First time playing and want to do Realistic Ironman

#1 Posted by AcidBrandon18 (746 posts) -

What should I know before I attempt this? This will be my first playthrough of the game ever and I know it will be very challenging, but I think it'll be a fun experience. I just want to be prepared before I do it.

#2 Posted by golguin (3929 posts) -

@AcidBrandon18 said:

What should I know before I attempt this? This will be my first playthrough of the game ever and I know it will be very challenging, but I think it'll be a fun experience. I just want to be prepared before I do it.

Play very slow. Keep the majority of the team on overwatch and move a single unit forward a few units at a time so you don't accidentally awaken 10 aliens at the same time.

#3 Posted by AcidBrandon18 (746 posts) -

How should I build my base? What do you think I should spec towards first?

#4 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3845 posts) -

Satellites Uplinks and satellites are very important to grab early otherwise you will start losing countries. Keep in mind you first have to build the uplinks, which takes time, and then the satellites, which takes even more time, so you really need to get on top of it early.

Satellites and setting up your base for power. Power requires some planning as you get bonuses for connecting power areas together and if you can build the steam generator over a vent that is ideal, it's a great source of power.

For the combat part of the game, I highly recommend snipers with squad sight. Snap shot is really not the way to go as you can eventually use psi attacks or the pistol if you really need to move and attack with a sniper but you really shouldn't be doing that anyways. Sniper with squad sight was my work horse. Put down a LOT of aliens. It helps that the line of sight can be buggy in the game and you can get a lot of shots through walls.

Take the necessary risks to stun aliens. It's worth it.

#5 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5488 posts) -

Snipers are broken, foreknowledge of the maps is probably your best bet for making the game more trivial and if you can get past like the first 10 missions and have a reasonably solid squad by then the rest of the game is pretty straightforward/easy. Prioritize weapons/armor over ships. In terms of your base you want the Uplink site to turn into a square (to maximize adjacency bonuses) with one corner eventually being the second sateleite structure of wonders; aside from that a square of workshops or laboratories works well and build a geothermal generator whenever possible. Stunning a lot of early aliens then quickly researching light plasma rifles is a pretty overpowered method even in an Ironman save. In the first 5-10 missions you can get fucked and there'll be next to nothing you can do about it; just pray the RNG doesn't screw you over and stick to full cover etc; but especially on impossible one shot can kill you even in full cover with an ideal setup. I don't think the game is ever actually challenging in any respect it's just more random or less random.

#6 Posted by NotSoSneakyGuy (71 posts) -

I'm still trying to figure out if you mean Classic or Impossible...

Back on topic: I'm assuming you are not going to use a guide for your first run through.

I would say don't get discouraged by losing. It'll be inevitable that you will loose highly experienced guys or even whole squads, especially on Impossible.

If you're really committed to play this way, which I can see some find as a rewarding experience, I would really just say you just need to persevere long enough, and you'll eventually pick up on how to play the game to be successful at beating the higher difficulties with Ironman on.

#7 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3845 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

Snipers are broken

... you mean because they are so good right?

right?

@NotSoSneakyGuy said:

I'm still trying to figure out if you mean Classic or Impossible...

Yeah I hope he means Classic. Going right into Impossible is just crazy.

#8 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5488 posts) -

@ArtisanBreads: Yes, broken just indicates bad design it doesn't indicate a positive or negative variation of that design in favor of the player.

@AcidBrandon18: I should also note that the vast majority of ability selections are binary; one choice is much better than the other. Generally it'll be between: "Hey this could be situationally useful" and "Hey that sounds like a flat upgrade," option number 2 is always the correct answer.

#9 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3845 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

@ArtisanBreads: Yes, broken just indicates bad design it doesn't indicate a positive or negative variation of that design in favor of the player.

Line of sight is fucked, as I said, so I get that.

But you take what you can get. They are too fun not to use, to me. Loved using the sniper.

#10 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5488 posts) -

@ArtisanBreads: Well the game is out and out cheap if you don't use snipers to your advantage (unless you have a boatload of expensive late game upgrades to negate having to rest party members for as long etc.), though I did try to spread out kills amongst my guys evenly as opposed to having one double tap guy with 100 kills I had 10 guys with 30 kills.

Kind of spoiler: Of course the last mission of the game is extraordinarily easy with snipers and could be quite random in its difficulty without, if only because of the last room and the variance in damage output (though combat drug smoke can reduce the randomness).

#11 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3845 posts) -

@Fredchuckdave said:

@ArtisanBreads: Well the game is out and out cheap if you don't use snipers to your advantage (unless you have a boatload of expensive late game upgrades to negate having to rest party members for as long etc.), though I did try to spread out kills amongst my guys evenly as opposed to having one double tap guy with 100 kills I had 10 guys with 30 kills.

Kind of spoiler: Of course the last mission of the game is extraordinarily easy with snipers and could be quite random in its difficulty without, if only because of the last room and the variance in damage output (though combat drug smoke can reduce the randomness).

Yeah I think it can't be avoided. Snipers are really necessary anyways but they just become crazy with how line of sight works.

The prevalence of big UFO missions later on got my other guys a lot of work, though as I outlined earlier, my sniper with PSY abilities ended up being quite capable himself as far as moving and attacking in a turn.

Although I did have a sniper with more than 100 kills (this wasn't on Ironman mind you, though I mostly let deaths ride).

#12 Posted by AcidBrandon18 (746 posts) -

@NotSoSneakyGuy: Classic + Ironman

#13 Posted by Mesoian (1574 posts) -

@AcidBrandon18 said:

What should I know before I attempt this? This will be my first playthrough of the game ever and I know it will be very challenging, but I think it'll be a fun experience. I just want to be prepared before I do it.

You are going to get frustrated.

#14 Edited by Ares42 (2670 posts) -

You can make sattelites before finishing uplinks. With a decent order you should be able to get 2 sattelites up the first month 3 the second 3 the third and 4 the fourth (covering everything but either Asia or Europe). By covering a full continent you will stop any crisis missions from spawning there (making the countries mostly safe from panicking). It is also recommended to stick to as few as possible continents at the time as it means you need less airships. As for base building I've found getting a single lab pretty early to be pretty helpful, and you will need a couple workshops depending on missions and continents you get. Special buildings like elerium reactor or sattelite nexus are generally not worth it (with a possible exception for the steam generator).

As for combat, do not be afraid of using explosives early in the game, and don't worry too much about catching live aliens (unless you focus on it straight away it generally doesn't do much for you). Other than that it's pretty much gonna be a long tough ride of learning the intricacies of the maps (GL with the small graveyard map). But ye, you're pretty much gonna fail hard over and over until you start figuring out every tiny detail about how to do things.

#15 Posted by golguin (3929 posts) -

@ArtisanBreads said:

@Fredchuckdave said:

@ArtisanBreads: Well the game is out and out cheap if you don't use snipers to your advantage (unless you have a boatload of expensive late game upgrades to negate having to rest party members for as long etc.), though I did try to spread out kills amongst my guys evenly as opposed to having one double tap guy with 100 kills I had 10 guys with 30 kills.

Kind of spoiler: Of course the last mission of the game is extraordinarily easy with snipers and could be quite random in its difficulty without, if only because of the last room and the variance in damage output (though combat drug smoke can reduce the randomness).

Yeah I think it can't be avoided. Snipers are really necessary anyways but they just become crazy with how line of sight works.

The prevalence of big UFO missions later on got my other guys a lot of work, though as I outlined earlier, my sniper with PSY abilities ended up being quite capable himself as far as moving and attacking in a turn.

Although I did have a sniper with more than 100 kills (this wasn't on Ironman mind you, though I mostly let deaths ride).

My team had 3 snipers and the only reason I didn't have a 4th is because of terror missions where I needed 3 dudes (assault, heavy, and support) to get in there quick and clear rooms hoping that my overwatch snipers would catch someone in the buildings. I don't see how you would play the game without as many snipers as you could have. Overwatching squad sighted snipers are too good.

#16 Posted by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

Just because the sniper can shoot halfway across the map doesn't mean he can shoot through buildings, walls, or generally any kind of obstructions like trees or rocks. With the amount tight, close quarters UFO maps later on, you won't be able to exploit squad sight as effectively as you can on some of the earlier maps. Blowing up cover is extremely important early on, the entire reason you'll be missing shots is because enemies are entrenched in cover and need to be exposed to be accurately shot. Grenades will blow up just about anything. 3 damage may not seem like a lot, but its cover killing abilities are paramount to your success. Make sure you always get the shredder rocket for the Heavy, it gives you two rockets to use in a battle instead one. Disregard anything the Scientist or the Engineer has to say about your liberal use of explosives, their admonishments will only get your soldiers killed. If you're not researching the laser weapons and plasma weapons when given the options to do so you're not playing the game right. All the tech that you can research is ultimately useless side for the weapons and armor. They're the biggest factors that you need to invest all resources into to keep your soldiers alive.

#17 Posted by Castiel (2616 posts) -

Well in that case: Enjoy your bad time with the game. :)

#18 Posted by BisonHero (6532 posts) -
@Mesoian

@AcidBrandon18 said:

What should I know before I attempt this? This will be my first playthrough of the game ever and I know it will be very challenging, but I think it'll be a fun experience. I just want to be prepared before I do it.

You are going to get frustrated.

I really don't recommend you do this. On anything above normal, the combat math is really unfair and cheap unless you know all of the ways to game the system, like abusing grenades and snipers still being the only unit whose DPS allows you to overpower the enemy. If you don't use a guide to basically play the game for you, you'll keep losing and restarting and you probably won't have much of an idea what you could be doing better. On normal, the game is actually fun and you aren't forced to abuse the handful of things that are broken in your favour.
#19 Posted by BisonHero (6532 posts) -
@AcidBrandon18 In conclusion, I think you'll have plenty of challenge doing Ironman Normal. You don't know the game, so you'll have plenty of fuckups purely from not knowing what the enemies can do and not knowing the maps and misclicking a bunch because the PC camera is kinda bad at telling what layer you're on.
#20 Posted by Marcsman (3198 posts) -

Overwatch is your best friend

#21 Posted by BisonHero (6532 posts) -
@Marcsman

Overwatch is your best friend

To a point, but on Classic and Impossible, the enemy is less stupid and often just stays in cover if they see you overwatch. You're often better off doing some other action that is more aggressive, instead of reactive. Every turn you give the enemy to return fire on Classic/Impossible is just asking for the enemy to crit your soldiers to death.
#22 Posted by AcidBrandon18 (746 posts) -

@BisonHero: But there is an achievement for doing a Realistic Ironman playthrough.........

#23 Posted by BisonHero (6532 posts) -
@AcidBrandon18

@BisonHero: But there is an achievement for doing a Realistic Ironman playthrough.........

I really recommend you work your way up to it. Either do Normal with Ironman, or do Classic without Ironman. You'll lose soldiers here and there, but at least with the latter, you can reload when you have the inevitable missions where the enemy gets lucky crits and kills your whole team.
#24 Posted by ShaggE (6456 posts) -

@AcidBrandon18 said:

@BisonHero: But there is an achievement for doing a Realistic Ironman playthrough.........

Like Civ, the game is meant to be played over and over again, don't blow your load on your first run.

#25 Edited by OldGuy (1557 posts) -

Always be in cover. High cover if at all possible. On Classic you can pull enemies to you (NEVER DASH) move up, if you tweak them then move back to your good cover and get 'em when they try to come for you (on Impossible you will find that they're gonna stick in good cover much more and wait for you to come to them - they'll also work to flank you even more than they do in Classic)...

I put all my time the first two months into spamming satellites, uplinks and power for the uplinks - you'll sell almost everything you get to afford this [starting in North America or Africa helps] and you'll want to take only terror missions that give you Engineers and you'll need to build a workshop each month... I wound up with 12 Sats up by the end of month two.

You CAN play the game this way the first time (though you're almost certain to suffer several full squad wipes and at least one complete game failure before you get the hang of things)...

#26 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

Overwatch is for suckers.

Hunker Down, break line of sight whenever possible. Then, when you have your chance, put those motherfuckers in the ground.

Trust me, I'm a doctor.

#27 Posted by AcidBrandon18 (746 posts) -

You guys are right. Maybe I should just do normal ironman.

#28 Edited by seannao (226 posts) -

Terramagi has the right idea, but to explain what he means in more detail:

Aliens do not share vision like your human squaddies so. Each alien has its own fog of war. Alien A does not take Alien B's information into account when making a move and only seem to share information on enemy *positions*.

What this means is that if you Overwatch while Alien A sees that, Alien B does not share that information if they are not in line of sight at the time you OW'd.

Alien A will *never move in normal circumstances* when overwatched! On Classic and Impossible, the aliens receive cumulative bonuses to accuracy and critical chance. So, what happens is:

Overwatched Alien will fire their weapon and hit your soldier with a higher chance to crit. This can shut down games very early on because criticals, even when you get Carapace Armor, can one-shot soldiers.

I haven't played for a while, but if I remember right, when you go up against Thin Men, their Light Plasma gets a +10 bonus to aim, +10 bonus from Classic Difficulty, meaning that 1/2 cover(20?) is essentially blank cover... So that's why you break line of sight and almost never overwatch while an alien directly sees it. Even with height advantage, and full-shield cover (40?), I would not recommend OWing in direct line of sight w/ enemies, even if you thick-smoke. It's just not worth the risk if you can avoid getting shot at without forcing the aliens to make a move to do it first.

You need to adapt your OW behavior to be aware of where an enemy is, break line of sight (you cannot see the alien at all, they're off the map) and *then* turn on OW (so that when they make their move turn to scout or attack, they will get hit with an OW shot) or HUNKER DOWN. Use Hunker down more often. I know it sounds insane, but it imparts critical immunity(this is the key thing here) and improves Cover.

Finally, sometimes you'll have re-roll the game and expect to lose many countries on your first time through Classic! It's very rewarding once you get used to it though.

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