Author Topic: New player, overwhelmed  (Read 348 times)

Offline MechaGodJovi

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New player, overwhelmed
« on: November 20, 2020, 03:00:34 am »
Sorry this post ended up way longer than I wanted to.

I'll start off by saying I'm no expert when it comes to EU/UO and TFTD. First game was apocalypse when that was new and found out about 10 years ago there were older ones in the series. I haven't played either too much and never finished them despite getting to mid/late game a few times on veteran. I recently felt like playing again when I saw openxcom was a thing and decided to try a couple of mods so being the sucker I was for anything pirate related I saw this mod and now it's a love/hate thing.

My experience so far:

This is all on the difficulty that's equivalent to veteran I'm guessing, the middle one.

The tech tree is vast and half the time I feel like I'm just researching blindly. I've restarted a few times already to try different approaches in the beginning just messing around mostly and I also won my first pogrom if you can even call it winning since I camped inside my craft and left all civilians to die so obviously my score for that mission wasn't great but the loot was  ;D. The 2nd one had tanks so yeah I abandoned it. I basically ignore the first one or two pogroms now since doesn't seem worth doing so early unless you get lucky. I haven't lost a game yet but I keep restarting because I feel like I'm doing something wrong.

I have 20 runts selling hellerium and 5 brainiacs researching seperate topics most the time depending on the difficulty level of research. I'm trying to determine how and what causes my base to get attacked as well or wondering if it can also occur randomly. One time I had it attacked by the 2nd month I think and last time I was fine till about 6 months but they weren't really a threat at least.

Other questions:

What determines base attacks to occur or can it also happen randomly? I've never intercepted anything and shot it down only attacked landing ships. Never made it far enough to get a craft with weapons anyway and last craft I had was a blowfish I think it was.

Can I intercept targets and not attack them without any penalty just to get a glimpse of what craft it is? I kind of figure it's important not to attack certain factions but I don't know lol.

Is there an easy way to tell which targets will give me - score for killing vs capturing? I try to capture when I can so I assume if they look like a civilian that's what causes it? Like altar boy, shrine maiden, baller etc or?

Mostly worried about research order so do I have some leeway when it comes to researching or will it stab me in the back if I just research out of curiosity constantly? I normally go for attack dogs, cunning, pirate armor and recently gambling since I found out it gives you goodies. After that I basically just research each new weapon I obtain, prisoners and try to research topics that sound like they would unlock better weapons, crafts and facilities but find it sometimes leads me to not where I wanted.

Do pogroms give a penalty if I don't do them? I think I read somewhere as long as I don't research mutant alliances then it's not mandatory and I won't be penalized but unsure if that was outdated info. They say despawn penalty is 100 and I know if I go to the first couple I'll take a way bigger hit more than likely vs ignoring it so unsure if I should just ignore that number or not.

Trying not to use the wiki to avoid spoiling too much but sometimes I pop over and look at it. I'll probably just start a new game tonight and stick with it till I lose this time so I have a better feel for it but any tips would be greatly appreciated cause It definitely feels overwhelming compared to the base games and other mods I've tried.

Loving the mod though for the most part even if I do find myself constantly muddled.

Offline JustTheDude

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Re: New player, overwhelmed
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2020, 09:51:01 am »
Well, X-Piratez isn't really a "beginner-friendly" mod. I would propose to start with something called "megamod" that is basically a base game, but with added guns, enemies, new crafts etc. Just to catch the base of mechanics.

Most of the base attacks follow nearly the same rule as in the original, some "vessel" has to scout your base for enemy factions to know about it and then one of them attacks. Early-game scouts usually come in form of multiple small/very small and slow "crafts" appearing close to your base in large numbers.
Very first base attacks are however more, or less scripted. "Academicans" in form of nurses and researchers fly ambulance to your base.
Later in the game, you might even encounter lighting quick vessels that you can't even react after spotting, having only base defences to save you.

The only shuttle you "shouldn't" shot down early game would be govts ships. You can catch a "glimpse" of what craft it is on the interception screen, there is one special button from vanilla game, where it will show you the sprite (or picture) of the ship and in that way you can determine what ship it is and to what faction it belong, without shotting it down.
I'm not sure if just shotting down govt ships incurs penalty in itself, but govt vessels flying around on their own actually generate infamy for you if I'm not mistaken, so its one penalty for sure.
Every other early-game vessel is free game.

Well, there doesn't exist a special feature that would let you know which targets are more important, generally rule of the thumb is that the rarer the enemy is, the more it is worth. So if you for example raid ratmans village, there is only one ratman in cape, so he has to be worth more when captured. Other than that, you have to judge by yourself if someone is worth more, or less, based on a sprite and name (middle mouse button click on a unit on the battlescape). Fancy looking dudes and dudettes bound to be worth more than common soldier.

Depends on the difficulty you play, there are some research options that lock something else etc. One the first playtroughts that aren't really meant to win the game, its fine to just research "for fun" to check out what sticks and works for you.
If you want, or need something specific, "middle mouse button" on research topics, or "q" key on geoscape is your friend here.

Early-game pogroms still incur some penalty, but its fairly small amount, while Mutant Alliance ones do like a -1000 if you don't atleast show up. -100 infamy isn't really a lot.

The only tip you need is to read bootypedia carefully and to not skip "pop-out" messages without reading them as sometimes you will receive some important news.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: New player, overwhelmed
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2020, 12:08:52 pm »
I'm not sure if just shotting down govt ships incurs penalty in itself

Yes, it does. :)

Offline MechaGodJovi

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Re: New player, overwhelmed
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2020, 03:31:14 pm »
I play on normal I think? The one that's normally veteran on the base games. Combats no problem so far other than the first pogrom or two it's just some of the other mechanics had me scratching my head. Thanks for taking the time to reply it was definitely helpful and I guess I'll probably just have to use the bootypedia more often and stop being stingey about it.

I'll probably just stick with this mod cause I'm stubborn, I have a couple others I like to play too but this one just seemed the most fun in comparison for me so I'll trek through it even if it takes me longer than usual to get used to it.

Offline Solarius Scorch

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Re: New player, overwhelmed
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2020, 03:43:26 pm »
It is up to you, people enjoy the mod in many different way, and they're all okay. But in my opinion, while the mod is certainly overwhelming, it's actually not difficult; it's hard to actually lose at it, compared to many X-Com other mods, so don't panic.
Also, the tech tree is written in such a way as to discourage people from beelining to one particular tech. So feel free to research whatever interests you at a glance and always assume it may lead to something radically different later on. Just make sure to research as much as you can; invest any surplus in Brainers, because every completely research gives points which bring money (on top of the, well, research of course). Read books, they're fast to research. Fund your research with producing Hellerium, then X-Grog, then - figure it out yourself, since you don't like spoilers and I respect that.

Of course research is only a part of the strategy, but battles are such a broad topic that it doesn't make much sense to even start covering it. Everyone plays differently anyway.

Offline legionof1

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Re: New player, overwhelmed
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2020, 01:36:16 am »
Echoing what Scorch said, research is key. Do everything you can to increase it and unlock more brainier slots. The mod is very unfriendly if you go soft on tech, mostly due to the sheer size of the tech tree. Most games have a few dozen, we have a few thousand. A fair chunk are interconnected ones that trigger in groups for a single unlock, but its still leaves say a good 2k to grind out. Don't worry really about which you do, just that you do as many as possible to avoid getting lost in the forest.

If you do get really lost and need more help join the discord, plenty of folks around to point you in the right direction.

Offline Nilex

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Re: New player, overwhelmed
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2020, 09:04:29 am »
I was in same boat as you even though I read about XPz quite a lot before starting a playthrough. 400 hour investment sure warrants some investigation before full commitment. Still feel overwhelmed, after one month of intensive playing and just 17% research progress (max possible brainers ofc). Got an endless research list in main base to prove it. You can peak into online BootyPedia to avoid some disappointments (like Dream Library). Best beginner help I got was from The Newbie Guide. After about 1 in-game year you'll basically learn everything to be well on your own.

Here are the answers to your questions and some personal advice (I'm also on middle difficulty):

I shoot down 150 ships of most fractions - no base attacks. Not even a mission to seek one out. Although I read people experienced being invaded as soon as February. One full-proof tip to survive: have 20+ soldiers and as many Hammers. Yes, day-1 hammers... It is capable in killing anything, even end-game enemies, with relative ease. Maybe Dioxine just loves Thor, dunno. Alternative is to rely on proven save/load technique and use more sensibly equipped squad.

Glimpsing all ships is fine. Only Govt ships are no-no regarding shooting down. Civilian, if they incur any penalty I never noticed - only killing actual civs on the battlefield (stunning is OK tho).

I used to kill fellow mutants (and Lokknars) because they looked like the enemy, lmao. Score penalty is negligible so that at least made for a fun learning experience. RIP many Lamias, Brutes & Bugeyes. You learn these things in time. The only real show-stoppers I can see are unwinnable main base attacks, and out of radar range enemy activities (can combat with just plain research to offset negativne score those incur). For the first prepare Hammers, and just research stuff for the latter (not as serious as I was made to think frankly).

Just research, don't worry about order. Researching yields both score and money (at end of month). Personally I prioritize: radars, craft, craft weapons, soldier armor, soldier weapon. Simultaneously going for more brainer capacity facilities, Omlette du Fromage (for money), exhausting prisoner research (prison space is actually the main enemy in this game).

Pogroms I believe incur -100 penalty before Mutan Alliance, then -1000. Help Lokknars is also -100 (but do them for apples). Any mission of such penalty will have it stated when you click the pink dot I think. Also 100 penalty is nothing, 1000 is about 25% of income in early game. When you make 25k score a month even 1000 are skippable if you can't be arsed.

Don't worry about spoilage. There's so many things to discover a few spoilers won't make a dent in your experience, only prevent frustration. In fact my position is that hiding basic game mechanics behind those #research numbers is dumb and worst part of the mod (unreasonable difficulty spikes being close 2nd). Probably had to be done to water down technological advancement from prisoners though.

That's about it. The biggest challenge in your case would be understanding underlying original game engine mechanic the mod expands upon. I dove into XPz after recently playing original UFO/TFTD for about 4 months and becoming sort of an expert. Only needed a few additional questions and be on my way. So far it's my top 5 game of all time. The incredible imagination, complexity and depth far outweigh any issues that gripe me.

Offline MechaGodJovi

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Re: New player, overwhelmed
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2020, 06:44:21 pm »
@Solarius - Ah that makes sense why the research tree is the way it is then. That's the main section in the wiki I try to avoid because of that reason, didn't wanna see something good and bee-line straight over which would ruin it for me just knowing before finding it out myself. The other advice is helpful and I definitely appreciate it, thanks!

@legionof1 - Yeah I try to have as many brainers as I can have and can support since I realized I can have each of them whittling away on most topics alone. Or at least that's what I felt was right to do anyway since it seemed vast in comparison to others. I didn't even know there was a discord but I joined it now so thanks :D.

@Nilex - When I first started last week I kind of just blindly was researching topics that sound like they would benefit me most the time and some felt like they were getting me nowhere so main reason I felt "lost". I love reading the reports but research is mostly the thing that was overwhelming me. Glad you and Solarius mentioned it gives points and money though because I didn't know that.

I will say I do love the hammer, I actually used those at the beginning a good bit with cutlasses when I kept restarting to try different approaches. I never friendly fired intentionally on mutants but have used them as meatshields to exploit the AI so I can get closer for a stun since it seems to attack the closest thing to it usually.

That's good to know about the pogroms, I don't really feel bad for skipping the first couple now. I did read through that guide before making an account here but still left me wondering about other things. That's also nice to know about interceptions, wasn't sure if it was basically untouched with all the extra stuff like all the factions etc so had me question it.

I do need to go back and play through the rest of EU/TFTD but I normally get distracted and bored once I get to mid-late game on EU. I love TFTD more than EU but the ambiance and color tone of the game puts me to sleep unfortunately, in a good way of course but I can only take it in short spurts due to that. Apocalypse is my favorite though probably since it was my first and it's the only one I've actually finished which is sad because I wanna finish the others eventually.

Thanks again for the replies everyone it was really helpful. If I ever have anymore questions I'll pop in on the discord or peek at the wiki if I absolutely have too but I feel more relieved having those answered by everyone and think I'm set now, woo!

Offline Dioxine

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Re: New player, overwhelmed
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2020, 09:38:14 pm »
In fact my position is that hiding basic game mechanics behind those #research numbers is dumb and worst part of the mod

Call it dumb if you want, I aimed to give the player knowledge gradually, to lessen the general overwhelming. The most basic mechanics are available in the Pedia from day 1, yet even with that limited selection - nobody reads these, and those who do, generally don't remember.

Offline legionof1

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Re: New player, overwhelmed
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2020, 10:09:52 pm »
Yeah even those of us that do read all the fine detail # entries tend to forget a fair few over time. The mod on the whole is more complex and deep then say 90% of games in general.

But by the other hand most of those fine details end up being irrelevant a good portion of the time. The vast majority are answers to why something works a certain way, often mechanisms that where in vanilla and TFTD and just never exposed to the player. For example air to air weapons have a damage roll, and accuracy buff/malus based on target size.

Until the use case comes up for a given # page and goes against the player, the information is often irrelevant to how one plays the game, and rate of success.