What am I doing wrong?

#1 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7241 posts) -

So, I'm playing Xcom on normal and while I'm not at risk of losing the game (16 hours in and no countries have left) I have trouble losing soldiers. In the first 13 hours of the game I didn't lose many troops, but recently I've been losing nearly 2 per mission! It's getting insane, especially since the sectopods have come. I just find that the aliens can pull off amazing shots, while my dumbasses can't even hit a 50/50 most of the time.

They are always in cover, I try to be patient and my technology is pretty modern (though my armour is a little behind due to money issues.) It's also become alot harder due to me losing high ranked soldiers, losing extremely good abilities like the 3 medkits one.

Any advice or tips and tricks for people on normal? It was so easy before, but now, it's taken a big turn.

#2 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7241 posts) -

My memorial has a scroll bar it's so long.. Fuck.

#3 Posted by Kerned (1170 posts) -

Go slow and stay in cover, which you are doing. Sometimes losing troops is unavoidable, unfortunately. There is a certain element of luck in that game, and there were times when I was doing everything right, but an enemy would appear behind my lines, unexpectedly above my troops, etc. There were other times where I just took a sub-optimal group of troops for a given mission and some would get killed.

Don't fret too much about losing troops in that game. I won't say it's unavoidable, but it's certainly difficult to avoid.

#4 Posted by Daiphyer (1337 posts) -

I was kind of in your situation when they started introducing the tougher enemies until I started buying better armor and weapons. Oh, and buying that half recovery time and focusing on a 6-10 man squad is key. Once I had a main 6, I did most of the missions without taking any damage. It felt good.

#5 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

Are you letting your guys run off alone? Or stay with each other? 

#6 Posted by Christoffer (1823 posts) -

I think there's some pretty good advice in some old forum threads.

Most advice circle around taking it slow, meaning it's important to "set up" your team before uncovering a new area. Every new push you make in a turn is one less potential shot if you stumble on a group of enemies. And in the case of a sectopod, you want all those potential shots to take it out in one turn. Having a rogue unit up in the front at the end of the turn is a bad decision.

#7 Posted by natedawg_kz (234 posts) -

Use Overwatch!!!

#8 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

Overwatch is stupid and, until you research the Muton Foundry upgrade, it wastes ammo. If you aren't positive you can kill a motherfucker RIGHT NOW, Hunker Down. Or, even better, break line of sight entirely. Can't shoot you if they can't see you.

#9 Posted by Bribo (605 posts) -

Scopes for everyone!

#10 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

@Terramagi: But just because you can't see them doesn't mean they can't see you. Many a times have i taken shots from out of view enemies.

#11 Posted by ShaggE (6454 posts) -

That part where guys are shooting you, maybe shoot those guys instead?

#12 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7241 posts) -
@The_Laughing_Man
Are you letting your guys run off alone? Or stay with each other? 
It varies, but I try to keep them together.
#13 Edited by Karkarov (3102 posts) -

Move stupidly slow. Keep everyone together, period. If you have to go into a room with more than one entrance split your guys into two teams and go in both entrances at the same time, that way no matter what kind of cover is in there "someone" will have clean line of fire. Overwatch, constantly. The only person who should not overwatch is maybe the last person you move based on where you move them and what happens with that move. Also when I said stay together that doesn't mean butt hug each other so one nade can hit 3 or more people. Upgrade your tech, try to capture not kill aliens once you get plasma level weapons. The cheapest, and fastest, way to get plasma weapons of almost all types is to take them off captured enemies. Even a lowly Thin Man is packing a light plasma rifle. Lastly upgrade your armor, like now. It is more important than almost anything else. Also if you aren't doing it already when a dude gets injured and you have to bring in a sub, give the sub the better gear. Even a rookie can be a bad ass when he has titan armor, plasma grenades, and a heavy plasma rifle.

Oh and protip..... do not push the story. If you do you will likely run into more powerful enemies faster before you have the gear to handle them well. I took my good sweet time with my game and by the time Sectopods showed up was already able to use plasma weapons and had unlocked all of them but the plasma shotgun and plasma rocket launcher (it is bad ass, get it).

#14 Posted by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

@Canteu said:

@Terramagi: But just because you can't see them doesn't mean they can't see you. Many a times have i taken shots from out of view enemies.

If line of sight is completely broken, they will not shoot you unless there's some bad geometry that Firaxis decided not to test for.

#15 Posted by Synaptic (310 posts) -

@Terramagi said:

@Canteu said:

@Terramagi: But just because you can't see them doesn't mean they can't see you. Many a times have i taken shots from out of view enemies.

If line of sight is completely broken, they will not shoot you unless there's some bad geometry that Firaxis decided not to test for.

I understand what you mean, but there is definitely some bad geometry. Not very much, but it's there.

#16 Edited by Arabes (338 posts) -

@Synaptic: Totally, I've been shot through walls a couple of times :)

Always keep your guys covering each other and never split them up. It's a shame that the game encourages you to flank in theory but in practice you generally just end up activating new enemies as you try to move around and then you get fucked. It's a pity that Firaxis took the approach they did to enemy placement and movement, I think it mars an otherwise highly enjoyable squad based tactical games

#17 Posted by OldGuy (1557 posts) -

1) As has been said before: move hella slow, cover to cover, always stay in high cover if you can possibly swing it. DO NOT DASH, EVER.

2) You can run and gun, but always do it as two moves. If you fear it will alert a new group it's often better to try a shot with a pistol or to overwatch than to be over aggressive (unless you need whatever it is dead NOW and you know that this move will kill it). Shotguns, scatter lasers and alloy cannons are great things if you're used to them but it's certainly safer to equip your assaults with regular rifes.

3) Move everyone a normal move and then switch to another to move them before you close anyone out. That way if you alert an alien group you still have the option to move everyone back to your previous position or focus fire on who YOU want rather than what overwatch sees.

4) If you've alerted a group, do not press forward (since potentially alerting more of 'em is not going to help you much). Pulling back to high cover and letting them come to you is often better than trying to pick them off from low cover (note, in Insanity mode the AI doesn't want to abandon high cover either, so pulling them to you is much less viable as a tactic).

5) Reload! Do not all reload at once, but do not move on if you are on anything less than a full clip.

6) Overwatch is good, but it's better once you have ammo conservation from the forge.

7) Stay together but do not bunch (Mutons love to pull out the grenades when you all clump up on the same bit of cover). You can go in teams of two or three but you need to have a plan so that team one can come back in quickly to flank a group that team two has alerted.

#18 Posted by thomasnash (556 posts) -

@Karkarov: I was under the impression that new enemies showed up based on game time rather than story progress? I'm pretty sure I've hit mutons and cyberdiscs before I've even captured an outsider. Or is it that some enemies will ramp up like that, but others (sectoid commander, berserker etc) are tied to story?

#19 Posted by Jimbo (9811 posts) -

@NekuSakuraba: Take a couple of Rookies / Squaddies with you and use them as point men. If they level up, great; if they get killed it doesn't really matter because they are easily replaced. Ideally you should have one or two high level snipers who are in position and ready to fire before you uncover the map / pull enemies with your other dudes. I had one Colonel Sniper who was probably getting half of all of my kills by the end of the game.

Normal like this is basically a cakewalk the whole way through the rest of the game unless you accidentally pull multiple groups of enemies right down on top of yourself.

#20 Posted by The_Ruiner (1059 posts) -

For Sectopods, bring two snipers, and lots of ghost armor..surround them while cloaked and kill them in one turn if you can. Double tap should make this easy.

#21 Edited by RollingZeppelin (1975 posts) -

You need to have upgraded snipers, they will wreck shit. If someone has them and is still losing a lot of dudes, they have very poor tactics. It's easy, move everyone together until your sniper can safely make their way to some high-ground, or a place with an unobstructed view, then move your squad up while they are under the cover of your sniper. Those aliens wont stand a chance.

#22 Posted by MikkaQ (10288 posts) -

Hang back more, and use overwatch more. Set up ambushes for the bad guys. Try and use one guy to goad them out, then lead them into an overwatch trap.

#23 Posted by OldGuy (1557 posts) -

@thomasnash said:

@Karkarov: I was under the impression that new enemies showed up based on game time rather than story progress? I'm pretty sure I've hit mutons and cyberdiscs before I've even captured an outsider. Or is it that some enemies will ramp up like that, but others (sectoid commander, berserker etc) are tied to story?

It's a bit of both (sort of)... You might get the odd cyberdisc before the end of Part 1, but it's unlikely (and, frankly I don't recall for sure that you do... but, we'll go with it anyway)... You definitely don't see sectopods or the elites until Part 3...

I go with satellites -> beam weapons -> armor -> plasma -> heavy armor on the base side before I start doing much else and ignore the ***Priority*** stuff completely till I'm damn good and ready. If you concentrate on nothing else (and either get lucky on your terror mission rewards or only launch over countries that give you more engineers in month 1 - which can lose you one or two nations depening on panic) you can get 12 satellites up by the end of the second month.

#24 Edited by Ben_H (3361 posts) -

3 fully ranked up snipers with plasma sniper rifles for every mission is my tactic. Dudes can't come within like 20 spaces without getting iced. Make sure you use overwatch a lot. It is way worth it to go slower and use overwatch rather than dash unless you know an area is completely clear. Overwatch on Snipers is the greatest thing ever. With a plasma sniper rifle you one-shot like half the enemy types. I haven't had a casualty in probably 10 hours, and I haven't even sustained any bad injuries to my team in the last few missions.

#25 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

What's your squad makeup like? If you have heavies with the HEAT Ammo ability, remember that it also applies to rockets. And while rockets aren't 100% precise, you won't be rolling the dice with them as much as you would be with guns.

#26 Edited by Tennmuerti (8103 posts) -

One could probably write a short book on the various pieces of general advice/tips when it comes to Xcom: EU. So i'm going from just your info provided.

Don't take 50/50 shots. There's your first basic problem. (unless you're steamrolling the enemy or need a hail marry and are completely out of other options). Flank, destroy cover, etc. 3 of the 4 classes have almost guaranteed ways to deal damage, snipers have high % to hit + scopes, assaults can rapid fire point blank, heavies have rockets or grenades. 50/50 shots are acceptable at the very start of the game, but should be avoided at all costs as soon as possible, and definitely should not even be considered this late in the game.

Also by the time you meet sectopods on normal you should be already rolling in the best armor in the game. If you aren't then your income and/or research were inadequate. Mid tier armor versus sectopods is a very very bad idea (unless you have a pimp squad that can take them out in 1 turn guaranteed). This should be a priority to stop your dudes getting one/two shot.

#27 Posted by SomeDeliCook (2341 posts) -

Two tips from me: When combat stops, just take a round to reload everyone's gun. Even if their weapon is 9/10 full, reload anyways.

And second, when you are about to chart a new area, have most of your guys on overwatch, and then have one person move up a little bit. If aliens get revealed, your guys will take shots before they can get to cover.

#28 Posted by NekuSakuraba (7241 posts) -
@Tennmuerti

One could probably write a short book on the various pieces of general advice/tips when it comes to Xcom: EU. So i'm going from just your info provided.

Don't take 50/50 shots. There's your first basic problem. (unless you're steamrolling the enemy or need a hail marry and are completely out of other options). Flank, destroy cover, etc. 3 of the 4 classes have almost guaranteed ways to deal damage, snipers have high % to hit + scopes, assaults can rapid fire point blank, heavies have rockets or grenades. 50/50 shots are acceptable at the very start of the game, but should be avoided at all costs as soon as possible, and definitely should not even be considered this late in the game.

Also by the time you meet sectopods on normal you should be already rolling in the best armor in the game. If you aren't then your income and/or research were inadequate. Mid tier armor versus sectopods is a very very bad idea (unless you have a pimp squad that can take them out in 1 turn guaranteed). This should be a priority to stop your dudes getting one/two shot.

Well I have the best armour unlocked, it's just the matter of funding at the moment, I was hoping to get out of this mission with a good amount of cash but I seem pretty stuck.
#29 Posted by ThePickle (4182 posts) -
  • SAVE. A big save list is never a bad thing. Always have a save before you make any moves, and save after every successful mission.
  • Don't be afraid to "game" the game a little. The enemies will always be in the same place. If you're about to get rocked by a few mutons, reload and take it a little slower.
  • Don't break your back trying to fulfill country requests.
  • Take it slow on the terror missions. There's a big temptation to try to rush and get everyone but the missions do not end when you get every survivor, they end when all the enemies die. Any remaining survivors will count as saved. Getting over 50% is ideal, but not always possible. A poor rating will still reduce panic.
  • When choosing countries to save, go primarily by panic ratings. 200 creds or 4 scientists may sound tempting, but keeping a country in the game is far more important.
  • ALWAYS BE RELOADING.
  • Take it easy with the dashing. I find it best to take one move to cover, then another move to cover. It has roughly the same affect and prevents you from running into enemies with no moves left.

I'm certainly no XCOM expert. These are just some things I've picked up along the way. They could be useful, or I could be totally wrong about everything.

#30 Edited by Tennmuerti (8103 posts) -

@NekuSakuraba said:

@Tennmuerti

One could probably write a short book on the various pieces of general advice/tips when it comes to Xcom: EU. So i'm going from just your info provided.

Don't take 50/50 shots. There's your first basic problem. (unless you're steamrolling the enemy or need a hail marry and are completely out of other options). Flank, destroy cover, etc. 3 of the 4 classes have almost guaranteed ways to deal damage, snipers have high % to hit + scopes, assaults can rapid fire point blank, heavies have rockets or grenades. 50/50 shots are acceptable at the very start of the game, but should be avoided at all costs as soon as possible, and definitely should not even be considered this late in the game.

Also by the time you meet sectopods on normal you should be already rolling in the best armor in the game. If you aren't then your income and/or research were inadequate. Mid tier armor versus sectopods is a very very bad idea (unless you have a pimp squad that can take them out in 1 turn guaranteed). This should be a priority to stop your dudes getting one/two shot.

Well I have the best armour unlocked, it's just the matter of funding at the moment, I was hoping to get out of this mission with a good amount of cash but I seem pretty stuck.

Check your grey market menu. I often find that people forget (or don't even bother) to sell their excess items. If you are strapped for cash and really really need that moolah sell everything but alloys/weaponfragments/elirium.

What is your satellite coverage? Are all countries covered? With all countries your monthly income can be well over 2000 (minus the expenses)

#31 Posted by bigstrat2003 (64 posts) -

@OldGuy said:

@thomasnash said:

@Karkarov: I was under the impression that new enemies showed up based on game time rather than story progress? I'm pretty sure I've hit mutons and cyberdiscs before I've even captured an outsider. Or is it that some enemies will ramp up like that, but others (sectoid commander, berserker etc) are tied to story?

It's a bit of both (sort of)... You might get the odd cyberdisc before the end of Part 1, but it's unlikely (and, frankly I don't recall for sure that you do... but, we'll go with it anyway)... You definitely don't see sectopods or the elites until Part 3...

That's actually not true. In my current game, I'm on "build the hyperwave relay" (so, still in part 2). I'm facing muton elites somewhat regularly, and sectopods on occasion (came across one in a UFO mission I did).

It's not just game time though, because you can stay in part 1 for like, forever and never see the higher level stuff. It doesn't seem to be based on tech (I had fully upgraded stuff before doing the alien base last game, and still no top-tier enemies). So, it seems like some odd combination of story progress and game time? Hard to really say.

I bet you never can see ethereals before reaching part 3, though. Too important to the story arc to reveal early.

#32 Edited by Terramagi (1159 posts) -

The only thing that's restricted by story missions are Sectoid Commanders and Ethereals. If you prolong the Alien Base for long enough, you can totally get Sectopods and Muton Elites in there. Conversely, you hit it quick enough and it'll be mostly Thin Men.

#33 Posted by tangmcgame (79 posts) -

Another tip I've found very useful is to break LOS with all of your troops, preferably with Overwatch up. This will force the enemy out of position to come to you. I usually use one or two guys to check on the enemies and see what they're up to every round, but especially if you're severely outnumbered, this can help even things up. Also, it's a fantastic way to deal with Sectoid Commanders (less risk of Mind Control buttfuckery)

#34 Posted by Chumm (241 posts) -

I was in a similar spot in my first playthrough, which was normal ironman. I lost 58 soldiers that run, and it did indeed feel impossible to catch up. Failing a mission and losing everyone when you needed the resources from that mission is pretty disheartening, even once panic is no longer an issue. I ended up going into the last mission with 2 majors and the rest brand new squaddies, and it was still reasonably easy to finish. With that said, that can be frustrating, and I'm sure you'd love to train up a squad of colonels with maxed gear to go into the last mission, just to feel like you've done it proper and experienced all the skills, etc. Besides following the tips here and in the other threads, I recommend watching this youtube series of an Impossible Ironman playthrough. It's all early game stuff but Beaglerush does a good job of both keeping it fun to watch and explaining the reasons behind his actions, which helps get you thinking the right way. XCOM seems like a game about getting into cover and shooting it out, but it is really a game about flanking, breaking line of sight, and ensuring that your enemies never even get to take a shot.

#35 Posted by X_Bahamuts_Rage (2 posts) -

I found moving in stupidly slow in two seperate groups was best. Always having a sniper in place with double tap made things a lot easier when it came to destroying more intimidating enemies. Moving a little slower through a mission is worth not losing a high level troop. Smoke grenades can also bail out a troop in a sticky situation. When you get further in the game, strategy comes more into play.

#36 Posted by vikingdeath1 (971 posts) -

I just got this game last week and I think i'm maybe a little before your situation, because I just started losing somebody i cared about on every mission.

Overwatch, and try those mobile tank platforms, i've found them kinda useful against the spider zombie-makers.

#37 Posted by BisonHero (6527 posts) -
@Terramagi

The only thing that's restricted by story missions are Sectoid Commanders and Ethereals. If you prolong the Alien Base for long enough, you can totally get Sectopods and Muton Elites in there. Conversely, you hit it quick enough and it'll be mostly Thin Men.

Outsiders are also story restricted, but in the sense that I think they only show up on UFO missions, and they seem to get phased out of the game once you do the base (whereas Thin Men and rarely Sectoids can still show up late into the game).
#38 Posted by umdesch4 (772 posts) -

Maybe it's just my play style or something, but I found that outfitting a couple of assault guys with an Alloy Cannon made a massive difference. I've had them run up to a Sectopod and blow it out of the water in one turn (after softening with a shredder rocket), and do the same thing with an Ethereal that was mind-controlling one of my best guys. In fact, I did that mission twice yesterday. First time, without alloy cannons, and everyone died. Reloaded to a save game from a few game-days earlier, bought the cannons, replayed the mission, and everyone survived.

Sure it's extremely short range, but at that range, it's almost a guaranteed 13 point hit (on Normal, otherwise YMMV).

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