Author Topic: Re: The X-Com Files - 3.2: The Colors of Sin  (Read 1880364 times)

Offline Juku121

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.0: Beyond Human
« Reply #5745 on: November 18, 2023, 11:49:50 am »
So shooting down the arbiter and getting the commander that way does not seem to be an option.

I've already dealt with one Ethereal retaliation against my base earlier, but trying to find the commander among all the ethereals was a pain
How do you even get Ethereal retaliations? As far as I can see, the only 'regular' mission the Ethereals fly (so you can shoot them down for retaliation) is Alien Domination, and that's only a 1/3 chance to get them for that. They don't fly anything else with Battleships or Lab Ships. Domination itself isn't a terribly common mission, either.


I'm not even sure Domination retaliation with Ethereals is intended, since they've been culled from everywhere else. Maybe they should get their own 'retaliationMission' entry?



Edit:
Arbiters seem so tough that I don't think you can shoot them down even if you deployed 4 tormentors (but I could be wrong, didn't test this).
I tried. Four Tormentors with Heavy Stormlances and Gauss Cannons easily demolished an Arbiter. The problem is getting the saucer to stay put while you blast it, since it's the fastest UFO around and even your super-fast interceptors can't catch up with it (not a problem, it's an HK) nor make it stay in combat (the problem). Incidentally, the same holds for the Troop Ships, another PITA as far as its mission set goes. Since XCF doesn't have tractor beams and Arbiters are progression-critical or near as, it's IMO a bit of a dick move to remove the player's ability to meaningfully intercept them.

Edit2: I take it back. It's quite possible to re-engage and shoot it down in a second engagement. You can even make it crash the first time, if the damage rolls go your way. Tried Fusion Balls, too, but I don't think they have the damage output to be meaningfully better than Stormlances. A pity, as FBs have been kinda useless since the OG - no sustained damage compared to regular weapons, hefty research requirement, uses irreplaceable resources as ammo.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2023, 12:26:44 pm by Juku121 »

Offline psavola

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.0: Beyond Human
« Reply #5746 on: November 18, 2023, 12:32:21 pm »
How do you even get Ethereal retaliations? As far as I can see, the only 'regular' mission the Ethereals fly (so you can shoot them down for retaliation) is Alien Domination, and that's only a 1/3 chance to get them for that. They don't fly anything else with Battleships or Lab Ships. Domination itself isn't a terribly common mission, either.

I'm not even sure Domination retaliation with Ethereals is intended, since they've been culled from everywhere else. Maybe they should get their own 'retaliationMission' entry?

Ethereal retaliation missions are scripted in missionScripts (33% chance) once you have researched MIB commander (+vocab) and have not researched Ethereal commander yet. So, the mission script is clearly intended to allow capturing the ethereal commander, but capturing one requires luck (RNG, given that 33 % chance is relatively low, targeting the right base) and/or patience (not to accidentally kill it).

Offline Juku121

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5747 on: November 18, 2023, 12:51:49 pm »
But Ethereal retaliation (which is the Arbiter missions) isn't 'true' retaliation and doesn't target bases ('targetBaseOdds' is the default, so 0)?

Edit: Okay, it's still a retaliation objective mission, so it can target a base, but it's not too likely to do so on its own without scouts coming in first. Still, probably (much) better than getting a Domination dogfight retaliation, but nowhere near as good a chance as four Tormentors.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2023, 01:19:21 pm by Juku121 »

Offline psavola

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5748 on: November 18, 2023, 02:58:33 pm »
But Ethereal retaliation (which is the Arbiter missions) isn't 'true' retaliation and doesn't target bases ('targetBaseOdds' is the default, so 0)?

Edit: Okay, it's still a retaliation objective mission, so it can target a base, but it's not too likely to do so on its own without scouts coming in first. Still, probably (much) better than getting a Domination dogfight retaliation, but nowhere near as good a chance as four Tormentors.

There are no forward scouts. Essentially there is just one wave, an Arbiter is trying to find a base in some area. If it does, it goes away and soon another will come back straight for your base. Edit: Now that I examine the saves, actually the latter one is DREADNOUGHT, not Arbiter. Sorry for that  discrepancy.

The former looks in a save as something like follows:

  - "month: 34 script: etherealRetaliation id: 564 type: STR_ETHEREAL_RETALIATION race: STR_ETHEREAL region: STR_ANTARCTICA targetZone: -1 targetArea: -1"

The latter looks like follows:

  - "gameTime: 1999-10-13 10:00:00 ufoId: 181 ufoType: STR_DREADNOUGHT race: STR_ETHEREAL region: STR_ANTARCTICA trajectory: __RETALIATION_ASSAULT_RUN missionId: 564 missionType: STR_ETHEREAL_RETALIATION"

Offline Juku121

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5749 on: November 18, 2023, 03:52:34 pm »
Well, the Arbiter is the scout. It's just not a particularly good one, since there's only one of it and it doesn't have a better anti-X-Com radar than any other UFO. It also flies around pretty fast, which probably makes it worse as a radar platform. I don't know how frequent UFO radar scans are, though.

On the other hand, since it's not the Arbiter that does the base assault, you don't get a Commander, either. Dreadnoughts don't carry Commanders. So we're back to either downing the Arbiter or getting an Ethereal Domination mission, shooting it down and hoping for a regular retaliation.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2023, 03:54:45 pm by Juku121 »

Online Akamashi

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.0: Beyond Human
« Reply #5750 on: November 18, 2023, 06:31:27 pm »
For what it's worth, I'm kinda in the same spot here (SH). February 2000. I've researched everything, even the MIB commander. Essentially the only thing I need to progress to the endgame is Ethereal commander: because this is missing, I can't hijack MIB-Alien communications and can't get to the MIB lunar base and progress from there onwards. In this case, the chances of ethereal retaliation mission is (only) 33 %.

Some months there have been the ethereal retaliation mission, but most of the times they haven't found my bases. Arbiters seem so tough that I don't think you can shoot them down even if you deployed 4 tormentors (but I could be wrong, didn't test this). So shooting down the arbiter and getting the commander that way does not seem to be an option.

I've already dealt with one Ethereal retaliation against my base earlier, but trying to find the commander among all the ethereals was a pain (no visual clues - in contrast to most other alien commanders). And there were 20+ sectopods crammed in the hangars (essentially every hangar square was filled by a sectopod). If you need to capture the commander, you can't shoot shrapnel rockets and need to deal with them some other way. If I bothered to continue this campaign, I guess I'd have to try to kill them off with lasers the next time and not use explosives at all.

Maybe there should be other and/or more probable ways of obtaining Ethereal commander to progress to the lunar trail. I've already had two lunar missions (UAC base and MAGMA cosmonauts), so it shouldn't all that difficult to find the rest on the moon. Or just require any alien commander for this (preferable), so that you don't get locked out of the late game so easily.

The current requirements are somewhat strange in any case, because Cydonia or Bust requires any commander, Ethereal GM and Lunar colony. But you can't the latter two without ethereal commander in any case. So there is actually no point in obtaining and researching any non-ethereal commander, and you'd probably want to avoid that because doing so  triggers researchRetaliation (15 % per month).



Strangely, in my last playthrough, I didn't have any problems with capturing the Ethereal commander. I passed the company on medium difficulty on Ironman, and did not make a single download. Protecting the base is generally the easiest way to get any prisoner. I always do defensive construction by cutting off the hangars and elevator from the rest of the base with modules with surveillance cameras. I throw smoke into this module, and through the smoke, on a tip, I completely safely destroy all unnecessary enemies, leaving the prisoners I need alive. Thanks to such tactics, there is no difference which of the enemies is against you. But I always have several dozen dogs on any base for reconnaissance, and there are also enough agents to use all sorts of utensils like a brain probe.

Offline theophilos

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5751 on: November 19, 2023, 06:01:23 am »
I got to the alien invasion on my 1st playthrough but took a break. I feel it was going quite well, I was able to get 2 interceptors available with railguns the day they invaded, and soon enough had 3 and that japanese alien ship. Starting getting some UFOs down but then stopped playing

But I feel I would like to start all over, this time trying to do ironman as best I can so I can feel more accomplishment now that I better understand the tech tree of getting to promotion III

Some questions:

1. What is the best way to avoid or survive the grenades on first 1-2 turns coming out of a ship? This is the main cause of reloads. It was depressing to have a first turn pass on the same old cult manor map , and have some kind of grenade kill your best troops. I was able to get better at surviving this by having good enough accuracy to kill most visible troops at first turn, but with leaving troop transports? What should be done? I did get a habit of throwing smoke but it sometimes is not enough

2. How do you aquire the railguns for your troops? I was lucky in my playthrough to aquire some type of research for it early so I had railgun cannons for my interceptors, but had no way to give them to my troops, not having aquired an actual troop style gun. Is it perhaps in the under ground missions? Or do only certain aliens have it? I just like the idea of them and would like to know where to find them in the first place. I had lasers and sonic weapons and had yet to find one

3. Is tonfer better than the starting beat stick?

4. Is it a bad idea to shoot down every small UFO? I read comments year ago on youtube that it is like hitting a hornet nest and best to leave most of them alone if score can manage this.

5. Is it really so bad to leave missions unattended if you don't need the people or the items in them anymore? As long as dont start going too low on score? youtube playthrough years ago, they had so many missions and so many UFOs that they ignored probably more than half of them, yet still won the game. I wonder if this is still viable? (They would sometimes land somewhere and immediently abandon for no negative score). I do know some missions start to really get annoying to do for the 20th time

6. If you shoot down a UFO and do not go there later, is this negative score? Is this worse than just leaving it alone for score? What is best practice for UFOS that you do not care too much about or perhaps that is too difficult at the moment

Offline psavola

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5752 on: November 19, 2023, 08:21:32 am »
1. What is the best way to avoid or survive the grenades on first 1-2 turns coming out of a ship? This is the main cause of reloads. It was depressing to have a first turn pass on the same old cult manor map , and have some kind of grenade kill your best troops. I was able to get better at surviving this by having good enough accuracy to kill most visible troops at first turn, but with leaving troop transports? What should be done? I did get a habit of throwing smoke but it sometimes is not enough

Do not go on cult etc. missions at daytime (but to monsters missions yes). Do not use crafts which have exterior lighting (e.g. dragonfly). Use smoke grenades before deploy. Skip the first turn completely if you're safe inside the craft (to avoid enemy reactions with full TU). You don't need to do all of these, but one or more of these will definitely help, depending on circumstances.

The night time deployment is usually the only thing I have needed or used against cults. Essentially you throw out flares and deal with the exposed enemies with grenades. But you'll have to be extra careful if once you deploy an enemy units sees you immediately, and in some cases you may need to abort then (due to the sniper/spotter described below).

You will need to learn the sniper/spotter mechanic. That is, certain enemy units are 'spotters'. If they see you or you hit them directly, all the 'snipers' can also shoot and throw grenades at you. http://xcf.trigramreactor.net is your friend in browsing enemy unit descriptions.

You'll need to either deal with all the spotters in non-direct ways (e.g. throw grenades, not shoot them), all the snipers before you hit spotters directly, or have some kind of cover (certain crafts, buildings, etc.) which will prevent firing and grenades.

These have been my keys to SH IM campaigns. You almost never get grenaded if you strictly follow these principles.
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2. How do you aquire the railguns for your troops? I was lucky in my playthrough to aquire some type of research for it early so I had railgun cannons for my interceptors, but had no way to give them to my troops, not having aquired an actual troop style gun. Is it perhaps in the under ground missions? Or do only certain aliens have it? I just like the idea of them and would like to know where to find them in the first place. I had lasers and sonic weapons and had yet to find one

There is no such weapon as 'railgun' in the game. I guess this is a translation issue and you refer to something else, but I have no idea what.

You don't need interceptors until 1999, though at certain point the syndicate retaliates against one of your bases. YMMV whether you want to shoot it down or let it pass.

Black-ops Sniper Rifle and Auto-Sniper are probably the best weapons in the early game, because like most other snipers, armor is only 75% effective and when you have maxed accuracy, they are very accurate and deadly. Before you get to them, you'll probably need to go through at least hunting rifles and bolt rifles. You'll obviously also need shotguns for close combat against lightly armored enemies. In the early or mid-game, that's essentially all the guns you absolutely must have.

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3. Is tonfer better than the starting beat stick?

I guess you refer to 'tonfa'. For stunning enemies at close range, I suggest electric club, then briefly electric prod, and finally once you get it, stun rod. For further away, shotgun with blunt batons in the very early game (unarmored opponents), later MILKOR or grenade launcher with blunt ammo.

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4. Is it a bad idea to shoot down every small UFO? I read comments year ago on youtube that it is like hitting a hornet nest and best to leave most of them alone if score can manage this.

There are two playstyles (at least in vanilla). In one, you avoid shooting down anything, because then the aliens will not start retaliation missions against your bases and you get the UFO intact. In the second, you shoot down everything (also the retaliating alien craft, but if they get big enough, you no longer can). I think by far the more common strategy is shooting down everything you can.

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5. Is it really so bad to leave missions unattended if you don't need the people or the items in them anymore? As long as dont start going too low on score? youtube playthrough years ago, they had so many missions and so many UFOs that they ignored probably more than half of them, yet still won the game. I wonder if this is still viable? (They would sometimes land somewhere and immediently abandon for no negative score). I do know some missions start to really get annoying to do for the 20th time

You can check the despawn and abort penalties of each mission in xcf.trigramreactor.net.

In the first two-three years or so, I'd strongly recommend doing all the missions you can (and abort only those which you have no chance at). In the first 6-12 months or so, there are plenty of missions you have no chance at, so you may need to do 'go there, shoot for XP and abort' a dozen or more times in your campaign. You should already know which  missions are doable with the resources and crafts you have. The game gets much easier if you get bigger score and better funding from the council based on good scores, so you'll definitely want to maximise your score, not just struggle along.

In the late game, when the money is no longer a faction, you can likely skip many missions if you don't want to bother.

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6. If you shoot down a UFO and do not go there later, is this negative score? Is this worse than just leaving it alone for score? What is best practice for UFOS that you do not care too much about or perhaps that is too difficult at the moment

You get points for shooting down. AFAIK, there are no negative points for ignoring shot-down ufo. But obviously you don't get the points which you'd get from killing or capturing the aliens and all the loot. So, going after everything that you can handle is strongly advisable until the point when the money is no longer an issue.

Offline Chuckebaby

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5753 on: November 19, 2023, 04:10:45 pm »

There is no such weapon as 'railgun' in the game. I guess this is a translation issue and you refer to something else, but I have no idea what.


I believe in FMP (Final Mod Pack) Railguns are the same as Mass Driver Rifle in XCF.


Black-ops Sniper Rifle and Auto-Sniper are probably the best weapons in the early game, because like most other snipers, armor is only 75% effective and when you have maxed accuracy, they are very accurate and deadly. Before you get to them, you'll probably need to go through at least hunting rifles and bolt rifles.


As always.. You give solid advice. (thumbs up).

I typically begin having a break through when I acquire the hunting rifle. It's a game changer in early game. It's accurate and lethal for most enemies with only 2 good shots.
Once Black ops Auto sniper rifle becomes available it's game changer #2.

The "sniper/spotter mechanic" you spoke of is a great tactic. Took me a while to pick up on this technique. But when it's mastered, missions become a lot easier and a lot less dead soldiers.





Online Akamashi

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5754 on: November 19, 2023, 11:03:54 pm »
I got to the alien invasion on my 1st playthrough but took a break. I feel it was going quite well, I was able to get 2 interceptors available with railguns the day they invaded, and soon enough had 3 and that japanese alien ship. Starting getting some UFOs down but then stopped playing

But I feel I would like to start all over, this time trying to do ironman as best I can so I can feel more accomplishment now that I better understand the tech tree of getting to promotion III

Some questions:

1. What is the best way to avoid or survive the grenades on first 1-2 turns coming out of a ship? This is the main cause of reloads. It was depressing to have a first turn pass on the same old cult manor map , and have some kind of grenade kill your best troops. I was able to get better at surviving this by having good enough accuracy to kill most visible troops at first turn, but with leaving troop transports? What should be done? I did get a habit of throwing smoke but it sometimes is not enough

2. How do you aquire the railguns for your troops? I was lucky in my playthrough to aquire some type of research for it early so I had railgun cannons for my interceptors, but had no way to give them to my troops, not having aquired an actual troop style gun. Is it perhaps in the under ground missions? Or do only certain aliens have it? I just like the idea of them and would like to know where to find them in the first place. I had lasers and sonic weapons and had yet to find one

3. Is tonfer better than the starting beat stick?

4. Is it a bad idea to shoot down every small UFO? I read comments year ago on youtube that it is like hitting a hornet nest and best to leave most of them alone if score can manage this.

5. Is it really so bad to leave missions unattended if you don't need the people or the items in them anymore? As long as dont start going too low on score? youtube playthrough years ago, they had so many missions and so many UFOs that they ignored probably more than half of them, yet still won the game. I wonder if this is still viable? (They would sometimes land somewhere and immediently abandon for no negative score). I do know some missions start to really get annoying to do for the 20th time

6. If you shoot down a UFO and do not go there later, is this negative score? Is this worse than just leaving it alone for score? What is best practice for UFOS that you do not care too much about or perhaps that is too difficult at the moment
There are many ways to deploy relatively safely. My favorite is to send dogs to their deaths. I wouldn't be surprised if more than a thousand dogs died in my current passage on the Ironman superhuman.  But the death of the best agents is inevitable even so. As well as the imminent death of entire crafts with full squads and arsenals. Canceling or ignoring missions is not a problem, it's a necessity. There is no way without it. Often you have to balance on the verge of collapse, but cancel missions or ignore them. And the most important advice is to play without looking back at whether it was possible to go a better way. On Ironman, too much is decided by chance.

Offline theophilos

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5755 on: November 20, 2023, 07:05:31 am »
okay thanks all for advice, and yes I meant to say, Mass Driver weapons, I am wondering where you get them? The description to me sounds like a rail gun. I am assuming it is worse weapon than other late game things but I just like the idea of them lol

I will say in my first playthough I also really liked the hunting rifle noticing it to be quite effective

For the spotter/sniper mechanic, if the spotter is killed do the snipers still see+shoot you if the sniper themselves are not in range to see you?

For my 2nd playthrough I have been doing missions at night against cultists now that I know how view ranges work a bit better, and I have had a lot less deaths so far

Offline psavola

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5756 on: November 20, 2023, 07:10:00 am »
okay thanks all for advice, and yes I meant to say, Mass Driver weapons, I am wondering where you get them? The description to me sounds like a rail gun. I am assuming it is worse weapon than other late game things but I just like the idea of them lol

You can get them from the MIBs. I have never found much use for them myself, but I guess this depends on what else you have, how many MIB missions come at your way, what else you have to research, etc.

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For the spotter/sniper mechanic, if the spotter is killed do the snipers still see+shoot you if the sniper themselves are not in range to see you?

The snipers will snipe/grenade you even if you kill the spotter directly.

Offline Chuckebaby

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5757 on: November 20, 2023, 07:01:17 pm »
okay thanks all for advice, and yes I meant to say, Mass Driver weapons, I am wondering where you get them? The description to me sounds like a rail gun. I am assuming it is worse weapon than other late game things but I just like the idea of them lol

Mass driver weapons are cumbersome in my opinion. They can be lethal but they are not a good long range weapon. Gauss or lasers are my favorites. But even those have long range issues. However heavy Gauss has 150 damage power and if you're close, you can take out a Sectopod easily (the most feared enemy machine).

Spoiler:
But I'll tell ya, those Sectopods don't like portable lasers/Turbo lasers either  ;D

Offline Sneak Dog

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5758 on: November 20, 2023, 08:39:27 pm »
Never a fan of the heavy gauss. Poor accuracy and the 0~200% damage roll means half the time when it does hit it deals no damage vs. the sectopod. A pair of gauss snipers should do it.

Offline theophilos

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Re: The X-Com Files - 3.1: Lights in The Sky
« Reply #5759 on: November 22, 2023, 12:45:38 am »
oh alright, didn't know it had such kind of damage

ah well

btw it is august 1997 and I am still promotion I due to having only seen 1 black lotus foot soldier this entire game (sadly bled out by reaction fire, and died laying beneath my troop with medipack in hand  :'(

I got a -140 score event for not beating black lotus enough, I assume for not researching the network still

BUT I did just get a mission where it says the black lotus, due to being hidden so long from Xcom, that they essentially took control of a local city and corrupt policeforce , I am assumign some black lotus footmen will be at this mission so I can finally progress

Is this too late to recover from? I have not wasted time with other things, I have 15 scientiests and have quite good progress with the research I can do, got bored enough to research alien containment (sadly too late for a military shot down ufo mission but I lost barely anyway because I Could only reach it with a car... was really hoping for that cash boost but I told myself no reloading! died to the last alien and a panic that ran the other guy into the alien)