Tips for a new XCOM 2 player

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#1 Posted by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

Hey all,

Just asking for any tips for a new XCOM 2 player?

I played a little bit of XCOM, but that was it. Life got in the way and I didn't go back to it. So now that I have time I decided to give XCOM 2 a start from all the good things I've heard about it. I'm playing XCOM 2 (base game) on PC and just looking for any tips/suggestions as I get started. If you have anything to suggest, your input would be appreciated!

Thanks!

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#2 Posted by Relenus (217 posts) -

Flashbangs. They will save your ass so many times in the early missions.

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#3 Posted by MundaneSoul (74 posts) -

I'm also pretty new to XCOM 2 (and also played a little bit of the first one). Here's what I've learned in my short time:

Always take time to set up ambushes from concealment when you can. This can make a tough match-up way easier.

Even if you heal someone with a medkit they will still be injured after a mission. Be careful about exposing people!

Grenadiers are great for destroying enemy cover and Rangers' melee attack is amazing (especially if you take the skill that makes even more powerful).

Don't be afraid to set up advantageous tactical situations even when you're on a mission limited by turns, etc. I have always moved at my own pace despite the constraints instead of rushing and have usually still completed the objective on time.

The tutorial tries to route you into building Proving Grounds first but I think Advanced Warfare Center is way more important up front (especially if you don't savescum to avoid injuries). Guerilla Training School is good too.

...

Sorry I don't have more...still figuring most of this out myself!

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#4 Edited by OurSin_360 (6064 posts) -

Dont overextend your squad, in enemy within i was able to split guys and cover more map. In 2 it ended up biting ne in the ass my first playthrough. That said take advatage of your concealement to cover the map quicker, but always keep somebody in position to fire(preferably a sniper or reaper with squad site if you have wotc). Use your gadgets, flash bangs, mimic beacons are your best friends

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#5 Posted by Undeadpool (6491 posts) -

Know that breaking concealment is something you only get once, so try and line it up as much as possible. It's also not likely something you'll be able to sustain very far into the map, so don't worry TOO much about trying to "play it stealthy."

Clear away debris ASAP from your HQ, it gets you resources and the LAST thing you want is to need to build something and not have room for it.

Status ailments (disorientation especially) is a LOT more useful in this than I ever found it to be in the first game, so as someone else said: flashbangs are GREAT. Huge AOE and your units won't be hit by them.

This one's more opinion, but I find going early on Scientists and trying to get Magnetic Weapons as early as possible gives you a MASSIVE advantage early in the game.

Vipers will rarely be the most dangerous units on the map, but remember: their tongue attack has massive range and enormous accuracy.

Almost every map has a mission objective that's also a time crunch, so you won't be able to play as conservatively as you did in XCOM.

This last one's not really a tip, but if it's at all financially possible: grab War of the Chosen. It adds an absolute metric TON of content, from new factions to new units to a bunch of different maps and scenarios (including making Resistance Defense actually fun to play).

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#6 Edited by pweidman (2752 posts) -

Invest in specialists w/medic skills early on. Mimics can save a squad. Look for soldiers with a high will stat, and prioritize armor research as early as available. Keep your squads together, don't split up too much. Open AWC asap, and increase squad size as early as you can. Look for a way to put high accuracy soldiers in elevated positions, snipers especially. Pick the skill that gives your rangers immune to overwatch shots. When you encounter mind control capable enemies, prioritize their demise first any way you can. Have fun and realize there is a learning curve. Don't be afraid to go easy diff first run until you get a better understanding of the micro and macro decisions, and how the game works. Finally, it's a fantastic game, and get WotC after you get good at the base game.

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#7 Posted by Asmo917 (771 posts) -

To add on to what some other people have said about not splitting up too much: this is true and important, but also be wary of your spacing. If your squad isn't in concealment, you'll notice aliens VERY quickly move themselves to be 3-4 tiles away from any other aliens to prevent you from getting too much benefit from an AOE attack. It can't always be helped, but keep that in mind for your own movements. Especially early, you'll find yourself truly fucked if you lose 2 or 3 soldiers right away, even if it's only them being disoriented for a turn, allowing the enemy to move and focus fire with impunity.

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#8 Edited by NeverGameOver (823 posts) -

- Each member of your squad gets two actions per turn. They can either (1) move twice, (2) move once and fire a weapon or (3) move and then do another action. If you fire your weapon or use another attack as your first action, unless you have certain perks or are playing one of the DLC classes, it will end that squad member's turn automatically. So move first, attack second.

- Always always always always always use each soldier's first move and then use each member's second move ONLY AFTER you've used each soldier's first move. This is incredibly important, and the fact that they don't do it on exquisite corps makes the series unwatchable for me.

- If you accidentally trigger an enemy pod, you want that to happen as early in your turn as possible so that you can kill as many guys as possible before the enemy gets a turn. Therefore, at the beginning of each turn, figure out which squad member you are going to move the furthest into unexplored territory. If only one or two of your guys are concealed, it should be one of them. Move that person first because they are the most likely to trigger a pod. Then you can safely move other guys toward them without risking triggering a pod.

- Move your sniper last

- Focus fire as much as possible.

- Once you attach a weapon mod to a gun, you can't detach it from that gun but you CAN move that gun to another soldier in your team. So if you're only using one sniper per mission, you can put all of your mods on a single sniper rifle and move that one rifle to whichever sniper you're bringing.

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#9 Edited by TobbRobb (6430 posts) -

Focus fire on one enemy at a time, any enemy you kill is one less attack that the aliens get to try on your team. For that reason I think weapon upgrades help your survivability more than armor upgrades.

Mimic beacon is a really strong tool to get you out of shitty situations, I forget what you research for it. One of the autopsies.

Shredder skill on grenadiers is key. Shredding the armor off of enemies and turrets is incredibly important and outweighs whatever the other option is pretty much 100% of the time.

Flashbangs are surprisingly good. They can stun enemies out of annoying channeled abilities like mind control.

Use whatever you can to get information on enemy positions. Rangers with the phantom skill are great to scout, battle scanners, educated guessing etc. If you know where enemies are, it's much easier to avoid fighting two groups at the same time. If you can contain a fight to just the one group of enemies and clean them up it'll help out an incredible amount. The difference between fighting one or two groups of enemies can be the difference between winning unscathed or wiping your entire squad.

Try not to get frustrated at the random aspects. A rookie will always have terrible chances to hit even with a good opening (is it 80% at most?). And you can not expect too much out of a 50% shot. I usually consider anything under 90% as unreliable and a missed 90% or up is unlucky. It's part of the game and a really important factor to play like any shot can miss. If you bank all you have on a shot that MUST HIT you already messed up. It's much more important to take safe shots that leave your squad in good positions with cover and routes to escape than having a great % to hit.

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#10 Edited by zombie2011 (5533 posts) -

@undeadpool: Is War of the Chosen a separate campaign? Or is it like the Alien Hunters DLC and just integrates new content into the base campaign?

I'm about 10 hours into the Deluxe edition and am wondering if I should just buy WoTC and restart the game if it adds more content to the base.

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#11 Edited by OurSin_360 (6064 posts) -

@zombie2011: its more like enemy within but much bigger, same basic campaign but with an entire new plot layer, new enemy's, and 3 new factions/soldier types. Only problem is the lack if narrative intergration with alien hunters and shens gift, you still get the enemies and weapons/armor but lose the missions(since the expansion adds a fatigue system that breaks those missions. So if you haven't played the other 2 dlcs i would play vanilla first then the expansion. I made the mistake of waiting and missed out on those missions completely.

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#12 Edited by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

Wow...you all are great! Thanks so much for the tips and suggestions, its already helping!

@relenus flashbangs... on point! those have already saved my ass...thanks! wouldn't have necessarily figured that one out.

@tobbrobb thanks, all of that is really helpful. Especially about the % and how to look at it. That has definitely been hurting me and i'll try not to bank everything on on "must hit" shots, though its hard! :-p I'll just have to get in the habit.

Again, thanks to EVERYONE for all their helpful input. I've read it all and it has all started to make me a better XCOM 2 player. I really appreciate it!

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#13 Posted by Chaser324 (8519 posts) -

- Always always always always always use each soldier's first move and then use each member's second move ONLY AFTER you've used each soldier's first move. This is incredibly important, and the fact that they don't do it on exquisite corps makes the series unwatchable for me.

I think this is by far the biggest piece of advice for anyone new coming into the game. You'll also generally want to avoid ever uncovering new territory on that second move. Once you get a bit more comfortable with the game, you might be able to relax these rules a bit, but it's still generally how you'll want to approach things.

Also, mimic beacons! They're the only item that can reliably save your ass in situations where you can't kill an enemy before it gets a chance to attack.

Moderator
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#14 Posted by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

@chaser324 said:

@nevergameover said:

- Always always always always always use each soldier's first move and then use each member's second move ONLY AFTER you've used each soldier's first move. This is incredibly important, and the fact that they don't do it on exquisite corps makes the series unwatchable for me.

I think this is by far the biggest piece of advice for anyone new coming into the game. You'll also generally want to avoid ever uncovering new territory on that second move. Once you get a bit more comfortable with the game, you might be able to relax these rules a bit, but it's still generally how you'll want to approach things.

Also, mimic beacons! They're the only item that can reliably save your ass in situations where you can't kill an enemy before it gets a chance to attack.

This is huge! I didn't realize I could do this. This has been incredibly helpful. I have definitely gotten burned pretty hard by uncovering territory on the second move.

I don't have mimic beacons yet, or I don't know how to build them. I'll look at those.

*additional question* is there anyway to know what rookies get what specialization? or is it totally random? or is it based on how you use them?

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#15 Posted by Chaser324 (8519 posts) -

@maxszy said:

*additional question* is there anyway to know what rookies get what specialization? or is it totally random? or is it based on how you use them?

It's random. However, the Guerrilla Tactics School will let you take a rookie and train them to be a specific class - very helpful to fill in gaps if you're short on a specific type of soldier.

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#16 Edited by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

I have a laundry list of tips to give, but it would take too much time to write out. So many things are important. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is never rage. If something goes wrong, it went wrong because of YOU not because of RNG. If you lose a soldier, immediately start thinking what you could have done differently to prevent that instead of reactively blaming the game.

Not saying that you would, I don't know you. But it is far and away the most criticism I have read within the community from beginning players.

@oursin_360@zombie2011 its more like enemy within but much bigger, same basic campaign but with an entire new plot layer, new enemy's, and 3 new factions/soldier types. Only problem is the lack if narrative intergration with alien hunters and shens gift, you still get the enemies and weapons/armor but lose the missions(since the expansion adds a fatigue system that breaks those missions. So if you haven't played the other 2 dlcs i would play vanilla first then the expansion. I made the mistake of waiting and missed out on those missions completely.

If you want to play the two missions unique to those DLC's, you simply turn off 'Integrated DLC' when starting a new game. This turns both DLC's into their vanilla versions, enabling the missions and introduction time of the new enemies and SPARK.

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#17 Edited by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

@zevvion: While I'm not that person, I hope I wouldn't be anyway, that is helpful! So thanks. It is frustrating when they die and it is easy to point the issue elsewhere beside decisions I made.

@chaser324: Perfect! That helps tremendously. I have the Guerrilla Tactics School building now so that will be helpful. (All my specialists have died :-S I've got 3 snipers though!)

edited for grammar

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#18 Posted by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

Hey all,

Thanks for all your tips! They have been tremendously helpful. EMP grenades and blue screen rounds have been crucial against sectopod that were destroying me before. Along with making sure I've got two grenadiers along. Using my first move to uncover territory but not (always) my second one has saved my ass numerous times. I still have been having a difficult time getting Mimic beacons but I believe that's because I haven't been getting the right loot from missions it seems. Also thanks for all the tips in regards to the Guerrilla Tactics School and Advanced Training Facility...they've been massively helpful! I've got about 25 hours into it and I am officially a huge XCOM 2 fan. I love it. Even though I'm still not that great (but learning)!

I've got a few followup questions in regards to tips if anyone would be so kind to continue to help:

1. Any tips for defeating a Gatekeeper? I've only seen one so far, and it totally demolished my squad at the time. My tactics were miserable and probably close to non-existent against it because it did so much damage to my group.
2. How do you deal with fast paced missions with limited moves? I'm getting better at combat but still more on the methodical side so if I take extra long on a fight it often times screws up my pacing. (I've had to just run to the EVAC point a few times and forget what's going on around me. Needless to say, doesn't often turn out well.)

Thanks to everyone for all your tips and insight! I've read through them all and they have all helped in one way or another. Really appreciate the support!

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#19 Posted by OurSin_360 (6064 posts) -

@maxszy: you get the material from one specific enemy for mimic beacons.

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#20 Posted by FDL (40 posts) -

Gatekeepers are vulnerable to EMP grenades and flashbangs. Acid grenades are useful at destroying their armor. Psionic soldiers with the stasis ability are very effective against them as well, allowing you to neutralize them for 2 turns and letting you eliminate other enemies so you can focus all your soldiers on the gatekeeper when it breaks free.

Nothing wrong with rushing towards the objective on those missions. The first couple of moves should be about moving as far as you can. Gotta be efficient too. Make every move count and be aggressive (don't overwatch).

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#21 Posted by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

@fdl: Thanks so much! EMP has been a lifesaver for my squad numerous times. EMP grenades and bluescreen rounds. I didn't realize what the Psi Lab did, so I just relatively recently got my first Psi soldier. They're really good, but I've only got a few abilities now. I'll have to prioritize it on my next campaign as I think I am getting toward (or am pretty much at) the end on this one.

Appreciate the advice on rushing to the objective sometimes too. On those missions with limited time, its helped quite a bit. I think I was being too methodical before for some missions and it put me within almost missing the objective and getting stuck by numerous enemies.

@mundanesoul why I didn't utilize the ambush advice right away I don't know. Maybe because there's so much going on and to learn initially, but using my concealment to setup an ambush has really made a huge difference. I've been able to take down numerous enemies like that without them touching me which has been great!

Thanks all for your continued tips!

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#22 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@maxszy: Stack DoT's, shred their armor and Rupture them. Rapid Fire is also great. Just use every ability that allows you to output a ton of damage.

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#23 Posted by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

@zevvion: ahhh! DoTs, great idea. What class gets Rupture? I don't think I've seen that ability yet? I'm not sure, it doesn't ring a bell right now.

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#24 Posted by ATastySlurpee (527 posts) -

Know that breaking concealment is something you only get once, so try and line it up as much as possible. It's also not likely something you'll be able to sustain very far into the map, so don't worry TOO much about trying to "play it stealthy."

Clear away debris ASAP from your HQ, it gets you resources and the LAST thing you want is to need to build something and not have room for it.

Status ailments (disorientation especially) is a LOT more useful in this than I ever found it to be in the first game, so as someone else said: flashbangs are GREAT. Huge AOE and your units won't be hit by them.

This one's more opinion, but I find going early on Scientists and trying to get Magnetic Weapons as early as possible gives you a MASSIVE advantage early in the game.

Vipers will rarely be the most dangerous units on the map, but remember: their tongue attack has massive range and enormous accuracy.

Almost every map has a mission objective that's also a time crunch, so you won't be able to play as conservatively as you did in XCOM.

This last one's not really a tip, but if it's at all financially possible: grab War of the Chosen. It adds an absolute metric TON of content, from new factions to new units to a bunch of different maps and scenarios (including making Resistance Defense actually fun to play).

Which is the very reason I hated XCOM 2. I absolutely loved XCOM EU & EW, I hated XCOM 2

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#25 Posted by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

Alright, so another followup question all:

I'm about to finish my first campaign. From what I know, the last mission was just activated and I'll be doing that tonight. I ended up playing on easy since I had no idea what I was doing. For my second campaign, I'm going to bump back up to normal (it was rough at the beginning for me since I had no idea what I was doing) but I am wondering, should I go straight to War of the Chosen at this point? I keep hearing great things about it, and I plan to play it but I am thinking I should do one more campaign to really understand things even better before doing so. For instance, I only got a Psi Operative the last few missions because I had no idea that's what the Psi Lab let me do. I'm much more comfortable now and I am thinking of holding off on WotC for one more campaign beforehand to help me understand a lot of the nuances better. I love the game, so I am not concerned about getting "burned out" or anything of that nature anytime soon.

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#26 Posted by Undeadpool (6491 posts) -

@undeadpool said:

Know that breaking concealment is something you only get once, so try and line it up as much as possible. It's also not likely something you'll be able to sustain very far into the map, so don't worry TOO much about trying to "play it stealthy."

Clear away debris ASAP from your HQ, it gets you resources and the LAST thing you want is to need to build something and not have room for it.

Status ailments (disorientation especially) is a LOT more useful in this than I ever found it to be in the first game, so as someone else said: flashbangs are GREAT. Huge AOE and your units won't be hit by them.

This one's more opinion, but I find going early on Scientists and trying to get Magnetic Weapons as early as possible gives you a MASSIVE advantage early in the game.

Vipers will rarely be the most dangerous units on the map, but remember: their tongue attack has massive range and enormous accuracy.

Almost every map has a mission objective that's also a time crunch, so you won't be able to play as conservatively as you did in XCOM.

This last one's not really a tip, but if it's at all financially possible: grab War of the Chosen. It adds an absolute metric TON of content, from new factions to new units to a bunch of different maps and scenarios (including making Resistance Defense actually fun to play).

Which is the very reason I hated XCOM 2. I absolutely loved XCOM EU & EW, I hated XCOM 2

It was one of the things that really sold me on it. The first one, after a point, just felt like "Walk maximum distance without dashing, overwatch" on repeat.

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#27 Posted by tradee9691 (11 posts) -

Take XCOM 2 and either uninstall and/or break the disk. Next, go buy XCOM again and play that.

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#28 Posted by gunflame88 (337 posts) -

@maxszy: Just go for WotC, no reason to put it off. It's an amazing expansion.

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#29 Edited by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@maxszy: Grenadiers have Rupture, it is a Colonel skill. You can also just shred with explosives or a standard shot from someone who has shredder, then Rapid Fire with a shotgun. There are lots of ways to deal with Gatekeepers.

As for War of the Chosen, it adds a lot to the game. I don't think you'll regret just buying and playing it immediately. You can play the game countless times with it and you'll have to learn a lot of new things anyway, you might as well get started.

@undeadpool said:
@atastyslurpee said:
@undeadpool said:

Know that breaking concealment is something you only get once, so try and line it up as much as possible. It's also not likely something you'll be able to sustain very far into the map, so don't worry TOO much about trying to "play it stealthy."

Clear away debris ASAP from your HQ, it gets you resources and the LAST thing you want is to need to build something and not have room for it.

Status ailments (disorientation especially) is a LOT more useful in this than I ever found it to be in the first game, so as someone else said: flashbangs are GREAT. Huge AOE and your units won't be hit by them.

This one's more opinion, but I find going early on Scientists and trying to get Magnetic Weapons as early as possible gives you a MASSIVE advantage early in the game.

Vipers will rarely be the most dangerous units on the map, but remember: their tongue attack has massive range and enormous accuracy.

Almost every map has a mission objective that's also a time crunch, so you won't be able to play as conservatively as you did in XCOM.

This last one's not really a tip, but if it's at all financially possible: grab War of the Chosen. It adds an absolute metric TON of content, from new factions to new units to a bunch of different maps and scenarios (including making Resistance Defense actually fun to play).

Which is the very reason I hated XCOM 2. I absolutely loved XCOM EU & EW, I hated XCOM 2

It was one of the things that really sold me on it. The first one, after a point, just felt like "Walk maximum distance without dashing, overwatch" on repeat.

Indeed. In retrospect, EU is pretty broken from a gameplay standpoint. It is way too easy to exploit. Not that XCOM 2 is challenging all the way through, but it at least makes you work for it. It took me a while to get used to turn timers in XCOM 2 as I was extremely reliant on playing hyper-cautiously in EU and EW. But once I did, I don't think I ever get closer than 3-turns when I complete the objective. This is without True Concealment mod or the double turn timer option.

If you don't complete the objective in time, you don't have the objective in mind but think about killing aliens. This is just the wrong approach to an objective based mission. XCOM 2 is much more fun than EU in many ways, but one of which is that if you actually play the objective, there are a lot of missions that feel different. You'll prefer different classes, different items, different set ups. In EU every mission was identical, you had an A-grade squad that was perfect for every mission and you always wanted to use the same things. It's very hard to go back to EU after XCOM 2. It improved so much.

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#30 Edited by OurSin_360 (6064 posts) -

Timers made the game challenging, without them I'd probably never fail or lose a soldier, and on pc you can just mod them out anyway.

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#31 Posted by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

@gunflame88 & @zevvion thanks for the input! I think I'll just get WotC then and go from there. Work on re-learning things and expect I'll probably end up doing a couple runs anyway. That makes my decision easier!

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#32 Posted by Zevvion (5965 posts) -

@maxszy: Keep us posted if you enjoy it. If it proves too complex you can always ask here, or alternatively it also allows you to launch XCOM 2 vanilla.

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#33 Posted by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

@zevvion: I will! I'll probably start that run on easy and see how it goes instead of immediately stepping up the difficulty. I'm sure I'll be coming back here for more input as I get started and have questions. That's nice it allows you to launch XCOM 2 vanilla as an option, that gives me some peace of mind too if it doesn't work immediately.

Thanks so much for your continued help!

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#34 Edited by FDL (40 posts) -

I think you could squeeze out another playthrough on vanilla before jumping into WotC (Would recommend the Shen's Last Gift dlc for a second playthrough, having a big ol' robot in you squad is so damn good). WotC is an incredible overhaul of the base game with tweaks to the mechanics that I think you can better understand and appreciate if you have a better familiarity with original XCOM 2. There is so goddamn much content in it that you could immediately jump into a third playthrough and still have the game feel fresh.

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#35 Posted by Maxszy (2326 posts) -

@fdl: Those are good points as well. I may do that, as that is what I was thinking first. All the great things about WotC made me think otherwise but you're right, rushing into it without a full handle on the base game may not be the best of ideas. There does seem to be a lot of content coming through there that it would feel fresh. I like your idea of getting Shen's Last Gift dlc for my second play through. That sounds like a good stepping stone so to speak.

Thanks for the input!

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