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Author Topic: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?  (Read 12211 times)

Offline Juku121

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Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« Reply #45 on: August 24, 2022, 07:03:30 am »
The mansion comment was in response to
The use of crawler was important for delivering enough troops to the mansion.
So apparently you did find some use for them. Or changed your mind since. :)

I don't find many opportunities to actually snipe around mansions, the map is kinda cramped for that. Indirect-fire explosive ordnance is much better. And if the opposition includes lots of snipers, your smoke is quite a bit less useful than it used to be. Although 16 troops help mitigate all of this a lot. Still, Sorcerers or Enforcers blindly shooting/throwing grenades at your position is a lot of pain.

My opinion of vanilla-style grenades and explosives is that they are cheat mode. Try throwing a pack of C4 the same distance you're usually able to hit with a rifle (a few hundred meters, at least). :P

Offline zee_ra

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Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« Reply #46 on: August 24, 2022, 07:16:04 am »
  • Smoke also sucks against aliens since they mostly have heatvision and you usually don't. So they tend to spot you first. Kinda mirrors their night vision advantage. And aliens are almost uniformly all snipers.


Without serious armour, the tactics against aliens is generally as follows.  (A) Against surface aliens outside the vessel, use explosives extensively.  (B) Against aliens inside the vessel, setup ambushes at doors with hand-to-hand weapons (prods and blades).  (C) Against aliens underwater, outside the vessel, use probes and surface features, and use more powerful weapons, like e.g. Dagon's staff.

It's not entirely impossible to take on a battleship with mortars and rockets, and with only a heavy tritanium suit.  Ideally, though, Juggernaut armours should be employed for such fights.

In principle, with a couple of blaster launchers, the weaker armours remain very, very viable.  Though, by that point (whence a blaster launcher is researched), a Juggernaut suit should be available technologically.

Now, a question to an experienced player: what if you got a lobstermen assault mission, while only having heavy tritanium suits and kinetic weapons (even with Tt, for the sake of an argument) available.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2022, 07:29:30 am by zee_ra »

Offline zee_ra

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Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« Reply #47 on: August 24, 2022, 07:41:00 am »
The mansion comment was in response to So apparently you did find some use for them. Or changed your mind since. :)

I don't find many opportunities to actually snipe around mansions, the map is kinda cramped for that. Indirect-fire explosive ordnance is much better. And if the opposition includes lots of snipers, your smoke is quite a bit less useful than it used to be. Although 16 troops help mitigate all of this a lot. Still, Sorcerers or Enforcers blindly shooting/throwing grenades at your position is a lot of pain.

My opinion of vanilla-style grenades and explosives is that they are cheat mode. Try throwing a pack of C4 the same distance you're usually able to hit with a rifle (a few hundred meters, at least). :P

Grenades could be thrown 30 meters easily.  The explosive packs are much more difficult to handle, but in-game, they're severely range limited as well.  The explosive packs should in general be swapped for propelled ordnance when that becomes available -- rockets and mortars -- as mentioned in the discussion above.

A lot of tactical combat occurs below 100 meter range.  Hence, the development of subsonic munitions around caliber of 0.5 inches with heavy bullets and high stopping power on both sides of the Atlantic.

It usually takes about 8 smoke grenades to create a good smoke cover.  Also, on mansion missions, the initial barrage with HE / mortars is essential to clean out any close enemy spotters.  The enemy grenades are usually not very accurate and effective, and in the worst case the turn should really be replayed with a slightly different final disposition.

Smoke provides for an opportunity to fire explosives for a 3-4 turns.  In that time, you should be able to move your storm troopers inside the mansion through a broken wall.

Sniping is more pertinent on all other types of missions, including even the alien embassies and colonies.

A good combination of sniping and HE pack usage occurs at the time the Dagon Main Temple is stormed, if you choose to take on that cult first to gain promotion level 3.


Offline Juku121

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Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« Reply #48 on: August 24, 2022, 09:21:39 am »
Without serious armour, the tactics against aliens is generally as follows.  (A) Against surface aliens outside the vessel, use explosives extensively.
AKA grenades are OP, as usual. :)

Against aliens inside the vessel, setup ambushes at doors with hand-to-hand weapons (prods and blades).
I haven't found this to be all that good since you're hitting the alien from the front and thus getting hit with all or most of the dodge penalty. Melee hit chances are already a roulette a lot of the time.

I play with CQB using TU, so that might colour my perception somewhat.

You might also have to contend with alien psi, and in that case you're in deep doo-doo. I recently watched some old videos of how IvanDogovich was getting anally probed by Sectoid leaders in Lab Ships, this was both sad and hilarious. ;D

Now, a question to an experienced player: what if you got a lobstermen assault mission, while only having heavy tritanium suits and kinetic weapons (even with Tt, for the sake of an argument) available.
Choke damage. Stuff like nooses and Knockout grenades. Maybe try drowning them in smoke, too. Not good, but at least gives you a fighting chance.


The explosive packs are much more difficult to handle, but in-game, they're severely range limited as well.
Nobody really throws HE packs in real life. It's needlessly dangerous and we have weapons to do that for us.

In-game, enemies used to throw dynamite at me from off-screen all the time. I put a stop to this, of course, but we're discussing the mod as it is, not as I'd make it.

Grenades could be thrown 30 meters easily.

A lot of tactical combat occurs below 100 meter range.  Hence, the development of subsonic munitions around caliber of 0.5 inches with heavy bullets and high stopping power on both sides of the Atlantic.
A lot of tactical combat occurs in the sub-300 meter range. 100 meters is MOUT territory, or terrain so claustrophobic you really need to do something about it. Neither's where you want to fight if you have a choice. Russians learned that the hard way recently.

Even then, 30 meters is nothing on even 100-meter rifle ranges (which is not a general rule of combat, even urban combat).

The Whisper/Blackout/9x39 etc family are niche cartridges for niche weapons. Nobody issues these on a general basis. And even the one organisation that does/did (Russian special forces) had a lot of bad things to say about the AS VAL/Vintorez when they actually needed to do battle with it. It had more to do with the shoddy construction and sights, though.

In any case, individual firearms are really not particularly important in modern heavy-duty combat. They're essentially military pacifiers, issued so that troops won't feel bad about being 'unarmed'. ;D Well, that and to bully civilians/irregulars.

It usually takes about 8 smoke grenades to create a good smoke cover.  Also, on mansion missions, the initial barrage with HE / mortars is essential to clean out any close enemy spotters. 
Killing spotters makes them spot the killer. :(

I find that there's not enough room to place a smoke cloud between myself and the enemy on mansion maps. Being in the smoke is a lot less effective than having smoke farther out.

I'm not saying smoke is entirely useless, it still reduces vision and imposes aim penalties. But IMO the heavy lifting is done by mortars actually killing enemies. And panicking others in the process.

The enemy grenades are usually not very accurate and effective, and in the worst case the turn should really be replayed with a slightly different final disposition.
Sure, but if you're save-scumming (and I have nothing against that, I'm a pathological save-scummer myself), then it's the power of reloading that's mitigating the grenades, not any tactics on your part. I tend to get at least one 'bad' grenade per mission when there's more than one dude around chucking them.


The rest is true and spot-on.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2022, 09:24:37 am by Juku121 »

Offline zee_ra

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Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« Reply #49 on: August 25, 2022, 02:12:34 am »
AKA grenades are OP, as usual. :)
I haven't found this to be all that good since you're hitting the alien from the front and thus getting hit with all or most of the dodge penalty. Melee hit chances are already a roulette a lot of the time.

I play with CQB using TU, so that might colour my perception somewhat.

What is the setting value you're using for "CQB using TU"?  I assumed, the reaction is always TU based.

What you need to do is to have 4 soldiers guarding the door, since an alien could usually make a step out the door.

What weapons are you using against the alien?  I usually use either psi blades (acquired from the White Tower as trophies) or stun gear.  Those work pretty well.

In general, the alien trapped in a corridor, is unable to shoot accurately, and has a decent chance of missing on any of your troops, provided he even manages to fire a shot.  The suicidal grenades from aliens are a much greater danger.


Offline zee_ra

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Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« Reply #50 on: August 25, 2022, 02:37:03 am »
Choke damage. Stuff like nooses and Knockout grenades. Maybe try drowning them in smoke, too. Not good, but at least gives you a fighting chance.

Never thought about using a noose on that creature; if you could play test, could you please post a result.

In general, the use of gas grenades allows to down them en-masse.  Of course, with laser miniguns and heavy sonic cannons they're as good as dead always.  But, early doom weapon against lobstermen, both wild and civilized (civilly enslaved to the Cthulhu aka Dagon himself), is the gas grenade.

Nobody really throws HE packs in real life. It's needlessly dangerous and we have weapons to do that for us.

Agreed.  However, such solution is a response to external limitations on the available ordnance.  Such tactics becomes indispensable on the early mansion missions, and the early downed ufo missions.

In-game, enemies used to throw dynamite at me from off-screen all the time. I put a stop to this, of course, but we're discussing the mod as it is, not as I'd make it.
A lot of tactical combat occurs in the sub-300 meter range. 100 meters is MOUT territory, or terrain so claustrophobic you really need to do something about it. Neither's where you want to fight if you have a choice. Russians learned that the hard way recently.

I think, 300 meters range has been a justification for the reduction of calibers in main rifles.  The 100 meter range has been a justification for the 12.7 mm munitions.

Even then, 30 meters is nothing on even 100-meter rifle ranges (which is not a general rule of combat, even urban combat).

I think, something in that ballpark is a part of a military physical training standard.  The grenades are deemed effective at such ranges, and such ranges are deemed relevant in actual combat.

The Whisper/Blackout/9x39 etc family are niche cartridges for niche weapons. Nobody issues these on a general basis. And even the one organisation that does/did (Russian special forces) had a lot of bad things to say about the AS VAL/Vintorez when they actually needed to do battle with it. It had more to do with the shoddy construction and sights, though.

Both SOCOM in US and various Russian SF had come up with their own 12.7 mm / 0.5 in cartridges in the last years.  The 9mm, in such retrospective, had been more of an interim experiment.

In any case, individual firearms are really not particularly important in modern heavy-duty combat. They're essentially military pacifiers, issued so that troops won't feel bad about being 'unarmed'. ;D Well, that and to bully civilians/irregulars.
Killing spotters makes them spot the killer. :(

I would disagree with the statement that the individual firearms are irrelevant.  However, it is the case that most of damage is done by much heavier ordnance and machinery.

I find that there's not enough room to place a smoke cloud between myself and the enemy on mansion maps. Being in the smoke is a lot less effective than having smoke farther out.

Being in the smoke on mansion missions protects the sodiers from the spotters from the upper floors.

Most of fire at that point should be coming from your mortars, rockets, and miniguns.  In case of very early assaults, it should come from your dynamite packages (once again, those are a makeshift solution) and grenades, at least until the main assault group makes it inside the mansion, and could use auto-fire efficiently.

The miniguns operating from a smoke cloud are remarkably effective.  The ones operating on the edge of a smoke cloud (with walking in-and-out tactics) are fantastically effective.

The smoke cloud in general should be pretty large to be efficient, maybe the full diameter of a single smoke grenade.

I'm not saying smoke is entirely useless, it still reduces vision and imposes aim penalties. But IMO the heavy lifting is done by mortars actually killing enemies. And panicking others in the process.
Sure, but if you're save-scumming (and I have nothing against that, I'm a pathological save-scummer myself), then it's the power of reloading that's mitigating the grenades, not any tactics on your part. I tend to get at least one 'bad' grenade per mission when there's more than one dude around chucking them.

The rest is true and spot-on.

I allow an enemy grenade to explode, if it leads to no casualties on my end.

The smoke buys a few turns to fire heavier ordnance.  Usually, it suffices to kill a couple of initial waves (which die as a genuine mortar fodder), and to eliminate most dangerous enemy positions before the rifles could start working on the rest.  The rifles could be used on aimed shots from inside smoke, and they could also be used by walking out of a smoke, shooting, and then either walking back inside the smoke, or exploding another smoke grenade to create more cover at the new position.

I did try a tactics when the half of a mansion is completely destroyed by the mortars.  Not bad, but bombarding the initial onslaught, and getting the assault team inside for close quarters encounter works just as well, and preserves more trophies.

Without smoke, the enemy in general is able to fire too many shots your way.  Note that the smoke also decreases enemy accuracy.

Offline Juku121

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Re: Xcom Files: Why so many UFOs?
« Reply #51 on: August 26, 2022, 05:07:55 am »
What is the setting value you're using for "CQB using TU"?
Code: [Select]
closeQuartersTuCostGlobal: 10      # up from 0
closeQuartersEnergyCostGlobal: 10  # up from 5

I assumed, the reaction is always TU based.
Reactions and CQB are different things. Documentation says CQB is (by default) [100 - ((melee+reactions)/2 - enemy dodge)] chance to misfire, with some weapons multiplying (melee+reactions)/2 by some percentage to account for them being very easy or very hard to misdirect. There's also a 50% chance of bypassing the CQC check if you sneak up on an enemy (the entire opposing team has not seen or doesn't remember the sneaking unit).

Though I recall people bitching about Sectoids outmuscling their dudes when they have a measly 0.1 * 63 (reactions) = 6 dodge face-to-face, less from the sides. So I may be wrong about something here. Or maybe they were bitching about the Sectoids vice-like grip on the gun? :D

What you need to do is to have 4 soldiers guarding the door, since an alien could usually make a step out the door.
Four guys exposes at least two of them to much more alien fire if the little grey dude decides to shoot instead of stepping forward, or has friends behind him. And makes the entire team a grenade magnet.

I still do this, but I've got bitten due to clustering around doorways a lot more than once.

What weapons are you using against the alien?  I usually use either psi blades (acquired from the White Tower as trophies) or stun gear.  Those work pretty well.
Fists and stun weapons, mostly. My operatives aren't big on the 'bring a sword to a gunfight' school of thought. 8)

And do you mean the Forceblades? Because Psi Blades are what the CoA head honchos have.

Forceblades are good, but they're still not particularly more accurate (possibly even less on a fully trained operative with mediocre psi skill) than any other melee weapon. A dodgy enemy is still a pain with these.

In general, the alien trapped in a corridor, is unable to shoot accurately, and has a decent chance of missing on any of your troops, provided he even manages to fire a shot.  The suicidal grenades from aliens are a much greater danger.
True. But my point was that melee is unreliable. You miss, and miss, and miss, and then suddenly kill any non-uber enemy even with a piece of pipe. Or just waste your turn. And if they're dodgy, like a Reptoid, Tasoth, Waspite or even a mech-Floater, your chance to hit goes way down.

Never thought about using a noose on that creature; if you could play test, could you please post a result.
Well, the result is that if you manage to sneak up on a Lobsterman, he goes to sleep in one hit. And the chance to hit is pretty good. Getting into melee range is the hard part.

In general, the use of gas grenades allows to down them en-masse.
Sure, these are the WMD against Lobstermen. But gas grenades are moderately rare loot and Promo III manufacturing. Which is before full alloy suits, but (mostly feral) Lobstermen can come up way before that.

Of course, with laser miniguns and heavy sonic cannons they're as good as dead always.
I have my Lobstermen a bit more armoured than vanilla XCF, ~1.5 times overall but with more uniform values. So scatter lasers are pretty much useless, and non-focused sonic cannons aren't too hot, either. Lobstermen are supposed to be scary, dammit! :P

However, such solution is a response to external limitations on the available ordnance.
The tactic is only possible because of X-Coms wildly unrealistic handling of grenades and other throwables. Which most mods tend to copy, for reasons that are very murky to me. :-\

I think, something in that ballpark is a part of a military physical training standard.  The grenades are deemed effective at such ranges, and such ranges are deemed relevant in actual combat.
20-30 meters seem to be the usual standards. 50 is possible with hardcore soldiers and/or lighter, non-frag grenades. But this is seldom how far people throw these in actual combat because they're usually loaded down with a shitton of other gear, adrenaline is high and accuracy absolutely matters.

Even the ideal numbers are still not even remotely comparable to rifle ranges. I assume you have a city you can check? Go and see how many places have line of sight over 100 meters even there, not to mention all the tall buildings with vertical LoS.

X-Com has you toss grenades farther than rookies can hit something with a rifle, even a good one.

I think, 300 meters range has been a justification for the reduction of calibers in main rifles.  The 100 meter range has been a justification for the 12.7 mm munitions.
Where are you getting this 100 meters from? Do you have a link or other reference?

AFAIK, the reasons big-caliber rifle rounds gained some prominence were twofold, and neither had much to do with any estimation of infantry combat ranges:
  • Suppressed weapons need subsonic rounds, and the only way to retain energy similar to other rifles is to make the bullets bigger.
  • People felt the need to have something with more penetration, mostly for somewhat specialised purposes (VBIEDs in checkpoints, and no need to care about engine blocks or windshields providing 'armour'; non-military orgs like the FSB or the US Coast Guard getting some easily accessible firepower for similar reasons; SF direct action ops against armoured targets; jungle/forest/other foliage not messing up your fire so much; etc).
A military can already land a whole ton of big-bore hurt on you with squad-level and higher weapons, so these applications aren't particularly interesting from a general-issue POV. Soldiers still need to make the occasional 500-meter shot, and these large-caliber rounds drop like rocks over longer ranges.

Both SOCOM in US and various Russian SF had come up with their own 12.7 mm / 0.5 in cartridges in the last years.
They have? Which ones?

Blackout is over ten years old, .50 Beowulf and 12.7×55 are pushing twenty, Whisper series thirty. 9x39mm is even older.

Being in the smoke on mansion missions protects the sodiers from the spotters from the upper floors.
Not sure that's 100% true, since smoke tends to thin when you go up some elevation levels, and LoS changes to more vertical.

And if you got spotted on the first turn (quite likely) and the enemy has snipers (RD is the poster boy bere), prepare for incoming fire if you don't start leveling everything in sight. Which is awesome, of course. ;D

The smoke cloud in general should be pretty large to be efficient, maybe the full diameter of a single smoke grenade.
In my experience, you need a full diameter between you and the enemy for smoke grenades to be fully effective. If you're camping in a smoke cloud, that's at least 50% more than just a full diameter.

The miniguns operating from a smoke cloud are remarkably effective.  The ones operating on the edge of a smoke cloud (with walking in-and-out tactics) are fantastically effective.
Miniguns OP, nerf please. :D

My experience with miniguns hasn't been all that positive. Maybe I'm not using them right, or they don't suit my playstyle, but 1-2 enemies downed per turn (if everything goes right) at medium range tends to be worse than a Smartgun that can do the same but at longer ranges, possibly without all the kneeling and with more flexibility in fire modes and TU costs.