Author Topic: Starter Tips section and how to make money  (Read 2165 times)

Offline MoonKid

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Starter Tips section and how to make money
« on: January 01, 2020, 03:25:19 pm »
Are there somewhere instructions for XComFiles newbies? Some beginner tips?

I am wondering how to make more money. What should I research for to sell? In the vanilla "alien alloy" (ger: Ausserirdische Legierung) could be crafted and sold for more money than the crafting costs.

Offline Sarissofoi

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2020, 03:44:43 pm »
Plundering safehouses and outposts.
Once i get 2mln just from one outpost.

Offline MoonKid

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2020, 05:25:00 pm »
I have no idea how to plunder currently. Which way on the research tree this is?

And does not plundering have a negative effect on my reputation and regular income?

Offline Sarissofoi

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2020, 06:08:55 pm »
I mean attack safe houses and cult outposts. They usually contain extra loot(weapon/ammo/explosives/medicine boxes that you can unpack) and money items(like Bag of cash) that can be easily converted to money.
You can also sell bodies and captured prisoners and animals.
Usually you need just interrogate them only once for game progression(but doing it more help as you can get extra techs, info or dossiers which affect points).
If you are good you can stun and capture many zombies then sell them for hard cash.

Offline MoonKid

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2020, 07:56:28 pm »
You mean stuned zombies making the most money compared to other monsters and aliens? ;)

You can stun a zombie with electric?

Offline X-Man

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2020, 08:46:35 pm »
You need to make a long way before you get something worthy to produce. By that time you'll become an experienced player, so the beginner's tips aren't actual. :P

Just complete every mission as you can with no or minimal looses, and you'll be fine.

Offline Bananas_Akimbo

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2020, 11:58:35 pm »
(What happened? I got in a fugue state and now there's this wall of text in front of me. Oh well... might as well post it. Maybe someone will slog throught it)


Financial advice first:
Manufacturing is not the moneymaker it used to be in vanilla. Look at this:
https://openxcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,7599.0.html

Personally, I only keep as many engineers on staff as I need to build the equipment I want to use in a reasonable time. (For the first few months that means 0, by the way.)
Saving money is no sin in the early game. Be frugal. Keep an eye on maintenance costs. Don't expand too fast. Don't have too many soldiers. Dogs are cheap and useful (one per team works well in most missions). Rushing research can be good, if you already know what to focus on.

As mentioned before, the most profitable missions are cult safehouses, outposts and bases. They often contain money briefcases and bags and other goodies, which you can sell. Such high-value items don't always appear, however. Many hard-won victories will leave you almost empty-handed. Sucks, but nothing can be done about it.
Monster corpses can be sold for moderate cash. You don't need them before you research healing gel (which is awesome) and stockpiling them is unncecessary because you always receive plenty, as long as you do missions against monsters and animals. Living enemies are better than corpses (same for humans), if you can do it safely. Zombies are easy to capture as long as you don't face too many, since they are so slow and you can weaken them with normal weapons without them dying easily (they have high stun resist, only capture with electric damage). Most other critters also work well. Never attempt to capture chupacabras. Muckstars are also a bad idea. Living humans may be better for interrogation (research), than just selling them. Repeated interrogation is possible, and while you most likely won't receive any useful tech from that, those "worthless" research topics give good score and thus money at the end of the month. Low level cultists are fast to interrogate and secret files serve the same purpose. But always remember: Soldiers lives are more valuable than cash. Don't try to bite off more than you can chew.


General advice:
UI

Try right-click and middle mouse button on EVERYTHING. That's not important but you will appreciate it. You can discover many shortcuts in the UI this way. For example MMB clicking on an item in the purchase menu brings up the relevant ufopedia page. Right clicking on items in the purchase menu hides them, which will help you to avoid clutter. You can find these items again by setting the filter on 'hidden'. Also, use filters in item lists. Again, good against clutter but even better for finding out which items are allowed on what mission.


Research

This is how I do it.
'Logistics' gives you the van. Much slower than the car but double capacity.
'Personal Protection' gives you the leather coat, which is slightly better than your standard suit and has more carrying space. Best used on missions against animals and monsters. It further leads to the kevlar vest. Best used against enemies with firearms (i.e. humans).
Researching any monster corpse + captured cultist grants you access to 'Summary Report #1' and 'Promotion I'. You don't need that immediately but it really opens up the tech-tree.
'Basic Operations' leads to dogs and the intelligence center (more lab space). Also do the 'Cover: Workers/Sportsmen/Surfers' research at some point to receive special undercover missions.
'Medicine' > 'Advanced Medicine' leads to the Bio Lab (more lab space).

From then on it varies. The direction of your research does not only depend on personal taste and strategy but also on luck. What missions you receive and what technology and enemies you can capture has a large impact on what you can research.

Also, try middle mouse button-clicking on any research topic. This brings up the tech-tree viewer. Great for planning ahead your research unless you consider it cheaty.


Expansion
You won't be able to build radars or interceptors for a long time. Also, your early transports have global reach (except for the mudranger, which I don't recommend). This in effect means, that you don't really need additional bases for now.
Get more agents, but not too many. Buying lots of rookies and firing the weaklings is not such a good idea early on in this mod. It costs too much money for dubious gain. All stats except for bravery, reactions and psi can be trained outside of missions in the gym (up to a point - accuracy for example goes up to 60). Bravery can be trained way more easily in battle now (using healing items and through some commendations). Also, early game enemies don't use psi attacks. Reactions are still important, but early enemies also have low reactions.

Your early transports are really slow, so your soldiers will be spending a lot of time flying around, unable to respond to any further alerts. I recommend additionial transports immediately. How many, is up to you. With 3 transports, not many missions will slip through your fingers. I go with 2 vans and 1 car for easy missions or when I need the speed (like for catching UFOs).

Instead of having all three hangars in your starting base, you can also build them in new bases. While this obviously is more expensive and makes management more of a hassle, it has some benefits. 1) Spreading out your strike teams over the planet reduces flight times of your slow, slow vans. 2) Not all future transports will have global reach. Unless you get lucky and catch a UFO, your best craft before the invasion will be the Helicopter, Osprey and Dragonfly. Three well-placed bases will give you almost global coverage with these craft. Might as well get started building those bases a bit sooner.


Choosing missions
Just because you are capable of reaching every mission, doesn't mean you have to do them all. Generally speaking, you want to do as many as possible. For the score, the loot and the experience.
Through no fault of your own, you could come across a mission, which is way above your pay-grade at this point. Aborting a mission isn't dishonourable, even without firing a single shot. An overly difficult mission can occur, when you advance very far in one direction on the tech-tree, or just because the game wants to throw you a curve-ball (UFO, chupacabras). Even a normal mission can become a nightmare, if the generated map and enemy spawn locations are heavily to your disadvantage. Surrounded by evil dudes on turn 1 and no effective cover? Run away! Or try to be a badass. It's up to you. The rewards may be worth the risk. There's also the third option of trying to do as much damage as the situation allows, grabbing what you can and bugging out. Not every mission has to be "won" to be worthwhile. Sometimes all you want is a crucial piece of loot (like a special captive). But in general, I advise caution. Especially when you are facing unfamiliar enemies.
Some regular types of missions, you might decide to simply skip after a while. Perhaps there's no more research to be gained there and the score and loot values are too low for the effort spent. Or the danger to your agents doesn't justify the rewards. Or you decide to keep your soldiers in reserve for something more important. Or you're simply not in the mood. It's okay, usually. You are playing for fun, right?

Night missions can be to your advantage. Human enemies also have bad night-vision. And they don't have any flashlights or flares, unlike you. Learn how to illuminate the battlefield while staying in the shadows.


And some more
Flashbangs are really useful. They will reduce (halve?) the enemie's TUs on YOUR turn (thereby impeding reaction fire) and also on THEIR turn. They also deal a bit of stun damage. Very good for initiating captures or when you can't take down an enemy who will surely cause you pain once your turn is over.

Smoke isn't as useful anymore. Aliens (some?most?all? sectoids for sure) have thermal vision, which negates smoke. You don't. Most human enemies don't, either. Scout drones have good thermal vision, dogs to a lesser degree. Smoke is still worth it, but it isn't the lifesaver it used to be.

Lesson number one of night-fighting: Don't bring any more flashlights to a mission, than you intend to equip. They will sit in your stash and illuminate the landing zone. Flares can be turned off, flashlights can't. Brought too many flashlights on accident? Stuff the remaining ones in your soldiers' inventory to kill the light (meaning not in their hands). (Flashlights have an on/off button now. Yay!)

Here's a more advanced technique for good measure:
Dogs are fast scouts and killers but they can also protect you from melee attacks. Their bark causes small amounts of stun(removed in an update) and disrupts TUs like the flashbang (but only for one turn). Again, this can be used to prevent reaction fire. But even better, and uniquely, you can stop approaching enemies on their own turn and prevent their melee attacks. Position your dog in front of any endangered unit (best if you have a bottleneck). The enemy will hopefully approach directly and trigger the dog's reaction bark (2 squares range), thereby reducing his TUs and leaving him an easy target next turn. Works wonders against anything, that doesn't have insanely high TUs or reactions. Like chupacabras. Reaction barking is even more useful in tight corridors and small rooms. A dog placed around a corner can even stop ranged attackers this way.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2020, 09:28:53 pm by Bananas_Akimbo »

Offline betatester

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2020, 02:19:22 am »
you will need some engineers to open crates (they need prior research)  manufacturing items isn't the priority at start. 5 engineers in one base once you get boxes in a mission is more than enough. Once durathred ( or alien alloy with an UFO mission) is discovered you can hire some more to speed up manufacture but you can't make money just lose less.   Production of durathread is a special mission.
If you discovered chemgun in an Osiron crate or an an hybrid research them asap because with them you can gab more money than the cost of engineers and therefore hire as much as you can use.

Offline Bananas_Akimbo

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2020, 04:05:14 am »
Oh, right. I forgot about the crates. Yeah, even a single engineer is enough to open crates. It will take several days to finish a batch but there's no rush.

How long until you earn back the initial investment of a fully staffed workshop, when making chemguns?
(I can't see it ingame myself, haven't researched chemgun yet. And I'm too lazy to look through the game's files right now.)

Offline X-Man

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2020, 06:03:13 am »
Holy shit..... :o

Offline Doc

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2020, 07:47:02 am »
Got to say, quite like that feel of an underfunded agency having to make its budget off contraband seizure and the like. Manufacturing for cash was always one of my less loved XCOM mainstays.

Offline betatester

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2020, 11:09:48 am »
How long it takes is pure random. Depends mostly on mission loot, osiron crate content (random, pray for 2 money bags (1 million), 1 mind probe or  6 psyclones is 5 for selling ( around 400k) and of course the so wanted chemogun ). With 5 engineers you can open 1 crate in one hour (save before it's random)) .
Chemogun rifle is pretty straightforward to research and generates more money than laser rifle winch is more complicated to develop but sometimes random rules the world  and you got an alien laser rifle and no chemogun rifle.
You will need to have recruited the chief engineer, a living quarter (50 people) (better a large one in one base since you will also need place for scientists and don't have to worry after that) , a workshop so yes it's big money and it takes some time. I'm so happy when my strike team bring back money suitcases (100k each), so yes you will have to manage your base maintenance costs tightly.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 11:11:52 am by betatester »

Offline Bananas_Akimbo

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2020, 03:52:08 pm »
That is not what I meant. My question basically boils down to: Is it worth it to set up a manufacturing facility purely with the intention to make money?

1 workshop ($800k)+ 1 living quarters($400k) + 50 engineers ($2.5M) costs $3.7M

50 engineers producing and selling chemoguns all month long make a profit of $1.46M.
Deduct from this your 50 engineers' monthly salary of $1.25M.
That's not a lot of profit. You will not make back your initial investment of workshop, quarters and engineers in a long time.

My argument here is, it's not worth it to hire more engineers than you need at the moment. For example, if all you want or can build at the moment is jumpsuits and dart rifles, then you don't really need more than about 10-20 engineers to finish your building projects in a timely manner. Sure, idle engineers can build and sell chemoguns without money going to waste and eventually you will need a large workforce, anyway, so you don't really lose money. I just think, that your precious early game dollars are better spent elsewhere, like faster research for example.

Ideally, your engineers will only build things, that you actually intent to use, with as little downtime as possible. Only size up your workforce, when bigger projects become available.

Offline Alex_D

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2020, 07:49:32 pm »
My approach to manufacturing in OXCE XCF is to have as many engineers while not leaving anyone idle, making something for as long as the profit is above zero.

I'm currently in my mid-to-late campaign. I have currently five bases. The first three are essentially (strike and) research bases, and the last two are storage and manufacturing (with up to 240 engineers each). The manufacturing bases usually default to money making items unless needed for real items.

Offline betatester

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Re: Starter Tips section and how to make money
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2020, 02:18:58 am »
I don't count the cost of workshop or a large living quarter since you will need it anyway (at least in your main bases). And even if the money that it generates isn't big it's a reliable way to adjust budget if your income is a bit less than your maintenance or if you need money for a new building your research team has just discovered.
In September 98 my HQ  Europe base has 47 scientists, 50 engineers 11 soldiers (1 dog, 1 medical drone, 1 flying drone (waiting for a flying rocket launcher, 1 rat that will be soon replaced by a new soldier with a motion detector 6 soldiers on sky raider 1 in raven). My nightmare a base defense mission with the team away . My second base in Asia hasn't got a HQ but similar to the first more specialized against bullets and also soldiers with poor psi that have good experience but are not suited for psi mission, My third in North America  has an helicopter 1 dog 5 soldiers it's an hybrid for military and most civilian mission noy bad not top they are here to help . My fourth base in south america has an humvee  with 4 soldiers and a dog for pure covert missions. My fith base in africa has just an advanced intelligence center and continually interrogate people to empty jails from with 1 dog and 1 soldier in a private car that is never used. My sixth base in australia is under construction, just a radar base. 7th and 8th are for north pole and South pole radar base. For the moment I have only one raven so I will have to choose between interception or bases.