Is classic mode punishing anybody else?

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#1 Edited by Sackmanjones (4708 posts) -

So I already beat the game on normal. Only lost like 5 soldiers the whole game and figured that means I'm ready for classic mode. Man I am gettin murdered out there! I've done maybe 8 or 9 missions ( for better context Ive had one council meeting) and I've already lost 12 soldiers and lost a mission. I do realize sometimes it's the luck of the draw and there are just a ton of enemies or where they are placed is brutal. Just wondering how everyone else is doing on classic mode?

So far I have one outstanding solider rightfully named Barry Burton (this is my Resident Evil squad) who is just a monster. Hasn't panicked ever and tends to hit his mark. But other than that my soldiers have been really unreliable and unstable. 
 
EDIT:   So this morning I lost my first classic Ironman and it was pretty much my fault. Things started out poor, I had lost 4 countries in the first month due to lack of sattilites. (considered quitting then but decided to pursue forward). Anyway after a slump through half of the 2nd month I finally started heating up. My troops were gettin through missions with small scratches and my bench was deep (I'd say about 14 troops had some kind of experience). Anyway I actually came out of month 2 with an A grade from the council. Enter month 3, things are looking solid with a few countries with pretty high panic. I go to do a council mission and disaster strikes. On my way taking the hostage back I ran into little resistance and things were lookin ok. Now there were 2 thin men in overwatch, I easily smoke one of em and the other is on the other side of the map, so I decide to move the vip up. Somehow his overwatch triggers from across the entire fucking map and blows him away one shot. I shoot back with my heavy, he misses. Thin man shoots back, crits him in full cover. My assault freaks out, shoots my heavy, dead.  Next move I cant do anything, thin man takes yet another long shot and kills him, mission failed. I got lucky and panic didn't really increase very much. I get an abduction that pops up and my new weapons are 0 days away. I decide to try and wait, it doesnt finish in time, people freak out, end of month and end of run. Already started my second go, enjoying getting my ass kicked.

#2 Posted by Sackmanjones (4708 posts) -

I'm also playing on ironman so there is no going back

#3 Posted by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

I had a tough time for the first 1-2 months on clasic + ironman. Then it's was smooth sailing. No countries lost.

Currently doing impossible ironman. Classic now seems like a carefree childhood memory. :P

#4 Posted by crusader8463 (14422 posts) -

Nah it's way too easy. Just to make it kind of hard I throw down a couple grenades in the middle of my squad at the start of every mission and never use anything but the starting guns.

I don't find it more difficult than normal in a tactical sense actually, but I do find it amps up the cheap AI glitches/tricks to an annoyingly high level. More times then in Normal I have ridiculously crazy amounts of enemies just spawning in the middle of my group at turn end and having them one shotting guys out of no where. Shots with super high acc. missing every single time without fail again and again and again while enemies one shot me out from out of nowhere from the other side of the map. It just feels like it adds a style of difficulty to the game in a way that I find to be annoying rather then a fun challenge to overcome.

#5 Posted by Zaapp1 (658 posts) -

Everything but thin men seem manageable. Thin men dodge everything, and hit/crit every shot, usually one-shotting my guys. Everything else doesn't appear until you're at least partially ready for them (except for a terror mission where I fought like 4/5 cyberdiscs after having only seen like 2.) It really seems to come down to the random mission generation, as fighting certain enemy types on certain maps seems to be certain doom.

#6 Edited by BisonHero (6545 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

I had a tough time for the first 1-2 months on clasic + ironman. Then it's was smooth sailing. No countries lost.

Currently doing impossible ironman. Classic now seems like a carefree childhood memory. :P

I'm not Ryan-Davis-bad at the game or anything, and I've finished the game on Normal. Unlike (most?) of the Bombcrew, I found Normal painfully easy by about the halfway point, since it is hard for your squad to ever lose with plasma weapons and Titan armor.

So now I'm trying Classic. I play cautiously, but once I uncover a cluster of like 3 Mutons, that's it, my squad is guaranteed to be wiped. I just can't deal with them on Classic, where A) enemies have bullshit accuracy and crit chance compared to Normal, and B) their AI is better, so Mutons use their grenades with alarming frequency, and no-miss-5-damage-also-I-destroyed-your-full-cover is the worst fucking thing imaginable, even when I space out my troops. Maybe I spent too much of my money the first 3 months on satellites and satellite uplinks (read: most of my money), but I have Carapace Armor and laser weapons, and it's not enough. I could handle Thin Men and Floaters with their Light Plasma Rifles, but the Mutons just do too much damage for me to survive, especially once the game shifts gears and they're suddenly the bread and butter of every mission. So I guess this applies to all enemies that are better than Mutons as well. Now that their accuracy and crit chance and HP have been tweaked up from Normal, they just seem impossible, until I get Titan armor and all the plasma weapons.

Part of the problem is that the first mission I encountered with Mutons wiped out my whole squad of guys who were a little leveled up, and since then I've just been rolling into missions with mostly rookies, and aside from the occasional lucky terror mission with no Mutons, I am doing horribly on every mission (been failing at least half lately). On Normal, it was "OK, I'll pass every mission, and a particularly bad mission might be one where I lose 2-3 guys". On Classic now that enough time has passed that I'm fighting Mutons, it is "OK, Mutons will just arbitrarily one-hit guys in full cover, so it's a damn miracle if I even complete a mission". Also I get hosed constantly by enemies that spawn right on top of me; I guess that happens more on Classic because there are generally more enemies on the map, and some weird memory overflow leads to the game forgetting where they should be? I thought people were overreacting, because on Normal that happened to me maybe 2 or 3 times total, but I swear I've seen it happen like a dozen times on my Classic game.

Do I just need to not explore? Do I need to take up an early defensive position, then just overwatch everybody for like 5 turns, until an enemy patrol walks near me and I get like 4-5 reaction shots? I just feel like running everyone back to the Skyranger once anybody dies, because I barely have enough firepower to do fucking anything with a full squad, so being down a man means I might as well pack my bags. Playing this game without class abilities is frustrating.

Any suggestions? Against Mutons specifically, I guess?

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#7 Edited by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

My guess is you're simply used to the ease of Normal especially with pimped out dudes.

@BisonHero said:

I have Carapace Armor and laser weapons, and it's not enough.

This should be entirely enough. Don't rely on the crutch of plasma and titan armor to beat simple Mutons without problems consistently, as there will be tougher enemies later on.

What is your squad composition? This plays a big role.

Do you have dudes that can strip enemies of cover? Heavies with rockets, alien grenades (from mutons), shredder rockets, can both deal large damage to several enemies at once and also expose them, leaving them without cover, meaning that even a simple laser rifle shot should be enough to finish off an exposed mutton with half an HP. What about your snipers? squad sight is a must, a sniper with a scope a laser rifle and squad sight should be able to oneshot a Muton with a crit (use headshot), even in low cover and exposed cover should guarantee a kill. Snipers should have sensor balls to scout ahead. Then you got assaults, with a laser shotgun, flanked, point blank (around 100% hit 100% crit), using rapid fire and with some crit perks a single assault can flank and kill 1 Muton in a single turn. A well specced squad can take care of 2 enemy mutton groups with little difficulty. Do you have a support with heavy smoke and extra medkits, a heavy well placed smoke can save you a death.

All of the above pretty much counters the luck aspect of the game, because rockets are 90%, snipers can be almost guaranteed to hit with 80%-100% shots, and assaults point blank and flanking have 100% to hit. The basic strategy on classic is to kill the enemy ASAP, a dead enemy can't shoot back, and therefore you stop relying on luck even more if no one is shooting back. Sometimes it is more beneficial to even not be in cover if that position can guarantee kills, for again it's better to not be shot at all.

You don't need to be super cautious on classic but you do need to be quite a bit cautious. Advance slowly, never dash (unless assault with run and gun), try to stick to heavy cover, and treat half cover like a bad thing and not like protection it's a lesser option to use, use overwatch not always but frequently. When enemies teleport next to your squad this should be considered a GOOD thing, as you have the entire next for your entire squad to get free kills! And finally sometimes bullshit rolls will happen and your dudes will die, it's just part of the process, it's not the end of the world (unless your entire best squad is completely wiped heh).

Do I just need to not explore? Do I need to take up an early defensive position, then just overwatch everybody for like 5 turns, until an enemy patrol walks near me and I get like 4-5 reaction shots?

No this is pointless, you will just be wasting time as with you just sitting there in one spot in overwatch enemies will almost never come to you unless you trigger them. But you do need to advance forward cautiously.

Basically my mantra for classic was, play cautiously but have an aggressive squad and the ability to go balls out weapons blazing when needed.

PS: since you're all equipped with laser weapons and carapace armor and encountering mutons now, start working on those plasma sniper rifles and shotguns, then Mutons will be a complete breeze.

#8 Posted by Spoonman671 (4641 posts) -

I felt like I got fucked pretty hard when I got back-to-back abduction missions at the end of the month early in the game.  Lost three countries that way, then another the next month.  I've been getting satellites out as fast as I can, but I felt like there wasn't much I could do in this situation.  I can only fight in one country at a time.

#9 Posted by BisonHero (6545 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: Hmmm, I'm basically doing all of those things strategy-wise, so I think my issue is just that that first Muton mission caught me off guard and killed all my leveled up dudes, so while I already know a lot of the tips you're giving regarding the use of abilities, I basically don't have abilities because I'm rolling into every mission with a fresh set of rookies every time. Invariably, they mostly die, and maybe like 1-2 guys survive and level up, but I basically never get much farther than squaddie or corporal before some Muton gets a bullshit critical and instakills that guy. I feel like I'm in this hole where I don't have any abilities to leverage against the AI, and that gives me the same options or less as the AI, except they have more dudes on each map than I do and they do more damage. I've entered a bad negative feedback loop of having no veterans at all to support my rookies and carry the squad.

I guess I just need to get lucky and have 2-3 missions go spectacularly so I can actually level up some dudes and not just be running all rookies. Seriously, I haven't even reached the rank where I can buy my sixth slot. The only thing that maybe I'm not doing enough is having higher standards when it comes to cover, because half cover is seemingly useless when stacked against the bullshit enemy accuracy on Classic.

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#10 Posted by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

@BisonHero:

Yep your own assessment is correct, abilities are key to dominating the aliens. You really need to get a good team of soldiers going again.

My squad on impossible just met their first Mutons group and was able to handily beat them even without laser weapons (don't have them yet) because my heavy has extra rocket aoe, and was able to soften up all 3 of them while simultaneously destroying all their cover, the snipers with squad sight and rapidfire assaults then mopped up. Only my support had a laser rifle. Rookies even with laser gear and carapace armor would have probably been wiped out.

If things get into a complete rut and shit just falls apart there is 0 shame in restarting the game when you're playing on classic/ironman and above, that's just how it should be. It took me 10+ restarts just to get through the first 2 missions on impossible.

#11 Edited by HerbieBug (4212 posts) -

I gave classic/ironman a try this evening to see what all the hubbub was about.

Yeeeeeaaaah, classic difficulty is not for me. Did four missions, lost an average of two guys per mission. On mission 2 I moved my people into cover for the first turn and set them to overwatch as usual. Enemies spotted, all overwatch shots miss (natch), first alien takes a shot and splatters my newly minted assault squaddie across the cobblestones. KIA. Next alien takes a shot, another guy is down to 1 hp. There is nothing I could have done save for abandoning the mission on first turn and heading home immediately. >_<

I will do an ironman run on normal eventually, but definitely not classic.

#12 Edited by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

June 18th, only lost one man.

RIP Lancel Lannister, a surprisingly capable Support. Saved 2 civilians, killed 2 Chryssalids, killed by a Cyberdisc.

And I'm about to die in a tsnumai, fuck.

#13 Posted by J12088 (453 posts) -

Classic to me felt like the ai was cheating. My hit % went down to bugger all and theres seemed to be near on 90% hit 90% crit.

#14 Posted by Enns (360 posts) -

I tried playing classic by watching my flanks and flanking the enemy. Turns out that's wrong. To win classic battles you need to learn to over watch alien spawns. The teleporting "patrols" and the preset spawns. Sadly that's THE best way of winning battles, even more so in harder modes. There are of course tactics to be done, but that's the starting point of winning a battle no matter what people say. Not flanking the enemy, cos most of the time you will spawn more dudes if you try. Not watching your back, because sooner or later aliens will spawn well within your sector. Try to get a handle on over watching alien spawns, then build your squad to compliment that. After I understood that, finishing the game classic iron man was a lot easier.

#15 Posted by HerbieBug (4212 posts) -

@J12088 said:

Classic to me felt like the ai was cheating. My hit % went down to bugger all and theres seemed to be near on 90% hit 90% crit.

Yeah, classic would entice me more if it didn't fiddle so much with the accuracy stats as part of the difficulty bump. This was the most annoying bit of my short dalliance with the classic setting. Most of my kills during were from grenades and rockets because of that.

Anyway, I'm off to go plow through the endgame on normal. :)

#16 Posted by Funkydupe (3320 posts) -

Does it fiddle with the accuracy though? The only apparent thing to me is that the aliens have more HP and there are more of them in each "unit".

#17 Posted by Sackmanjones (4708 posts) -
@Funkydupe said:

Does it fiddle with the accuracy though? The only apparent thing to me is that the aliens have more HP and there are more of them in each "unit".

Sure feels like it, had a support in full shield that was hit across the entire map for critical hits twice in a row by thin men
#18 Posted by BisonHero (6545 posts) -
@Sackmanjones
@Funkydupe said:

Does it fiddle with the accuracy though? The only apparent thing to me is that the aliens have more HP and there are more of them in each "unit".

Sure feels like it, had a support in full shield that was hit across the entire map for critical hits twice in a row by thin men
There is another thread somewhere on GB that breaks down the differences, and yes, on Classic and Impossible, the enemies receive a slight bump in HP, accuracy, crit chance, and quantity on each map, enough so that the odds are against you suddenly. Classic feels like you're at a casino: play long enough, and the house wins.
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#19 Posted by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -
#20 Edited by pyrodactyl (2061 posts) -

On ironman, classic is half luck/ half skill. Impossible is all luck.

Gave up on a classic iron man run just now. On one abduction mission I uncovered like 6-7 guys all at once on a small map. 3 alien alien shot, 3 crit on next turn my 3 best guys dead. Next mission, first panic mission, I uncover 2 crysalids. I smoke one, the other one runs on the other side of the map killing 1 civilan on each turn while I'm busy dealing with floaters. Few turns later, there's like 3 zombies and 2 crysalids on the map. I finally manage to kill the first crysalid but it's way to late.

On both mission, I could have been the best Xcom player in the world. It wouldn't changed anything.

#21 Edited by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

@pyrodactyl:

There are ways to deal with large groups of enemies. Rocket specced heavies are your friend (shredder, extra aoe), the rest of the squad (snipers/assaults with high % hit chance) then plays mop up. I had 2 cyber disks and a crysalid group active at once and was able to live through that shit with laser weaponry (and there still remained a buffer if more of my shots missed, it would have been worse but survivable), this was also on an abduction mission also about 6-7 enemies. And that second example doesn't seem like anything you should have been able to prevent in the first place, civilians die, no biggie, i've often killed civilians myself if they were in the way of a solid rocket/grenade hit that would have saved my squad.

Classic is indeed half luck half skill, but only for the first 2 months really. After the alien base (3rd month), luck stops being an issue at all.

And impossible goes from mostly luck (but it still takes a lot of skill too) at the start to steadily more and more skill. And once again after you make it through the alien base it becomes mostly skill, bad luck becomes just an inconvenience.

#22 Posted by BisonHero (6545 posts) -
@pyrodactyl Yeah, on ironman, if you ever get a bad mission that kills all of your best dudes, you're in a hole you'll never get out of, because rookies can't handle anything above Thin Men. I thought I heard that on Classic and above, Chrysalids who kill civilians in the fog of war have a higher chance of converting them to zombies. Certain terror mission maps seem impossible on Classic because you're too busy defending yourself to stop 1-2 Chrysalids from making tons of zombies.
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#23 Posted by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

@BisonHero: As long as you rescue at least 1 civilian you still win the mission, so it's kind of impossible to fail, unless you die :P

#24 Posted by rocketboot (138 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: It's easy to die when 10+ zombies chest-burst chrysalids all at once. I think I'm gonna go back to normal Ironman for a while. I've been quitting my classic games every time after I fail the first council mission.

#25 Edited by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

@rocketboot:

10 zombies are never going to burst all at once, because they are on a set incubation timer, and are converted at most 2 per turn (in fog) but frequently only 1 per, and they are not all zombified even. All you have to do is dig in at a map end and kill them as they come and that's the worst case scenario.

If you're losing council missions, yea stay away from classic as it should not be happening all the time, with a proper approach.

#26 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

If you're ever surrounded by Chryssalids, fire the rocket at your own feet.

You're going to die anyways. Might as well go out burning brighter than the stars.

#27 Posted by pyrodactyl (2061 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

There are ways to deal with large groups of enemies. Rocket specced heavies are your friend (shredder, extra aoe), the rest of the squad (snipers/assaults with high % hit chance) then plays mop up. I had 2 cyber disks and a crysalid group active at once and was able to live through that shit with laser weaponry (and there still remained a buffer if more of my shots missed, it would have been worse but survivable), this was also on an abduction mission also about 6-7 enemies. And that second example doesn't seem like anything you should have been able to prevent in the first place, civilians die, no biggie, i've often killed civilians myself if they were in the way of a solid rocket/grenade hit that would have saved my squad.

Classic is indeed half luck half skill, but only for the first 2 months really. After the alien base (3rd month), luck stops being an issue at all.

And impossible goes from mostly luck (but it still takes a lot of skill too) at the start to steadily more and more skill. And once again after you make it through the alien base it becomes mostly skill, bad luck becomes just an inconvenience.

to bad I always get my ass handed to me before a can raid the base...

#28 Posted by Sackmanjones (4708 posts) -

Posted this on the front but wanted to share my story here too! 
 
 
So this morning I lost my first classic Ironman and it was pretty much my fault. Things started out poor, I had lost 4 countries in the first month due to lack of sattilites. (considered quitting then but decided to pursue forward). Anyway after a slump through half of the 2nd month I finally started heating up. My troops were gettin through missions with small scratches and my bench was deep (I'd say about 14 troops had some kind of experience). Anyway I actually came out of month 2 with an A grade from the council. Enter month 3, things are looking solid with a few countries with pretty high panic. I go to do a council mission and disaster strikes. On my way taking the hostage back I ran into little resistance and things were lookin ok. Now there were 2 thin men in overwatch, I easily smoke one of em and the other is on the other side of the map, so I decide to move the vip up. Somehow his overwatch triggers from across the entire fucking map and blows him away one shot. I shoot back with my heavy, he misses. Thin man shoots back, crits him in full cover. My assault freaks out, shoots my heavy, dead.  Next move I cant do anything, thin man takes yet another long shot and kills him, mission failed. I got lucky and panic didn't really increase very much. I get an abduction that pops up and my new weapons are 0 days away. I decide to try and wait, it doesnt finish in time, people freak out, end of month and end of run. Already started my second go, enjoying getting my ass kicked.

#29 Posted by rocketboot (138 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: Haha yeah, I was exaggerating a little bit.

I feel like I'm getting a shitty hand on those first counsel missions though. If it's retrieval I have thin men getting ridiculous crits, if it's bomb disposal I'm stuck on a map that's hard to push forward on like that stupid cemetery.

#30 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

Here's a protip.

If you're on ironman and end up on a map you don't like, alt-tab and close the client through the task manager. Since it only saves at the end of the alien turn (ostensibly your second turn), you can get as many rerolls as you want.

Sleazy as hell, no doubt, but there's not a goddamn chance I'm going to do a terror mission on that tank map.

#31 Posted by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

@Terramagi:

I highly advise watching SLush's impossible ironman run where he gets that exact map dealt to him http://www.twitch.tv/slush/b/335748172 about 3:53, as his first terror map of the run. I was honestly expecting him to fail it.

It's great if overly long stream to watch overall. Dude gets super paranoid/OCD as time goes on being super careful with soldiers. He also starts playing totally cool for the first few hours of tries, but as he gets a good game going he becomes more and more emotional. I actually have the stream playing in the background while doing my own impossible/ironman run, to switch to it for the interesting bits.

#32 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

@Terramagi:

I highly advise watching SLush's impossible ironman run where he gets that exact map dealt to him http://www.twitch.tv/slush/b/335748172 about 3:53, as his first terror map of the run. I was honestly expecting him to fail it.

It's great if overly long stream to watch overall. Dude gets super paranoid/OCD as time goes on being super careful with soldiers. He also starts playing totally cool for the first few hours of tries, but as he gets a good game going he becomes more and more emotional. I actually have the stream playing in the background while doing my own impossible/ironman run, to switch to it for the interesting bits.

I should have added "again" to the end of that sentence.

I won it once before, but it ended with 5 people comatose and 10 civilians dead. Turns out, starting all the civilians at the back of the map in the same place doesn't end well.

#33 Posted by HerbieBug (4212 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

@Terramagi:

I highly advise watching SLush's impossible ironman run where he gets that exact map dealt to him http://www.twitch.tv/slush/b/335748172 about 3:53, as his first terror map of the run. I was honestly expecting him to fail it.

It's great if overly long stream to watch overall. Dude gets super paranoid/OCD as time goes on being super careful with soldiers. He also starts playing totally cool for the first few hours of tries, but as he gets a good game going he becomes more and more emotional. I actually have the stream playing in the background while doing my own impossible/ironman run, to switch to it for the interesting bits.

Oh man, his reaction when the mission loads. Oh no oh no oh my god not this map this is the worst. :D

#34 Posted by Baal_Sagoth (1263 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: That was a lot of great advice. Quite few things I hadn't considered at all until now. I just started tackling Classic/ Ironman myself so I'm just experimenting so far (after finishing Normal/ Ironman which was deliciously scary at times but really quite doable in retrospect). I'd like to hear your insight into squad composition since I really freaked out about that before the Normal/ Ironman finale and thought about it a lot since then. Is that a naive and silly question on Classic/ Ironman since one has to deal with whoever is available and not wounded anyway? What is a squad you'd ideally prefer?

I'm glad to hear you respect the Heavy since that class had some of my most competent soldiers and I was weirded out by the hate the class seems to get by a lot of players. I know now that I underestimated the squadsight Sniper and the class in general even though I find it painful to level up at times. I do like the Assault but I rarely manage to make them efficient and keep them out of harms way (which results in significant injuries every second mission or so). So until now I usually tried to go for 2 Supports (dedicated medic + smoke and combat), 2 Heavies ( rockets + rocket and suppression hybrid), a flanking Assault with an evasion/defensive focus so I can mitigate some of the pain and a Sniper (I rotated my sort of mediocre Snapshot and later, once I realized the effectiveness usually my Squadsight guy. That served me well on Normal but is it on OK start for having a serious go at classic?

#35 Posted by Funkydupe (3320 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: Fun stuff. There aren't that many videos of Impossible/Iron Man out there.

#36 Edited by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

@Baal_Sagoth:

Well the general rule of thumb for me is to have one of each class. The question then becomes what classes do I take 2 of.

This can heavily depend on what classes you have available and what gear, what levels of classes. Usually I never take a second support, because other classes are simply better at killing things, I only ever need one support with 3 medkits and a smoke, that imo is enough. The only time i have a second support is if I need to level one of them up to the 3 medkit ability and other classes are unavailable My playstyle belief is that you are better off when the enemy is dead as fast as possible, if they're dead there's less reliance on luck to save you from shots, ideally a single combat encounter is 1 turn, being able to wipe out an entire group in one swoop is paramount. (this of course does not apply on very very early missions when all your dudes are low level and you just can't bring any firepower/skills to bear on the enemy yet)

This leaves me with a choice of a heavy/sniper/assault for the last 2 spots. Heavies with a few levels can be great in mitigating the need for powerful weapons, because their upgraded rockets have huge aoe, good damage, rarely miss, and most importantly remove cover and weaken enemies so the rest of the squad can finish off the exposed weakened enemies. Early levels they can save you a lot of headache. However 2 heavies will force you to use their explosives and brute force tactics more, leaving less for salvage. Still they are a great crutch when/if your weapons tech is lagging behind. Snipers are great for open terrain missions, however can be quite weak at first without squad sight, but as soon as you get that they're great, but leveling your early snipers requires careful babysitting and more careful tactics, the payoff at the end however is great, as leveled up snipers with plasma sniper rifles can dominate the battlefield. Assaults are your best killers in early-midgame, due to even simple shotguns being devastating point blank with rapid fire that combo can carry your entire squad quite far, and a laser shotgun can often one shot a mutton, downside is that they require you to be willing to take a risk of uncovering more enemies when they're running ahead to get that guaranteed kill, this can be a problem on open maps but in tight enclosed areas not so much.

If I don't feel confident in my squad gear/abilities in an upcoming mission I prefer to take 2 heavies to guarantee rocket damage if shit goes pear shaped, 2 heavies have saved my bacon in early/mid missions more times than i can count. If I feel confident i'll take an extra sniper to level up. If it's a UFO mission i will prefer to take only 1 heavy because too much destruction will leave less resources.

Late game however when I get into titan armor tech and plasma weapons, I often find myself only ever having 1 heavy in a squad simply because colonel snipers and assaults are so godly that 2 of each can just lay waste; with a lot of HP and abilities assaults have less to fear when running forward for the kill and with the killing power of plasma weapons, rockets start lagging behind as does the heavies accuracy/firepower (except vs. mechanical enemies, or if you manage to get your hands on a plasma launcher)

I consider 3 of any class not a good balance. 3 heavies will leave you with nothing to salvage (if as you should you are using more reliable rockets instead of their weapon's shit accuracy). 3 snipers will require too much management of good positions and might leave you with a bad line of sight on too many aliens as well as gimp you indoors. And 3 assaults can overextend themselves and be left without run and gun or ammo, get too exposed in open areas, or have no one left to overwatch their reckless asses.

But just as frequently I find the decision to be usually out of my hands due to soldiers being injured or gear availability.

#37 Posted by KirePDX (69 posts) -

@Sackmanjones: Just want to say that I'm in the same boat. Breezed through Normal relatively easily, but have been getting smoked in Classic. I've had to restart 4-5 times and still haven't even gotten to the alien base mission yet. I did make the mistake of playing a couple games while drunk, which led to multiple squad wipes; but even when I'm at the top of my game, I'll get a full wipe frequently.

My guys just can't hit shit, and get nailed constantly. I'm starting to accept that half cover is worthless and am playing tactically to keep people constantly in full cover; but even then, too often my guy gets his cover melted mid-turn and is fully exposed for everyone else to take potshots.

It's annoying, but hopefully I figure it out before I decide to put a controller through my TV screen.

#38 Posted by Baal_Sagoth (1263 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: Thanks! That makes a lot of sense. One of each class is something I always went for, especially since I needed to experiment with all the possibilities anyway of course. But I will stick to that going forward. As much as it hurts, your take on the Support rings true. Patching up guys or defending them with smoke grenades due to lack of firepower is just not worthwhile when one can destroy them in the first place, I can see that. Plus, over-estimating support roles is sort of a weakness of mine. In that case though, do you have a preference concerning maximum health perk vs. Sentinel? Purely emotionally speaking I absolutely loved my Support Sentinel but that slot can have a lot to do that is not purely being on Overwatch all the time.

And as far as the Heavy upgrades go, do you consider Holo-Targeting to be worth taking in the end? I love the idea of it and had my first and full campaign survivor Heavy using the perk but it didn't seem to come into play as often as I would have liked, at least speaking from gut feeling. And two shots a turn, especially for a low accuracy class, is great. Particularly if that second action can be a much needed reload.

I'm definitely going for significant Sniper presence this time just to struggle through the level-up and gain that incredible firepower as a reward.

I actually ended up using 2 Assaults in my final mission run due to tragic prior events and the surviving second Heavy being too inexperienced (although she was one of the gifted ones). And that turned out to be pretty successful. One last question I have would be: do you generally tend to go for pure shotgun assaults? I initially did that but switched to plasma rifles when I pissed away my weapon fragments with that excessive Heavy explosive damage making the Alloy Gun unattainable. On normal that worked splendidly, but then again, many questionable strategies do.

Anyway, some great strategic advice! I can't wait to put it all it use in my future runs now.

#39 Edited by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

@Baal_Sagoth:

If you are running 2 support often than Sentinel, because with 2 medics is 6 medkits, healing 6 hp each is more than enough.

If however you are running only 1 support then Saviour, as later enemies start to deal more dmg that 10 hp is quite a significant healing boost over only 6 hp, almost double in fact (almost like having 2 supports without savior heh). I always choose Savior on all my support, because I normally run with 1 support.

Also something to consider, overwatch has an inherent penalty to hit (don't remember if it's 10 or 20%) And Sentinel also requires that 2 enemy movements happen in one turn, this is great on alien discovery. But on higher difficulties enemies tend to find a nice hevy cover and shoot at you from there (unless they're trying to flank)

Holo targeting for heavy is not worth it. It's a measly 10% extra chance to hit on a single enemy. Rarely if ever do you need an entire squad to focus on one enemy, so that 10% is going to be used only once or twice by another class. However bullet swarm allows you to shoot twice! Or shoot and overwatch or shoot and reload or shoot and move. Not only is it a double boost in firepower to your heavy when needed it also makes him a much more flexible tactically. Bullet Swarm every time.

.

Here is a decent guide to soldier abilities and their choice: http://www.ufopaedia.org/index.php?title=Beginner_Guide the only things I personally disagree with in that guide is:

  • support - (because i only run 1) sentinel vs. saviour as per above
  • heavy - danger zone vs. grenadier, the area of effect boost to rockets is deceptively HUGE, the area they cover makes rockets from a good tool, into a great tool, from usually being able to cover 1-2 enemies, to being able to cover 2-6 enemies, as well as the extra aoe allowing you to fidget with the rocket more and more easily hit enemies being obstructed, grenade AoE is small, they do much less damage, and have much shorter range, 1 extra grenade is simply not worth it
  • heavy - rocketeer vs. mayhem, if you're running 2 heavies, that extra rocket is overkill, with shredder you already have 4 total rockets in a a squad, more than enough for tactical use, and the extra damage makes rockets more deadly for longer, combine with HEAT and rockets are even more deadly to machines, and mayhem also benefits a plasma launcher if you can get one even more. This is a matter of preference however.
  • sniper - battle scanner vs. disabling shot. Battle scanner every time. Being able to safely scout ahead of your force is very beneficial on higher difficulties, and also allows you to set up squad sight shots without triggering the enemy first, as squad sight works with the sensor; disabling shot has a penalty to hit and you want to kill an enemy not disable it something a high level sniper should have no problem with (killing)
#40 Posted by Baal_Sagoth (1263 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: Excellent. Thanks a lot!

I think I'm going to attempt to limit Supports to one per engagement, so heavy medic focus. I contemplated the overwatch penalty before of course but on Classic/ Ironman I really got to learn how wrong that gambit can go. There's just not much worse than feeling reasonably save, all things considering, in Overwatch and than be exposed to the nightmare of having lost an action for soldiers that are not connecting with reaction shots at all.

So far I prioritized Bullet Swarm and I'm liking the results (even on low-level units which really hits the point home, while holo + suppression + mayhem only comes into play late-game and even then only situationally).

I'm going to have to digest all that information and mess around with it a lot on Classic. But it's reassuring to have talked it through quite a bit. I'm sure this'll make the learning curve of adapting to Classic/ Ironman quite a bit smoother. Oh, and I intercepted the Battleship class once but without the appropriate firepower to take the UFO down so no Plasma Launcher for me as of now. I'm going to get payback though, eventually. Good stuff, so much depth in this damn game, it's a delight.

#41 Posted by Scotto (1185 posts) -

@crusader8463 said:

Nah it's way too easy. Just to make it kind of hard I throw down a couple grenades in the middle of my squad at the start of every mission and never use anything but the starting guns.

I don't find it more difficult than normal in a tactical sense actually, but I do find it amps up the cheap AI glitches/tricks to an annoyingly high level. More times then in Normal I have ridiculously crazy amounts of enemies just spawning in the middle of my group at turn end and having them one shotting guys out of no where. Shots with super high acc. missing every single time without fail again and again and again while enemies one shot me out from out of nowhere from the other side of the map. It just feels like it adds a style of difficulty to the game in a way that I find to be annoying rather then a fun challenge to overcome.

I furiously quit the game this morning after ALL FIVE OF MY GUYS missed 50%+ shots at a Muton with four hitpoints left, and then it proceeded to one shot my only colonel (sniper), who was behind full cover like 20 tiles away. Fuck that shit.

I gave Ironman a try in classic difficulty, but the game is too buggy and quirky, and too much random cheap shit like the above happens, for me to go through with it right now.

#42 Edited by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

@Scotto:

Why are you relying on such low chances to kill a potentially dangerous Muton? A rocket, or a grenade can do the job or at least expose him to make other shots have a higher % chance, or a run&gun assault can ensure the same. Seriously 50% shots should rarely ever be taken unless you're fielding rookies at the start of the game or something. But not when Mutons are already on the field, that just sounds like a bad tactical decision.

For that matter a loss of a single soldier regardless of rank is just par of the course, it's nothing that can't be recovered from nor will it lose the game for you. Man up and soldier on, if you can't move on from one soldier dying (even one as great as a col sniper) then classic ironman is not for you simple as that (that's not a slight to your abilities or temperament just a statement of what kind of gameplay experience it provides). Now if your entire squad of best soldier got wiped out then yes that would be a bitch to recover from.

Cheap random shit will happen, part of the challenge of playing ironman/classic is recovering from such blows.

#43 Posted by Scotto (1185 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

@Scotto:

Why are you relying on such low chances to kill a potentially dangerous Muton? A rocket, or a grenade can do the job or at least expose him to make other shots have a higher % chance, or a run&gun assault can ensure the same. Seriously 50% shots should rarely ever be taken unless you're fielding rookies at the start of the game or something. But not when Mutons are already on the field, that just sounds like a bad tactical decision.

For that matter a loss of a single soldier regardless of rank is just par of the course, it's nothing that can't be recovered from nor will it lose the game for you. Man up and soldier on, if you can't move on from one soldier dying (even one as great as a col sniper) then classic ironman is not for you simple as that (that's not a slight to your abilities or temperament just a statement of what kind of gameplay experience it provides). Now if your entire squad of best soldier got wiped out then yes that would be a bitch to recover from.

Cheap random shit will happen, part of the challenge of playing ironman/classic is recovering from such blows.

I said they were 50%+. Chances spanned anywhere from 56% to 71% in this case. Over the course of five attempts, all of them missed. And they aren't rookies, but it is early in my second playthrough - all still using default weapons, only three in carapace. I may have used a rocket, if my only heavy wasn't gravely injured, and I had no grenades. And the muton wasn't dangerous - I just needed to finish him off.

I have no problem losing soldiers, and have lost about half a dozen already. What I don't abide, is losing five coin flips of better than 50/50 odds, then having a guy's health bar wiped all the way out when he's behind full cover with a football field of space between them.

Run and gun would have been a poor decision, because there were still more enemies in the area, I would have had half-cover at best, and they could have easily flanked me.

And yes, I agree that this probably means Ironman isn't for me, at least right now. I have no problem being punished for making bad decisions, but I don't have time for cheap shit.

#44 Posted by mason (260 posts) -

@BisonHero: @BisonHero said:

@Tennmuerti said:

So now I'm trying Classic. I play cautiously, but once I uncover a cluster of like 3 Mutons, that's it, my squad is guaranteed to be wiped. I just can't deal with them on Classic, where A) enemies have bullshit accuracy and crit chance compared to Normal, and B) their AI is better, so Mutons use their grenades with alarming frequency, and no-miss-5-damage-also-I-destroyed-your-full-cover is the worst fucking thing imaginable, even when I space out my troops.

...

Any suggestions? Against Mutons specifically, I guess?

Regarding mutons, I've found they can either be hard or easy, depending on the map and how you choose to move through it. I find the key is being defensive and forcing them to run across your overwatch.

Mutons are predictably aggressive and run around a lot, so you can be sure they'll come to you, especially once you've been spotted. If you run out to meet them, you're playing right into their hands. While I sometimes will run up to them with a shotgun, its only once I'm confident it won't reveal more mutons by surprise.

If you already know mutons are out there (like from sound cues), set up a strong reinforced position and let them come to you. Set up fortress of high cover, but try not to stand too close together. If they're staying out of view, send out a scout to attract them then run the scout back to your overwatching companions. They'll come to you and hopefully get smoked. Also, because you're not on the move, your snipers and heavies will have their full abilities available which can make or break the next turn.

As for sending out a scout, because you may need to run for cover, never dash when scouting. Move once and use your second action for overwatch if you don't spot them. If you do spot them, use that second action to run back or hunker down. Hunker down is actually useful if you can't get back to a safe place. It'll protect you from crits, and hopefully the scout has high HP to absorb a grenade. Doing this, the scout may take damage, but there's a good chance of survival.

Can't quite be this patient on terror missions with mutons, but even then, I employ a looser version of scouting, doubling back and letting them run into overwatch.

#45 Posted by RIDEBIRD (1232 posts) -

@Scotto: It doesn't mean that Ironman isn't for you, it means that the random aspect of the game completely screws over any sense of accomplishment or fairness on Classic+ difficulty levels. It just sort of breaks the game. I guess that's what happens when AI coding isn't your strong suit.

#46 Edited by Tennmuerti (8113 posts) -

@RIDEBIRD:

I'm going to quote your PM here as it is relevant to this topic and response. (from the deleted thread) This is what you responded with when i suggested either not doing ironman or using tactics:

But playing the game without Ironman is quite pointless. Why bother? I try to mitigate randomness by flanking, but when you do that you can't even decide your path and have to live with the fact that every time an alien sees you running from cover to cover there's a built in dice roll that says if the alien will get an reaction shot or not.

To put it bluntly. You're bad at the game, currently.

You can't go into classic/ironman without a clear understanding of basic game mechanics and expect it to not punish you for it. Those reaction shots are due to Overwatch, the same ability your soldiers have and that a game has a tool tip for and that you can actually see the aliens use if they're in your los. You are shitting on a game being so random when the random mechanic you describe is not random at all, and is easily controlled and managed. Classic/ironman requires some advanced tactics, this is not even that, this is Xcom 101.

I'm saying this with 0 menace. I'm not being an asshole. I'm stating a simple fact. Accepting it is the first step towards learning and getting better at the game.

.

(Even for the actual randomness that does exist a huge portion of it can be mitigated with skill and tactics. But never entirely, that's the entire point behind chance. Classic allows you a HUGE luxury to deal with the consequences of a random fuckup unlike impossible, if you're unable to do so that's on you, because other people can and do manage it.)

Nor is playing without ironman if you choose to do so pointless. Most people are playing it without ironman and are able to enjoy the game that way just fine.

#47 Posted by Jahbu (20 posts) -

Man classic makes me feel unskilled. They spawn so many enemies from the goddamn fog...on ALL sides. They my troops keep freaking out when enemies pop out. If classic is this hard...I can't imagine impossible.

#48 Edited by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

I abandoned my 5th Impossible Ironman run today but it had started well. The first 3 or 4 missions passed without a single loss on my side and I feel like the first couple of months is half the battle. But then one screwup too many suddenly made the panic levels look impossible (naturally) to deal with. Honestly I think I'd enjoy the challenge of Impossible combat just fine if the strategy layer didn't start out so fucked up. Classic is therefore probably the perfectly pitched difficulty for me, if I'm considering the strategy stuff as part of the equation.

#49 Posted by RIDEBIRD (1232 posts) -

@Tennmuerti: I didn't notice you decided to call me out here, but okay man. I fully know what overwatch is, but I have interpreted the fact that when you come across aliens in cover (not discover them), you always get shot at. This is due to the fact that they have used overwatch in fog of war.

I am playing according to the good book of Tennmuerti, have read tons, and I'm still having issues where I'm flanking and missing with 70-80% hitchance only to be critted through full cover by the same dude. That's happened three times now. That still feels very unjust and undeserved, as I am in fact playing according to the way that you and other pro players have said.

I just don't see how me being bad and making tactical mistakes completely makes my argument invalid, as these situations never feel like something to be learned from (a la Dark Souls), but rather, fuck this piece of shit weighed dice.

#50 Posted by Chumm (241 posts) -

@RIDEBIRD said:

@Tennmuerti: I didn't notice you decided to call me out here, but okay man. I fully know what overwatch is, but I have interpreted the fact that when you come across aliens in cover (not discover them), you always get shot at. This is due to the fact that they have used overwatch in fog of war.

I am playing according to the good book of Tennmuerti, have read tons, and I'm still having issues where I'm flanking and missing with 70-80% hitchance only to be critted through full cover by the same dude. That's happened three times now. That still feels very unjust and undeserved, as I am in fact playing according to the way that you and other pro players have said.

I just don't see how me being bad and making tactical mistakes completely makes my argument invalid, as these situations never feel like something to be learned from (a la Dark Souls), but rather, fuck this piece of shit weighed dice.

The way to not feel screwed over by the dice is to assume the enemy has 100% hit chance and 100% crit chance. You'll find that people playing well on classic/impossible ironman simply don't get hit because they don't get into fights they can't win decisively. Like, if you're flanked by a thin man you use 2 grenades to kill the one guy instead of taking a 70% shot at him, that sort of decisiveness. That may not be for everyone, but it's not random and it's not bad design/programming as people have been suggesting here. The exception of course is when the art design of a level doesn't jive with the tactical design, leading to shooting through walls and the like, but that becomes easier to predict as you play.

For example, the situation you described could only occur if you'd discovered enemies and they'd run out of sight into the fog. Enemies will never be able to take an overwatch shot (or a regular shot) until you've "activated" them and got the scatter into cover animation. So if that happens, assume that you WILL take a 100% hit 100% crit overwatch shot from the direction the enemy scattered off to, and respond accordingly using the game's tools. One tool is an assault with the lightning reflexes perk; They move into the enemy's view, drawing the reaction shot which the perk guarantees will miss, leaving the enemy with no other reaction shots that turn. If that's not an option, you can move behind hard cover, blocking the enemy's line of sight, and move to the edge of that cover to get sight. Reaction shots are only taken against movement that starts while the enemy can see you, so if the last square of your move, in this case moving to the edge of the tall cover to peek out, is the square in which you gain sight of eachother, the reaction shot does not occur.

I'm not suggesting you needed a wall of text to explain how to go over this particular scenario, so pardon that, the point is that just about every gripe made in this thread has an answer in the game's mechanics. My first playthrough was on normal ironman and I lost 58 soldiers, going into the last mission with 2 colonels and the rest squaddies because I kept wiping. After watching a lot of classic/impossible playthroughs and rethinking my play, I just beat classic with 3 deaths, all rookies in the first couple months.

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