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XCOM Enemy Unknown: First DLC “Slingshot” Announced

By on October 23rd, 2012 6:31 pm

Firaxis Games and 2K announced “Slingshot”, the first DLC to be released for XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

“The Slingshot Content Pack”, as 2K calls the DLC, will be available for PC, XBox 360 and PS3 and it will include:

  • 3 new council missions and completely new (and regional based) maps after diverting an alien ship’s course, and do battle with the aliens in the skies over China (not available in multiplayer)
  • A new playable squad character with a unique story and voice
  • New character customization options
  • Missions successful completion unlock an existing piece of tech earlier in the game (Blaster Launcher).

The release date and pricing details for this first DLC are unknown at the moment but are expected to be released soon.

There’s a second DLC envisaged in addition to this “Slingshot” DLC but no details were given about that one. And this excludes a third DLC, already available: the “Elite Soldiers Pack” which was previously available for people who pre-ordered the game and that is now available to everybody for $4.99/€4.49.

Content from press release via Joystiq.

Sincerely I was hoping for a different kind of extension. More storyline, more  aliens, the “second wave” options ready to boost replayability perhaps. However, three new distinct maps are nice though not sure if it’s worth it, depends on the price.

And, I sincerely hope more patches will be released by the time the DLC releases. There’s still a lot of issues they need to iron out before starting to ask people for more money. Especially the camera glitches and the semi-broken SHIVs need to be fixed asap.

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63 Comments


  1. Yar says:

    I’m of the same mind. I’ll only buy this DLC if it adds significant re-playability or some other kind of extension of the campaign.

  2. JD says:

    I don’t like this type of DLC. Expansion packs are fine if they add a lot to the game. But selling a few maps and a character or two seems like a rip-off and a money grab to me.

  3. LuckyLuigi says:

    “A new playable squad character with a unique story and voice” … who will get headshotted in your first mission :P
    It’s ok but I prefer to see some fixes first…

  4. SQW says:

    Cosmetic drivels that can be pumped out by the dev team in barely a week. Majority of the addition are mere re-skins and XCOM mission design aren’t exactly taxing either.

    Guess we have to suffer through quit a few of these DLC-lites before the equivalent of a TFTD expansion is announced.

    • Alex Ryden says:

      It seems to be what fireaxis does. They did it with Civ V. These kind of packs don’t annoy me so much if they are priced at a dollar or two. It is when this gets put on sale for five bucks or more that it makes me mad.
      As for the expansion, I am glad they are adding more maps, but I do feel like the maps should be either free or come in a pack of, say, ten. In a game like this, where maps determine replayability, I feel like mroe effort should be going in that direction. I also hope the game is modifiable enough for people to add maps themselves. That would be huge.

      • SQW says:

        Unfortunately for us, those three new maps are independent so after you finished the new council missions, you wouldn’t see those maps again in normal sand-box play.

        The rigidity of opting for pre-designed maps over a random generation system is stark in this case – all those new Chinese themed tile sets limited on mere 3 DLC missions.

    • zigzag says:

      Hopefully, we never see the equivalent of TFTD!

      • Adam Solo says:

        I liked Terror from the Deep. Very watery alright :) but it had a great game atmosphere. You really felt transported to the depths of the sea fighting aliens :)

        • zigzag says:

          Heh heh. I could do with slightly smaller maps. Spending several hours plating “hunt the last aquatoid” is something I don’t miss! That said, I wouldn’t mind larger maps in the remake… as long as their size wasn’t as absurd as in TFTD.

  5. Towerbooks3192 says:

    Oh dear!!

    Its the Civ 5 leaders DLC nightmare all over again

  6. Cem says:

    they could easily adapt this pack to main game without effort. Developers are trying to steal money from players by extracting the content from the main game. This is not a “content pack!”

    this is the naturel part of the main game.

    “content pack” is Skyrim’s Dawnquard!

    This is just a cheap trick to steal money from gamers. It’s a shame.

  7. Serge says:

    3 maps for 3 special missions only are kind of suck. I’d get it even if it would be 3 maps only for *all* missions, but 3 new missions are kind of pointless. I’ll skip this one.

  8. lammaer says:

    Attention: Milking Started! Say moooooooo :)

  9. LarenX says:

    Today, most greedy developers think that the players are idiots. This is why piracy continues to grow from strength to strength. If someone does not respect its customers absolutely do not deserve respect. This is why iOS developers earn millions (at app store) and a PC, console developers have serious trouble.
    The best comment here to this situation by lammaer: “Attention: Milking Started! Say moooooooo :)”

    • hereticus says:

      I agree with you 100%. I can tell that the Xcom devs think modern gamers have an attention spam of a toaster oven. That shows by the poor architecture of the game development. Old xcom gave you freedom of choice. It was deeper and more rewarding in its aspects and it only took 20mb on hdd… I remember times when I got gut churning feeling when 6 UFOs showed up at same time to deal with. New game is just bland and balless in the strategic aspect. I think we need re-review of the game after the hype has worn off a bit now. I also think we all got fooled a bit there. I know I said in other posts that I love the game but at 2 playthorugh the charm has gone away and the game shows its short comings. The DLCs wont fix that I think.

    • Towerbooks3192 says:

      I am studying in business school and it is understandable that devs have the responsibility to the stockholders of the company by making sure that they have the highest profit with the lowest input and quality. Its just unfortunate that it is the way games are becoming nowadays. Its the reason why I am turned off by MMOs and I rarely purchase games for my android (the bus trips are becoming unbearable without games).

      I don’t have any objections if games are not pay to win or doesn’t milk you every step of the way, however it is alright if they are selling DLCs that are worth the money.

      • LarenX says:

        The biggest problem today is the situation:
        “Hey, boss, we have completed 60% of our game!
        - RELEASE IT?
        - But sir, it’s only 60% and many bugs!
        - Who cares?! RELEASE IT NOW!, when we done the other 40% of the game we sell as DLCs and earn much more, you idiots!
        There is no time to correct bugs, because before we do the game no longer has to sell and those who already bought it once again pay us only for another shitty content.
        And please, publish on our website that we are working hard to improve all the bugs!
        - OK, boss!”

        I guess I’m not much mistaken…

  10. hereticus says:

    What sad times we live in. Games this days are being stripped down of the content that should be included in and than sold off by bits and pieces making games less affordable… Across the board game developers adopted Farmville business model… As much of a fan I’m, I will not spend a dime on any of the dlcs. I bought xbox version and so far not a single glitch in the game has been addressed yet. Mind you both Xbox and PC versions of the game seem to have the same problems. PC got a patch that sort off addressed some of them.

    Xbox,PS3 or any other console are a locked and limited access systems and as such should have games more polished before releasing. DLC before patch that fixes the game issues its wrong and stinks of some rather bad manners. That kind of makes me wonder why people download Torrents…

    Bottom line I will just bide my time and wait for the GOTY edition for PC and buy it for 20 bucks. Plus I think all people that wait should be rewarded by than with some rather fantastic mods for the game.

    • Adam Solo says:

      I agree with you. I also don’t like how the gaming industry is heading towards standardizing this DLC business model. You can’t help by wondering if the DLC content was not purposely “removed” from the main game to be sold as pieces for extra cash. But, on the other side of the coin perhaps the game would not have cost $50 but $60 if it contained the 3 DLCs that are now currently on the table. If you ask me the game still lives up to $60 as it is, although it starts to get a bit expensive due to some important glitches, bugs and shortcomings present in the game at the moment.

      We never know in these things. In the end it all comes down to the fun you have with the main game (vanilla version). As you probably saw by reading my review I think the main game alone justifies the entry price entirely. Replayability is its weakest element but still not all games live on replayability like 4X sand-box games for example. Sometimes, and I think XCOM:EU is such a case, you pay for 2 to 3 playthroughs that will give you perhaps 100-150h of excellent experiences.

      I already account 78 hours of play (that’s what Steam tells me at least), and I’m not middle of my 2nd play through in classic / ironman yet. The story is not a mystery now of course but the ironman mode (can’t save/reload when you want) gives that extra edge required to have as much fun as in the first playthrough, which is the case with me. I plan to give it a 3rd playthrough in Impossible/Ironman and then I guess I’m done for a while. I may return for another run later.

      I think it was more or less the same with the original games. I may have ended UFO: Enemy Unknown and Terror from the Deep some 3 to 5 times each perhaps, can’t remember. However, I did play them A LOT but part of that I think is due to the fact that the original games’ maps took much more time to finish than these ones, you just spent more time playing the originals but not really progressing in the game. At least that’s what I remember, it’s been a long time. The thing is that the main story in the originals was not as “clear”.

      If I remember correctly you didn’t have people telling you or text presented to you saying “objectives: capture this or that in order to”. And if I remember correctly you needed to figure some things by yourself like capturing the navigation commander to know where Cydonia was. And, by all means try to find that drill weapon or you’re screw** with the lobster man. I think the problem in XCOM:EU is that the story, the progression is revealed to much. Try to delay the story in this new XCOM:EU and I’ll bet you’ll get more or less the same kind of experience as in the originals.

      And, as an extra note, let me suggest that I think some people may be confusing a bit depth with micromanagement. Strategic depth is about how many and how relevant and meaningful decisions you need to make. That’s what makes a strategy game. A good strategy game contains a lot of these meaningful decisions (in my view). I think this new XCOM contains as much (or even more: e.g. skill progression) of such meaningful decisions, they just stripped the parts that required more micromanagement, like the ammo/inventory management part.

      And, it has been said before (by a guy in Gamespy and another in Kotaku, and I agree), the granularity of movement (action units or time units) can’t really be seen as “depth” but as probably a simpler, more raw way to do things. The new XCOM removes the TUs freedom but replaces it with a simplified model which basically comprises about 90-95% of your former actions in previous X-COMs, which is “move here and then shoot” or “move, move again, I’m done” or “shoot and move or other action”.

      If you think about it, rarely did you do “move, and move again, and again, and fire, and move”. OR if you did perhaps part of the problem you were having was struggling with the TU system itself because you couldn’t figure out where to move in order to have points left to shoot or do other action. Now, with the new system that’s much simpler to understand and you can now focus more on tactics and on what the aliens are doing. At least that’s my impression about this depth/micromanagement/freedom/dumbingdown/smartingup/streamlining topic.

      • SQW says:

        I personally love and respected the new direction Firaxis took with the tactic system – the OG had me calculating every tiny TU and that was NOT fun despite what the purists are claiming.

        However, the overarching strategy part and the sandbox elements are less-than-stellar thanks largely to all the scripted missions; all the events in the first 15months happen in a set order at a set time and replayability really suffered.

        I wish they simply removed all the hand-holding on the impossible difficulty and let the veteran players fend for themselves.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Yes, as I said in my review the somewhat scripting feeling can be a problem, and sincerely I was hoping for a more sandbox kind of game mode to be introduced with the DLC. Ok, maybe too much to ask, but at least they could have given way more maps, like 20 or more, and not 3 that only appear in the council missions, and not even in multiplayer. But then we would say: “You came up with 20 maps in 2 months? Why weren’t they in the game in the first place??”. Oh well… However the scripting feeling only emerges because we KNOW the OG, and they were less restrictive in that respect (was that a good thing?).

          You could play for hours and hours and hours in the OG till your heart’s content and there was no sense of urgency. Is that fun? Well, maybe it was but, is that more plausible than a storyline progression that “forces” you a bit to … progress so that you don’t fall too much behind and prove yourself *** SPOILERS AHEAD *** unworthy? (I know, the “how convenient the story is like that argument).

          If you’re a newbie and you didn’t have clear objectives in your game you would get “what a hell am I supposed to do? Do more 100 missions? What must I do to finish this thing?”. If you’re an hardcore gamer, and there were clear objectives (as it is the case now): “Only 30h gameplay and that’s it? What the hell am I supposed to do now?”. You see, there are always complaints. The solution in my view is simple. Newbies let themselves be hand-held by the storyline missions “*** PRIORITY Research” things and the veterans just delay that and pretend that they don’t know what they need to do. We KNEW what we needed to do in the OG but still we took our time. Nothing stops us from doing it here again.

          Regarding the strategic part I have no objections in XCOM:EU. I don’t think the OG offered more strategic depth that XCM:EU. I can’t remember exactly but I have the feeling this was about it you could do in the strategic layer in the OG as well: buy things, sell stuff, research, buy interceptors, equip them, hire troops. More bases was more micromanagement than a necessity now that I experienced the XCOM:EU single base. And, I didn’t like to have to build more bases anyway, as I said in my review they felt like placeholders.

          I can also start to understand why base defense against the aliens was also stripped. First of all it didn’t make sense for the aliens to come and get you, lose the battle and then forget about it and don’t bring a million ships to blow you up. Secondly, but this one’s weaker, it wouldn’t fit in this game’s plot because *** SPOILERS AHEAD *** they don’t want to annihilate us, they want to test us.

    • Towerbooks3192 says:

      Same here, though I prefer if the game sells seasons passes like borderlands 2. I bought the season pass to save on the DLCs. Its pretty unfortunate that most devs are nickle and diming gamers with DLCs. I have to say that unless they bundle this I wouldn’t buy it. I have nightmares buying Civ V civ DLCs because they didn’t bundle it.

  11. zigzag says:

    I wonder how well the new DLC will mesh with the current game. One the one hand, I hope it doesn’t end up feeling like just another Council mission with a soldier as a reward. One the other, I hope that its story-drivenness doesn’t seem out of place given the sandbox nature of the game.

    • Adam Solo says:

      So, how many times have you beat the game by now? At which difficulty are you on at the moment? As you probably read I’m almost middle of my 2nd playthrough with Classic/Ironman.

      • zigzag says:

        I abandoned my first playthrough on classic after building the hyperwave beacon when I realized that Iron Will wasn’t retroactive. I restarted and finished my first full playthrough over the weekend. I’m a couple of missions into a classic/ironman campaign. It’s a completely different experience, and I like it, although I wish that the strategic layer wasn’t as important.

        • SQW says:

          Dip your toes into Impossible. Classic is still fairly player-friendly and you never have to worry too much on the strategic layer.

          On Impossible, you’ll really have to make the hard choices due to magnified panic reactions and tactically, the aliens seems to ‘roam’ a lot more than in Classic.

          Oh, I did edit the sectoid’s health back down to 3 so the first 2-3 missions weren’t quite so front loaded. =P

        • zigzag says:

          I’ve played through the first mission on impossible. The problem with impossible – at least, from the very little that I’ve experienced – is that success is very dependent on luck.

        • Adam Solo says:

          @zigzag
          With only 4 rookies, with 1 HP less each than classic and the sectoids getting 4 HP instead of 3 I think you could say to be more dependent on luck. What I mean is that the Luck factor was always there, however, in Impossible it’s even more evident because aliens now kill on every shot while in Classic perhaps you could get away with 1HP left sometimes. Need to be even more careful now, and don’t forget to bring lots of grenades :)

        • zigzag says:

          Yeah, that was my experience. I’m worried that the strategic layer will be similar. As soon as I finish my classic/ironman playthrough, I’ll start an impossible/ironman playthrough and see how far I get!

        • SQW says:

          Hints for impossible.

          1. Explosives/Heavies are your best friend until you level up a decent sniper. Forget about the fragments and concentrating on keeping your soldiers alive until you can equip lasers.

          2. In classic, it’s quite easy to skip the entire beam tech and use captured light plasma. On impossible, if you don’t make a bee-line for laser rifles, you are toast when the first terror mission hits.

          3. While engineers are still better than scientist, you need to grab at least one batch early on from the abduction missions or you’ll likely miss item 2.

          4. Plan your strategy early and prepare for triage. You can’t save every country like in Classic so know which countries you can afford to loose.

          I had to throw my Classic rule book out the window when I attempted Impossible. =P

        • Adam Solo says:

          I’m currently playing an Impossible/Ironman game. I’m finding Impossible to be a new game on itself. Aliens shoot to kill, cover isn’t everything and flanking is not one possibility anymore, it’s a MUST! I highly recommend Impossible to anyone thinking that Classic is easy enough or very doable. I imagine that Impossible IS the way to play this game, the real difficulty, and a real challenge.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Ok … time for a point of status on Impossible/Ironman. It’s very, VERY hard. It’s particularly hard on the first 3-5 missions because grenades don’t kill sectoids and you have only 4HP. The aliens hit you most of the times, even when you’re in full cover. The only way to win is to use ambush and try to lure the aliens into close quarters, guerrilla style. Exchanging shots with the aliens doesn’t work, you will lose.

          “Impossible is for people who like to suffer”. They got that right. However, I get the feeling that if you’re lucky in the first missions it should be downhill from there. The problem is to survive the first couple of months …

        • SQW says:

          Ironically, early months of Impossible probably best recreated the hopeless-struggle feelings I had when playing the original – enemy are hard to kill (well, to hit actually) and your ‘elite’ soldiers drop like flies…if only I have more than 4 rookies to feed to the meat grind.

          How’s your strategic map/panic level looking? Classic players need to realise losing 2-3 countries a month on Impossible is almost inevitable so there’re only 3 months to stabilise the situation unless you rush the alien base with basic gear.

        • Adam Solo says:

          From my experience playing Impossible, enemies are not harder to hit, they are just harder to kill because they have +1HP, which requires that you shot at them twice most of the times to kill them. And injured aliens are as dangerous as fully healed ones.

          The problem with the first 3-5 missions is as you say, only 4 rookies against 8-10 “don’t miss” Aliens equipped with plasma pistols and rifles (the outsider). They have a better chance to hit you and also better chance to do critical damage. It’s basically a nightmare. Then you lose 1 soldier, another panicks and all hell breaks lose.

          When I make it through the first mission alive, which happens rarely, I usually lose a complete squad by mission 2 or 3, or sometimes I just abort one mission. So, the strategic layer is not what concerns me with Impossible, it’s the Tactical layer. I think you need a lot of time on your hands to learn how to deal with it, but worse, to have enough luck to make it alive the first 5 missions. Alive being, endure the 5 missions and be left with at least a couple non-rookie soldiers. Preferably a sergeant so that you can unlock the officer school.

          So, now I’m faced with a dilemma. I find Classic/Ironman easy for me. I lost at the Alien base, but I know that with a bit more experienced soldiers I would have made it. Impossible/Ironman is just too hard, and too unpredictable. You need a ton of free time to finish in I/I, thing I don’t have.

        • SQW says:

          I too found Classic to be too easy but Impossible’s sectoid too hard to deal with in the beginning, hence I did a little tweak to the game’s exe file.

          Open XComGame.exe with a hexeditor (I used XV132), change the ‘iHP=1′ in the line starting with
          ‘BalanceMods_Classic=(eType=eChar_Sectoid…..’ to ‘iHP=0′. Takes less than a minute.

          Now you’ll have 3HP sectoids. You’ll still lose 1-2 of your squads per mission due to the increase number of sectoids but this tiny tweak really does make Impossible MUCH more accessible, and more importantly, enjoyable.

          I’m trying to beeline SHIVS with Asia bonus on my current play just to mix things up a bit.

        • Adam Solo says:

          You know what, changing the sectoid 4HP to 3HP may be the trick. You still get more aliens in Impossible, and they also shoot better, so, tweaking the HP may work for some people. But, it’s cheating, however it may be the ticket to a more enjoyable experience than Impossible as it is now. Possibly somewhere in between the two harder difficulties. Thanks for the tip.

          Another possibility would be to play the first 3-5 missions in Classic/Ironman and than change the difficulty to Impossible/Ironman.

        • SQW says:

          Speaking of ‘cheating’ I wonder how many who beat I/I currently abuses the super-new-recruits HP bug. I fixed the bug so to me 3HP sectoids vs 3HP rookies balances out. =)

          Good luck on your games and hope the the sectoid tweak lets you actually enjoy I/I.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Yea, new rookies with 6+1HP in Impossible, what’a hell? I don’t like that either. What is the normal rookies number again (at least in Classic)? 4+1?

          Tell me, are you actually enjoying I/I more than your C/I playthrough with the sectoid HP tweak?

        • SQW says:

          Without a doubt! Tweaked I/I is definitely more fun than vanilla C/I and best reflects the OG. The most important aspect is that tweak makes Impossible fun, not merely easier.

          4HP-sectoid means at the start, luck is too much of a factor and when you let random dice rolls trump player tactical control, it turns a challenge into frustration.

          I reduced the HP of floaters and thin man too once but found that shifted the game too much in player’s favour. So after a lot of tweaks here and there I found that a simple -1HP on sectoid is the best choice for me.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Then I’ll probably give it a shot! :)

          If you ask me, the 4HP sectoids in the start feel more like a safety device to divert people from starting in Impossible and win at first or second attempt, because you have to be very stubborn and lucky to start from there as it is now. People saying that they win at first playthrough in Impossible would ruin the devs day. I say this because I read people saying that the hardest part of the Impossible difficulty is on the first couple of months by far.

          So, the sectoids 4HP does sound a bit too artificial, and I’ll try your advice to tweak that, and only that, to 3HP. There’ still plenty of Impossible stuff to overcome and enjoy :) Thanks for your help.

        • SQW says:

          Oh, if you want to keep to the vanilla Impossible but want to avoid the new recruit bug, here’s what you can do:

          1. Hexedit open XComGame.exe.
          2. Find line (Ctrl-F) starting with ‘Characters=(iType=eChar_Soldier….’ and change the HP to 3.
          3. Find all the lines starting with
          ‘BalanceMods_Classic=(eType=eChar_Soldier…’,
          ‘BalanceMods_Hard=(eType=eChar_Soldier…’,
          ‘BalanceMods_Normal=(eType=eChar_Soldier…’,
          ‘BalanceMods_Easy=(eType=eChar_Soldier…’
          and change the HP to 0 or 00 depending on number of existing digits (iHP=1 to iHP=0 and iHP=-1 to iHP=00 etc).

          Any new hires on Impossible will now have the right 3HP now. Exiting new rookies will still have the bonus though.

        • Adam Solo says:

          By the way, where are you now in your I/I playthrough? Already win the game in that mode?

        • SQW says:

          I’m in the last quarter of the game. Do you find the combination of ghost armour, double tap flying sniper and titan armour to be too easy compare to the early/mid game?

          I think I need to find ways to buff the Muton Elites just to keep the difficulty level from sliding too much.

          Good luck on your tweaked I/I. Hope you like it as much as I do.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Just now I cleaned my first I/I map with 0 casualties, can you believe that? It was a map with lots of doors and walls. Those help. You can use overwatch a lot and zap them when they get curious and go through the doors.

          I decided not to tweak the sectoids health. Now, I may do something about the “new recruit bug”. Have you changed that in your playthrough? A guy said that if you change difficulty before hiring (maybe changing to classic, then to impossible again and recruit?), that the rookies would be 3+1HP as they should. I have still to try this. Or I will use your Hex suggestion.

          In the last quarter of your I/I game game? Nice. Already flying and ghost armor? You should be set to win. At least in Classic it should be enough. If you have all colonels than you should be ready. Cleaned the Overseer ship in Classic quite easily not flying and with Titan armor, had ghost but hardly used it.

        • SQW says:

          Yeah, I’m playing with 3HP recruits at the moment. I don’t know about the difficulty switch fix though but it’s certainly less hassle if it works.

      • Adam Solo says:

        @SQW
        Sounds like fun :)

        *** SPOILERS ***
        By the way, I’m currently assaulting the alien base in Classic/Ironman. I’m probably at 75% by now. Lost my Colonels, relying on 3 Lieutenant and inferior soldiers at the moment. I’m sure I would have re-loaded the game (or I would have a strong urge to) when I lost my fully skilled Assault Colonel. That’s the beauty of Ironman. Take it as a man and stick to it!

  12. hereticus says:

    I replayed the first mission on impossible 4 times before I was able to finish it. With only one soldier I finished the mission during his reaction shot…. Btw Im loosing the game now. In first month I lost 3 countries and 2 month of operations I lost another 2. At this rate I wont be able to get far. Thats ok I think because I have not seen the GAME OVER cut scene yet ;)

  13. Adam Solo says:

    I lost my first attempt at a Classic/Ironman game. Lost 2 full squads at the alien base, and I don’t think it’s feasible to assault that thing with squaddies only. Not that it can’t be done but I accept the defeat.

    Things are really different when you lose your high ranking soldiers along the way. Losing is not nice, but it can be fun nonetheless. I’ll get them next time.

    • hereticus says:

      Unfortunately this is an important phase of the game. Postponing the assault for too long might lead to loosing conditions due to panic imbalance factor. The fact that the game randomly assigns abduction missions makes the DOOMS DAY clock balancing act very unpredictable and difficult to accomplish.

      • Adam Solo says:

        Yes, there’s certainly a balance to when you should attack the base. Too soon and you may not bring enough skilled people, too late and you may end up losing your best members in the meantime in random abduction missions or terror missions, like you say. I’m talking about Ironman mode here.

        Do you think the base assault becomes harder and harder as time goes by? What I mean is, if we get there sooner I may end up skipping Sectopods and Heavy Mutons? Or do you think the resistance will always be more or less the same?

        Suddenly, Willpower gained a new meaning, the moment I decided to start Ironman. Panicking is not fun when you have a Berserker and 2 Mutons next to you, although it makes sense to be just a little afraid of course :) There’s no turning back and you must accept strange stuff. For instance, I had a massive climatic scene in the alien base with my last Muton fight. I had 96% chance to hit it with my sniper and … I missed… death sentence.

        Random shooting can be a pain, especially when you fail 94%-98% shots, but it’s not 100% for a reason. And you don’t know how many 10% shots you would have hit because you prefer no to attack with those odds. So, failing a 96% shot IS OK. The thing is, you already shot 20 or more 96% successful shots before, it was time for a miss :) But … on the last Muton on the alien base? Err… My kingdom for a grenade. The thing is, there’s always something missing. You have Arc Throwers when you need a grenade and the other way around when you need to capture an alien or loot their weapons. Damn you Jake :)

        • hereticus says:

          I feel your pain. Dont you wish your soldiers could shoot Aliens as they can shoot their squad mates some times when panicked?

          I use the old xcom tactic of moving the rookies up front and leave the better troopers behind. OW is the name of the game. 2 snipers make the game easy.

          In my first game I lost only one soldier during the base assault. I play usually self imposed ironman, but that was more or less due to a bug. The sectopod shot him through the floor and high cover while standing in the middle of the ramp between levels… it was annoying since i was doing so good up to that point.

          Good luck with Ironman mode. I just noticed that the evac zones disappear on some of the maps. Making the game even more frustrating when trying to salvage whatever is left of the mission.

        • Adam Solo says:

          *** SPOILERS ***

          The evac zones disappearing happened to me once. But, you don’t need them, you just move your soldiers to the edge of the screen and hit abort. Yes, I aborted a few missions, it’s what happens when you play Ironman and must live with it :)

          Soldiers panicking is frustrating, although understandable. Soldiers panicking and killing your majors is not good. I don’t mind 1 kill per game but more than that something needs to be done in the code. I’m sure they must have get that by now.

          You know, let the rookies go upfront is a good strategy! I mean, I like to be honorable, Colonels lead the way right? Wrong! At least with Ironman. Suddenly playing this mode made me realize how brutal a game can be. You really need the stomach and be man enough to admit the defeat. Games is not always winning, In the past I had only Civ4 BTS to remind me of that, now I have XCOM:EU also :D

          Lost only 1 soldier during your alien base assault with “rookies” upfront? Man, my hat’s off. We’re talking about Classic here, right? It can’t be Impossible… How do you shoot 6 Mutons, 2 Heavy Mutons, 2 Berserkers, 3 Cryssalids, 2 Cyberdisks, 4 drones, 1 Sectopod and the alien commander with only one consualty. Ho well, I know it’s possible because I did it before, but that was with that skill where you shoot as many times as you want with your sniper in open cover… Yes, I finished the game, but on Classic, no Ironman. I re-loaded … maybe twice… :)

          I share your sentiment. I was also shot, not through the floor but through the wall. This was in the alien base. I’m not talking about corners in streets due to the cover system, I mean concrete, solid rock. They must re-check that. It’s on the alien base at 75% progression. Suddenly a floater hit me through the wall and that’s not good. “Nobody will see me, I’ll just move …. Bang! NOO!!

          Do you re-load games? I mean, “Oh I lost my colonel due to my stupid mistake, no, this was a glitch, let me reload, just this once”. Come on, be honest! :) Because, that may be the difference between winning or losing an entire game … that’s X-COM baby! :)

        • Serge says:

          2Adam If you attack alien base early it don’t have heavy muttons or sectopods on classic (not ironman though, may be ironman is different).

  14. hereticus says:

    Let me clarify few things.:

    1. base mission was done with leveled up soldiers they were LT rank and up, no rookies. I know that my core team was Assault and Sniper survivor of the first 3 months of game play the very first soldiers I got from the barracks. Echo and Devil Dog. I used extensively ghost armor i think during base assault.

    2. My general strategy is to ow and move last(spearhead) soldier forward. Than fall back when spotting the enemy. Every situation on battlefield is unique and requires different approach. My heavy and sniper usually shoot last. every one else gets a shot first except when enemy is grouped close together. Than I use rocket and let the troops shoot the rest up. when the skirmish is over i use one turn to reload all the guns and move forward. Rinse and repeat.

    3. cyberdisks are nothing to worry about when your sniper has disabling shot. I use that function all the time and never lost a trooper to Cyberdisk. I also use “medicated” smoke grandees. I noticed that they raise aim of troopers within the could (I might be wrong here). I usually snipe the sectopods from distance using squad sight. If no other option available I would move my assault soldiers withing 4 squares of the sectopod in pincer movement and take a shot and than free shot during sectos move(only if you get the perk). This few strategies usually work for me.

    4. I only save the mission at the very beginning before initial move. But since im very careful I loose 1 to 2 soldiers every 2 – 4 missions. I do reload game but only when im frustrated because of bs shot like getting nailed though a solid wall.. like you have mentioned before. I try to avoid getting in situations like that and stay away from enemy. let them come to me not the other way around.

    I’m not a master tactician by any means that became obvious when i started the game on impossible.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Good tactics. I completely neglected the “disabling shot” ability. As you say, it makes perfect sense to use it against cyberdisks. Looks like I have still a lot to learn tactically-wise.

      Having Ghost Armor at alien base assault time also helps yes. I don’t know you, but I tend not to beeline on research (going through with it with a purpose in mind). I consciously try to play all my games as they were the first. Guess I like to make my life harder than it could :)

      • SQW says:

        Disable shot is usually better than Battle Scanner since after Squad Sight, most snipers rarely move to the front. It also makes capturing aliens much easier and able to negate the firepower of anything that you can’t kill in 1 turn later on.

        Oh, I assume the through-solid-wall scenario happened at the end of the base assault where all the alien food storages are located? I think it’s an oversight. Since you can see, shoot and get shot as if the cliffs weren’t there, you might as well treat it as open space. I’ve never seen this happen in other maps.

        • Adam Solo says:

          Exactly, the shot-through-solid-wall happens at the end of the base assault. It’s as the cliffs weren’t there yes. Same here, only happened to me in this particular map. Not a big issue, but it should be fixed.

        • Serge says:

          I’m experimenting with mobile snipers without squad site now. Having 2 snipers in the squad – one with squad sight and one mobile. That way I have 4 scanners. An scanners are good not only for snipers, for assault they are even more important.
          The drawback of mobile snipers is that they have short-range penalty, so there is the need for leapfrogging tactic – throw scanner and fall back in the middle of the order, while squad sight sniper is on overwatch and guarding the rear.

  15. hereticus says:

    Adam, are you saying that you went in to the alien base with basic equipment??

    • Adam Solo says:

      Not basic like laser weapons, but I did the assault on both my 2 full games without ghost armor, in both my classic win and classic ironman defeat.

      I lost with plasma rifles, alien grenades and Titan Armor. The problem in the Ironman playthrough was that I didn’t bring enough experience to the fight. Only one colonel, perhaps a major and the rest below that rank … because I lost 2 or more experienced soldiers along the way and thought I was good enough to assault the base. I was wrong. (remember that I lost in Ironman mode, no re-load…)

      So, equipment is indeed important but I would say experience is even more important.

  16. Vaxman2 says:

    It’s spelled LOSE not LOOSE!!! Arrgh!! ;)

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