aliens

Author Topic: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?  (Read 5275 times)

Offline eldt

  • Squaddie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
So I've just started my first play through of the X-files and I'm having a blast. So far it's been pretty fun. However at the end of one of the months, I suddenly see that the USA has withdrawn from the Xcom project because of a pact with unknown forces. I've been trying to shoot down whatever UFO's I could potentially find and I do have a radar base situated in the USA, but I don't have the hyper-wave decoder so I probably missed some sort of diplomatic or infiltration mission. That notification suddenly made me doubt how my progress has been. Score wise I've been doing great, and I haven't yet had a month where I lost too much council scoring. Am I behind the tech curve and should I have researched more ways to prevent this? Or is it just inevitable that one or two nations are going to get subverted?  Should I consider this campaign lost or might I be able to salvage a win from this? Currently the in-game date is 3/7/1999. Honestly I wouldn't mind starting over as my first playthrough was pretty unfocused, not really targeting/focusing techs that might be important or could have saved me.

Offline krautbernd

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 1116
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2021, 02:41:21 pm »
Am I behind the tech curve and should I have researched more ways to prevent this? Or is it just inevitable that one or two nations are going to get subverted?  Should I consider this campaign lost or might I be able to salvage a win from this? Currently the in-game date is 3/7/1999. Honestly I wouldn't mind starting over as my first playthrough was pretty unfocused, not really targeting/focusing techs that might be important or could have saved me.
If you have ever played vanilla x-com you are probably aware that infiltrations can not be prevented - only delayed. As it stands right now this is also the case in XCF, as infiltration mission are set up to be not interruptable (though it is quite easy to change this). This is compounded by the recent removal of alien embassy missions, meaning you can not get countries to rejoin the project. What - if any - impact this has on your playthrough depends largely on your overall budget. If you have enough funding from other nations/production/etc. to support operations this should not be a problem.
 
As for your question regarding "being behind the tech curve" - the mod currently has ~2300 research topics. It is close to impossible to judge your progress (or lack thereof) only by you not having researched the hyper-wave decoder yet. Seeing how this is your first playthrough it is likely that you will (eventually) fail/be overwhelmed as not focusing research early in the game can screw you over. This is normal and expected, but compounded by the semi-random nature of events and missions.

« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 02:46:23 pm by krautbernd »

Offline Empiro

  • Captain
  • ***
  • Posts: 81
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2021, 06:11:49 am »
Compared to vanilla X-Com, Hyperwave Decoder is quite a bit harder to get.

By 1999, it's important to be able to intercept UFOs. Have you been able to at least get the Interceptor and Kitsune? Do you have weapons that can reliably take down enemies (the Smartgun was basically the best gun until very lategame). If so, then you're still doing alright.

Offline eldt

  • Squaddie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2021, 07:25:38 am »
Yeah I ended up just resetting after I lost two of my bases. I think the biggest problem in the first play through was diddling around with all the weapon requisition techs that I wasn't even going to end up using. I did have the kitsune and the interceptor and I believe my best weapon was the black-ops magnum/regular magnum depending on money I want to spend. They carried my past the humanish enemies and some of the weaker enemies after that, but fighting the underground aliens was hard with just magnums and grenades as the mainstay weapon.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2021, 11:59:20 am by eldt »

Offline zee_ra

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 200
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2022, 07:59:31 am »
If you have ever played vanilla x-com you are probably aware that infiltrations can not be prevented - only delayed.

As far as I recall, it has been distinctly possible to prevent the infiltration from succeeding in the original game by managing to destroy the alien base in the country being infiltrated in a timely manner.

As it stands right now this is also the case in XCF, as infiltration mission are set up to be not interruptable (though it is quite easy to change this). This is compounded by the recent removal of alien embassy missions, meaning you can not get countries to rejoin the project.

I have seen that the alien embassies are getting constructed at the time the infiltration battleships arrive.  Even if the battleships are shot down, and the embassy is destroyed the same day, the infiltration appears to succeed.



Offline krautbernd

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 1116
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2022, 12:31:47 pm »
As far as I recall, it has been distinctly possible to prevent the infiltration from succeeding in the original game by managing to destroy the alien base in the country being infiltrated in a timely manner.
You can not prevent infiltration in the original game, only delay it. Infiltration suceeds the moment the second battleship of the wave is spawned (which also spawns the alien base). Destroying the alien base does not prevent infiltration.

Also see https://www.ufopaedia.org/index.php/Alien_Infiltration

I have seen that the alien embassies are getting constructed at the time the infiltration battleships arrive.  Even if the battleships are shot down, and the embassy is destroyed the same day, the infiltration appears to succeed.
Again, this is the same as in vanilla.

Offline Jimboman

  • Colonel
  • ****
  • Posts: 117
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2022, 04:22:36 pm »
Yeah I ended up just resetting after I lost two of my bases. I think the biggest problem in the first play through was diddling around with all the weapon requisition techs that I wasn't even going to end up using. I did have the kitsune and the interceptor and I believe my best weapon was the black-ops magnum/regular magnum depending on money I want to spend. They carried my past the humanish enemies and some of the weaker enemies after that, but fighting the underground aliens was hard with just magnums and grenades as the mainstay weapon.

Fighting with what are basically just handguns is a problem.  You should look at it like the 'real' military and have combined arms, depending on the size of your squad.  With a Dragonfly squad (8 troopers) I have 2 with rifles (the best available, preferably Smartrifles or UAC rifles until lasers come along), 4 with P90s or UAC SMGS for CQB inside bases/UFO's, and of those 1 or 2 have grenade launchers to take out stubborn or large enemies.  The other 2 have an MG (Blackops LMG) and a cannon, preferably light- or auto-cannon, which are useful if the enemies bunch-up.  The amount of weapons the squad carries scales-up with size of squad, and with an Osprey (and larger craft) I make sure 1 or 2 troops have sniper-rifles for long-distance and also 1 or 2 have heavy anti-tank weapons for those really tough missions (useful to take down walls).

Early weapons don't need to be standardized, and I like to give my bases the 'local' guns, like M16s in the USA and AKs in Eastern Europe.  Once you get the better stuff like Blackops and UAC you should make them standard in all bases if possible.

Another tip is don't research acquisition of weapons you know you're not going to use and spend the time of getting better armor/vehicles/weapons.  Also research captured enemies and creatures asap as they can give better research topics and info on weapons and things.  Research any science building that comes up as you can't research some topics without the newer ones, and they add extra research spaces too.

I really must sit-down and write an essay on my own playstyle sometime as there's so much in Xcomfiles!

Buying and opening loot boxes when they're available (reinforced weapons boxes are good) can sometimes give you early use of high-end weapons.  I once got an early Hydra-laser that way, but I had to be spare with the ammo!

Offline Juku121

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 1530
  • We're all mad here.
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2022, 12:29:49 pm »
Also research captured enemies and creatures asap as they can give better research topics and info on weapons and things.
That can be hit and miss. A lot of alien creatures and lower ranks never give anything that substantially advances your tech base, they mostly give flavour text. And all aliens are pretty costly to research. Blindly researching any new alien creature you lay your hands on is a pretty good way to lose the game.

Alien engineers, leaders and commanders are the ones that need researching a lot.

Researching most cultists or other humans is a lot more lenient. Most of them take only a little while to interrogate and even if they never give you anything useful, at least you get some score out of it. There are some fellows who are more in the alien/waste of research time camp, though. Like MiB or the cult head honchos.

Offline rezaf

  • Captain
  • ***
  • Posts: 70
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2022, 11:31:39 pm »
The same thing happened to me, the US retired from XCOM funding first. RNG really screwed my over (I presume it doesn't HAVE to play out this way), as 95% of all UFOs I'm seeing are staffed by Mutons.
I've been fighting an uphill battle trying to fight them off. It sucks, because the mod has several bottlenecks that require specific captures, most importantly I was struggling with capturing a Navigator - it's hard enough suriviving a battle with the Mutons, I mostly relied on incendiary grenades and stuff. Sometimes the flaming fist for storming, but they are useless for the "open battlefield" due to severely limited range.
But capturing them obviously requires stunning them, and they seem very resilient against knockout grenades or other typical stun gear. I managed to eventually capture a navigator and now have Laser Weaponry and Mass Drivers, which at least helps a little bit. But larger UFOs are packed with Annihilators or what these tank thingies are called, it feels beyond unfair and has soured me on the mod a bit.

I'm losing my will to continue playing. I believe my research is FAR behind the curve, but what can I do, I ran out of research topics several times now. On the other hand, though, only the US dropped out of XCOM so far, I'm swimming in cash (closing in on 100 mio and have a monthly surplus of about 20 mio) and none of my bases has been contested so far. So maybe not all is lost yet?
Btw., what is required to be allowed to field 'em tanks? I've built a dozen laser tanks, but none of my craft are allowed to carry them...

Offline Juku121

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 1530
  • We're all mad here.
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2022, 03:10:11 am »
The same thing happened to me, the US retired from XCOM funding first. RNG really screwed my over (I presume it doesn't HAVE to play out this way), as 95% of all UFOs I'm seeing are staffed by Mutons.
Well, yeah. Once you roll a bunch of Muton missions, they can fly these for a while. You should be getting a chance (or several) at a new race every month, though.

OTOH, count your blessings while Japan and Germany are still in. :)

It sucks, because the mod has several bottlenecks that require specific captures, most importantly I was struggling with capturing a Navigator...
You mean Alien Codes? It doesn't specifically need a Navigator, but the alternatives are worse. You should have gotten a Sectoid Navigator early on, though.

But larger UFOs are packed with Annihilators or what these tank thingies are called, it feels beyond unfair and has soured me on the mod a bit.
Well, at least it's aliens who are supposed to be unfair. I felt the same about MiB, who are meant to be a mirror org of sorts, but can jump you with endgame armour even before the invasion proper starts.

Btw., what is required to be allowed to field 'em tanks? I've built a dozen laser tanks, but none of my craft are allowed to carry them...
Sentient alien crystals to 'wear' them.

Offline rezaf

  • Captain
  • ***
  • Posts: 70
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2022, 10:25:29 am »
Well, yeah. Once you roll a bunch of Muton missions, they can fly these for a while. You should be getting a chance (or several) at a new race every month, though.

Unfortunately, it's been more than a year at this point. I have seen a single sectoid ship early on, a few (say three) Chaser ones and just recently one with Gazers (not much better than Mutons honestly).
Since fighting the Mutons with sub par gear sucks so hard, I've taken a habit of trying to shoot down UFOs over the ocean so that I don't have to deal with the landing site. My base stores are filled to the brim with fancy Plasma weaponry the mod doesn't allow me to research due to bad tech tree pacing and I have >500 elerium and alien alloys stashed away. So I'd rather not go through the hassle of dealing with all 'em Mutons. Every now and then I can't wait for one to get over water, and then it's almost always still Mutons.

OTOH, count your blessings while Japan and Germany are still in. :)

Like I wrote, I'm swimming in cash. The Muton base has been there for like a year and a half now, haven't seen any other attempts at taking over any country.

You mean Alien Codes? It doesn't specifically need a Navigator, but the alternatives are worse. You should have gotten a Sectoid Navigator early on, though.

Well, I didn't. Like I mentioned above, I've seen one sectoid ship, and there might have been a Navigator on it, but it isn't always viable to take a specific enemy down non-violently. Don't remember the specifics, though.

Well, at least it's aliens who are supposed to be unfair. I felt the same about MiB, who are meant to be a mirror org of sorts, but can jump you with endgame armour even before the invasion proper starts.

Yeah, I had one mission like that very early on. Ridiculous. But since then, the MiB have been rather quiet.
I got a bunch of laser weaponry from that mission and it took me a LONG time to be able to build laser stuff myself afterwards, mostly due to the Alien Codes requirement I guess.
At least it's been better than with all the Plasma stuff I can only use as door stoppers still.

Sentient alien crystals to 'wear' them.

Thanks for the advice, I've gotten it to work. I'd have never expected it to work like that, what a ... weird mechanic.

Offline Juku121

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 1530
  • We're all mad here.
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2022, 10:53:13 am »
Unfortunately, it's been more than a year at this point. I have seen a single sectoid ship early on, a few (say three) Chaser ones and just recently one with Gazers (not much better than Mutons honestly).
Well, them Gazers are your new pals for the month, then. :P

This excessive variance is both something a mod can't do a terrible lot about (without insane scripting, that is), and is also intentional to boot. If you get really fed up with it, go look for 'alienMissions:' in your save and change the race back to Sectoids, or Floaters, or something. Actually, Sectoids are kinda badass, too, so maybe not them.

...fancy Plasma weaponry the mod doesn't allow me to research due to bad tech tree pacing and I have >500 elerium and alien alloys stashed away.
Eh, this is one change I quite like. The OG tech tree where you research plasmas in a few months was really silly.

500 is rookie numbers. ;D I have over 3000 Elerium (and several thousand alloys, but these come and go) at the moment, and I'm not even a year into the invasion.

At least it's been better than with all the Plasma stuff I can only use as door stoppers still.
Well, at least they're really fancy door stoppers. Maybe there ought to be an event about that. Hey, Solarius, take note!

I'd have never expected it to work like that, what a ... weird mechanic.
Yeah. But it's either that or tanks that don't advance in stats.

Honestly, I'd prefer some tanks to be as they used to be, dumb, disposable and easy (well, easier) to access. Shards are really rare and all the cybernetics topics take a long while to research.

Offline rezaf

  • Captain
  • ***
  • Posts: 70
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2022, 11:25:17 am »
Well, them Gazers are your new pals for the month, then. :P

They aren't. Just faced some Waspites. Yay. At least they were reasonably easy to kill for a change.

This excessive variance is both something a mod can't do a terrible lot about (without insane scripting, that is), and is also intentional to boot. If you get really fed up with it, go look for 'alienMissions:' in your save and change the race back to Sectoids, or Floaters, or something. Actually, Sectoids are kinda badass, too, so maybe not them.

If a game (mod) forces me to edit the savegame that's a bit of a failure in my book. Maybe I'll write a review of sorts once I'm done with the mod (either by finishing or by getting totally fed up).

Eh, this is one change I quite like. The OG tech tree where you research plasmas in a few months was really silly.

I agree in a way, but also. The OG was aware of the fact that the player was in danger of facing Mutons and needed a way to deal with them, and also the idea that I'm sitting on hundreds of plasma weapons and none of my scientists is able to figure out ANYTHING about them is beyond silly as well.

500 is rookie numbers. ;D I have over 3000 Elerium (and several thousand alloys, but these come and go) at the moment, and I'm not even a year into the invasion.

Oh, I agree, but I AM a rookie - this is my first time playing the mod, after all. And I haven't played XCOM for like two years, then it was XPiratez.
My point wasn't to "brag" about the numbers. The point is: is stuff is just collecting dust. I crafted the titanium gear I wanted, I don't use any Elerium based fighter yet (I have one researched, I think), so off to the shelves it goes. In my opinion, I'm in a spot a player shouldn't get into. I have only some minor crap left to research (after completely running out previously), I have tons of loot I can neither use nor research, and I have nothing I can do to press forward except playing the waiting game for the RNG.

Yeah. But it's either that or tanks that don't advance in stats.

I'd take the non-stat-advancing tanks. I thought first the awakened AI stuff was some take at androids or somesuch, seperate from the tanks, which is also why I didn't even think of having the scout AI thing I had "wear" a tank.

Offline Juku121

  • Commander
  • *****
  • Posts: 1530
  • We're all mad here.
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2022, 12:25:02 pm »
They aren't. Just faced some Waspites. Yay. At least they were reasonably easy to kill for a change.
Well, then you have two sets of new pals. ;D Make sure you take some back home for partying interrogation.

If a game (mod) forces me to edit the savegame that's a bit of a failure in my book.
It doesn't force you. You can continue running the game and hoping for an alien race that's easier to capture. Waspites seem to be fitting the bill anyway?

But it's a way to alleviate the tedium, the mod being what it is. If you don't want to make life easier for yourself in an attempt to play 'as the creator intended' or whatever your line of reasoning is, that's fine. But I find such an attitude kinda weird when applied to mods and especially mods in the middle of development. Mods are all about altering the game to suit your tastes, and so is changing tedious stuff via various means (save editing, submods, memory manipulation, building your own fork, etc).

I agree in a way, but also. The OG was aware of the fact that the player was in danger of facing Mutons and needed a way to deal with them, and also the idea that I'm sitting on hundreds of plasma weapons and none of my scientists is able to figure out ANYTHING about them is beyond silly as well.
Solarius's stance is that not all battles need to be winnable. The Mutons will relent eventually, you will get some captures even if they don't, etc.

There are actually two tiers of plasma research. Right now, your scientists are at the phase of "these be weapons, but damn if we know how to activate them". Kinda makes sense for an interstellar polity to make their weapons not easily accessible. Then you get to use captured weapons, and finally you get to build your own.

Now, I think this kinda breaks down in the details because research prerequisites for the two tiers are relatively close (even the lab tier is the same!) and by the time you have the first, you don't have all that much to until you reach the second. But the basic idea is solid.

In my opinion, I'm in a spot a player shouldn't get into. I have only some minor crap left to research (after completely running out previously), I have tons of loot I can neither use nor research, and I have nothing I can do to press forward except playing the waiting game for the RNG.
I think your biggest problem is that the mod is predicated on the player getting regular captures, and you failed to do that because Mutons. It's a somewhat rare and mildly interesting scenario.

RNG can be skipped by save editing. When I first played XCF back in 2017 or so, I meticulously made lists of random missions for the month by reloading several times, and then edited in a big combined list to make sure I get a variety of missions every month. Made for more interesting mission sets, but yeah, not something a sane person would do. :D

In any case, that's a feature of the more 'simulationist' nature of the mod, compared to the OG. And even the OG was way more into simulation than most successors.

I'd take the non-stat-advancing tanks.
You would, but this has been the biggest criticism levied against HWPs for nearly three decades.

I thought first the awakened AI stuff was some take at androids or somesuch, seperate from the tanks, which is also why I didn't even think of having the scout AI thing I had "wear" a tank.
The AIs can also wear Terminator suits, which isn't too far from androids. Quite late-game, though.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2022, 12:28:12 pm by Juku121 »

Offline rezaf

  • Captain
  • ***
  • Posts: 70
    • View Profile
Re: USA just signed a pact with unkown aliens. How boned am I?
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2022, 03:14:14 pm »
Thanks for bothing with responding Juku, I do realize I have probably already crossed the threshold into rant territory.  :-[

Well, then you have two sets of new pals. ;D Make sure you take some back home for partying interrogation.

The waspites were easy to kill, but I didn't manage to capture a single one. Thing is, aliens (especially Mutons) are EXTREMELY good shooters. I have folks with accuracy of 120% or something, and yet they often struggle hitting the broad side of a barn with a sniper rifle. Mutons will often one-shot me from across the map with a Plasma Pistol.

But it's a way to alleviate the tedium, the mod being what it is. If you don't want to make life easier for yourself in an attempt to play 'as the creator intended' or whatever your line of reasoning is, that's fine. But I find such an attitude kinda weird when applied to mods and especially mods in the middle of development. Mods are all about altering the game to suit your tastes, and so is changing tedious stuff via various means (save editing, submods, memory manipulation, building your own fork, etc).

You misunderstood me, probably because I didn't spell it out right. What I meant was, while such a solution (editing the savegame) might bring me recourse for now, a mod (in development, as you say) should eventually aim to make such workaround unneccessary. Apart from that, I agree with your reasoning.

Solarius's stance is that not all battles need to be winnable. The Mutons will relent eventually, you will get some captures even if they don't, etc.

Oh, I agree with that not every battle needs to be winnable. I would have an extremely hard time at the Muton base, same thing with large Muton UFOs, they mop the floor with my soldiers. It's just the lack of variety that gets me. After the Waspoids, the next two UFOs were Mutons again. Since my main squads now have at least Laser Rifles, dealing with them is no longer so nightmareish.

There are actually two tiers of plasma research. Right now, your scientists are at the phase of "these be weapons, but damn if we know how to activate them". Kinda makes sense for an interstellar polity to make their weapons not easily accessible. Then you get to use captured weapons, and finally you get to build your own.

(...)

I think your biggest problem is that the mod is predicated on the player getting regular captures, and you failed to do that because Mutons. It's a somewhat rare and mildly interesting scenario.

Yeah, the mod relies on captures - things are far from reliable even with captures, I think I'm now stuck on Delta Radiation and Alien Gravity Generator, both of which you can get from a number of captures, each of which has it in a long list of random topics you might get otherwise.
What really should happen is that you ought to be given longer ranged and more reliable capturing methods. I've had Small Launchers for ages, but you cannot research and thus not use them.
Why is there no stun grenade ammo for the Grenade Launcher, Rocket Launcher, Milkor etc.?
All I have is Knockout Grenades, which do jack shit far too often and are very TU intensive to boot, and Dart Pistols / Rifles, which suck against Mutons (but they might suck against Sectoids, too, due to the energy shields). Thus the strategy I've been employing to get captures at all is to use maximum firepower, and if, as it happens occasionally, even that leaves the opponent injured instead of killed, I try to rush a soldier over and heal him up. Then I leave a guard with a dart pistol in case he wakes up again.
That's a PITA, but the mod is far too unforgiving for anything else. I'm not afraid to reload a save every now and then, but I don't want to savescumm ALL THE TIME.

RNG can be skipped by save editing. When I first played XCF back in 2017 or so, I meticulously made lists of random missions for the month by reloading several times, and then edited in a big combined list to make sure I get a variety of missions every month. Made for more interesting mission sets, but yeah, not something a sane person would do. :D

Definately an unconventional strategy.  ;D

You would, but this has been the biggest criticism levied against HWPs for nearly three decades.

I might have criticized that myself at some point, and I do enjoy the idea of tanks gaining XP, but I don't really see why nobody just made a code change to allow tanks to gain XP. It's not like we're stuck with XCOM's codebase now with OpenXcom, right?

Besides, the purpose of HWPs in the original game was to have a frontine unit which wasn't so painful if you lost it, and now those alien crystals are FAR MORE RARE than good soldiers, so you can only have an extremely limited number of tanks, and ... what happens if one is destroyed, if the AI lost for good?