to call on when needed in a tough do or die situation. To pull through when there are 7+ enemies on screen or when there are too many misses. Kind of like this: "be cautious, be cautious, be cautious, oh shit! fuck goddamn rng, unleash the hounds!"

Also my assaults are always wearing the best armor + chitin plating, giving them incredible amounts of hp and even if they are crit they can shrug it off. Relatively early carapace armor + chitin does the same job vs. lower tier enemies. Not saying bad bold moves with aggressive assaults never happened, but they specifically have not led me to downfall.

Gotta admit another reason tho, it's the guilty pleasure of watching your assault pump that shotgun after a solid crit. :)

@Dredlockz said:

@Tennmuerti said:

  • I prefer Europe as a starting position, because it allows you to rush build Workshops at half the cost and half the monthly expense. This in turn allows you to get satellite uplinks and satellite coverage faster and cheaper, boosting the income faster.

I was going for Europe for this very same reason, the timing for that workshop is crucial. So what I end up doing is just selling the nav computer or whatever comes from the first UFO raid mission to get the money for that workshop to be rushed. You don't really need those until the mid game anyway. This way you can rush that workshop, and still get the asian and african benefits first which are more substantial. And I added a bunch of your tips to the list!

My base building strategy is a bit more aggressive and rushing 1 workshop is not quite enough for me, I sell the ufo stuff from the first mission plus the cheaper workshops, the two full classic games I played through (one on ironman) I ended up with 4-6 workshops.

Asia benefits I don't dig much because the only crucial upgrades from the officer training school are the 2 extra slots, which are the cheapest, the rest can wait (and due to aggressive workshop building they don't have to wait long). Useful foundry upgrades don't come into play until mid game anyway, and by that time you can have asia covered with satellites and have plenty of money.

Africa is the easiest continent to get with satellites as it has only 2 countries.

The way I think of it is that you are going to get all bonuses anyway. The only question is which bonus are you going to be stuck with in the early game. And workshops can be taken advantage of from the start. While both foundry and officer training come slightly later anyway, especially the non crucial foundry upgrades.

I totally see Asia being useful however. Asia and Europe are what i would consider the top dogs when it come to starting countries in Xcom, I guess it's just a difference in approach/playstyle. In a perfect game all countries would have been equally good ^.^

#36 Posted by weavminas (84 posts) -

Dashing is useful in one situation. When you dash, you are less likely to be hit by overwatch fire. If you have a unit pinned down by an overwatch, and can't take a decent shot, have someone else farther back trigger the shot by dashing, I've salvaged a rescue mission that went horribly wrong by runnning a rookie in front of a thin man and then putting Ms. Sing on the skyranger.

Of course Lightning Reflexes is better, but sometimes your assault gets flanked by a mind merged sectoid.

#37 Edited by BoG (5192 posts) -

I actually agree with the OP on giving assault class a rife from time to time. They have higher accuracy with rifles than support, which has saved me numerous times. I've had the most success in classic when I take two assault classes, one with a shotgun, and one with a rifle. I've found assault to be super useful with abilities like Lightnig Reflexes and Close Combat specialist can be really useful. Granted, I haven't finished the game on Classic Ironman yet, but I'm getting better with each fresh start.

Oh, and one thing: Beware vehicle interiors. They're not as safe as you might think. I've had soldiers die when they had full cover on both sides, and I was certain that they were out of sight.

#38 Edited by Dredlockz (348 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: Yeah, I agree with everything you said, it is all a matter of risk vs reward and play-style at the end. Going to change my post about Asia a bit to reflect it.

Just one extra perk from Asia you should get soon, is the bonus to how much "Will" your soldiers get per levelup. This is something to get early as well as it increases the odds of your dudes being psionic, and how good they will be at it. Also lessens the chance of them being panicked.

#39 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3505 posts) -

Seeing your stats just confirmed how bad I am at this game. Blows my mind you only lost 3 soldiers. I'm on normal (try 2) and I lose a dude here and there on Very Hard missions. Pretty sad...

Thanks to you and everyone else for the tips, think it'll make a big difference. What really changed the game for me was figuring out I could move back and have the aliens follow me, rather than find cover and stick it out there over an extended firefight. Neat, huh?

#40 Posted by fox01313 (5088 posts) -

Thanks for the great tips, another one that I found highly useful after a disaster filled first month is for the first mission with a reward of scientists/engineers or money/soldier, is pick the engineers first. So much of the expansion & satellites need engineers and without them you might run into what I did with a terror mission early on that it was better to start over.

#41 Posted by Gerhabio (1977 posts) -

@dredlockz: I haven't been able to beat it!

I had been starting on Africa (then Nigeria and South Africa leave the council if need be) but I think I'll take your advice and start on Asia.

I already prioritize satellites, I aim for a 2x2 grid surrounding the pre-existing one. That gives me 14 satellite capacity, I think. Meaning I expect to lose two countries. How many countries did you end up losing?

I had not considered giving my assaults rifles. In Normal, I got the alloy cannon for my two assaults and wrecked with a Run&Gun/Rapid fire combo. I think your suggestion is smarter for Classic.

Did you really only build 2 workshops? I thought number of engineers was pretty key and had been working toward a 3x3 grid of them (that much importance I gave them).

Also, how do you get prepared for the first terror mission? That seems like the make or break for me. I always wipe and lose a country.

@Dredlockz said:

@RollingZeppelin: lolshit. wow. edited.

I scewed up a bit since I always get the USA first in north america, since it yields the most money

Ha ha, no biggie, we Canadians have a sore spot for being overlooked. It's cool that we are given some respect in this game.

Haha, Mexico is even more ignored. Most U.S. dwellers don't even consider it "North America". But XCOM knows better!

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